If you are anything like us, then you probably assume it’s expensive to shop in Waitrose. Being a young family, we don’t often do a full shop there and mostly shop at Aldi or Lidl which are close to us and also great for budget shopping.
When we do shop in Waitrose, it’s mainly for Baby Reviews because we want him to enjoy organic fruit and vegetables and our local Waitrose has a pretty good selection. However, we do usually end up buying a few things for ourselves as evident from our first review. But we never thought about doing our full weekly shop there. So we set ourself a challenge. To buy enough products for 5 meals for around £20.00. The other challenge was that we couldn’t eat any meat because our Waitrose doesn’t do any Halal food.
There was no particular plan before our Waitrose visit on a Saturday evening. One thing we did know is our local Waitrose has a section with lots of reduced items. Once we got there me and Mrs Reviews thought of 5 meal ideas and came up with a strategy for buying the ingredients. This included buying vegetables loose so we have the exact amount instead of getting wastage or over-spending. Furthermore, we didn’t just want to be limited to buying from Waitrose’s value Essential range. To add, we did not buy certain basic condiments such as olive oil, salt and pepper which we already had at home. So we looked for quality products on offer to make our meals more exciting. Below is a list of the products we brought with prices:
|Waitrose Essential Charlotte Potatoes||£1.00|
|Quorn 4 Chickentastic Burgers||£1.33|
|Youngs 2 Lemon & Pepper Fish Fillets||£2.00|
|2 x Organic Plum Tomatoes||£1.68|
|Waitrose Kidney Beans||£0.69|
|1 Large Garlic||£0.60|
|Capsicana Seasoning Blend||£0.66|
|Waitrose Basmati Rice||£0.67|
|1 Loose Tomato||£0.14|
|Santa Maria Corn Tortillas||£1.00|
|Waitrose Essential Courgette||£0.56|
|1 Loose Red Pepper||£0.27|
|Waitrose Essential Loose Sweet Potato||£0.34|
|Waitrose Essential Loose Brocolli||£0.49|
|Amoy Black Bean Sauce||£1.02|
|2 x Waitrose Rice Noodles||£0.64|
|Tinned Chick Peas||£0.59|
|Organic Duchie Carrots||£1.00|
|Essential Waitrose White Flour Baps||£0.80|
|2 x Onions Loose||£0.47|
|Waitrose Pacherri Rigati Pasta||£1.36|
Unfortunately, we did go over the £20 budget by 35p. But I was still happy because we initially had budgeted £25.00. We came up with the meals plans on the spot too which although slightly challenging was enjoyable. I have to give all credit to Mrs Reviews of thinking up these meal ideas. So let’s get into the meals we had over 5 nights.
Night 1: Fish Fillets with Stir-Fried Black Bean Noodles
So the first night we made Stir-Fried Black Bean Noodle with 2 Youngs Lemon & Pepper Fish Fillets. Surprisingly, the rice noodles were the only reduced products we got. So it was obvious that it would be our first meal of the week as it was going to go out of date. The best healthy option with these noodles was some vegetable stir-fry. We used some carrots, broccoli and mushrooms. As we couldn’t get any meat products we picked up Youngs Lemon & Pepper Fish Fillets which was on offer at £2.00 from around £3.50. The final element was a packet of Amoy Black Bean Sauce for the noodles which again was on offer for £1.02.
So this dish was fulfilling and pretty easy to make. One rice noodle packet is perfect for one person so getting two on reduced price was a deal. Fish fillets always feel expensive to me even on offer. However, when you don’t have halal options then it’s always going to be in our trolley. The Young’s version was delicious and crunchy but lacked the seasoning you would expect. The size was decent for one person and worked well with the noddles. We could have bought another packet of the Amoy Black Bean
Night 2: Veggie Pasta Bake
Our second night was where Mrs Reviews reminded me how much I love her culinary skills. All we used was a tin of organic plum tomatoes, courgette, mushrooms (loose), cheddar cheese and on offer Waitrose Pacherri Rigati Pasta. These items created a really delicious pasta bake that just warmed my insides until I woke up the next day.
In recent times, I have been enjoying vegetable pasta dishes and really paying attention to the pasta, sauce and the vegetables we selected. So we picked a good organic sauce that didn’t need a lot of seasoning. Mushroom is common selection but the courgette here is the meat substitute. It’s crunchy and tastes great when baked. In regards to the pasta, we could have gone with an Essential option. However, quality pasta will make the dish much better. I always wanted to try this Pacherri Rigati and we were not disappointed. Much larger than normal pasta but it soaked up the sauce and cheese really well. This was the best thing we brought and something I would recommend to anyone.
Night 3: Quorn Burgers with Wedges
Night 3 we decided to have something quick and light as we had things to do in the evening. The Chickentastic Meat-Free Quorn Burgers was a bargain that we got on offer for £1.33 for 4 burgers. We got some baps and made homemade wedges.
I have reviewed Quorn’s chicken nuggets before and feel these burgers fall in the same boat for me. These Chickentastic burgers are okay but lack in seasoning and flavour. However, I would probably buy them again if they are on offer at £1.33 as Waitrose don’t have halal meat, so any vegan/ vegetarian alternatives are our next option. The potato fries were great and the 2 additional baps were consumed at lunch the next day!
Mrs Review went back to a hearty-type meal on Night 4. She made a Chickpea Sweetpea Tomato Stew (Moroccan inspired) with couscous and roasted potatoes. The most expensive item on this meal was the bag of carrots at £1.00 which we used throughout the week. The packet of couscous was only 70p and the chickpeas and single sweet potato were cheap.
This was a satisfying meal even though we used inexpensive items. The stew was comprised of sweet potato and chickpeas cooked in onions and garlic and then had tinned tomatoes added for the sauce. The sweet and tangy contrast worked really well with simple ingredients. Couscous is a lighter version of rice to me but still filling. It is also quick and easy to make so you will get some evening time back. Then roasted potatoes will always make any dish enjoyable which Mrs Reviews will agree with.
Night 5: Bean Burritos
So we wanted to try something different for the final night. We had mince
So this was maybe a lesson-learnt-type meal. The Capsicana seasoning mix had a really strong cumin flavour with some spice. I have tasted this type of seasoning before at an Indo-Mexican cafe called Wrap Chic. I would say it needed some chicken to absorb the flavour as it was slightly bitter. Once we had the wraps ready I thought it tasted good but Mrs Reviews was not so keen. Maybe if we used the seasoning lightly then the filling would have been less intense. I would like to try this again but with some tweaking.
After a week of warming and homely meals, it was clear for us to see that it’s not that hard to eat from Waitrose even if you are on a budget. You just have to be a little bit smart about it. The top tips we learnt were:
- Keep an eye out on special offers
- Take advantage of reduced items
- Buy from their essential range (which in my opinion tastes better than other supermarkets normal ranges)
- Cook from scratch as much as possible
- Buy loose vegetables
- Buy cheap and filling staples such as rice, pasta, legumes etc
Of course many of these tips apply to shopping in any supermarket but if used when shopping in Waitrose, you’ll find that it’s actually not that hard to shop there for less.