1940s Meal Prep – 7 days dinners for 32p


Yes that’s right – 7 days dinners for 32 p each. And I’m going to tell you what I used, what each item cost, AND how much fibre and protein per serving!

There is quite a group of us on my blog starting off the New Year with really good intentions to have a “Month without Money” in January (grocery money) by using up stuff we have been hoarding in the cupboards before buying more. Spending as little money in January is something we are all trying to achieve to help us get over the lean month but also be mindful of waste and of what we spend, just like our families had to do during rationing in WW2!


I decided today that I would use up the post Christmas reduced veg I bought the other day. I bought some bags of parsnips for 9p a bag, some sprouts for 10p a bag, some carrots for 19p a bag and potatoes for 29p a bag. I then rummaged through my cupboards and found a can of tomatoes, can of kidney beans, can of chick peas, a large onion, 2 courgettes, few teaspoons Bisto powder, dried mixed herbs, salt and pepper. The total cost of all the ingredients actually used was about £2.25 and I was able to have one meal for lunch and fill 6 meal prep containers to put in the fridge and freezer (it also spurred me into defrosting the freezer!).

YES, that’s right…..£2.25 for 7 days’ dinners, that’s 32p per meal!


So here’s what I made and how…although these are not 1940’s wartime recipes that you’ll find in a book any cook during the 40’s would have thrown stuff together to use up stuff and not waste it!

Root Veg Mash

1.5 lbs parsnips
1.5 lbs carrots
1.5 lbs potatoes
1 onion or leek finely chopped + garlic (optional)
Butter or margarine
Salt and pepper.

Cut up carrots small and parsnips and potatoes in slightly larger pieces.
Add to boiling water and simmer until soft.
Meanwhile add all your butter or margarine (according to how much you like) into a saucepan and peel a clove of garlic or two and add that into the saucepan with the chopped onion and sauted until onions are soft (remove garlic cloves when ready)
Place drained veg into a large bowl, place butter and onion mixture on top and mash all up together.
Add salt and pepper liberally until your own desired taste is reached.

Will be enough for 7 days meal prep plus a portion of pre mashed veg to add to stew recipe below.

PS: It was DELISH!

Meal Prep Bean Stew

1 can kidney beans
1 can chickpeas
1 can tomatoes
1 onion or leek
2 or 3 courgettes or a small chopped marrow
Portion of pre-mashed cook veg from recipe above.
Bisto powder
Salt and pepper
Dried mixed herbs
Spoonful of sweet chutney (optional)

In a large saucepan, saute chopped onions or leeks until browned and soft
Add chopped courgettes or marrow
Add all cans and pre-mashed veggies
Thicken with Bisto powder
Add chutney, herbs, salt and pepper.
Cook until stew has reduced a little and thickened.

Will be enough for 7 meal prep portion sizes.

Fibre and Protein Boost!

I even worked out the fibre and protein content of each meal. Each meal provides a whacking great 20g of fibre!! (daily recommendation is 25g – 30g) and protein was 18g (daily recommendation is about 55g) so that’s pretty good too!

With hindsight I would have thrown another can of kidney beans in or thrown in some dry lentils and boosted each meal by another 5g of fibre and 5g of protein!

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27 thoughts on “1940s Meal Prep – 7 days dinners for 32p

  1. Looks fantastic! Thank you for sharing. I really look forward to your inspiring emails. You are definitely off to a good start for 2017. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  2. Love the month without money idea. My freezer and cupboards are stocked as my husband recently had heart surgery so we are house bound for a couple of weeks. Appreciate the info on the fibre count as we are both attempting to eat better in 2017.

  3. Looking good ..love using yellow labelled products helps the budget enormously. Dinner today was yellow labelled brisket from freezer, with allotment veg which means enough for stew for several days. No spend so far x

  4. Just made a batch of carrot, lentil & barley soup from half a 60p bag of carrots. Just 2 onions, a few sticks of celery & the carrots finely chopped & softened in rapeseed oil, then added to a precooked mix of 2 tablespoons each of pot barley & red lentils, cooked through the attacked meaningfully with the hand blender. Has done 2 meals so far on its own, and we’ve only got through half of it. Going to put the rest into freezer bags, measured to fit one of those microwaveable mugs, so a portion can be taken into work and thawed out in time to reheat for lunch.

  5. Looks great, Carolyn. I just made a big batch of leek-potato-cabbage soup. I have a couple presents to buy this month, but other than that, I will join you in your commerce challenge.

    Happy New Year!

  6. Just rescued the one and only savoy cabbage to survive the frost at the allotment. Not big enough to be a feature of a meal, so I’ll use it in a batch of Dutch Pea Soup. Got a pack of “cooking bacon” – the rasher offcuts, for just over £1, which is perfect. So that will be chopped up with onions, celery, the cabbage, and maybe some very finely chopped carrots, and that will be added to a pre-soaked, pre-cooked mixture of green split peas and barley. Once all cooked, the blender will do its stuff and half will go in the freezer to emerge some time over the next couple of weeks.

  7. That looks delicious! I was looking at the cost of the ingredients and I nearly fell of my chair! Food is so much cheaper in the UK then it is in Perth, Western Australia! I used to manage a Fruit & Veg department in a supermarket and what it cost us to buy, say parsnips per kg would easily be over $9.00 AUD!
    Love the blog by the way I’ve often thought that we should look closer at this period for many reasons, we could all learn a lot.

  8. Hi Carolyn,

    Would you mind including the weight of the cans of vegetables in the recipe please. Where I am you can buy 400g and 800g cans of tomatoes or beans.

    Thank you.

  9. Pingback: Home Front – Wartime Recipes (5) | Pacific Paratrooper

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