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Can you make a meal for a family of 4 for £5 or less?(55 Posts)
I have just challenged my DH to this. I have got a spaghetti bolognese using value range were applicable (not the meat) and came up to £3.64.
Basil £0.61 (dried)
Carrot £0.08 (1 carrot)
Chopped tomatoes £0.62 (2 Tins)
Garlic bread £0.33
Have you got any ideas?
Spaghetti mozzarella bake.
I shop at ethnic store too for onions and veg. There is a Turkish shop that sell 5kg boxes of vine toms for £2.50 at the mo. I forsee lots of greek salad coming up with basics 'salad style' cheese. The onions and most of their veg are cheaper too as they are really seasonal not flown halfway around the world - poss Spain etc? - and much tastier.
I currently feed 4 adults + 2 small DC (ages 4 & 2) & can usually feed us all for less than £5 - there are often trimmings for the cat, too!
I mainly do this by buying food that has been reduced in the supermarket at the end of the day, usually by 75%-90%.
This means that we don't particularly plan what we eat and we have quite a varied selection! Anything from ready meals such as curry to stewing meat to fish to less popular meats such as venison or oxtail are often available.
I also buy bread products and fruit & veg in the same way.
Yesterday's meal was herring with a hm tomato sauce, wedges & broccoli & carrots. I used 5 whole fish, which cost £2 (cat had the guts for dinner ). The broccoli was 14p for a small head (organic) & the carrots 8p for a 1kg bag. Potatoes were not reduced in price & were £5.49 for 7.5kg, I used at most 1kg.
Farm Foods is also a great place to shop - £1.60 for 2 x 4 pints of milk, £1.60 for 2 loaves Hovis bread, 69p for a bunch of bananas, 49p for a small bag of onions, £3 for 30 bags of crisps etc
Some of these sound yummy! I don't often spend more than £5 for a meal nowadays and the key seems to be cooking a meal that will last 2 meals if it involves meat, and pasta at least twice a week.
I do a mean risotto:
Fry garlic 20p, leek 40p and chorizo £2, in butter 40p. Add a box of risotto £1.20
and a splash of wine and tinned tomatoes 80p. Add water oxo cube from kettle gradually and bubble gently til cooked then add loads of grated fresh Parmesan tah dah, tasty meal for a fiver.
Meant to add, the bacon trimmings are usually fatty enough that you can fry stuff in the pan juices and don't need oil.
Potatoes (1kg, 79p)
Veg stock (99p a box, store the rest)
Bacon trimmings (1/2 a lb, 49p)
=£3.22 and you'd have lots of veg stock cubes left over.
Mash the potatoes and fry off with the rest until it browns at the edges.
Yummy, filling, green veg, meat. All well within budget.
Just couldn't dare take myself over the £5 budget! Needs must.
My DCs fave meal is pasta egg and cheese. The pasta comes in a big bag for £3 so no idea how much it costs per meal but we get loads of meals out of one bag so maybe 30p? Then when the pasta is cooking I throw some peas in the pan too, maybe another 30p worth. While it is all cooking I mix grated cheese, maybe £1 worth, with about 8 eggs which are free at the point of eating cos we have chickens at the bottom of our garden and ook it in with the drained pasta for a minute. So total about £1.60 and extremely popular.
We love pasta (49p for bag) with red pesto (99p) and chorizo (£1.49) with sweetcorn (33p) through it. All from Aldi and could make three times over with these ingredients. Also turkey mince enchiladas. Tortilla wraps (89P), turkey mince (£1.49), red pepper (69p), red onion (15p), tinned tomatoes (39p), red pesto (99p), clove garlic (30p), tsp sugar (sachet stole from supermarket restaurant to keep costs down for sake of this example. lol!) Wou
I think it very much depends on whether you can get fruit and veg cheaply. We can't so either meat/ fish/ veg costs the same
250g organic mince cost £3.50
2 organic chicken fillets £4.50
If I make say a veggie lasagne so no mince I would add lentils £1, courgette £1.50, aubergine £1 at min. ( as well as the other ingredients I would use same as with mince) - so veggie equivalent the same
Chicken fillets I might marinate and grill and serve with rice. If I do a veggie option I would do grilled cheese and veg. hallumi £1.80, mushrooms £1, red pepper 80p, courgette £1.50. Veggie option £5.60
Veggie option is often only cheaper if not actually replaced with lots of veg but just meat left out and nothing added. Ie tomatoe pasta ( just sauce and pasta).
We had spaghetti Carbonara tonight which I reckon was less than a fiver, and fed 2 teens(6ft3), DH and I.
10 rashers streaky bacon
2 cloves garlic
Small carton single cream
I do a quick dish of pasta, red onions and a few bits of fried bacon with some Danish blue cheese or Stilton stirred through. That'll be less than £5 too.
It's easy and becomes easier the longer that you have to do it for. You just have to adjust some of your expectations about what you can buy/eat.
I have less than £50 a week to shop for 7 people - 4 adults, 1 6ft2 16y/o boy, a teenage DD and a 10y/o. The meals I make are regularly under £3 for all of us. Tonight, I made minestrone soup - it cost £4 to make but fed us all tonight and will give me 3 lunches through the week. All that needs added is some crusty bread.
other regular things -
potato, spinach and lentil curry
pasta with caramelised onions and cheese
spanish rice with rocket and kidney beans mixed through it
chilli and rice
leftover chilli made into tamale pie
pasta e ceco
chick pea and pasta soup
potato and onion pie
slow braised cabbage pasta
bean burger roils with salad and wedges
pasta with white bean sauce
pea dahl and rice
jacket potatoes with mushy peas, cheese tomato and onion
noodle stir fry with mandarins, mange touts, left over meat and soy sauce
Things that need separate veg get served mainly with mixed veg, salad leaves, carrot and cabbage salad, cucumber and pepper sticks, roast carrot and swede - whatever is cheap at the time. Soup is served with bread and followed by yoghurt/rice pudding
I only cook with meat once or twice a week, fish is usually tinned or occasionally frozen, except for the odd bit of smoked mackerel or packet of smoked salmon trimmings.
We eat a very varied and balanced diet, just a cheap one. When you have no choice, you learn quickly.
As pp have said though, it's all dependent on having a store cupboard. There was an MP recently did it for £1 a day or something ridiculous, but he counted the fractions of the stuff he bought, so he counted 10p for olive oil for example, conveniently forgetting you need the £2 to buy the bottle of oil in the first place!
That said, I think a competent cook can do this but for me it would mean no meat, because I won't buy cheap meat, lots of pulses (which DH doesn't really like) and probably not enough fruit in the house generally.
I would opt for vegetarian meals as cheap meat can contain things you really don't need and/or want.
Lentil and vegetable stew may be an option, but depends if you can get the veg (market?) cheaply.
You would need 250 g lentils, 2 medium potatoes, 250 g leeks, 250 g courgettes, 1 stalk of celery, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 onion, parsley, lemon.
It is a Claudia Roden recipe.
I think as long as you have a stock cupboard you could.
In fact I think most days my meals come to less then £5 for 5 of us. Although It helps as children aren't teenagers.
Things like I only buy fresh veg for sunday dinners the rest is frozen.
I save loads by not buying hardly any crisps, biscuits, sweets, soft drinks, processed stuff, cakes, cereal, yoghurts, bread, fancy cleaning stuff (just dilute washing up liquid and multipurpose cleaner), ready made sauces, or ready made pizzas, quiches, soups. We eat well on a budget, I have six big eaters here and we would spend a fortune if I bought ready meals for everyone, or lat them eat expensive snacks when they felt like it.
It is a good point, though, that building up equipment and store cupboard stuff is hard if you're on a tight budget, or if you're not able to get about easily, or if you are very short of time and energy.
It's a bit like those politicians who live on benefits for a week, isn't it? Of course they can do it for a week, they already have their clothes, phone, books, medication, things they take for granted.
It's really easy to do this for one meal, because you already have the necessities (oil, herbs, soy sauce, butter, stock cubes - even frying pans, oven, freezer, whatever), but much harder to do it from scratch.
And of course it's easy to do it for one or two meals, but if you had to do it for every meal it would become impossible.
I could do it for main meals if I had the time/petrol to get to Lidl. And if I could have one big shop a month to stock up basics.
I make a paella type thingy with long grain value rice, smoked sausage (lidls) 1/2 pack frozen seafood mix, tin toms, peas and pepper.
Tortilla - use up leftovers in this
Huevos rancheros - very cheap
Sausage toad, cabbage and pots (or onions and baked beans)
Chicken pie (from left overs) with mash and veg.
Carbonara and brocolli
I regularly make dinner for about £2 -£3. Carbs are the cheap filler I think.
Frozen green veg is great, I buy green beans, broccoli, spinach, peas. There is no waste and they are fresh. I also make soups with them.
Frozen berries are also brilliant and good value.
I also use a lot of frozen fish, again it is fresh.
Brian it is good if veg is green, from a health point of view.
Sweetcorn and peas do count, but they are very carby. I would do two green veg with almost every meal. Broccoli, cabbage, greens, spinach, asparagus etc. Or a mix of spinach, watercress, lettuce if we were having salad.
I do, of course, understand if it is a question of just putting food on the table with limited money.
Pork and Pineapple £4.22
value rice 24p (150g @40p per kg from Tesco)
500g pork belly £3
handful of button mushrooms 50p
tinned pineapple rings 43pp
50g value frozen peas 5p (@99p/kg)
soy sauce (assume you have some)
That even leaves you a enough for some Tesco chocolate mousse for pudding.
Of course you can.
Pack of minced beef/pork/lamb mixed with fried onion and make into meatballs. Make a tomato sauce out of a tin of supermarket own brand chopped tomatoes/pasatta, with garlic. Add pasta to make a tasty filling meal.
Or tuna & sweetcorn pasta. Mix a couple of tins of tuna with mayo and sweetcorn and mix with cooked pasta.
Both can be served with a cheap green salad. I work opposite our market and veg/fruit is much cheaper than in the supermarket. It doesn't keep as long admittedly but it's very cheap. Where Asda/Tesco are selling blueberries for £2.99 they are going for £1 on the market. Same for asparagus, lettuce, broccoli etc
And don't discount frozen stuff. I buy frozen sliced onions, mushrooms and peppers for a £1 a bag from Asda. Goes a long way and saves on waste.
I buy from a local veg shack or a van that sits on a roundabout layby near work for our veg.
DC aren't keen on salad so it's normally a main meal without but they can have cucumber, red pepper etc when ever they want or they eat it raw as I'm preparing a main meal.
Tinned tuna is £4 for 5 tins here
Just goes to show how hard it is to judge who is getting more for their £5 meal
In answer to op, our cheapest meal is probably pesto pasta
Pesto- £1.25 ( half a jar)
Mushrooms - £1.20
Red onion - £20p
( and would add spinach often but that adds £1 to cost)
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