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cheap meal ideas(34 Posts)
im looking for inspiration and recipes for some cheap meals for 2 adults and 2 dcs, trying to cut shopping bill down, lunches will be sandwiches/beans/soup etc, breakfast cereals/toast and ive been baking biscuits/flapjacks etc for snacks. I would like a cheap easy bread recipe, a pizza dough recipe and some different main meals. My usual budget meals are spaghetti bolognaise, shepards pie, tuna pasta. all ideas very welcome.
My favourite pasta dish is a tomato & mozzarella bake. Use shell shape pasta & make tomato sauce from tin of tomatoes, garlic, onions & fresh basil if you have it. Mix with cooked pasta & put in oven with ripped up balls of mozzarella through it. Cheap & cheerful but yum!
I make focaccia and pizza dough from the most simple recipe - 500g 00grade flour, 1 sachet (7g?) quick yeast, a pinch of salt, a tsp white sugar and enough water for it to create a dough. That makes two big trays of focaccia or 4 medium sized pizzas. DD likes slices of focaccia for her snack at school, her fave topping is onion and rosemary.
What about a roast chicken, Aldi do a free range one for £5. We tend to have roast on a Sunday, chicken and bacon salad the next day and then strip and boil the carcass and make risotto the next day.
For pizza, I use the ready made bread mixes which are about 90p a packet. This just needs warm water and a spoonful of oil added, and easily makes 4 large pizzas. If the DC have friends round, it makes 6 pizzas and no one notices they had less. Then make a tomato base with 2tbsp tomato paste from a tube, a small squeeze of garlic paste and tsp of oregano, mixed with a tbsp of warm water. On top add finely sliced Sainsbury's basic mozarellas, 2 between 4 of us. They cost about 50p each.
That's 4-6 large margherita pizzas for about £2. You can add olives or finely sliced peppers, ham etc - anything left in the fridge that goes well on pizza.
I serve them with carrot sticks and cucumber or sweetcorn to get the 5 a day in.
Good budget meal is kedgeree made with frozen basics white fish, rice, one finely chopped onion, frozen peas and a tablespoon of curry powder.
Chop onion finely and fry on low heat with 1 mug of rice and 1 spoon of spice, stirring until rice and onion are translucent. Add 2.5 mugs boiling water, the frozen fish pieces and cook for 7 mins. Add the frozen peas and cook for 6 more mins. Add fresh parsley if you have some. My DC always ask for bits with extra 'chicken' in them, so the basics white fish clearly doesn't taste too fishy. the fish is very cheap in Sainsbury, Tesco or Lidls. About £2 a bag with enough pieces to last 2-3 meals for 4 people.
Also, basic meals like baked potatoes with a bit of melted grated cheese, beans and home made coleslaw are good. Total cost again is about £2.50-3 for whole meal.
ooh we love jacket potatoes in our house.
Also, stuffed pancakes are delicious and cheap.
Go to supermarkets at the end of the day and get cheap veggies which you can then roast and make into pasta dishes.
Same with fresh fruit - make smoothies or crumbles.
thanks, thats given me a few ideas for this week, dcs have friends to play tomorrow so will try out the homemade pizzas.
Corned beef hash?
Tin of corned beef, onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, all cooked on hob in stock, dash of Worcester sauce of you have it. Delish served with beans
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Just had eggy bread with grilled tomatoes. It had a splash of balsamic and a but if fudged garlic on the tomatoes. Pretty cheap if you have stiff in cupboards.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I love casseroles done in the slow cooker. You can use cheap cuts of meat (in fact they are best for this) & lots of root veg (carrots, parsnip, turnip, swede) which are also cheap. The slow cooker uses very little energy, about the same as a light bulb, I believe. It is also handy if different family members are eating at different times as the meal can just be kept hot. Last but not least, it is very easy to prepare, I just bung all the ingredients in raw with a jug of stock, turn the slow cooker on & it can be cooking all day
I also frequent the reduced counters at about 7pm at my local Tesco (although times vary for different stores) & get meat, fruit, veg & bakery goods for 75% off the original price & sometimes more. Works best if you are not too fussy about what you eat & have lots of freezer room!
Also agree with making your own cakes etc. Made chocolate cornflake cakes with DS1 yesterday & had all the ingredients in cupboard already, so cost pennies! Kept a 3-year old happy for part of a rainy afternoon, too!
frazzled, one thing I've found is not to get too hung up on a meal plan for the week before you shop. Do still work out what you'll need for each meal, but it's worth doing some of that in-store, as half price offers on things you don't normally buy can stop it from being monotonous, and also often work out cheaper than routinely sticking to things you think of as cheapest.
We don't eat salmon when it's £10 for four fillets but do when it's £1 a slice.
Spaghetti and mozarella bake is a cheap favorite here too, as the poster up thread said. Homemade meatballs are good too - a small pack of turkey or pork mince makes loads of meatballs if you add chopped onion,breadcrumbs, beaten egg,loads of seasoning.
I bought some cartons of chopped tomatoes with chilli from b&m.... Added some sundried tomatoes from aldi, (cut into strips), added oregano and basil and made a pasta sauce.... Salad cheese (cheaper than feta!) and voila. They serve the dish in my gym for £8.95 and cost me less than £2 for enough to feed 4.
You can add chorizo / chicken to bulk out to a really nice meal and garlic bread!
I love b&m for cheap cupboard staples. I also buy from approved food.
I am a complete foodie and my friends are amazed when I reveal my secrets!!
Some other fab ideas I'm going to pinch off this thread!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
They are filling the hole woollies left but also sell food stuff!
Garlic spaghetti. Cook the spag, while it's draining pop a touch of olive oil in the pan and cook a couple of thinly sliced cloves of garlic until almost crispy. Add spaghetti back to pan and mix garlic into the spag. Add black pepper to taste and that's it!
Surprisingly tasty for one of those nights when you have 'nothing' in and can't afford a take-away!
Slinky that is a good one. We've had that & added fresh chilli or chilli flakes to the oil & garlic.
We had that last night Slinky - spaghetti cooked and whilst it is draining add olive oil, garlic, parsley and chilli to the pan. cook for a few minutes and add the spaghetti back and swirl to coat.
I added some cooked smoked bacon lardons to mine because they needed eating up.
I buy the garlic, chilli, parsley, coriander, ginger and basil in the pouches from the freezer section. You only use what you need and nothing gets wasted because it goes back in the freezer. They are an expensive outlay to begin with but they last ages. Sainsbury's have 2 packs for £2.50 atm which reduces the cost a bit.
I haven't seen the frozen herbs before. Sounds like a great way to avoid wastage.
It's a bit off topic but could you grow a few veg? If you just stick to simple green things that are pricey in the shops it can be a good investment (eg packet of courgette seeds, packet of mange tout seeds, packet of climbing french beans, packet of perpetual spinach/chard. I appreciate won't do all year round (unless you have a freezer) but can make a big difference to meal costs. All the above can be grown in pots on a balcony if you get suitable varieties.
Spanish omelette also a good one. Spuds, and onion and three eggs and Bobs yer uncle.