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Your Cheapest Recipe (share please!)

(96 Posts)
tryingmybest2012 Sun 26-Aug-12 08:53:43

I have been reading threads on here and on Money Saving Expert with how people feed their families on small amounts of money per week. I have a family of 2 adults and 1 toddler and cannot get my grocery bill (including cleaning products - no toiletries) to less than £80 per week. I have a few must haves, organic milk, cheese and yoghurts, free range eggs and chicken and good quality British other meat. I still think I should be able to get my food bill down though as I have read other posters who manage to spend a lot less than I do. I am thinking the problem could be the lack of low cost recipes I have access to, and thought it would be nice to do a thread where we each share our one lowest cost recipe that we can make. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, it doesn't have to be cooked from scratch, it doesn't even have to be healthy, anything goes.....

I will start us off with pesto pasta and salad

Teaspoon of pesto per person
50g pasta per person
Small side salad of lettuce, tomato and cucumber

Cook the pasta, stir in the pesto and done! (Serve with side salad to get one of your 5 a day)

I feel I have cheated slightly by doing such an easy recipe using shop bought pesto but as I said anything goes......

eslteacher Sun 26-Aug-12 12:55:08

Well we've been eating a lot of cold meals recently since it's been hot where we are. One really cheap thing I've done is to take whatever leftover stuff is lying around in terms of cold meat, and serve it with a big grain-based salad, which is so cheap considering the amount you get out of a bag. For example:

Boil a mix of bulgar wheat and quinoa for 15-20m. Drain and leave to cool for a bit. Finely chop whatever salady bits you have to hand, e.g. cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, spring onion and add to the quinoa and bulgar wheat. Add sweetcorn and/or mushrooms or whatever other tinned veg you want. Mix it all together and season very well. Chill it in the fridge for a bit then serve. It's a really nice side dish for hot days and very flexible.

Other cheap things we've been eating a lot this summer:

Quiche + salad and sweetcorn (quiches often on special offer)

Jacket Potato + tuna/mayo sweetcorn and salad (stock up on tuna when its on special offer too, or buy the value stuff if you don't have dolphinesque scruples)

Cold meats (ham/salami etc) + potato salad (make your own)

crisisofidentity Sun 26-Aug-12 13:04:16

Pasta, when cooked stir in one packet of smoked salmon trimmings, some chopped spring onion, about 2/3 of single cream, load with freshly ground black pepper, serve with green salad.

The cheapest things I make are probably:

- dahl (really cheap providing you have a good stock of spices already. I use creamed coconut in mine for 89p a carton but that still makes a huge panful for about three pounds not counting the cost of the spices) and rice with a salad of chopped onion, cucumber and mint

- veggie chilli - I use puy lentils in mine as they give good texture but again I can make a vatful of this for less than a fiver and it makes at least two meals. Eat with rice or potato wedges or tortilla wraps.

- eggs, homemade wedges and peas!

Can you eat meat less often? I feed 2 adults and a toddler on £50 a week but we're vegetarian. I'm happy to post a sample meal plan if it helps. We do an online shop from Asda (they do a mixed size box of 15 free range eggs for £2.50) and that includes cleaning products and household stuff but then I'm not fussed about having value toilet rolls etc and I buy nappies from wilkos or morrisons at about £4 for 25 ish, value wipes etc. I'd be interested in what you cook, I'm pretty sure it's the meat bumping up the cost

tryingmybest2012 Sun 26-Aug-12 13:40:43

NiceCupOfTeaAndSitDown yes I would love a sample meal plan thank you. I have a feeling it must be the meat bumping it up as I buy all nappys, wipes, cleaning products from aldi and value toilet roll etc. In a week I would buy a beef joint which is £6.99, two packs of chicken breasts at around £4 each, cheese £2.75 a block, milk about £4, tuna steaks at around £5, we do have around 2 or 3 vegetarian meals a week but maybe we need to eat more vegetarian meals.

Can't help with the meat but often see posts on here about good cheap cuts, I'm sure somebody can help. Cheese is expensive but often on offer (Asda do 2 large packs for £4 sometimes) - do you have a poundland nearby? I've seen 4 pints of milk in there. We get our tuna steaks from Morrisons, 2 steaks for £3, they're really nice. I'll try and whip up a sample meal plan and shopping list smile

RugBugs Sun 26-Aug-12 14:30:17

I do a risotto which is quite cheap but feels expensive, the true expense is the achey wrist I get from constantly stirring the rice.

risotto rice
chorizo (is £2 but could be left out)
2 peppers
couple of stock cubes and a glass of white wine

served with some leaves and homemade dinner rolls

duchesse Sun 26-Aug-12 14:48:24

Nettle soup: A large colander of fresh nettle tops (free), one potato, one onion, some stock (can be cubes, can be boiled bones and veg etc), bit of seasoning.

Soup generally is very cheap to make and very nutritious, especially if you make your own stock..

stressedHEmum Sun 26-Aug-12 14:56:10

Pasta e ceco

500gm bag pasta (value stuff is 30p)
250g dried chick peas, soaked and cooked (about 40p)
2 decent sized onions (about 30p)
1 head garlic, finely chopped (about 30p)
splash oil, knob butter, salt and pepper.

While pasta is cooking, fry onions and garlic in oil and butter until soft and fragrant. Add cooked chick peas and cook until hot though. Stir through drained, hot pasta and season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with some salad leaves if you like. Serves 5 perhaps 6.

Pasta with caramelised onions

500gm pasta
4 or 5 big onions
oil, butter, salt, pepper brown sugar
tiny bit of grated gran padano.

Start to cook onions in oil and butter over a medium heat. When they are soft and translucent, out pasta on to boil. Season onions with salt and pepper, add a spoonful of brown sugar. keep cooking until pasta is done. Mix onions through drained pasta. Serve sprinkled with a little finely grated gran padano and salad leaves. Serves 5-6

Scrambled egg rice

1 cup leftover cooked rice per person
1/2 an onion, chopped per person
garlic to taste
salt and pepper
1 egg beaten per person
frozen peas
oil for cooking

Fry onions and garlic until soft. Add rice and cook, stirring, until hot. Add peas and stir well. Pour over beaten eggs and seasoning. Cook, stirring, ntil eggs are set.

All these will feed 5 or 6 people for £2 or less. Have plenty more for anyone who is interested.

Rugbugs I've got an awesome recipe for microwave risotto, you'd never know! It's in the BBC Good food 100 vegetarian recipe book.

OP these are our dinners for the next fortnight :
Homemade Pasty & chips
Cheats pizza (Jamie Oliver 30min recipe) wedges & salad
Pizza meatloaf & mushroom salad
Macaroni cheese & garlic bread
Cannelloni & salad
Fish, chips & peas
Tuna steaks with chilli & olives (Nigella lamb recipe) with jackets
Satay stir fry veg with noodles
Chickpea & butternut squash curry with bombay potatoes & rice
Mexican lasagne (Nigella) & jackets
Enchiladas & salad
Creamy cheese & spinach rice & green veg
Vegeburgers, wedges & salad
Day After pie with new potatoes & green veg

I plan/buy for breakfasts, lunches and snacks too. Let me know if you want me to list them or any recipes

stressedHEmum Sun 26-Aug-12 15:09:47

Curried split pea soup

1 bag yellow split peas
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 decent sized potatoes, diced
6pts veg stock
2tblspns curry powder or to taste
black pepper

chuck everything in a big pan and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 3 or 4 hours, until peas have broken down and soup is thick. Serves about 8 with bread.

Lentil soup.

You need

4 carrots chopped roughly
1 onion chopped roughly
250g red lentils
1 stock cube (I use chicken)
450ml water (roughly)

fry/sweat the onion in a little oil until soft. Add the carrots, lentils and water then crumble in stock cube. Simmer until the carrots are soft. Stir every so often to make sure the lentils dont stick to the pan. Once cooked blend with a stick blender. Add salt/pepper to taste.

We usually serve with crusty bread which is quite cheap.

That recipe is quite rough. I just bung in whatever I think at the time. Sometimes more water is needed. Sometimes I double it up and freeze it.

stressedHEmum Sun 26-Aug-12 15:25:10

recent meal plan -

breakfast, cereal, toast or pancakes with peanut butter
lunches - bulghur wheat pilaf, spicy cabbage and potatoes, curried yoghurt pasta, peanut butter and apple wraps, corn chowder, egg rice
dinners - friday casserole (baked egg and cheese rice);pasta and chick peas; pasta and chick pea soup; creamed tuna, rice and peas; sausage, mash and beans; cheese and onion pie, mixed veg; scone based cheese and tomato pizza

snacks - fruit, toast, crisps, yoghurt, hm banana cake
drinks - squash, milk, water, fruit tea.

Most of these meals feed 5 or 6, some 8-10 and the whole lot comes in well under £50. Obviously, there isn't a lot of meat or fish though.

NellyJob Sun 26-Aug-12 15:36:10

on the one day, make chicken soup with a whole chicken of good quality,(kind of Jewish style)
serve the soup with noodles and a bit
of the breast meat finely diced....
save the leftover soup and the rest of the chicken.
the next day you can have chicken sandwiches or salad.
and you can make a paella with the leftover soup as your stock, together with any chicken scraps that are left....maybe some cheap peeled prawns or mussels.
another very cheap dish is 'dirty rice', new orleans style, cook some rice as normal, fry finely diced chicken livers with onion and garlic, mix the two together.
or try a puttenesca, anchovies chili and garlic fried up, a tin of tomato and some cheap chopped olives, mixedd through your favourite pasta.

ValiumQueen Sun 26-Aug-12 15:37:31

We had pancakes for lunch, using a value mix 1 year out of date (9p) and an egg (fresh!) A splash of oil, then served with golden syrup and lemon juice. Awesome, but far from healthy grin

CumberdickBendybatch Sun 26-Aug-12 15:41:34

Lentil soup (this is for 2-3 people)

Large cup lentils
Fry for 5 mins

1/2 pint milk and tin tomatoes in, spoon of marmite, veg stock cube, Worcester sauce, chilli, paprika and tomato puree. Add salt and pepper.

tryingmybest2012 Sun 26-Aug-12 18:01:25

NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown thanks, any recipes you could give me would be gratefully received. I especially like the sound of the tuna recipe.....

I currently buy a lot of reduced yellow sticker food but still cannot get below £80 per week. I buy breakfast, lunches, dinners and snacks for all 3 of us plus cook a family meal for 7 on a Sunday. I really want to reduce my grocery bill by 50% if possible. I am going to try and do a menu plan for next month out of all the recipes on here and see how I go, maybe beans on toast for me and the toddler every day for lunch may help too!! (DD loves beans on toast so would be very very happy lol as she asks me for it everyday anyway!).

follyfoot Sun 26-Aug-12 18:15:03

A favourite meal which is also dead cheap:

Slice an onion, a pepper or two, and maybe some mushrooms if you have got some (you could add any other veg you fancy at this point too). Soften in a bit of oil. At this stage you either add about a third of a packet of fajita seasoning or some cumin seeds, chilli, maybe some paprika and oregano. Tip in a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tin of baked beans and a tin of kidney beans plus a tinful of water. Season and cook for about 15 mins. Its a lovely Mexican style soup.

If you want it as a more filling meal, add a couple of handfuls of pasta after about 10 mins and some more water. Cook until the pasta is done and serve with a bit of yoghurt on top. You can also add sliced cooked sausages before serving if you fancy.

Lonelylou Sun 26-Aug-12 18:25:16

Jacket potato, tuna mayo. Yummmmmmmm

NorthernNumpty Sun 26-Aug-12 18:30:41

Stop buying chicken breasts!

Buy leg potions, thighs or whole chickens. A whole chicken will do several meals.

Casseroles using cheap chicken cuts are v filing and very good value.

ValiumQueen Sun 26-Aug-12 18:33:18

How about posting your shopping list and we can advise - like the chicken breast comment ^^

Takver Sun 26-Aug-12 18:43:56

Do you have a garden or anywhere outside with direct sunshine you could grow stuff? If so then salad is expensive to buy but easy and cheap to grow . . .

Cheapest & easiest recipe (especially if you have leaf beet/chard/spinach in the garden wink )

Fry an onion in a bit of oil
When soft add half a mug of red lentils and a mug full of rice, stir about to coat then add three mugs of water and half a stock cube.
Bring to the boil & simmer til water is nearly absorbed.
Add lots of washed and chopped spinach or chard, stir to mix in and cook til done.

Eat with lime pickle (expensive, but a jar lasts an awful long time)

crisisofidentity Sun 26-Aug-12 18:46:48

Really skintmeal - nothing in the fridge
Sainsbury's basics chips beans and egg ( not basics), bread and butter.all washed down with a cuppatea.
Ds used to love it as a treat - "the crisis cafe".

Jakadaal Sun 26-Aug-12 18:50:49

Following a tip from my MIL I have just cooked liver for the first time ---- can hardly believe I have just written that! But have cooked it with casserole steak and made herby dumplings. It was lambs liver and cost £1.09 for a big packet. Neither DC noticed the liver just that the gravy was delicious.

4 of us usually eat for about £60 a week and I use cuts of meat that need slow cooking. I also agree with the use of chicken thighs (turkey is even cheaper) rather than breast as it is tastier.

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