Your Cheapest Recipe (share please!)(96 Posts)
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......
I second Dal! I serve it with rice, cucumber raitha & grated carrot. Super yummy and healthy curry. And SO cheap.
A good one courtesy of my lovely MIL: smoked mackerel & potato bake/grill. Flake a pack of smoked mack into halved par boiled waxy spuds. Stir through mustard and creme fraiche. Pop into oven or under grill til sizzling & serve wih any green. Smoked mack are delish and v v cheap even the sustainably sourced ones.
talking of lentils, those tiny dark ones,cooked up and stirred through shell pasta with plenty of olive oil are nice.
Also, homemade pizzas are ridiculously cheap, I use the recipe from dear old Carluccio, I am sure you can find it online.
I haven't got a shopping list to hand as I threw mine in the bin this morning after doing the weekly shop (I wish I hadn't now).
But in general I usually buy:
Weatabix and Meusli from Aldi
8 pints of Organic milk from Sainsbury
2 large cartons of fresh orange juice from Aldi
12 mini cartons of apple juice from Aldi
2 bottles of apple/blackcurrant cordial from Sainsburys
3 loves of bread from Aldi
2 packs of organic butter from Sainsbury
2 bags of apples from aldi
Bananahs from Aldi
Strawberrys from Aldi
Homebake rolls x2 packs from Aldi
5 slices of fresh ham from the counter in Sainsburys
Lettuce x3, Cucumber x2, tomatoes x3, pack of peppers x2 from Aldi
Pack of cakes from Aldi
Joint of beef or a Whole Chicken from Aldi
New potatoes from Aldi
Celery from Aldi
Cheese cake x2 from Aldi
2 bottles of fizzy drink from Aldi
Various wraps, pitta bread etc from Aldi
Organic Cheese x 2 from Sainsburys
Yeo Valley Yoghurt pots x 2 from Sainsbury
Kids organic yoghurts from Sainsburys
Free range eggs x 2 packs from Aldi
Tin tuna from Sainsburys
Bake beans from Aldi
Tin spagehetti from Aldi
Fishfingers from Aldi
Peas from Aldi
2 packs organic chicken breasts from Sainsburys
pack of organic bacon from sainsburys
pack of organic sauasages from sainsburys
Pasta from Aldi
Fresh herbs from Sainsburys
£10s worth of cat foor from Sainsburys (my cat wont eat the aldi one or anything apart from premium ones how ever long I leave it there!)
Crisps from Aldi
Pastry from Aldi
Cream from Aldi
Frozen fish from Aldi
Fresh Tuna from Sainsburys
Couscous from Sainsburys
Value vegetable stock cubes
Stir fry veg from Aldi
Rice from Aldi
Organic steak mince from Sainsburys
Tin tomatoes from Aldi
Onions from Aldi
OXO beef stock cubes
Frozen pizza from Aldi
Pesto from Aldi
Chips from Aldi
Bleach, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner, wash poweder, fabric conditinor, bin bags, toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, baby wipes x4, pull ups, sofa wipes (about every 2 weeks for the cleaning products)
I probably have missed quiet a few things off as I cannot really remember everything off the top of my head but hopefully this may be of help!
I am desperate to cut my food bill down from £80 a week to £40 a week, at the moment I am over budget by about £40 a week which is not good! I am keen to keep organic/free range meat and dairy though due to my beliefs in animal welfare. I think looking at my list less meat is probably the only answer. Plus it is probably not healthy to eat that much red meat (as my other half keeps telling me!)
Cheapest recipe? 500g mince. 375g rice. 5 tbsp gravy granules. Large tin sweetcorn (just in water, no salt or sugar added). 2 tbsp ground coriander, 2 tbsp cumin (spices can be adjusted to taste), 2 tbsp dried mixed herbs, 2 cloves garlic, large onion.
Cook the rice.
While the rice is cooking, chop onion and garlic, and fry together with the mince until the mince is browned. Mix in cumin & ground coriander. Put the tinned sweetcorn and the water from the tin in there. Mix in the gravy powder. Simmer for 30-35 minutes. Add the rice, mix together and serve. If you can stretch to pitta breads, serve with a pitta bread per person. This serves 5-6 in my house, and my older DC's eat a LOT. So serves 2 adults, a teenager, a pre-teen that eats more than the adults, a tall almost 9yo, and a toddler. You may need to add about 200ml-ish extra water to it, but it should have a fairly 'sticky' consistency.
We call it 'spicy mince & rice',
even though there's no heat in it at all, and it's all my DC's favourite dinner.
Today's dinner annoyed me. A large chicken from Asda. Leftovers?! Like hell! I have the carcass left to make a chicken & veg soup for tomorrows lunch, and NOTHING else. The pre-teen had his roast dinner, and has just informed me that he was still hungry, so he had made himself a chicken sandwich with the remaining (tiny bit) of chicken. <<Sigh>>. I guess though, that the chicken said it served 4-5, and it did do 5. Still, if you only have 100g leftovers from a large chicken, it's not going to go too far even if it isn't filched for a sarnie!
trying I think if you insist on organic, and keeping your fussy cat, you will struggle to cut it by much. Perhaps introduce more meat free meals and economise on dried herbs, and non branded items like the oxo. Also cut out treats like cheesecake. Sofa wipes??? Where do you get your cleaning products and bog roll etc? The Aldi hi juice squash is fab IMO. Hopefully others will have ideas. Well done for writing your list. It must have taken a while
My pre-teen is a 5ft1" tall 10yo that has already hit puberty, and eats like I would have expected a 17yo to.
It concerns me ever so slightly about how much he will eat when he IS 17...
He is actually underweight for his height right now, having just shot up another inch in the last fortnight. God knows where he PUTS all the food he eats, but having him at home for the whole 6 weeks has practically bankrupted me - I was expecting him to spend 3 weeks at his dad's, but that hasn't happened this year, he only spent a week there, and isn't staying there for the foreseeable future, so I think even my term time bill is going to increase!
Sausage Pepper Pasta -
Brown sausages, remove, fry onions & garlic & red pepper, add browned chopped sausages, add tin tomatos/ chicken stock/ dry pasta and simmer until pasta cooked. I love this dish, It's a family favourite in our house.
We eat a lot of mexican as it's easy and healthy: Tacos/ Fajitas/ Enchiladas. You only need cayenne pepper and chilli powder to make a mexican dish, no need for expensive mixes, add to chicken or minced beef for tacos/ fajitas and add to passata with grated cheese for enchiladas.
I can't cut out the cheescakes unless I can find a desert on Sunday to serve 7 (I have family members round on Sundays for dinner) The two cheesecakes come to about £2.80, if anyone knows of any good deserts to feed 7 that are really really cheap to make let me know as anything I can cut back on will be great. (and make a change from cheescake, I'm sure my family must be sick of it this summer, in the winter they get a strudel, the 2 cheapest deserts in aldi lol).
I buy cleaning products from Aldi, although I noticed this week the value stuff in sainsburys is actually cheaper so I will give that a try next Sunday. The leather sofa wipes are 99p from aldi and are great at wiping all the handprints and other yucky marks my 2 year old makes on a daily basis. They smell nice too! Sometimes I cheat and use baby wipes though but not sure if this does the leather any good, I haven't noticed any bad affects though!
Use of chicken thigh is something I had not thought of , if I can get rid of buying the breasts that will save a bit. I might cut out bacon and sausages too as these come to about £6 a week so that would save a bit too. (Although I like my bacon sandwiches!!) Beans on toast is healthier I guess.....
Pick some blackberries and make a crumble.
Could you buy less of the premium cat food, make up for it with a cheaper brand, and mix the two together when you serve it to your cat?
Just remember most posters who say they feed their family for fifty pounds a week (which is perfectly possibly) firstly don't buy all organic which is going to add 25 percent to your bill and secondly don't have a family of seven to feed every Sunday.
Why can't your family members bring the joint for Sunday lunch every other time? Or at least the pudding?
Rice pudding is very very cheap to make
Bread pudding is also cheap and can use leftover baked goods
And you can make pastry for about ten pence rather than buying it
Plus (I'm on a roll now) if you use fresh herbs every week why on earth don't you grow your own and keep a few pots on the window sill? Fresh herbs are expensive.
I kill all plants and so I buy those tubes of fresh herbs in oil. When I get home I squeeze them into ice cube trays and freeze them so I always have whatever herbs I need. Far cheaper.
Tomato and lentil soup, simple and v tasty.
One large onion
1 pint veg stock
2 tins chopped tomatoes
10 tbsps red lentils
Makes a big vat of soup, blend it before serving, freezes well!
I sometimes add garlic, whatever veg needs using up, and if I have it a big bunch of basil before blending. Nice with a dollop of yoghurt too.
there's alot on that list you could reduce, not least the organic chicken breast, buy thighs instead. I kind of agree about the animal welfare, but you could just buy less meat in the week and plan some vegan or vegetarian meals.
one thing i have found reduces the bill, is just not buying any out of season or imported fruit and veg. Also the cleaning stuff, you can use cheap thin bleach for alot of things, like the loo and the kitchen floor.
Things like fresh tuna and ham from the bone are luxuries and not essential.
fresh herbs are nice, but just get one instead of three, say.
things like kids organic yogurts could go too, just get one big pot.
ready made pastry is a rip, as are ready made pizzas.
spending a tenner on catfood....hmm....spoilt kitty!
make apple and blackberry crumble, blackberries from the hedgerow (unless you live in central london of course)
I really wouldnt bother with organic butter, cheese, etc.
Favorite cheap meal here is spaghetti mozzarella bake. By own brand slag and mozzarella from Aldi.
Cook spaghetti. While this is cooking, chop and fry one onion,tip on a tin of toms or jar of pasta sauce.drain spag and mix in with pasta sauce. Tear up two mozzarella balls.put one layer of spag in an oven proof dish,dot with mozzarella,repeat. Bung in oven and then serve. You can tart this up with bacon bits,mushrooms,sweetcron etc but our dcs love it as it is and it feeds 4 to 6
I've used value cleaning products with no problems, if you clean every day why would you need strong detergants? I use sp toilet cleaner but I've switched to astonish for the cleaners from the pound shop because I like the orange oil cleaner.
I've looked at your list and had the following thoughts.
Pastry can be made with trex and smartprice plain flour, I make mine in a food processer using chilled water and I quickly pulse the fat and flour before spooning the water in. It takes seconds. You could make batches weighing 500g or whatever the quanity is that you usually buy it in and freeze it. It freezes really well, I even freeze offcuts and save it all for mince pies.
Squash isnt really needed, it's nice but it's not essential.
Same for fizzy drinks too, bone stripping and chemical laden.
A breadmaker would save you money, you could make dough for bread rolls or pizza bases. Much cheaper than shop bought pizza and nicer.
Wraps can be made, there was a recipe on here ages ago from the allrecipes site and it was very easy and cheap. Again things like this freeze well.
Herbs can be grown so easily, I used to grow them in a small strawberry planter on the windowsill.
If the cat wont change food (and I know about cats and their food refusal they make toddlers look easy) could you source it cheaper off the internet?
The organic yoghurt, do sainsburys not do an own brand version? you can get yoghurt making kits too. Lakeland do them but are really pricey ime so again the internet is your friend.
I would imagine the asian supermarkets do rice cheaper in big sacks than aldi or sainsburys do.
Apple crumble is a cheaper pudding than cheese cake and is easy to make and freeze ahead.
I dont buy joints of beef unless it is marked down, I buy big sirloin joints for £5 from morrisons. Mince based dishes are cheaper eg cottage pie, chile.
I would ring around a few local butchers and see if they are cheaper on orgainc meat/chicken than the supermarkets are per kilo.
I would try sainsburys basic cake mix for making cakes, it's very cheap and you can bake a cake while something else is in the oven too. You could do it as fairy cakes or as a round cake.
For fruit I would buy bananas, apples and oranges with whatever fruit aldi have on super six for variation or tinned fruit in juice from sains basic range. I wouldnt get strawberries when I'm trying to get the bill down.
Have you tried the local markets for fruit and veg? farm shops can be very cheap for potatoes but the crops not great this year so prices can be expected to rise eg last year 2.5kg of wilja were 70p, now their 90p at my farm shop.
But you know how much time you've got to shop around and batch bake/cook.
Another mumsnetter shared this site a while ago and there loads of ideas on here.
Also if you have the time, and some space in the freezer, find out what time they slash the prices before they shut at your local supermarket and get your joints of meat then. It happens at a set time, and you can get loaves of bread for 10p and such, and the joints of meat are only a couple of pounds. Often it is organic as a lot of people have switched back to non organic now and that is what gets left.
When you feed the 7 on a sunday does it HAVE to be a sunday dinner? Could you make a large pot of casserole/stew instead. Or a big lasagne, shepherds pie - something based on a cheap cut that you can pad out with veg (will also make like easier ).
Baby wipes are fine for cleaning the sofa. You wipe your baby's skin with it - what harm could it do to a treated cow hide?
Go easy on the cleaning products. Aldi do their own version of ariel actilift washing powder, £2.99 for the 30 wash box of powder and its great.
You can clean pretty much most things in your house with washing up liquid. A bowl of hot soapy water is fine. Add a splash of bleach to tghe bowl if you want to make it a disinfectant. You don't need flash spray, air freshener, floor cleaner etc.
Buy the fruit and veg that aldi have on the offer, even if it is not what you planned.
Do you have a home bargains/B&M type shop, they often have things in tins and jars at very good prices.
You can use green lentils to pad mince dishes out. Red ones are better for soups or thickening stews.
Cut out the squash +fizzy drinks ! Water or milk or dilute juice is ok.
Aldi chicken pieces are great for roast/ casserole.
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