Cheap but nutritious and some meat based meal ideas please?!?(9 Posts)
Tonight we are having a lovely steak. I will treasure the moment as henceforth the catering budget needs to be seriously tightened. Even DH has acknowledged this now I've shown him the numbers.
We don't spend a huge amount at the moment, but we aren't exactly feeding a family of four on £30 a week either. We are not extravagant and cook at home, no ready meals etc, but we need to be leaner and cleverer with our menus without being monotonous and all pasta bla bla. I do menu plan, use leftovers and all that, we have very little waste.
I am all for using cheaper cuts of meat too, but I will never persuade DH to give up meat so I do need to include it.
We have lots of home laid eggs so that supplies us 2 meals a week. We also have a great veg garden with all sorts, so it really is just the main meal element where I need some inspiration for cheap and tasty...
Lamb mince for burgers in pitta with (home grown) salad
Salads with roast chicken - can use left overs elsewhere?
Cheaper cuts cooked for longer eg stews and pies although far too hot in this weather!
Home made pizza or calzone (sp?) - make your own dough and tomato sauce with veg and chicken toppings? Or sausages?
Pork Belly. Either slow roast when it goes all rich and gooey, or sliced on a BBQ (one of our favourites).
I put a £4 shoulder of pork in the slow cooker the other day, added tin of tomatoes, passata and left it all day. When I got home that night the meat was cooked to perfection, all falling apart and succulent. I took the fat off it and broke it up, added more tomatoes, some mushrooms and courgettes chopped and served it with pasta and salad on the side. It made enough for dinner for four plus same again to freeze.
patatas bravas using sliced chorizo
risotto using one shredded chicken breast between you
white bean goulash with some chopped bacon in it
chick pea and chorizo soup/stew
egg and bacon pie
mixed bean chilli - you can add about 1/2lb of mince to meat it up if you like
chicken and veg pie made with a small pack of chicken thighs and a lot of veg topped with mash
chicken and onion pie made with pastry, one very finely shredded chicken breast, a lot of onion (300gms ish) some peas and white sauce
risi e bisi made with plenty veg and some left over meat of any kind
barley mince - cook 4oz pearl barley in stock with a couple of chopped carrots an onion and a celery stick. When its done, drain but reserve stock. Add 4oz very finely chopped leftover meat. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of flour over and cook for a minute. Make stock up to about a pint and gradually stir into the meat. Bring to the boil, stirring, and cook until thickened to a good gravy. Nice with mash or in jacket potatoes.
kedgeree made with 1/2lb of smoked mackerel
My tip is 'treat meat as a flavouring rather than a food in its own right'. We make one chicken breast do 2 or 3 people, for example by chopping it up small and using it for Chicken and Egg Fried Rice.
1 decent sized chicken breast, shredded
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 courgette, & 1/2 red pepper, cut into a small dice (or any handy vegetables)
3 spring onions
4oz brown rice (cooked according to packet instructions and drained)
- Heat the oil in a wok and stir-fry the chicken until no longer pink. Remove and reserve
- Heat a little more oil and cook all the vegetables until tender. Return the chicken to the pan and add the cooked rice.
- Stir fry a little and then push the wok contents over to one side
- Tip the beaten egg into the 'empty half' and cook/mix until set
- Stir the whole thing together, season with soy sauce and serve immediately.
This is great guys, thanks so much.
Hoorah, fantastic ideas.
Mince is your friend all kinds:
turkey fried rice
burgers (you can bulk it up with cooked bulgar wheat)
slow cooked belly pork
Roast chicken followed by chicken soup the next day
spare ribs and chicken wings always cheap and yummy.
Chicken thighs-much cheaper and tastier than breasts.
Tinned tuna for pasta bakes or on homemade pizza
frozen fish for fish pie or breadcrumbed
lentil dahl as well as curry to make it go further
Ooh loads of good ideas here, will def try the chicken fried rice!
I make cottage pie using the usual mince, onions, tin tomatoes and beef stock, but I also add tons of grated courgette and carrot, finely sliced leek and a tin of green lentils (you could use dried but they take bloody ages to cook - not worth it imo). Fry the mince and onions, remove, cook down the veg, put mince back in, add a tbsp flour. Add stock (I splash out on the knorr stock pots cos I'm worth it!) Add a good dollop of marmite, some worcestershire sauce and a bit of ketchup, and it tastes pretty meaty. Use a mixed potato / sweet potato mash on top, top with grated cheese. One 500g pack of minced beef will make 8 big portions.
Like cogito says, a little meat can go a long way. Other ideas I use:
- Buy "cooking bacon" for 75p a pack - it's like a bacon lucky dip! Freeze in 2 or 3 portions and use to flavour other dishes, eg lentil and bacon soup, omlette (with a few veggies and cheese on top), pasta (ditto veggies and cheese).
- Use canned mackerel/tuna/salmon with leftover mash, lemon and a few herbs for fishcakes. Serve with salad and / or baked beans.
- Buy chipolatas instead of fat sausages. They won't notice the portions aren't quite so big! Chop up and use in a sausage and bean stew. Serve with rice or baked potatoes
- You can get smoked salmon trimmings for about a quid. Use with pasta, cream cheese / cream, peas and plenty lemon and pepper. Yum! (NB get a bottle of Jif lemon - so, so much cheaper than buying fresh!)
- "Minute" steak works out much cheaper per person (I got a pack of 6 as part of the Asda 3 for a tenner deal on meat the other week) so you can still have a steak-ish meal.
- Frozen fish is so much cheaper than fresh. Coat portions in flour, then egg, then crushed cornflakes and shallow fry.Pat with kitchen paper. Serve with low fat oven chips and peas. Voila fish and chips!
- Experiment with frozen veg which can be much cheaper esp out of season, and doesn't go off. I always buy frozen broccoli and parsnips (and peas obv) - other veg can be a bit dicey (like diced carrot ha ha!)
Even if you have your menu plan, look in the reduced section for meat. You can freeze it if you find a great deal and use it as a starting point for your menu plan in a future week. I got a duck crown weighing 1kg for 4 quid this weekend!
Hope this helps!
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