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Cheap meals for four....

(44 Posts)
oksonowwhat Sat 12-Oct-13 16:56:49

Please help me with any ideas you can give me. Worked out finances and got about £40 to last me till the end of the month! Might have to borrow from my mum as got to find petrol to get me to work and back but need some really cheap food ideas please!
There are four of us, myself and four older kids, three veggies so veggie meals are fine although sometimes i throw some meat in to the meat eaters option so that he doesn't feel deprived.
Would appreciate any help.
Been told to make pea soup as just onions and bag of peas needed, that sounds good!

Dhal and rice? Dhal freezes well too.

Lentil soup and homemade cheese scones? Soup will freeze.

Make a big pan of veggie chilli and have it with rice one night and baked potatoes or in wraps the next.

Eggs, homemade wedges and peas.

Macaroni cheese.

comewinewithmoi Sat 12-Oct-13 18:03:02

Tomoto soup

Make pizza bases

OpheliaMonarch Sat 12-Oct-13 18:03:56

Sorry to hear you're having trouble, it's horrible isn't it? flowers

We use this site all the time:

You can search for things like economy meals etc, and it has reviews and tips from people who've done some of the recipes.

Hope that helps, and that things get better soon.

OpheliaMonarch Sat 12-Oct-13 18:09:23

Sorry, should have said, on the link I gave you, click on 'popular collections' at the top and there is a 'budget' section with 1675 recipes.

SPBisResisting Sat 12-Oct-13 18:13:18

If you have any left over carrots and celery Jamie;s store cupboard lentil soup is good, half a bag of lentils makes loads, and I'm hoping you're like me and have some onions and some bendy carrots and sad celery in the fridge at the end of the week,
(obviously leave out the bacon - we do too as vegi, and leave out the cannellini beans if you don't have them)

SPBisResisting Sat 12-Oct-13 18:14:35

guessing yu've thought of the obvious jacket potatoes with beans and cheese
eggs are cheap
Tesco have nice pizzas on offer - those and a few chips for can't be bothered night

oksonowwhat Sat 12-Oct-13 22:36:51

Thank you all for your great suggestions and kind words. Off to check out the allrecipes sitesmile
I also have to add that even though i've been a veggie for many years i've never cooked with lentils!! I find the thought quite scarey, don't know why! But will give it a go.

SPBisResisting Sat 12-Oct-13 22:40:21

Seriously jamies lentil soup is so easy! And so filling.
I also do a spicy pasta sauce with tinndd lentils which is very nicw

holidaydreaming Sat 12-Oct-13 22:55:41

Wow. I really admire you for tackling this challenge head on and not just saying it' impossible!
Can I suggest a food bank or maybe a market at the end of the day for almost free veggies which can be cooked that night and then frozen for whenever.
I made a egg fried rice with leftovers for lunch today. Don't know if you have soy sauce in cupboard but if so;
Make rice. Let it cool.
Fry up leftovers. Add rice. Add some soy sauce. Heat through. Whisk an egg with a couple of tsps of oil. Push rice to one side of wok, put egg into wok, let it start to set(15 secs) and then mix it all up. Was yum I thought!
Really good luck!

oksonowwhat Sat 12-Oct-13 22:57:56

I will get everything i need for the lentil soup tomorrowsmile I've got all the things i need for a veg soup so will make that tomorrow for mondays dinner for the kids and i'll take it to work. Sunday i have sausages so will make toad in hole for meat eater and have to think of something for the rest of us.....
Will do a veggie chilli as i have some bits already for that.
Should be able to get through this week...phew!
Tinned lentils you say? I will look for those aswell tomorrow, thank you.

BoffinMum Sat 12-Oct-13 22:59:26

Root vegetable and lentil curry, on BBC website.

SPBisResisting Sat 12-Oct-13 23:00:45

Dried lentils are cheaper, and nicer imo

oksonowwhat Sat 12-Oct-13 23:02:26

Egg fried rice!!! Yes! why didn't i think of that! Although might need something to go with it if doing it for dinner:/ Thank yousmile
Its strange i work with people who i send off to foodbanks as they need some help from time to time, didn't think i'd need it myself.... Don't really want to do that, don't know why but it would seem strange. I'm not too proud but it just seems wrong...i work but just don't earn enough. I am job hunting but theres not much about to provide enough for a family with one main earner.

oksonowwhat Sat 12-Oct-13 23:09:52

Boffinmum, thanks i've just copied down the lentil and root veg casserole and also the curry from the website, thats another two meals sorted!

I thought lentils had to be soaked or something? On the website it just says add red lentils? I'm abit confused as i've always stayed away from cooking lentils as don't really know what to do.

onlyfortonight Sat 12-Oct-13 23:20:25

I have just cooked a great casserole tonight. Chop an onion or leek (whatever is cheapest) and soften in oil, add a cubed up butternut squash, chopped carrots (I use up whatever we have around - maybe 4-5?) and then around 100-200g of lentils (the orange ones). Pour over veg stock to cover and simmer for 30min, until the lentils are soft and the carrots are tender. Give it a really good stir, the squash will break up and make a lovely thick sauce. Serve with rice.

You can spice it up will some chilli added with the onions, use pumpkin instead of butternut squash if it is cheaper - the are selling small cooking pumpkins for a pound at Tescos. I also add browned off sausages it the casserole if I feel like it - it is all good. I normally have enough for a main meal one night and then leftovers for either lunch or kids tea the next day.

oksonowwhat Sat 12-Oct-13 23:27:38

Oh you have all really helped me outsmile That sounds like a great casserole and all ingredients i have, kind of got, will check out the pumpkins tomorrowsmile

Red lentils don't need soaking - just chuck em into stock, water, tomatoes, coconut milk, whatever.

onlyfortonight Sat 12-Oct-13 23:32:36

Lentils are the only pulse that doesn't need to be soaked. Just add them to any dish, but make sure you check it from time to time to make sure there is enough water and they aren't sticking to the pan.

The red lentils will tend to fall apart, and make a lovely sauce. I add them to bulk up carrot soup and curries because they are also a good source to protein.

Green lentils tend to stay more intact, but there are loads of great French and Italian dishes that use them. They make a great side dish, and take on herb flavours really well.

You can also get larger yellow lentils. Much the same as red lentils but a little longer to cook. You can make a lovely Dahl with them, half and half with red lentils and a tea spoon of tumeric. Add plenty of water (about twice the volume) and simmer until the red lentils have broken up, but there is still some bite to the yellow lentils. In frying pan, sweat off half an onion, some garlic and chilli and once that is nice and soft add half a can of tinned tomatoes, which have been wizzed up into a purée. Once that has thicken a little, add to the cooked lentils and then stir in some curry powder. Lovely with either rice or bread! And very cheap!

oksonowwhat Sat 12-Oct-13 23:39:30

Brilliant, thank yousmile Got my list ready for tomorrow. Going to start with red lentils in a casserole, see how i gosmile
Hopefully i will have meals more or less sorted for next week after shopping tomorrow. As for lunches i kind of do pasta for myself and daughter for work and leave the others to their own devices.
The egg friend rice would be a good one for work toosmile
Feel abit less panicky now...

A v easy veggie chilli could be something like this -

fry diced onion, carrots (dice these v small), garlic, peppers. Add cumin seeds, chilli flakes or powder, paprika. Add a couple of teaspoons of cocoa and/or coffee. Add a tub of passata (I use passata because I hate tinned tomatoes, but tinned tomatoes are cheaper) and then fill the tub with water and add that. Couple of hands full of red and/or green lentils (I like both because the red mush down and thicken it and the green stay whole for texture) and salt and pepper. Cook until the lentils are almost soft (you can add a square or two of Basics dark choc if you haven't put cocoa in earlier. Add a drained tin of kidney beans (Basics ones are fine and v cheap).

BoffinMum Sun 13-Oct-13 10:20:52

No, it's kidney beans that need to be soaked and cooked as they are toxic otherwise. Lentils are great as they can just be chucked into anything and they cook in 20 minutes.

BoffinMum Sun 13-Oct-13 10:23:45

Cheap meal German people have is Rosti with a fried egg on top, with green salad on the side.

Another good one is Spaetzle, a kind of home made noodle best served in a home made cheese sauce with optional bacon or ham bits on. Cheese and mushroom sauce also good for this.

BoffinMum Sun 13-Oct-13 10:25:33

I have put my Spaetzle recipe on MNin the recipe area, btw.

thereistheball Sun 13-Oct-13 11:23:44

I just made Boston baked beans yesterday which would be very cheap if you left out the ham hock. Soak a 500g box of beans overnight in plenty of water. You want to leave them in for at least 12 hours. Then change the water and boil hard on the hob for 10 minutes, then simmer gently for an hour. I had to drain some water out at this stage. Then I added some treacle (about 4 tbsp), onion (one chopped and a bit extra stuck with cloves that I removed at the end), some chopped garlic (also optional), some bay leaves and a good squeeze of tomato puree. You could also add some chili powder. Then I put it all in a low oven (140 degrees, but a slow cooker would be cheaper) for 3 hours or so. We had them on toast: delicious. Total cost was probably two euros (not including the treacle which I can't buy in France), for a substantial meal for 4 adults with leftovers.

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