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Healthy meals on a tight budget...

(17 Posts)
coffeetofunction Mon 26-Jan-15 20:47:01

We're currently on a tight budget, about £2.50 per evening meal & I want to improve our diet so it's healthier...

I currently make all our meals but it's things like stews, spaghetti Bol, curries, pasta bakes, meat & veg, toad in the hole...I'm very aware that these are not that health.

Other than the tight budget I have, my DH is a meat man so evening meals need to constant meat or fish. My DS is funny about textures (additional needs) & I have a thyroid problem so I can eat as much as two grown men but still feel hungry....

Can anyone inspire me with recipe/ meal ideas?

Due2015 Mon 26-Jan-15 20:54:42

Casseroles are cheap beef,chicken etc... Make a big batch and freeze leftovers for another day

coffeetofunction Mon 26-Jan-15 21:09:13

I do make them but I'd like to make things healthier if I had some recipes or ideas...

Due2015 Mon 26-Jan-15 21:24:02

They are healthy it's just meat and veg, also try cheaper cuts of meat and cook for longer eg. Chicken thighs slow cook serve with salad veg etc..

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 26-Jan-15 22:11:17

I think, with that kind of budget, you have to limit meat and fish. If you need healthy, filling, tasty meals on a shoestring they are going to involve a lot of vegetables, grains and pulses, using expensive meat more as a flavouring than a main event.

I made this very filling Green Pea and Ham soup today

3 big potatoes, peeled and diced
12oz frozen peas
1 big onion, peeled and chopped
2+ pints chicken stock
6-8oz smoked cooking bacon, diced
small bunch flat parsley, chopped
pepper and a little salt

- heat a large saucepan and cook the bacon piece until browned and the fat has melted. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve
- add the onion to the bacon fat and cook until softened
- stir in the potatoes and peas and sweat with the lid on for 10 mins
- Add the stock and seasoning and simmer for about 15 minutes
- Blend with a hand blender and finally stir in the parsley and reserved bacon pieces
- Serve with plenty of bread.

spilttheteaagain Tue 27-Jan-15 12:07:55

I would try using pulses to make your meat go further, if your DH will not go for totally veggie food.

Chicken & chickpea, lamb & chickpea, sausage/pork & beans (casserole/cassoleut type affairs), lentil & bacon, chickpea & chorizo, mince & beans (eg chilli/hm burgers/cottage pies) are all good combinations. A handful of oats will stretch a mince dish as well, they need to be gently simmered in with the meat & sauce and will absorb quite a lot of liquid.

spilttheteaagain Tue 27-Jan-15 12:09:55

Soups are good for feeling filling too, and you can use bacon/chorizo/chicken etc sparingly. You can do massive minestrone type things with lots of lentils/beans in and a load of pasta, tons of diced up veg (pretty much any will do) and just a small amount of meat. Some bread to fill up on and this makes a fab hearty dinner.

momb Tue 27-Jan-15 12:22:19

All the things that you are already doing can be very healthy: up the veggies, cut the fat.
Perhaps set yourself a challenge to see 'how low you can go' with the meat content for your DH. It will save you a lot if he can cope with the meatiness coming from stock or garnish rather than the main constituent: maybe try the soup above first as it is flavoured with bacon.
Can you explain your budget: if you are trying to get a meat/fish meal in every night are you saying that you have a budget of £2.50 per person per evening or £2.50 total?
I can share lots of really cheap recipes with you but none of them are meat-heavy and may not be texturally appropriate for your DS. Can you give us any pointers? Oh, and do you have a slow cooker?

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 27-Jan-15 13:10:26

Another regular for us is Chorizo and Red Pepper Pasta

1 big red pepper, cored and sliced thinly
1 onion
1 400g box passata
4 - 6oz chorizo sausage, cut into a small dice
Italian herbs
Pinch of sugar
Pepper and salt
Pasta shapes

- Start by heating the chorizo pieces in a wide, lidded pan until the
fat starts to run.
- Add the sliced onion, garlic and pepper and cook until everything starts to soften
- Add the passata, herbs, sugar and seasoning, bring to a simmer and cook gently for about 40 minutes. By then you should have a rich, thickened tomato sauce.
- Finally cook the pasta shapes for the time indicated on the packet, drain and stir through your sauce.
- Serve immediately with some parmesan or basil

DeanKoontz Tue 27-Jan-15 13:30:01

We had pork and mushroom stew last night. It cost about £7 but there's enough left for tonight too if I do some rice. And some of the veg is left over to use again. Last night we had it with big cheesy croutons made with stale tiger bread.

Brown the pork, then add in onion, celery and carrot. Simmer for 10 mins, then add chopped mushrooms (I put a big value pack in), season and leave to simmer. You can either add the potatoes to the stew or mash them.

The stew will be quite thin, so either have it in bowls with bread or thicken for a stew. I thickened it with some leftover Creme fraiche, but cornflour would do fine.

It was lovely.

annielostit Tue 27-Jan-15 18:05:19

As others have said, think cheaper cuts to start with - chicken thighs braising steak etc.
The foods you mentioned are healthy if you get the lean cuts. Asda do 5% fat mince / 750g for just over £5. That could do 3 days worth.
Make a big casserole with lots of veg and 1lb of meat eat half one night, use the left offs for a meat & veg pie. Man food on a budget.
A chicken can be stretched to 2 days being creative.
Check out 3 for £10 at the supermarket, say 1 pack pork steaks 1 chicken and some diced beef. Should satisfy meat eater dh, then pasta with not much meat isn't so bad on some nights.
I too have uat and could eat for Britain but fill me with real foods, cheaply done.x

IpsyUpsyDaisyDo Tue 27-Jan-15 18:43:07

I just bought a large ham hock (gammon knuckle) for £3.95 at a butcher - will slow-cook & serve with parsley sauce & veg.
Also, 620g of beef shin for £8.50 - again, will slow cook it all in red wine etc. DH and I will eat half with veg. Will add a tin of tomatoes & serve with tagliatelle another night (£2 per serving)
If you're on a tight budget & need to include meat, the slow cooker is your friend as it makes tough-as-boots-cuts absolutely delicious.

coffeetofunction Tue 27-Jan-15 21:16:11

I'm yet to read all posts but someone asked if it was £2.50 per head or per meal... £2.50 per meal. 2 adults, 2children...

Artandco Tue 27-Jan-15 21:22:10

You can make those meals healthier for Same budget. Ie for bolgnaise buy same amount of mince, then add double the amount of celery, onion and carrot ( put all three in blender so chipped small but not blended). Cook the whole thing for hours with tin tomatoes/garlic/ herbs etc. Then you will have lots to freeze for almost free meal. ( x3 carrots/ onions and celery, is about 50p, far cheaper than the quantity in meat). You can also add a few handfuls of red lentils to bulk out more ( good protein)

DeanKoontz Tue 27-Jan-15 21:31:46

This is a really usedful thread for me too coffee as it's got me pricing up my meals individually.

DH and the kids had sausage, chips and peas with white bread and butter and ice cream for pudding. This was about 6.00 and again, enough for at least 2 meals. Asda smart price.

I had something awful that I made with brown rice and Kale. NOT bothering to price that up cos it was awful and I wont be having it again. grin

deborahc123 Wed 28-Jan-15 11:33:32

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

momb Wed 28-Jan-15 14:31:55

OK then, at £2.50 per night for 7 nights per week for the three of you.

Shop wisely: someone up thread pays £8.50 for a pack of 620g shin beef: I pay £6.50/kg at the town centre bargain butcher. Chick Peas are 58p a tin in Tescos. but 3 for 99p in the 99p store.

Onions are cheap, pulses are cheap, potatoes are cheap. At this time of year it is the best time to save money on your shopping because it is easier to eat well/hearty meals for less.

From the list of foods you are already cooking: make sure that you skim all fat. Add 25% less meat than you have been doing to all the mince dishes and replace with a handful of oats. make sure that there are enough onions/tomatoes/carrots in each dish that it contains at least 2 full portions of your 5-a-day.

Make stews less than 50% meat to veg ratio. Chill and skim them before reheating to serve. Instead of serving with a pile of buttery mash, add potatoes to the stew and serve on a pile of cabbage instead. All the time you are cutting down on the importance of the meat element of the meal while it is still undeniably meaty.... thereby saving money.: Serve greens as much as you can: cabbage is cheaper than broccoli and you can make coleslaw/shred it in salads as well as serve it cooked in a variety of ways.

Eat soup made from leftover veg and stock once a week, with crusty bread.
Eat veggie once a week: the best chillis don't have meat in, and are really quick/cheap to cook if you use tinned pulses once you have fried down your spices and onions.

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