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Cheap, quick meals for family of 4

(25 Posts)
MeIAm Tue 01-Nov-16 00:15:39

I'm looking for some cheap, quick meals to feed 4 adults please.

I just can't seem to plan/shop/cook lately and as a result we are eating rubbish!

There are no dietary requirements apart from one non meat eater, the rest can take or leave red meat so it's not essential.

Does anyone have a few meal suggestions that they could share with me? I'd rather cook one meal for all or be able to tweak the meal to suit non meat eater (me! So that's not essential either!)

zzzzz Tue 01-Nov-16 00:20:37

Spanish omelette,
bag of new potatoes, couple of onions, old bits of cheese, 6+ eggs.

quarter and boil spuds, slice up the onion and toss it all in oil and stick it in a shallow dish for 15 mins in a hot oven. Grate all the bits of cheese that need using, mix with the eggs, pour over roast veg and bake for another 15 mins....serve with brown bread and salad of by itself.

PenelopeFlintstone Tue 01-Nov-16 00:54:56

Chicken pieces, baby or chopped potatoes and carrots all on baking tray. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle of herbs or Season-All. Bake 45 minutes while you do other stuff. Peas in microwave, or bag of salad leaves.
Repeat in the week with chops, peas/salad - whichever one you didn't have. You can prep the tray the night/morning before, so you only have to remove from the fridge and put in the oven. I love doing this. I thank Nigella for her chops and sweet potato tray bake.

OlennasWimple Tue 01-Nov-16 01:10:40

Every now and again DH and have jacket potatoes and always comment that we have forgotten how good they are..! Cheese / tuna / beans / combination thereof

MeIAm Tue 01-Nov-16 06:52:36

Thank you for these suggestions! I will definitely be using these!
Keep them coming! flowers

GizmoFrisby Tue 01-Nov-16 07:09:18

Slow cooker beef stew
Just chuck veg/stewing steak and stock in and leave it. I always add dumplings and serve with mash.
Sausage mash and beans always goes down well in our house,as does tuna pasta bake- make a bechamel sauce add loads of cheese some peppers,tuna,sweet corn,add cooked pasta and top with cheese and chuck in oven for 10 mins.

There's a meal planners thread I get loads of good ideas off there too.

NattyTile Tue 01-Nov-16 07:30:09

Big thick lentil dal - chop onion, carrot, celery, garlic and ginger and fry, add red lentils (no need to soak), stock, garam marsala powder and chilli flakes if you like the heat. Boil until cooked - add more water for soup consistency, less for a savoury porridge. Very cheap, toss in any other veg you have left in the fridge, add bacon if you like. Eat on its own or poured over brown rice or with some kind of bread, according to your budget.

lemondropcake Tue 01-Nov-16 12:23:08

Google baker brothers toad in the hole - amazing and cheap
Slow cooker jalfrezi on, serve with rice, naan and poppadum's.
Big pot of lentil soup or butternut squash soup - search
chicken or vegetable chow mein BBC good food site

Tweek recipes with veg that is in season, or meat that is on offer and you can't go wrong.

northender Tue 01-Nov-16 13:19:34

Bolognese & chilli?
I soften chopped onion, celery & grated carrot in some oil, add mince & some red lentils until mince is browned and all liquid evaporated. Then add crushed garlic & cook for a minute. Add Passata and an equal amount of water and simmer or cook on low in slow cooker for at least an hour. This can be used as bolognese or Cajun seasoning & kidney beans added to make chilli (or half and half). The lentils make it go further and healthier & plenty of hidden veg in there.

northender Tue 01-Nov-16 13:22:51

Sorry just re read that you're not a meat eater. Once veg are softened you could separate some out and do one with just lentils.

Stilllivinginazoo Tue 01-Nov-16 13:33:04

Pasta bake(use left over roast veg and passata with garlic/herbs cheese/breadcrumbs)

Leftover mash mixed canned tuna/ground nuts and herbs cook in oven or frypan n serve salad or veg

Sweet potato wedges with eggs and salad

Pasta with pea pesto.cook pasta and while it cooks at boiling water to frozen peas.leave few mins to soften.drain n puree with garlic,pepper and herbs.add a little pasta cooking water and olive oil to let it down.serve top grate of cheese(or add almonds/sunflowers seeds to pesto if blender can take it)

Yorkshire puds served with mushrooms chop n sautesprinkle little flour.,then add big spoonful ketchup n half that amount ketchup plus little Rosemary. Over hi heat add water,stirring to let it down(initially it will thicken)Cook out couple mins n serve with salad or cooked green veg

Stilllivinginazoo Tue 01-Nov-16 13:34:05

Half that amount if marmite.stupid cats try help type....

AtleastitsnotMonday Tue 01-Nov-16 15:15:27

These are all regulars here, either quick to do or can be put in the oven and left.
Chilli butternut squash quesadillas
[ Moroccan ragout and cous cous]]
Beetroot & quinoa tabbouleh
Pasta with anchovies and capers
Moroccan-chickpea cakes I make loads of these in advance then freeze so they can just be heated up in the oven. Also nice cold in lunch boxes.
Falafels and Pittas
Italian bean casserole
Lentil and spinach dahl
North African chickpea stew
Pinto bean chilli

lastqueenofscotland Tue 01-Nov-16 16:44:12

Dahl is so cheap
Chickpea based things
Cous cous salads

babyblabber Tue 01-Nov-16 17:27:40

Pasta is always my fast one.
Pesto with chicken and peppers
Garlic and herb Philadelphia melted with a little milk into a sauce
Tomato sauce (made with passata, garlic and onion) with chorizo and red peppers

Or chicken fried rice or fajitas.

MeIAm Tue 01-Nov-16 20:12:17

Tonight I made spaghetti bolognaise but read replies whilst it was cooking and wished I'd gone for a Spanish omelette or tuna fish cakes! (I'd have never have thought of using the ready made mash for quickness!)

Really great ideas!

Spottyladybird Wed 02-Nov-16 09:56:08

This is good and really cheap:

BiddyPop Wed 02-Nov-16 10:35:42

Chicken pieces, popped into a freezer bag with olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper - to marinade (or just throw straight into oven with seasoning on top - but it does make a difference to do in advance, you can do it the night before when cooking/cleaning up from that dinner for the next day). Baby potatoes with some olive oil and salt/pepper. Both need about 45-60 minutes in the oven, for last 20 minutes I add a separate tray of diced veggies (onion, garlic, pepper, mushrooms, courgette, tomatoes) mixed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, salt/pepper. (Veggies can also be done the night before and seasoned in a freezer bag - any leftovers can be frozen either raw or cooked - and used as a side veg dish or added to tomato sauce with pasta, and also add meat (chicken, sausages or bacon work well) if you want).

Another way to do the chicken is to put a decent pinch of thyme leaves and a chunk of feta cheese under the skin or each portion, season with olive oil, salt/pepper, and cook for 45-60 mins. That's nice with either the mixed veg above or plain French beans.

Chicken and mushrooms in a creamy sauce (usually has a dash of wine as well) served with either mashed potato or pasta or rice.

Pasta, boiled up, with cooked bacon (lardons are great) added in once drained, and a mix of 1 beaten egg, pepper and a good dash of cream - stir rapidly off the heat and let the heat of the pasta cook the egg to make a fast cheat's carbonara, top with grated parmesan.

Sorry, I just realized it was 1 non MEAT eater, and 3 not fussy about red meat - I thought the non meat was non-red meat.....
But, the mixed veg works very well for you as it is a really nice dish on its own, and as a veggie pasta dish, just add cooked chicken, sausage pieces or bacon pieces after also.
Chicken and mushrooms in creamy sauce could be cooked as mushrooms in creamy sauce and add cooked chicken once your portion is out.
Same with the carbonara.

I often find myself having any leftover cauliflower cheese on its own or just with roast potatoes some nights - proper strong cheese in the sauce, and a small bit of English mustard to bring out the depth of flavor, and perhaps top with breadcrumbs (mixed with garliccy butter is great) before popping back in the oven - serve the meat eaters with mash/roast spuds and either lamb or pork chops. (I say roast, as I often do the chops and spuds in the oven and add the cauli to get a bit roasty once cooked and covered in sauce).

Vegetarian chilli is as good as minced beef chilli, we've found (DH experimented when we had a veggie au pair, and we took wquite a while to go back to the meat version).
Jamie Oliver has a "Friday night vegetarian curry" that is really tasty too.

One thing about curries is they generally freeze well, so we tend to do large batches of 1 (or maybe 2) and freeze leftovers - and do that a few times so we have individual portions to use of different things. We use them up either the same again some nights, or taking out a few different ones and having a more "curry feast" night on other nights. So a chicken and a lamb and a veggie curry would all be great then.

Another option, like a biryani only dry, is nasi goring - using the oil from a tin of tuna, fry an onion and some garlic, various chopped up veggies from the fridge (peppers, courgette, mushrooms, carrot, peas, French beans, cauliflower florets, broccoli florets etc - whatever you have) and some tinned sweetcorn (add veggies in one type at a time), 3 tablespoons of mild curry powder, the tuna from the tin, and leftover cooked rice (best already cold for this) - stir fry until rice is heated through and well covered in curry and serve.

BiddyPop Wed 02-Nov-16 10:42:02

As well as tuna fish cakes - tinned crab and some tinned sweetcorn with some sliced spring onions into the mash makes great crab cakes (do the same flour, egg, breadcrumb routine) and serve with sweet chilli sauce if you want. A handy mostly storecupboard meal. (I usually have crumbs in the freezer).

Also, if I have loads of crumbs, I will make up a bag of stuffing to freeze as well. Then I can make quick stuffed mushrooms, add the chopped stalks of the mushrooms to the stuffing and some blue or strong cheddar on top; then add the diced pulp from the middle of beef tomatoes to the rest of the stuffing (and some diced bacon - but you may not want to), and some cheese to the stuffing, before stuffing the tomatoes. It's actually a very tasty dinner but not as cheap nor as easy as some (yes the stuffing is cheap - but I tend to use Portobello mushrooms and beef tomatoes for this dinner in our house and they are not the cheapest - but if you find large ordinary mushrooms and tomatoes that works well too, we've done that loads).

MeIAm Sat 05-Nov-16 22:40:36

Thank you everyone! I have cooked a couple of the suggestions so far. Am going to sit with a glass of wine right now and write up a 5 day meal plan AND do an online shop. I feel very organised!

july541 Mon 06-Nov-17 08:18:18

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

Mrsfloss Tue 07-Nov-17 02:42:53

These are awesome

maddiemookins16mum Tue 07-Nov-17 07:30:42

My chinese chicken thighs is popular here, pack of thighs I use boneless or bone in but take the skin off the boned ones). A marinade of 5 spice powder, crushed garlic, red chilli flakes, honey and soy sauce, brush it over the thighs.
Bake until done.
Served with those packs of microwave rice to which I add extra veg like frozen sweetcorn and some cooked broccoli.

kateandme Tue 07-Nov-17 11:32:29

getting some good sauce bases is good a cheese sauce.white sauce and tomato sauce. then these can be served with fish.put into pasta bake. for a gratin. with all meats.
one we love is roasting sweet potatos with onion and garlic.then you can add meat.or you can have as a side.add tomatos or peppers.or any other veggies to use up in the fridge. or it could then be stirred through rice or couscous.
for a really quick meal grab some boil in the bag rice.bag of mixed frozen veg.boil rice in stock then mix veg into the rice once done.its so can have on its own.with meat. or put into a wok and stir fry with an egg through simple and a deff grab n go.
a saute of onions.garlic,peppers.chorizo(or not)jar of dolmio or tin of tomatos.let it bubble til it thickens and mixes all juices together.this goes great through risotto.pasta.on a jacket. you can mix chicken into it or pork.or mince.

angelawilliams Thu 09-Nov-17 11:23:52

Oh, I love cooking but I always find myself wondering what to cook (like yourself), it's not easy to cook for adults and everyone like it. I had a dinner party a few months ago and didn't know what to make at all, I ended up doing pasta (which went down a treat!) but in the process of looking I found this blog post;

It has some really good ideas and recipes, I never even thought of making a casserole but it's such a lovely, warm meal that cannot go wrong! Hope you find something to make! x

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