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cheap easy meal ideas please . . .

(71 Posts)
lucysmam Fri 11-Jul-08 13:52:10

hiya, I'm new to this site & have been reading through some really useful threads about food budgeting and budgeting in general, both of which I'm already good at as my oh lost his job last year and then again on valentines day this year so we've been living off benefits at the mo. I just wondered if anyone had any cheap and easy meal ideas as with my budget for a fortnightly food shop being around £40 (plus £20 if needed for toiletries, cleaning stuff, wash powder, nappies and milk through the week) we tend to end up eating a lot of the same stuff as we always have the same stuff in the cupboards!

However, now my freezer's broken down so we're having to shop every other day for fresh stuff and its costing us a fortune (the fridge part still works ok). I just wondered if anyone has any ideas for something other than stuff like omelettes, spag bol, beans on toast kinda stuff . . . .

Scootergrrrl Fri 11-Jul-08 13:54:37

This has some good recipes

lucysmam Fri 11-Jul-08 14:12:23

thanks, have read through that 1 a couple of days ago n was going to go back to it but couldnt remember how i found it! think i might get pen n paper out n have a proper read

PonderingThoughts Fri 11-Jul-08 14:34:48

Tuna & Bean bake

If making it for 2 adults (& a little one?!)

2 x tins of tuna
2 x tins of baked beans
2 x medium potatoes
grated cheese
packet of ready salted crisps (if you wish?)

Boil the potatoes to make mash.
Put all the tuna and the baked beans into an oven proof dish. Spreads the mash potato oover the top. Sprinkle on the cheese and the crushed crisps. Whack it in the oven for about 20 mins (when cheese starts to brown & bubble).
Pad it out with a couple of slices of bread and butter if you think it's needed.

It make look a bit 'sloppy' when you dish it up - hard to dish it up in a 'beautifully presented' way...but it tastes delicious!
Empty plates each time in this house and costs about 65p per head (you can get away with using the 'value' supermarket beans/tuna).

lucysmam Fri 11-Jul-08 14:40:37

yeah & a lo but she usually just has a bowl of what we're having at the mo and then a piece of fruit or yogurt or something like that (she's 17 mo and tries absolutely any food we're eating at the mo. That sounds easy n tasty n we always have tuna, beans n spuds although never thought to put them all together

PonderingThoughts Fri 11-Jul-08 14:47:58

Also keep leftover veg's & potato and 'on the turn' veggies for bubble n squeak the next day. (Add in some spuds and onion if it needs padding out)

I usually put bubble n squeak with sausages which is also a pretty cheap meal.

lucysmam Fri 11-Jul-08 14:48:57

bubble n squeak??

PonderingThoughts Fri 11-Jul-08 14:59:54

Shallow fry up all your old/leftover vegetables/potatoes/ they did in 'the oldern days'....

(named cos it bubbles and squeaks in the pan!)

Have you not heard of it?

I think the 'correct' way is to mess about making little 'patties' of potatoes/onion and veggies nd fry them...but I just chop it all down and sling it in the wok for a few mintues (and just add in some onion/peas/pototo/whatever else is going at the time to pad it out if it needs it).

It's usually sausages & bubble n squeak the day after we've had a roast. Yum! (& cheap grin )

Roskva Fri 11-Jul-08 15:01:31

'posh' cauliflower cheese (not really posh, but I don't know how else to describe it), and it's brilliant for using up left overs ...

parboil the cauli, chop up a non-root vegetable (red/yellow pepper, courgette or celery work really well) or defrost some peas/fine beans/broad beans, and put them in a big dish with the cauli (you can do half and half cauli and broccoli if you like. Sprinkle over some chopped ham/cooked turkey or chicken/cooked mince meat or bacon, pour on cheese sauce, sprinkle over some grated cheese and stick the whole thing in the oven for half an hour.

If you need a recipe for cheese sauce, let me know

lucysmam Fri 11-Jul-08 15:03:38

never heard of it but sounds like a great idea to stop wasting any left over veggies since we always do 2 much with a sunday roast

lucysmam Fri 11-Jul-08 15:07:14

i've got a cheese sauce recipe but not for very big quantities, just enough to put on top of a lasagne.

anyone know where the best place is to get cheap meat? since everyone on here seems to know more about careful planning than me n i thought i did ok or what cheaper cuts r?

Roskva Fri 11-Jul-08 15:22:15

if you triple the quantities for the sauce you make for lasagne, that should do the trick for cauli cheese.

Mince padded out with veggies and a tin of chopped tomatoes can go a very long way: 1 1/2 lb feeds me, dh and dd (2) for 2 meals (with pasta, rice, mashed spud) if I'm generous with it, 3 if I'm not generous (ie less meat and more veg).

Cook a whole chicken rather than buying chicken breasts - there is a lot of meat to be picked off the bones... again, 2 to 3 meals depending on the size of the chicken.

Stewing steak is cheap, and is delicious if you slow cook it (tough as old boots if you don't) - again, although it's not particularly summery, a casserole with plenty of root veggies in it helps a little to go a very long way.

Sausage and lentil casserole with carrots: chop the sausages up, chop an onion and fry them until the onion is soft. Add 1/2 pint stock, 200g lentils, and some chopped carrots, and cook either on the hob or in the oven for about 35 mins.

As long as your fridge is OK, all of the above will keep happily for 3 days.

mamamama Fri 11-Jul-08 15:30:44

Tuna and rice. My dd loves this one - my mum made it when we were little. Cook rice in half water, half tinned tomatoes, add a tin of tuna and some garlic. It is tasty when cooked, just add a bit of veg on the side (I saw a tv chef do it with tinned green beans), and of course nice and cheap. My husband eats it without complaint too.

lucysmam Fri 11-Jul-08 16:24:18

fab ta, am goin 2 get pen n paper out later n write down all ideas! fridge is fine for the mo, am waitin for insurance to come n assess damage to kitchen b4 we can get new un after it all flooded last week. any other ideas gratefully accepted. also, ive been reading a thread about a meal planner, if anyone has one could they email it to me so i have an idea of what it's like


herewegoagain02 Fri 11-Jul-08 17:13:01

Fry some bacon, garlic and courgettes (sliced) and chop into small pieces. Pop them into a bowl while you boil up some rice, once the rice is just about done drain off and put into the pan you fried the other stuff in the oil will also flavour the rice nicley then just whack the bacon ect into rice, heat through and serve. You can add some peas in at the end for a bit of sweetness. Enjoy

herewegoagain02 Fri 11-Jul-08 17:14:22

sorry thats etc not some exotic veggie (blush)

lucysmam Fri 11-Jul-08 17:18:36

lol, ty muchly that sounds tasty n easy enuf 2 me

janeite Fri 11-Jul-08 17:57:07

You'll get more replies if you avoid the text speak (just a friendly word of advice to a newbie, so hope you don't take it the wrong way ).

I do pasta pesto with roasted vege and that always goes down well - chop a pepper and an onion into nice chunky pieces. Whack into a baking dish with some unpeeled cloves of garlic; drizzle with olive oil and bung in the oven for half an hour. Serve with pasta and pesto, picking out the garlic and popping it out of its skin.

Spanish omelettes are good too - cheap and easy and can be bulked out with salad and baguette.

Can't help you on the meat sorry; don't eat it.

christiana Fri 11-Jul-08 17:57:45

Message withdrawn

lucysmam Fri 11-Jul-08 18:25:52

thanks janeite, just habit i guess since i text loads! out of curiosity, why unpeeled garlic, do you still taste it as much??

lucysmam Fri 11-Jul-08 18:28:08

can you freeze soup? obviously couldnt at the minute but for future reference, could you?

Collision Fri 11-Jul-08 18:31:56

soup can be frozen so make a big pan of it and freeze half for next week.

Bacon and tomato and chickpea pasta is a fave in our house.

Fry bacon and onion til brown and add tomatoes and seasoning. cook. Add chickpeas and cooked pasta. Delish.

lucysmam Fri 11-Jul-08 18:37:13

wow!! there's so many simple and really tasty sounding ideas out there that aren't going to cost a fortune!! I'm amazed!!

BecauseImWorthIt Fri 11-Jul-08 18:39:44

Potato Bake

Two or three large potatoes, sliced about the thickness of a pound coin (don't peel them)
A large onion
Any other veg that you have to hand - celery, peppers, mushrooms, etc
Can of Campbells condensed soup - mushroom or celery

Layer all the vegetables in a casserole dish, seasoning each layer
Mix soup with milk/water (as directed on the can) and pour over the vegetables
Bake in the oven until tender (probably around an hour).

If you like you can put some grated cheese on the top and then cook for a bit longer until it's browned.

Scootergrrrl Fri 11-Jul-08 19:02:15

Instead of buying chicken pieces, get a whole chicken, then you can have roast chicken one day, leftover chicken (stir fry, pie or something) another and then make stock or soup from whats left.

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