We are really trying to economise at the moment as DP is out of work. When we were food shopping I bought some tins of green lentils as they are supposed to be versatile, cheap and filling. Trouble is I haven't got a clue what I can do with them and am a bit rubbish at cooking anyway!
Pan fry some cod fillets, keep warm. Chop some chorizo into small pieces and fry, with some chopped up spring onions, garlic clove, chopped. When chorizo has browned, add some chopped peppers from a jar, drained can of green lentils, some lemon juice and some chopped parsley. Eat with the cod - scrummy!
Could try another fish - or use as a side dish with meat.
You can use them in soups also.. If the recipe calls for red lentils, do half and half, red and green.
Nicest, cheapest thing ever - fry some onions in nice oil, add some decent pork sausages and if you like, some chopped carrot. When the sausages are browned, tip in the lentils with some stock and simmer until the sausages are cooked. Delicious! A nice variant is to caramelise some apple slices (ie fry them!) before you tip in the lentils.
Tinned lentils also make fab soup. Fry some onion and chopped up bacon then tip in the lentils and some stock, and whizz up with stick blender until some of it is blended but you still have intact lentils. Top with fried bread croutons. Yum!
I make an old Cranks recipe - Lentil Toad in the Hole. It sounds all worthy but is really tasty.
Fry up some chopped onions and garlic, add some chopped mushrooms and drained tin of lentils. Frazzle a bit more, I tend to add some oregano or thyme. While you're doing this put an ovenproof dish with a bit of oil in it in a oven heated to 220 degrees.
Then make up a batter with 125g of self-raising flour, 2 eggs and half a pint of milk. Take your now sizzlingly hot dish out of the oven and pour in the batter and then add the lentil mixture on top, spreading it out a bit. Bake for 20-25 mins until risen and golden.
I use them in a salad with feta cheese, olives, cherry tomatoes and lots of parsley. But that's not terribly cheap as a meal! I eat them cold alot with various salad things (have a look in the M and S deli salad boxes for some inspiration and copy the ideas rather than buy them!)
I also love them with some rice and lots of herbs in a risotto. Or lots of veg and some curry spices. They do need a bit of jazzing up with spices or herbs I find.
BTW for cheap meals you can't beat dried red lentils done as a dahl with some curry spices etc. Much prefer them to green ones!