8 tips for cooking on a budget

It's harder than ever to eat well for less, but never fear; MNers are at hand with tips to make your pounds go further without sacrificing taste.

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1. Don't be afraid of repetition

"Part of my budget secret is there is nothing wrong with having the same meal several days running or alternate days. I make two big pots of something on a Sunday which will see five of us through the week."

2. Invest for fine dining

"When I was living on £10 a week I used to 'invest' in jalapenos and wholegrain mustard. Both can really transform a meal and make it taste more luxurious. Chorizo is similar - expensive but a tiny bit makes a big difference. We also found meals with a little kick of chilli were more satisfying."

3. Pancakes are not just for Shrove Tuesday

"Pancakes. Not flubby English ones but rib-covering, fluffy American ones, with butter and golden syrup or brown sugar. Life savers!"

4. A chicken goes a long way

"We'd buy a chicken, I would roast it one day and we would have a roast dinner, then we would use the trimmings for another meal and then use it for stock for veggie soup. I could usually get a small amount to add to cheese toasties or sarnies as well so that one chicken would be in four meals."

5. Beans, glorious beans!

"I love pulses! Smoked paprika makes them amazing but you could do them without. Value kidney beans would be lovely, and you can have them with a bit of cheese on top, so you don't have to use too much cheese. Again good with rice or on a baked potato."

6. Get creative with your veg 

"I got a bag of veggies for 70p - swede, onion, leek, carrot, some other bits, chuck a tin of tomatoes, bit of herbs and stock in a pan, simmer for ages and then throw some pearl barley/lentils in and a bit of bacon if you have it (I used some pulled pork which needed eating). This did my husband and I for eight meals (when we got a bit bored, I added spices and we ate it with tortillas as fajitas) - it's thick enough to be either a thick soup or a stew and so deliciously filling." 

7. Porridge, perfected

"Porridge feels luxurious with either a little cream added or honey. Get a cheap tub of each and you'll be a lot happier on a porridge diet. You don't need much of either." 

8. Be a bread winner

"The most basic soup, stew or casserole - as long as it's well seasoned - is made into a gourmet feast with the addition of homemade bread." 

Hungry for more? Check out these Mumsnet recipes for filling meal ideas that won't break the bank. Many ingredients can be substituted for whatever you have in your store cupboard, so don't be afraid to channel your inner Heston Blumenthal.

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Last updated: 11 months ago