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I love cooking healthy meals, but just don’t have the time while working, so I’m making it my September resolution (it’s the start of a new term, so it totally counts) to try really hard to cook, and not turn to chicken nuggets and chips every night.

To keep things simple and cheap, all our meals are going to contain 5-ingredients or less (not including what I call the bare essentials, as in my kitchen staples) and come in at under £1 a person.

Now I have a confession, this week’s meals come in at £5.04. The shopping list is £5.41, as I didn’t use all the onions, so they’d be ready for the following week.

Everything is made for 4 people, so in my case, that’s myself and my husband, and the two girls (4 & 2).

The good thing about these meals is they lean heavy on the kitchen staples, so if we’re struggling money wise for a week, I start to come up with recipes, like below, that we can use, without spending too much extra money.

None of the staples are perishable, and to be honest, are probably past their sell by dates. I’ll do the smell test to gauge is it can be used, and most can. If you’re unsure, then have a look at Best Before and Sell Buy Date Guide.

Shopping List:

Wafer Thin Ham 200g £1
Courgette 900g (3 Pack) 90p
Onions 1kg (9 pack) 59p
Mascarpone Cheese 250g 89p
Frozen Mixed Peppers 600g £1
Tomatoes (6 pack) 69p
Tin Tomatoes 400g 34p

Total: £5.41 (All prices are correct at time of publication and based on a Asda shop.) 

(For a full list of my recommended kitchen staples, CLICK HERE.)

Monday Night:

Creamy Tomato Courgetti

Low in calories but really high in taste, this Creamy Tomato Courgetti meal is a great way to hide vegetables. I use my spiralizer for everything!!

The original recipe calls for a sauce, but I make my own using mascarpone cheese, which takes about 2 minutes.

Ingredients: Onion 7p, three big tablespoons of mascarpone cheese, 44p, Ham, 25p and 2 x Courgette, 60p.

Total: £1.36

5 Ingredient £1 Family Meals with a FREE Meal Plan Printable.

Tuesday Night:

Stir Fry

Simple and quick, just chuck what ever you have in. I use rice noodles, as you can chuck them in with a sauce and just fry it all together, but any will do.

Ingredients: 3x Tomatoes, 34p, 200g Frozen Peppers, 40p, Onion, 7p, Ham, 25p.

Total: £1.06

Wednesday Night:

Risotto with Ham & Peas

Using just one pot, this risotto is an easy mid-week meal when you really can’t be bothered to cook. Just chuck it all in and let it cook!

Ingredients: Onion, 7p, Ham, 50p.

Total: 57p

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Thursday Night:

Penne with Arrabbiata

I love arrabbiata, but the kids aren’t so keen. This calls for chili, which they hate, so I cook everyones and add some chili flakes at the end for me.

Ingredients: Three big tablespoons of mascarpone cheese, 44p.

Total: 44p

Friday Night:

Vegetarian Chili

4 of your 5 a day, this Vegetarian Chilli only takes about 30 minutes and can be bunged into a pan and left to its own devices.

Itself of buying a bag of vegetables, I cut up my own and roast, and mix and match every time, depending on what we have left over in the fridge. I’ve thrown in ham, pineapple, frozen vegetables and even sweet potato. Anything goes!

Ingredients: Courgette, 30p, Onion, 7p, 400g of Frozen Peppers, 60p, 3x Tomatoes, 34p, Tin of Kidney Beans, 30p.

Total: £1.61

Menu Planning for me is the hardest, but the most important part of eating on a budget. It gives you a plan you can use to help you buy food more wisely and stop you staring in the fridge for 5 minutes trying to think what to make for dinner tonight. This happens more then I would like… So I designed a few menu planners that work best for me and I thought I would share them. Enjoy!

Sign up to receive these FREE 5 ingredient meals for £5 meal plans and shopping lists, plus our other money saving printables. 

So after the week, I’d then write what I’ve used from my kitchen staples onto my list for the following week, or on a week I could afford. Here they are below for ease:

Kitchen Staples:

Dried basil
2 x Tin Tomatoes
Rice 1kg
Vegetable Stock
Frozen Mixed Vegetables (like peas, carrots, and sweetcorn.)
1kg Pasta
Chilli Flakes
Noodles (2 pack)
Soy Sauce

What do you think? Could you do 5 meals for £5? Do you have any suggestions for any more family friendly meals?

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