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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.
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.)
Creamy Tomato Courgetti
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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!
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:
2 x Tin Tomatoes
Frozen Mixed Vegetables (like peas, carrots, and sweetcorn.)
Noodles (2 pack)
What do you think? Could you do 5 meals for £5? Do you have any suggestions for any more family friendly meals?