All these are under £1 per serving
It’s hard to find cheap family meals that the whole family love. This post gives you a whole week’s meal plan that you can use.
It includes easy to make cheap meals for the whole family that are delicious and that can be frozen if needed.
These cheap meals could help you reduce your food waste, help you shop your cupboard for a week or even get your food budget back on track.
If you have fussy eaters at home then hopefully these recipes are still for you. They are pretty classic and can be spiced up or down depending on taste.
If you are looking for more meals that are family friendly and cheap then have a look at:
Top Tips for cooking for beginners
If you are a beginner cook or a family who needs to cut down on your food spending then why not try:
Buying frozen vegetables – They are cheap, pre-cut and you can grab as much as you need.
Stop peeling vegetables – If you decide to buy fresh then grate them instead of chopping them. It saves time.
Freeze bread – Even with the four of us, we can’t use a whole loaf, and most of it went in the bin. Now, it gets frozen and eaten when needed.
Weigh out food like pasta and rice – This helps with portion control and stops you cooking too much.
Leftover fruit – Turn it into smoothies or bread pudding, and ripe banana and carrots make great cakes with dried raisins.
Printable Meal Plans
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Cheap meals for a family of 4
These yummy value meals can be frozen for another night or bulked up with cupboard staples like baked beans or lentils if needed.
All of these cheap recipes can be made with frozen vegetables or frozen meat so that you only use what you need.
Don’t be scared to freeze any leftovers. As long as most food is cooled before it’s frozen then re-heated properly it’s fine to eat and so much healthier then a pre-packed sandwich.
Have a look at Spicentice – They send out packets of spices with full instructions and shopping list on. We use them when we get stuck in a rut with food and need help thinking of easy and healthy food to eat.
What we liked is that all the food ideas are gluten free and can be made vegetarian as well, plus they are all cheap to make!
So here are 21 easy and cheap recipes you can use. All are adaptable and leftover-friendly.
Easy Overnight Porridge
This overnight oats recipe is great if the whole family needs a filling breakfast that’s quick. Like the name suggests you can make it the night before so it’s ready when everyone wakes up!
Cheap & Easy Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup
At just 44p, this lovely homemade sweet potato and carrot soup is perfect for those “I can’t be bothered” lunches. It’s such an easy and tasty soup to make, that I purposely cook more to fridge for the rest of the week.
Lost cost and healthy, Spag Bol is a huge hit in my house and is one of the only things I can get everyone to eat.
I normally buy the mince then split it, putting half in the freezer if I don’t plan on using the rest of week. It works well with extra grated vegetables too if you have any going off, and can be slow-cooked to perfection while you’re out.
Vegan Pancakes For Just 56p
This eggless pancake recipe makes a batch for just 56p and they’re really thick and delicious. You can freeze these and have them another day by waiting for them to cool then wrapping them into greaseproof paper. Then put them into an airtight container.
These are great to make if you have loads of eggs leftover. You can chuck in ham, cheese or any vegetables you have. Make your own and go crazy!
An Easy Sweet & Sour Chicken Recipe For Just 58p
At just 58p a portion, this is a bargain of a meal as well. It takes just 15 minutes to cook, and can all be bundled in together. It serves four; two little mouths and two big ones, but I’ve bulked it out with some extra veg or rice before.
We buy our bagels but for a quick breakfast defrost some fruit. Add it on in faces and make the kids smile.
These can be made with simple wraps with tomatoes puree, cheese and ham or whatever you like on your pizza.
Chilli Con Carne for just 95p a head
If you are looking for a simple Chilli Con Carne recipe that is also cheap then this is for you. The one thing we love about this recipe is that a lot of the ingredients are kitchen staples so you can rustle this up quickly if you need too.
You can use frozen mince and frozen vegetables.
Breakfast oat bars
Use rolled oats with flour and sugar to make yummy fruit breakfast bars. They do take a while to cook so we make ours a few days before and store them.
These are perfect if you are all running late and need to eat breakfast while running out the door.
My failsafe potato idea when I’ve no idea what to cook. You can put jacket potatoes with anything. Raid the freezer and see what you can use. The kid’s love leftover gammon with there’s, but are happy with the last slice of ham or half a tin of tuna if it’s laying around.
If the skin is looking a bit dry, try covering them with a touch of olive oil and salt. It helps bring out the moisture and makes the skin extra crispy.
Wrap them up in foil once cooked and take them with you.
Vegan Shepards Pie for 82p a head
If you are looking for a delicious vegan shepherd’s pie recipe that is cheap to make and easy to cook then this is for you.
This family recipe is perfect for those nights that you need your family to eat something healthy or even a meal to bulk out when guests come to dinner.
Egg and Soldiers
This is a classic! Boil the eggs for 4 minutes for a ymmu soft center.
Cheese on Toast
My go to lunch time treat when we’ve all gotten in late and I can’t be bothered to cook.
If it’s bread you have leftover, then you always freeze it. I tend to half mine as a rule now. We never get through a full loaf and by the end of the week, the kid’s are bored of sandwiches.
Taking it straight from the freezer to toaster is quick, and works just as well as a toasted cheese, onion and ham sandwich.
Spaghetti Meatballs for just 73p a head
This spaghetti meatball recipe comes in at just 73p per person for a family of four. This spaghetti meatball recipe is so easy to cook and is great if you are a beginner cook looking for something gorgeous that the whole can eat.
This meatball recipe includes making homemade meatballs and the sauce yourself. Please don’t be put off! It’s really simple to do and tastes so much better then the shop brought version.
Perfectly when you get to the end of the week and have nothing left.
Throw everything in; from the tiny chunk of cheese to those weltering spring onions and peppers.
Simple tomato pasta
This is a favorite in our house. It’s made with just chopped tomatoes, puree, onion and garlic. Add the pasta and you’ve got yourself a simple lunch or dinner that everyone will love.
Easy chicken fajita recipe: a family meal for 94p a person
Chicken fajitas are a great family meal idea if your kids like to help themselves. The great thing about fajitas is that you can make this different everything depending on what your family like or how spicy they like meals.
This fajita recipe is really simple to cook and can be made vegetarian or vegan if you prefer.
Cheap and Easy Pancakes For Just 86p
No one is too old for pancakes! Not only are they a fab dessert but use up so many eggs that it outweighs any guilty feelings for me.
My recipe makes 12 for 86p and I freeze them if we can’t eat them all by allowing them to cool, then layering them between greaseproof paper. Then I wrap in cling film and freeze for up to 2 months. They can be reheated in seconds!
Sweet potato and lentil soup
This is a simple soup recipe that you can make a freeze. We use leftover sweet potatoes and tinned lentils making this recipe really cheap.
These chicken kebabs can be made vegetarian really easy but replacing the meat either with tofu or extra vegetables.
Let the kids make their own by laying out as many chucking vegetables as possible.
Other cheap recipe ideas:
A cheap meal that uses up a bit of everything. I normally freeze my sausages anyway, but if I have any leftover sweet potatoes or vegetables kicking around, sausages help beef it (sorry) up a little, and make it feel more like a meal.
If the sausages are the item you have left, then you’re very lucky, because the possibilities are almost endless. We like sausage pasta bake with caramelized onions while the kids love tortillas made with leftover sausages and potatoes.
Depending on cost, we choose a different meat every week. Normally a gammon or chicken as that tends to go further and can last us up to three days.
I use this recipe, as it involves sweet potatoes and peppers, something we always have over.
Whatever meat you have throw in. I’ve used turkey, chicken, fish and gammon and they all taste lush.
From leftover meats to almost off vegetables, anything goes.
Whatever you have around the fridge or cupboards going off can go in. Nothing is wrong in a pasta bake!
Don’t throw all those gorgeous vegetables away. Stir fry them up with a bit of meat (I use chicken, but whatever you have) and sprinkle over some herbs. Serve with rice or a packet of noodles, both what I would call cupboard staples.
So easy and so good. Roasted root vegetables go really well as does any leftover meat.
The classic Beef and Ale Stew is a winner here and uses so much leftover meat from Sunday lunch, that it’s become a Monday favorite.
Onions, carrots, mushrooms, cheese, even leftover herbs get chucked in to simmer away.
Cheap dessert ideas:
The Very BEST Chocolate Cupcakes for 88p
My kids love making these cupcakes, mainly because they’re quick and easy to make, and only take around 20 minutes to cook!
This recipe makes 12 cupcakes. You can’t freeze them, but to be honest, they won’t be around that long, if your house is anything like mine.
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Like most families I’m guessing, we have a lot of leftover fruit. Smoothies are my go to normally, but the kids would eat crumble every night if I let them.
I freeze a lot of my ripe fruit and defrost it when I need it, but there are just some fruits that hate being defrosted, hence a crumble to use them all.
Rhubarb, ginger, apple and pear all go well. Blackberries, gooseberries, and strawberries in season, when we’ve all had enough of eating them raw.
But really anything does go. I’ve added cherries, mango plums to mine and it’s worked. Whatever you have, use.
Chocolate Rice Krispie/Cornflake Cakes
If your cornflakes or rice crispies have gone soft, then melt some chocolate and stir them in. It’s as simple as that.
Never throw flour, milk or eggs away again. The three things I always have leftover at the end of the week, and that used to be thrown, in till recently.
To empty it all down, I make scones for the kid’s lunchboxes, adding any chopped fruit I can to the mix.
Victoria sponge, fairy cakes or any other sponge mix works with just flour, eggs and milk too, not forgetting pancakes up above.
If you enjoyed this post and would like some more family friendly budget recipes or meal plan ideas, then head over to the budget food section here on Savings 4 Savvy Mums where you’ll find over 30 cheap posts dedicated to helping you cook and shop wiser for less. There’s enough tips to help you save over £300 a month! You could also pop over and follow my family food Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on how to eat well and spend less; Family Meal Plans on a Budget, Budget Family Meals & Budget Slimming World Recipes for Families.
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