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65 Dirt Cheap Meals for Your Family (Under £1 a Head)

65 Dirt Cheap Meals for Your Family (Under £1 a Head)

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With a meal plan and shopping list

Finding cheap family meals that everyone will eat isn’t easy. It doesn’t matter how many kids you have, buying the food, making dinner and getting everyone to eat the same meal is a full-time job.

Keeping to a strict budget is nearly impossible if no one eats the same meals. The thought of prepping an evening meal can put most of us off meaning that we turn to easy yet expensive convenience food.

If you are looking for more £1 a head family meals then have a look at:

The Ultimate £1 Per Head Budget Meal Planning List – This is our biggest list of £1 a head family meals that you can use to fill up your meal plan.

101 Aldi Recipes That Will Give You Dinner Ideas For Tonight – We love Aldi and you can make so many amazing meals with their discounted products. Use this to fill up your meal plan tonight. 

35 Extremely Cheap Meals For UK Families – Looking for really cheap meals to feed your family? Then our post here will help you to save money on your weekly meal plan. 

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How can I eat dirt cheap?

We all know that meal planning and grocery shopping with a list can save us money. That’s why it’s so important to try and plan your meals beforehand.

Depending on how comfortable you are, either find a spare pad or print out 8-10 copies of a weekly meal plan sheet. You’ll need enough space to write down a simple menu for each day and a shopping list as you go.

You can make your own weekly meal plan or download my meal plans and shopping lists for free from the Resource Vault. Having several copies on hand will help inspire you to get started and keep up the meal plans for several weeks.

If you’ve never meal planned before then start here by reading how it can save you hundreds of pounds!

Save money on food

If you prefer shopping online then make sure you are using a cashback website. Have a look at OhMyDosh. OhMyDosh is a great cashback site that gives you money back every time you shop online. 

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OhMyDosh is also great if you want to make some extra money. You can do free surveys and watch videos and earn money. You can cash out as soon as you teach £10.

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Go to OhMyDosh first before you buy anything online and see if you can get money back. Anything goes from hotel stays to toys and train tickets.

Use apps to save money

Use an app like Plum to keep track of your spending and to help you save. Using Plum* can help you build up your savings, pay off dent quicker and invest to make your money work harder. It’s free to join!

Snoop is a free money management app that was created to help you manage and save money. Snoop wants to help you make smarter choices and get on top of your money. You can download the Snoop app onto your Android or Apple device for free.

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What are super cheap foods?

There are loads of food that you can buy that is super cheap. Start by buying all your vegetables in tins or frozen. The best thing about frozen and tin food is that it is pre-cut already and is just as fresh as any other vegetable you may buy but cheaper.

Unless you use a lot of meat, it may be worth buying and then separating into freezer bags so you can just use what you need. This saves it from going off.

What meals can you make for under £5?

All the meals below you can make for under £5 for a family of 4. These include chicken curries, lasagna, carbonara, and ribs.

Use our meal plan and shopping list below for an example of how we save on our grocery shopping bill.

Breakfast – Overnight oats
Lunch – Eggy bread
Dinner – Carbonara

Breakfast – Omelette in a bun
Lunch – Homemade Pizza
Dinner – Vegetarian Chilli

Breakfast – Overnight oats
Lunch – Eggy bread
Dinner – Mango and Tomato Curry

Breakfast – Breakfast smoothie
Lunch – Homemade Pizza
Dinner – Vegetarian Chilli (leftovers)

Breakfast – Omelette in a bun
Lunch – Sweet Potato Carrot Soup
Dinner – Mango and Tomato Curry (leftovers)

Breakfast – Overnight oats
Lunch – Eggy bread
Dinner – Homemade Pizza

Breakfast – Breakfast smoothie
Lunch – Sweet Potato Carrot Soup
Dinner – Slow Cooker Peach Chicken

Shopping list

This cheap grocery list will help you to save money on meals for a whole week.
1 Banana 13p
1kg Porridge oats
500g Frozen soft fruit
1 pint Milk
Vanilla extract
Natural yogurt
Tin potatoes
Spring onion
12 eggs
9 small cherry tomatoes
4 rolls
400g tin carrots
frozen onion
3 garlic cloves
Vegetable stock
400g tin coconut milk
110g Mature Cheddar
400g tin Chopped tomatoes
125g mozzarella
350g Spaghetti
250g Cooking Bacon
62g mushrooms
60g Grana Padano
3 Red onions
Green chillies
Loose tomatoes,
420g tin mango
400ml Fat natural yogurt
1 Courgette
Tin of Kidney Beans,
Frozen chicken breasts
400g tin peaches
frozen peppers
Brown sugar
Soy sauce
500g rice

Breakfast smoothie

This is a quick breakfast that is great for the whole family. You can whizz it up and add whatever fruit you like.
1 banana 13p
40g porridge oats 10p
80g frozen soft fruit 75p
150ml milk 30p
1 tsp honey 5p
1 tsp vanilla extract 5p
Total: £1.38 that’s 34p for 4 people.

Overnight oats

This is a yummy breakfast for the whole family. You make it the night before and add it to the fridge before you go to bed. ¼ tsp ground cinnamon 5p
50g rolled porridge oats 8p
2 tbsp natural yogurt 10p
50g mixed berries 25p
drizzle of honey 5p
Total: 53p that’s 13p per person.

Omelette in a bun

The kids love this omelette recipe. It goes into lunch boxes quickly and is healthy too. 1 tbsp olive oil 5p
1 medium potato 25p
1 spring onion 37p
4 eggs 32p
9 small cherry tomatoes 20p
10g grated cheddar 25p
4 Asda Essential rolls 35p
Total: £1.79 that’s 44p each.

Eggy bread

This is a quick and easy breakfast for the whole family. We griddle pan ours on high heat once the egg is mixture is on the bread.
Bread 14p
4 eggs 32p
Total: 46p that’s 11p per person.

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup

This sweet potato carrot soup recipe is really easy to make and is great for weekend lunches. Everything you need should be in your cupboard or freezer. The roasted sweet potatoes taste really nice in this soup.

Read how we make our Sweet Potato Carrot Soup Recipe here.

500g chopped and cubed sweet potatoes 55p
400g tin carrots 49p
3 tbsp olive oil 5p
100g frozen onion 16p
2 garlic cloves 5p
1L vegetable stock 5p
100ml tin coconut milk 82p
10g pinch chilli flakes 10p
Total: £2.27 that’s 56p a person.

Homemade Pizza

This is an easy quick Friday night dinner or a quick lunch on the go. You can make the dough in the morning or straight away as it doesn’t need to sit. We use plain flour, dried yeast and some water to make the dough.

Taw Valley Mature Cheddar (approx 100g) 85p,

Onion 10p,

Chopped tomatoes (400g) 31p,

2 x mozzarella (125g) 44p each,

Loose closed cup mushrooms 20p,

Total: £2.34 that’s 58p for four people.


This amazing Carbonara recipe is a really quick family meal that you can put together within 10 minutes. It takes 5 minutes to prep and 13 minutes to cook.

Cook the spaghetti first as per the packet instructions, normally for 12 minutes. While it’s cooking, cut the bacon into small chucks and start to fry it. You shouldn’t need any oil, as the bacon is pretty fatty.

Add the mushrooms to the frying pan and fry until soft. Add the garlic.

Whisk the eggs and Grana Padano cheese together in a bowl.

Drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan with the egg mixture. Stir quickly so the egg does not scramble. Salt and pepper to taste.

350g JUST ESSENTIALS by ASDA Spaghetti 14p
250g JUST ESSENTIALS by ASDA Cooking Bacon 37p
62g mushrooms 13p
3 garlic cloves 5p
2 eggs 10p
60g Grana Padano 80p
Total: £1.59 for 4 people that’s 40p a person.

Mango and Tomato Curry

Who needs a takeaway when you can cook this mango and tomato curry for less at home. This is so simple and is a hit with the whole family.

Red onion 17p,

Green chillies (50g) 65p,

Loose tomatoes 60p,

Small mango £1.15,

Organic 2% Fat natural yogurt (150g) 49p,

Basics long-grain rice (350g) 40p,

Total: £3.46 that’s 86p per person.

Vegetarian Chilli

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!

Courgette, 30p,

Onion, 7p,

400g of Frozen Peppers, 60p,

3x Tomatoes, 34p,

Tin of Kidney Beans, 30p.

Total: £1.61 that’s 40p for four people.

Slow Cooker Peach Chicken

This slow cooker recipe is great for those rush evenings. All of this can be prepped in the morning or the night before. Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker pot (apart from the rice) and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours. When you are ready to serve, cook the rice as per the packet instructions.

2 chicken breasts £1.20,

400g tin peaches 34p,

200g frozen peppers 40p,

1 red onion 28p,

2 tbsp brown sugar 5p,

4 tbsp soy sauce 7p,

1 tbsp ground ginger 5p,

250g rice 30p.

Total: £2.69 that’s 67p per person.

Cheap breakfast meal ideas

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. These are all cheap easy meals that you can make for under £1 a head for four people.

Vegetarian cheap breakfast ideas

Finding dirt cheap vegetarian breakfast ideas can be hard, so here are our favourites below. They are all easy to make and great to eat on the run if you are in a rush.

1.Eggless Pancakes

This eggless recipe makes 10 pancakes that can be frozen then grilled back to warm. They take about 5 minutes to make and about 2 minutes to cook.

Read how we make The Best Eggless Pancakes Recipe Ever here. 150g self-raising flour 10p

1 tablespoon baking powder 2p
1/2 teaspoon salt 2p
2 spoonfuls of maple syrup, or granulated sugar 10p
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted 15p
250ml soya milk 17p
Total: 56p that’s 14p per person.

2. Mexican egg roll

This is a quick and easy lunch idea that the kids will love. You can even make these the night before and wrap them in foil and keep in the fridge. 1 large egg 8p
1tbp sunflower oil 5p
2 tbsp tomato salsa 10p
Total: 23p that’s just 5p a person.

3. Egg muffins

These egg muffins are really easy to make and are great for lunch boxes. They are super cheap and you can add anything to them. All you do is mix the ingredients up and then oven cook them for 20 minutes on 180 degrees.

3 eggs 24p
40g red Leicester cheese 75p
Total: 99p that’s 24 a person.

4. Breakfast egg wraps

These are great for four people and make a great breakfast on the go. You can add anything to these but our favourite is below:

500g pack closed cup mushrooms £1.50
4 tsp sunflower oil 5p
320g cherry tomatoes 90p
2tbsp parsley 5p
40g porridge oats 10p
10 eggs 80p
4 tsp English mustard powder 7p
Total: £3.92 that’s 98p a person for 4 people.

5. Omelette

You can add loads to this basic omelette recipe. You can add cheese, herbs, and mushrooms.

3 eggs 24p
1 tsp sunflower oil 5p
1 tsp butter 5p
Total: 34p that’s 8p per person.

6. Cooked breakfast

We love a classic cooked breakfast. This is really easy to make and is cheap on the wallet too.
4 hash browns 60p
400g tin of baked beans 30p
4 scrambled eggs 32p
Total: £1.22 that’s 30p per person for four people.

7. Waffles

These are great for a waffle maker and make a great weekend treat. We have them with frozen fruit or with chocolate spread.

4 large eggs 32p
300g plain flour 30p
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 5p
2 tbsp golden caster sugar 5p
50g butter 25p
600ml semi-skimmed milk £1.20
Total: £2.17 that’s 54p a person.

8. Baked oats

This may look like a cake but it’s a yummy and healthy breakfast recipe that you can make at the start of the week and store for the whole week ahead.

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees fan. Put the porridge oats, yogurt, sugar, and frozen fruits in a bowl. Mix it all together. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs then add them to the other ingredients. Mix together in a bowl. Pour the mixture into a baking tray and cook for around 30 minutes. Like a cake, you will need to check if the middle is cooked. We use a toothpick. If it comes back clean then it is fully cooked inside.

100g porridge oats 7p,
200g fat free yogurt 40p,
1 tbsp sugar 5p,
100g defrosted frozen fruit 46p,
3 eggs 16p.
Total: £1.14 that’s 28p for four people.

9. Breakfast Potatoes

This does take about 40 minutes to cook but is a really filling breakfast for the whole family. You can use your air fryer to cook your potatoes or the oven. Start by setting the oven or air fryer to 185 degrees. Cut the potatoes into quarters, this helps them cook quicker. Add the potatoes to a bowl with the Paprika, Salt, Oregano and pepper.

With a spoon, stir all the ingredients together so the potatoes are covered. Then, cut the mushrooms into quarters, all the frozen peppers, frozen onions and a handful of spinach. Spray it all in the pan with some low fat cooking spray. If you are using stock, then add it now to the deep pan. If you are using your air fryer, you probably don’t need the stock. You can eat this with eggs or with your cooked breakfast.

10. Hashbrown Frittata

We love this Hashbrown Frittata as it’s really easy to make a you can chuck in whatever you have left in the fridge or freezer. We tend to use frozen vegetables but you can use fresh as well.

6 eggs

250g white potato

100g frozen onion

100g frozen peppers

50g spinach

Start by whisking the eggs in a bowl. Then add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. In a deep frying pan, spray the bottom with some low cal spray then add. Fry for a few minutes until the eggs are all cooked through.

11. Baked eggs

This is a really easy breakfast recipe that is very filling. You can add pretty much anything to this to make it yummy. It does take about 25 minutes to cook but is worth it. This recipe makes two.

100g frozen onion

6 tomatoes

1 tsp tomato paste

1 clove of garlic

50g spinach

100g vegetable stock

2 eggs

Start by pre-heating your oven to 180 degrees. Add the garlic, tomatoes and onions to a pan and fry lightly. Add the tomato paste and boil until it looks like a sauce. Stir in the spinach for a minute or two. Using two small deep dishes, add the sauce then crack an egg in the middle. Add to the oven and cook for around 15 minutes if you are looking for a soft runny yolk.

12. Pan Oat Pancakes

This is a really easy no flipping pancake recipe that you can make and chuck in the oven while you get ready. You can add any fruit to this at all. Our kids favourites are bananas and frozen mixed berries.

100g rolled porridge oats

2 tsp baking powder

150g plain fat free yogurt

2 eggs

5g cinnamon

1 tsp of vanilla extract

200g frozen berries

100g banana

Start by pre-heating your oven to 180 degrees. Blend the porridge oats till they are small, as this gives you soft no lump pancakes. Add the baking powder, salt and cinnamon to the mix. Then add the egg, vanilla and yoghurt and put this with the oat mixture. Leave it all to sit together for about 15 minutes as this lets the oats suck it all in. In a small baking tray, add some baking paper, and put the mixture in. Add your fruit at this point by sprinkling it on the top. Add to the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown on the top. Let it sit for a few minutes before you cut as it’s very hot.

13. Strawberry Oatmeal Waffles

This strawberry waffle recipe is really easy to make and you can use frozen strawberries if you prefer.

250g wheat flour £1.10

1 tablespoon baking powder 5p

1 teaspoon salt 2p

1 teaspoon ground allspice 5p

250g oats 20p

100g unsweetened applesauce 45p

100g unsweetened non-dairy milk 30p

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup 5p

2 tablespoons canola oil 7p

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 5p

150g frozen strawberries 71p

Total: £3.05 that’s 76p for 4 people.

Start by sifting the flour, baking powder, salt and allspice into a mixing bowl. Bltiz the oats so they are small then add to the micing bowl. Make a small well in the center of the flour mix and add the applesauce, milk, maple syrup, oil and vanilla.

Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes or so in the fridge, it will thicken a bit don’t worry. If it does look thin, add a little more flour and mix again, then wait. Keep doing this until you are happy. Add in the frozen strawberries. These van be defrosted or cut up smaller frozen. We cook our waffles in a waffle maker. Spray the inside first, then add about a tablespoon of batter. The first one, like a pancake might be a bit rubbish but don’t worry, the rest do get better.

14. Vegan banana bread

This is a great way to use up your brown bananas!

3 large ripe bananas 60p

75ml vegetable oil 85p

100g brown sugar 29p

225g plain flour 20p

3 heaped tsp baking powder 5p

3 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice 5p.

Total: £2.04 that’s 51p for four people.

15. Peanut Butter Pods

Made with blitz porridge oats, soya yogurt and cinnamon, this peanut butter cups are a great breakfast idea for the whole family. You can add whatever fruit you like here but our favourite is almost brown banana as it adds that sweetness that this sometimes needs.

300g porridge oats 25p

2 tsp cinnamon 5p

2 medium bananas 40p

500g soya yogurt £1.40

80g peanut butter 45p

Total: £2.55 that’s 63p for 4 people.

16. Homemade vegan bagels

This makes about 10 homemade bagels. You can even freeze them and defrost them when you need them.

7g sachet dried yeast 16p

4 tbsp sugar 5p

2 tsp salt 2p

450g bread flour 45p.

Total: 68p that’s 17p for four people.

These bagels are really easy to make. Start by adding the yeast with 4 tbsp sugar into a large bowl, and pour in 100ml warm water. Leave for 10 minutes as the mixture needs to bubble. In the same bowl, add 200ml warm water, flour and kneed. The mixture might be sticky, so you may need extra flour. Separate the dough into little balls and leave to raise.

They need about an hour or longer if possible. Heat your oven to 200 fan. Weight the dough and try and get them the same size. Use a tea spoon to put a hole in the middle. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add one bagel and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Then add to the oven for 25 minutes or until full cooked through.

Dirt cheap pork breakfast ideas

Pork is a great cheap meat and can help you to keep full throughout the day.

17. Eggy muffins

These eggy muffins make a great on the go breakfast when you are in a rush. You can batch cook them then freeze and defrost them when you need them.

Start by grilling or frying the burgers on a medium heat. Take the burgers off the heat, then mix the milk and eggs together then fry. Grill or fry the top of the muffins then add it all together.

4 essential ASDA burgers £1.50,

4 eggs 50p,

50ml soya milk 25p,

4 breakfast muffins 80p,

4 slices of American cheese 7p.

Total: £3.12 that’s 78p for four people.

18. Breakfast quesadillas

This is a quick breakfast meal that you can take on the run if you are running late. You can add anything to these wraps including peppers, tomatoes, chicken or ham. Go crazy and use whatever you have leftover in the fridge.

8 wraps 85p,

100g cheese 50p,

100g ham 25p.

Total: £1.60 that’s 40p for 4 people.

Dirt cheap lunch ideas

Finding cheap meal ideas for lunch that the kids will actually eat is hard enough but trying to find budget lunch ideas is even harder. Our lunch ideas below are great for the whole family and can eat on the run or from a lunchbox.

Really cheap vegetarian lunch recipes

Having a cheap vegetarian alternative makes a great lunchtime treat for the whole family. Make them at the start of the week and freeze them so they are ready for when you need them.

19. Pizza roll-ups

These pizza roll ups are great for lunchboxes and great for fussy eaters.

tart by getting the pastry out of the fridge so it can come up to room temp. When ready, spread the puree over the pastry and add the grated cheese. Cut the pastry into lines then shape into circles. Cook for 20 minutes on 180 degrees fan.

375g Ready-made pastry £1.75,

100g puree 80p,

100g cheese 95p.

Total: £3.50 that’s 87p for 4 people.

20. Eggy cheese crumpets

These eggy cheese crumpets can be grilled once submerged in the egg mixture. They make a great treat breakfast for the whole family.

3 eggs 24p
50ml milk 10p
6 crumpets 25p
250g cherry tomatoes £1
drizzle of vegetable oil 5p
40g cheddar 35p
Total: £1.99 that’s 49p per person.

21. Spicy mixed bean tortillas

These Spicy mixed bean tortillas are great for weekend days when you want something quick and easy. All of these ingredients come from tins or the freezer.

8 tortilla wraps 85p
200g onion 10p
1 tin of carrots 49p
400g can chopped tomatoes 39p
400g can kidney beans 30p
400g can of mixed beans in a mild chilli sauce 30p
100g mature cheddar cheese, grated 49p
Total: £2.92 that’s 73p for 4 people.

22. Smoky beans on toast

This is such an easy recipe that is great for the whole family. We like ours spicy but you can easily tone down the spices and mustard if you prefer.

150g rashers streaky bacon 95p
100g frozen onion 16p
400g can baked beans 29p
1 teaspoon brown sugar 6p
1 teaspoon English mustard 5p
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 5p
1 teaspoon ground cumin 5p
10g chopped chillis 5p
250g ciabatta bread £1
Total: £2.66 that’s 66p per person.

23. Vegan scones

350g self-raising flour 30p

¼ tsp salt 5p

1 tsp baking powder 2p

3 tbsp caster sugar 7p

95g vegan vegetable spread 25p

150ml soy milk 20p

Total: 89p that’s 22p for 4 people.

24. Mushroom risotto

This cheap vegan mushroom risotto does take 25 minutes to cook but it’s worth the wait.

1 vegetable stock cube 5p

2 tbsp olive oil 5p

100g onion 10p

10g garlic cloves 5p

250g pack chestnut mushrooms £1

300g risotto rice 87p

25g vegan butter 15p

5g dried parsley 5p

Total: £2.32 that’s 58p per person.

25. Butternut squash risotto

This makes a great lunch box snack. It goes take 20 minutes to make but it’s worth the time.

1kg butternut squash £1

3 tbsp olive oil 5p

5g dried sage 5p

1½l vegetable stock 5p

50g vegan butter 16p

50g frozen onion 10p

300g risotto rice 50p

50g vegan cheese 62p

Total: £2.53 that’s 63p for 4 people.

26. Tofu scramble

This budget meal is great for the whole family. It’s easy to make and will keep you full for ages.

1 tbsp olive oil 5p

50g frozen onion 10p

1 garlic clove 10p

5g turmeric 5p

5g ground cumin 5p

5g sweet smoked paprika 5p

280g extra firm tofu £2

100g cherry tomatoes 45p

5g dried parsley 5p

Total: £2.90 that’s 72p for 4 people.

27. Tomato bruschetta

This is a perfect lunchtime delicious vegan recipe that is easy to make and great for the whole family. Mix up the vegetables and leave for an hour to marinate. Then lightly toast the bread and spread.

50g red onion 21p

500g tomatoes £1

10g garlic cloves 15p

5g dried basil 5p

30ml balsamic vinegar 20p

60-80ml extra virgin olive oil 34p

400g loaf crusty bread 80p

Total: £2.75 that’s 68p for 4 people.

28. Cauliflower buffalo wings

Cauliflower buffalo wings These buffalo wings are lightly spicy and make a great snack or lunch idea. They come in at under £1 a head and make a great healthy meal.

10g dried smoked paprika 5p

10g ground cumin 5p

5g garlic powder 5p

100g plain flour 6p

200ml coconut milk 37p

500g cauliflower £1.75

80g hot sauce 60p

1½ tbsp maple syrup 5p

1 tbsp vegan butter 10p

100g celery sticks 37p

Total: £3.45 that’s 86p for 4 people.

Cheap soup recipes

We love soups for lunch as they travel really well and make great leftovers for the next day as well.

29. Parsnip soup

We love this easy parship soup as it can be eaten chunky or smooth. It is really easy to make and tastes great the next day as well. This makes enough for four people but you can double it to make extras for leftovers.

2 tbsp butter 5p,

50g frozen onion 4p,

1 crush garlic clove 5p,

500g parsnips 60p,

500ml vegetable stock 5p,

225ml milk 25p.

Total: £1.04 that’s 26p for four people.

30. Slow Cooker Chicken Soup

This is a really easy soup recipe that you can throw into your slow cooker in the morning and have ready by the time you get home.

100g onion 25p,
2 celery sticks 10p
2 carrots 10p
2 leeks 15p
300g chicken breasts £1.25
2l chicken stock 8p
1 tbsp lemon 5p

Total: £1.93 that’s 48p per person.

31. Carrot & lentil soup

This is great slow cooker soup recipe that can be made in the morning and ready for when you get home. 2 tsp cumin seeds 5p
1 pinch chilli flakes 5p
2 tbsp olive oil 8p
600g carrots 55p
140g split red lentils 28p
1l hot vegetable stock 5p
125ml milk 85p

Total: £1.91 that’s 47p for four people.

32. Chicken noodle soup

On a cold winter day, there is nothing better than a warming soup. You can make extra for leftovers. This is made for four but double it for 8 portions.

2 tbsp butter 5p,

50g frozen onion 4p,

400g tin carrots 28p,

1 crush garlic clove 5p,

2 chicken breasts £1.28,

500ml chicken stock 5p,

100g noodles 30p.

Total: £2.05 that’s 51p for four people.

33. Tomato & lentil soup

We love this soup as you can make it spicy if you prefer and the lentils in the soup help to keep you filled up till dinner. This recipe makes enough soup for four people but you can double it to make leftovers for the next day if you prefer.

Start by frying the onions in the pan, then add the carrots. Add the stock, tomatoes, and lentils. Bring it all to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. When ready, blend the soup to your chosen consistency. We like ours smooth.

1 tbsp oil 5p,

400g tin carrots 28p,

50g frozen onion 4p,

100 ml vegetable stock 10p,

400g tin tomatoes 38p,

200g red lentils 50p.

Total: £1.35 that’s 33p for four people.

34. Lentil and quinoa soup

This is an easy vegan soup that you can make on a cold day.

2 tbsp olive oil 7p

200g onions 20p

2 garlic cloves, 10p

5g hot chilli powder 5p

5g ras el hanout 5p

1kg butternut squash £1

100g red lentils 22p

1l hot vegetable stock 7p

5g dried coriander 5p

10g soya yogurt 15p

Total: £1.96 that’s 49p a person.

35. Thai Vegetable Soup

This is a simple soup recipe that you can eat on the move. It is full of vegetables and perfect for cold water nights.

100g frozen onion

180g of aubergine

100g sweet potato

2 tsp Thai Red Curry Paste

120ml vegetable stock

1 tsp fish sauce

100g courgette

300g frozen mixed veg

120ml coconut milk

Peel the sweet potato and cut into chunks. Roast the chucks in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are soft. In the pan, fry off the aubergine and onion and add a little salt. Wait until the aubergine in soft. Add the sweet potato into the pan as well. Add the curry paste and fish sauce. Then add the stock and reduce down. Add the courgette and frozen veg to the pan about 10 minutes before the end. The coconut milk can go right in at the end and then you can serve.

Dirt cheap lunchtime pasta dishes

Pasta for lunch means that you can have a cheap hot meal that will keep you full till dinner. Pasta is really easy to cook and travels well in a heatproof tin.

36. Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Cheesy pasta is a family favourite in my house. Try it in the slow cooker for an extra easy weeknight dinner.

200g macaroni pasta 13p,

200g cheese £1,

100g plain flour 10p,

Stock cube 6p,

25g butter 3p,

Total: £1.32 that’s 33p for four people.

37. Chipotle Pasta

This is a great vegan pasta recipe for the whole family. It makes a creamy vegan pasta sauce that has zero lumps as you blend it all together then heat it in the pan.

100g Almonds £1.40
50g Almond milk 10p
50g Chipotle pepper 30p
10g Garlic 5p
75g Water 5p
55g Tomato 25p
5g Lemon juice 2p
210g spaghetti 25p
Total: £2.42 that’s 60p for 4 people.

38. Penne with Arrabbiata

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

Three big tablespoons of mascarpone cheese, 44p,

Tin Tomatoes 400g 34p,

Pasta 30p.
Total: 44p that’s 11p for four people.

39. Bacon and Cheese Pasta

This bacon and cheese pasta is my little one’s favourite dinner. She’d eat this every night if we let her, and I have to say, at just £3.41 for the four of us, this is a bargain!

Mushrooms 22p

English medium Cheddar cheese £1.74

Smartprice unsmoked middle bacon £1.04

Smartprice Pasta 31p,

Onion 8p,

Garlic 24p,

Total: £3.41 that’s 85p for four people.

40. Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

This is one of those “chuck in whatever you have” recipes. It’s mega easy and even grilling the tomatoes only takes minutes.

Wholemeal penne (500g) 55p,

Cherry tomatoes (250g) 53p,

Dried basil (14g) 69p,

Total: £1.77 that’s 44p for four people.

41. Spicy Sausage and Cheese Bake

As long as you have butter, flour, and milk in your cupboards, then this sausage and cheese bake comes in way under budget.

Smartprice pasta shapes (500g) 30p,

Smartprice thick sausages (12 per pack – 681g) 88p,

Chosen by You English Mature Cheddar (200g) £1.27,

Smartprice mozzarella (125g) 44p,

Total: £2.89 that’s 72p for four people.

42. Pesto pasta

All these vegetables can be grilled can be quickly grilled and mixed in with the green pesto and spaghetti. This makes a great and easy family dinner when you are in a rush.

210g spaghetti 25p

2 corn on the cob 95p

100g frozen squash 50p

165g tomatoes 42p

100g spring onions 37p

75g green pesto 37p

Total: £2.86 that’s 71p for 4 people.

Dirt cheap dinner meals

These dirt cheap recipes are great for when you are on a serious budget and money is tight. They are all really easy to make and mostly use staples that you may have in your cupboard already.

Cheap curry recipes

Curry is a great cheap meal for the whole family. You can add any meat to these curries. We normally use frozen chicken and defrost as and when we need it. You can even use frozen or tin vegetables.

43. Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka masala curry

This serves four and is a medium heat. This really does just take 10 minutes to make but does take up to 40 minutes to cook so make sure you have some time as it’s worth it.

We make our homemade naan bread with this too.

Read how to make our chicken tikka masala here.

4 frozen chicken breasts £1.40,

150g frozen onion 16p,

2 garlic cloves 6p,

1 small piece of ginger 15p,

200ml tinned tomatoes 28p,

100ml single cream 60p,

1 tsp lemon juice 5p,

4 tbsp low cal spray 20p,

1 tsp salt 3p,

180g Rice 24p,

Total: £3.17 that’s 79p for 4 people.

44. Chinese Chicken Curry

Chinese Chicken Curry with Rice

This family-friendly meal is a great fakeaway recipe for a Friday night. It’s not very spicy and you can use frozen vegetables if you are short of time.

Here’s how we cooked our Chinese chicken curry.

2 frozen chicken breasts 65p,

125g frozen onions 16p,

Small piece of ginger 15p,

2 garlic cloves 6p,

400ml stock 3p,

2 tbsp low cal spray 10p,

3 tbsp plain flour 10p,

1 tsp sugar 5p,

180g Rice 24p,

Total: £1.54 that’s 38p for 4 people.

45. Chickpea Curry

Chickpea curry in a bowl

This is a really easy chickpea curry that is perfect for the whole family. It costs under £1 a head for 4 people and you can use all your cupboard staples with it including tins of chickpeas, tomatoes, and loads of ground spices.

Cook time for this simple chickpea curry is about 20 minutes depending on how you like your chickpeas. We like ours really soft so tend to wait until the liquid has reduced quite a lot. If you like your curry spicy then you could add some curry powder or red pepper.

To help make this creamy you could add yogurt as well as coconut milk. You could also add a dash of lime juice.

If you are using the slow cooker then we would suggest you make the paste as below and then add everything to the slow cooker. Put it on high heat for 6 – 8 hours as the liquid does need to reduce.

Read how to make our chickpea curry here.

Start by making the paste. Add the oil then fry off over medium heat with the onion and chili flakes until the onion is clear. This is when you want to put the rice on as per the packet instructions. Whizz up the garlic cloves, ginger, coriander, cumin, garam masala, tomato purée, and salt. Once it’s turned into a smooth paste, add it to the pan. Stirring occasionally will help the paste not stick to the pan or wok. Drain the chickpeas and add them and the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. This will help all the liquid to reduce down. If you like your curry creamy, then add the coconut milk and keep reducing it down for another 5-10 minutes. When the curry is ready, add the spinach.

For the paste
2 tbsp oil 5p
100g frozen onion 25p
5g dried chilli 5p
9 garlic cloves 25p
5g ground ginger 5p
5g ground coriander 5p
7g ground cumin 5p
5g garam masala 5p
10g tomato purée 11p

For the curry
2 x 400g tin chickpeas £1.10
400g tin canned tomatoes 42p
100g tin coconut milk (optional) 18p
100g spinach (optional) 20p
250g rice 40p
Total: £3.21 that’s 80p for 4 people.

46. Katsu Curry

Katsu curry with breadcrums

If you are looking for a fakeaway recipe that is also Slimming World friendly and easy to cook then this Katsu chicken curry is for you.

This chicken Katsu curry comes in at under £1 a head for four people. It can seem a little spicy so if your family needs it toned down then add a little Greek yogurt to the side of the dish.

Read how to make our Katsu curry here.

3 frozen chicken breasts £1.20
1 onion 28p
2 carrots 10p
3 garlic cloves 5p
1 egg 10p
900ml chicken stock 5p
2tbsp soy sauce 5p
1tsp honey 7p
3tbsp plain flour 5p
100g breadcrumbs 15p
200g wholemeal rice 37p

Total: £2.19 that’s 54p for four people.

47. Chicken Korma

Chicken korma curry with naan

This is a mild and creamy korma curry that is perfect for kids who hate spice.

Read how to make our Chicken Korma recipe here.

Put the slow cooker on and sear the chicken. Stir in the spices and cook for a few minutes. Then add the chicken stock. Leave to cook for 6 hours. Add the cream then serve.

2 garlic cloves 5p,

Ground ginger 2p,

100g onions 25p,

3 chicken breasts £1.20,

2 tbsp tomato purée 5p,

1 tsp ground cumin 2p,

1 tsp paprika 2p,

1 tsp turmeric 2p,

1 tsp ground coriander 2p,

½ tsp chilli powder 2p,

2 tsp sugar 5p,

300ml chicken stock 35p,

150ml double cream 62p,

Total: £2.69 that’s 67p a person.

48. Chicken Jalfrezi

This curry serves 4 people and is of medium spice. It takes 30 minutes to cook but you can make it in the morning and then throw it all in one pan when you get home. Make our Chicken Jalfrezi with egg fried rice and our homemade naan.

4 frozen chicken breasts £1.40,

150g frozen onions 16p,

1 red pepper 15p,

1 tomato 16p,

3 garlic cloves 9p,

Small piece of ginger 2p,

2 tbsp tomato puree 6p,

2 tbsp cooking oil 3p,

2 tbsp cooking oil 3p,

Total: £2.09.

49. Chicken Balti

This serves four people and isn’t as spicy as it sounds. If you prefer it light then don’t add any chillis or paprika. This takes about 20 minutes to cook and does perfect with our egg fried rice recipe too.

4 frozen chicken breasts £1.40,

150g frozen onions 16p,

200ml tinned tomatoes 28p,

3 garlic cloves 9p,

Small piece of ginger 2p,

1 tbsp tomato puree 3p,

2 tbsp cooking oil 3p,

1 tsp salt 2p,

1 red chilli 5p,

Pinch of dried paprika 3p,

Total: £2.11.

Cheap vegetarian recipes

These delicious vegetarian meals are cheap to make and great for the whole family. Even fussy eaters will love how these meals taste.

50. Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

This is a great recipe if you need to feed a lot of people quickly. Make this in the morning and just chuck it in the oven when you need it.

Read how to make our vegan shepherd’s pie here.

400g tin chickpeas 33p,

400g tin lentils 55p,

2 large potatoes 20p,

3 sweet potatoes 47p,

125g frozen onion 8p,

4 sun-dried tomatoes 20p,

2 carrots 14p,

5 mushrooms 40p,

2 celery sticks 60p,

2 garlic cloves 5p,

300ml vegan stock 3p,

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 6p,

2 tbsp tomato puree 10p,

2 tbsp low cal spray 10p

Total: £3.31 that’s 82p for four people.

51. Burritos

I do these burritos when I know friends are coming over. I love the idea of everyone helping themselves and tucking straight in.

Start by putting the rice on as per packet instructions. Brown the onions off, then add in the kidney beans.

Frozen onion 10p,

350g long-grain rice 40p,

400g tin Red kidney beans in water 21p,

8 Tortilla wraps 92p,

2 Little Gem lettuce 75p,

31g Fresh basil 80p,

300g Salsa 69p (Optional),

Total: £3.87 that’s 96p for four people.

52. Vegan tacos

Vegan tacos

These vegan tacos are really easy to make. They aren’t spicy at all, and the homemade salsa is really fruity.

Read how to make our vegan tacos here.

175g pack baby corn £1.20
190g frozen red onion 25p
100g frozen peppers 20p
½ tsp cumin seeds 5p
2 tsp olive oil 5p
110g kiwi 11p
400g tin tomato 42p
100g wholemeal flour 20p
1 large garlic clove 5p
5g dried coriander 5p
1 tsp vegan bouillon powder 5p
½ tsp smoked paprika 5p
85g red cabbage 20p
Total: £2.88 that’s 72p a person.

53. Mexican Red Rice

A very simple dish that takes only 20 minutes to cook, this Mexican red rice dish is perfect for the whole family.

Start by heating the oil and cook the garlic, dried herbs, and onion. Add the rice to the pan with your 1 litre of stock and tomato puree. Add the mixed veg and reduce the stock down. The rice will take on the stock but it may take about 15 minutes. When you are done, remove from the heat and rest the dish for around 15 minutes to make sure that the rice has taken on all the liquid and flavour.

1 tbsp oil 5p,

2 garlic cloves 5p,

1tsp dried coriander 5p,

1 tbsp chilli powder 2p,

100g frozen onion 15p,

350g long-grain rice 40p,

1 veggie stock 15p,

3 tbsp puree 10p,

250g frozen vegetables 20p.

Total: £1.17 that’s 29p for four people.

54. Roasted Cauliflower With Tomato & Cashew Sauce

This is an easy vegetarian dinner that is great for the whole family. It’s really quick to make and budget-friendly.

1 cauliflower £1.75
2 tsp nigella seeds 5p
2 tbsp vegetable oil 5p
3 tsp garam masala 5p
2 garlic cloves 4p
2cm piece ginger 5p
500g passata 32p
2 tbsp cashew nut butter 10p
50ml double cream 25p
Total: £2.66 that’s 66p

55. Veggie Stir Fry

Simple and quick, just chuck whatever 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.

3x Tomatoes 34p,

200g Frozen Peppers 40p,

Onion, 7p,

Ham, 25p.

Total: £1.06 that’s 26p for four people.

Cheap pasta meals

We love pasta as a main meal. It is really filling and can be made with anything. It is really cheap and can help keep your grocery budget down.

56. Italian Meatball Marinara

This is a gorgeous meatball recipe that the whole family will love. It’s a healthy meal that uses a basic tomato sauce recipe that can be used for loads of meals.

Make this amazing meatball marinara here.

500g minced meat £1.99
2 onion 16p
3 glove garlic 7p
1 egg 10p
1 tsp salt 2p
2 tsp low cal spray 10p
1 tin passata 32p
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 3p
Half tablespoon sugar 5p
Half tablespoon salt 3p
210g Spaghetti 8p
Total: £2.95 that’s 73p for four people.

57. Spaghetti Bolognese

This spaghetti bolognese recipe is so simple and the longer you leave it in the more intense the flavour. The sauce can be left to cook all day, ready to be mixed with freshly-cooked pasta when you get home.

Make our spaghetti bolognese here.

1 onion chopped 22p,

1 tbsp tomato puree 10p,

2 tins chopped tomato 58p,

1 tbsp caster sugar or to taste 4p,

1 celery stick chopped 10p,

250g minced beef 83p,

1 carrot chopped 7p,

2 cloves garlic chopped 4p,

1 tsp oregano 2p,

2 large mushrooms chopped 75p,

1 beef stock cubes 6p,

1 handfull Parmesan for sprinkling 20p,

Total: £3.01, that’s 75p a head.

58. Chicken and pepper pasta

This creamy pasta recipe is great for the whole family. It uses only frozen vegetables and chicken so is really cheap to make.

Read how to make our Easy Creamy Chicken and Pepper Pasta here.

100g Lightest Philadelphia 80p
125g Wholemeal pasta 14p
125g Frozen peppers 25p
125g Cherry tomatoes 25p
10g Garlic 2p
400g Frozen chicken breasts £2.54
Total: £4 that’s £1 a head.

59. Tuscan chicken pasta

This creamy pasta is a real hit in my house. It only takes 15 minutes to cook and is a great fast dinner if you are in a rush. Boil the water for the pasta and add a stock cube.

Wait until it has desolved and add the pasta and cook. Normally about 12-15 minutes. In a different pan, add the chicken cubes to the pan. You can use oil but I use a little water to stop it sticking.

Add the garlic and tomatoes and simmer on a low heat. Add the cream cheese and cream to the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes or until it looks more reduced. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir.

1 chicken stock cube 5p,

200g JUST ESSENTIALS by ASDA Pasta Shapes 15p,

1 tbsp mixed herbs 5p,

2 JUST ESSENTIALS by ASDA frozen Chicken Breast Fillets £1.26,

2 garlic 10p,

175g tomatoes 25p,

100g JUST ESSENTIALS by ASDA Soft Cheese 26p,

25ml double cream 20p,

400g tin tomatoes 28p,

200g frozen carrots 22p,

100g Spinach Leaves in Water 30p,

50g Grana Padano 73p.

Total: £3.85 that’s 96p for four people.

60. Tuna pasta bake

This pasta dish is easy to make and great if you need a quick and cheap meal.

500g pasta 50p
50g butter 10p
50g plain flour 5p
600ml milk 80p
250g strong cheddar £2.15
2 x 160g cans tuna steak in spring water £2.40
330g can sweetcorn 47p
Total: £6.47 that’s £1.61 a person.

61. Spaghetti Carbonara

This carbonara goes down a treat in my house. I use cheddar instead of parmesan so it can be used throughout the week, and any streaky bacon left can be chucked in something else.

500g spaghetti 20p
Unsmoked Streaky Bacon (275g) £1.04
6 eggs 89p
Extra Mature Cheddar (250g) £1.50
Total: £2.39 that’s 59p a person.

Dirt cheap slow cooker meals

We love our slow cooker! Using the slow cooker or instant pot in the morning means that we have a healthy meal to come home to after a long day. You can use all your frozen vegetables still and you don’t need to pre0cook the heat as long as you put the slow cooker on for longer on a low heat.

62. Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

Pulled chicken is a great dinner for the whole family. It’s really simple to cook in the slow cooker and is really tender. You can have it with rice or in a bread bun. It all needs to cook for 6-8 hours to make the chicken really tender.

2 tbsp vegetable oil 5p
3 chicken breasts £1.20
2 red onions 50p
2 garlic cloves, 5p
2 tsp paprika 2p
2 tbsp chipotle paste 10p
250ml passata 25p
100g barbecue sauce 30p
1 tbsp light brown soft sugar 8p
Total: £2.55 that’s 63p for four people.

63. Slow Cooker Chicken Chasseur

This French chicken recipe is a great fakeaway meal for the whole family. It does need to cook for 8 hours in low so the chicken is tender. You can serve it with jacket potatoes or rice.
2 tbsp olive oil 5p
3 chicken breasts £1.20
100g frozen onion 28p
2 garlic cloves 5p
200g tin mushrooms 25p
200ml white wine £1.50
1 tbsp tomato purée 5p
200g chopped tomatoes 25p
400ml hot chicken stock 5p
Total: £3.63 that’s 90p for four people.

64. Slow-Cooker Chicken Casserole

This is a really easy slow cooker casserole that you can put all in together. It takes about 6 – 9 hours to cook on a low heat.

1 tbsp butter 28p
½ tbsp olive oil 5p
100g frozen onion 25p
1 ½ tbsp flour 5p
250g chicken breasts £1.20
3 garlic cloves 10p
400g tin baby new potatoes 28p
2 sticks celery 50p
400g tin carrots 28p
250gtin mushrooms 15p
500ml chicken stock cubes 5p
Total: £3.19 that’s 79p for four people.

Related Posts: 

65. Slow Cooker Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Cheesy pasta is a family favourite in my house. Try it in the slow cooker for an extra easy weeknight dinner.

200g macaroni pasta 13p,

200g cheese £1,

100g plain flour 10p,

1 stock cube 6p,

25g butter 3p,

Total: £1.32 that’s 33p a head.

Laura x

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 MealsBudget Slimming World Recipes for Families

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Here are 65 dirt cheap meals that comes in at under £1 a head for four people. They are easy to cook and taste great by Laura at Savings 4 Savvy Mums

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