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I love sweet and sour chicken. Before the kids, we spent a staggering £20 on a Chinese meal for two. Now, being far more frugal, I make my own and still enjoy it week in week out.

At just £1.05 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.

The original recipe calls for water chestnuts and other exciting ingredients, but to be honest, my kids are a bit fussy, so I keep it simple.

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2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (£2)

1 x 425g can pineapple chunks in natural juice (61p)

2 tbsp cornflour (2p)

½ tsp dried chilli flakes (2p)

2 tbsp dark soy sauce (5p)

2 tbsp tomato puree (2p)

1 medium onion (22p)

2 peppers, any colour (£1.20)

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (5p)

Total: £4.19

family, takeaway, cheap, meals,


Dice your chicken breast. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan or wok and stir-fry the onion and peppers for two minutes over a high heat until coloured on all sides.

Drain the pineapple in a sieve over a bowl and keep all the juice. Put the cornflour in a large bowl and stir in the pineapple juice to make a smooth paste, then stir in the soy sauce, puree and chilli flakes until thoroughly combined.

Add the garlic, ginger and pineapple chunks to the pan and stir-fry for 30–60 seconds.

Give the cornflour and pineapple mixture a good stir and add it to the pan with the chicken and vegetables. Stir well, season with some ground black pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for 4–6 minutes until the sauce is thickened and glossy and the chicken is tender and cooked throughout, turning the chicken and vegetables a few times.

Serve with rice.

(Prices are based on shopping at Asda and are correct at time of print.)