Cheap family dinner recipe ideas

“I’ve had sufficient of this,” I stated not too long ago to my husband, as I flicked by means of social media to see yet one more clickbaity ‘pink prime’ headline proclaiming some girl had fed her total household for every week on a tenner. Spoiler alert – she hadn’t. 

The day earlier than there was a chunk a couple of younger lad who’d managed to feed himself on an analogous funds...sustaining himself on jam sandwiches.  

We’re residing by means of one of many worst monetary and social crises in reminiscence, and these sorts of main, misinformed items of content material do extra hurt than good for my part. 

So this week I’ve determined to deliver you my very own – life like – model. I’ve managed to create 5 tasty, satisfying household dinners for simply shy of £30. With leftovers. 

I purchased the substances from Aldi, and the recipes assume you've got issues like salt, pepper and oil within the cabinets. I didn’t go for the ultra-basic ranges on some gadgets, so the price might be lowered additional. And all, however one, recipe freeze nicely so might be made for 2, portioned up, and stashed away for one more time. 

I grew to become a mum at simply 21, and had two kids underneath two by the age of 23, so I do know a factor or two about budgeting...consider me. I’ve included a few of my favorite hints and suggestions I’ve picked up throughout the years. I hope they show you how to lower your expenses and eat a bit higher as we navigate the ‘new regular’. 

Charlotte's sub £25 Aldi shop actually filled two baskets

Charlotte's sub £25 Aldi store really crammed two baskets

- Credit score: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

Charlotte’s buying checklist 

Grana Padano cheese £1.65 

Mini bottle of wine £1.99 

Gravy granules 85p 

White bread 36p 

Plain flour 45p 

Self-raising flour 45p 

Beef mince £1.65 

Pepperoni 85p 

Coconut milk 65p 

Streaky bacon (16 rashers) £1.99 

6 eggs 79p 

Mozzarella balls x 2 49p every 

Contemporary basil 47p 

Contemporary child tomatoes £1.59 

Tinned chopped tomatoes 45p 

Brown rice 99p 

Carrots 39p 

Pink potatoes (2.5kg) 99p 

Garlic x 4 79p 

Purple sprouting broccoli £1.19 

Unsalted butter £1.55 

Savoy cabbage 43p 

Inexperienced beans 69p 

Onions 71p 

Additional mature Cheddar £1.79 

Whole: £24.73 

Extras from the Co-op: Dried pink lentils £1.49, frozen peas 95p 

The recipes

Cheese and potato pie

Cheese and potato pie

- Credit score: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

Cheese and potato pie 

(Makes 4-6 parts) 


1.5kg pink or white potatoes 

200g additional mature or classic Cheddar 

2 massive onions 

Salt and pepper 

Oil for frying 

1 egg for glazing, crushed 

For the pastry 

100g butter 

300g plain flour 

Pinch salt 

To serve: Steamed/boiled greens and gravy 

Make the pastry first. Chop the butter into small cubes and add to a bowl with the flour and pinch of salt. Rub along with your fingers till you've got high quality crumbs. Pop the bowl within the fridge for half-hour. 

Peel the potatoes and roughly chop. Place right into a pan, cowl with water, deliver to the boil. Flip the warmth right down to a simmer, pop on a lid, and prepare dinner till the potatoes are comfortable underneath a knife.  

Whereas the potatoes prepare dinner, roughly chop the onions and fry in a splash of oil over a low to medium warmth till very comfortable and barely golden on the edges. 

Drain the potatoes, reserving a few of the cooking liquid. Mash till creamy and add the onions, stirring them in. Chop the cheese into small items and stir by means of the mash. Season nicely to style. Spoon right into a casserole dish, about 20cm x 30cm, and permit to chill. 

Take the pastry bowl out of the fridge and drop by drop add chilly water, bringing it collectively right into a dough. Roll out on a floured floor to about 1cm thick and lower a lid to suit over your potato dish. Pop it on prime, press the perimeters of the pastry to the dish to stay, and glaze with the crushed egg. Make a gap within the centre of the pie so steam can escape. 

Bake at 210C for 30 to 40 minutes till the highest is golden. 

Notes: Potato doesn’t freeze nicely, so it’s finest to eat this as quickly as you may. It is going to be high quality for as much as three days within the fridge.  

There shall be leftover pastry. This may be rolled up and frozen. Or grate in a few of the leftover cheese, mix, roll out and make cheese biscuits. 

Pea, basil and bacon risotto 

(Makes 4 servings) 


150g frozen peas 

2 rooster inventory cubes 

1 medium onion 

1 clove garlic 

350g risotto rice 

Miniature bottle of white wine 

8 rashers smoked streaky bacon 

Contemporary basil, 1 handful 

2tbsps butter 

1-2 handfuls grated Grana Padano cheese 


Oil for cooking 


Deliver the peas to boil in a small pan. Take away the peas, reserving the cooking water, including the rooster inventory cubes – measure it – you want about 1lt of inventory. Place the peas in a meals processor (or use a hand blender) and blitz till clean, including a few of the pea water/inventory to loosen. Put aside. 

Fry three rashers of the bacon in a pan till very crispy and golden. Put aside. Crumble when cool sufficient to deal with. 

Pour a few spoons of oil right into a heavy-bottomed pan (I exploit a shallow enamel casserole dish). Finely chop the onion and garlic and add to the pan. Set on a low to medium warmth and prepare dinner till very very comfortable. Don’t enable the combination to color. 

Chop the remainder of the bacon and add to the onions. Cook dinner for a few minutes. Add the rice and switch the warmth up, mixing nicely to coat. Pour within the wine and boil till it has largely evaporated. 

Now spoon in a ladleful of the inventory. Flip down the warmth to a simmer and stir till all of the inventory is integrated. Proceed till all of the inventory is used. The rice ought to be creamy, however with a bit of little bit of chunk. When you prefer it softer, add extra boiled water, a ladle at a time, to the consistency you want. 

Spoon within the pea puree. 

Shred the basil leaves and add to the dish. To complete, add the butter and cheese, whipping the rice with a picket spoon. 

Serve with the crumbled bacon on prime, and some recent basil leaves. 

Scone based pizza

Scone based mostly pizza

- Credit score: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

Scone based mostly pizzas 

(Makes 4) 


450g self-raising flour 

2tbps oil or unfold 

Giant pinch salt 

1tsp dried herbs (non-obligatory) 

250ml-300ml milk 

For the sauce 

2tbsps oil 

Pinch chilli flakes 

4 cloves garlic 

1 tin chopped tomatoes with herbs 

Pinch sugar 


To prime 

2 balls mozzarella 


Serve with a salad of chopped greens 


Make the sauce first. Slice the garlic finely. Warmth the oil in a pan and add the chilli flakes and garlic. Cook dinner till you simply begin to scent the garlic. Take the pan off the warmth, enable to chill for a second, and thoroughly add the tinned tomatoes. Crush them with the again of a spoon or fork. Return to the warmth and simmer gently till thickened. Add a pinch of sugar and season to style. 

To make the dough, place the flour in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add the oil or unfold and rub it in till it disappears. Add the herbs if utilizing and mix. Now, slowly stir within the milk, a bit of at a time, bringing the combination collectively right into a comfortable ball. 

Enable to relaxation for 5 minutes. 

Break up the dough into 4 and roll into pizza shapes – about 20cms every. Place on lined trays and pre-heat the oven to 210C. Unfold a few of the sauce excessive of every base, rip over mozzarella, and end with a couple of slices of pepperoni. Bake for 15 to twenty minutes till the dough is risen and the highest is melting and barely golden. 

Tip: When you have a big freezer you may flash freeze the pizzas on lined trays and individually wrap them to eat later. They’ll prepare dinner from frozen in about 20 to half-hour.

Beef rissoles

Beef rissoles

- Credit score: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis


Beef rissoles 

(Makes 4 servings) 


500g pink or white potatoes 

1 onion 

2 cloves garlic 

500g beef mince 

2tbsps gravy granules 

1 handful grated sturdy Cheddar 

8 slices white bread, blitzed into breadcrumbs 

2 eggs, whisked 



Oil for frying 

To serve: Steamed or boiled seasonal greens 


Peel and roughly chop the potatoes. Place in a pan, cowl with water, deliver to the boil. Flip the warmth to a simmer and canopy with a lid. Cook dinner till knife tender. Depart to chill. 

Finely chop the onion and garlic. Fry in a bit of oil in a big frying pan or medium saucepan till softened and a bit of golden. Add the mince and fry till browned throughout. Stir within the gravy granules. 

Mash the potatoes and stir by means of the meat/onion combine and add the cheese. Style. Add loads of black pepper and a few salt to your liking. 

Depart to chill barely. 

Have bowls prepared with the crushed eggs, one other with the breadcrumbs, and one other with about 8tbsps flour. 

Take egg-sized items of the potato/beef combine and form into flat ovals (form of like rooster nuggets). Dip within the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and put aside on a plate.  

To prepare dinner from recent, warmth some oil in a pan and fry evenly on all sides till golden. At this stage the rissoles might be flash frozen on trays and saved in freezer baggage till wanted. 

Or, place on lined baking trays within the oven at 200C and prepare dinner for 20 minutes. 

From frozen enable half-hour at 190C  - till piping scorching by means of. 

Super easy daal

Tremendous simple daal

- Credit score: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

Tremendous simple daal 

(Makes 6 servings) 


1 onion 

300g lentils 

2tbsps curry powder 

1 can coconut milk 

1 rooster inventory dice 

Oil to fry 


To complete 

3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly 

Pinch chilli flakes 

70g butter 


To serve 

Boiled brown rice 

Roughly chopped tomatoes and sliced onions tossed in a bit of salt and lemon 


Finely chop the onion. Pour a bit of oil into a big pan and add the onion, frying till golden. Add the lentils, curry powder, coconut milk, two tins (from the coconut milk) of water, and the inventory dice. Deliver to the boil, flip to a simmer, cowl and prepare dinner gently till thick and comfortable, including a bit of extra water if wanted alongside the way in which. It's going to take about 30 to 40 minutes. Style for seasoning. 

Warmth the butter in a frying pan and add the garlic and chilli flakes. Cook dinner till the garlic begins to color. Add a beneficiant pinch of salt. 

Serve the daal over rice and drizzle a few of the seasoned butter over every dish. 

10 concepts for leftovers  

You'll have leftover: Potatoes, butter, rice, Cheddar, Grana Padano, tomatoes, bacon, onions, gravy, eggs, basil, risotto rice, peas, plain flour, self-raising flour, lentils 

1. Peel and finely chop 100g of potatoes and 1 small onion. Fry in an oven-safe pan with oil till each are very very comfortable. Beat two eggs and season nicely. Pour over the potato/onion combine and prepare dinner till the underside is ready. Add some peas, grated cheese, basil or cooked bacon should you like – then end underneath the grill. Serves one. 

2. Grate a combination of the leftover cheeses and add them to the recipe for the scone pizza base – to make cheese scones. Lower into 4cm rounds and bake at 210C for 9-10 minutes. 

3. Roughly chop tomatoes with half the quantity of onion and a clove of garlic. Fry in a contact of oil till comfortable, and season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Pop into an oven proof dish, break over a few eggs and bake till comfortable set. Serve with bread. 

4. Blitz some leftover basil with Grana Padano cheese, some oil, seasoning and any nuts you may need within the cabinet for a tasty dressing for toast or pasta. 

5. Fry a few onions and cloves of garlic with the leftover bacon (non-obligatory), add inventory and peas, simmer and blitz to make soup. 

6. You’ll have sufficient substances to make half the risotto recipe as soon as once more. Cook dinner this, enable to chill, and cut up into golf ball sized shapes. Pop a dice of Cheddar inside every, roll in crushed egg and breadcrumbs, and fry till golden. 

7. Lower potatoes into wedges and produce to the boil, cooking for 10 minutes. Enable to chill, then toss in a bit of oil and season. Bake at 200C till golden. Prime with grated Cheddar, fried bacon, fried onions and gravy – makeshift poutines. 

8. Fry a small onion with some bacon and pour over two crushed eggs, possibly some grated cheese, to make an omelette. 

9. Make Irish potato bread to serve with the leftover bacon, some fried tomatoes and poached eggs. Peel and boil 450g of the potatoes till tender, drain and mash. Add 75g plain flour, 25g butter and seasoning. Mix. Roll out on a flat floor right into a spherical about 1.5cm thick and lower into 4. Fry in a pan till golden on all sides. 

10. Make a lightweight, easy soup by frying a few finely chopped onions with two cloves finely chopped garlic and a few tomatoes. Add the remainder of the lentils, and inventory to cowl by 2ins. Deliver to the boil, then simmer till the lentils are comfortable. Add basil on the finish should you like. Depart it chunky or blitz till clean. 

Shopping for yellow labels 

There’s no disgrace in shopping for yellow ticket label gadgets in supermarkets. The truth is, I actively encourage it. You’re getting a cut price, and stopping meals from going within the bin (one thing that occurs all too typically). With these merchandise, the freezer is your buddy. You'll be able to typically get fish and meat at ridiculously low costs. Refill and freeze to eat later. Use yellow ticket recent produce (typically fruit and veg that’s completely high quality, however previous it’s ‘finest earlier than’ date) to plan your subsequent few days of consuming. If there’s, say, cauliflower for 15p – how about cauliflower cheese for dinner tomorrow? 

I’ve not too long ago bagged an entire ribeye of beef for £6 (it was large), regionally smoked haddock fillets down from £8 to £1.15, and an enormous pizza (was £5, right down to 90p). 

Meals savvy suggestions 

1. All the time attempt to plan your buying upfront and solely purchase what you actually need. Nevertheless, should you aren’t tied to an workplace job, there’s a lot to be stated for buying ‘on the hoof’, daily – particularly should you can work out what time your native store does its reductions. 

2. Make Friday (historically the day earlier than the ‘huge store’) your fridge day. Rummage by means of the fridge, freezer and cabinets to see what you may rustle up with what you've got, utilizing a little bit of creativity. You may shock your self. 

3. When you’re utilizing costlier gadgets for a dish (like curry paste, anchovies, olives or capers) don’t allow them to fester within the fridge, destined for the bin. Chop finely, and freeze in ice dice trays. You then’ve obtained pops of flavour prepared at hand. 

4. All herbs might be frozen. Then crumble as you want them, from frozen, into your cooking. 

5. Preserve lids on pans to deliver down the general cooking time, saving power. 

6. Milk that’s on the flip is ideal for making scones or pizza scones. The acidity will really make them rise higher. 

7. Don’t throw away staling bread. We preserve ours in a wicker basket on a shelf within the kitchen. As soon as it’s absolutely dried out, blitz into breadcrumbs and retailer in an hermetic container. 

8. Put money into some fridge liners for the underside drawer. I obtained some in a reduction store and so they actually do cease fruit and veg spoiling so shortly. 

10. Lentils are your buddy. I can’t let you know what number of meals I’ve padded out with them through the years. Substitute as much as half the meat in a curry, chilli, braise or stew with them, and so they’ll thicken the sauce, making it extra satisfying, and add additional vitamins. 

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