Feeding the Family on a Budget
Although the indulgence of the Christmas period seems like a lifetime away, for many of us, a quick look at the bank balance is an all too stark reminder of the extravagant purchases we might have made! To help you save some extra cash this month, we’ve put together 4 cheap recipes that can help you feed a family of four on a budget.
This comforting and delicious budget recipe will be loved by the whole family!
- 400g macaroni
- 50g butter
- 50g plain flour
- 500ml milk
- 150g mature cheddar cheese, grated
- 200g bacon lardons
- 1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
- Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 5 / 190°C / 375°F.
- In a frying pan, fry the bacon lardons until crisp and browned. Put to one side.
- You will now need to make a Roux; melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir in the flour. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 min and then gradually start adding the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly. If it’s lumpy, remove from the heat and whisk it to remove the lumps and then return to the heat and continue adding the milk while stirring.
- Bring the mixture to the boil and cook for a few minutes. Take the saucepan off the heat and add most of the grated cheddar – stir to combine.
- Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions and add the cauliflower about 5-8 minutes before the end of cooking. Drain it when the macaroni becomes al dente (about 2 minutes before it should be ready).
- Combine the macaroni and cauliflower with the cheese sauce and bacon lardons and pour into a casserole dish.
- Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and crisp all over.
The use of chicken thighs instead of breast makes this risotto recipe not only a cheaper recipe but in our opinion also a bit tastier.
- 500g frozen chicken thighs, defrosted
- 2 x chicken stock cubes
- 1 x onion, chopped
- 2 x cloves of garlic, chopped
- 350g Arborio rice
- 200g frozen peas
- Grated parmesan
- 2 tbsp crème fraiche
- Using a heavy-based saucepan add the chicken thighs, cover with boiling water and sprinkle in the two stock cubes, stir until dissolved. Cover with a lid and simmer gently over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- Once cooked, remove the chicken and pour the stock liquid into a jug. Cut/pull the chicken thighs into smaller mouth-sized pieces and put to one side.
- Heat a little oil in the saucepan and add the onion – cook on a medium heat until softened. Add the garlic.
- Pour in the rice and stir until coated with the oil. Slowly add the stock liquid to the rice a little at a time until the rice is almost cooked.
- Add the chicken and peas and cook for a further couple of minutes, adding extra stock if needed.
- Finally, stir in the crème fraiche and parmesan, remove from the heat and leave to sit for 2 minutes with the lid on.
Spaghetti Bolognese is a staple budget recipe for many families. This simple but effective version could cost less than £1.20 per portion.
- 500g minced beef
- 2 x cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 x onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 150g mushrooms, finely chopped
- A good squeeze of tomato puree
- 2 x carrots, finely diced
- 400g spaghetti
- In a large saucepan, heat some oil and gently fry the onion. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until softened.
- Increase the heat slightly and add the minced beef – cook until browned but make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the carrot and tomato puree and stir through. Add the chopped tomatoes and seasoning, put on a lid and let it simmer gently for an hour or so – until the sauce has reduced slightly.
- About 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve, place the spaghetti in a pan of salted, boiling water and cook as per the instructions on the packaging.
- Serve up and enjoy!
Sausages are always a winner with kids and adults alike, so what better way to use them up than with this warming, filling and very simple-to-make casserole recipe.
- Colman’s sausage casserole mix sachet
- 8 x sausages
- 1 x onion, chopped finely
- 150g mushrooms, chopped
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 3 x carrots cut into batons
- 400g Fusilli pasta
- In a heavy-based saucepan fry off the sausages until lightly browned all over. Set aside and cut into bite-sized chunks.
- In the same saucepan fry the onion until softened and then add the mushrooms and sausages.
- Mix the casserole sachet with about 250ml cold water and add to the pan with the can of chopped tomatoes and carrots.
- Put a lid on the pan and leave to simmer gently on a low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring regularly to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- About 10 minutes before you’re ready to eat remove the lid from the pan to let the sauce reduce and thicken slightly. Cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water according to the packet instructions.
A great tip for making this cheap recipe go even further is to add a can of kidney or butter beans to the casserole towards the end of cooking!
We hope these budget recipes will help you to feed the family on a budget in the tastiest and easiest way possible!