A week of easy meals for £25

The big squeeze on families and soaring food prices has left most of us feeling the pinch. Make your money go further with our week of easy meals for £25

Basket of vegetables

These days it's very easy to feel overwhelmed with the cost of day-to-day living, but with a bit of creativity and careful planning you'll find you can still eat well, whilst sticking to a strict budget.

Everyday changes like getting creative with leftovers, visiting local food markets and cooking from scratch mean you will have the satisfaction of feeding your family on wholesome, seasonal food. But the key point always comes down to planning, because impulsive spending leaks money and waste. Oh, and never, ever shop when you're hungry...

Check out our week of easy meals for £25, and let us know how you get on:

Your shopping list:

Fruit & veg:
Large pack of fresh mint
2 onions
1 bunch spring onions
2 peppers
1 carrot
About 400g pack mixed stir-fry vegetables
Meat, fish & dairy:
50g pecorino or Parmesan
200g tub half-fat crème fraîche
175g thinly sliced smoked ham
1 pack skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks (4 of each)
125g pack garlic butter
175g cheddar or mozzarella
300g minced beef
400g frozen peas
140g frozen fine green beans
400g frozen coley or other white fish






Dry goods & bakery:
400g pasta shapes
500g basmati rice
400g can reduced-fat coconut milk
6 tbsp piri-piri marinade
500g pack ciabatta bread mix
2 x 400g cans plum tomatoes
120g sachet black bean sauce
3 nests medium egg noodles

Check your storecupboard for:

3 tbsp korma or mild curry paste
1 chicken stock cube
2 tbsp sunflower and 2 tsp sesame oil
4 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 tsp oregano
1 vegetable stock cube
5-6 slices bread, crusts removed (for 200g breadcrumbs)
4 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
3 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame seeds



Pasta with ham and minty pea pesto

Pasta with ham & minty pea pesto

A steaming bowl of pasta makes the perfect Monday night supper, and this recipe is low-fat to boot. Serve your choice of pasta with ham and homemade sauce made from salty Italian cheese and crème fraîche.

Pasta with ham & minty pea pesto


TUECreamy fish currySDAY

Creamy fish curry

Whip up a curry in a hurry with this low fat Goan-style mild dish with korma paste, coconut, green beans and sustainable coley

Creamy fish curry



WEDNESDAPiri piri chickenY

Piri-piri chicken with spicy rice

Use a lime-spiked spicy marinade to coat thighs and drumsticks then roast and serve with paprika rice in this healthy yet filling dish

Piri-piri chicken with spicy rice



THURSDAYTomato soup and bread

Tomato soup with tear & share cheesy bread

Comfort food doesn't get much better than a bowl of creamy homemade tomato soup and warm cheesy bread. This super-simple recipe will be on the table in under an hour too

Tomato soup with tear & share cheesey bread


FRIDAYBlack bean beef meatballs

Black bean beef meatballs with stir-fried noodles

Try out a new idea with beef mince, served in balls in a Chinese sauce with sweet chilli and five-spice, so much better than a takeaway.

Black bean beef meatballs with stir-fried noodles


Have you got any tips on how to eat on a budget? We'd love to hear them...


Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (15)

clarejj's picture

The comments started on 5th Nov 2013. Need I say more about prices?

charvisioku's picture

No way in hell you could get all of this for under £25, not even in the budget supermarkets.
Not too sure why people are so outraged at the idea of soup and cheesy bread for tea though. Sounds good to me.

soaph's picture

I'm looking forward to the meals but I've just bought the list of ingredients at Saintsbury's (minus the fish as I've already got some cod loins in the freezer) and it came to £63. Glad I had my card with me!

suescott65's picture

My family eats 21 meals in a week not 5. £5 a day for an evening meal is £35 not £25. Let's allow another £5 for both lunch and breakfast and we're looking at £70.

linadwonki's picture

So if I have takeaway on Thursday that should mean I can get all these ingredients for £25. Brilliant!

smellhead's picture

Thanks for this - I've just "done" the week and it was a great success; we're not always in every evening so 5 for 7 days was perfect.

Ok, I couldn't get this in at under £30, but was useful having the shopping list and all the meals in one place.

More?! Please ;)

alymead's picture

Certainly not going to be £25. Also, store cupboard ingredients cost money too!! They are not a never ending supply! (I tried to buy ras al hanout recently to find it was almost £3.!). A nice dose of realism wouldn't go amiss because most of your readers are intelligent and astute! Oh and yes, tomato soup for dinner would not hit the spot for the family.

glomid's picture

yeah, was just thinking that about the tomato soup too!

louise stoddart's picture

My cupboard does not store half these ingredients, therefore would have to buy on top of (YOUR SHOPPING LIST) also my kids probably wouldn't eat any of your suggested meals, and please tell me where you can buy all this for £25 !!! my family eat 7 days a week, not 5

glemonade57@gmail.com's picture

£25?? No chance.

Shanahan2014's picture

I'd love to believe that you can buy all that for the amount given, but sorrowfully doubt it. :(

jojosum's picture

I think the recipes sound pretty good and why not offer a soup? I' m not convinced I could get all the stuff for £25 but I think I'm going to give it a go!

sp123's picture

Really disappointed with this, they don't really seem like family friendly meals and I couldn't give tomato soup as an evening meal, also it's only 5 days not 7 and I'm pretty sure this would come to more than £25

surfinglaverty's picture

Only 5 evening meals not 7 that is a real week, and one of those is tomato soup ?
Not a great "week" of easy meals Good Food.

miniru's picture

My week has 7 days not 5 days but I like the look of the Goan Curry, though not sure my kids would eat most of this food

Questions (1)

barbarao's picture

Is 25 is realistic? When I use the shopping calculator on each recipe it comes to 44.
Only Monday to Friday are displaying for me. Are the weekend recipes missing?

Tips (1)

IreneEllen's picture

Save those left over crusts or any stale bread and turn into breadcrumbs - freeze really well and defrost instantly.
Cook an extra handful or two of pasta, keep in the fridge and add to the tomato soup next day - makes a sufficiently nourishing meal.
Cook an extra 2 x tablespoonfuls of rice, cool and keep in fridge (or freezer) and add to a bolognese sauce, means you can use less meat, lower in fat and the rice absorbs the flavours very well.