10 easy budget family meals

To make cooking on a budget super simple, we've devised these thrifty family meals. They're nutritious, easy to make and most importantly, taste delicious.

Chicken, salad and chillies on naan breads with yogurt

Ten fabulous family meals that you can rustle up for £2 or less per serving. Sound too good to be true? Believe it. These simple budget recipes won't break the bank and are packed full of fresh ingredients and flavour. Try innovative, cost-conscious recipes like our chicken tikka masala pizzas that cost a total of £2 per serving. Rustle up a veggie supper like no other, or a hearty meat feast. We've got it all. 

For even more budget beauties, check out our cheap eats recipe collection

1. Chicken & lemon skewers

Price per serving: £1.52

Tortillas with salad and chicken skewers on board with lemon wedges
A simple, healthy family meal with flatbreads enveloping spiced chicken skewers. This DIY dinner is ideal for busy weeknights. Serve with yogurt for drizzling, crunchy pickled cabbage and a pot of hummus for extra creaminess. Add a dash of chilli sauce for those that can take the heat. If you're feeling adventurous, try making our quick hummus with a handful of storecupboard ingredients. 

2. Carrot biryani

Price per serving: 73p

Carrot curry with coriander and yogurt in pan with metal spoon
Fancy a low-calorie curry with plenty of spice? Try our carrot biryani and prepare to be amazed by how much flavour this humble veg can bring to a dish. Plate up this casual curry in 25 minutes and serve with dollops of cool yogurt. Try using speedy ready-prepped pouches of rice for an even simpler supper. 

3. Pot-roast Bombay chicken

Price per serving: £1.65

Chicken in pot with vegetables and broth with ladle
A showstopping family recipe if ever we saw one. Try our pot-roast Bombay chicken for a guaranteed crowd-pleasing one-pot. We recommend enjoying with crunchy poppadums and a sweet mango chutney on the side. The tikka masala paste adds an intense burst of flavour to the broth, balanced by smooth coconut milk. 

4. Gnocchi with mushrooms & blue cheese

Price per sercing: £1.95

Gnocchi with mushrooms and cheese in frying pan
Cheesy mushroom gnocchi in 20 minutes is our idea of midweek meal heaven. Try stirring in soft, creamy goat's cheese or a punchy blue cheese depending on taste. Both work perfectly with earthy mushrooms. Crisp up your gnocchi in the pan before adding your final ingredients for golden brown roastie-style dumplings.

5. Courgette & caramelised red onion tart

Price per serving: £1.04

Puff pastry tart with courgette and onion on baking tray with knife
Cut us a slice of this vibrant veg courgette & caramelised red onion tart. Sweet and tangy onions with creamy goat's cheese is a classic flavour combination that you'll want to recreate night after night. For an extra kick, try adding some sliced salami or chorizo to top your tart. Simply roll out your puff pastry and top to your heart's content. 

6. Halloumi flatbreads

Price per serving: £1.51

Halloumi with salad on flatbreads on wooden board
Salty slabs of grilled halloumi cheese and a fresh, crunchy slaw fill these Cypriot-style flatbreads. Cheese fans rejoice – your ultimate midweek treat has arrived. Sizzle your seeds and spices in the pan first for an added level of toasty flavour. Spread on a layer of creamy hummus, a handul of slaw and the all-important halloumi slices.

7. Cauli-kale sausage bake

Price per serving: £1.65

Cauliflower, kale and sausage bake in tray with spoon
Prep this cheese-topped cauliflower & sausage bake in 10 minutes, then relax and enjoy pure, bliss-inducing comfort food. Six ingredients stand between you and this bubbling masterpiece. Use any leftover sausages for a thrifty fridge-raider meal.

8. Roasted aubergine & tomato curry

Price per serving: £1.32

Aubergine curry with rice on plate with fork
Make a vegan-friendly curry with a rich tomato and coconut base and pieces of soft, roasted aubergine. As well as a helping of rice, try serving with warm chapatis for a twist on your standard curry. Pep up the spice levels with a sprinkling of chilli powder if you like. We guarantee you won't miss having meat in this filling main meal.

9. Beef & swede casserole

Price per serving: £1.95

Beef and vegetable casserole in port with tea towel
Sit down to a healthy beef casserole that won't leave you wanting. A splash of red wine makes a rich, flavourful broth and we love the chunky swede and potato pieces. If you've got time to spare, leave to reduce for intense flavour and a thicker sauce. 

10. Italian veggie cottage pies

Price per serving: £1.26

Cottage pie with spoonful taken in dish on wooden board
We love a twist on a classic dish, especially when it's combined with mash. Try our Italian veggie cottage pie recipe for a super satisfying spoonful with sundried tomatoes, spinach and cheesy, fluffy potatoes. This adaptable recipe can be tweaked to include your favourite veggies.

Enjoyed these basic budget recipes? Try other family meal ideas...

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Our ultimate budget recipe collection

What's your favourite low-cost family meal? Leave a comment below...

As many countries urge populations to stay at home, many of us are paying more attention to our diets and how the food we eat can support our health. To help sort out the fact from the fiction, BBC Future is updating some of their most popular nutrition stories from their archive.

All recipes and prices have been reviewed and approved as of January 2018. If you think there is any incorrect information in this guide please email us at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com.





Comments, questions and tips

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21st May, 2020
Leftovers from my Sunday Roasts are great for budget recipes. I make Chicken & vegetable soup, Chicken & Mushroom pies, Chicken & Veg pies, Chicken Fricassee, Hot and sour soup, on a rota basis all from the remnants of my Roast Chicken.
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