Budget meals for large families
Planning budget meals for a large family can be tricky. Make your food go further with these these low-cost dinner ideas and learn how to feed your family for less.
Discover the best budget recipes, whether you have six, eight or more to feed, along with tips on how to bulk out your dishes without compromising on flavour. From a comforting veggie chilli to sausage and bean casserole, these recipes make the most of cheaper ingredients and can be easily batch-cooked. We've also taken into consideration rising fuel costs and therefore minimised the amount of oven cooking for these recipes, providing alternatives for cooking on the hob or in a slow cooker.
Make your money go further with our collection of feed-a-crowd recipes and batch-cooking recipes, plus check out our top 10 budget slow cooker recipes and top 10 budget meals. We've also got plenty more money-saving recipes and tips in our budget section.
1. Orzotto with pancetta & peas
Give classic risotto a twist with this thrifty one-pot that uses orzo pasta. Ready in under 30 minutes, it makes a speedy and flavour-packed midweek meal that feeds six. Adding frozen peas is an affordable way to boost your veg intake, while a pack of diced pancetta provides plenty of flavour, use a couple of snipped up rashers of bacon instead if you prefer.
Discover more budget pasta recipes.
2. Double bean & roasted pepper chilli
One-pot cooking is a great way to feed a crowd. This warming veggie chillif serves eight, so you might even have leftovers to freeze for later. It makes good use of storecupboard staples, such as kidney beans, black beans and chopped tomatoes, and can be bulked out even further with rice. As well as being budget-friendly, this hearty chilli is also low in fat and delivers three of your five-a-day.
We've got plenty more budget vegetarian recipes to try.
3. Halloumi flatbreads
These simple and satisfying veggie flatbreads are perfect for sharing with a crowd. Frying the halloumi cheese in strips gives it a delicious charred flavour. Combine with a dollop of hummus, toasted pumpkin seeds, slaw and rocket, then roll up in a flatbread. To cut costs, you can swap rocket leaves for
a regular salad and warm the flatbreads in the microwave rather than the oven.
4. Slow cooker ratatouille
This vibrant vegan ratatouille is packed with veg, such as aubergine, courgette and tomato, providing four of your five-a-day. It makes enough for six, but you can easily double the quantities in a slow cooker and freeze for easy midweek meals when you’re busy.
5. Easy sausage casserole
Bulk up with beans – they’re full of fibre and can make a dish go further. This comforting casserole serves six and uses cheaper ingredients such as onions, canned tomatoes and beans to enhance the flavour of the chorizo and sausages.
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Beans can vary in price, we love Jack Monroe's tip of using canned baked beans that have been rinsed under a cold tap – once the tomato sauce has been washed away, they become plain haricot beans.
6. Courgette & tomato soup
Knowing which vegetables are in season can help lower the cost of your weekly shop. Make a batch of soup depending on what you can find – this courgette and tomato blend is a great basic recipe to start with, and serves eight people. Here’s our collection of budget soup recipes to help inspire you.
7. Mexican pulled chicken & beans
Use wallet-friendly chicken thighs to make this easy alternative to pulled pork – cook the meat slowly in a spicy chipotle sauce to achieve that melt-in-the-mouth texture. This comforting recipe serves six to eight, and makes the most of storecupboard ingredients such as canned tomatoes and beans. Serve as part of a sharing platter with salad, tortilla chips and lime wedges.
Try more budget chicken thigh recipes.
8. Vegetable curry for a crowd
One-pot curries are a great budget meal idea – if you’re feeding little ones, you can halve the curry paste in this recipe so it isn’t too spicy. The butternut squash, aubergine and courgette provide some hidden veg, too. Alternatively, try our flavoursome pork & chickpea curry. Both serve at least eight.
Enjoy more of our warming curry recipes.
9. Easy fish pie
Buying a fish pie mix is an inexpensive way to provide your family with essential omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. This simple and satisfying pie also maximises on frozen veg, and will serve up to six (more if you’re feeding toddlers). Although using the oven is energy intensive, this recipe only requires 20-25 minutes cooking time. You can easily double the amount and cook two pies together, then freeze one for a busy weeknight.
10. Big-batch bolognese
For a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, you can’t go wrong with spaghetti bolognese. Serving 12, this healthy meal is fantastic value for money and can easily be halved. If you’re short on time in the week, you can make it ahead and freeze. Vegetarians don’t need to miss out – our easy lentil ragu is also a great option for large families.
Browse more of our mince recipes for ways to use beef, pork, lamb, turkey, chicken and veggie mince.
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