The BBC Good Food logo
Kale, chicken and pesto gnocchi on a plate, topped with parmesan

Top 10 budget family meals

loading...
Magazine subscription – your first 5 issues for only £5!

Looking for easy, thrifty meals to feed the family? Our budget recipes save you money and keep your midweek fuss-free without compromising on flavour.

Many of us are having to think extra carefully about how to get the most out of our shopping and fuel budgets. Smart planning and cooking will help you make nutritious meals that taste great. We calculate a budget meal at a cost of £1.25 per serving for ingredients used. (You may have to spend a little more if you need to replenish staples such as a full bottle of cooking oil or a bag of flour or buy a pot of spices, but you will use these up over time and we will give you ideas for how to do this.) You may also have access to a markets and local shops that offer savings.

Advertisement

When weekdays are busy, getting dinner on the table can often be a challenge, so it's easy to opt for expensive ready meals with little nutritional value. But you don't have to spend a fortune to enjoy healthy, nourishing food that will keep everybody satisfied.

We've created ten midweek meals for four people that require very little prep and make the most of simple, cheap ingredients, without compromising on taste. With these crowd-pleasing curries, hearty stews and speedy spaghetti dishes, your menu for the week ahead is sorted.

Looking for more budget-friendly recipes and cooking advice? Check out our collections of budget recipes and 5-ingredient family meals plus visit our budget section for more information.

1. Roasted cauliflower with tomato & cashew sauce

Naan bread covered with curry on a plate

Combine the gorgeous nutty flavours of roasted cauliflower with a creamy tomato and cashew sauce to make a vibrant veggie supper. With only five minutes prep time, this fragrant curry dish is a midweek marvel.

2. Pasta & tomato soup

Two bowls of orzo and tomato soup with bread and spoons

Once the family has tucked into this nourishing tomato, chickpea and pasta blend, there will be no going back. Even better – it's a great source of fibre and provides two of your five-a-day. Finish with a swirl of pesto and serve with crusty bread for dunking.

Reheating this the next day? The orzo will have absorbed some of the liquid, so just add some boiling water to make it more soup-like again.

Check out more budget soup recipes.

3. Pork & apple burgers

Two burgers on buns with apple, chutney and mustard

Buying cheaper cuts of meat or mince is a great way to lower your shopping costs. Sausagemeat is already packed with flavour so there's no need to add any extra ingredients to the burger mixture. Simply flatten and fry the patties until golden, then kids can help assemble the burgers with apples, rocket and dressings. These juicy buns can be on the table in just 30 minutes, making them an ideal weeknight dinner.

4. Easy chicken stew

Pot of chicken stew next to two bowls

Healthy and hearty, this warming one-pot will keep everyone satisfied, and provides two of your five-a-day. Chicken thighs are cheaper and often more flavoursome than using breasts, and chunky veg helps to bulk up the stew. Serve with crusty bread on the side for dunking.

Try more recipes using chicken thighs.

5. Posh egg, chips & beans

Fried egg, benas and wedges on a plate

Give this comfort food classic a healthy makeover by making it from scratch using simple ingredients such as chopped tomatoes, cannellini beans and baking potatoes. Kids won't even notice the hidden veg and it's sure to become a family favourite.

6. One-pan spaghetti

A pan and bowl of spaghetti and meatballs

Save on the washing-up by making this simple spaghetti supper with meatballs and tomato sauce – all in one pan! This speedy dish makes the most of shop-bought meatballs and storecupboard ingredients, and requires only five minutes prep time. What's more, it's healthy and low in calories.

7. Spicy 'vedgeree'

Spicy kedgeree in a pan and a dish

Enjoy a healthy yet filling vegetarian dinner with our plant-based twist on kedgeree, combining brown rice with plenty of veg. Like the traditional version, it's served with boiled eggs and has a lovely mild curry flavour.

Try more fabulous vegetarian rice recipes.

8. Kale pesto & chicken gnocchi

Kale, chicken and pesto gnocchi on a dish

Serve up a gorgeous green plate of gnocchi, chicken and peas in a zingy homemade kale pesto. Ready in just 20 minutes, it's a quick and affordable way to pack in plenty of veg. Serve with a scattering of basil leaves and parmesan for an added layer of flavour.

Check out more comforting gnocchi recipes. If you're looking for a meat-free option, our simple gnocchi cacio e pepe makes for another budget-friendly family dish.

9. Chipotle chickpeas with aubergine & pitta

Chickpeas and aubergines on a plate with lime wedges

Put a can of chickpeas to good use in this speedy veggie supper. Fry them with aubergines and serve on top of pittas with tahini and crème fraîche. We've added chipotle paste for a spicy kick, but you can easily swap it for tomato purée if you're serving kids. Finish with lime wedges and coriander for a burst of freshness.

For more inspiration on how to use your chickpeas.

10. Sardine pasta with crunchy parsley crumbs

Two bowls of spaghetti topped with parsley crumb

Sardines are a great source of omega-3 and an easy way of incorporating fish into your diet without breaking the bank. The crunchy breadcrumb topping texture combination against the silky spaghetti creates a fancy feel for this family meal.

Look no further for more budget pasta recipes.

Discover more budget family meals...

10 quick budget family meals
5 nights of waste-free family meals
Budget family chicken recipes
10 easy budget family meals
One week of budget-friendly family dinners
Top 10 healthy family meals
A week of budget-friendly meals for £25
Top 10 budget food buys

What other midweek recipes do your family enjoy? Leave a comment below...

Advertisement

This article was published in April 2022. Cost per serving figures are correct at time of calculation and are based on ingredients available from a mid-range supermarket, selecting products from their value ranges. Costings exclude energy expenditure. Variations in the marketplace, availability of ingredients and changing food prices will impact these figures but where possible our budget articles will feature recipes that cost less than £1.25 per person. For more budget-friendly recipes and cookery advice, visit our budget section.

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content