Three bowls of pesto pasta with broccoli

Easy budget meals for two

Busy week ahead? You can eat well even when you’re in a hurry with our week’s worth of simple, delicious, affordable meals for two – all for only £35.

For many people, cooking a well-balanced range of meals from scratch often feels unachievable, with the pressure of busy schedules and rising food costs. But with a bit of forward planning and clever use of ingredients, we believe it’s possible to make a range of low-cost, nourishing meals to enjoy every night of the week. 

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For a budget of only £35, we’ve put together a seven-day menu of satisfying and scrumptious suppers or lunches to serve two people. You might even have some leftovers!

We’ve provided a handy shopping list to get you started, based on prices from a range of supermarkets. Please note the £35 total does not include a few storecupboard and fridge ingredients, which are listed below.

Your shopping list:

Fruit & veg:

  • 2 red onions
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 2 broccoli
  • 500g new potatoes
  • 4 lemons
  • large bunch of parsley
  • small bunch of basil
  • small bunch of mint
  • 150g rocket
  • 150g mixed salad
  • 500g frozen peas

Eggs & dairy:

  • 6 eggs
  • 500g natural yogurt
  • 1 litre whole milk
  • 200g vegetarian Italian-style hard cheese, or parmesan

Meat & fish:

  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 250g fillet steak

Other:

  • 400g can cherry tomatoes
  • 250g pouch microwave mixed grains
  • 250g pouch microwave spicy Mexican rice
  • 500g pasta shells
  • 1 loaf crusty bread
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • 1 pack stuffed green olives
  • 1 sachet fajita seasoning
  • 1 small jar capers
  • 1 small bag toasted pine nuts
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 1 jar tartare sauce

From your kitchen:

  • olive oil
  • butter
  • plain flour
  • malt vinegar
  • oregano
  • garam masala
  • salt and pepper

Check out our week of easy meals:
 

 

Easy caponata

Bowl of vegetable stew topped with basil leaves, served with bread

After a long day at work, this rich and flavoursome Sicilian veggie stew is a welcome culinary comfort which you can have on the table in under 30 minutes. With smoky aubergines, sweet tomatoes, punchy capers and fragrant herbs, this simple dish truly maximises on taste. Serve with warmed crusty bread.Easy caponata

Pea & pasta frittata

Make the most of leftovers in our easy pea and pasta shell frittata, flavoured with fresh mint and parmesan. Ready in only 20 minutes, this is a reliable and cheap midweek meal you’ll return to again and again. It also keeps well and makes a tasty lunchbox meal for the next day.Pea & pasta frittata

Fish, mash & peas

Want something different to battered cod from the local chippie? Try coating salmon in a tasty breadcrumb, garlic and parsley crust, served on a dollop of mash and peas. This is ultimate comfort food for busy weeknights. Fish, mash & peas

Steak burrito bowl

Short on time? Stir up this spicy steak and rice burrito bowl in just 10 minutes. Use a sachet of fajita seasoning for an easy flavour boost.Steak burrito bowl

Crispy broccoli salad

Try a new way with broccoli by coating it in spiced ground almonds and roasting for a wonderfully crispy texture. Serve in a fresh salad with mixed grains, mint and rocket.Crispy broccoli salad

Broccoli pasta shells

Elevate a typical pasta and pesto dish by making our healthier version with homemade lemony pesto and broccoli. Whipping up your own delicious pesto is suprisingly easy – it’s also lower in salt than most shop-bought jars. This recipe serves four people, but is freezable so you can keep leftovers for another day.Broccoli pasta shells

Chicken & crispy capers with new potatoes

Get out the frying pan and stir up a super-satisfying and substantial meal that won’t break the bank. The winning combination of crispy capers, chicken thighs, new potatoes and stuffed olives will leave you wanting seconds. Finish off with a sprinkling of zingy lemon zest and fragrant parsley.

Chicken & crispy capers with new potatoes

Find more budget meal inspiration…

Budget meals for one
10 easy budget family meals
5 nights of budget family suppers
Budget dinner party ideas
5-ingredient dinners

Have you tried our easy budget meals? Leave a comment below…


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Prices are accurate for a range of supermarkets in May 2018.