Pasta in pot with tongs

One week of budget-friendly dinners

Plan a week of low-waste, cost-saving dinners with our comprehensive meal plan that includes easy suppers such as roast chicken, pasta and warming soup. 

Use our shopping list to pick up a range of clever ingredients, then turn them into seven simple, waste-free meals to enjoy during cosy nights in. Most serve four, but we’ve added a couple of recipes for two for those days when not everyone needs feeding.

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Check use-by dates and plan your dinners accordingly. Storing herbs in a mug of water in the fridge will help them last longer, so you can use them through the week.

For the ultimate selection of afforable meals, see our budget collection.

Shopping list

Fruit and vegetables 

  • 2 red onions
  • 3 onions
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 1 bunch of spring onions
  • 2 large peppers
  • 3 fennel bulbs
  • 1 small red cabbage
  • 2 Little Gem lettuces
  • 200g chard
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 8 limes
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 small bunch of mint
  • 2 small bunches of coriander
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 small bunch of thyme

Meat, fish and dairy

  • 6 pork sausages
  • 1.5kg whole chicken
  • 250g chorizo sausage ring
  • 6 large eggs
  • 170g parmesan or Italian-style vegetarian hard cheese 

Dry goods

  • 500g risotto rice
  • 300g spaghetti
  • 3 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g cans coconut milk
  • 340g can sweetcorn
  • 2 x 400g cans pinto beans
  • 375g pack quick-cook polenta
  • 220g pitted black olives
  • 8 small soft corn tortillas 

Storecupboard

  • chilli flakes
  • fennel seeds
  • olive oil
  • hot smoked paprika
  • sesame oil
  • chilli sauce
  • fish sauce
  • Thai red curry paste
  • chicken stock cubes
  • white wine
  • anchovy fillets
  • capers 

    Saturday: polenta with chorizo & poached eggs


    Prepare this super-filling polenta topped with spicy chorizo & poached eggs in under half an hour for an easy but indulgent-tasting supper. Make it veggie-friendly by swapping the chorizo for meat-free sausages or mince, and using vegetarian alternative cheese.

    Each serving costs just £2.19.
     

    Sunday: roast chicken with fennel & olives


    Our roast chicken with fennel & olives makes a perfect family Sunday roast. Serve it with a side of creamy polenta flavoured with rich olive oil and parmesan cheese.

    Each serving costs just £3.10.
     

    Monday: creamy curried chicken & rice soup


    This curried chicken & rice soup is a great midweek meal, as the recipe makes enough to enjoy the next day in a packed lunch. Use leftover meat from Sunday’s roast and combine with risotto rice, sweetcorn and broth to make this warming soup.

    Each serving costs just £1.96.
     

    Tuesday: spaghetti puttanesca


    This classic spaghetti puttanesca is made by cooking the sauce all in one pot, then tossing in the cooked pasta. It’s loaded with flavour, thanks to anchovies, capers, garlic and chilli flakes.

    Each serving costs just £1.11.
     

    Wednesday: chorizo & red cabbage tacos


    These easy chorizo & red cabbage tacos come together in just 20 minutes. Pile spicy chorizo, hearty pinto beans and fresh avocado on soft tortillas, then top with a crunchy homemade cabbage slaw.

    Each serving costs just £2.56.
     

    Thursday: sausage & fennel risotto


    Our comforting sausage & fennel risotto is sure to be a family favourite on a chilly weeknight. Combine pork sausages with risotto rice, white wine and chicken stock, then season with fennel, garlic and thyme for an aromatic and delicious meal.

    Each serving costs just £1.83.
     

    Friday: cheat’s sausage larb


    This cheat’s sausage larb is full of Asian-inspired flavours. Larb is a salad that originates from Laos in Thailand, and is often made from minced meat, chilli, fish sauce, lime and herbs, then eaten with lettuce leaves.

    Each serving costs just £1.23.
     

    Enjoyed these budget meals? See more affordable options…

    Budget meals for large families
    Quick budget family meals
    Easy budget meals for two
    5 nights of budget family suppers

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    Which budget meal do you want to try? Leave a comment below…