Cheap family meals: Budget recipes under £1 per head

It's easy to cook cheap family meals with our selection of budget recipes…

A selection of cheap family meals all budget recipes under £1 a head
(Image credit: Future)

From spaghetti Bolognese to fish and chips, from tuna pasta to risotto, our cheap family meals are budget recipes all under £1 a head. 

With the cost of living going up it’s getting harder to feed a family well on a budget. That’s why we’ve brought together this collection of cheap family meals that are all under £1 per portion. All of which are priced from a variety of supermarkets including Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury's, and Aldi. From kids' favourites like cottage pie to more adventurous choices like halloumi and tomato salad, there’s something for everyone looking to save money on food (opens in new tab).

Food prices are rising consistently, and by April 2022 they were 6.7% higher than this time last year, according to NationalWorld (opens in new tab)Planning is key to sticking to a budget, but don’t forget to be flexible too. Seasonal veg is usually cheaper, so adapt plans when you find good deals. Faith Archer, mum-of-two, personal finance journalist, and money blogger at Much More With Less (opens in new tab) says, “I try to keep food costs down by switching to less expensive alternatives, stretching pricey protein with seasonal veg or beans, and slashing food waste. For example, using chicken thighs rather than breasts, and frozen white fish rather than fresh cod.

“What really makes the difference is planning meals over a week or more, rather than focusing on a single recipe," she adds. "That way, if for example, I splash out on a pack of soured cream, bacon, or fresh coriander for one meal, I can make sure to use the rest in a different meal another day. Binning food is like setting fire to fivers.”

Cheap family meals: Budget recipes

How to make meatballs

A simple dish the kids will love making meatballs from scratch

1. Meatballs with spaghetti

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.82

Priced at Tesco 


  • 1 brown onion, 10p
  • 500g minced pork, £1.79
  • 1 garlic, 25p
  • Hearty Food Co. Spaghetti Pasta, 20p
  • 1 egg, from a pack of 6, 85p
  • Tomato Puree, 35p
  • 1 can Grower's Harvest Chopped Tomatoes, 28p

Meatballs are a great cheap family meal. A nifty trick is to bulk up mincemeat dishes using vegetables to make them go further. Adding an extra onion and a couple of finely chopped carrots would cost less than 50p. It would add another portion to the sauce and the 500g pasta will easily serve five.

Stay under budget by using dried herbs in this recipe and skipping the Parmesan and pesto, but use store cupboard ingredients to boost the flavour instead. Half a crumbled beef stock cube, for example. Tesco Classic Green Pesto is an extra £1 (for a 190g jar) but you only need a spoonful, leaving plenty for other meals. An opened jar will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Get the recipe: How to make meatballs (opens in new tab)

Farmhouse chicken braise

Swap the Sunday roast for this mouthwatering tray bake instead

2. Farmhouse chicken braise

Serves: 6 | Cost per person: 92p | Total cost: £5.53

Priced at Sainsbury’s


  • 2kg British Fresh Chicken Skin on Thighs, £3.50
  • 500g carrots, 23p
  • 2 leeks, 60p
  • 150ml double cream, 75p
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore English mustard, 45p

Faith says: “I’m a big fan of using tasty chicken thighs rather than more expensive chicken breasts, and the creamy mustard sauce makes this dish special. It goes well with value range rice if you have hungry teenagers to fill up.”

Chicken breast is probably the nation’s favourite cut, but it’s expensive and it’s not nearly as tasty or tender as thighs. You can get a really good deal on this large pack, which portions out at two thighs per person. Remove the skin if you like, to keep the fat content lower but it's not necessary.

Get the recipe: Farmhouse chicken braise (opens in new tab)

Bacon and broccoli pasta salad

It takes just a handful of ingredients to make this healthy, filling recipe

3. Bacon and broccoli pasta salad

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 89p | Total cost: £3.57

Priced at Asda


  • Smart Price Pasta Shapes, 32p
  • Butcher's Selection 12 Unsmoked Back Bacon Rashers, £1.75
  • Mild Tender Baby Spinach, 90p
  • Broccoli, 50p

This Slimming World recipe for bacon and broccoli pasta salad is not only cheap to make but healthy too. We've doubled the ingredients so it serves four. We swapped the Tenderstem broccoli for regular broccoli which is more affordable. When you prepare the broccoli, don’t discard the stem - you can cube it and use it in the pasta sauce too. It has a lovely texture.

We used back bacon here, but check the prices of the streaky bacon too as it’s often cheaper. Keep any bacon leftovers in the freezer and you’ll have some ready for next time.

Get the recipe: Bacon and broccoli pasta salad (opens in new tab)

The ideal recipe, on our cheap family meals list, for summer evenings

4. Courgette, garlic, and herb oaty crust quiche

Serves: 6 | Cost per person: 75p | Total cost: £4.50

Priced at Tesco


  • Tesco Scottish Rough Oatcakes, 80p
  • Soft Cheese with Garlic & Herb, 90p
  • 3 courgettes, £1.20
  • 2 eggs (from a pack of 6), 85p
  • Sour cream, 75p

This makes a lovely, vegetarian-friendly Sunday lunch. With the homemade pie case, it does not feel like a budget dish at all. You can use any cream cheese with garlic and herbs, and we swapped the crème fraîche for sour cream as it works out a little cheaper. Butter is one of our store cupboard staple ingredients, but you do need a large portion for this recipe - about half a pack.

This recipe is great for sharing and as you've got a bit of budget leftover you could easily serve it with a salad for a summer meal. Leftovers also make the perfect lunch option the next day.

Get the recipe: Courgette, garlic, and herb oaty crust quiche (opens in new tab)

A bargain vegetarian curry priced at just 95p per portion

5. Lentil and spinach curry

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 95p | Total cost: £3.80

Priced at Asda


  • 1 tin green lentils, 48p
  • Tinned spinach leaves, 75p
  • Smart Price peeled plum tomatoes, 28p
  • Red onion, 10p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Pataks Madras paste pots, 99p (at Tesco or Aldi)
  • Fresh coriander, 50p
  • Smart Price Long Grain Rice, 45p

This veggie curry is a lovely weeknight supper. We’ve served it with rice rather than naan bread and chutney to keep the price down. Faith says: “This curry can be whipped up from store cupboard staples. Onion, garlic, rice, and tins all last for ages.

The tinned spinach and paste pots keep costs down for a single meal. But if you have the cash and might repeat the recipe, or cook other curries, Asda sells a jar of balti curry paste for £1.50 and an 850g bag of frozen spinach for £1.40. These would make at least four meals and be cheaper over the long run.”

Get the recipe: Lentil and spinach balti (opens in new tab)

This recipe is perfect for sharing at picnics too

6. Tomato tart

Serves: 6 | Cost per person: 84p | Total cost: £5.06

Priced at Sainsbury’s


  • Cherry tomatoes (500g), £1.35
  • Green pesto, £1
  • Sainsbury Frozen rolled puff pastry, £1.30
  • Iceberg lettuce, 46p
  • Sainsbury’s balsamic dressing, 95p

One of our favourite cheap family meals that uses readymade pastry. Check the frozen aisle for readymade puff pastry, as it’s often cheaper than the chilled versions (though Sainsbury’s chilled puff pastry does go on offer at £1 from time to time).

This tart is quite big and serves six people. We’ve served it with a dressed salad here, which still comes in under £1 per person. The tart on its own is 61p per portion.

Get the recipe: Tomato tart (opens in new tab)

This recipe costs just 71p per serving - well under the £1 a head mark

7. Baked vegetable polenta

Serves: 6 | Cost per person: 71p | Total cost: £4.25

Priced at Asda


  • Tropical Sun Fine Cornmeal Polenta (500g), 85p
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley, 50p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Farm Stores White Mushrooms, 50p
  • 2 leeks, 60p
  • Cherry tomatoes (325g), 80p
  • Asda Greek-style cheese, 75p

Polenta is ground corn that can be cooked to a thick, creamy consistency, or left to set, then you can slice it. It’s an Italian staple, and it’s cheap. If you’re not tried cooking with it before, this recipe is a delicious, filling way to start.

Fresh cut herbs are pricey and tend to only be good for 1-2 uses; you can use dried instead. Alternatively, it’s only 10p more to buy a parsley plant from Asda. You can use it for this recipe then plant it in the backyard or in a window box. It’s a really low-maintenance plant and should survive all summer, if not longer.

Get the recipe: Baked vegetable polenta (opens in new tab)

It takes just 6-7 ingredients to make this budget recipe

8. Courgette pesto pasta

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 98p | Total cost: £3.92

Priced at Tesco


  • Green Pesto Sauce, £1
  • Hearty Food Co. Spaghetti, 20p
  • 2 courgettes, 80p
  • 1 onion, 10p
  • Cook Italian Grated Hard Cheese, £1.35
  • Fresh cut basil, 47p

Light yet filling, this spring courgette and pesto pasta dish is simple to make - you can have it on the table in just 20 minutes. You’ll use about half a jar of pesto here, leaving the other half for another meal (or to make this one again). Over two meals, that brings the cost down to 86p per portion.

If you want to jazz this recipe up, swap the regular pesto for red pesto instead. Leftovers can be easily reheated the next day and served for lunch or served cold with a leftover side salad from a previous meal.

Get the recipe: Courgette and pesto pasta (opens in new tab)

Bacon and onion make a delicious combo in this recipe

9. Smoked bacon and onion tart

Serves: 6 | Cost per person: 91p | Total cost: £5.43

Priced at Morrisons


  • Everyday Value cooking bacon (500g), £1.49
  • 2 onions, 20p
  • Free Range Eggs (6), £1.20
  • British soured cream (150ml), 75p
  • Greenside Deli Mature Cheddar, £1.79

“This tart demonstrates how small amounts of cooking bacon and cheese can add loads of flavour, while still leaving lots to use in other meals," says Faith. "If you buy a larger container of soured cream, crème fraiche, or double cream it typically costs less per gram, and you could substitute the rest in the chicken braise or macaroni cheese. Plus, the tart tastes good cold too, so it works well for packed lunches or summer picnics.”

The original recipe serves eight but to give everyone a nice main portion, we’ve costed it to feed just six. There is enough room in the budget to serve it with an iceberg lettuce salad (an extra 55p).

Get the recipe: Smoked bacon and onion tart (opens in new tab)

Spaghetti bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese is a firm family favourite - and a cheap family meal too

10. Spaghetti Bolognese

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 85p | Total cost: £3.39

Priced at Tesco


  • 2 medium onions, 20p
  • Beef mince (500g), £1.79
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Mushrooms (90g), 32p
  • 1 can Chopped tomatoes, 28p
  • Tomato puree, 35p
  • Hearty Food Co. Spaghetti Pasta, 20p

Faith says: “Spaghetti Bolognese is one of my children’s favourite meals, and a budget favourite too. You can pick up value range spaghetti for just 20p and stretch the sauce with vegetables, such as the mushrooms or grated carrot, and finely chopped celery. I make Bolognese sauce in my slow cooker to save energy costs too.”

Make the meal go even further by adding up to another 250g of mushrooms (75p) and another can of chopped tomatoes (28p). This will make an extra two portions, and any leftovers can be stored in the fridge overnight - or even frozen for dinner another night.

Get the recipe: Spaghetti Bolognese (opens in new tab)

Using pork instead of lamb cuts the cost down on these kebabs

11. Pork kebabs in pitta

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: £1 | Total cost: £4

Priced at Sainsbury’s


  • British Extra Lean Diced Pork Leg (425g) £2.45
  • Mary Ann's Dairy Low Fat Natural Yogurt 500g, 45p
  • Garlic 25p
  • Cucumber portion 35p
  • Value White Pitta (6) 50p

“Here’s an example where switching an ingredient, substituting chunks of pork for expensive lamb, brings the price right down," says Faith. "Investing in a big pot of natural yogurt means you can eat the rest with fruit or cereal, or add a cooling dollop to curry.”

Stuff the pittas even more with shards of iceberg lettuce for an extra 46p. This budget recipe makes a great family dinner option in the summer months - or a hearty lunch time dish at the weekends.

Get the recipe: Lamb kebabs in pitta (opens in new tab)

Macaroni cheese with peas

A portion of this cheap family meal is just 95p per serving

12. Macaroni cheese with peas

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 95p | Total cost: £3.79

Priced at Sainsbury’s


  • Everyday Value pasta penne quills (500g), 58p
  • The Greengrocer garden peas (850g), 52p
  • J James cooking bacon (500g), 75p
  • Sainsbury's Mary Ann Dairy Mild Cheddar Slices 200g, 99p
  • British Creme Fraiche, 95p

This is such a great classic family meal, made even tastier with bacon and even healthier with peas. Faith says: “Adding the bacon and peas to macaroni cheese lifts it from a side dish into a main meal, and this recipe is easy to scale up if you have loads of kids to feed.

Using cooking bacon keeps the costs down. You end up with the same great taste, it’s just that rather than paying extra for neatly packaged rashers you get a mix of streaky and back bacon, some chunks and some slices, some with rind and some not.”

Get the recipe: Macaroni cheese with peas (opens in new tab)

The perfect Friday night dinner on a budget

13. Beer-battered fish and double-cooked chips

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 94p | Total cost: £3.74

Priced at Morrisons


  • International Seafood Co Fish Fillets (450g), £1.89
  • 4 baking potatoes, 39p
  • Manns original brown ale (500ml) £1.10
  • 2 x Smart price mushy peas (300g), 36p

Faith says: “Rather than splashing out on a takeaway, save by making your own fakeaway fish and chips instead. Frozen white fish fillets are often much more affordable than fresh fish, and will last a lot longer in your freezer. Value range frozen peas are another of my freezer favourites, and if you get some for the macaroni cheese recipe above, you could substitute some of the rest of the bag for the mushy peas.”

You will need enough sunflower oil to deep fry your fish and chips. You can actually re-use oil around 10 times before you need to replace it so keep this in mind when cooking.

Get the recipe: Beer battered fish and triple cooked chips

pork goulash

This pork goulash is just 93per portion

14. Pork goulash

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 93p | Total cost: £3.71

Priced at Sainsbury’s


  • Extra Lean British Pork stir fry 300g, £1.75
  • Onion, 15p
  • 1 red pepper, 48p
  • Tomato puree, 35p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore Chopped Tomatoes, 28p
  • Creamfields Low Fat Natural Yogurt, 45p

This hearty pork and pepper goulash recipe is flavoured with paprika and packed with veggies such as red onion, tin tomatoes, and roasted red pepper.

To save money we’ve used a fresh red pepper - you can roast it yourself in the oven in about 45 minutes. Chop it in half, place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and bake for 40 minutes. The skin will be blackened and ready to peel off.

Get the recipe: Pork goulash (opens in new tab)

Turkey mince cottage pie

Turkey mince is much healthier than beef mince - and leaner too
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

15. Turkey mince cottage pie

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 99p | Total cost: £3.97

Priced at Morrisons


  • Turkey thigh mince, £2.25
  • Tomato passata (500g), 45p
  • Onion, 20p
  • Savers Marrowfat peas, 39p
  • Carrots (500g), 29p
  • 4 Potatoes, 39p

This warm and comforting potato topped pie is a perfect weekend supper for the whole family. It’s packed with meat, potatoes, and vegetables, a whole meal in one. Turkey mince is slightly more expensive than beef but it’s tasty and healthy - a lean source of protein.

This Woman's Weekly turkey mince cottage pie is perfect for Sunday dinner. We've used tinned peas instead of frozen to keep them cheap.

Get the recipe: Turkey mince cottage pie (opens in new tab)

tuna and brown rice salad

A portion of this filling salad is just 98p per person

16. Tuna and brown rice salad

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 98p | Total cost: £3.95

Priced at Asda


  • 2 Onions, 20p
  • Smart Price Long Grain White Rice (1kg), 45p
  • Mild salsa dip, 79p
  • Black olives, 60p
  • Smart Price red kidney beans, 33p
  • 1 tin sweetcorn, 40p
  • 2 tins Smart Price Tuna in brine, 59p

This tuna and brown rice salad is not only cheap to make but nutritional too. The original recipe serves one so we’ve doubled the amount of onion and tuna, and quadrupled everything else to make it serve four in total. This is a great choice for those warmer summer evenings when you're looking for something filling but not too heavy.

Leftovers can easily be stored in the fridge and eaten the next day for lunch. If you want to cut the cost of this dish further, leave the salsa dip and enjoy a plain tuna and brown rice salad instead.

Get the recipe: Tuna and brown rice salad (opens in new tab)

Veggie burgers

A great vegetarian option at just 95p per burger

17. Bean burgers

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 95p | Total cost: £3.78

Priced at Morrisons


  • KTC Red Kidney Beans (400g), 45p
  • KTC Butter Beans (400g), 45p
  • Spring onions 59p
  • Fresh coriander bunch 85p
  • Morrisons Sliced White Rolls (6), 79p
  • Onion 10p
  • Shredded Iceberg lettuce, 55p

Use the two spare burger buns to make breadcrumbs for the burgers and instead of binding them with egg, add a small splash of milk - just enough to bring them together.

Faith says: “Tinned beans are a good way to add protein for less, and your kids may be more willing to try them when shaped into these tasty burgers. This recipe is priced on using the two spare burger buns to make breadcrumbs, but if you have crusts of bread knocking around you could grate them into breadcrumbs and use the buns for a packed lunch.”

Get the recipe: Bean burgers (opens in new tab)

It takes just six ingredients to make this bacon and chilli pasta

18. Bacon and chilli pasta

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 91p | Total cost: £3.64

Priced at Sainsbury’s


  • Hubbards Foodstore spaghetti (1kg), 40p
  • J James cooking bacon (500g), 75p
  • Imperfectly Tasty Mixed Peppers, 80p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore Pasta Sauce, 39p
  • Sainsbury's dried grated hard cheese, £1.05

This quick and easy bacon and chilli pasta recipe takes just 10 minutes to prepare. We’ve used ‘wonky veg’ peppers which usually come in a mixed bag of red and green, sometimes yellow. They don’t look as pretty as the standard peppers but you’re chopping them up here anyway, and they taste just as nice. Use dried basil to keep it under budget.

Get the recipe: Bacon and chilli pasta (opens in new tab)

Tuna pasta bake

A family favourite - one of our best cheap family meals

19. Tuna pasta bake

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 90p | Total cost: £3.59

Priced at Asda


  • Asda Smart Price Tuna Chunks in Brine (145g), 59p
  • Red onion, 10p
  • Farm Stores White Mushrooms, 50p
  • Sweetcorn in Water (198g), 40p
  • Smart Price Peeled Plum Tomatoes, 28p
  • Tomato Puree, 40p
  • Smart Price pasta shapes, 32p
  • Single cheese Slices (200g), 57p
  • Lightly Salted Tortilla Chips, 43p

This tuna pasta bake is so tasty and delicious, it’s always welcome for dinner. The melty cheese topping is one of the best parts, but cheese is an expensive extra on a shopping list (starting at around £4.42 for the per kilo price). These cheese slices are a handy cheat - you can just place them over the top of the past bake before you put it in the oven and it will melt in place.

Scrunched-up crisps or tortilla chips make a nice crunchy topping. You can get a similar effect from breadcrumbs made from stale bread which may end up being cheaper too. And a nifty way to use up leftover bread.

Get the recipe: Tuna pasta bake (opens in new tab)

This budget sausages with kale mash is just 77p per serving

20. Sausages with kale mash

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 77p | Total cost: £3.08

Priced at Morrisons


  • Sliced curly kale (200g) £1
  • 4 baking potatoes, 39p
  • Spring onions (100g) 59p
  • Woodheads Pork sausages, 80p (special offer, normally £1)
  • Savers gravy granules, 30p

“Sausage and mash is great comfort food," says Faith, "And value range gravy granules really help if you are tight for time mid-week. You can also ring the changes and shave costs by substituting half a savoy cabbage for a bag of chopped kale. Savoy cabbage lasts quite a while in the fridge, and you’d still have the other half to use in soups, stir-fries, and steamed as extra veg."

Make your own onion gravy if you prefer. Save the fat that comes off the sausages as they cook and use it to fry a sliced onion (10p). Don’t let it burn, but it should really soften and caramelise. Stir in a heaped teaspoon of flour, then pour in a beef stock cube melted in 150ml hot water and let it bubble until you get a nice thick gravy.

Get the recipe: Curly kale mash (opens in new tab)

A great budget dinner with one of your five-a-day included too

21. Beetroot risotto with horseradish

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 95p | Total cost: £3.80

Priced at Sainsbury’s


  • Arborio risotto rice (500g) £1
  • 1 onion, 20p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Sainsbury’s Cooked Beetroot vacuum pack (250g) 80p
  • Everyday Value horseradish sauce (160ml) 70p
  • G’s Little Leaves wild rocket (60g) 85p

This colourful, tasty beetroot risotto is packed with flavour. You may be able to save more by buying raw beetroot and cooking it yourself - check the price as it varies a lot depending on whether it’s in season or not. Otherwise, the cooked version is quicker and easier as you don’t have to peel it yourself (and probably get very purple hands).

Get the recipe: Beetroot risotto (opens in new tab)

22. Sausage omelette

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.87

Priced at Tesco


  • Herta Original Frankfurters (4), £1.45
  • Eggs, £1.29 for 15
  • Cherry tomatoes, 90p

This three-ingredient dish is a weekend brunch bargain. We’ve added cherry tomatoes to the recipe to add some nutrition to the dish. Use dried herbs to flavour it - as they're cheaper and go a long way compared to fresh herbs.

Buying 15 eggs means you can have them for Saturday and Sunday brunch. Instead of the four packs of sausages, buy the 10 packs for £2.30. Use five sausages each day (or freeze the extra two), use just seven eggs on one of the mornings but add 30ml milk, and use half the pack of tomatoes each time. That works out as a total spend of £4.49, or 56p per person per meal.

Get the recipe: Sausage omelette (opens in new tab)

Easy sausage and potato casserole

A hearty meal the whole family can enjoy together
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

23. Easy sausage and potato casserole

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 71p | Total cost: £2.83

Priced at Tesco


  • Onion 10p
  • Seasonal new loose potatoes, 86p
  • Green pepper 48p
  • Woodside Farms pork sausages (8 pack) £1
  • Hearty Food Co Tomato and Herb pasta sauce (440g) 39p

This sausage and potato casserole is so cheap you could buy fancier sausages and still keep it under £1 a head. Though there is a pepper in the sauce, you’ll probably want to serve with another portion of veggies to add to your five-a-day. Curly kale goes really well with the tomato-y sauce and a 180g bag (72p) would take the spend up to 89p per person.

Get the recipe: Easy sausage and potato casserole (opens in new tab)

Similar flavours to the peri-peri chicken we all know and love

24. Peri-peri chicken

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.85

Priced at Morrisons


  • British Chicken Wings (1kg), £1.75
  • 2 x Morrisons Cook It Piri Piri Seasoning, £1
  • Morrisons Wholefoods Couscous (500g) 70p
  • Savers Marrowfat peas, 39p

A kilo of chicken wings at Morrisons is on offer this summer at £1.75 (until mid-July, normally £2.80). If you have a spicy rack at home you can make up your own Piri Piri seasoning using chilli, garlic, oregano, paprika, and lemon, but these sachets are good value and two will be enough to cover these wings.

To make it a full meal, we’ve served this with couscous mixed with a tin of marrowfat peas. Make the couscous even tastier by using a chicken stock cube to make it.

Get the recipe: Peri-peri chicken (opens in new tab)

A delicious one-pot meal with tender chunks of chicken

25. Tomato-baked chicken

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 93p | Total cost: £3.73

Priced at Asda


  • Asda Farmstores chicken thigh portions (1.1kg), £1.94
  • Smart Price Bolognese sauce (440g) 39p
  • Asda Growers selection baby potatoes (1kg) 90p
  • Asda Farms Stores White Mushrooms, 50p

For this recipe, we’ve used our favourite cut of chicken: tender and juicy thighs. Even though they taste better than chicken breasts, thighs are always cheaper, making them a complete bargain.

The original recipe calls for mozzarella on the top as an optional extra. If you would like to include this you can buy a ball for 70p. To keep the per head price down you can make two meals worth. Buy the chicken mushrooms and sauce twice, and use all the potatoes and 1 ball of mozzarella over the top. This would work out as 91p per person per meal. You can keep the second portion in the fridge overnight and reheat it the next day.

Get the recipe: Tomato baked chicken (opens in new tab)

Cauliflower curry

A mouthwatering vegetarian option that you'll want to make time and time again

26. Cauliflower curry

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.85

Priced at Sainsbury's


  • Imperfectly tasty cauliflower head, 80p
  • 3 onions, 60p
  • TRS Mild Madras curry powder 60p
  • Coconut milk 85p
  • Bag of spinach (100g) £1

This cauliflower curry is a great alternative to a classic meat curry. Swapping meat for vegetables is a great way to keep your meals cheap and on a budget - plus it’s fabulously healthy.

If you think you’d make this lovely curry twice, upgrade the bag of spinach for a 1kg bag of frozen spinach for just £1.50. It will last for ages with no chance of leaves going soggy in the bottom of the salad drawer.

Get the recipe: Cauliflower curry (opens in new tab)

Sausage, squash and onion toad-in-the-hole

A hearty toad in the hole studded with nutritious butternut squash
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

27. Sausage, squash, and onion toad-in-the-hole

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.85

Priced at Tesco


  • Woodside Farms pork sausages (8 pack) £1
  • Butternut squash £1.20
  • 2 brown onions, 20p
  • 3 British eggs (from a pack of 6), 85p
  • Whole milk 1 pint, 60p

Toad-in-the-hole is a great classic family dinner, packed with sausages floating in a sea of Yorkshire pudding. We’ve updated this version with some lovely chunks of butternut squash and sliced onion. It's a budget recipe at just 96p per serving.

Normally we count milk as a store cupboard staple ingredient, but since this recipe contains quite a large amount, so we’ve costed it into the budget. If you want to cut the cost of this dish you could leave the butternut squash, however, we think it adds a delicious texture and sweetness to this cheap family meal.

Get the recipe: Squash and onion toad-in-the-hole (opens in new tab)