Family Meals Under £5

Cooking on a Budget: Delicious Family Meals Under £5

Cooking on a budget doesn’t have to mean bland and boring dinners. We get it – stretching your hard-earned pounds while feeding the family can feel like a tricky juggling act. But hey, we’re here to show you that it’s not only possible but deliciously doable! Say goodbye to pricey takeaways and hello to mouthwatering family meals under £5 so that they won’t break the bank.

In this wallet-friendly culinary adventure, we’re serving up a smorgasbord of budget-savvy tips and recipes. No need to sacrifice flavour or nutrition. We’re talking about scrumptious meals that come in at under £5 a serving – yes, you heard that right!

So, get ready to be the budget-savvy chef your family will cheer for. Let’s dive into the world of affordable yet utterly delectable dishes. From thrifty dinner recipes to ingenious meal planning, we’ve got your back on the path to affordable culinary greatness. Let’s cook up some budget-friendly magic!

Budget-Friendly Cooking Benefits

Cooking on a budget isn’t just about saving cash; it’s about creating wallet-friendly meals that are packed with flavour. We all know that feeding a family can put a strain on the finances, but it doesn’t have to. Here’s why diving into budget-friendly cooking is a delicious win-win:

Save Money, Eat Well:

With budget-friendly cooking, you’ll discover that making delicious meals at home is often cheaper than ordering takeout or dining out. More money in your pocket, more yum on your plate.

Less Food Waste:

Budget cooking often involves using what you already have in the pantry and fridge. It’s a great way to reduce food waste and make the most of every ingredient.

Get Creative:

Limited funds can inspire culinary creativity. You’ll find yourself experimenting with new recipes and discovering exciting flavour combinations you might not have tried otherwise.

Nutritious and Delicious:

Budget meals can still be nutritious. You won’t have to compromise on taste or health. It’s all about making smart choices and savvy substitutions.

Family-Friendly Feasting:

Sharing budget-friendly meals with your family isn’t just about saving money; it’s about creating memories. Cooking together and enjoying homemade dishes can be a fun and bonding experience.

Family Meals Under £5

So, if you’re ready to explore the world of budget-friendly cooking, keep reading. We’re about to serve up some seriously tasty and affordable family meals that everyone will love. Let’s get cooking!

Let’s dive into the heart of budget-friendly cooking: the ingredients. These are the building blocks of your thrifty and tasty meals. Here, we’re going to uncover the must-have, penny-pinching pantry staples and kitchen heroes that’ll help you conquer the budget cooking game:

Pasta Power:

Pasta is a true budget champion. It’s versatile, filling, and incredibly affordable. Plus, it pairs perfectly with countless ingredients, from simple tomato sauce to more elaborate creations.

Rice Ruler:

Rice is another wallet-friendly superstar. It’s the perfect canvas for creating various dishes, whether it’s a hearty stir-fry, a comforting risotto, or a tasty curry.

Legume Love:

Beans and lentils are your plant-based pals. They’re not only nutritious but also economical. You can whip up dishes like bean stews, lentil soups, or even veggie burgers on a budget.

Tinned Treasures:

Canned goods like tomatoes, tuna, and sweetcorn are budget meal essentials. They have a long shelf life and can be the foundation of many quick and tasty dishes.

Frozen Finds:

Don’t overlook the freezer aisle. Frozen vegetables and fruits are often cheaper than fresh and can be used in a wide range of recipes.

Chicken Chops:

Chicken, particularly thighs and drumsticks, tends to be more budget-friendly than other meats. It’s versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes.

Egg-cellent Choices:

Eggs are a fantastic budget protein source. From omelettes to frittatas and quiches, they’re your go-to for affordable and delicious breakfasts and dinners.

Flavour Boosters:

Budget cooking doesn’t mean bland food. Keep budget-friendly flavour enhancers like herbs, spices, and stock cubes on hand to transform simple ingredients into tasty meals.

By stocking up on these kitchen heroes, you’ll be ready to create scrumptious meals without breaking the bank. So, gather your ingredients and let’s start cooking up some budget-friendly magic in the kitchen! 

Now that you’ve got your budget-friendly ingredients sorted, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and explore some clever cooking techniques that’ll help you make the most of every penny and every bite:

Batch Cooking Brilliance:

Spend a bit of extra time in the kitchen on a lazy Sunday and prepare larger portions of your meals. Freeze the extra portions in single servings for easy and affordable dinners throughout the week.

Leftover Love:

Embrace the art of leftovers. That roast chicken from Sunday? Turn it into chicken sandwiches or a hearty chicken and vegetable soup. Leftover rice? Transform it into a tasty stir-fry the next day.

Soup and Sauce Savvy:

Soups and sauces are budget meal heroes. Make a big batch of tomato sauce, for example, and use it for pasta, pizzas, or as a base for soups – the possibilities are endless.

DIY Spice Blends:

Instead of buying expensive pre-made spice blends, create your own by mixing basic spices. It’s not only cost-effective but also allows you to tailor flavours to your liking.

Meat Stretching:

When using pricier proteins like meat, mix them with budget-friendly ingredients like beans, lentils, or vegetables to make your meat go further.

One-Pot Wonders:

Opt for one-pot or one-pan meals. They save on washing up and often require fewer ingredients, making them budget and time-friendly.

Store and Reuse:

Don’t toss vegetable scraps; use them to make homemade stock. Freeze leftover bread to make breadcrumbs later. Reducing waste is a budget-savvy move.

Plan Your Portions:

Avoid over-serving and wasting food by portioning your meals appropriately. This not only saves money but also encourages mindful eating.

By incorporating these money-saving cooking techniques into your culinary routine, you’ll soon discover that budget-friendly cooking can be both thrifty and tasty. So, let’s get cooking and make those pennies stretch deliciously!

Importance of Starting the Day Right on a Budget


Ice Lolly for Breakfast
Ice Lolly for Breakfast (with a healthy twist) So here’s my thinking, ice lolly for breakfast must earn me some
right? ……. A quick trip to the shop and only a few quid down. The plan commenced.
Check out this recipe
Ice Lolly for breakfast ready to freeze


Thai Omelette Recipe
Looking for a delicious and easy Thai-style omelette recipe? Check out our latest blog post for a step-by-step guide on how to make a mouth-watering omelette with crispy edges and umami flavour. Perfect for a quick breakfast or a side dish. Give it a try and let us know what you think!
Check out this recipe
Thai Omelette Recipe


Breakfast, they say, is the most important meal of the day, and when you’re cooking on a budget, it becomes even more vital. Here’s why getting your morning meal right without breaking the bank is a game-changer:

Fuel for the Day Ahead:

Breakfast gives you the energy boost you need to tackle the day. It kickstarts your metabolism and helps you stay alert and focused. You wouldn’t start a road trip with an empty tank, right?

Saving on Snacking:

Skipping breakfast often leads to mid-morning hunger pangs and snacking. By having a satisfying breakfast, you’re less likely to splurge on pricey vending machine snacks.

Mood Management:

A good breakfast can put you in a positive mood. Hangry mornings? Not when you’ve had a nutritious and tasty start.

Balanced Choices:

A budget-friendly breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day. When you begin with a balanced meal, you’re more likely to make mindful choices for lunch and dinner, helping you stick to your budget.

Smart Shopping:

Planning budget-friendly breakfasts can influence your grocery list. You’ll be on the lookout for affordable breakfast staples, which can save you money on your overall shopping bill.

Family Bonding:

Breakfast is often a family affair. It’s a chance to sit down together, share a meal, and connect. And guess what? Budget breakfasts can be delicious and family-friendly.

So, don’t underestimate the power of a budget-friendly breakfast. It’s not just about saving money; it’s about setting a positive tone for the day and ensuring you have the energy to tackle whatever comes your way. Ready to explore some wallet-friendly breakfast ideas? Let’s dive in!

Importance of Packing Lunches to Save Money

Lunchtime – it’s the midday pit stop, and if you’re looking to save those hard-earned pounds, it’s a game-changer. Here’s why packing your lunch for school or work is a wallet-friendly move that also packs a punch:

Kiss Goodbye to Pricey Lunch Deals:

Eating out during lunch hours can quickly add up. Those daily sandwich runs or takeaways may seem harmless, but over time, they can drain your budget.

Control Over Costs:

Packing your own lunch means you’re in charge of what goes in and how much you spend. It’s budgeting with your taste buds in mind.

Leftovers Love:

Remember those delicious dinners you batch-cooked? Well, they’re not just dinner; they’re tomorrow’s lunch! Using leftovers reduces food waste and saves you money.

Healthier Choices:

When you’re the chef, you control the ingredients. You can opt for healthier choices and avoid pricey pre-packaged lunches that might not be as nutritious.

Say No to Vending Machines:

Packing your lunch means you’re less likely to rely on vending machines for midday snacks. That’s fewer coins spent on chips and chocolate bars.

School Lunch Savings:

If you’ve got kids, packing their lunches can be a huge money-saver. Those cafeteria meals can add up fast. Plus, you get to ensure they’re eating a balanced meal.

Prep-Time Pleasure:

Spending a little time the night before to prepare lunch can save you a lot of money in the long run. It’s like a mini investment in your financial well-being.

By emphasizing the importance of packing lunches for school or work, you’re not just saving money – you’re taking control of your budget, making healthier choices, and reducing waste. It’s a small change that can make a big difference. Let’s explore some budget-friendly lunch ideas next!


Sticky Rice Cooked in Microwave
An easy, never fail way to cook delicious Asian Sticky Rice in a microwave
Check out this recipe
Sticky Rice Cooked in a Microwave


Thai Style Crispy Pork
Crispy pork belly, or, Moo Krob as it is known in Thai, is a dish made from succulent and crispy pieces of pork belly, served with a spicy dipping sauce. The dish can be found at street markets throughout Thailand.
Check out this recipe
thai style crispy pork
Vegan BLT
As we move towards the Summer Holidays I plan to highlight some delicious, affordable and easy to cook picnic and BBQ recipes. I am very excited to announce that to kick this off, I have a series of vegan picnic ideas from Louise Palmer-Masterton , who is the founder of multiple award-winning restaurants Stem & Glory. The first in this series is a delicious Vegan BLT. So if you want to cook something that is part of an award-winning restaurants menu, now is your chance! The ‘VLT’ (Vegan BLT) Makes 2-4 rounds of sandwiches depending on the bread size This has been on our menu at Stem & Glory Cambridge for years and it’s an absolute winner. The trick is making the tempeh bacon super thin and super crispy and having just the right amount of mayo to make it sing!
Check out this recipe
Vegan BLT


Versatility of Ingredients for Thrifty Cooking

Now, let’s talk about something that’ll make your budget-friendly cooking journey even more exciting – the incredible versatility of ingredients. These wallet-friendly wonders can wear many hats in different meals, allowing you to stretch your budget without sacrificing flavour:

Family Meals Under £5

Lemon Pasta: Pasta al Limone
Lemon pasta, as it's commonly known, has captured the hearts and palates of food enthusiasts around the globe. Its unique combination of creamy richness and bright acidity is a delightful departure from the ordinary.
Quick to cook and cheap to make. Whats not to like about this amazing pasta recipe!
Check out this recipe
Lemon Pasta
Easy Homemade Pesto Recipe
Pesto, a fragrant masterpiece in the world of culinary delights, has found its way into the hearts of food enthusiasts across the United Kingdom. With its origins rooted in the sun-soaked hills of Italy, pesto has become more than just a sauce – it's a symphony of flavours that dances through British kitchens. In this guide, we embark on a journey through the vibrant tapestry of pesto, exploring its myriad variations, sharing cherished recipes, and unveiling the secrets to mastering this culinary gem. Welcome to a rendezvous with pesto, where basil, garlic, and olive oil unite in a harmony that knows no borders.
Check out this recipe
easy homemade pesto recipe
Domino's Pizza Dough Copycat Recipe
Imagine biting into a slice of pizza with a perfectly balanced crust—crispy on the outside, yet soft and airy on the inside. The magic behind Domino's Pizza dough has captivated taste buds worldwide for years, and now, you have the chance to recreate this iconic crust from the comfort of your home.
Check out this recipe
Domino's Pizza Dough Copycat Recipe
Chorizo and pea risotto recipe
This chorizo and pea risotto recipe is the perfect midweek meal for a busy family. It only takes a few minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook. The kids love it and always ask for a second helping. It is versatile too. If you don't have any chorizo, replace it with some bacon or perhaps some leftover chicken from your Sunday Roast. I always like to make recipes quick and easy. With only three steps and 30 minutes of cooking, this fits the bill well. Give it a go and let me know what you think.
Check out this recipe
chorizo and pea risotto recipe
Easy Pasta and Meatballs Recipe
Who wants another easy mid-week meal? If so, this is for you. Taking only ten minutes from start to finish the easy pasta and meatballs recipe is a family favourite. Made from just a few store cupboard ingredients, it comes together in just a few minutes. The kids love this meal and often request it, which suits me fine. Especially on the nights, we are rushing around together to fit in all the out of school activities that fill our diaryies. Why not give this easy pasta and meatballs recipe a try for yourself.
Check out this recipe
easy pasta and meatballs recipe
Spaghetti Puttanesca Recipe
Another affordable and delicious recipe, perfect for a busy families midweek meal. This Spaghetti Puttanesca Recipe was delicious and was ready in 20 minutes. Most of the ingredients can be found in your kitchen cupboards already, just remember to pick up the bits you do need when you next go shopping. *MENTAL NOTE* If your kids ask what Puttanesca means in Italian, don't, I mean, DON'T Google it in front of them.
Check out this recipe
Easy Spaghetti Puttanesca Recipe

Mighty Minced Meat:

Minced meat, whether it’s beef, pork, or chicken, is like a budget-cooking chameleon. It can star in spaghetti bolognese one day, become the filling for tacos the next, and even spice up a stir-fry the day after. One ingredient, endless possibilities.

Veggie Variety:

Vegetables are budget superheroes. They can shine in soups, salads, pasta dishes, and curries. Plus, they can be roasted, steamed, or stir-fried, changing their taste and texture to suit your culinary mood.

Egg-cellent Eggs:

Eggs aren’t just for breakfast; they’re a budget cook’s best friend. From omelettes and frittatas to egg-fried rice, they’re versatile and wallet-friendly.

Rice and Pasta:

These pantry staples are budget all-stars. Use them as the base for a variety of dishes, from hearty risottos to simple stir-fries.

Thrifty Tinned Goods:

Canned tomatoes, beans, and tuna are like culinary lifesavers. They can star in pasta sauces, add protein to salads, and even create budget-friendly casseroles.

Spud Success:

Potatoes are one of the cheapest ingredients around, and they’re incredibly versatile. Mash them, roast them, turn them into fries or hash browns – they’ll never get boring.

Condiments and Sauces:

A dash of soy sauce can transform a simple stir-fry. Ketchup can become the base for a homemade barbecue sauce. Don’t underestimate the power of condiments and sauces in budget cooking.

So, when you’re cooking on a budget, remember that these ingredients can wear many hats, taking on different roles in various meals. It’s all about getting creative and enjoying the delicious journey of thrifty cooking. Let’s continue exploring budget-friendly recipes!

Homemade Treats vs. Store-Bought: The Value Proposition


Easy Microwave Lava Cake
Imagine warm, gooey chocolate oozing from a tender cake, all achieved in a matter of minutes. Yes, you heard that right - within a few short moments, you'll be savouring a taste of instant chocolate heaven!
Check out this recipe
Easy Microwave Lava Cake Recipe
Easy Red Pepper Dip
As we move towards the Summer Holidays I plan to highlight some delicious, affordable and easy to cook picnic and BBQ recipes. This is part three from a series of vegan picnic ideas from
Louise Palmer-Masterton , who is the founder of multiple award-winning restaurants
Stem & Glory. The first in this series was a delicious Vegan BLT and the recipe can be found here. The second recipe in the series was a delicious Vegan quiche and the recipe can be found here. The third recipe in the series was this amazing vegan egg mayo sandwich and the recipe can be found here.Part four is this interesting Czech style Vegan potato salad and the recipe can be found here.Part five of this vegan, picnic and summer recipe share is this delicious Red Pepper Dip.This red pepper dip has a sweet and smoky flavour, making it perfect as a dip or served on the side with just about anything! So if you want to cook something that is part of an award-winning restaurants menu, now is your chance!
Check out this recipe
red pepper dip
60 Second Nutella Cookies
The little lady found a 60 second Nutella cookie recipe over on TikTok, unfortunately, she couldn't find it again. She could remember the ingredients, just not the amounts of each item. But with a little playing around, we found the correct balance. And when we did find that correct balance the outcome was amazing. The cookies tasted amazing with an extra gooey chocolate bit in the centre. The little lady loved her creation and we have had them several times since. If you are looking for some simple baking to do with the kids, that doesn't take too long or create too much mess, have a go at this and let us know how you got on. For the sake of this recipe, I will give approximate measurements but have spare of each ingredient to be able to adjust.
Check out this recipe
60 Second Nutella Cookies


When it comes to budget-friendly cooking, we’ve got to talk about treats – those little moments of culinary delight that brighten our day. Here’s why homemade treats are the true stars of thrifty cooking:

  1. Pocket-Friendly Pleasures: Let’s face it; buying ready-made treats can be a money-guzzler. Making your own biscuits, cakes, or desserts at home is often a fraction of the cost.
  2. Quality Control: When you’re the chef, you’re in charge of what goes into your treats. You can choose quality ingredients and avoid artificial additives, giving you better control over the taste and nutrition.
  3. Portion Power: Homemade treats allow you to control portion sizes. No more excessive indulgence; you can savour your creations without going overboard.
  4. Creative Freedom: Making treats at home gives you the freedom to experiment with flavours and textures. You can whip up unique combinations that you won’t find in store-bought versions.
  5. Family Fun: Baking or making treats together with family can be a fun and budget-friendly activity. It’s a chance to bond, share, and enjoy delicious results.
  6. Leftover Loveliness: Homemade treats can often be repurposed into other desserts or snacks, reducing waste and stretching your budget further.

So, while store-bought treats might seem convenient, there’s immense value in creating your own. It’s budget-savvy, quality-conscious, and can be a delightful experience for you and your family. Ready to try your hand at homemade treats? Let’s get baking!

Planning and Shopping on a Budget

Now that we’ve uncovered the secrets of budget-friendly cooking, let’s talk about how to plan and shop smart. After all, saving those precious pounds begins before you even step into the kitchen:

  1. Meal Planning Magic: The first step to budget-friendly cooking is having a plan. Decide what you’ll cook for the week, taking into account what ingredients you already have. This reduces the risk of overspending or buying items you won’t use.
  2. Write a Shopping List: A shopping list is your budgeting BFF. Stick to it religiously, and you’ll avoid impulse buys that can blow your budget.
  3. Embrace Seasonal Produce: Seasonal fruits and vegetables are often cheaper and tastier. Plan your meals around what’s in season for maximum savings.
  4. Store Brands vs. Name Brands: Don’t shy away from store brands or generic products. They’re often just as good as name brands but come with a smaller price tag.
  5. Bulk Buying Bonanza: Consider buying non-perishable items in bulk. Staples like rice, pasta, and canned goods are usually cheaper when bought in larger quantities.
  6. Check for Deals and Discounts: Keep an eye out for discounts, sales, and special offers. Sign up for loyalty cards or apps that offer additional savings.
  7. Avoid Shopping When Hungry: This may sound strange, but shopping on an empty stomach can lead to impulse buys. Have a snack before heading to the supermarket to stay on budget.
  8. Stick to the Essentials: While it’s tempting to explore every aisle, stick to your list and focus on the essentials. Extra items can quickly add up.

By following these budget-conscious planning and shopping tips, you’ll be well-prepared to create delicious and affordable meals while keeping your spending in check. Ready to embark on your budget-friendly cooking adventure? Let’s get cooking!

Involving the Family in Budget-Friendly Cooking

Cooking on a budget doesn’t have to be a solo mission – it can be a family affair filled with fun and learning. Here’s why involving your loved ones in budget-friendly cooking is a recipe for success:

  1. Shared Responsibilities: Get the family involved by assigning roles in meal preparation. Kids can wash veggies, set the table, or help with simple tasks, making cooking a joint effort.
  2. Budget Education: Cooking together offers a valuable lesson in budgeting. Discuss the cost of ingredients when preparing your family meals under £5, how to save, and the importance of reducing waste with your children.
  3. Bonding Time: Preparing meals as a family can strengthen your bonds. It’s a chance to chat, share stories, and enjoy quality time together.
  4. Expand Palates: Involving kids in cooking often makes them more open to trying new foods. They might be more willing to taste something they’ve helped create.
  5. Life Skills: Teaching your children to cook is a life skill that will serve them well in adulthood. It equips them with the knowledge to prepare budget-friendly, nutritious meals on their own.
  6. Fun and Creativity: Cooking is a creative outlet. Let your children’s imaginations run wild by encouraging them to invent their budget-friendly dishes or customise recipes.
  7. Family Rewards: Consider setting a family goal or reward for sticking to the budget. It could be a special dessert, a movie night, or even a small treat – a little incentive can go a long way.

So, don’t be afraid to get the whole family involved in your budget-friendly cooking adventures. It’s a win-win situation – you’re saving money, teaching valuable life skills, and creating memorable moments together. Ready to whip up some budget-friendly meals as a family? Let’s do it!

Family Meals Under £5. Budget-Friendly Cooking – Where Savings and Flavour Collide

There you have it – the delicious journey of budget-friendly cooking. We’ve explored the ins and outs of creating scrumptious family meals without draining your wallet. From clever ingredient choices to savvy cooking techniques, we’ve covered it all.

Cooking on a budget isn’t about sacrificing taste; it’s about celebrating the value of good food that doesn’t break the bank. It’s about creating culinary magic in your kitchen while keeping your finances in check.

So, whether you’re a seasoned home chef or just starting your budget-friendly cooking adventure, remember this: every meal you prepare is a step toward a healthier budget and a happier family. The power is in your hands – or should we say, in your pots and pans!

Now, armed with budget-savvy tips and delicious recipes, you’re ready to embark on your thrifty cooking journey. Gather your family, head to the kitchen, and let the aroma of budget-friendly feasting fill your home. Here’s to saving money, reducing waste, and savouring every bite. Happy cooking, budget chef!

Family Meals Under £5

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