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15 Easy Budget-Friendly Meals: Delicious And Affordable Recipes

Preparing delicious and nutritious meals on a tight budget can be challenging. With clever shopping and a dash of creativity, you can whip up delicious dishes that keep your family and wallet happy. In this blog, we have compiled 15 easy, budget-friendly meals from one-pot wonders to vegetarian alternatives, all of which will raise donations for your favourite charity!

Contents:

  1. Budget-Friendly Family Meals.
  2. Budget-Friendly Meals For 2.
  3. Budget-Friendly Healthy Meals.
  4. Budget-Friendly Vegan/Vegetarian Meals.

Budget-Friendly Family Meals

These recipes include affordable ingredients and leftovers, allowing your family to minimise waste while maximising taste:

  1. Chicken & Broccoli Pot Pie.
  2. Beef Enchiladas.
  3. Tortilla Pizzas.
  4. Chicken & New Potato Traybake.

Chicken & Broccoli Pot Pie

This chicken and broccoli pot pie is budget-friendly and a breeze to prepare. Get ready to impress your loved ones with this fuss-free dish that will soon become a cherished family favourite!

What you’ll need to serve 4:

Budget-friendly meal: chicken and broccoli pot pie.
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  • 1 onion, sliced.
  • 375g of diced Broccoli florets.
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard​.
  • 400g of cream of chicken soup.
  • 375g of ready-rolled puff pastry.
  • 1 tbsp of milk.

Time needed: 45 minutes.

  1. Put the onion, oil and diced broccoli stalks in the microwave on high for 5-6 mins. Stir every 2 minutes, until they are soft. Once soft, tip them into a pie dish.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
  3. Put the broccoli florets in the microwave and loosely cover them with baking paper or a plate. Microwave for 3-4 mins until just tender. Add to the pie dish and stir in the mustard and chicken soup.
  4. Season if you want extra flavour. You can use garlic, salt or any herbs you like.
  5. Cover the dish with the puff pastry and trim the excess, sealing the edges with a fork. Pierce the centre with a sharp knife to make a steam hole.
  6. Brush the pastry with milk, then bake for 30 mins.
  7. Serve with mash and your favourite vegetables.

Beef Enchiladas

Beef enchiladas are a flavourful dish that can be made on a budget without compromising taste. This Mexican-inspired dish combines seasoned minced beef with a rich and tangy tomato sauce.

What you’ll need to serve 4:

Budget-friendly meal: beef enchiladas
  • 500g of minced beef.
  • 1 onion finely chopped.
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed.
  • 400g of chopped tomatoes.
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée.
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano & ground cumin.
  • 1 red chilli.
  • 8 flour tortillas.
  • 50g of cheddar, grated.
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced.

Time needed: 1 hour.

  1. Fry the minced beef and onion in a pan for about 5 minutes until browned. Add in your garlic and fry for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, tomato purée, oregano, cumin, and season.
  2. Finely chop your chilli, remove the seeds, and add to the minced beef. Bring your pan to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Save a few slices of chilli for garnish.
  3. Spread some mince in the centre of each tortilla, roll it and place it in a baking dish.
  4. Top the tortillas with grated cheese, chilli and jalapeño peppers and bake for 10 minutes until golden.
  5. Serve with extra jalapeños or guacamole.

Tortilla Pizzas

Get creative and customise a tortilla pizza with your favourite toppings. These versatile pizzas are the perfect go-to option for a simple. You can even get the kids involved in the prep!

What you’ll need to serve 4:

Budget-friendly meal: tortilla pizzas.
  • 4 flour tortillas.
  • 1 tsp of olive oil per tortilla.
  • 3 tbsp of tomato puree per tortilla.
  • 4 cooked chicken breasts, sliced.
  • 2 green peppers, chopped.
  • 3 spring onions, chopped.
  • 300g of mozzarella cheese.

Time needed: 30 minutes.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
  2. Dice your chicken breasts and cook ready to place on your pizza later.
  3. Place your tortillas on a baking sheet and brush with your olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven until golden, for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and spread the tomato puree on top. Arrange your chicken breast, green pepper, and spring onions over tomato sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted.
  6. Slice pizza into wedges using a pizza cutter.

Chicken & New Potato Traybake

The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity, as it requires minimal effort and a handful of basic ingredients. Whether it's a busy weeknight or a cosy weekend gathering, the chicken and new potato traybake will keep food costs in check.

What you’ll need to serve 4:

Budget-friendly meal: chicken & new potato traybake.
  • 3 tbsp olive oil.
  • 500g  of new potatoes.
  • 1 lemon, quartered.
  • 8 fresh bay leaves.
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled.
  • 4 large chicken thighs.

Time needed: 1 hour 30 minutes.

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Pour the olive oil into a large roasting tin and add the potatoes, lemon quarters, bay leaves and garlic.
  2. Coat everything in oil and toss. Add the chicken thighs, skin-side up, and season.
  3. Put the roasting tin in the oven for 1 hour & 15 minutes. Baste with the pan juices halfway through cooking.
  4. Remove the roasting tin from the oven. Press down on the roasted garlic cloves, remove the skins and mix the mashed garlic with the meat juices.
  5. Serve with a salad of your choice.

Budget-Friendly Meals For 2

When it comes to preparing meals for two, these budget-friendly meals provide a culinary adventure that will leave both taste buds and wallets content.

  1. Stuffed Peppers.
  2. One-Pot Chicken & Vegetable Pasta.
  3. Soba Noodles & Wasabi Garlic Prawns.
  4. Sausage & Mushroom Pot Pie.

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are a fantastic and budget-friendly meal for two that's delicious and easy to prepare. You can get creative with the fillings and utilise leftovers!

What you'll need to serve 2:

Budget-friendly meal:  stuffed peppers.
  • Drizzle of oil.
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped.
  • 1 garlic clove, oregano.
  • 250g of beef mince.
  • 200g of chopped tomatoes.
  • 1 beef stock cube.
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup.
  • 2 peppers.
  • 50g of grated cheese.

Time needed: 55 minutes.

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and heat the oil in a large pan.
  2. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and beef, and cook until the meat is browned.
  3. Add the tomatoes, oregano, stock cube and ketchup. Stir and cover with a lid, and simmer for 30 mins.
  4. Halve the peppers and scoop out the insides. Place cut-side up in a roasting tin, season and bake for 20 mins.
  5. Divide the mince between the softened peppers. Return to the oven for 10 mins, sprinkled with cheese.

One-Pot Chicken & Vegetable Pasta

Whether you're cooking for a date night or a quick weeknight dinner, this one-pot chicken & vegetable pasta is a filling, and cost-effective option that will leave you both content.

What you'll need to serve 2:

Budget friendly meal: one-pot chicken and vegetable pasta.
  • 225g of pasta.
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 1 medium carrot, diced.
  • 100g of broccoli florets.
  • 200g of shredded chicken.
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes.
  • 500ml of chicken broth.
  • 100g of Parmesan cheese.

Time needed: 30 minutes.

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic, sautéing until translucent. Then add the diced carrot and broccoli to the pot, stirring occasionally until slightly softened.
  2. Pour in the diced tomatoes, seasoning and chicken broth, and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
  3. Stir in the cooked shredded chicken and pasta. Cook until the pasta has absorbed the broth, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.

Soba Noodles & Wasabi Garlic Prawns

This fusion of Japanese and Asian flavours creates a mouthwatering experience that won't break the bank, and it only takes 15 minutes!

What you'll need to serve 2:

Budget-friendly meal: soba noodles & wasabi garlic prawns
  • 1 tbsp wasabi.
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce.
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed.
  • 150g of soba noodles.
  • 50g of butter.
  • 180g of raw peeled king prawns
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced.

Time needed: 15 minutes.

  1. Mix the wasabi, soy sauce and garlic in a small bowl.
  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the noodles following pack instructions.
  3. Heat the butter in a frying pan. Once foaming, stir in the prawns and cook until pink.
  4. Stir in the wasabi mixture with a couple of spoonfuls of the noodle-cooking water and heat through.
  5. Add the noodles to the pan with the spring onions, and divide between two plates.

Sausage & Mushroom Pie

This sausage & mushroom pie recipe offers a satisfying and economical dinner with savoury sausages and earthy mushrooms. Quick to prepare and easy on the wallet, it's a great choice for any occasion.

What you'll need to serve 2:

Budget-friendly meal: sausage and mushroom pie.
  • 2 tsp olive oil.
  • 1 small onion, chopped.
  • 6 pork sausages.
  • 250g of mushrooms, halved.
  • 1 tbsp of wholegrain mustard.
  • 4 tbsp of sour cream.
  • Parsley, chopped.
  • 85g of ciabatta, torn into small chunks.

Time needed: 55 minutes.

  1. Heat one teaspoon of oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and cook for 5 mins until soft.
  2. Squeeze the meat from the sausages and roll it into balls. Add to the pan and fry for 5 mins until golden. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 mins more until softened.
  3. Season, then stir in the mustard, sour cream and 4 tbsp water. Bubble for 2 mins, then remove from the heat and add the parsley.
  4. Heat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Transfer the sausage mixture to a large baking dish. Toss the ciabatta in the remaining oil, scatter over the top of the pies and bake for 20 mins until golden and bubbling.

Budget-Friendly Healthy Meals

These healthy budget meals offer a delectable fusion of flavours that are cost-effective. For tips & tricks on how to eat healthily on a budget, see here.

  1. Baked Lemon & Herb Cod.
  2. Butter Bean & Chorizo Stew.
  3. Miso Mushroom & Tofu Noodle Soup.
  4. One-pot Coconut Fish Curry.

Baked Lemon & Herb Cod

This dish is packed with essential nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids. The addition of fresh herbs and lemon not only enhances the taste but also adds a burst of vitamin C and antioxidants.

What you'll need to serve 2:

Budget-friendly meal: baked lemon & herb cod
  • 2 cod fillets.
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced.
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano & thyme.
  • Parsley, chopped.

Time needed: 20 minutes.

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or lightly grease it to prevent sticking. Rinse the cod fillets under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. Place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried thyme, salt, and pepper.
  3. Brush the olive oil mixture over the cod fillets, ensuring they are evenly coated on both sides.
  4. Lay the thinly sliced lemon on top of the cod fillets, covering them with lemon slices.
  5. Bake the cod in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes until it flakes easily with a fork.
  6. Once the cod is ready, garnish with freshly chopped parsley. Serve the Cod with steamed vegetables, roasted potatoes, or a fresh salad.

Butter Bean & Chorizo Stew

Packed with protein, fibre, and essential nutrients, the butter beans provide a nutritious base while the chorizo infuses the stew with a burst of savory goodness.

What you'll need to serve 2:

Budget-friendly meal: butter bean & chorizo stew.
  • 200g of chorizo sausage, sliced.
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 400g of butter beans.
  • 400g of diced tomatoes.
  • 250ml of vegetable broth.
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  • Fresh parsley, chopped.

Time needed: 20 minutes.

  1. Add the sliced chorizo to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes until it releases its flavorful oils and starts to brown slightly.
  2. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the pot. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the onion becomes translucent.
  3. Pour in the diced tomatoes and vegetable broth. Stir in the dried thyme, salt, and pepper.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the stew simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. After 15 minutes, add the drained and rinsed butter beans to the pot. Stir everything together and let it simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes until the beans are heated through.
  6. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Miso Mushroom & Tofu Noodle Soup

This wholesome bowl of goodness provides a well-balanced and nourishing meal that is perfect for any day of the week.

What you'll need to serve 2:

Budget-friendly meal: miso mushroom & tofu noodle soup.
  • 2 tbsp of oil.
  • 130g of mushrooms, sliced.
  • 100g of tofu, cubed.
  • 1 tbsp of miso paste.
  • 100g of egg noodles.
  • 4 spring onions, shredded.

Time needed: 25 minutes.

  1. Add the sliced chorizo to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes until it releases its flavorful oils and starts to brown slightly.
  2. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the pot. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the onion becomes translucent.
  3. Pour in the diced tomatoes and vegetable broth. Stir in the dried thyme, salt, and pepper.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the stew simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. After 15 minutes, add the drained and rinsed butter beans to the pot. Stir everything together and let it simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes until the beans are heated through.
  6. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

One-pot Coconut Fish Curry.

With the goodness of omega-3 fatty acids from the fish and the creamy goodness of coconut milk, this one-pot coconut fish curry is a guilt-free dining experience.

What you'll need to serve 2:

Budget-friendly meal: one-pot coconut fish curry.
  • 1/2 tbsp of oil.
  • 1/2 onion, chopped.
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed.
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric & garam masala.
  • 200ml of coconut milk.
  • 195g of fish pie mix.
  • 100g of frozen peas.
  • 1/2 lime, cut into wedges.

Time needed: 30 minutes.

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion. Gently fry until the onion is translucent, then add the garlic and spices.
  2. Stir and cook for another minute, adding a splash of water to prevent them from sticking. Tip in the coconut milk and stir, then simmer for 10 mins.
  3. Tip the fish pie mix and the peas into the pan and cook until the fish starts to flake.
  4. Season and add lime juice to taste. Place into bowls and serve with yoghurt and rice.

Budget-Friendly Vegan/Vegetarian Meals

  1. Chickpea & Vegetable Stir-Fry.
  2. Veggie Tacos.
  3. Carrot & Coriander Soup.

Chickpea & Vegetable Stir-Fry

With the goodness of omega-3 fatty acids from the fish and the creamy goodness of coconut milk, this one-pot coconut fish curry is a guilt-free dining experience.

What you'll need to serve 2:

Budget-friendly meal: chickpea and vegetable stir-fry.
  • 1 tbsp of oil.
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped.
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 400g of chickpeas.
  • 3 tsp of dark soy sauce.
  • 1 tbsp of honey.
  • 450g of mixed stir fry vegetables.
  • 300g of fresh noodles.

Time needed: 20 minutes.

  1. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan. Add the chilli, garlic, and drained chickpeas. Cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until fragrant.
  2. Add all of the vegetables and stir-fry for another 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the soy sauce and honey, and allow the sauce to begin bubbling and sizzling. Cook for a minute, then add the noodles and mix everything together.
  4. Cook over medium-high heat until the noodles are hot and the vegetables are cooked to your liking.

Veggie Tacos

Veggie tacos are an excellent option for those seeking a delicious and budget-friendly recipe. Packed with flavour and wholesome ingredients, these tacos offer a mouthwatering experience without breaking the bank.

What you'll need to serve 2:

Budget-friendly meal: veggie tacos.
  • 1 tbsp of oil.
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped.
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced.
  • 2 peppers, diced.
  • 1 courgette, diced.
  • 1 can of black beans.
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp of chilli powder.
  • 4 small taco shells/tortillas.

Time needed: 40 minutes.

  1. In a small frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic, and sauté for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the peppers, and courgette to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
  3. Stir in the cooked black beans, ground cumin, chilli powder and mix everything together and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. While the filling is cooking, warm the taco shells or tortillas. Spoon the filling into each taco shell, and then add your choice of toppings.

Carrot & Coriander Soup

Whether you're looking for a quick weeknight dinner or a cost-effective option for feeding a crowd, carrot and coriander soup is a delicious go-to choice that proves that budget-friendly cooking doesn't mean compromising on taste.

What you'll need to serve 2:

Budget-friendly meal: carrot&coriander soup.
  • 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil.
  • 1/2 onion, chopped.
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 potato, chopped.
  • 250g of carrots, chopped.
  • 1.2l of vegetable stock.
  • Handful of coriander.

Time needed: 20 minutes.

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large pan, add the chopped onion, then fry for 5 mins until soft.
  2. Stir in 1 tsp of ground coriander and the chopped potato, then cook for 1 min.
  3. Add the chopped carrots and vegetable stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat.
  4. Cover and cook for 20 mins until the carrots are tender.
  5. Tip into a food processor with a handful of coriander then blitz until smooth
  6. Return to pan, taste, add salt if necessary, then reheat to serve.

We encourage you to give our budget-friendly meals a try. And remember, each time you shop through Give as you Live Online, your chosen charity receives a free donation! Happy cooking!


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