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The best budget midweek meals to see you through the week

by Malou Herkes

published on 16 December 2018

Eating cheaply doesn’t need to be boring or repetitive. With a bit of know-how, it’s more than possible to eat well for less; start with buying more economical cuts of meat, putting vegetables at the centre of the plate and making the most of store-cupboard spices. These are just a few examples of budget midweek meals, from soups to one-pot (or one-tray) meals to pasta, but if you’re after more inspiration, delve into Eat Well for Less: Quick & Easy Meals or The Savvy Shopper’s Cookbook, both packed with ideas to get you putting delicious, economical dishes on the table. 

Lentil Cumberland Pie from Eat Well for Less: Every Day by Jo Scarratt-Jones.

For a comforting weeknight dinner, this Cumberland Pie from Eat Well for Less: Every Day ticks all the boxes. Dried green lentils are used in place of the traditional meat for a healthy and thrifty (but equally tasty) take on the dish

From the book

Asian-style Sticky Chicken with Chinese Leaf Salad from Eat Well For Less: Every Day by Jo Scarratt-Jones

This delicious Eat Well For Less recipe for Asian-style Sticky Chicken with a light cabbage salad is a budget-friendly recipe that makes a refreshing midweek family meal, with tasty leftovers for lunch the next day. 

Buy Eat Well For Less: Every Day here. 

Sweet Leek Carbonara with Fresh Thyme, Garlic, Cracked Black Pepper and Parmesan from Veg: Easy & Delicious Meals for Everyone by Jamie Oliver.

This sweet, creamy pasta dish from Jamie Oliver’s Veg is a great way to sneak some extra veggies into your mealtime. You can double or triple the amount of the leek base and freeze it in batches for an even more fuss-free evening in the future. 

Buy Veg: Easy & Delicious Meals for Everyone here.

Roasted Aubergine, Courgette and Macaroni Bake from The Quick Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer.

If you’re in need of some serious comfort food, this pasta bake from The Quick Roasting Tin delivers. The creamy Boursin adds a garlic and herb flavour, while the panko breadcrumbs provide a moreish crunch – all in under an hour. 

Buy The Quick Roasting Tin here.

chicken biryani recipe

Chicken Biryani from Eat Well for Less: Quick & Easy Meals by Jo Scarratt-Jones

Chicken Biryani from Eat Well For Less: Quick & Easy Meals is the perfect one-pot dish. Chicken, rice and vegetables are all cooked together with a selection of spices in one large sauté pan, making it the ultimate budget one-pot meal.

From the book

Tasty Salmon Tacos from Save with Jamie by Jamie Oliver

A winning recipe from Jamie Oliver’s failsafe Save with Jamie cookbook, these Tasty Salmon Tacos are a delicious family favourite that are packed with nutritious ingredients as well as a whirlwind of fresh flavours and satisfying textures. 

Buy Save with Jamie here.

Vegetarian Toad in the Hole from The Savvy Shopper’s Cookbook by Amy Sheppard

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly twist on a warming comfort classic, have a go at this Vegetarian Toad in the Hole from The Savvy Shopper’s Cookbook. Swapping meat for a veggie substitute is a great way to save the pennies, without compromising on flavour. 

Get The Savvy Shopper’s Cookbook here.

Pork Meatball Thai Curry from Mincespiration! by Dean Edwards

Dean Edwards’ flavour-packed Pork Meatball Thai Curry from Mincespiration! will quickly become one of your go-to midweek dinner recipes, made with satisfying and fresh ingredients that won’t break the bank. 

Buy a copy of Mincespiration! here.

Barbecue Chicken Bake from Eat Well for Less: Family Feasts on a Budget by Jo Scarratt-Jones

Trust the Eat Well for Less team to come up with a budget-friendly, crowd-pleasing dinner that the whole family will love. Enter this tasty recipe for Barbecue Chicken Bake from the Eat Well for Less: Family Feasts on a Budget cookbook, using chicken thighs and drumsticks (the cheaper parts of the chicken, also considered the most flavourful) coated in an irresistible barbecue glaze. Yes please. 

Buy Eat Well for Less: Family Feasts on a Budget here.

Saucy Chicken and Pepper Pie from The Savvy Shopper’s Cookbook by Amy Sheppard

This Saucy Chicken and Pepper Pie from the Savvy Shopper’s Cookbook goes down a treat with even the fussier eaters in the family, combining the delicious flavours of chorizo and chicken with sweet red peppers and a comforting tomato sauce. It only gets better, with an irresistible topping of creamy mashed potato and oozy cheddar cheese. 

Get The Savvy Shopper’s Cookbook here.

Penne with Roasted Veg and Tomato from Eat Well for Less: Family Feasts on a Budget by Jo Scarratt-Jones

When it comes to pasta, simple is often best, and this Penne with Roasted Veg and Tomato from Eat Well for Less: Family Feasts on a Budget is a case in point. Using frozen veggies to keep the price down, this fuss-free recipe is a great option for an easy weeknight meal, when you’re after something satisfying that’s still nutrititious. 

Buy Eat Well for Less: Family Feasts on a Budget here.

Mouthwatering Moussaka from Eat Well for Less: Quick & Easy Meals by Jo Scarratt-Jones

A vegetarian twist on a family favourite, this Mouthwatering Moussaka from Eat Well for Less: Quick & Easy Meals is a wholesome, satisfying dinner that always goes down well with a hungry crowd. Swapping the traditional red meat for red lentils and aubergine brings down the cost of ingredients without losing the benefits of a filling protein-based meal. 

Buy Eat Well for Less: Quick & Easy Meals here.

puy lentil bolognese

Puy Lentil Bolognese from Eat Well for Less: Quick & Easy Meals by Jo Scarratt-Jones

Swapping meat for pulses is an easy way to cut costs, and this Puy Lentil Bolognese from Eat Well For Less: Quick & Easy Meals has all the flavour and texture of a beef ragu. Spend 20 minutes preparing it, then leave it to tick away for 30 minutes while you get on with your to-do list.

Buy Eat Well for Less: Quick & Easy Meals here. 

broccoli pasta

Broccoli Pasta from Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver

This Broccoli Pasta from Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals is not only quick to prepare, it is packed with flavour. Don’t feel obliged to make the accompanying green salad, and feel free to swap the small amount of pine nuts with whatever nuts you might have in the cupboard. 

Buy a copy of Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals here.

chicken wings recipe

Spicy Chipotle Chicken Wings from The Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer

Choosing economical cuts of meat is the best way to save money. Chicken wings are certainly cheaper than the breast, making this recipe for Spicy Chipotle Chicken Wings a great midweek option. Taken from The Roasting Tin cookbook, packed with ideas for fuss-free suppers that you can throw together in no time, leaving the oven to do the hard work. 

Buy a copy of The Roasting Tin here.


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