Cheap but nutritious dinners!

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Sade | 17:49 Sat 29th Oct 2011 | Food & Drink
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I am in need of some ideas of what to cook which is economical and good for you. It also needs to be something I can prepare without too much fuss as I really am NO cook. Any ideas gratefully received...x


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Stews/casseroles/ can bulk them out with veg.
Pasta is my standby, with a sauce, and some mince or chicken or brocolli.
get yourself a slow cooker and the cook book to go with it - they are brilliant, easy and so cheap to run. Look it up on the web for an idea of how they work.
Stir frys are good. A bit of chicken or frozen prawns in some sauce, steamed or boiled rice and loads of veg.
Definitely go for a slow cooker, you can cook delicious stews and casseroles, etc but also joints of meat, eg beef brisket, which is inexpensive, and if you add some root vegetables, and some stock or wine whilst it is cooking, then you have a delicious gravy as well. The meat is fantastic cold as well, so does more than one day.
Soups and also things like rice pudding cook fantastically well, with hardly any effort.
Macaroni cheese easy and yummy in slow cooker
Soups are always good. In fact I made some earlier today.
Add pulses to stews bulks out and reduces the amount of meat you need.
Home made fishcakes (when tuna is on offer), jacket spuds, pasta, potato and cheese bake with veg and some bacon or ham. Aldi do some really cheap veg (probably doesn't last as long as the veg from some other shops though) and they do some good meat and fish (it's a bit of trial and error though).
Agree with above - slow-cooker means you can use cheaper cuts of meat and stir-frying means you can use a little meat and lots of veg.
Most supermarkets sell chickens '3 for £10'. Don't know how many your cooking for but could possibly get a roast and a curry or casserole from one chicken.
Minced beef can be very healthy - brown, drain off the fat and add lots of onions,peppers and mushrooms, tinned tomatoes and herbs to make spag bol, or add carrots, tinned tomatoes, swede and potato to make cottage pie.

Chicken thighs are cheap and perfect for casserole. Any left over, put in a dish, cover with pastry and you have chicken pie.
Jacket potatoes with beans and side salad is both cheap and nutritious. Jzz the salad up with soemolives and beetroot or whatever you fancy, but neither are expensive. We have it once a week.

Buy plenty of veg and do a stir fry. Rather than use meat, add some butter beans (40p per tin) at the end and serve with rice or tortillas.

Agree with others about stew. Make it in the biggest pot you have and bulk it out with pearl barley and veggies. It'll last 2/3 days and you can add a few dumplings one night or have some green veg on the side another.
Shepherds Pie. Stir fries (you can buy frozen stir fry veg and just chuck in the cooked chicken, prawns, whatever). My favourite standby is a tin of corned beef. Corned Beef hash, Corned beef, egg, beans and chips, or even cornish pasties made with mashed potato onion and corned beef. As suggested already slow cookers are great for cheaper cuts of meat, stewing meat, brisket.
Please see my post here for some 50p meals:

My Pilchard Bake costs a little more, but it's really tasty:

Slow-cooking (as suggested above) is a good idea. You don't necessarily need to buy a slow cooker; a casserole dish in the oven at gas mark 1 (140 degrees C) will do the same job. Just throw some ingredients into the casserole dish and put it in the oven for several hours. (It makes no difference whether that's 4 hours or 10 hours in the oven; the result is much the same, so it's hard to go wrong). For example, get some cheap(-ish) chicken pieces, such as legs or thighs, and put them in a suitable liquid in the casserole dish. (Use 'cup soups', from pound shops, or something similar; they're far cheaper than proper 'cook in' sauces, but just as good). Add some sliced carrots, or other root veg, and perhaps some mushrooms. Place in the oven, wait a few hours and enjoy.

While there are plenty of recipes on the web, it's much more fun just to experiment. For example, the other day I was trying to think what I might do with one of the small cans of pilchards (other than my recipe above). I put the pilchards (in tomato sauce) in a frying pan, with some olive oil. I heated it up, then added a third of a jar of pasta sauce. When that was heated through, I put a splash of boiling water in and added a vegetable stock cube, with some freshly-ground black pepper. I then continued simmering the mixture until it was reduced to a decent consistency. I served that lot with a buttered jacket potato. It was just an experiment but I ended up with a really tasty meal for around 70p. Don't be afraid to experiment!

You can get a lot of bargains in pound and discount shops, rice, pasta, soups, sauces, tinned fish, stock cubes etc... and things like tins and sauces are good to buy up on deals like 2 for 1 as they keep.

Hotpot can be a good filler, do some potatos and veg in some stock then add some tinned stewing steak and let it thicken (bit of cornflour mixed with water if necessary).

I keep an eye on bargain bins and quite often find some great reductions in the evenings, especially veggies. Larger bags of frozen veggies like peas and runner beans could save you money.

I also get some great bargains from one of the chinese supermarkets in town, really cheap noodles, soy sauce etc...

Loads of good cheap meal potentials like those mentioned about that you can make with these which can be stocked up on and used with all kinds of meats which you can choose when it's on offer. Just watch the amount of fat on cheaper cuts of meat and cutting it off could mean you don't have a lot left for your money.
I made a cauliflower, broccoli and potato cheese last week. Quite simple to make and nutritious. Just boil up the veg and then make the sauce. Butter and cornflour in a saucepan - cook out the cornflour until turns into a solid mass and then add small quantities of milk each time and stir untill milk is absorbed. Repeat this until creamy. Should take around 5 mins. Grate some cheese and put into sauce and stir until melted then pour over cooked, drained veg. Put in oven for 20 mins or until browned.
Question Author
Thanks everyone- some really good answers here which will keep me busy!
Not so much recipes. but cheap cuts of meat are chicken legs from the supermarket. If you have a good knife and don't mind skinning them and boning them out, you can use the meat for curries, stews etc and make chicken stock with the bones, (which is a good basis for chicken soup). Shin of beef is probably the cheapest cut of beef suitable for casseroling. It is cheaper than braising or stewing steak and just as delicious.

Go to your supermarket in the evening if possible to get bargains. My friend bought a marked down joint of beef. Just roast it that night whilst you are watching TV and slice it and cook in gravy for the next night or alternatively freeze it in portions.

Bacon hock is cheap and combined with the chicken leg meat in a white sauce makes a cheap and tasty chicken and ham pie filling.

The hock and/or chicken are good fillings for pasta bakes etc too.

If you like Italian food and buy Parmesan, try Grana Padano insted. It is cheaper and better in flavour IMHO.

Many supermarket own economy brands are great. I always have tins of cheap chopped tomatoes in the cupboard. Good for many sauces and sausage casseroles etc. If using cheap sausages add chilli and/or garlic to give it a bit of taste,

There's something satisfying about making a low cost meal that tastes great.

If you have a glut of apples or pears given to you, (a bit late this year), make chutneys. They are easy and there are a lot of recipes on the net.

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