Healthy meals that are kind to your pocket

We know it's not an easy time to feed yourself and your family, so we have put together our top low cost recipes. These are split across three categories: affordable and healthy, making the most of leftovers, and delicious meals that need just five ingredients. You can find all of these recipes below.

We also offer ideas and tips for saving money on your bills and food shop. Check out our Cost of Living Advice here.

Healthy and Affordable meals

Fish Finger Pie

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Ingredients

700g potatoes, peeled

50g butter

50ml semi-skimmed milk

10 fish fingers

360g pre-made creamy sauce

450g frozen whole green beans

1 leek, thinly sliced

200g frozen peas

At a Glance

Serves 4

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

579kcal / serving

Method

  • Preheat the oven to gas 7/220°C/fan 200°C.

  • Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the potatoes for 15 mins or until tender. Drain and mash with 20g of the butter, the milk and a little salt and pepper.

  • Put the fish fingers into a baking dish and cook for 10 mins or until heated through.

  • Put 20g of the butter into a small saucepan to melt, then add the frozen peas and cook until defrosted. Add the creamy sauce and warm through.

  • Pour the warm sauce over the fish fingers in the baking dish and top with the mash. Bake for 15 mins until the top is golden brown (you can add cheese if you want!).

  • Cook the green beans according to pack instructions and toss with the remaining 10g butter before serving.

Pasta Pomodoro

 

Method

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onion and garlic for 4-5 mins over a medium heat until softened and golden.

  • Add the plum tomatoes and cook for 4-5 mins, stirring gently, until the tomatoes have softened.

  • Add the passata and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 mins until reduced and thickened.

  • Meanwhile bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the spaghetti for 8-10 mins or to taste. Drain and set aside.

  • Once the tomato sauce has reduced, season and stir well.

  • Add the drained pasta and stir to coat in the sauce.

  • Can be served with freshly grated Parmesan and basil leaves!

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Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced

325g baby plum tomatoes

500g passata

250g spaghetti

At a Glance

Serves 4

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

323 kcal / serving

Sausage and Bean Stew

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Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, finely sliced

420g baked beans

8 frozen sausages

400g tin chopped tomatoes

2 tsp mustard

175ml stock of your choice

100g any green veg

At a Glance

Serves 4

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

402 kcal / serving

Method

  • Heat half the oil in a lidded saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 6 mins then set aside.

  • Increase the heat to medium-high, add the remaining oil and the frozen sausages and cook for 7 mins until browned all over.

  • Add the onions to the pan with the tomatoes and mustard.

  • Add the stock, season with pepper and cook over a medium heat for 10 mins, adding the beans after 5 mins.

  • Stir through the green veg, cover and cook for 4-5 mins more until the sausages are cooked through and the vegetables are tender.

  • Serve with mash on the side.

Making the Most of Leftovers

Porridge Pancakes

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Ingredients

150g cold leftover porridge

150g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 ripe banana, mashed

2 large eggs

100ml milk

2 tsp vegetable or sunflower oil

At a Glance

Serves 4

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

265 kcal / serving

Method

  • Mix the porridge, flour, baking powder, banana, eggs and milk in a bowl.

  • Heat the oil in a frying pan.

  • Drop 2-3 tbsp of the porridge mixture into the pan and cook over a medium heat until the underside is golden and bubbles are popping on the surface.

  • Flip over and cook for another few mins until cooked through, then keep warm in a low oven and repeat until you’ve used up all the batter.

  • Serving suggestions: fruit, yogurt, syrup or honey, lemon and sugar.

Fridge Raid Soup

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Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 litre of any stock

4 garlic cloves, crushed

Any veg (eg. carrots, celery, peas)

1 potato, peeled and cubed

400g can chopped tomatoes

At a Glance

Serves 4

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 40 minutes

434 kcal / serving

Method

  • Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium heat and cook the onion and your vegetables for about 10 mins.

  • Add the garlic, tomato purée and chopped tomatoes and stir.

  • Pour in the stock, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 mins.

  • Add the potato cubes, along with a generous pinch of seasoning.

  • Cover and simmer for another 15-20 mins, stirring occasionally or until the veg is tender and the soup has thickened.

  • Serve with bread on the side for dunking.

Sunday Roast Pie

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Ingredients

200g-300g of leftover meat

100g leftover gravy, or any stock

About 250g of leftover potatoes

50g cheese, grated

2 tbsp breadcrumb

At a Glance

Serves 2

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

680 kcal / serving

Method

  • Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

  • Carve all leftover meat off the bone, roughly chop and place in an ovenproof dish, or two individual pie dishes.

  • Pour over some gravy, or if there’s none left add a bit of stock to moisten.

  • Crumble the leftover potatoes over, then scatter with cheese and breadcrumbs.

  • Bake in the oven for 30 mins until golden on top and bubbling around the edge. If you’ve got any veg leftover, then quickly reheat and serve alongside.

Sausage Pasta Bake

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Ingredients

450g leftover sausage meat

50g breadcrumbs

1 tbsp olive oil

500g tomato passata

300g any pasta

½ small cabbage, cut into slices

250g mozzarella, cubed

At a Glance

Serves 4

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 50 minutes

295 kcal / serving

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

  • Put the sausagemeat and breadcrumbs in a bowl and mix to combine. Shape into 20 small balls.

  • Heat your oil in a wide pan and cook the sausageballs for 10 mins until nicely browned. Add passata, cover and simmer gently for 20 mins.

  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta, adding the cabbage for the final 5 mins of cooking time.

  • Drain the cabbage and pasta, toss with the sausageball sauce and spoon into a heatproof dish.

  • Push the mozzarella cubes into the top of the pasta. (and you can sprinkle with any extra cheese you have!) and bake for 15-20 mins until bubbling and crusty.

5 Ingredient Recipes

Onion Tart (but any veg works)

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Ingredients

4 medium onions, peeled and halved

50g unsalted butter

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

4 tbsp cider vinegar

320g sheet of all-butter puff pastry

At a Glance

Serves 6

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 50 minutes

352 kcal / serving

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/ gas 7.

  • Place the butter in an oven proof pan on a medium heat.

  • If you want to include herbs, add in and then mix in the sugar, vinegar and 100ml of water.

  • Place the onion halves in the pan, cut side down, then season generously (you can add garlic cloves if you want).

  • Cover, turn the heat down and leave to steam for 10 mins, then remove the lid and cook until the liquid starts to caramelize, shaking the pan to stop it from sticking.

  • Place the pastry over the onions and push it into the edges of the pan, then bake for 35 mins or until golden brown and puffy.

  • Place a large plate over the pan and turn out your tart.

Smoked Salmon Pasta

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Ingredients

350g asparagus

300g dried pasta

250g smoked salmon

1 lemon

100ml low fat crème fraîche

At a Glance

Serves 4

Prep: 2 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

435 kcal / serving

Method

  • Use a peeler to strip the top half of the asparagus stalks into ribbons.

  • Finely slice the remaining stalks, discarding the ends.

  • Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, then drain, saving a mugful of cooking water.

  • Meanwhile, roughly break the salmon into a large non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat.

  • Add the sliced asparagus stalks, and toss occasionally.

  • Finely grate half the lemon zest into the salmon pan, squeeze in half the juice, then toss in the drained pasta, a good splash of reserved cooking water and the crème fraîche.

  • Add the asparagus ribbons, then season to perfection and serve with lemon wedges, for squeezing over.

Spicy Beef with Cauliflower Rice

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Ingredients

500g lean minced beef

1 head of cauliflower

1 heaped tsp rendang powder

1 bunch of fresh mint

400g coconut milk

At a Glance

Serves 4

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

375 kcal / serving

Method

  • Place the minced beef in a large pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil, then fry on a high heat, stirring regularly.

  • Halve the cauliflower, placing one half into a food processor, with half of the mint leaves. Cut bite-sized florets off the other half and add to the mince, whilst adding the stalks to the food processor.

  • Stir the rendang powder into the mince and cook for 10 mins, or until crispy.

  • Meanwhile, blitz the cauliflower until fine, then place in a bowl, cover, and microwave on high for 4 to 5 mins.

  • Place most of the remaining mint leaves into the mince, add the coconut milk and 200ml of water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 mins and season.

  • Give the cauli 'rice' a good mix up, and serve on the side of the rendang, scattering over the reserved mint leaves.

Cacio E Pepe

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Ingredients

200g spaghetti or bucatini

25g butter

2 tsp ground black pepper

50g pecorino / parmesan, finely grated

50g mushrooms, sliced (optional)

At a Glance

Serves 4

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

540 kcal / serving

Method

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over a low heat, then add the ground black pepper and toast for a few mins.

Add in the sliced mushrooms and cook for 2 mins.

Drain the pasta, keeping 200ml of the pasta water. Tip the pasta and 100ml of the pasta water into the pan with the butter and mushrooms.

Scatter over the parmesan, but don’t stir – wait for the cheese to melt for 30 seconds, and then well toss everything and stir together (this prevents the cheese from clumping and makes a smooth sauce).

Add a splash more pasta water if you need to, to loosen the sauce and coat the pasta.

Serve immediately with a good grating of black pepper.

Remember:

If you need help The Food Bus offers low cost, fruit, veg and essentials in five different spots each week. It's open to anyone , and by shopping with us you are supporting the community.

We also serve up a free, hot meal each week at our Elephant and Castle (Monday), and Tooting (Friday) Community Canteens. You can meet others, while enjoying a healthy, nutritious lunch. Find out more on our Canteens page.

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