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10 Cheap Dishes Anyone Can Make

By Yann, published on 02/08/2018 We Love Prof - IN > Arts and Hobbies > Cooking > Cheap Recipes for Cooking on a Budget

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” – François de La Rochefoucauld

Average monthly grocery basket value in the United Kingdom in 2017 was over £80.

Making your own pasta dishes, fish dishes, and desserts is a great way to save money and eat more healthily. Opening a cookbook is a great idea after a hard day at work when you should sit down and eat some healthy food.

If you’re looking for easy dinner meals, here are ten affordable recipes and hearty meals you can make. You can say goodbye to baked beans on toast, tinned meatballs with spaghetti, and leftover macaroni and cheese from the restaurant you went to last night!

How do you make cheap meals? Make sure your knives are sharp before you start preparing any food. (Source: 2102033)

1 – Tomato and Gorgonzola Spaghetti

There are plenty of great cheap dinner recipes you can make with pasta! Easy dinners can be satisfying, healthy, cheap, and, most importantly, delicious!

So here’s a quick and easy spaghetti recipe.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 10 minutes.

Budget per person: £1

Ingredients:

  • 350g of spaghetti
  • 70g of gorgonzola
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 100ml of cooking cream
  • 20ml of olive oil
  • A pinch of oregano
  • Salt

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Dice the flesh of the tomatoes.
  • Sweat them in a saucepan with the olive oil, oregano, and salt.
  • Add the cream.
  • Reduce for 3 minutes.
  • Add the gorgonzola, mix until it melts.
  • Cook the spaghetti for 10 minutes in a pan of boiling salted water.
  • Strain the pasta and pour on the sauce before serving.

2 – Asparagus and Parmesan Puff Pie

Pies are quick and easy to make and are some of our favourite cheap recipes. During asparagus season (spring), you can get them fresh (and you’ll have to cook them in water), otherwise, a jar will do the trick. They take such little time to make, you can bake them for your weeknight dinners after work.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 35 minutes.

Budget per person: £1.50.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 300g of green asparagus
  • 60g of grated parmesan
  • 100g of lardons
  • 3 eggs
  • 400g of cooking cream
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Cut the asparagus into bits about 2cm in length
  • Place the puff pastry in a pie dish, pierce with a fork, and then spread the asparagus and lardons.
  • In a salad or mixing bowl, beat the eggs, cream, salt, and nutmeg.
  • Pour onto the pastry.
  • Add the Parmesan.
  • Cook in the oven at 190°C.

For a vegetarian alternative, you can replace the lardons with mushrooms, spinach, or some other veggies.

3 – American Style Burgers

This is an easy and cheap recipe that could inspire cooks all over the world. Let’s head across the pond and start making one of the world’s most famous sandwiches, the hamburger!

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 5 minutes.

Stand for 15 minutes.

Budget per person: £1.50.

Ingredients:

  • 3 burgers.
  • 1kg of frozen fries.
  • 1 egg.
  • 1/2 an onion.
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika.
  • 1 tablespoon of barbecue sauce.
  • 10ml of oil.

Recipe for serving four people:

  • In a mixing bowl, crush the burger patties and mix in the paprika, ground onion, egg, barbecue sauce, and oil.
  • Leave them to stand.
  • Make four patties out of this mix and fry in a frying pan for two minutes without any oil.
  • Serve with the fries. The fries can either be fried in a frier (if you have one) or baked or roasted in your oven.

You could also replace the burger patties with a good bit of steak. While these can’t be classified as healthy meals, they are delicious.

4 – Indian Rice Salad

Now let’s have a look at a refreshing and original recipe for summer! If you’re short on dinner ideas, you can make this as a main dish or a side dish.

How do you make healthy meals for the family? Cooking is no longer just for the women, it’s for the whole family! (Source: ArtsyBee)

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 10 minutes.

Stand for 2 hours.

Budget per person: £1.50.

Ingredients:

  • 300g of rice
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 lemon
  • 30g of raisins
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 tablespoon of ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 pinches of curry powder
  • Salt

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Cook the rice in boiling water, strain, and let it cool.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix the rice, olive oil, curry powder, the juice from the lemon, diced chicken, fresh coriander, chopped shallots, diced tomato, raisins, and salt.
  • Leave it to stand in the fridge before serving it.

5 – Cured Ham and Rocket Pizza

Lasagna, risotto, carpaccio, pesto pasta, etc. Italy is home to a huge range of flavours that’ll inspire your menus and this cured ham and rocket pizza is no exception.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 20 minutes.

Budget per person: £1.50.

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough or pizza base
  • 3 slices of cured ham
  • 1 handful of rocket
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 ball of mozzarella
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • 20ml of olive oil
  • Oregano

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Coat a baking tray with the olive oil and place the pizza dough in it
  • Spread the tomato purée and add the tomatoes, sliced mozzarella and oregano.
  • Cook in the oven at 210°C.
  • Add the cured ham and large pieces of rocket.

6 – Steamed Almond and Pear Trout Fillets

Here’s a quick and simple gourmet recipe.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Cooking time: 30 minutes.

Budget per person: £2

Ingredients:

  • 4 trout fillets
  • 50g of almond flakes
  • 1kg of potatoes
  • 1 lemon
  • 50g of butter
  • 30g of flour
  • 20ml oil
  • Salt

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Peel and steam the potatoes
  • Roll the fish fillets in flour and fry each side for three minutes in a frying pan with oil, butter, and salt.
  • In another warm pan, quickly brown the almonds.
  • Serve the trout with lemon juice, almonds, and potatoes with a bit of butter.

7 – Chicken, Coconut, and Lemon Macaroni

This is like a creamy chicken curry with pasta instead of rice.

How do you save money when cooking? You’ll be surprised what you can make for very little money! (Source: Free-Photos)

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 15 minutes.

Budget per person: £2

Ingredients:

  • 350g of macaroni
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 100ml of coconut cream (thicker than coconut milk)
  • 1/2 a lime
  • 10 strands of coriander
  • 50ml of olive oil
  • Curry powder
  • Salt

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Cook the pasta in salted boiling water and then strain it
  • Cook the cut chicken in a bit of olive oil, salt, and curry powder in a pot.
  • Add the coconut cream, lemon juice, and ground coriander.
  • Reduce it for a minute.
  • Mix the macaroni into the sauce in the pot.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping you making this with noodles, rice, or courgetti (spiralised courgette).

9 – Roast Olive Chicken

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 45 minutes.

Budget per person: £2

Ingredients:

  • 1 ready-to-cook chicken
  • 100g of green olives
  • 700g of sautéed diced potatoes
  • 50ml of olive oil
  • 2 pinches of ras el hanout
  • 2 pinches of oregano
  • Salt

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Pour the olive oil, oregano, ras el hanout, and the salt into a bowl
  • Baste the chicken with the marinade and then put it on a dish
  • Roast the chicken for 40 minutes at 210°C
  • Add the olives once it’s cooked
  • Serve with the potatoes

The chicken skin should be crispy You can replace the chicken with turkey.

How do you roast a turkey? Who doesn’t love a good roast? (Source: PublicDomainPictures)

9 – Tuna and Tomato Cottage Pie

A cottage pie is arguably one of the most traditional dishes around. Here’s a variant with tuna in place of the minced beef.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Cooking time: 40 minutes.

Budget per person: £2

Ingredients:

  • 700g of potatoes
  • 300g of tuna
  • 80ml of tomato sauce
  • 1 onion
  • 40g of Parmesan
  • 40g of butter
  • 100ml of milk
  • 30ml of olive oil
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Steam and mash the potatoes
  • Add warm milk, butter, salt, and nutmeg
  • Chop the onion and fry it in a frying pan with olive oil
  • Add the strained tuna and tomato sauce
  • Cook for 5 minutes
  • Add to an oven dish and cover with the mashed potato and Parmesan
  • Cook for 20 minutes at 180°C

Serve with a green salad and a vinaigrette. You can also use the tuna and the tomato to make stuffed courgettes. You can also replace the fish with veggies like carrot, mushroom, cauliflower, etc.

10 – Lemon, Garlic, and Basil Calamari

To top off our top 10 recipes, let’s go with something perfect for the summer, calamari!

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 10 minutes.

Budget per person: £1.50.

Ingredients:

  • 500g of fresh or frozen calamari rings
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 350g of spaghetti
  • 70ml of olive oil
  • Salt

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Mix the ground garlic, chopped basil, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt
  • Put to one side
  • Heat up the griddle, add the olive oil, and cook the calamari for 5 minutes
  • Pour the sauce on and cook for another minute
  • Serve with cooked spaghetti

If you stock your cupboards with the right ingredients, you’ll always be able to cheaply make a filling casserole, stir fry, or chicken dinner.

You should try to keep a good supply of things for soups, broths, sauces, a selection of common herbs and spices, fresh meat such as pork, sausage, bacon, beef, and chicken, and stuff for healthier dishes like broccoli, couscous, beans, grains, and salad.

This also means you won’t have to eat the leftovers from the previous night’s takeaway the following day!

For those with busy lives, investing in a slow cooker is a great idea. You can prepare a lovely stew or soup during the day and finish it off when you come home.

For more healthy dinner ideas, there are a lot of easy recipes available online on dedicated cooking websites with meal ideas.

Cooking Vocabulary

Cooking terminology can be really tricky so we’ve included some vocabulary for you in our articles on cooking.

Sweat

When you sweat food in oil, it means that you cook it until it’s are translucent and giving up liquid on a heat so low that they don’t caramelise.

Ras El Hanout

This is a mix of spices from North Africa. You can find them in international food aisles of large supermarkets.

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