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Healthy doesn't have to be expensive! These delicious, nutritious family dinners cost less than £2 per portion.

July was one of those brutal 5-week months, where, if you're anything like me, the pennies seem to dry up when pay day's still light years away.

If you're living off maternity pay as well, the struggle is real!

Sadly, one of the things that often goes out the window when money is tight, is fresh, healthy, nutrient-packed meals, with many of us resorting to frozen oven food instead.

Bumper bonus pack of chicken dippers anyone?

Whilst this is never much of a concern when it's just your own health to worry about, when you're feeding littles you really want to be filling them with as many nutrients as possible, even when you don't have much cash to splash.

However, if you're smart with your meal planning, choosing low-cost recipes that pack a lot of nutritional punch and also make several servings, you don't have to sacrifice your family's health just to get through a long month.

So last week I challenged myself to make a week of meals that cost less than £2 per person but still delivered maximum nutrients and ideally made enough to serve for dinner (or at least lunch) again the next day.

These recipes are all suitable for babies age 6 months plus (those doing baby led weaning of course) but should also go down well with the whole family.

Let me know if you give them a try by tagging me on Instagram - @mykindamum

RECIPE 1: Hungarian Pork & Pepper Goulash

£5.17 total (£1.30 per person)

Ingredients (serves 4 with leftovers):

  • 500g pork shoulder steaks - £2.99

  • 1 red onion - 20p

  • 1 red pepper - 42p

  • 1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika - 10p

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed - 10p

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée - 6p

  • 1 tbsp plain flour - 5p

  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes - 40p

  • 300ml / 1/2 pint stock (pork if you can get it but chicken’s fine if not) - 20p

  • 150ml pot soured cream - 75p


  1. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the onion for 3 mins, until softened.

  2. Add the pork to the pan and cook over a high heat until it’s browned a bit on the outside.

  3. Add the chopped pepper and stir fry.

  4. Reduce the heat a little and add the garlic and paprika. Cook for 30 secs then stir in the plain flour and mix to cover everything.

  5. Stir in the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes and pork stock, scraping any tasty bits off the bottom of the pan as it bubbles.

  6. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for at least an hour, until the pork is tender.

  7. Uncover and cook for 15-20 mins more to let the sauce thicken.

  8. Serve with a spoonful of sour cream, plus a green veg of your choice and some crusty bread to soak up the juices.

RECIPE 2: Chicken Satay

£6.97 total (£1.75 per portion)

You might think chicken is a bit pricey but this dish is made with thighs, which are so much cheaper than chicken breast and way tastier as well in my opinion! Beautifully moist and tender.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into strips - £4.80

  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced - 42p

  • Basmati rice, 100g per adult, 50g per child - 65p

For the sauce:

  • 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter - 50p

  • 3 garlic cloves - 10p

  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce (low sodium ideally) - 5p

  • 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine - 20p

  • 1 tsp sugar (yes there’s a little sugar in this, but it’s only 1 tsp in the whole dish so don’t stress!) - 5p

  • 1 cup warm water

To add at the end, for the adults:

  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped, a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes or a squeeze of chilli paste - 20p


  • Put all the sauce ingredients into a blender and blitz together.

  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, then add the chicken and fry for a few mins over a medium heat.

  • Add the red pepper strips, stir fry for a few mins.

  • Add the peanut sauce, stir to coat, then cover and let it simmer gently for about 20-30 mins, until the chicken’s tender. If you want to add a little more water while cooking you can. Satay is traditionally a thicker consistency but you can make it more “saucy” by adding more water.

  • Serve baby’s portion and remove a second one to freeze, then add some finely chopped chilli to the pan for the adults.

  • Serve with rice.

  • I like to put some extra veg on top too - some very thin strips of cucumber and carrot (which I make with a peeler) and some finely chopped spring onion. Raw carrot isn’t recommended for babies in baton-form as they’re a choking hazard, but thin peelings like this, or grated carrot are fine for older babies and toddlers with some teeth.

RECIPE 3: Oat Crusted Basa

£5.74 total (£1.44 per portion)

When it comes to fish I think we’re all guilty of sticking to the old favourites - cod and salmon. But due to the high demand for these fish, they can be a bit pricey.

So for this recipe I’ve used basa instead of cod which cost me £4 for 4 fillets instead of the £6-7 it would have cost me for the same amount of cod.

Rolled oats make a great alternative to breadcrumbs for a healthy, crispy coating on fish or chicken.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 4 fresh basa fillets (you could also use frozen - just defrost them first) - £4

  • 1 cup of rolled oats - 14p

  • 1/2 cup plain flour - 10p

  • 2 eggs - 50p

  • 500g new potatoes - 30p

  • 220g frozen peas - 15p

  • A handful of mint leaves - 15p (you could use a tsp of mint sauce instead or just leave this out)

  • Knob of butter - 20p

  • Olive oil - 20p


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.

  2. Cut the new potatoes into quarters, lengthways, then pop them into a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and stick them in the oven for 20-30 mins.

  3. When the potatoes are halfway done, make a start on your fish...

  4. Put a frying pan on over a medium-high heat with a good few glugs of olive oil in the bottom.

  5. Put the oats into a shallow dish.

  6. Put the flour into another dish, season it and mix around with a fork.

  7. Crack the eggs into a third dish then whisk them up.

  8. Pick up the fish fillets one at a time and coat them first in the egg, then the flour, then the egg again and finally the oats.

  9. Pan fry the fillets for a few minutes on each side, until golden. You may need to do them in batches, so put any that are done on a baking tray in the oven to keep warm (be careful not to let them dry out).

  10. Heat the frozen peas in boiling water, then drain, add a knob of butter and sprinkle of chopped mint and mash until mushy.

  11. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.

If you wanted to make this dish even healthier you can oven bake the fish fillets for about 15-20 mins instead of frying.

If you want to make it more flavoursome, try adding some chopped herbs such as dill or parsley and lemon zest to the oats before coating your fish.

RECIPE 4: Lasagne

£7.29 total (90p per portion)

Lasagne is such a family favourite and goes such a long way, it's a great option for when you're on a budget as you can serve half of it and freeze the rest for another night.

This recipe makes plenty for 2 dinners and a lunch as well, bringing it in at less than £1 per portion. Now that’s what I call a bargain buffet!

Ingredients (serves 8):

  • 750g pork and beef mince (get the combined pack or ask your butcher to mix them) - £2.85

  • 170g smoked pancetta - £1.29

  • 1 white onion - 43p

  • 2 carrots, diced - 10p

  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped - 10p

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed - 10p

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée - 6p

  • 500g carton of passata - 32p

  • Lasagne sheets - 39p

  • 50g butter - 50p

  • 50g plain flour - 5p

  • 550ml milk (I use hemp or oat) - 50p

  • 100g cheddar cheese - 60p


  1. In a large frying pan, dry fry the pancetta until the fat starts to melt.

  2. Add the onion, celery and carrot then fry the onion for 3 mins, until softened.

  3. Push everything to the side, then add the mince and cook over a high heat until it’s until browned a bit (if it releases an excessive amount of fat, you may want to drain a bit of it off).

  4. Add the garlic and cook for 30 secs then stir in the tomato puree and mix it all together.

  5. Pour in the passata, stir well and bring to a bubble. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for at least an hour (the longer the better though - I like to do mine for a few hours if poss).

  6. Meanwhile, make the white sauce. Start by melting the butter in a saucepan then adding the flour and stirring until it forms a smooth doughy paste. Then gradually add the milk bit by bit, stirring until it’s smooth after you’ve added each bit. Set aside.

  7. Once the meat sauce is ready, heat the oven to 180C.

  8. Put a layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of a large ovenproof dish, then top with a layer of lasagne sheets. Spread a layer of the white sauce over that, then another layer of lasagne. Then another layer of meat, then pasta, and finish with white sauce. Top the whole lot with some grated cheddar and stick it in the oven for 45mins until golden and bubbling.

  9. Serve with your side dish of choice. I like to go with a classic salad and a dollop of garlic mayo.

RECIPE 5: Pork and Apple Bake

£3.88 total (97p per portion)

This Pork and Apple Bake is packed with flavour, really easy to make, reduces washing up as it’s all cooked in one baking tray and comes in at less than £1 per portion.

Win win win win win!

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 4 lean pork steaks - £2

  • 450g baby new potatoes - 69p

  • 2 small red onions, sliced into wedges - 19p

  • 4-8 whole cloves garlic, unpeeled - 10p

  • 450g apples, cored and sliced into wedges - 90p

  • 1tbsp fresh sage leaves or 1tsp dried sage


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

  2. Place the potatoes, onion, garlic and oil in a large roasting tray or dish. Drizzle over some olive oil, season and toss it altogether. Bake for 15 mins.

  3. Remove from the oven, then stir in the apple slices and lay the pork steaks on top. Season and sprinkle over the sage, then return to the oven and bake for a further 20 mins or until the pork is golden and the apples and vegetables are tender.

  4. Serve with green veg and some gravy.

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