It’s easy to cook delicious, healthy food while keeping it budget friendly. Chef and author Miguel Barclay shares three economical meals to see you through the week.
Author of three thrifty cookbooks, Miguel Barclay is championing a mini budget-cooking movement. With his genius kitchen tips and shortcuts, he’s proving to thousands (296,000 Instagram followers and rising) that you can be inventive and expressive in the kitchen for less than £1 per person. What started as a personal challenge – cooking meals on a tight price-plan – has now become a celebration of the art of being frugal.
Here, he shares his top tips for cooking on a budget (without eating the same thing over and over) and three pocket-friendly recipes from his latest book, Super Easy One Pound Meals…
1. Plan ahead
Choose the meals you want to make by flicking through a cookbook or searching for budget recipes online. Then, buy the ingredients and set aside some time over the weekend to cook everything in one go. Label your containers and freeze whatever you won’t consume fresh during the week.
2. Keep it simple
Supermarkets are always fighting to sell the cheapest staple ingredients, like cheddar cheese, for example. So instead of buying more unusual ingredients like manchego cheese at a premium; substitute it for a bargain cheddar or own-brand instead.
3. Do it yourself
Master the art of cooking a few key dishes from scratch to avoid the urge to splurge on expensive ready meals and takeaways. Think lasagne, paella or pizza – and pack them with plenty of veg to keep things healthy.
4. Take shortcuts
It’s possible to cook from scratch using fresh ingredients by simply adopting a few shortcuts. Reduce your lasagne to one layer, substitute the rice in your paella for couscous or make pizza from puff pastry with tasty veggie toppings.
5. Embrace meat-free
Some of us spend as much as £58 per week on meat and fish. Save money by adding more meat-free meals to your weekly shop. A delicious veg curry often works out cheaper than a chicken one.
6. Think creatively
You can make huge savings by batch cooking in advance, but the challenge is keeping it fun and interesting – no one wants to eat the same meal every day. The good news is it’s really easy to switch up your base meals.
Transform leftover Bolognese into chilli con carne by adding cumin and kidney beans. Or, roast 10 chicken thighs and use a portion for a Chinese inspired noodle dish, some for an Indian curry, and the rest for a tasty Italian Arrabbiata.
Ready to cook? Here are three super tasty, budget-friendly dishes to add to your recipe roster…
Making your own tortillas is a great way to eat on a budget. They are really simple to make, cost pennies and make a little filling go a long way. This recipe uses a tasty keema lamb curry in a taco, Mexican street-food style.
Poke bowls are quickly gaining popularity and might just become the next big food fad, but they are so expensive to buy readymade. Here’s a budget DIY alternative.
Everyone loves a vegetable samosa, but they’re not quite suitable as a standalone main course. Instead, try it open with a filo pastry base filled with delicious veg.