Eat well with this collection of budget-friendly meals that are light on the wallet but not on taste. Use these 10 inexpensive ingredients to create satisfying and delicious meals for the family, while keeping your budget in check.
A few tips to keep in mind when cooking on a budget:
- Have a well-stocked pantry with a good selection of pantry staples like rice, pasta, canned tomatoes, beans, pulses.
- Stock up on ingredients such as ginger, garlic, onions, herbs, spices and sauces.
- Frozen vegetables such as peas, spinach and beans are good to have in the freezer
- Buy produce that's local and in season ensures you're getting the best quality, and quite often, the best price.
As a nourishing and filling ingredient for savoury dishes, lentils are great for feeding the family. They're a good source of protein and with these tasty lentil recipes, you'll be able to create deliciously satisfying meals.
Another humble vegetable - the pumpkin. It’s full of nutrients like vitamin A, C and E. Available all year-round, the pumpkin comes in a number of varieties including butternut and crown and it's texture, colour and flavour lend itself nicely to roasts, soups, risottos, stews and curries.
Like the potato, kumara is considered to be a good ingredient for the cheaper cooking. The kumara is a good source of energy and is rich in vitamin C and fibre. Kumara is popular because of its sweet flavour and like the potato, kumara can be in heaps of other dishes.
These vegetables are known for their health-giving properties - they're high in minerals and vitamins, making them a superfood. Cabbage and cauliflower are economical and are yummy raw or cooked.
Pasta is an essential pantry staple because it's cheap, lasts a long time, is quick and easy to cook and so versatile that it can be combined with most ingredients from meat, fish and almost any vegetable. Pasta comes in many forms, spaghetti, fettucini, orzo, lasagne, spirals, penne.
Rice is a popular starch that is used all over the world as an accompaniment to stir-fries, stews and curries, or as a base for hearty dishes such as risottos, fried rice or paella. To cut costs, buy rice in bulk - rice has a good shelf life and can last even longer if stored in the fridge or freezer.
Noodles are great carriers of flavours and, like rice, they're the base of many good Asian dishes. Fresh noodles can last a week or two in the fridge. Dried noodles, on the other hand, have a very long shelf-life which makes them ideal pantry staples.
Investing in good-quality sausages is worth it. Good quality meat will give you good protein, and flavours to any dish whether you use it whole, sliced up or just the meat filling. Here are ways to create economical meals with beef, lamb or pork sausages.
Tuna is a lean and healthy protein to incorporate into meals, and the canned version beats its fresh counterpart on cost and shelf life.
Mince is an affordable and versatile ingredient that can be used for numerous dishes from stir-fries, meatballs and pies through to bakes and burgers. It's handy to have mince stashed away in the freezer for cheap easy meals.