Easy Meals on a Budget
With the rising costs of food, fuel, and bills, we are all becoming more conscious of what we are spending and where we can save some pennies. Whether it’s batch cooking meals, swapping out ingredients for cheaper alternatives, or using different appliances, there are a number of ways we can reduce the cost of our cooking.
The cost of cooking
The appliances you use to cook and how long you use them for can seriously impact how much a meal costs to make. Slow cookers and air fryers cost significantly less to run than an oven, so it’s worth considering investing in these products to save money in the long run. We love the Salter Chalkboard Slow Cooker and the Salter Dual Air Fryer and find that these are the perfect size to feed the whole family.
Another way to save money while cooking is to cook in bulk. This reduces the time your appliances are on over the course of the week but still allows you to eat tasty and nutritious meals. These meals can last in the fridge for a few days and be reheated in a matter of minutes, or be frozen and last for a few weeks to a few months.
Below, you’ll find a selection of low cost meals that taste delicious and will keep the whole family happy.
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
A classic that the whole family will love.
200g mild cheddar
600ml whole milk
1 tsp mustard (optional)
Step 1: Pour boiling water over the pasta then drain and add the pasta to the slow cooker
Step 2: Add all your ingredients to the slow cooker and season with salt and pepper, stir, cover, and cook on low for 1 hour
Step 3: Stir the mixture again, add the mustard if using, and cook for another 30 minutes until the pasta is cooked - if the sauce is looking too thick you can add some more milk
Step 4: Once the pasta is cooked and the sauce has coated the macaroni, divide into 4 portions and serve with a little more grated cheese on top
Tip: For a little extra flavour, add a pack of bacon lardons in step 2. If you want some extra veggies, you can add frozen peas or broccoli in step 3.
Air Fryer Burgers and Wedges
We love the Salter Dual Air Fryer as it has 2 baskets, so both components can be cooked at once.
3 large potatoes
500g beef mince
4 bread rolls
1 small onion, diced
Step 1: Wash the potatoes, leave the skin on, then cut into wedges
Step 2: Soak the wedges in hot water for about 15 minutes to ensure they crisp up nicely in the air fryer
Step 3: Dry the potatoes well, then season with paprika, salt, pepper, and oil, ensuring the wedges are evenly coated
Step 4: Add the wedges to the air fryer drawer in a single layer and cook for 22-26 minutes until golden and crispy
Step 5: Meanwhile, mix together the mince, diced onion, egg, salt, and pepper and form into 4 patties
Step 6: Cook the beef patties in the air fryer for 8-12 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Cook for the shorter amount of time if you prefer them to be pink in the middle, or leave them in a bit longer to ensure they are well done.
Step 7: Assemble the burgers and add toppings of your choice, or keep them plain with just a bun, then serve with the wedges
Tip: You can replace the potatoes with sweet potatoes if you want to up the veg count in the meal
Serves Approx. 4
A frittata is a great dish to add any leftover veg or meat to and can easily be customised based on what you already have.
175g vegetables- e.g., peppers, onions, mushrooms, courgettes, broccoli, potatoes
30g grated cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
50g pre-cooked meat (optional) - e.g., leftover roast chicken, cooked ham, cooked bacon
Step 1: Whisk the eggs together until they are well-combined
Step 2: Add the vegetables, cheese, and meat to the eggs and fold together, then season with salt and pepper
Step 3: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium sized frying pan (https://salter.com/megastone-onyx-collection-non-stick-forged-aluminium-frying-pan-24-cm/) and swirl the oil to coat the pan. Once hot, add the egg mixture and cook until the edges are set
Step 4: Push the edges of the egg mixture into the middle to form curds, then leave to sit until edges are set again
Step 5: On a low heat, cook the eggs through, occasionally lifting the frittata and tilting the pan to let the uncooked eggs come to the side
Step 6: Flip the frittata over onto a plate, heat up another tbsp oil and slide the frittata back in, ensuring that the cooked side is now facing up, then cook for about 3 minutes until fully set
Step 7: Slice the frittata into wedges and serve
Tip: Can be served hot or cold, making it the perfect recipe to cook for dinner and take the leftovers for lunch the next day.