Spring into summer with these fast, easy and delicious low budget meals
It can be hard to stick to a tight budget and healthy eating plan when you’re cooking just for one or two. Buying in big bulk quantities and stocking up the freezer just doesn’t make sense when it’s just you – or you and your partner or flatmate – to feed. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on groceries or miss out on enjoying all the latest recipes.
Here’s some of our favourite dinners for one or two, that won’t break the bank.
You can’t go past pasta!
For a quick, easy and budget friendly dinner for two (or make extra and enjoy leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner!), try this yummy basil pesto chicken pasta dish – simple and summery!
Oodles of noodles
Satay lovers will devour these quick and easy satay noodles
Be a calamari kid
Salt and pepper squid is always a café crowd pleaser, and it’s cheaper and easier to make than you think! Try this easy salt and pepper calamari salad recipe to enjoy this favourite at home.
- Whether you like jasmine, basmati or brown rice, it’s a cheap and easy staple and an easy way to make a meal in minutes. Simply start with some cooked, cold rice, take whatever vegies and protein (meat, eggs, beans and so on) you may have in the fridge, and you’ve got the perfect meal.
- Start by frying some ginger, garlic, and green onion in some oil in your frypan or wok, add in your chopped vegies and protein and a few tablespoons of sauce – soy, oyster, kecap manis, whatever you fancy!
- Once the vegetables have softened, add in the rice. Blend in a beaten egg and toss it all together until the egg bits and rice have browned a little, adjust seasonings to taste, and devour.
Whip up a fresh frittata
- They’ve got the flavour and versatility of a quiche without the time consuming and fatty pastry, so make frittatas your friend! Just about anything can go into a frittata.
- If zucchini is on special when you go shopping, excellent – grab a few and shred them finely, then saute together with some diced onions in a pan with butter or oil until they soften. Beat a few eggs with a spoonful of flour, add salt and pepper and a pinch of baking powder, then add that mixture to the vegetables. Stir to combine and either cover it and turn down the heat to let it cook through, or pour into a baking or pie dish and pop it in the oven at 180C until golden brown.
- Or pair this yummy mushroom and tomato frittata with a fresh and healthy salad for a perfect summery dinner.
BLT Wraps (or anything you fancy wrapping, really!)
Simple, but scrumptious: fry some bacon and fold it into wraps or tortillas with shredded lettuce and chopped tomato, then toast the wrap slightly. You can add scrambled egg, avocado, mayo; whatever makes you happy. Whatever way you make these, they’re really, really good!
- So while you’ve got those wraps handy, why not try your hand at Quesadillas? Amazingly simple, and so good.
- Spread some tortillas with some refried beans and chopped green onions (and some jalapenos, if you like it spicy!), sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, and top with another tortilla. Toast in a sandwich press or pan fry for a few minutes each side until the tortillas are golden-brown and the cheese is melting.
- Serve with salsa and sliced avocado. Yum!
Chilli con carne
- Sticking with the Mexican theme, this one’s always a winner! Simple, cheap, and filling, this can be made with beef mince and whichever beans you have around.
- Just saute some beef mince with onions, garlic, and diced capsicum until softened, throw in some shredded carrot, zucchini or whatever other vegies you fancy sneaking in, add in a couple of cans of diced tomatoes, a couple of cans of your favourite beans (kidney, 4 bean mix, chick peas – whatever you like), and season with some ground cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt and pepper, and simmer for an hour or so until all the flavours have blended.
- Serve with brown rice and top with a dollop of sour cream.
- This beef and bean combo is also perfect in tacos.
Cheesy pasta bake
- For those nights when you need a quick, easy and filling meal without the fuss.
- Cook your pasta of choice (seriously, anything from macaroni or penne to farfalle or spaghetti) until al dente, then drain and pour it into a greased casserole dish. Top with an undrained can of diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, spices of your choosing, and grated cheese. Mix together, top with more grated cheese and some breadcrumbs, and bake until bubbly.
- Delicious, cheap and oh so simple!
Still after some inspiration? You’ll find loads of cheap and healthy meals for two here, here and here!
So what are you waiting for – get cooking!