I’m a food blogger – here are 5 budget-busting meal recipes which cost less than 40p


As bills keep rising, families are struggling to feed their families – so much research has found that cash-strapped parents are even skipping meals so their kids can eat regularly.

Today, as part of our Squeeze Team series, we bring you budget-friendly meals from Leslie Negus—better known as food blogger Thrifty Leslie—that come in under 40p.


Leslie Negus is known as ‘Thrifty Leslie’ and has recipe tips for just 40p per personCredits: ©2022 Darren Cool

And despite the price, they still contain the nutrients you need. By purchasing in bulk, shopping around, and batch cooking you can feed yourself just over 1 pound per day, Leslie says.

The mother of two became interested in all things home when she and her daughters Tracy Hibbett, now 53, and Sam Morley, 51, became homeless between 1971 and 1975 after leaving her husband.

Leslie said: “Without a roof over my head and no money, I learned to budget.

“I know when you’re struggling, having something good to eat becomes even more important.

“I learned to make budget meals. When my girls were growing up, they loved vegetable crumble and I used to make sandwiches made of carrots and cheese grated together.

“Unless you know what it’s like to be poor, you’re not in a position to judge others. It’s very hard to break the cycle.

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“If you’ve never worried about money, you may not understand how it consumes every aspect of your waking moments.

“It leaves you with very little time to focus on anything else.

“I still get the thrill of making something out of nothing and can never bring myself to throw away food.”

Leslie started sharing recipes on her blog in 2013 and now has a huge following.

Here, she serves up some of her favorite dishes – and the best part is, they’ll set you back no more than 40p per person.

Meatballs with Spaghetti

  • Price of Aldi 5. serves
  • Total: £2 = 40p each
This recipe has enough meatballs with spaghetti to serve five of these meals.


This recipe has enough meatballs with spaghetti to serve five of these meals.Credits: ©2022 Darren Cool

You need:

  • 225g pork mince, £2.25/500g – £1.01
  • 60 grams Onion, finely chopped, 65p/kg – 4p
  • 70g celery stick, 59p a head – 5p
  • 80 g carrots, grated, 46p/kg – 4p
  • 40g breadcrumbs from one price loaf, 39p – 2p
  • 28g cooked barley (when cooked is one-third of its raw weight), 60p / 500g – 5p
  • 2 tins of 400g tomatoes, 28p each – 56p
  • 500 g value spaghetti – 23p

method: Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark. 6. Chop the onion and celery into very small pieces, or grind them in a food processor until fine.

Fry both onion and ajwain in water till they become transparent.

Place in a bowl and add all the rest of the ingredients. Mash them all well by hand or with a large spoon.

Make balls roughly the size of a walnut – you should get 25 from the mixture.

Place them on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to packet directions. Heat tomato tins in a saucepan over medium heat with a little salt and pepper (optional).

Add the tomatoes to the strained spaghetti and mix well. Serve and serve with meatballs.

Sardines and Tomato Fishcakes

  • Aldi price 2. serves
  • Total: 68p = 34p each
Sardines and Tomato Fishcakes Only Work in 34p


Sardines and Tomato Fishcakes Only Work in 34pCredits: ©2022 Darren Cool

You need:

  • tin of 125g sardines in tomato sauce – 36p
  • 1 onion, 150 g, 65p/kg – 10p
  • 250 g potatoes, 89p – 9p
  • 1 tbsp oil, for frying, £1.55/litre – 2p
  • 50g Frozen Peas, 55p/900g – 3p
  • 40 gm Broccoli, 59p/300g – 8p

method: Peel and chop the onion and fry in half a teaspoon of oil till it gets cooked completely.

Peel and cook the potatoes and mash them well, take out all the kernels.

Mix the onion, potato and fish together and mix well with the pepper.

Shape this mixture into fish cakes with your hands, coat with some refined flour and deep-fry with the remaining oil till crispy from outside.

Meanwhile, cook broccoli and peas according to package directions.
serve immediately.

Cheese and Carrot Sandwich

  • Valuable in Aldi, 1 . serves
  • Total = 18p a sandwich
Leslie's Cheese and Carrot Sandwich recipe is just 18p per person


Leslie’s Cheese and Carrot Sandwich recipe is just 18p per personCredit:

You need:

  • 2 slices of white or brown bread from 36p worth of bread – 3p
  • 30g Cheddar Cheese £4.43/kg – 13p
  • 30 gm carrot, 45p/kg – 1paisa
  • tsp mayonnaise taken from 500ml/69p bottle – 1p

method: Grate cottage cheese and carrots, mix with mayonnaise and place the mixture between the slices of bread.

Tips from Leslie

The average household wastes more than a third of all the groceries they buy.

So if you use up every scrap, you’ll save the equivalent of a week’s grocery store each month.

Before you go shopping, check your cupboards, fridge, and freezer to see what you already have.

Make a meal plan using what’s in the cupboard before buying anything else.

Vegetable peels are a great stock for soups. It and its small pieces can be used in pies, as a pizza topping, in risotto or savory fritters.

The cauliflower and broccoli stems are often tossed, but can be used all kinds of ways—sliced ​​and used as a stir-fry, curry, or just as a vegetable.

Or they can be sliced ​​and used as a salad vegetable, with or without dressing, or in soups.

All cabbages are great value and last age. The white, red and green varieties can all also make coleslaw when mixed with mayonnaise and onions.

Chicken and Onion Pie

  • Asda price 4. serves
  • Total: £1.20 = 30p each
This Chicken and Onion Pie Only Costs 30p Per Person


This Chicken and Onion Pie Only Costs 30p Per PersonCredits: ©2022 Darren Cool

You need:

For Pastry:

  • 200g Self-Rising Flour, 55p/1.5kg – 7p
  • 100 ml Rapeseed Oil, £1.60/L – 16p
  • 80 ml water

To fill:

  • £3.60/1.45kg whole chicken from 100g cooked meat – 66p
  • 30g Dry Stuffing from Asda Sage and Onion Stuffing Mix (40p for packet) – 7p
  • 2 medium onions, 65p/kg – 12p
  • 120g Green Beans, Frozen Beans, £1/kg – 12p . serve with

method: Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6.

Pastry: Put refined flour in a vessel, add oil, add water and mix. In a few seconds, it will mix together to make a soft dough.

Do not mix too much otherwise the pastry will become hard. If it looks a little dry, add a little more water. If it is too wet, add a little more flour.

Filling: Make stuffing balls according to the instructions on the packet.

Fry the onions in a frying pan with a tablespoon of water instead of oil over medium/high heat until translucent.

Cut the chicken into small pieces and put them in the frying pan. Cut the stuffing balls and put them too.

stir well. To make the mixture a thick gravy, add four tablespoons of water.

Leave to cool. Meanwhile, divide pastry in two, one half slightly larger than the other.

Flour the work surface and roll out the large half to fit a 20cm pie tin and line the tin with it. Pour chicken and onion filling into pie tin.

Roll out the second piece of pastry and top the pie with it.

Shrink the edges. Make a steam hole in the center of the pastry, bake for 30 minutes until golden.

Vegetable crumble

  • Asda price 6 . serves
  • Total: £1.40 = 23p each
Vegetable Crumble works out to 23p per serving


Vegetable Crumble works out to 23p per servingCredits: ©2022 Darren Cool

You need:

For Topping:

  • 100ml vegetable oil, £1.60/litre – 16p
  • 100g flour, 55p/1.5kg – 4p
  • 75g oats, 75p/1.5kg – 6p
  • 100g Asda Smart Value Ripe Cheddar, £3.65/kg – 36p
  • 50g Asda Smart Value Salted Peanuts, 46p/200g – 11p

to base:

  • 340g Maris Piper Potatoes, 48p/kg – 16p
  • 340g carrots, 43p/kg -15p
  • 100 g Onion, chopped, 65p/kg – 6p
  • 400g canned tomatoes – 30p
  • To serve (this does not include the total):
  • 480g white cabbage, 80p/kg – 38p

method: Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark. 6. Combine the crumble topping ingredients in a bowl and keep aside.

Fry the root vegetables in a pan on medium/high heat in a little oil till they become soft.

Cover ovenproof dish with base and stack with topping.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Serve with cooked cabbage.

Leslie giving her advice as part of The Sons Squeeze Team campaign


Leslie giving her advice as part of The Sons Squeeze Team campaigncredit: News UK


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