Thrifty mum shares how to make tasty meals for less than £1 per portion

68 views 12:15 pm 0 Comments August 30, 2023
Pictures of Claire and her meals
‘For me, meal planning is the number one way to keep your costs down'(Picture: @deliciousandreal/Caters News)

Mum Claire Gillies has shared how she’s able to feed her family delicious and nutritious in the cost of living crisis.

Claire, 45, says her favourite dishes include a healthy aubergine and lentil meal that comes in at just 63p a portion, and a butternut squash mac and cheese for less than £1 per portion.

The primary school teacher credits her upbringing with how she’s been able to get creative with her food budget during these tough economic times.

For Claire, from Harpenden, nutrition is vital. She started to take cooking healthy meals from scratch seriously back in 2017 when she was beset by family tragedies.

First, her father passed away from cancer, shortly followed by her brother, who died of the same illness a year later, and then her other brother, who had a heart attack.

Claire said: ‘We didn’t have much money when I was growing up, and my mum had three children to cook for.

@deliciousandreal/ CATERS NEWS (PICTURED Claire and her cauliflower dish ) A thrifty mum has revealed how she's still able to make a range of delicious meals for less than ??1 a head amid the cost of living crisis.Claire Gillies, 45, is now sharing her incredible cost-cutting creations online, with her favourite dishes including a healthy aubergine and lentil dish that comes in at just 63p a portion and butternut squash mac and cheese for less than ??1 a plate. She explained that, growing up, her family never had much money, and she believes that she picked up the natural thriftiness that's enabled her to create her delicious meals on a shoestring budget from her mum. Claire said:
Claire recommends batch cooking where you can (Picture: @deliciousandreal/ CATERS NEWS)

Claire says she’s able to keep costs down by shopping around.

‘Once a month, I go to Aldi and I stock up on all of my store cupboard essentials because they’re so much cheaper there,’ she says.

One of Claire’s favourite go-to recipes is a pasta bake, which can be made for 50p a portion without protein, which she does admit makes it less nutritionally balanced.

She added: ‘A tin of tuna tinned fish is a brilliant thing to add to it – or some cheese on top. It will only increase the price slightly, and it will still come to less than a £1 portion but be a tastier, more nutritionally balanced meal.’

Some of her other faves are a butternut squash mac and cheese, which she can make four servings of for £3.98 based on current Aldi prices. She uses butternut squash, homemade cheese sauce, pasta, and breadcrumbs. She also makes an aubergine dish for four that costs just £2.50, made with one large aubergine, four garlic cloves, a leek or an onion, tinned tomatoes, lemon juice, seasoning, and red lentils.

@deliciousandreal/ CATERS NEWS (PICTURED Claire's in the process of cooking her amazing dish) A thrifty mum has revealed how she's still able to make a range of delicious meals for less than ??1 a head amid the cost of living crisis.Claire Gillies, 45, is now sharing her incredible cost-cutting creations online, with her favourite dishes including a healthy aubergine and lentil dish that comes in at just 63p a portion and butternut squash mac and cheese for less than ??1 a plate. She explained that, growing up, her family never had much money, and she believes that she picked up the natural thriftiness that's enabled her to create her delicious meals on a shoestring budget from her mum. Claire said:

  1. Meal plan and meal prep. Have things in your freezer that you have batch cooked that you can grab out when you can’t be bothered to cook. Sometimes it’s also cheaper to batch cook because you can buy your ingredients in bulk.
  2. Reduce your consumption of meat. It’s much cheaper to buy a tin of cannellini beans, which are also a protein source, than it is to buy chicken.
  3. Choose your supermarket carefully – shopping around helps you save without compromising on quality.
  4. Learn to love your leftovers. Don’t throw anything away. There’s always a way to repurpose it.

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