cheap family recipes 

feed a family of 4 for less than £200 a month

The planners are designed for a family of four – two adults and two teenage children – but can be easily adapted to suit any situation. Whether you are a single or have a larger brood, please don’t feel daunted or think it can’t be done unless you’re cooking for exactly four. It most certainly can and our testers have proved it!

Read on for our tips on how to make life easier, however many you’re catering for…

Following our planners needn’t be a hassle even when you’re cooking for more than four, so if you have a bigger family, read on for our tips on how to do it…

In general, our testers’ feedback has been that the portion sizes for CFR recipes are quite large, and as the planners are designed for two adults and two teens, if you have say, two adults and three small children to feed, you may not need to increase the quantities given by so much. Obviously appetites vary from family to family, so you will need to be guided by the amount you would all usually eat when deciding whether you need to increase the ingredients and batch sizes by half – catering for approx six people – or if you need to do double batches of everything – this will feed eight.

Doing half as much again or doubling each recipe will be the simplest way to work out the quantities required and how much extra you need to buy, and even if you’re cooking for five or seven, by using this method and making a little more than required, you’ll have enough for second helpings or to save as leftovers for another meal – please see our article on making the most of your leftovers 

As time goes on and you become more experienced with the planner, you will get a better feel for how to adjust it to your family’s needs. None of our testers seemed to have problems with any of the delicious snacks  going to waste – the carrot cake  was reported to have gone down particularly well with one tester’s family of hungry menfolk! The majority of our other recipes can easily be frozen for another time – the full list of those that freeze well is here (FREEZE WELL LINK) – so you shouldn’t end up having to throw anything away. The planners are obviously designed to be as frugal as possible, and minimising food waste has been a major consideration to help you save as much money as you can.

The tester mentioned above also found a frugal way to adapt the planner for more than four big appetites was to increase the amount of potatoes, pasta or rice served with a meal, or in the case of the chicken and onion pie, use more pastry and extra onions in the filling. Using more vegetables in recipes and serving bigger portions of them as side dishes is another way to stretch meals further and provides extra nutrients, without having to use more of expensive ingredients like meat or cheese – but please do keep in mind that the planner is designed the meet the nutritional requirements of two adults and two teens, so if you decide to cut back on these please make sure your family gets enough protein (found in meat and pulses and legumes like lentils, kidney beans etc) and calcium (contained in milk, cheese and also in the instant oat cereal used in the porridge and many of the baked goods on the planner). As mentioned above, including more vegetables will provide more vitamins and fibre very cheaply too, and powdered milk can be added to creamy sauces for extra calcium. For more on this, please see our Nutrition FAQ  and nutritional information for all dishes is also included on each recipe page.

hen feeding a bigger family, you will need to make larger batches of the bread and snacks, or make them more often, depending on how much time you have available during the week. For mixing large quantities of flour, you might find it helpful to buy a washing up bowl and keep it just for baking. If you want to try the doughnut recipe  but are scared of risking 2kg of flour on a full batch in case your family doesn’t like them (although this might seem unlikely!), just make up the dough as per recipe then divide it before adding the sugar, so you can make just a quarter or half batch as doughnuts and bake the rest as bread.

You’ll also need to make bigger or more frequent batches of the nut and seed butters, apple curd, houmous and pate recipes – if you decide to make larger batches to save time, all of the above can be stored in the fridge for at least 5 days (apple curd keeps refrigerated for a month) or can be frozen and then defrosted as and when they are needed. The nut and seed butter recipes can be made to go further by adding a little extra oil, although this will obviously result in a slightly runnier consistency.

Why Not Try....?

Vegan Tomato and Basil Soup

Vegan Tomato and Basil Soup

cheap family recipes feed a family of 4 for less than £200 a monthVegan Tomato & Basil SoupThis fresh and delicious tomato and basil soup is offered as an alternative option in the Celebration Week Planner, but can be enjoyed at any time, and as it uses tinned...

Creamy Parsnip Soup

Creamy Parsnip Soup

cheap family recipes feed a family of 4 for (just over) £100 a monthCreamy Parsnip SoupCreamy parsnip soup, such a classic Christmas flavour. Easy to make, warming and comforting How Do I Make Creamy Parsnip Soup? This recipe uses frozen parsnips. If you prefer to use...

Tomato Relish

Tomato Relish

cheap family recipes feed a family of 4 for less than £200 a monthTomato RelishIf you are following the vegan monthly meal plan, this tangy homemade tomato relish is used as a condiment whenever you would like to use it. There is no particular use specified in the...

Take care of your family and your budget

Before putting together our meal planners we surveyed over 600 people to ask when faced with a tighter budget, which things they would struggle to give up.

Want to know more about how to feed yourself fantastically frugal food?