| Inspiration | 12 best budget-friendly recipes

12 best budget-friendly recipes

Did you know food is often the highest living expense after paying rent or a mortgage? Every families’ food bill varies, but one thing is the same from house to house: Kiwis are a hard-working bunch, and we want to know our hard-earned dollars are being put towards good quality kai for our whanau.

When it comes to eating on a budget we know people sometimes associate that with boring meal choices such as cooking an extra-large batch of something on Sunday and eating the same thing, slightly varied all week. Surely it could be more appealing than that? Well you know what? It is. Here's a look at some of our favourite budget-friendly recipes.

Magic Mince

Versatile, quick and delicious, mince is a Kiwi favourite. Easy to whip up for a variety of different meals, this is a recipe to always keep on hand. At $2.55 a serving, it's great on the wallet too!

Budget-Friendly Cottage Pie

This cottage pie recipe is made with Kiwi families in mind. Quick and easy to prepare, and delicious - it’s guaranteed to please! And at $2.02 a serve, it's great for Kiwi families who looking to lower their food bills.

Mince Fried Rice

This beef fried rice is a one-pot meal that is both affordable and delicious. This recipe is super versatile, so if you don’t have some of the vegetables use what you have leftover in the fridge. At $1.86 a serve, it offers great bang for your buck!

Beef & Potato-Top Bake

Think of this dish from Chelsea Winter as a delicious twist on a shepherd’s or cottage pot pie, using lovely chunks of beef (rather than mince), which are so tender they fall apart on your fork. Using cost-effective ingredients, it’s lovely and simple to make and tastes sensational.

Extra Easy Lasagne

This rich and comforting lasagne recipe makes enough for six people and only uses six ingredients! It's great for batch cooking weekend as it freezes well. To make this even more affordable, think about doing a 50/50 blended mince and veg mixture with ingredients like lentils.

Easy Sweet and Sour

This easy sweet and sour is a family favorite and is the perfect dish for those pushed for time. The recipe is balanced, healthy, packed full of delicious flavours, and goes great with rice or noodles. To increase its affordability, we recommend swapping out the pumpkin and broccoli (when they're not in season) for a frozen bag of mixed veg.

Beef Schnitzel

Melt in-your-mouth beef, complemented by a delicious, tangy crunch - this beef schnitzel is the perfect mid-week meal, and even better with help from little hands in the kitchen. If you're looking to make this even more budget-friendly we recommend serving instead with steamed veg.

Family Pasta Bake

One for the family for those Sunday nights, when all you really want is to chill out with a lazy meal in front of the television and a glass of wine, before the week roars into life the next day. To make it even more affordable, think about doing a 50/50 blended mince by adding lentils. If you're using dried lentils make sure that you add a little additional liquid as the lentils soak up moisture.

If you're looking for an affordable veg side think about steaming some frozen peas or beans.


A Mexican-style toasted tortilla is perfect for a casual, easy meal or snack. Packed full of veges and easy-to-make mince balls, if you want more spice add some chilli to the mince patties.

Family Lamb Stir-fry

With all the goodness of iron, carbohydrates, and minerals perfect for muscle recovery, this dish is perfect to serve up post-exercise. Quick, easy, delicious. Suitable for toddlers.

Easy Lamb Curry

This six-ingredient lamb rump curry is cost effective while being big on flavour and also really easy to make. We love it spooned over basmati rice and served with yoghurt, sliced red onion, and naan.

Beef Roulades with Crunchy Honey Pumpkin

Although the beef roulades are the star of this dish; the crunchy, honey pumpkin is a stand-out side dish on its own that we know the family will request as much as possible. When pumpkin is out of season, you can substitute for sweet potatoes or kumara.

Posted by Shawn Moodie

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