You are currently viewing 7 meals that are easy on your pocket

7 meals that are easy on your pocket

Our Editor shows you how to get a head start to your week by planning your meals in advance and getting more value for your buck with these delectable meals. 

Asian beef salad 

Serves 4 

This salad works with any veg you might have on hand, like spinach, tomatoes, asparagus or tenderstem broccoli. 


1 packet green beans, trimmed 
2 cups frozen peas 
1 packet bean sprouts (optional) 
Small handful each coriander, mint and basil 
½ cucumber, sliced 
½ prepared roast beef, thinly sliced 
¼ cup coconut flakes, toasted 

For the dressing 

¼ cup sweet chilli sauce 
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar 
1 tsp sesame or olive oil 
1 red chilli, sliced  


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. 
  2. Blanch green beans and peas in water for 1-2 minutes and plunge into ice water. Drain and set aside. 
  3. Toss the green beans, peas, bean sprouts (if using), herbs and cucumber on a serving platter. 
  4. Arrange beef on top. 
  5. Whisk together dressing ingredients and drizzle over salad. Season well. 
  6. Scatter coconut flakes over the salad just before serving.

Cauliflower mac and cheese 

Serves 4-6 

Add in some grated broccoli or spinach to up the veggie intake in this dish.  


2 Tbsp butter 
2 Tbsp olive oil 
1 onion, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, chopped 
3 sprigs each thyme and rosemary 
½ batch prepared cauliflower, broken into florets 
2 cups milk 
1 cup cream 
2 cups grated Cheddar 
1 packet (500g) macaroni, cooked
1 punnet vine or cherry tomatoes 
3 slices crusty bread, torn into chunks  


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. 
  2. Heat butter and oil in a pan and sauté the onion until golden. 
  3. Add garlic, herbs and ¾ of the cauliflower and fry for 1 minute. 
  4. Pour in milk and cream, then simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. 
  5. Mash cauliflower to create a sauce and stir through the cheese. 
  6. Toss pasta through sauce and transfer into a greased ovenproof dish. 
  7. Top with tomatoes and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and cheese has melted.

 Also read: Potato and leek soup with roasted nuts and cauliflower

Roast vegetable biryani 

Serves 4 

To feed a bigger crowd, add in cubed chicken breast fillets or drumsticks and thighs to the rice mixture before roasting.  


1 cup plain yoghurt 
1 packet curry paste of your choice 
1 lemon, juiced 
Salt and milled pepper 
Prepared rice and lentils 
½ batch prepared cauliflower, broken into florets 
4 salad tomatoes, chopped 
½ onion, finely diced 
Handful fresh coriander, chopped 
1 Tbsp white vinegar 
4 eggs, boiled and halved  


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. 
  2. Line a deep 20cm ovenproof dish or cake tin with baking paper. 
  3. Whisk together the yoghurt, curry paste and lemon juice until smooth. Season well. 
  4. Layer rice, lentils and cauliflower in the ovenproof dish or cake tin in alternating layers. 
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Cool slightly. 
  6. Toss together the tomatoes, onion, coriander and vinegar to create a sambal. Season. 
  7. Unmould biryani and top with sambal, boiled eggs and drizzle with yoghurt dressing.

Creamy chicken pie 

Serves 4 

Add decadence to this dish by swirling cream cheese or sour cream through the filling. 


Glug olive oil
2 onions, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, chopped 
3 Tbsp butter 
2 Tbsp flour 
1 cup milk 
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard 
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables 
½ prepared roast chicken, shredded 
Salt and milled pepper 
Handful fresh parsley, chopped 
4 sheets phyllo pastry, defrosted 
1 egg, whisked  


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. 
  2. Heat oil in a large pan and sauté onions for about 4-6 minutes. 
  3. Add garlic and fry for another 2 minutes. 
  4. Add butter and once melted, whisk in flour until smooth. 
  5. Add milk ¼ cup at a time while whisking, until the sauce has thickened slightly. 
  6. Stir through mustard, vegetables and chicken and simmer gently for 2-3 minutes. Season well and stir through parsley. 
  7. Transfer mixture to a greased oven dish. 
  8. Arrange phyllo pastry on top of filling and scrunch up pastry. Brush with egg. 
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until pastry is golden and crispy. Serve while hot.

Cook’s note 
Bulk this up by adding chicken pieces or beef or lamb stewing meat. 

Coronation chicken pasta  

Serves 4 

Swap out the peach halves for Turkish apricots or any other dried fruit, if you prefer. 


1 packet (500g) fusilli or macaroni 
1 cup buttermilk 
1 Tbsp turmeric 
1 Tbsp mild curry powder 
2 Tbsp chutney Salt and milled pepper 
½ prepared roast chicken, shredded 
1 can (400g) peach halves, drained and chopped
Handful fresh coriander, chopped  


  1. Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Drain and rinse. 
  2. Combine buttermilk, spices and chutney to make a dressing. 
  3. Toss together cooked pasta, chicken, peaches and coriander, then coat with dressing. Season well. 
  4. Serve immediately

Cook’s note
No buttermilk? Simply add 1 Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 cup milk, stir and set aside for 10 minutes 

Reuben’s sarmie  

Serves 6 

Swap out roast beef for any leftover shredded chicken or wilted greens for a vegetarian option. 


3 Tbsp red wine vinegar 
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and milled pepper 
12 slices sourdough or ciabatta, buttered 
Softened butter for spreading 
½ prepared roast beef, thinly sliced 
Prepared beetroots and onions, thinly sliced 
2 ½ cups grated Cheddar 
Fresh herbs for serving 
Cocktail onions for serving 


  1. Whisk together the vinegar and mustard, then season. 
  2. Place 6 slices of bread, buttered side down on a board, then layer the beef, beetroot, onion and cheese. 
  3. Drizzle with dressing and sandwich together. 
  4. Toast each sandwich in a medium-hot pan or sandwich press for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden and the cheese has melted. 
  5. Secure with a wooden skewer and garnish with fresh herbs and cocktail onions, if using.

Last minute solution 

If time isn’t on your side, you haven’t had the chance to meal prep and are looking for a quick fix, then relying on items that pack loads of flavour (like a curry or harrissa paste, or even a pesto or relish) is a must. They’re not only simple to make, but can turn a simple snack into a moreish meal in an instant. 

All-purpose curry paste  

Makes 1 ½ cups

Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. 


1 bulb garlic 
4 lemongrass stalks, sliced (optional) 
6cm knob ginger, peeled 
6-8 red chillies, deseeded 
2 Tbsp tomato paste 
5 dried lime leaves (optional) 
1 Tbsp ground turmeric 
3 Tbsp coriander seeds 
3 Tbsp cumin seeds 
Salt and milled pepper 
¼ cup canola oil  


  1. Combine the garlic, lemongrass if using, ginger, chillies and tomato paste in a food processor. 
  2. Add the lime leaves, and remaining spices. 
  3. Blitz until smooth and season. 
  4. Heat oil in a large pan and fry paste for 8-10 minutes until fragrant. 
  5. Spoon into a jar, cool and seal.

3 ways with curry paste  

  • Heat the curry paste in a pan with some oil, toss in cooked pasta, left over shredded beef or chicken and ½ can coconut milk or cream. Season well. 
  • Fry the chicken breast cubes in curry paste and oil. Scatter on top of nachos and top with cheese. Bake until golden and the cheese has melted. 
  • Fry onions in the curry paste. Add flaked haddock or mackerel, 1 can chopped tomatoes and 1 cup stock. Simmer gently. Place into an ovenproof dish and top with creamy mashed potato, bake until golden.


Words by: Chad January
Photography: Fresh Living Magazine

Also read: Budget-Friendly One-Pot Wonders

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