5 easy family dinners for £25: Week 7

Enjoy five days of delicious fuss-free dinners for less than £25* with our collection of budget-friendly meals that the whole family will love. The handy shopping list at the bottom of the page makes it so easy to enjoy cosy curries, soups, pasta and more with the whole family.

  1. Monday: Bacon and broccoli carbonara

    ½ tbsp olive oil
    100g cooking bacon, cut into small pieces
    320g spaghetti
    ½ x 350g pack broccoli, stem diced, head cut into florets
    50g spinach
    3 eggs
    50g pack grated pecorino

    1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the bacon for 7-10 mins, stirring regularly, until golden and crisp.

    2. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti for 7 mins, or until al dente, adding the broccoli after 2 mins and the spinach for the final 1 min.

    3. Mix the eggs with most of the pecorino and some black pepper in a bowl.

    4. Drain the pasta and vegetables, reserving 100ml of pasta water, then return to the pan. Add the bacon, and any oil from the pan, and mix well. Gradually pour in the egg mixture, stirring continuously to cook the eggs in the residual heat of the pasta. Add enough of the reserved pasta water to get a smooth, silky sauce – you may not need it all. Top with the remaining pecorino and a little more black pepper to serve.

  2. Tuesday: Courgette, butter bean and mackerel salad

    1 small red onion, finely sliced
    1 lemon, juiced
    2½ tbsp olive oil
    2 courgettes, cut into chunks
    2 garlic cloves, 1 crushed, 1 halved
    400g tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
    2 slices wholemeal bread
    4 eggs
    260g pack smoked mackerel, skin removed, flaked

    1. Put the onion in a small bowl with half the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Set aside for 10 mins to pickle.

    2. Heat ½ tbsp oil in a large, nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the courgettes and crushed garlic and fry for 7-10 mins until softened and lightly browned. Add the butter beans for the final 1 min. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon and cover to keep warm.

    3. Rub both sides of the bread with the cut sides of the halved garlic clove. Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces, then fry over a medium-high heat, stirring regularly, for 5-7 mins until golden and crisp. Remove and set aside.

    4. Add another ½ tbsp oil to the pan. Crack in the eggs and cook over a medium-high heat for 2-3 mins or until cooked to your liking.

    5. Divide the courgette and butter beans between 4 plates and top with the smoked mackerel flakes and fried eggs. Add the pickled onions and croutons. Mix the remaining lemon juice and oil, then drizzle over to serve.

  3. Wednesday: Brown rice and courgette soup

    1 tbsp olive oil
    2 small red onions, roughly chopped
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    2 courgettes, cut into chunks
    200g easy-cook brown rice, rinsed
    1 vegetable stock cube, made up to 1.5ltr
    325g tin sweetcorn, drained
    75g spinach
    1 lemon, zested and juiced
    bread and butter, to serve (optional)

    1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Fry the onions for 5-7 mins until starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 2 mins.

    2. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the courgettes. Cook for 5 mins until starting to colour. Add the rice and stock; bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 22-25 mins until the rice is tender. For a thicker soup, remove from the heat and blitz with a stick blender, then return to the heat.

    3. Add the sweetcorn and spinach and cook for a further 2-3 mins until the spinach has wilted. Stir in the lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the lemon zest and extra black pepper. Serve with bread and butter, if you like.

  4. Thursday: Red lentil and spinach korma

    2½ tbsp vegetable oil
    4 small red onions, 2 roughly chopped, 2 finely sliced
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    250g red split lentils, rinsed
    360g jar korma 2-step kit
    240g easy-cook brown rice, rinsed
    125g spinach
    15g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
    1 lemon, cut into wedges
    100g low-fat natural yogurt (optional)

    1. Heat ½ tbsp oil in a large, lidded saucepan over a medium heat. Fry the chopped onions for 5-7 mins until starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 mins. Add the lentils and the spices from the korma kit and cook for 2 mins, stirring well. Add 325ml water, bring to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 10 mins. Add the korma sauce, cover and simmer gently for 15 mins.

    2. Meanwhile, cook the rice to pack instructions; drain and set aside. Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan over a high heat. Add the sliced onions and cook for 12-15 mins, stirring regularly, until golden and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper; sprinkle with a little salt and set aside.

    3. Once the lentils are cooked, stir through the spinach and most of the coriander. Serve with the rice, crispy onions, remaining coriander, lemon wedges and yogurt, if you like.

  5. Friday: Sausage and tomato frittata

    ½ tbsp olive oil
    1 red onion, thinly sliced
    4 reduced-fat Cumberland sausages from a 454g pack, sliced into 1cm chunks
    8 eggs
    15g fresh basil, ¾ roughly chopped
    1 tsp crushed chillies
    ½ x 250g pack Nightingale Farms cherry tomatoes, quartered
    150g Redmere Farms spinach

    1. Preheat the grill to high. Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan (about 23cm) over a high heat. Add the onion and sausages and fry for 10 mins, stirring regularly, until cooked through and caramelised.

    2. Beat the eggs in a large jug. Mix in the chopped basil and crushed chillies; season. Pour over the onion and sausages in the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 mins until setting at the edges. Scatter over the tomatoes. Grill for 6-7 mins until set and golden.

    3. Meanwhile, put the spinach in a colander and pour over boiling water to wilt. Use the back of a spoon to press out excess liquid. Slice the frittata into wedges, scatter over the remaining basil leaves and serve with the wilted spinach.

  6. Shopping list

    1 pack Suntrail Farms lemons
    30g pack fresh coriander
    30g pack fresh basil
    1 garlic bulb
    1kg pack Redmere Farms red onions
    250g pack Nightingale Farms cherry tomatoes
    350g pack broccoli
    2 x 350g packs Redmere Farms courgettes
    2 x 250g packs Redmere Farms spinach
    8 Tesco reduced-fat Cumberland sausages
    500g pack Woodside Farms cooking bacon
    260g pack smoked mackerel fillets
    500g pot Creamfields low-fat natural yogurt
    50g pack grated pecorino
    800g loaf H W Nevill's wholemeal bread
    6-pack medium free-range eggs
    12-pack medium free-range eggs
    500g pack Hearty Food Co. spaghetti
    1kg pack easy-cook brown rice
    400g tin butter beans
    325g Grower's Harvest sweetcorn in salt water
    500g pack red split lentils
    360g jar korma 2-step kit
    28g pot crushed chillies

    +From your storecupboard:
    vegetable stock cube, olive oil, vegetable oil

    *Based on a family of four. Total cost based on online prices at time of publishing; subject to change