School Lunch Ideas – Cheese and Sweetcorn Muffins

It is no secret that I love making packed lunches for my kids, I think I must be in a minority! I’m able to make fun and healthy lunches by being organised and preparing a few things in advance. These cheese and sweetcorn muffins are great for their lunch boxes and can be frozen. I prepare the lunch before I go to bed so I’m not rushing around in the morning, the muffins defrost over night in the fridge so they will ready to eat by lunch time the next day.

Makes 10

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Leftover Rice Pancakes

Rice used to be my most wasted food, I don’t think I have every cooked the exacted amount so I always have some leftover. Some people can be a bit nervous about reusing cooked rice, this is what I do to prevent the spores from flourishing which can cause food poisoning:

  • Run cold water over the cooked rice until it has completely cooled.
  • Store in the fridge for a maximum of 1 day.
  • Do not leave warm, cooked rice out on the kitchen side. The spores will germinate at room temperature.

These pancakes only require two ingredients so they are really simple to make. I use them as wraps, in the kids packed lunch, a side for almost any meal. They are especially good with a fried breakfast!

Makes 4 small pancakes

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Mushroom and Pearl Barley Risotto

Risotto is such a comforting and warming meal but using arborio rice is completely unnecessary as it is quite expensive. I use pearl barley because it is such a cheap grain. In this recipe I used the dried mushrooms I received with my mushroom growing kit from GroCycle.

I have made this before with fresh mushrooms which also tastes just as delicious. This is a great recipe to make in your slow cooker.

Serves 4        Costs 27p per serving


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Shortbread Thumbprints Biscuits 

Butter is one of my favorite cooking staples. I use it in all types of meals but especially in baking. Recently I was kindly sent some butter from Wykes Farm, so I thought we would make our favourite buttery treat. They are simple to make, use little ingredients and are fun for little ones to make.

Makes 12

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Homemade Chicken Nuggets

There are so many reasons I love homemade chicken nuggets!

  1. They use up any leftover chicken from our roast dinner.
  2. You know exactly what goes into them.
  3. The kids love getting messy whilst they help make them.
  4. The kids actually eat them all!

I use the cooked leg meat and any leftovers from our roast chicken but you can which ever part of the chicken you prefer.

Makes 12-16

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Hash Browns

You may be wondering why I’m doing such a simple recipe! Well not only were hash browns one of the first things I attempted to cook for my husband when we first met (massive fail, I didn’t put the eggs in and tried to cook them in the oven!), but they are also cheap to make.

The mixture and hash browns can be frozen if you don’t need them all at once!

Costs 9p each

Makes 12

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Baba Ganoush

For those of you who don’t know what baba ganoush is, it is a delicious smokey dip made from aubergines.

In our house, we have it with flat breads, naan bread and a selection of vegtable sticks to dip in it. You can also turn it into a meal by adding some meat, chickpeas or extra vegtables.

The traditional recipe for baba ganoush contains tahini but at £3 a jar…no thank you!

So, I hope you enjoy my budget version.

Serves 4-6

Costs 15p per serving

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Foolproof Apple Crumble

I have lost count of the number of apple crumble recipes I have tried that have been a complete disaster! This is my simple and cheap recipe that has been a hit with all the family. You can add different types of fruit if you wish, my favourite is frozen mixed berries.

The most important question is, do you have it with custard or ice cream?!

Serves 6-8

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Quick Refried Baked Beans

We love Mexican food in our house! Most dishes are quick and easy to prepare with so many different options. These refried beans are great as a side dish, dip with chips, in a burrito or my personal favourite, chimichangas.

They are typically made with pinto beans but I have used a can of baked beans as they are cheap and something that is always in my kitchen cupboard.

Cost 45p

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Store Cupboard Potato Curry

Your store cupboard contains some of the most important ingredients when it comes to cooking on a budget. You don’t have to have fresh or expensive ingredients to make a tasty home cooked meal and this potato curry proves it!

Tinned potatoes are a great thing to keep in your cupboard, not only are they cheap (12p), but you can either use them as the main element of a meal, like this curry or you could use them in a side dish such as potato salad or roasted.

My recipe for Homemade Naan Bread is a perfect side for this curry, all the ingredients can be found in your cupboard and fridge.

Serves 4       Costs 57p a serving

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