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Nutritious family meal for 4 people under $15 AUD

Let's face it. Cost of living is high. My favourite fruit loaf is now $9.2 whereas it was just around $6 not too long ago.


I have collated eight budget-friendly recipes designed to serve four, each costing under $15.



counting money
Clever meal planning can help with the hip pocket.

1. One-Pan Chicken and Vegetable Bake:

  • Ingredients: 250g of pasta e.g. penne, 300g Chicken thighs, mixed veggies (around 3 metric cups), olive oil, and seasonings. Optional home-made Bechamel sauce.

  • Cost: Approximately $12.00

  • Method: Toss chicken with olive oil and seasonings, then bake in one pan. Add boiled pasta and sauce in the last 5 minutes of the baking. Serve with steamed vegetables.

2. Vegetarian Chickpea and Spinach Curry:

  • Ingredients: Canned chickpeas, spinach, tomatoes, curry spices such as Cumin seeds and garem masala, and rice.

  • Cost: Around $11.50

  • Method: Simmer chickpeas, spinach, and tomatoes with curry spices, serve over cooked rice.

3. Pasta Primavera with Roasted Vegetables:

  • Ingredients: 250g Pasta, assorted vegetables for roasting such as capsicum, eggplant, pumpkin, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast for vegan).

  • Cost: Roughly $13.00

  • Method: Roast veggies, toss with cooked pasta, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with Parmesan.

4. Beef and broccoli stir-Fry:

  • Ingredients: 350g Beef (thinly sliced), a small knob of ginger, broccoli, soy sauce, and 1 cup Basmati rice.

  • Cost: Approximately $14.50

  • Method: Marinate beef with salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, grated ginger and a little corn starch first. Bleach vegetable in hot water then set aside. Stir-fry beef on high heat add in bleached veggies Serve over rice.


5. Pumpkin and lentil

  • Ingredients: 1 kg Pumpkin, 1 onion and 1/4 cup red lentil. Sourdough bread

  • Cost: Around $12

  • Method: Peel and diced pumpkin. In a heavy pot, fry on high with the diced onion. Add in the rinsed lentils. Add enough water to cover the pumpkin. Once all is tender, blend in hand-held stick blender and serve with crusty bread.

6. Salmon and Vegetable Foil Packets:

  • Ingredients: Salmon fillets, mixed veggies, lemon, and herbs.

  • Cost: Roughly $20.00

  • Method: Place salmon and veggies on foil, squeeze lemon, sprinkle herbs, fold into packets, and bake.

7. Creamy basil pesto penne with mushroom

  • Ingredients: Half a bunch of basil, one handful of cashews, 2 cloves of garlic, 250g penne, olive oil, 500g mushroom

  • Cost: Around $13.50

  • Method: Boil the penne in a large pot of water. Puree the basil with cashews with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic. Add a little water to thin the peso. Sliced the mushrooms and crush the garlic. Pan fry the mushroom and garlic in a pan. Once mushroom is cooked, add the pesto and penne. Stir to combine.

8. Eggplant and Chickpea Casserole:

  • Ingredients: Eggplant, canned chickpeas, tomatoes, and herbs.

  • Cost: Around $13.50

  • Method: Layer eggplant, chickpeas, and tomatoes, sprinkle with herbs, and bake until bubbly.


While the salmon meal is over $15, on average each meal is under $15. As a result, the higher ticket items can still be included in a overall quite a budget friendly meal plan.

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