Thrifty mum reveals how to cook for just 84p per meal – with yellow sticker deals and other tips

A MUM-of-three has told how she can cook up tasty dinners for her family for as little as 84p per portion.

Avid cook Vicki Foulger, from Kent, whips up the delicious meals for her husband and three growing sons and shares them with fans on her YouTube channel, The Foulger Family.

She aims to cook low cost meals which can be prepared quickly for busy families to enjoy after a day at work and school.

Vicki shops around to find the best deals in the supermarkets and buys her meat from online healthy food retailer

She also looks out for yellow stickered items in her local supermarkets to keep costs down and shops and cooks with local, seasonal products.

Vicki uses the skills she picked up from her dad who taught her to cook as a child and tips from working in a busy restaurant kitchen.

Family favourites include curries, casseroles and risottos with leftovers being frozen for lunches and Vicki doubling up on tricky recipes and freezing a second batch.

Low cost meals include bacon and pea risotto at 84p a portion, sausage casserole at £1.23 and chicken noodle soup at around £1.01 per portion.

Vicki also cooks up a few more luxurious meals for her hungry family including creamy beef pasta bake which works out at £1.84 per person and beef barbacoa at £2.62 per portion.

Vicki said: “I’ve always loved cooking. My dad taught me when I was young, and I spent around five years working in restaurants.

“I launched my YouTube channel two years ago with the aim to show other parents how easy it can be to put a tasty, nutritious meal together.

“At the same time, I wanted to keep the cost low and show that home cooking doesn’t have to be perfect.

“On average I spend around £400 a month on food for the five of us which I’m pleased with as my three sons eat as much as my husband.

“To keep the cost down I use a few money save tricks. Shopping around and finding ingredients that don’t cost a fortune is important.

“Yellow stickered items are always good to buy and freeze and I always check out my local budget supermarket on a Thursday when they reduce lots of items to just 90p.

“My meat comes from online healthy food retailer

“The meat is good quality so I find I don’t need to use as much in my recipes.

“For example, if I was making a curry for six people, I’d use just two chicken breasts and add lots of vegetables.

“That keeps the cost down per portion without scrimping on the meat.”

Vicki continued: “If families are looking to cut down on their food spend and cook up nutritious meals, there are lots of other things they can do.”

Vicki said that meal planning is key, and she does this every week.

She explained: “Before I shop I’ll check my freezers to see what I already have and try to pick some of my meals around them to keep the costs down.

“I do the same with basic store cupboard ingredients and any veg I have left from the previous week.

“Have a good look at recipes online or in a book.

“They can often inspire you to cook something you’ve never tried before or make a few changes to a family favourite.

“I rarely make lots of meals in advance, but if I’m making something tricky then I’ll double up and freeze half to save some time.

“For families with little time, try using your slow cooker whenever you can.
“I do this a lot – meals can be cooking throughout the day and are ready when we all get home.”

Example recipes

Sausage casserole, serves 4 – Total cost £4.95


  • 8 sausages
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 4 peeled & chopped carrots
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled & diced
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 1/2 tin water
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Beef stock pot
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp marmalade
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp cornflour & 1 tbsp water
  • 4 giant Yorkshire puddings


  1. Brown sausages in a frying pan then combine all ingredients except cornflour) in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.
  2. Add the cornflour mixed with water & leave while you cook the Yorkshire puddings according to packet instructions.
  3. Remove the rosemary & serve in Yorkshire puddings.


Chicken noodle soup, serves 4 – Total cost £4.05 plus £1.20 if serving with bread


  • 400g chicken breast
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 2 chopped cloves garlic
  • 1 tin sweetcorn
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150g spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker (can also be made on the hob) keeping the pasta & tinned sweetcorn to one side.
  2. Cook on low for 4 hours before taking out the chicken and shredding it with two forks.
  3. Return the chicken to the slow cooker along with the pasta and sweetcorn then cook on high for a further 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leaf & serve with warm crusty bread.


Bacon & pea risotto, serves 4 – Total cost £3.37


  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 8 bacon medallions
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 100g frozen peas
  • Knob of butter
  • 50g parmesan cheese plus a little to serve
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Chop the onion, garlic & bacon then fry in a knob of butter.
  2. After 5 minutes add the rice & salt & pepper (half a teaspoon of each) and stir.
  3. Add 1 litre of chicken stock & simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the frozen peas & parmesan & cook for a further 5 minutes until rice is tender.
  5. Serve with grated parmesan.


Creamy beef pasta bake, serves 4 – Total cost £7.38


  • 400g minced beef
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 150g garlic & herb cream cheese
  • 300g pasta shapes
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • Beef stock pot
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 100g grated cheddar cheese


  1. Fry mince, onion & garlic until browned.
  2. Add tomatoes, stock pot & cream cheese to the pan & simmer for 15 minutes while pasta shapes are cooking.
  3. Mix together drained pasta & mince mixture then spoon into oven proof dishes.
  4. Top with cheddar and cook in the oven for 10 minutes until cheese is browned & bubbling.


Beef barbacoa, serves 4 – Total cost £10.50


  • 500g diced beef
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp chipotle chilli
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • Beef stock pot
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 8 tortilla wraps
  • 200g grated cheese salad
  • 200g sour cream


  1. Combine all the ingredients (except cornflour) in the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 hours.
  2. Remove bay leaves and add 1 teaspoon cornflour mixed with a tablespoon of water to thicken & cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Serve in wraps with grated cheese, sour cream and salad.

Previously, a mum-of-two shows how she feeds her whole family for just £200 a month and gives top tips to save you money too.

And a thrifty mum reveals how she feeds her family-of-four for £12.50 each a week with clever meal planning.

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