Budget recipe binder: Cottage pie
One of the easiest and most all-round satisfying meals there is, the whole family will be happy with this classic cottage pie for tea. Why not make a bigger batch and freeze the leftovers for next week?
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total cost: £2.82* (all ingredients bought from scratch £6.94)
One large onion (20p)
Splash of vegetable oil (a few pence – one litre 99p)
300g frozen minced beef (98p – one kg £3.25)
300g frozen mixed veg (30p – one kg £1.00)
Water, boiled in kettle
4-6 tbsp gravy granules (a few pence – 100g 20p)
800g potatoes, peeled (80p)
100g grated cheddar (50p - 500g £2.50)
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.
Chop the onion and fry in the vegetable oil until they start to brown.
Add the mince and fry for ten minutes.
Add the veg, mix together and pour in enough water to just cover.
Bring back to the boil, then cover and simmer for half an hour. Keep an eye out that it doesn’t boil dry.
Meanwhile, set the potatoes to boil for 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove the mince mixture from the heat. Add the gravy granules, using more or less depending on how thick you want the sauce. Stir until smooth.
Drain the potatoes and mash with a bit of milk or butter if you fancy.
Transfer the mince mixture into an overproof dish, cover with the mash and top with the cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese turns golden brown.
Frozen mince and vegetables are ideal because they last longer than fresh and you can cook them straight from the freezer. For a vegetarian version of this recipe, go for soya protein beef-style mince (454g £1.50) from the frozen aisle – you’ll be surprised how much it tastes like the real thing!
*Prices from Tesco, correct at time of publishing