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Here is the VERY FIRST of my Money Saving Meals series, where we’re bringing you a month of detailed budget meal plans so you don’t have to do the thinking of ‘what’s for dinner’ every evening.

You will find everything you need to follow for an easy, flavour-packed and healthy ease into the New Year – including a full FREE shopping list, additional notes and a breakdown of cost.

The front page of Taming Twins' budget meal plan week 1, named Money Saving Meals, with images of 5 family friendly recipes.

After the season of indulgence, there’s one thing we need in January, and that is nutritious, hearty and delicious home cooked food. 

It’s also time for a little restoration and a LOT of budgeting after all the exuberance and excess.

We are here for you, my friends!

This is the VERY FIRST budget meal plan in our Money Saving Meals series, where we bring 4 weeks of family friendly midweek dinners that tick all the boxes. 

About this budget meal plan

We have concentrated here on bringing you a collection of recipes that strike a balance of prioritising price and value, while also making sure you get: 

⭐️ A full meal for 4 people

⭐️ A balanced plate of carbs, protein and vegetables

⭐️ A variety of ingredients and dishes

Things to note

➡️ You may want to add some side dishes to some of these recipes, which I explain in the notes below.

➡️ Please be aware that any suggested sides have been added to the shopping list to help you get organised but are NOT included in the costings breakdown per recipe, in case you want to swap them out.

➡️ I’ll be sharing this meal plan on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, so watch out for the videos so you can cook along.

For reference, I shopped for this Meal Plan in December 2023 at Aldi and it cost £27.92.

Why use a budget meal plan?

⭐️ Knowing exactly what food to buy for avoids food waste, saving you money

⭐️ Having a plan for dinner avoids the mental load of “what’s for dinner?” question every night

You can find more Meal Plans here:

Meal Plan 26 – Slow Cooker Saviours

Meal Plan 25 – Easy Midweek Winners

Meal Plan 24 – 5 Brand New Recipes

Some tips for using a budget meal plan:

➡️ Check for any items on the shopping list that you already have in your cupboard

➡️ Maybe think about doubling up and freezing a recipe or two where the recipes are suitable, so save cooking another day or for the weekend

➡️ Remove ingredients for any meals that you don’t want to cook

➡️ The shopping list includes the cheapest version of each ingredient. Obviously if you want to buy lower fat mince or free range etc, that’s personal choice

➡️ All of the recipes are to serve 4, so if you’re cooking for 2, simply halve the ingredients

Budget Meal Plan: The recipes:

Dinner 1

⭐️ Cost: £1.68 per portion

⭐️ Our new and improved recipe

⭐️ All in one meal – no need for extra sides

A big pot of chicken and bacon pasta bake with broccoli and cheese on top.
4.91 from 62 votes

Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake {SO EASY!}

This easy Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake recipe is a delicious and healthy dinner for all the family. The simple creamy sauce is packed with vegetables and bacon and topped with cheese. 
View Recipe

Dinner 2

⭐️ Cost: 72p per portion

⭐️ Annoyingly, Aldi doesn’t stock orzo (which is where we did our shopping for this), but you can find it in most other major supermarkets

⭐️ All in one vegetarian meal – no need for extra sides

Meal plan orzo bake recipe.
5 from 68 votes

Broccoli Orzo Bake

This Broccoli Orzo Bake is a delicious vegetarian pasta recipe that’s so easy to make and is all thrown together in one pan.
View Recipe

Dinner 3

⭐️ Cost: 77p per portion

⭐️ Serving suggestion: Mash or roast potatoes and peas. These have been added to the shopping list

⭐️ This would also be great with Onion Gravy. This isn’t on the shopping list but it’d be a nice addition to the meal

Browned sausages in a Yorkshire Pudding batter to make a perfect Toad in the Hole.
4.99 from 280 votes

Toad in the Hole {Foolproof Recipe!}

The comforting classic is pure perfection when the day calls for it – the best Toad in the Hole recipe is all we need to please everyone.
View Recipe

Dinner 4

⭐️ Cost: £1.16 per portion

⭐️ Serving suggestion: Rice, which is on the shopping list

⭐️ Please note, Aldi doesn’t sell curry paste. You can either use some for your cupboard if you have any, or substitute it for 2-3tbsp of medium curry powder (or to your own spicy tastes!)

⭐️ Aldi also doesn’t sell paneer, so we’ve swapped it for halloumi in the shopping list

Simple Slow Cooker recipe for Red Lentil Dahl. The cooked dish.
5 from 166 votes

Red Lentil Dahl {Slow Cooker Fakeaways}

This Red Lentil Slow Cooker Dahl is a perfect weekend fakeaway. It’s simple, healthy, is packed with flavour and is an ideal vegetarian curry.
View Recipe

Dinner 5

⭐️ Cost: £1.35 per portion

⭐️ We have chosen the cheapest mince to keep costs down here, but you can buy what you prefer

⭐️ All in one meal – no need for extra sides

Meal plan recipe Cajun Dry Rice.
4.99 from 87 votes

Dirty Rice {Cajun Style Beef One Pot}

This is a tasty, easy and quick one potrecipe that's full of flavour from the Cajun style beef and packed with filling veggies.
View Recipe

Quick reminder, the printable shopping list can be found here.

If you’ve found this useful, let’s be friends on Instagram @tamingtwins

Please remember, all prices included in this meal plan are correct at the time of writing, but are subject to change.

new cookbook!

Featuring 100 delicious recipes that can be cooked in one pot, you can open any page in this book and find something that will give you not only a meal that the whole family will eat and enjoy, but also one that makes your life a little simpler in the process.

More Recipes

Sarah Rossi founder of and author of 'What's for Dinner?' books.


Hi, I'm Sarah. I help busy people decide 'What's for Dinner?' Find hundreds of recipes here, and also in my bestselling recipe book. Hope my recipes make your life easier ❤️

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  1. Hi,

    This is not budget meal plan. This is only 5 recipes for dinner.
    If you eat only dinners that is your choice (because when you get out of bed you are thinking about dinner or it is because you have two books with dinner recipes only)
    but most people have breakfast and lunch with dinner and snacks.
    Change your title so you don’t mislead other people.

    1. Thanks for your charming comment. My books do actually include recipes other than dinner, but thanks for your concern. These meal plans are totally free, so if you don’t like them, feel free to find another alternative elsewhere. 🙂

  2. Hi Sarah, I have two picky men who would happily eat the same thing every day, but I have to say, today I made this Broccoli, bacon, and chicken dinner. It is wonderful! Both guys ate it and came back for more. Thank you.! So quick and easy to make, so light on my purse, even though I had to make some slight changes. I do not have a grill, and the only pan I had was an electric skillet, so I could not have that crispy top. I added more milk. and scattered some more bacon on top with a little grated cheese. I turned down the heat for about fifteen minutes while we waited for everyone to come to the table and then the result was a lovely creamy casserole. every one of us had seconds.