Cheap Family Meals (Beef Mince)

Welcome to the follow up to my last blog Feed your family on a budget. This is the first of my posts that looks at what I cook when on a budget. I know feeding a family on a budget can be tricky and thinking of meal ideas that everyone will like can be hard work. Hopefully this will give you a few ideas what to do with beef mince.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Well that’s a dead cert isn’t it. You don’t need any fancy meal kits or jars. This is a really simple and cheap recipe. It can be cooked on the hob or slow cooker. I will give you the hob method here. For the slow cooker the ingredients are all the same but you just throw it all in and turn it on low for 6-8 hours.


  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 onions
  • Garlic (as much as you like)
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • Tomato puree
  • Beef stock cube
  • 1 large carrot
  • spaghetti
  • Dry basil/oregano


  • Dry fry mince in large pan
  • Chop onions and garlic and add to pan to soften
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Grate carrot and add to pan
  • When mince brown add tomatoes, tomato puree, herbs and crumble in stock cube.
  • Simmer for 20 mins
  • Cook your spaghetti as per packet instructions

Tips There is no need to buy branded pasta or tomatoes for this. Buy your herbs from Aldi or Lidl they are much cheaper and are just the same as more expensive branded herbs.

Meatballs in tomato sauce

  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 onion
  • Salt and pepper
  • You can add herbs of your choice


Finely chop onion and fry in a little oil. Let it cool. Then make your balls. This amount should make 24 meatballs depending on the size you make them. Put your balls in the fridge to set for about 30 mins to set. Fry in a little oil when cooked remove from pan and set aside to be used later.

For the sauce

  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • Garlic (as much as you like)
  • Fresh basil
  • Frozen Peas
  • Salt and lots of pepper


Finely chop garlic. Fry in same pan used for meatballs. Add in tomatoes. Simmer and thicken for about 15 mins. Season with salt and lots of pepper. Add in the fresh basil. Add in the frozen peas. Return the cooked meatballs to the sauce for about 5 minutes. Serve with spaghetti.

Chilli con Carne

  • 500g minced beef
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 150 ml cold water
  • Tin chopped tomatoes
  • Tin kidney beans drained (you can use baked beans as a substitute)
  • Coleman’s chilli con carne mix

Now I try to make most things from scratch but the Coleman’s spice mix is such a perfect taste I just use it every time now.


Brown the mince and onion in a saucepan. Drain off any excess fat. Blend the contents of the sachet with the water and add to the mince, along with tomatoes and kidney beans. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until thoroughly cooked.

Or you can throw it all in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hrs

Serve with rice.

Cottage pie

  • 500g beef mince
  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • Beef Oxo cube
  • Beef gravy granules
  • 2 or 3 carrots
  • Mixed herbs
  • Frozen peas
  • Cheddar cheese


Peel and chop potatoes and put to boil. Finely chop onion. Dry fry mince and add onion. Add salt, pepper, mixed herbs and crumble over the Oxo cube. While the mince is browning dice the carrots and part boil. Add 2 spoons gravy granules to the mince and add boiling water. You don’t want it too sloppy but you do want some gravy. Add the carrots and peas when ready and transfer to a casserole dish. When the potatoes are ready mash with a little butter and spread over the mince in the casserole dish. Top with enough grated cheese to cover the dish and put in the oven gas mark 6 for approx 30 mins or when the cheese has browned.

With this one I added some sliced potatoes too.

There you go guys. Part 1 complete. Please let me know if you try any of these dishes on my Instagram @th3secretlifeofme. Hope you find this helpful

Love and peace xxx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s