Cheap and Easy Warming Winter Meals

With the colder weather firmly setting in, without fail I return to my tried and tasted cheap and easy warming winter meals to fill me up. They’re made with simple ingredients so they’re cheap and I always make lots so they can be reheated the next day or portioned up to go in the freezer to use as a meal at a later date.

I have to small boys (aged 4 and 2) and they both like all of these recipes, so they are definately my go to meals during the colder months. I usually make them in my slow cooker as well, so I have a few days worth of meals ready for me with very little effort. I received my slow cooker as a gift, I was sceptical at first, but it’s one of the best things, so easy and convenient to use, I use it all the time!

Apart from the tuna pasta bake, all the other recipes I’ve listed are from Jack Monroe’s recipe book” A Girl Called Jack”, adapted slightly over the years. All the recipes in her books are just amazing, taste great and use simple ingredients which I love about them.

1. Lentil Bolognese

Serves 4

2 onions (chopped), 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped), 2 carrots (grated), few sprays of oil, generous sprinkling of dried mixed herbs (or fresh) 2 veg stock cubes, 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes, 200g dried brown lentils (rinsed), 4 tablespoons tomato puree, grated cheese.

  • Fry the onion, garlic and carrot in the oil for a few minutes then add the herbs and continue to fry for a further few minutes until the onions have softened.
  • This is when I add the mixture to my slow cooker but you continue cooking in the pan too.
  • Crumble in the stock cube and add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and lentils. Stir and simmer over a low heat for about 20 mins (keeping a check that it doesn’t stick and adding some water if necessary)
  • Serve with pasta and the grated cheese.

2. Chickpea, Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry

Serves 4

2x 250g tin chick peas, 2 onions (chopped), 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped), 1 chilli (finely chopped), heaped teaspoon ground cumin, 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes, 2 x veg stock cube, few sprays of oil, 2 x sweet potato (chopped into 1cm chunks), large handful of spinach (either fresh or frozen)

  • Drain the chickpeas and rinse well and boil them in some fresh water for about 10 mins
  • Meanwhile put the oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic and chilli and cumin and cook gently on a low heat until the onions have softened.
  • This is when  add the mixture to my slow cooker but you can continue in the pan as well
  • Add the potatoes, spinach, chickpeas and chopped tomatoes to the onion mixture along with the stock cubes and a bit of water (about half a cup) Reduce the heat to a low setting and simmer for about 30 mins
  • Serve with rice

3. Tomato and Veg Pasta Sauce

Serves 4

2 x 400g tinned tomatoes, 2 onions (finely chopped), 2 cloves of garlic, generous handful of mushrooms (chopped), few sprays of oil, tablespoon tomato puree, chopped veg such as broccoli or peppers (optional) 2 x tablespoon cream cheese

  • Add the onions and garlic to a pan with the oil and fry over a low heat for a few minutes until the onions have softened
  • Add the mushrooms and other chopped veg and fry for a further few minutes
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato puree and simmer for about 20 mins (until it starts to thicken)
  • Liquidize the sauce then add the cream cheese
  • Serve with pasta

4. Tuna Pasta Bake

Serves 4

2 x 400g tinned tomatoes, 2 onions (finely chopped), 2 cloves of garlic, generous handful of mushrooms (chopped), few sprays of oil, tablespoon tomato puree, chopped veg such as broccoli, peppers (optional), 1 x tin tuna (drained) 1x mozzarella ball (chopped), handful of grated cheese

  • For this basically take the same pasta sauce recipe above, leaving out the cream cheese, and adding in a tin of tuna. While that’s cooking boil some pasta (about 500g for 4 people).
  • When the pasta and the sauce is cooked mix them together and add them to an ovenproof dish. Top with the mozzarella and grated cheese and put in a pre-heated oven (200 degrees) for about 20 minutes until the cheese starts to go brown.
  • If you can’t fit all the pasta in one dish, split it between 2 oven dishes. I sometimes do this and serve one and keep one uncooked for the next day. You can serve it with garlic bread or salad to bulk it out a bit.

So that’s it, four delicious budget recipes which are perfect for cold winter months.

What’s your favourite go to comfort food recipes?

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