New Recipe: Quick & budget family meals

Make instant meatballs with this filling and flavoursome recipe that the whole family will love. It might leave you with some lunchbox leftovers, too, if you’re feeding younger kids. It’s on the table in 20 minutes, so you can spend more time relaxing on the sofa than cooking in the kitchen.

Pasta is always a family favourite, so why not check out more of our quick and easy family pasta recipes.

Chicken thighs on a board with a bowl of broccoli

These sticky homemade chicken thighs are sure to be a big hit with the kids and are a great way to introduce them to cheaper cuts of meat. Serve with a steaming bowl of rice and let the family help themselves.

For more chicken thigh dinner inspiration, everything from easy traybakes to hearty curries and comforting stews.

Bean burger in a bun on a bed of avocado, lettuce and red onion with yoghurt and salsa.

Homemade bean burgers might sound like a faff on a busy weeknight but this recipe couldn’t be any easier and takes just 10 minutes to prepare. If you want, prep ahead, then make double and freeze them, so that next time you can just pop them under the grill.

A woman holding an open wrap with avocado, peppers, black beans and yoghurt inside

This 15-minute easy recipe means there’s no need for expensive fajita kits, and swapping chicken breast for healthy, filling beans is another great way of keeping costs down. Fresh, flavoursome and fast, this is sure to become a family favourite.

For more meatless meals that appeal to the children, look at our vegetarian kids selection.

A plate of noodles and prawns with various vegetables

Fast Friday food that will pack a bit of a punch, this fragrant noodle salad makes a great alternative to a takeaway and the secret ingredient is peanut butter. You only need 15 minutes to get it on the table.

For more Asian-inspired recipes, look at our noodle salad selection.

6) Chicken, leek & brown rice stir-fry 

Bowl of rice with chicken, pepper and leeks

This simple stir-fry combines the classic flavours of chicken and chorizo with a healthy kick of kale and leek. Whip up in under 20 minutes and enjoy!

Look no further for more speedy stir-fry inspiration.

7) Roasted aubergine & tomato curry 

A plate of rice with aubergine and tomato curry

Who said that vegan food had to be bland? This curry will go down a treat with the whole family – carnivores, too! Slightly sweet in flavour but with an added richness from the coconut milk. Double the batch size and freeze for a later date to save yourself cooking again.

Have a peruse of our vegan family recipes for more ideas.

8) Mushroom, ricotta & rocket tart

Puff pastry topped with mushroom, ricotta and rocket

Use a ready-made puff pastry sheet for a no-fuss midweek dinner. Top with Italian cheese, garlic mushrooms and rocket for a stylish vegetarian meal. The addition of grated nutmeg brings a sweet and nutty taste to this dish.

Browse more of our delicious savoury tart recipes.

9) Macaroni cheese with bacon & pine nuts 

Baking dish of macaroni cheese topped with bacon and pine nuts

Macaroni cheese is the ultimate comfort food, and this variation is unmatchable due to the heavenly addition of salty bacon bits and sweet and buttery pine nuts. Serve alongside a fresh green salad.

Delve into our selection of hearty pasta bakes.

10) Spicy oven-baked chicken and chips 

Baking dish of chicken wings and chips

This five-ingredient baked chicken and chips can be prepared in only 10 minutes. Coat the chicken and potatoes in Cajun seasoning and lime for a lovely smoky flavour. Replace the chicken wings with thighs to save even more pennies.

View more of our appetising chicken wing recipes.

Try more wholesome family classics

Top 5 healthy family meals
Veggie suppers for the whole family
Family meals without the fat
Vegetarian kids’ recipes

Many of us are paying more attention to our diets and how the food we eat can support our health. To help sort out the fact from the fiction, BBC Future is updating some of its most popular nutrition stories from its archive.

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