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Pasta packet and sauce can be a $3 meal to feed a few mouths with some extra veges in if you like.
Tinned spaghetti and toast..my son's discovered this a few weeks ago and are obsessed, like 60c a can.
Bulk pack sausages cook normal one night make curried the next or something like that with mash or rice.
Big fried rice lot, peas and corn frozen added with soy sauce garlic and bacon. Also filling.
You can buy chicken breasts and slice them longways making 2-4 pieces depending thickness of the breast and have with fried rice etc
Cheaper meats like sausages and beef mince can stretch a really long way (chow mein, curried sausages, savory mince etc) Eggs are cheap and versatile as well - quiche, scrambled eggs, zuccini slice etc. Always pair dinners with rice or pasta or have a loaf of bread on the table when eating dinner and encourage the kids to butter a slice or two each. Encourage a glass of milk with dinner also to fill up little tummies and keep their calcium intake up.
Don't be ashamed buying home brand items and shop around at fruit and veg markets for cheap veggie options like potato, corn and peas etc to bulk up the dinner meals - you'll find a small bag of mince can really stretch out, depending on how many you have to feed, a small bag could probably stretch out to 2 meals.
"Luxury" items like juice and chips etc can be left on the shelves until money comes a little more accessible. Home brand frozen pies are about $3 for a pack of 6, Home brand frozen pizzas are about $3 each too so another cheap alternative. Making your own muffins, pikelets and cupcakes are a good idea for a treat for the kids also.
Good luck mumma! And try not to put yourself down too much - you'll find a lot of people have been here before. Hope this helps x
Fried rice with fried bacon chopped up very finely. Pre-fry the finely chopped bacon, so it gets crispy and releases its lovely flavour. Makes the rice go a long way. Fried finely chopped onion adds a lovely flavour, but you know what kids are like - they might prefer it without the onion. You can add very finely chopped vegetables for more goodness, like carrot, and peas.
Woolworths plain pack sausages came out as best sausages on a Choice comparison a couple of years ago - lower on sugar, salt and fat than the others tested. And better rated for taste.
Sausages in bread with tomato sauce or ketchup and mild mustard can be a real treat for kids, and perfectly OK.
My partner and I, and my kids, had to live on soup and toast for 6 months because most of his pay had to go to his ex and kids as maintenance, until I was able to get a job. Not ideal, as kids need more than that. but we survived, and you will too.
Once we had been through that tough time I had developed some really cost effective meals that cut our grocery bill down, and we dropped the expensive rubbish off on a permanent basis.
Some great suggestions here in the other answers.
Basic Recipes -Check google for an exact recipe but maybe:
Cheese pasta - cheese, pasta, flour, milk
Omelettes with frozen veg/cheese/leftover meat mixed in
Cheesy pasta/2min noodles with tuna/leftover meat and frozen veg cooked with it
Don't feel bad, everyone has good and bad times. Your kids are not hungry and that is all that matters.
Mexican bowls - the coles Chilli beans tins (near the chick peas and stuff- really cheap) already have the spices and stuff in. Add any veg that's appropriate - like grated carrot (super cheap), tin of drained corn, maybe some spinach leaves (especially if someone has grown some in the family) and serve the lot over boiled rice. Tasty, nutritious and filling.
When using mince bulk it up with chickpeas that you’ve mashed up. Honestly this is my life saver on extreme weeks or anytime I have an extra few mouths to feed.
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Pre-biotics I think they call them, the types of fibre that benefit the lower intestine and bowel.
(From Dr Michael Mosleys book The Good Gut diet).
Fried rice. Add as much frozen veg as you can, a few eggs for protein. Can be really cheap if you buy the no name brands.
Cheese toasties. I’d stock up on $1 supermarket bread.
Good luck. I would help you if I could. Maybe PayPal if that’s not weird? Let me know x
Hi OP - we have a few recipes for tight budgets on the SAHM website - this one might help you! https://www.stayathomemum.com.au/my-lifestyle/frugal-articles/grocery-budget-when-you-are-broke/
Went through this recently when my stupid car broke down and it used damn near my whole pay to fix it. The kids lived on pancakes, cereal, toast, sandwiches, chips etc. Was only for a week and me next pay I was able to start cooking proper meals again. And the kids whinge because they miss having cereal for dinner 🤦♀️😂
Don't stress too much mum, as long as they have some food in their tummies that's all that matters. A few years ago we struggled hard and we used alot of rice and pasta dishes. Toasted sandwiches etc
Not sure if it's been said yet but, baked potatoes in the jacket (skins), butter and whatever topping you have
Packet of pasta, home brand pasta sauce, block of homebrand cheese, pack of frozen veg, couple tins of tuna, butter, 5 pack of 2min noodles for 99c, flour, tin of baked beans, loaf of bread, bottle of milk and carton of eggs. You can make : Tuna pasta bake, eggy veggie muffins, tuna Mornay, frittata, beans on toast, eggs, veggies and beans, tuna patties, baked beans and cheese toasties, pikelets, noodles and veg, vegemite pasta (make a sauce in the pan with butter and vegemite melted together, then toss cooked pasta through and a little sprinkle of cheese.) Head to woolies with the kids in the morning to grab a loaf of bread and get them all to grab a piece of the free fruit to eat on way to school (or could sneakily save for later if you’re game). Good luck!