Challenge Hannah #2 – A Meal For 4 for £5

Hello! My name is Hannah and I’m a second year Nutritional Sciences student here at MMU. This is the second entry in a series I’m doing with MetMUnch called Challenge Hannah.

Each week, MetMUnch set me a challenge brief for a meal to invent that can be cooked for myself and my family. I will talk you through what I have cooked and why, and any nutritional benefits of the food I am eating!

If you’re interested in seeing what I cooked for week 1 then go to –

Week 2

The challenge for week 2 was to cook a meal for four people using only £5. This was challenging, more so than I first imagined.

It gave me a much greater appreciation for the struggle some people and families face to put nutritious meals on the table on a limited budget, and it made me extremely grateful to be in the position I am where I am able to experiment with food.

That being said, I did learn a few tips along the way.

Firstly, I know it sounds obvious, but it’s a good idea shop at Aldi or Lidl. I think the value for money they provide on their products is excellent. I also found a lot of the fresh products they sell were British too.

What To Cook?

I went into this challenge fully prepared and expecting to create a vegetarian meal as I thought there was no way I would be able to afford meat and accompaniments for less than £5.

However, I managed to find four chicken legs for £1.75. Bargain. They may not be the first cut of meat I would have chosen but with a little inspiration they went a long way.

When doing my research, I found a lot of suggested pasta dishes, and also lots of casserole type dishes. I had previously made a smokey vegetarian bean casserole before, so drew inspiration from this. With a meal idea in mind, I went in search of my other ingredients.

I picked up two tins of plum tomatoes, two tins of mixed beans, a bag of carrots, a bag of baby potatoes, and a bag of frozen broccoli.

My second tip is to buy plum tomatoes over chopped or passata if you can. The better tomatoes go into cans as plums and the lower quality ones go in to be chopped or passata.

Thirdly, frozen veg is a lifesaver. At first, I picked up two fresh broccolis which came to about £1.40, when I went to the freezer section however, there was 1kg of frozen broccoli for half the price, so I did an instant swap.

Also, there is research to suggest that frozen veg contains more micronutrients than fresh, as they are locked in during the freezing process rather than sitting on supermarket shelves.

A Bit of Nutrition

Broccoli is also a source of many micronutrients. The daily recommended intake of vitamin C in men and women over 15 years is 40ug/day. 100g of broccoli that has been frozen and then boiled fulfils this daily recommended intake.

Furthermore, as mentioned in my last post, the daily recommended intake of vitamin K should be roughly 1ug/kg body weight. 100g of broccoli contains 88.1ug. Furthermore, beans are a good source of fibre and plant-based protein, they are also low in fat too.

In total my shopping came to £4.98.

I fried the four chicken legs in a big pan and when crispy made a tomato sauce from the tinned tomatoes and added the carrots and beans. I also roasted the mini potatoes which went lovely and crispy, and served it all with the broccoli.

I was really impressed with the quality of this dish, you would not have known it was created for less than £5.


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Chop up about 3 to 4 medium sized carrots, a large onion and 2 cloves garlic (the onion and garlic are optional, but I added them because I have them). Get a large pan on a medium heat with a few tbsps olive oil.

You made need extra if your pan isn’t non-stick (mine wasn’t). Begin to fry the four chicken legs and add the carrots. After a few minutes add the onion and garlic and stir, making sure the legs don’t stick too much.

2. When the chicken skin is crisp and brown, tip in the cans of tomatoes (don’t forget to pour some water into the empty cans, give them a shake and add them to the dish for extra flavour and minimal waste!).

3. Turn the heat to low and let that bubble away, let the chicken cook and the sauce reduce. You can add some normal paprika and smoked paprika for a smoky flavour if you have it but again it’s not necessary.

4. While that is simmering gently, par boil about 500g baby potatoes and once cooked, drain them, put the lid on and shake them about to rough them up a bit. Place them in a tray and drizzle over roughly 1.5tbsps olive oil, a 1/2tsp salt and 1/2tsp pepper. Roast them in the oven for about half an hour.

5. If the sauce is beginning to look too thick you can always add some water to loosen it, but it is really based upon how thick you want it.

6. About 10 minutes before the potatoes are due to come out of the oven, pour your cans of beans into a sieve and rinse, then pour into your chicken saucepan and stir. I actually only used one of the tins but feel free to use both!

7. Also at this point you can microwave your broccoli. I did 320g (80g per person to ensure it reaches 1 of our 5-a-day) in a large bowl with a Tupperware lid for about 10 minutes on and off.

8. At this point everything should be coming together and you should be ready to serve! The broccoli should be cooked, the potatoes crispy, the chicken cooked and sauce red and flavoursome. Serve and enjoy.

Hannah has recently started her own Instagram account, follow her here –

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