How to Make Three Budget-Friendly Dinners Out of One Meal

Jill Holtz

August 8, 2022

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When budgets are tight, you sometimes need to make meals stretch a bit further. With a bit of careful planning, you can turn one initial meal into three dinners. We’ve put together some suggestions and tips to help family meal planning with this list of delicious triple dinners that will go down well with all ages.

When you can, plan meals ahead that you can double or even triple up to make more from the initial meal, maximise the dinner opportunities, and help to keep costs down. You can also freeze leftovers to make those future meals if you don’t want to feel like you’re eating the same thing all in the space of a few days.

Most of these meal ideas start with a roast, so look for a larger piece to give you a bit more to stretch with. Remember, cheaper cuts of meat will not only keep your budget on track but are delicious slow cooked.

How to Make Three Dinners Out of One Meal

Three Meals from a Roast Chicken

This Slow Roast Chicken Recipe Will Transform Your Sunday Roast

Buying a large chicken and saving the meat from the carcass, as well as making stock, can yield three delicious chicken dinners. All you need is some rice, noodles and vegetables.

Meal 1: Make your usual roast chicken dinner, throw some extra spuds and veggies into your roasting tin so you have more to work with for the next meals.

Meal 2: Keep the leftover chicken meat and combine with some freezer vegetables for the second dinner of chicken and veggie rice.

Meal 3: Use the chicken carcass to make chicken stock for a delicious chicken soup – we love chicken noodle soup or else a chicken chowder.

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Three Meals from Roast Beef

roast beef

It’s not necessary to go for an expensive cut of beef, just pick a cheaper cut like housekeeper’s cut, chuck, sirloin, or round roast. Aim to eat 1/3 of the beef for each of the three dinners.

Meal 1: Roast your beef and enjoy a roast beef dinner with potatoes and vegetables.

Meal 2: A beef stir fry is always popular, and you can vary up the flavouring. Try either a Chinese Beef stir fry or else a delicious Korean beef stir fry Jamie Oliver makes using leftover beef, rice, veggies and BBQ sauce. Watch the video to see how simple it is!

Meal 3: Use the last of the leftover beef to rustle up this simple beef curry, which is perfect for midweek dinner and fills the house with a delicious aroma as the curry simmers.

Three Meals from a Roast Pork Loin

roast pork

Meal 1: Roast your pork loin with garlic and rosemary (there’s a nice recipe here) or if you have a slow cooker try this Slow Cooker Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin.

Meal 2: Make Stovies. This is a Scottish recipe my mother-in-law introduced me to and it’s a great way of using up leftovers from a roast meal. The traditional stovies recipe is usually made with leftover roast beef, but I like to make it with leftover roast pork and add some pork sausages as well. Here’s a pork sausage stovies recipe you can use.

Meal 3:  Shred your pork roast and go Mexican with pork tacos for your third meal. This Jamie Oliver recipe for ultimate pork tacos uses a tin of black beans spiced up. Just use your leftover pork roast in place of the pork belly. Yum.

Three Meals from a Ham

roast ham

I buy a larger ham joint which we make a roast dinner out of then use the leftovers for two more dinners and sandwiches.

Meal 1: Either roast your ham or make a traditionally Irish-style ham with potatoes.

Meal 2: With some homemade or shop-bought pastry and a leek or two, you can turn some of the ham leftovers into a delicious ham, leek and potato pie.

Meal 3: Make a ham and sweetcorn chowder with stock, potatoes, frozen sweetcorn and the final batch of ham leftovers. Serve this delicious soup with these low cost, easy-to-make bread rolls.


Shake up your menu with our FREE 14-day Dinner Plan and try some of our favourite family meals! All recipes are included, as well as a full shopping list of ingredients.

Stuck for Family Dinner Ideas Try Our Free 14 Day Dinner Plan

Three Meals from a Lamb Roast

roast lamb

Meal 1: Instead of leg of lamb, why not try lamb shoulder or lamb shanks? Both are cheaper options, just slow roast them for longer.

Meal 2: Rustle up a mid-week lamb curry with your leftover lamb, adding a tin of chickpeas for extra bulk and nutrition.

Meal 3: The final lamb leftovers meal is leftover lamb pittas with tzatziki which just needs some pitta pockets, your leftover lamb, some salad and a fresh cucumber and yoghurt tzatziki for a delicious quick dinner.

Three Meals from a Pot of Chilli

chilli con carne

Meal 1: Make a big pot of Chilli Con Carne, turkey or veggie chilli

Meal 2: Use leftover chilli as the base for a cottage pie. Just boil and mash some potatoes, top the chilli and grate some cheese on top before putting into the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Meal 3: Use the last of the chilli as a topping for baked potatoes or on loaded nachos.

How to Make Three Budget-Friendly Dinners Out of One Meal - Mykidstime

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