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Feed your family of six for UNDER $50: Thrifty mother shares her savviest cooking secrets to help you prepare a delicious feast this Christmas

  • A thrifty mother shares tips on feeding a family of six for Christmas under $50
  • Jody Allen said families on a tight budget can still enjoy a fancy but cheap lunch 
  • Here, the mother-of-two shares secrets on preparing entree, main and dessert
  • She revealed her three simple but delicious meals to prepare on December 25

With the festive season in full swing, a thrifty mother has shared her savviest cooking secrets to feed your family of six for Christmas under $50.

Jody Allen, from Queensland's Gympie, said families on an extraordinarily tight budget can still enjoy a fancy lunch at an affordable price – with all the trimmings.

Here, the founder of Stay at Home Mum reveals her tips to help you prepare a delicious entree, main and dessert on the morning of December 25 – and still have room for quality time with the family.

Scroll down for recipes

Mother Jody Allen shares her secrets on feeding your family of six for Christmas under $50

Mother Jody Allen shares her secrets on feeding your family of six for Christmas under $50

'Christmas is a time for splurging – but that splurge doesn't have to mean you go bankrupt for lunch,' she told Celebrity Rave Australia. 

The doting mother-of-two said one of the common mistakes people tend to make is 'over-catering'.

'I'm really guilty of it,' she admitted, laughing.

'Every time you go shopping, you just want to buy so much food. People tend to go way over the top. One thing that bugs me every year is when people buy a $100 ham because they think it's a cheaper option.

'You will end up freezing the $100 ham – and you'll get sick of eating it overtime. Buy a smaller ham – you might pay a bit more per gram but you're saving in the long run.'

Revealing her tips on how families can control costs of a Christmas lunch, Ms Allen said always follow a meal plan.

'Definitely plan out exactly what you make on Christmas Day,' she said.

'Keep things really simple, make sure all the meals are easy so you're not in the kitchen all day – you want to be able to enjoy Christmas with the family.

'If you meal plan, prices won't go out of control.'

She explained it was important to know what the whole family enjoys eating before she plans her meals for the day (pictured with her sons Nathaniel and Flynn)

She explained it was important to know what the whole family enjoys eating before she plans her meals for the day (pictured with her sons Nathaniel and Flynn)

The thrifty mother said families on an extraordinarily tight budget can still enjoy a fancy lunch at an affordable price - with all the trimmings

The thrifty mother said families on an extraordinarily tight budget can still enjoy a fancy lunch at an affordable price – with all the trimmings

HOW TO CONTROL COSTS FOR A CHRISTMAS LUNCH?

  • Don't over-cater
  • Follow a meal plan
  • Know your portion sizes
  • Stick to a shopping list

She said another tip to keen in mind was knowing your family's portion sizes.

'You don't have to eat until you're stuffed,' she said.

'You still want to eat a nice feast but don't stuff yourself silly. Always know how much food you really need. So I decide what to make first. 

'I have six people coming this year so I know what everyone likes to eat. I work out 200 grams of meat per person – and I work my way from there.

'The best way to work out how much you're spending to the cent is using an online shopping website – I usually use Woolworths to help me.

'It helps me work out all the things I need and how much money they cost before I even leave my home.

'We don't get the delivery option where we live but if you do, it's great because you can't put all those little extra things in your trolley when you're doing your grocery at the shops.'

She said the top five food every household should have this festive season is 'definitely a leg ham, coleslaw, fresh bread rolls, stone fruits and a cold chook'

She said the top five food every household should have this festive season is 'definitely a leg ham, coleslaw, fresh bread rolls, stone fruits and a cold chook'

She said the top five food every household should have this festive season is 'definitely a leg ham, coleslaw, fresh bread rolls, stone fruits and a cold chook'.

'These are the things I always have. They are the go-to foods you can get from your fridge any time of the year – and it still feels like Christmas,' she said.

'Stone fruits are great all year round too because it's something you can nibble on all the time – that's what makes it Christmas. Mangoes are my favourite.'

Ms Allen said her favourite meal to prepare for Christmas is her 'honey soy barbecue chicken pieces' because it's cheap, delicious and time-saving.

'Because you can make them on the barbie,' she said.

'It's so simple. The sauce takes five minutes to throw all together and you cook the chicken for 20 minutes tops.

'They're delicious, and you can serve them with anything – veggies or salad.' 

Ms Allen added that while the entree, main and dessert are cooking away in the kitchen, there's still enough time to spend Christmas with your family

Ms Allen added that while the entree, main and dessert are cooking away in the kitchen, there's still enough time to spend Christmas with your family

Another meal she loves to make is her famous 'slow cooker pavlova' [recipe below] – and Ms Allen insists, it tastes 'exactly the same' as an oven baked pavlova.

'And that's what I love about using a slow cooker,' she said.

'You can't use the oven because you've got the pork roasting in there so you can use your slow cooker to make a pavlova – it's the best.'

Ms Allen added that while the entree, main and dessert are cooking away in the kitchen, there's still enough time to spend Christmas with your family.

'All the prices were sourced from Woolworths online (on the 16th November). No specials – all standard pricing,' she said.

Jody Allen's book, The $50 Weekly Shop Weekday Dinners, published by Penguin Random House, is available now, for $24.99.

Entree: Caramelised onion tartlets

Mini caramelised tarts. Total cost: $3.76

Mini caramelised tarts. Total cost: $3.76

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Packet Filo Pastry $1.75 

3 brown onions $0.44

1 tbsp Brown Sugar $0.02 

300ml Cream $1.55 

1 tbsp Butter (melted) 

1 Egg

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to a hot 200 degrees. 

2. Melt a tablespoon of butter. 

3. Cut the filo pastry into 10cm squares. 

4. Grabbing one sheet of filo pastry at a time, butter one side and place butter side down in a 12-hole muffin tin. 

5. Every muffin hole should have three pieces of filo. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden. 

HOW TO MAKE CARAMELISED ONIONS

1. Slice the onions into skinny rings. Heat a frypan on medium heat and add the onions.

2. Stir well every few minutes. Cook for 20 minutes or until the onions are very soft.

3. Stir in the tablespoon of brown sugar. Cook for a further 5 minutes. 

4. Set aside to cool.

PUTTING THE TARTS TOGETHER

1. Add a tablespoon of the onion mixture in every tart shell. 

2. Mix together the cream and one egg. 

3. Spoon two tablespoons of the cream mixture into every tart shell. 

4. Place in the oven at 150 degrees for 16 minutes. 

5. Allow cooling for a few minutes before serving.

Main: Roast pork loin 

Roast pork loin. Total cost: $34.32

Roast pork loin. Total cost: $34.32

INGREDIENTS

1.6kg Roast Pork Loin $23.83

1/2 Pumpkin $1.50

220g Zucchini $1.99

500g grams Peas $1.60 

1kg Potatoes $4.70

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to a hot 200 degrees. 

2. Place the pork loin roast into a baking tray. 

3. Place the potatoes around the roast.

4. Bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes or until the crackling on top starts to bubble.

5. Turn down the heat to 140 degrees.

6. Cook for one hour. Let the roast rest before serving.

Dessert: Slow cooker pavlova

Pavlova. Total cost: $5.29

Pavlova. Total cost: $5.29

INGREDIENTS

6 Egg Whites 

1 1/4 cups Caster Sugar 

1 tbsp Corn Flour 

1 tsp Vanilla Extract 

1 tsp White Vinegar

METHOD

1. Preheat your slow cooker to LOW (just turn it on before you start). Line it well with baking paper. 

2. Separate the eggs, place the egg whites into a clean bowl and beat on HIGH until soft peaks are reached. 

3. Whilst still whisking vigorously, slowly add the caster sugar. 

4. Sift the cornflour and add it to the mix, pop in the vanilla and vinegar. 

5. The mixture should be glossy and full. 

6. Pour into the slow cooker. 

7. Place a tea towel over the top, then place the lid on top. 

8. Cook for 90 minutes. Turn off the slow cooker. 

9. Allow the pavlova to cool totally, then serve.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR celebrityrave

Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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