BBC £1 Dinners: Are They Worth It?

University of Leeds
4 min readNov 24, 2022

If you’ve struggled with Jamie’s one pot wonders (there’s always that one ingredient you won’t use again for the next decade), this is the blog for you!

Jo Townend, Assistant Professor at LUBS, gave 3 of the BBC £1 dinners a go (all veggie-friendly). Find out which ones to skip and what’s a must have when it’s your turn to cook for your flatmates.

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I tried three of the £1 dinners: Bean and rice burritos, potato-stuffed flatbreads, honey broccoli noodles. The potato-stuffed flatbreads won outright on taste, despite the recipe being a bit dodgy and the mess preparing them being way too much for my liking!

Here are my 5 testing criteria:

  1. Taste score — a joint effort by my family including my teenage son who eats anything and my daughter who doesn’t!
  2. Cost — is it really £1 per person? (I shop at Morrisons so it’s their prices I used)
  3. Portion size — is it filing for a 17-year-old teenager?
  4. Time taken to cook — is the recipe accurate?
  5. Mess made — I’m looking for recipes that make the least mess possible because I hate washing up!

Results

3rd: Honey broccoli noodles

  1. Taste = 5/10 (average taste)
  2. Cost = 91p per portion
  3. Portion size = good portion size
  4. Mess made = low mess
  5. Time to make = accurate (took me 20 minutes)

It all got a bit smoky in my kitchen making this. It was particularly smoky when I added the chili flakes (no way was I buying and preparing actual chilies — it’s better value to buy chili flakes). I thought 4 garlic cloves was too much, so I cut these down to 2. In summary, this dinner doesn’t taste as nice as it looks.

2nd: Bean and rice burritos

  1. Taste = 6/10
  2. Cost = 83p per portion
  3. Portion size = good portion size
  4. Mess made = low mess
  5. Time to make = accurate (took me 30 minutes)

Although the preparation and cooking wasn’t messy, the folding of the wraps to keep the contents in makes a big mess. I just couldn’t get the wraps to behave themselves and stay wrapped! I suspect I had too much filling in each wrap but less would have meant that these failed the portion size test. In summary, a great taste but really messy to eat if, like me, you have not mastered the art of being able to make a wrap that stays shut.

1st: Potato-stuffed flatbreads

  1. Taste = 8/10
  2. Cost = 44p per portion
  3. Portion size = rubbish for my 17-year-old teenager — you need double the amount of dough to make decent sized flatbreads.
  4. Mess made = lots of mess!
  5. Time to make = accurate (took me 35 minutes)

I can forgive the terrible mess that happened when I made these because the taste was delicious. Don’t bother adding butter onto each flatbread as I think that spoils the taste. In summary, these are an absolute winner! They are cheap to make which means you can serve them with vegetables or meat and still be under £1 for a delicious dinner, even if it’s all a bit messy.

Want to find out another way to cut down costs on your meals? Check out the blog on 5 top tips for batch cooking.

About the Author: Jo Townend’s first career was hotel management where she worked for Holiday Inn, opening new hotels. She is now an academic at the University of Leeds Business School focused on bringing the world of work into the classroom.

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