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Eating on a budget - Chilli Con Carne

Eating on a budget - Chilli Con Carne

I just love cooking from scratch but during the week when time seems much more limited, I often turn to my trusty favourites at mealtimes because I know I can whip them up in a flash and they are tasty and healthy too.

One of my weekly must-have meals is chilli con carne, particularly at this time of the year. Not only is it a warming and comforting, it’s loaded with Vitamin C which makes it the perfect cold-busting dish.  It's also really easy to make too so perfect for those who aren't so confident in the kitchen.

It's a great meal to serve up to friends but if you’re eating alone, you could still cook up the big batch below which serves four and split it into portions to freeze and eat at a later date.

Chilli Con Carne

What you'll need:

1 large red or white onion, roughly chopped (10p)

1 clove of garlic (crushed or finely chopped) (5p)

1 fresh chilli, chopped or 1 tsp chilli flakes (add more chilli if you want it hotter) (10p)

1 tbsp of oil (5p)

500g of lean minced beef (£1.69)

2 tins of chopped tomatoes (60p)

1 tin of kidney beans,drained (30p)

1 tablespoon of tomato puree (5p)

500ml beef or vegetable stock (8p)

Pepper to taste

Total cost: A bargain 75p per serving (4 people).1


In a deep frying pan, heat up your oil and then add the crushed garlic and onion - fry for a couple of minutes until golden brown and slightly softened.

Add the minced beef to the pan and fry until completely browned - season with a little pepper.

Add the chilli to the pan, the amount given in the recipe should giuve you just the right amount of heat to be palatable - if you like it stronger then add more, but don't forget you can't take the heat away if it's too much! 

NB: If you are using a fresh chili, how you prepare it depends on how hot you like your chilli.  If you prefer a milder dish, then you may want to deseed the chili first, if you like it with a kick then feel free to add the seeds too!

Add the two tins of chopped tomatoes to the minced beef along with the tomato puree and mix well. 

Make up your stock with boiling water and add to the pan.  Finally add the tin of kidney beans, stir well.

Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer on a low heat until the sauce thickens (approx. 30-40 mins)

The great thing about Chilli Con Carne is that you can serve it in a number of ways - it's great with rice but why not change things up and serve with a jacket potato or some taco shells. 

1Cost based on the lowest priced items at Prices at other supermarkets may vary.

About the author

Antonia Jones

Antonia Jones

Antonia graduated in journalism and worked a decade in local and regional news media before joining Wrexham Glyndwr University in 2013 as media and communications manager. She is now the university's digital communications manager.

To get in touch with Antonia please email