Cooking for a crowd can be a challenge. Not only do you have to plan seven dinners a week, but you also have to cook lots of it, too, and that can often come with a hefty price tag.
But there are plenty of ingredients that are super versatile and inexpensive, which means you can serve up something different to the family every night without having to fill the trolley to the point of collapse and foot the bill, too. Scroll on to find out our top buys below.
Baked in the oven, mashed with sausages, sliced on stews, fried in a hash… There are 101 ways to cook with potatoes - and you'll never get bored!
Try bulking up vegetable curries and soups with these fluffy beauties by dicing into small pieces and throwing in - they will need around 15 minutes to soften. Or scoop out the centre of a baked potato and mix with bacon and cheese as we do here in our loaded potato skins. And don't forget the classic baked potato topped with beans, tuna, cheese or whatever you have in the house.
Frozen or tinned, sweetcorn is a brilliant store cupboard essential to have on standby. These golden kernels work in so many different dishes (from risottos to pasta sauces, sandwich fillings to stir fries) and kids love it, too!
A bag of frozen sweetcorn is a great addition to your freezer; grab a handful to throw into whatever's for dinner to add some colourful veg and texture into the mix. We love the way sweetcorn goes a little crispy around the edges in this delicious, super easy homemade pizza recipe. Kids will have so much fun making this speedy tea, they’ll wolf down the veg without noticing.
Keep a couple of tins of these in the cupboard and you'll never be without mealtime inspiration. Curries, pasta sauces, enchiladas, stews… they all require a versatile tin of chopped tomatoes as the base.
Kids and grownups alike will love these flavour-packed chicken enchiladas topped with melty cheese. Perk up the tomato base with some spices and fried onions to add a lovely depth of flavour.
Tuna is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, and an awesome way to add substance to pasta dishes and casseroles. We love these fuss-free fishcakes made with tinned tuna and readymade Thai curry paste. With their crispy outside and fluffy middle, kids will love dipping the fishcakes into the sweet chilli yogurt sauce - a fantastic, simple and delicious alternative to chicken nuggets!
If you've got some bread in the cupboard that's on the turn, why not make some quick and easy tuna melts. The mix of tuna, spring onions and Cheddar is sure to be a family favourite, and means that loaf of bread won't go to waste.
Cheap, cheerful and ready at a moment's notice, get ready for tinned pulses to become your new store-cupboard best friend. Great for helping meat go further when cooking for a crowd, try chickpeas in Asian dishes like this curry, borlotti beans in Italian-style soups and pasta sauces, and black beans in Mexican fajitas.