Mimi is a skilful recipe developer and content creator who is behind the popular platform, Beat the Budget. Her brand is motivated by her own experience of depending on cheap and unhealthy foods whilst studying at University because it was convenient. Mimi wanted to change her path, and begun creating a blog and Instagram presence online to provide more healthy and affordable alternatives that are delicious and not expensive to make!
Excitingly, on 8th June Mimi released our debut cookbook: ‘Beat the Budget: Affordable Easy Recipes and Simple Meal Prep‘. The book’s mission is about proving that delicious food doesn’t have to be expensive and complicated and that you can achieve these results with the simplest of methods and ingredients.
With a collection of flavour-packed, fuss-free recipes to choose from, you can put down an amazing dish on the table without breaking the bank, which is why every recipe featured in the book comes at just £1.25 per portion! Chapters include easy breakfasts, soups and salads, one-pot wonders, fakeaways and sweet treats. What is also useful about this book is that Mimi shares her own tips and tricks on meal prepping and shopping lists, along with showcasing recipes that can be easily made with an air fryer or slow cookers to keep energy prices down.
In Conversation with Mimi Harrison
We were lucky enough to grab the chance in sitting down with Mimi and discuss all things surrounding how book and the inspirations behind it! Mimi even shared her top tips for people trying to budget when cooking, and her own personal favourite recipe from the book!
Mimi, it’s fair to say we are LOVING your debut cookbook ‘Beat the Budget’! Tell us, where did the inspiration to create affordable, easy recipes come from?
Thank you so much! That makes me so happy to hear. I started Beat the Budget (originally called Mimi Makes) at uni when I was struggling to balance healthy, delicious food with my new £20 weekly food budget. I felt like at the time, I could only find either cheap and unhealthy recipes or healthy and super expensive dishes, so I really wanted to start posting recipes that were balanced but also really affordable.
What are your main top tips for people trying to budget when cooking?
It’s all in the planning- spend around 20 minutes before you go shopping to plan out multiple recipes. I like to then write the shopping list according to the supermarket layout so you’re not walking back and forth, making impulse purchases. Also make sure you’re not hungry when you shop as this will cause you to throw all sorts into your trolly.
Cross-over ingredients- with more expensive ingredients, try and choose recipes where you can spread the cost of the ingredient over multiple recipes, which will reduce waste and cut costs. An example of this that I like to use is sharing a pot of crème fraiche- you can add a dollop to soup, loosen and drizzle over fajitas or use it as the base for a creamy pasta/risotto. All of these recipes feel really different whilst using the same ingredient.
Meal prep all the way- most of my recipes serve 4-6 servings which make them either ideal for a family or great for meal prep, hopefully making my book suitable for a lot of people! I save so much money on meal prepping as you’re spreading the costs over multiple dishes. What I love to do is select a freezable recipe, make a batch of it and then freeze half of the servings in individual containers. Overtime, you stock up on a variety of meals which will prevent boredom and make your meal prep more sustainable! I call this a freezer-cycle.
Slow cookers and air fryers are used in a few of your recipes, if you had to only choose one of the appliances, which one would you keep?
Ahh that’s such a hard one! I love them both but if I had to choose, I’d probably choose my airfryer as I love the crispy-ness that you can achieve with a minimal amount of oil. Oil is so pricey so I don’t just limit it for health reasons! I also want to steer clear of my oven at all costs when the weather is so hot like it is currently!
Meal prep advice is featured within the book, why do you think people should start meal prepping more?
As mentioned above, the savings you can make when meal prepping are obviously amazing. You can bulk buy bigger quantities of ingredients which will save you money but you also reduce waste as it’s easier to plan to use all of your ingredients up. With costs aside, meal prepping saves you so much time! I feel like if you can still eat delicious food that you won’t get bored of by implementing the freezer cycle, all the negatives of meal prepping can be eliminated.
There are so many recipes to choose from, come on, you must have a favourite?
Ahhhh I can’t choose an absolute favourite as I love them all so much, but my favourite this week is my Ginger & Lime Chicken Legs with Coconut Rice. Chicken legs are the most underrated cut of meat- they’re even cheaper than chicken thighs! I love how it comes together in one pan and it’s really fresh whilst feeling hearty at the same time.
What does a normal day in the life look like for you Mimi?
I’m filming or testing recipes most days at the moment which is so much fun. I usually go for a walk/run with my dog & then head out to the studio to start prepping my ingredients for the day. At the moment I have to stop filming by around 2 o’clock as the studio gets too hot! So then it’s time to divide the food into meal prep containers and the rest of the day will be laptop/editing time.
Name 3 things in the kitchen you can’t live without!
My ninja possible pan- I use it everyday at least twice, the size and shape means that it’s perfect for cooking 4-5 servings at a time (which we love). You can also put it in the oven so that it reduces clean up by making a lot of one pot dishes!
My plastic bench scraper– I get so many questions about this in my reels! It’s a rectangular piece of plastic that helps you to scoop up any chopped vegetables in one sweep. It saves so much time with prep. You can get them for around a pound from Amazon!
My glass meal prep containers- they’re oven/microwave/air fryer proof which means that I can just chuck my meal prep directly into whatever appliance I need to reheat it. Also, they’re so sturdy that nothing is escaping/spilling out of them.
Ginger & Lime Chicken Legs with Coconut Rice
This is one of Mimi’s favourite recipes in the book. Not only is it one-pot, but is also requires minimal prep. She loves how comforting the meal is, yet every mouthful feels so fresh and vibrant with the zingy ginger notes and the kick of lime, contrasting with the creamy rice. Oh, and if you’re looking for the gains, this recipes has 60g of protein in it! Woohoo!
Serves: 5 people
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 5 chicken legs, (about 1.1kg)
- 50 g spring onions, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 350 g rice, rinsed
- 750 ml chicken stock juice of ½ lime + wedges to serve
- 1 x 400 g can coconut milk
- 100 g tenderstem broccoli, florets sliced and stems thinly sliced
- handful of fresh coriander, torn to serve
- Maldon Salt
- Black pepper
- Set a deep pan over a medium heat and add the rapeseed oil.
Season both sides of the chicken legs with salt and pepper,
then place the legs skin-side down in the pan and leave to fry
for around 15 minutes.
- Rotate and cook the chicken legs for a further 15 minutes on the other side. The skin should be crispy and golden brown and the meat almost cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the spring onion to the same pan (reserving some of the greener ends for garnish) and add the garlic and ginger. Fry over a medium heat for a few minutes.
- Add the rice to the pan and stir, then pour in the stock, lime juice and coconut milk.
- Add the chicken legs back to the pan, skin-side facing upwards. Cover and leave to cook over a medium/low heat for18 minutes, adding the broccoli after eight minutes.
- Garnish with the reserved green spring onion ends, lime wedges and fresh coriander and dig in!
Meal Prep Tip:
Separate portions of broccoli and coconut rice into sealed containers along with
a cooked chicken leg in each container. Chill in the fridge for up to three days
or freeze for up to three months. If eating from frozen, defrost in the fridge
overnight. To reheat from chilled, heat in the microwave for two minutes on high.
Top with the garnishes (stored separately) and enjoy!
Want to Create a Recipe From This Book?!
You can find where to purchase Mimi’s cookbook here and start whipping up easy yet delicious recipes for yourself and the family.
Make sure you have your Maldon Salt ready for these recipes! If you are running out, please feel free to browse on our Where to Buy Page to find your nearest store in which stocks our beloved Maldon Salt.