Mum-of-16 shares her best budget meal hacks including how she feeds her family for just £1 a head

A THRIFTY mum has revealed how she manages to feed her 16 children on a budget, with one meal only costing £1 a head.

Jeni and Ray Bonell are the parents of Australia's biggest family, with nine boys and seven girls between the ages of 31 and six.

The busy mother often has her older children chip in and cook dinner, as it helps them develop new cooking skills and allows Jeni to have a night off from cooking.

Recently her eighth child, Sabrina, rustled up an affordable meal in the kitchen, cooking fried rice for the whole family. She whipped up 26 serves of fried rice with chicken, which worked out to be the equivalent of £1 per person.

The large family often on pantry staples, such as pasta and rice, to bulk out a dish while on a budget.

"Tonight is my night to cook and I'm making fried rice and chicken," Sabrina said in a YouTube video uploaded to the family's channel. 

Her fried rice cost the equivalent of 30 pence a serve and two chicken drumsticks each is 70 pence a serve. This resulted in the meal costing only £1 for each serve.

To follow the recipe, you need long-grain white rice, short cut rindless bacon, soy sauce, salt and pepper, fresh or frozen stir fry vegetables, eggs and chicken drumsticks. 

She recommends day-old rice for fried rice if you can, but said it doesn't matter if you didn't get around to making the rice in advance. 

If you don't have old rice, you simply need to boil and drain the rice once it's cooked and let it cool, Sabrina suggested putting it in the fridge.

"Next we're going to dice our bacon up nice and finely. You can use any type of bacon you can even use ham, it just depends on your preference…we're just going to fry it up and cook it

Sabrina then diced up some vegetables. She used frozen as she said it was great for 'convenience'. Following this, she whisked up the egg in the frypan until it cooked.


Finally, she combined all of the ingredients in a pan, adding soy sauce, salt and pepper, while the drumsticks were cooking in the oven.

Sabrina cooked up enough for 26 serves and added: "We are serving 12 people tonight, so whatever we haven't used, we'll put into containers to use at a later date."

This isn't the first time we've been offered a glimpse into how 'Australia's largest family' feeds themself on a budget, as the 51-year-old mother once revealed what it's like to make a mid-week dinner for her family. 

Jeni – who spends an average of £240 ($450 aud) on groceries every week – prepared two boxes of store-bought beef lasagne and a side of salad. 

"There's nothing wrong with not 'making everything from scratch'. If it's good value, tastes good, saves time, fills bellies, then it's ok with me," she wrote online.

But in order to feed the whole family, Jeni had to buy FOUR kilos of the pre-made lasagne.

Although the box says the "family-sized" lasagne will feed 10, Jeni says this just isn't the case in her household.

She added: "I'd say to get a good serving it's more like six serves, especially if you are serving teenagers or adults."

"Lasagne and pre-packed grocery store salads. Mumma's happy, family's happy."

Previously, Jeni gave fans a glimpse inside her whopping weekly shop – including 72 eggs, 36 litres of milk and 30 chicken drumsticks.

What's more, Jeni also has to buy 1.5 KILOS of spaghetti to make a bolognese as well as 1.5 kg of beef mince and 700 grams of own-brand pasta sauce.

For more food prep inspiration, a mum-of-two shares how she feeds her whole family for just £47 a month – and the recipes are so easy.

Plus mum feeds family-of-four for £1.50 each a day and shares her monthly meal plan so you can too.

And thrifty mums reveal eight tips that help them save £1400 a year on food including only shopping ONCE a week.

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