First of all, the starches are a man's best friend, so my first three favourites are carb heavy:
1) Pasta- 39p per 500g from Sainsburys (Basics pasta shapes and Basics spaghetti)
2) Rice- 40p per 1kg from Sainsburys (Basic long grain white rice)
3) Potatoes- £2.40 per 2.5kg (Bagged Sainsburys white potatoes)
Now onto our fruit and veg. In the majority of cases, fruit and vegetables are cheaper than meat, so when cooking meals, so it's good to choose recipes with plenty of veg, pulses and starchy carbohydrates, whilst using a small amount of meat. In fact, it's economical, and fairly healthy, to have at least 1 "meat free day" a week. When it comes to fresh produce on a budget, steer clear of chillies, peppers, fresh herbs, salads, berries (except strawberries, they are fairly cheap in the summer) exotic mushrooms (e.g shitake) and exotic fruits (e.g. fresh figs).
4) Broccoli- £2.50 per kilogram (Sainsburys, loose)
Broccoli is one of the cheapest dark green vegetables you can buy, and is one of Britains most popular vegetables also. I think everyone (apart from fussy children i suppose) loves broccoli, and as well as making a great veg to put in recipes, it seems to go very well as a side dish for the majority of main meals, with a little butter. Broccoli Cheese (Broccoli with a basic cheese sauce on top, gratinated in the oven) is a favourite cheap eat of mine, which i tend to have with buttered white bread- not the healthiest/most well balanced meals I know, but it fills a hole. I'm not sure of the per kg price, but savoy cabbage can end up lasting for ages- put a quarter in a soup, quarter in a curry, quarter steamed with butter as a side, and maybe 1/4 for a posh coleslaw packed lunch salad- bobs your uncle. For some reason in Sainsburys their organic savoy cabbages are the same price as their "normal ones"- but the organic ones are much bigger- so i always buy them, weird huh?
5) Large White Onions- 90p per kg (Sainsburys loose)
6) Apples- £1.30 per kg (Sainsburys loose)
7) Bananas- 12p per kg (Sainsburys loose)
Next are the proteins, very important as part of a balanced diet. As mentioned earlier, i try not to eat meat at least once a week, which I usually manage, but the South African boyfriend is a little more fussy- i made a chickpea and veg curry with rice the other day, and he went out to get a kebab because "today I really really need some meat"- silly boy, he didn't know what he was missing!
8) Dried Pulses- Price Varies (£1.10-£2.18 per kg)
9) Chicken- Sainsburys Whole Basics Chicken (£2.50 per kg) Basics Chicken Legs (£2.24 per kg) Basics Chicken Drumsticks (£2.65 per kg) Basics Skinless Chicken Breasts (£9 per kg)
10) Beef Mince- £3.65 per kilo (Sainsburys Basic 400g)
11) Eggs- 18p each (Basics x18 box) or 21p each (Free Range x15 box)
12) Tinned Chopped Tomatoes- 88p per kg (Sainsburys Basic 400g carton)
13) Stock Cubes- £2 per kilogram (Sainsburys Basic 10x10 stock cubes)
Premade stock cubes is the quickest and easiest way of adding flavour to dishes, without having to use various expensive herbs, spices, and sauces in order to create a tasty sauce.
14) Dried Mixed Herbs- £23 per kilogram (Sainsburys basic 13g mixed herbs)
15) Curry Powder- £12 per kilogram (Sainsburys basic 80g Medium Curry Powder)
I hope you guys found this all interesting, and useful- over the years I have included some fairly expensive recipes, and i'm sure there will be more to come too, but 80/90% of the time i am eating on a budget, using these ingredients!