By Sophie Jones
A THRIFTY single mum has gained a huge online following after sharing how she makes mouth-watering family meals for just 62p a head.
Jo Rourke, from Manchester, UK, has three school-age children and makes TikTok videos under the alias @thismumcooks.
She creates hearty comfort food as part of her budget series on feeding a family of four for under £2.50.
In one of her most popular videos, she creates a creamy chicken pie using a £1.28 pack of Waitrose chicken, 40p potatoes, 10p of carrots, 200ml of milk at 15p, and half an onion at 10p.
Jo also uses pantry staples such as cornflour, salt, pepper, and powdered stock that cost just a few pence per teaspoon.
As shown in her video demonstration, she fries the onion and chicken in a large pan and then adds a mix of stock, cornflour and milk.
Jo adds salt and pepper and leaves it to simmer until the sauce is thick and creamy and then adds some thyme and cooked carrots.
The chicken sauce is then placed in an oven-proof dish and Jo presses the mashed potato on top, saying that for an extra treat you can add some grated cheese, if you have any.
It cooks in just 20 minutes in the oven and looks absolutely delicious when Jo digs her spoon into it.
“Nobody is ever going to believe you pulled this off for just £2.50,” she said.
“This is one of my kids’ favourites and one of mine too.
“You can make it in advance and store it in the fridge or freezer and just pull it out on one of those days where you really don’t have time to cook.”
Her recipe went down a storm, with one user commenting: “Who doesn’t love a tummy filling creamy chicken pie?”
“I’ve made this with bacon as well and it’s amazing!” said another fan.
Jo initially joined TikTok to monitor her daughter’s use of the app and was pleasantly surprised by how well her cooking videos were received, with some followers even claiming she has changed their lives.
“I have had a number of people contact me and tell me that my tips and advice have made a real difference to their lives as they have been struggling to feed their families and that is amazing,” she said.
“It is tough for our generation who have never felt a squeeze like this before.
“We have to change how we view our lives for a period of time and at times make tough choices.”
Bizarrely, Jo has received some criticism from a minority of parents who ask “what about food for kids?”, “kids don’t eat vegetables”, and “are you living in the past darling?”
Jo said she weaned her three children on the same foods she was eating, provided it was safe, and advised parents to be patient with fussy eaters.
“It is difficult to change a child’s diet if they are older,” she said.
“My children have always eaten the same food as me from the time of weaning (obviously excluding foods until the appropriate age).
“Therefore they know no difference and we eat as a family.
“If people want to change their children’s diet I would suggest a slow approach and get the children involved.
“Take them to the supermarket to see all the different fresh foods on offer, let them pick what they want to try and get them involved in the cooking process.
“Also explain to them that we need to try a food up to 20 times to get used to its flavour.”