Do you need help learning how to stretch your meal budget? This guide has tips on what is both nutritious and cheap when money is tight. This guide contains cheap meal ideas.
Okay, this is my first ever tip, but here goes.
For a couple of years, my husband and I had very, very little cash flow and began going hungry at times, here and there. We never had a lot of food, but it only felt bad when we had nothing but dried noodles and water; rice, if we were lucky.
Realizing something had to be fixed, I scourged our local Wal-Mart and found the best deals I possibly could. Especially since we have no working stove top or oven, so we have to get creative with our eating habits. If you ever find yourself in this position, here are my suggestions for your grocery list:
Also, after you've made this initial purchase, you won't find yourself needing to buy ketchup or mustard for a while, which also saves on cost the next time around! If you have enough in your pocket book, pickles make for a nice flavor enhancer, and are still relatively cheap. Just stay away from the cheese! It may be absolutely delicious, but it's also what will kill your check book when it comes to eating hamburgers. Without the cheese, they are a very cheap meal!
Now, we had no working stove top (still don't) but one plug-in burner does the trick! Chicken broth in bulk is so inexpensive and gives the rice a wonderful flavor!
If you don't like split pea soup, feel free to look around at other soups. They can be some of the cheapest meals if you keep them simple, and adding something like a box of 6 bread sticks for less than $2! Just heat them in your toaster oven, if you have one and no oven, like us.
I hope someone out there finds this helpful! I know how difficult it can be to work hard, and still go cold and hungry. If any of you out there are in this position or a similar one, just remember to keep holding your head high. God never gives us a challenge we can't handle, scripture promises as much.
If you are out there, feel free to let me know about it. Believe it or not, I most likely know a lot of what you are going through and would like to help in any way possible. Even if it's just an ear to hear and a prayer to pray. I love you, and God does, too!
Have a wonderful and frugal week, all! Here's a cup of cocoa, on me!
By Chelle152 from Coquille, Oregon
I am looking for cheap meals please. With the economy the way it is, and my husband and I both on a Pension I'm having a bit of struggle to be inventive and frugal as well. Help!
By Leah Jones from Bauple, Australia
October 14, 2010
Growing up my mom would buy two of those Lipton noodle packets (now named Knorr) like butter and herb and add a can of peas to it. She found a way to add peas to everything. You can add hamburger too.
I like to brown a pound of hamburger in a big skillet, drain, then add a can of diced tomatos. Add the noodles from a box of mac-and-cheese, add water, milk and butter to barely cover. I never measure, it doesn't have to be precise. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are done and add the cheese packet and two or three slices of american cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. For big families, use two boxes of mac-and-cheese.
Another meal is a pack of bratswurst, head of cabbage, an onion and a few potatoes. Cut everthing up, cover with water and boil everything until brats are cooked and potatoes are tender. Season to taste. Soup can last days. To stretch it more, add more potatoes. Can make it in a crockpot too.
By defile 1
I live on less than $800 a month. Can anyone help me with some very cheap recipes?
By defile from St.John, IN
July 26, 2012
A filling food that isn't very nutritious but will fill you up are homemade flour-&-water noodles. You can use wheat flour to add a few nutrients, but anyway, it costs pennies:
To Make Flour & Water Noodles you will need about 1/2 cup of flour per person.
1. Boil a pot full of water.
2. Take 1/2 a cup of flour and add cool tap water to it a little at a time until it forms a soft ball. (If you add too much water, just add a little more flour.) Sometimes I add black pepper or garlic or onion powder.
3. Put the ball onto a plate and roll it into a thick cigar shape (or sausage-shape.) Cut the ball into pieces, rolling each piece off the plate and into the boiling water. Be careful you don't splash yourself.
4. Let them boil for a minute or two until they rise to the top. Scoop them out and enjoy with either spaghetti sauce, cheese, butter, gravy, or in soup.
As I said, it's not the healthiest recipe in the world, but it is very inexpensive and it will fill you up in an emergency - "I have no food left" situation. They are a very inexpensive alternative to pasta, and they taste pretty good.
FYI: This is a great website: www.dollaraday.com. This woman is able to cook three meals per day for $1 per person, per day.
By Autumn 1
Does anyone have any cheap meal ideas?
August 5, 2011
I have a dish my husband calls prison food as a joke but he doesn't cook so he can't talk.
Layer a 8 x13 dish with mashed potatoes (buttered and salted). Top that with a layer of ground beef seasoned with a taco seasoning packet. Then end with a layer of 8 oz shredded cheese of your choice.
Bake until cheese is nice and bubbly.
And then a little more sophisticated (I picked this up at epicurious.com and have made it many times).
1 3 1/2-pound chicken, quartered
6 russet potatoes peeled, quartered, lengthwise
4 large garlic cloves, halved
3/4 cup canned chicken broth
3/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange chicken, potatoes and garlic in large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Pour broth over. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice and oregano to combine. Pour evenly over chicken and potatoes.
Bake until chicken is cooked through and golden brown and potatoes are tender, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
You can get all of the ingredients at the dollar store, it whips up fast, and it's a comfort food!
Empty 3 cans of soup into pan and whisk in 1 can of milk. Add 3 cans of tuna drained and stir till simmering
Toast the bread and tear it into bite sized pieces onto the plate about 2 or 3 slices per serving. Pour tuna mixture over toast and enjoy!
Some good toppings are bacon bits, shredded cheese, or Parmesan cheese.
|Time:||5 Minutes Preparation Time|
10 Minutes Cooking Time
By Margaret from Aptos, CA
By Amy 1
I have a request for cheap, low budget, yet tasty meal ideas. I'm going to school at St. Lawrence College in Kingston and I live in an apartment with my boyfriend where we both pay half rent. So money is a bit tight for me right now and I was wondering if anyone knew of any cool recipes?
February 24, 2011
I have to say that pasta is probably one of the cheapest ways to go (mac and cheese with broccoli, tuna noodle casserole, basic spaghetti, chop white onion, celery and carrots and simmer, then add tomato paste and spices, etc.).
But if you're like me, you'll like a little variety, too!
Indian food is a really nice change of pace, and you can adjust the spice levels to your preference. I recommend:
Dhal/Dahl/Dal: basically yellow split peas and twice as much water, simmered 'till cooked. Fry up some onions in cumin, cayenne pepper and a little oil or margarine and mix it in! Serve on rice (also cheap). Full recipe here: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianindianrecipes/r/yellowdhal.htm
Rajma chawal: This is Indian 'chili', basically! It's yummy and very cheap. It's kidney beans (canned), fried onion, fresh tomato, ginger, and spices simmered in water, served over rice. Very filling and good for you, too! Recipe here: http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/2008/06/29/rajma-chawal-kidney-bean-curry/
There are many cheap, healthy and satisfying Indian recipes! Great to break the monotony of Kraft Dinner and other 'white person foods'. ;) The only drawback is having to buy the spices up front, though they do go a long way. Still cheaper than buying meat!
I live in China and am an international medical student. Can anybody suggest any quick energy giving meal recipes that are fairly cheap that I could cook? Thank you. I'm open to all suggestions.
April 8, 2012
Here are a couple of my favorites:
1) Open a can of tuna, drain it, add a few dollops of Greek yogurt, a teaspoon of mayonnaise, and a Tablespoon of relish; mix together and spread on bread or eat with crackers.
2) Heat on medium an electric or gas stove; spritz or spread oil on the bottom of a small frying pan; break an egg into the pan (break the yolk) and spread on bottom of pan. Check as it cooks so it doesn't burn; flip over and add a layer of shredded cheese, deli-sliced ham, and whatever cooked veggies you'd like; flip one side of the omelet on the other, then flip whole thing over to cook through.
Anyone have any meal ideas that could stretch my £6.00 for 4 days please?
June 4, 2012
Pasta - overcooked so it contains plenty of water is filling and you can add about anything to it - just spices and oil will work. Peanut butter is another high food value product. Check the mark downs if your local grocery has them, and if not, ask.
This is hard to answer as I don't know what food costs in your location. A small piece of beef can be stretched by using it as a addition to other foods, and boiled, then there is beef broth for cooking pasta and rice. Stay away from prepared foods. Plain frozen vegetables can be prepared in many ways. Hope this helps. Good luck.
With times so tight, I am glad that my family enjoys budget friendly meals. Here are some of my fave recipes that have my families stamp of approval (and they are easy and cheap!)
Hope you enjoy. Blessings to all!
By Carol from Landisville, PA
Chop up one onion; mix with one pound ground beef. Cook until done and drain off grease. Mix brown sugar and 2 Tbsp. mustard into a bowl. Then add one can of pork and beans into the same bowl. Add to ground beef and let simmer for 20 minutes.
By Robin from Washington, IA
This recipe is so economical. For a family of four I buy 2 boxes of mac & cheese at 25 cents each, 2 cans of pork & beans at 33 cents each and a package of hot dog wieners for 50 cents (only use half the package for this recipe). I buy it all at the Sav A Lot store.
Slice half the pack of wieners in small bite size slices and cook in pot of water, drain and set aside. Cook mac & cheese as directed. I add extra milk to make it slightly soupy. Heat the pork & beans in a separate pot and mix in the already heated and drained wiener slices.
To serve, put a large serving of mac & cheese in each persons bowl and top with a portion of the beanie weenie mixture. It has a whole different flavor than if you serve items side by side. My family loves it and we eat it twice a month. Fast and inexpensive.
This is a great one-dish meal! Inexpensive to make!
Approximate Time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
What are some inexpensive meal ideas that your family enjoys?
Serve pancakes for dinner every once in a while. They're cheap, and delicious! (05/11/2005)
I make Tuna and Noodles for my family. It's inexpensive and quick to make.
We have eggs, home fries and toast for our dinner sometimes. We like breakfast foods all day long. Another one we like is tomato soup with saltines and also grilled cheese sandwiches with that. We also love hamburger gravy over pulled apart home baked bread. Add salt and pepper and a few diced onions on top and yummy!! (05/11/2005)
I buy frozen eggrolls which are not really inexpensive, but a package goes a long way if serving just a couple as a side to your Chicken Fried Rice. I am a "throw it together and taste it" kind of cook most of the time. So I don't have a real recipe. When I make fried rice, I start with a couple tablespoons of Sesame Seed Oil, and a couple tablespoons of light olive oil in a pretty large skillet. Take a package of green onions, and snip them with a kitchen shears. Use the whole green onions. Add these to the skillet. Then add about 3-4 cups of cooked rice. This can be just cooked or leftover cold rice. Stir until it loses that sticky texture that rice has. Add about 1/2 cup of frozen peas and a carrot, shredded. Let this cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Beat two eggs with a fork and push the rice to one side of the pan. Pour the eggs in the pan and stir briskly with a fork as they cook. Gradually stir the rice into the egg mixture until it is cooked and mixed through. Add cooked chicken and continue to heat until chicken is heated.Add salt and pepper to taste. You could use beef, pork, shrimp or none of the above as it is good even without meat or chicken.
I actually make about triple this amount, and then freeze the leftovers in quart size Ziplock bags. Fill the bags, then press the contents flat pressing out as much air as possible. Seal and freeze on cookie sheets. When they are frozen, the flat packages are easy to store in the freezer, and by pressing most of the air out, they won't freezer burn. Just thaw and reheat in your skillet when ready. You can add the meat when you reheat if you like. Green tea will complete the meal. (05/12/2005)
A quick cheap entree we have is sloppy joes. In our area, Albertson's grocery store has 10 items for $10 almost every week or so. Sometimes you can pick up 1 lb. rolls of ground turkey meats 10/$10., that's $1.00 each! Another item, we also can get 10/$10. is Manwich sloppy joe sauce. You can't get much cheaper than that! It's cheaper is you have coupons for the sale items. (05/12/2005)
I used to make this when the kids were small and time as well as money was at a premium.
When the kids were little, they loved lasagna, but it is so expensive to make. So I came up with a pseudo lasagna, and they loved it. Cook a pound of ground beef, add 1/2 cup chopped onions to ground beef and cook until clear. While browning the beef, boil one bag of eggs noodles and drain. Combine egg noodles with ground beef and onions, add 1 container of large curd cottage cheese, and one large can of tomato sauce. Stir together and add any spices you like (oregano, etc) (05/13/2005)
Buying whole chickens (fryers) is way cheaper than parts and you can make chicken and dumplings one night, then have leftovers over mashed potatoes the next night. Very cheap to do this. (05/13/2005)
By Monika Bigelow
From growing up being the oldest of 5 kids, I can give you some ideas that my mom used. First, Chicken stew with dumplings, I am not fond of dumplings, so I made a chicken stew and put dumplings in it. I ate the stew and the kids loved the dumplings.
Also, chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes. Fattening, I know, but oh, so comforting (as was the beef and noodles over mashed potatoes)
Then she would open and drain a few cans of hominy, chop up some bacon, fry the bacon out, get rid of most of the bacon grease, then dice an onion and fry it a bit, then added the hominy and fry all together with lots of salt and pepper. Fry it until the hominy is a bit crusty and then devour it. Very good.
One of my own recipes also has a base of bacon. Same thing as above, dice it and then render it. Get rid of most of the grease, then fry a diced onion in the bacon grease until translucent. Meanwhile, have a pot of water on cooking the amount of spaghetti your family will eat. After the spaghetti is cooked to your liking, drain it. Put it back in the pot. In a separate bowl have ready 4 eggs and 1/2 c parmesan cheese. Once the spaghetti is back in the pot, put in the bacon and onions, then the eggs and cheese. Swirl in around the pot over heat until the eggs are cooked. (At this point you could put in some drained and heated peas if you want). Now you have a spaghetti carbonara on the cheap. It is a good meal, too.
You could add garlic bread to the above and a salad if you like. Make the garlic bread out of hot dog buns that you have purchased at the day old bread store. Just spread them with margarine, sprinkle with garlic, onion powder and salt, then parmesan cheese and toast under the broiler.
Another inexpensive meal is stroganoff. Buy minute steaks, usually not expensive and for 3 people, you only need 2 minute steaks. Slice in 1/2 inch strips, cook in a skillet with 2T oil, (1 if you are using teflon skillets) until brown, add a diced onion, cook till softened. Boil as many noodles as needed, then add to the skillet, 2T worchestshire sauce, 2T catsup, 1 can of mushrooms, broth and all, one can of mushroom soup and 8oz of sour cream. slowly cook, but do not boil, pour over noodles, add a vegetable and another inexpensive meal is born.
You should also learn how to cook from scratch, get cookbooks that will teach you how to make things from scratch, that is the cheapest way to cook.
Good Luck! (05/14/2005)
French toast is cheap. Another idea is Cream of Mushroom soup thinned with half can water or milk, heated and poured over toast. Optional sliced boiled egg. Another idea is dried beans cooked plain or made into soup, with ham bone or bacon. Split pea soup too. Tomato sandwiches in summer. Chipped ham bar be que sandwiches. Fried egg sandwich with or without tomato. Egg salad sandwiches. Stewed tomatoes with bread and little sugar. Scalloped potatoes are good too. Salmon patties or salmon loaf. (05/14/2005)
I live in Western Pennsylvania, we have a lunch meat in our area called chipped ham, I guess it is like spiced loaf ham, formed ham. If you can't get chipped ham, try cheep boiled ham. I just got chipped ham for $1.39 lb. Chipped ham refers to the thickness of the ham which is as thin as you can get it.
Chop 1 to 2 lbs ham in 1 to 2 inch pieces, heat in some water, add instant onion or fine chopped onion till cooked. Optional is relish or sweet relish liquid to taste (small amount). Also optional is ground clove (very, very little). When everything is heated add part of a bottle of ketchup, more or less to taste. Also add water if needed.
The ingredients are:
During ball season I am always needing quick and easy things to fix for the kids. Soup and sandwiches are always good, chili dogs and chips and homemade pizza (seems like it would take a long time, but I've been able to make it quickly and a lot less expensive than I thought it would be). (05/16/2005)
I make tater tot casserole which is great as leftovers the next day.
This is my sister Cathy's famous recipe. Very inexpensive and tasty. It only messes up one dutch oven.
Cut up a bag of bacon into bite sized pieces. Fry your bacon to your own tastes. Remove bacon and set aside. Fill pan half full of water on top of bacon drippings and bring to a boil.
Leave on burner until tomato mixture is hot.
This is really good served with cooked greens and corn bread. (05/21/2005)
One my partner came up with:
Fry up about 500g of mince. Add frozen peas and corn and whatever other veggies you like. Then add a basic spaghetti sauce or a tin of diced tomatoes and herbs.
Stir in cooked pasta. It's enough for 6-8 people any leftovers can be frozen. (06/09/2005)
Here's a great one I tried when trying to cut corners. Take 1/2 wheat Pita bread and stuff with pastrami and swiss cheese. Put in Microwave for 15 seconds. Whalaaaaaa and it's so yummy.
Boil any type of chicken drain and shred with fingers. Add about quarter cup water let soak for a few minutes on medium high. Then put a whole tomato and 3 quarters of a med onion and a break off piece of garlic in the blender with a bit more water (a quarter cup) and blend away until smooth. Then add to chicken water. Let it lightly boil for about 10-15 minutes just so the flavor can set in chicken. Add as much salt as you wish put in piping hot tortillas and you have yourself a meal in that is less than five dollars and all you have to clean is the pan you cooked the chicken in and a blender. It goes great with tabasco sauce. A great cheap meal extender for this one is to add rice. (06/21/2005)
My daughter loves this. You can use any spaghetti sauce, but we think it's best with the mushroom & ripe olive variety.
Sprinkle the cheese over the top, then put the lid on and heat until the cheese melts.
Cook some Rigatoni noodles according to package directions, Add a can of tuna, add some Hellmans (and it's important to use Hellman's brand), and some Tony Chachere cajun seasoning to taste. Leave in the fridge for a couple hours (the longer you leave it in the fridge, the better it tastes) and that's it! It's so yummy! (01/26/2006)
You can also add other things to this (cheese,brown sugar, ect) YUMMY!! (05/04/2006)
I make homemade hamburger helper. All you do is cook a pound of hamburger meat in pan, drain off grease, set aside. Cook any kind of macaroni that has the cheese packet with it. we like kraft. Then drain , mix in the cheese sauce, meat, and some ketchup, however much you want, and thats it! (05/05/2006)
I make "Quick Spaghetti" when I am in a big hurry. You can make as much as you need, and is extremely cheap.
Very quick and yummy... I call it "Lazy Day Chinese/Shepherds pie" (whichever you call it).
Quick and easy, my kids love it! (08/28/2006)
Dice up some potatoes.
Add some onion.
Fry and drain some hamburger.
A can of mushroom soup.
Add a bit of garlic salt & pepper.
Stir all together and serve on toast or with butter bread. (08/28/2006)
Boil some elbow noodles, when done, drain and set aside. Scramble some eggs on medium heat in some butter. When eggs are done add a little more butter and the noodles to the eggs, add salt and pepper and a slice or two of cheese cook on low until cheese is melted. Very good and cheap (09/02/2006)
Press the rolls into the bottom of a casserole dish; as my family likes to eat I make a bigger pan =D
Cover with a thin layer of shredded cheese, then crumble french fries or add hasbrowns.
Place more cheese on top.
Beat eggs with a small amount of milk, if you like them that way, and pour on top of the rolls/cheese and potatoes. Add ham to the top and then more cheese.
Bake at 400 until the eggs are cooked, about 20 minutes I'd say. Add more cheese, bake long enough to melt and there you go!
It's cheap, it's delicious, and it lasts! (12/13/2006)
By Shanon S
I have a request for cheap, low budget, yet tasty meal ideas. I'm going to school at St. Lawrence College in Kingston and I live in an apartment with my boyfriend where we both pay half rent. So
money is a bit tight for me right now and I was wondering if anyone knew of any cool recipes?
EZ chili on spaghetti:
Serve over cooked spaghetti or stir cooked macaroni into chili. It's cheap, it's filling and it makes leftovers. (01/11/2005)
Go to http://www.campbellssoup.com for easy and cheap but great recipes. (01/11/2005)
This is a easy and quick recipe, not to mention very tasty.
Easy Chicken and Noodles
cool, and chunk it up. Adding the cream of chicken soup gives it some more chicken and chicken flavor. Of course, one could boil chicken legs, thighs, whatever, if you don't mind dark meat and are watching
your pennies. This is great with a salad and bread for a nice filling meal. In fact, maybe I'll make this tonight for the family.
By Trudy P.
Hey I know the feeling, my family likes stir fry. You can get frozen vegetables at Wal-mart for like $1.50 and just cook it and add soy sauce. Serve alone, or over rice. I also go shopping early in the
morning so I can get the reduced meat, as long as you put it in the freezer and use it fairly quickly it is OK. Also do you get a local paper on Sunday's I have found that it is worth the 1.50 for the
coupons what I don't use I send to my sister who is in college herself. Good luck. (01/18/2005)
Hey I thought of something else my family likes that is cheap. Get tuna in water (.47) drain. Boil an egg, then chop the egg, chop some onion, add mayo and sweet relish, salt, pepper, garlic powder is optional, my
husband even likes olives and hot sauce in his. Serve on toast, or with crackers or even just beside a salad. Hope you can use some of these. (01/18/2005)
1lb cooked ground beef. 1 box of Mac and Cheese prepare as directed. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes. Combine all ingredients. It's quick and easy. If you like you can also add diced red and/or green peppers.
My kids love it. (01/19/2005)
This is quick and healthy. Take about 3 potatoes (peel them, slice them, and start frying them), then add about three eggs and start mixing it all up. Then cut in something that's meat product and add.
This takes about 15 minutes max and fills your stomach. (02/03/2005)
Ramen noodles are a college student staple. I like to take:
In medium pan heat water and flavor packet to boiling. Break noodles up and add to water with frozen peas.
Stir frequently. When noodles start to soften drain mushrooms and add. Add chicken and stir. Serve
Wal-mart has these noodles fo 10 cents a packet. You can experiment adding things to them.
I also like to add hamburger and cream of mushroom to the beef noodles. Serve with green beans.
Shopping at an Aldi or Save-a-lot store will save you much. Wal Mart has some good buys, but you have to be careful, also.
Here is one of the cheapest meal staples I have used for years. Even my meat loving husband gets full on this meal.
Easy Drop Biscuits and Gravy
right. Drop large scoops of dough with a soup spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. You can pat the biscuits to shape them, but my family likes the crispy edges that
come from leaving them untouched-up. The insides are fluffy and light. These are absolutely best straight from the oven, but they keep alright on the pan with a dish towel over them or in a zip lock bag left
open to retain some crispness (after they are totally cool). I have also made cheap gravy using 2 cups water, 2 tsp bullion (or whatever is suggested on the package) and 1/2 cup flour. Stir together and heat
in a sauce pan until thick and bubbly, season with pepper to taste. (02/28/2005)
I used to make this for my husband and I before we got married when money was real tight and we still use it in a pinch.
Brown a pound or so of ground beef. Season it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce or your favorite seasonings.
Make instant mashed potatoes in the microwave as directed, but add a little garlic and cheese. If you don't have shredded cheese (it can be expensive on a real tight budget) use American cheese slices.
After the mashed potatoes are done, mix the ground beef with the potatoes and add a can of green beans or corn which ever is your favorite.
This meal is very filling and there is usually some left over for the next day. You can use real mashed potatoes if you like, but adding the garlic and cheese to instant helps mask the instant flavor.
Here is a good one, especially if you are having company. It is a form of spaghetti Carbonara. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 pound of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch slices. Cook until browned. If needed, drain most of the
grease left behind. Dice a medium onion, fry until translucent in the bacon grease. Meanwhile, have enough spaghetti cooking to serve as many as you want to serve. In a separate bowl, whisk together 4 eggs
and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. After the spaghetti is cooked, drain it and return to the pan, add the cooked bacon and onions, the eggs and cheese and put back on very low heat. Stir together until the eggs
are set. Serve.
You can also add a can of peas to make it closer to authentic carbonera. Very cheap dish. You could also make a bacon gravy for over boiled potatoes, just fry the bacon, crumble, then cook a medium diced
onion. After onions are cooked, in skillet put in 2 Tablespoons of flour. Brown flour and then add milk or water to make a gravy, put back in the bacon and onion and serve. Just a few quick thoughts. You
could buy a piece of peameal back bacon, bake it, serve it as a ham for one meal and then for a second meal, dice it and "grill" it in a non stick skillet, bake a large potato in a microwave, split it, add
a low fat cottage cheese, some diced green onions and a bit to fresh tomato, the bacon and make a big old "stuffed" baked potato. This is a one dish meal. and cheap too.
If you can catch chicken on sale, fry some of one meal and boil the rest. From the boiled chicken you can make chicken and dumplings, chicken and noodles, and chicken salad either for a meal or for
sandwiches. An easy and cheap Stroganoff is 2 cube steaks cut into 1/2 in strips, fried, add a medium onion, then add 1 can of mushroom soup, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tablespoons catchup, a
can of mushrooms, water and all. Then 1 cup of sour cream. Cook gently, do not let the sour cream boil. Serve over noodles or minute rice.
Just have fun, these are the days for it. (03/27/2005)
Get a can of tuna in water. Drain. Mix with mayo or Miracle Whip, whichever you prefer. Add anything else you like, I just like the tuna and mayo with a dash of Miracle Whip. Put on bread (I prefer a
bagel). Slice some cheddar cheese and place on top. Put it in your broiler on a cookie sheet until the cheese is a little burnt. Serve with a big glass of milk. (04/28/2005)
Take a can of Cresent rolls and unroll the whole can on a cookie sheet. With your fingers make the dough one solid piece. Brown and drain 1 lb. ground beef, add enough Bar-b-que sauce to coat and spoon
down the center of the dough. Add cheese on top then fold the dough over, kind of like a burrito. Bake according to roll directions. A great, easy meal for only a few dollars. (05/01/2005)
My Mom fixed this when we were kids and I fix it for my family when money is tight, it is pretty tasty, I think it came from Girl Scout camp.
I am in college, and this is one of my favorite meals. Its cheap, its quick, and tastes good.
Heat up the beans and peanut butter in a pan, until peanut butter dissolves. Mix with the cooked couscous. Done.
It makes about 3-4 servings for my boyfriend and I.
I was one of four kids, with a single mom supporting us alone. We had a few "special"
meals that held us over in the day or two before the next paycheck arrived. Both meals are quick, good and cheap. However, I personally like them both with loads of black pepper.
Tuna and Noodles:
Prepare mac and cheese according to package. Stir in the drained tuna and vegetable. Serve.
Noodles, Bacon and Tomatoes:
Brown the bacon and drain. Crumble it into bite-sized pieces.
Prepare the noodles according to package. Drain.
Stir in the tomatoes, bacon and a tablespoon of the bacon drippings. Serve.
By Aunt Wendy
Easy Pepper Steak
In a large skillet, add steak, onions, peppers, mushrooms, soy sauce, and butter. Cook until steak is done to your liking, add a little more soy sauce as needed. When steak is brown, add corn starch to
thicken mixture. Let simmer for about 7 minutes. Serve over rice. Cost is less than $10. (07/20/2005)
In college, and even now, this has been one of my absolute favorites:
It makes enough for two people and the taste is such a nice change of pace. My brother calls it "Bachelor Stew" because it is so easy and quick to make and still comes out quite impressive.
Note: If you like a little color to your soup (the above mixture will be yellow) you can add things like chopped broccoli, bell peppers, etc. Whatever suits you. The important part is the coconut milk and
Just had to add something my dad would always throw together. Its cheap, easy, and makes a lot and to this day I still love it.
Brown gravy, ground beef and egg noodles. Make them all separately and then on your plate make a bed of noodles, meat on top of that then a little brown gravy over all of it. I usually like to have corn
on the side but, I add corn to just about anything. (10/17/2005)
English muffin pizzas:
Cut the muffins in half lengthwise. Bake at 300 degrees for about 5 minutes, or until slightly crispy. They shouldn't be browning. Top each with a spoonful of tomato sauce and bit of cheese, plus meat, if
desired. Bake at 300 another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
If you buy all this at Walmart, it will cost $1.75. (Half a 12 pack of English muffins, half an 8 oz block of mozzarella cheese)
Also, I freeze all the bits of leftover meat and or veggies from other meals. I freeze it in Ziplock bags and mark the contents and date with a sharpie on the Ziplock bag. You can thaw and use these
leftovers for a recipe like this, or stir fry, pot pie, whatever. Comes in handy when you don't want to cook. (10/30/2005)
Look for "Michellines" (or something like that) brand frozen foods. These are usually really cheap and microwaveable too. And don't forget canned soups are usually inexpensive.
Recipe for Belly Buttons:
Try slicing hot dogs (around $2 a pack) into about a 1/4 inch slices and place flat side in baking dish. Pour (.99cents) Barbecue sauce over and bake at 350 degrees, until hot dogs are done.
If invited to a party then make these and serve them with toothpicks. Tell everyone they are "belly buttons" and they will be a hit. (11/05/2005)
I am also a college student, tight on money. One of my favorite easy, cheap meals is angel hair pasta (less than $2 at Safeway) and veggies. I just toss one green bell pepper and some garlic and oil in a
frying pan on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I cook up the pasta, which only takes about 3mins. After the pasta has been strained, toss it in the pan and add some salt, pepper, and any other
spices you like and you've got a delicious, healthy, cheap meal. Total prep time should be about 15 minutes. Enjoy. (12/12/2005)
I got this recipe from a friend of mine and my family of 6 loves it and there are always leftovers for the next day.
Easy Scalloped Potatoes
Cook the rice, and fry the onion and the egg together. Add the onion and egg to the rice, stir it through, and add soy sauce to taste.
Simple, effective, filling, cheap. (01/19/2006)
I have a great dish that is cheap and good. Take a head of cabbage and chop it fine. Add 1 package of broken, uncooked Ramen noodles and mix well. Then make the dressing: Add the pack of seasonings from the
Ramen noodles to 1/4 cup of oil and 6 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt and mix well. Pour over the cabbage-Ramen mixture and toss well. Add 1 cup of chopped cooked chicken, ham, or tuna. (You can
use canned cooked chicken) You can add chopped green onions or any fresh herbs you like, but in about 2 hours you have a delicious salad that keeps for several days. (02/15/2006)
My roommate and I created a great dish when we we're flat broke called Johnny Mash.
It's incredibly cheap, cooks in 3-4 minutes, delicious and filling for hours. (04/05/2006)
Being a mother of 3 boys with one income, we live on a tight tight budget. Here are a couple great ideas that are yummy.
If you have a stove/oven, you can make this. You will need a muffin pan (the larger sized, not mini).
Spray muffin tray with nonstick spray, lightly. Open the cans of biscuits and separate, divide each biscuit into 2 layers. Put one layer in each cup of the muffin pan, pressing lighty into bottom and
sides. Spoon the soup into each biscuit lined tin, to almost full. Top each with the other half of biscuit. If you have seasoning (garlic, Italian seasoning, etc.) you can sprinkle something on top for
flavor, or even some shredded cheese. Cook at 375 degrees for 15 - 18 mins. Use a knife after letting cool for a few minutes to loosen from sides. (05/30/2006)
I love corn tortillas and you can usually get 50 for about a 1.50 at Walmart. (Note that corn tortillas taste better if you fry them in oil or nonstick cooking spray for a few minutes. Or if baking make sure
they get really hot.)
Eggs and tortilla omlette: rip up a couple of corn tortillas and start to fry them in an omlette pan (or fry pan). Scramble some eggs together with tomato paste and season salt. Once the tortillas are
soft, pour the batter over the tortillas. You can flip the patty like an omlette, or if you are impatient, you can just scramble it all together. I like to complete the dish with just a little bit of salsa
Southwest casserole: Take your favorite Mexican ingredients (refried beans, ground beef/chicken-cooked, cheese, corn, onions and salsa). Layer the ingredients (about three layers), starting with ripped up
tortillas. Bake in 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Top with sour cream. (02/26/2007)
One of the quickest things I've ever eaten. I used to have this all the time when I would go straight from school to work and be gone from 8 am to 11 pm and was exhausted.
Boil a potato with the skin on. Chop up said potato into a frying pan with a little bit of oil, add diced onions and green peppers and an egg or two. Cook and scramble like you would make scrambled eggs
until the potato is golden brown on the edges. Eat and enjoy. Very filling. (03/06/2007)
Get a $10 Crock Pot from Walmart. Then throw in anything you want such as vegetables, potatoes, meat and cook for a few hours. It's idiot proof. Just don't add too much salt, and you got a good meal which
can be frozen and recooked.
Also, this will allow you to use really cheap ingredients like dried beans, etc. (04/30/2007)
CHICKEN PARMESAN: So easy.
Sliced tomato version:
Follow directions above but bake the chicken separate from pasta/rice. Put chicken in pan, slice of tomato on top, add cheese when almost done.
Be careful, tomatoes are very hot when they come out of the oven. (05/30/2007)
You can also add a can of tomato/veggie/cream soup to mix to make it juicier. (05/30/2007)
Easy Chicken Fried Rice (You'll need a Wok or a big frying pan for this one)
that has escaped in to the oil.
I usually make a lot of this and then eat some while refrigerating the rest for meals later in the week. It'll last a decent amount of time as long as the seal in the container is air tight. I've never
actually timed it but I've eaten it up to two weeks later and it was fine. You can also substitute other meats for the chicken: pork, ground beef, beef strips, etc. (06/21/2007)
My boyfriend's favorite meal reminds us both of being a kid again. Take a box of Mac and Cheese make as usual. Then open a roll/can of crescent rolls or biscuit dough and roll a package of hot dogs for "Pigs in
a Blanket". Bake as long as the crescent rolls or biscuit directions say. Really, really good and great comfort food. (12/17/2007)
The thing to remember about Ramen is it's packed full of sodium and very few vitamins. Cheap yes, healthy no. For cheap and healthy, I suggest homemade dhal masala. If you invest in the spices (turmeric,
ginger and garam masala) the lentils are $0.89 a pound. Can't beat that.
Soak a cup or so of lentils for half an hour, chop an onion and fry in the bottom of a pot with a little oil. Drain lentils, add to the pot with a couple cups of fresh water. Boil, boil, boil; add a diced
tomato if you like, or some frozen peas, and keep adding water as needed to keep it soupy. When the lentils are completely cooked and it's all kind of a mush, add spices, salt and pepper liberally.
Healthy and good for vegetarians!
Broccoli, Cheddar and Spinach Soup
(ambiguous amounts, but that's how I cook. Bear with me.)
Put butter/bacon fat in a large pot till melted. Add finely diced onions over medium heat. When onions are golden add diced potatoes, broth and chopped up broccoli. Don't worry if broth doesn't cover
everything. Put a lid on the pot and let boil on medium high heat for a half hour. Now add the frozen spinach and put the lid back on for another ten minutes.
Now get a blender or better yet, an immersion blender and blend the hell out of the whole batch. Careful, its hot.
When it reaches your desired texture, add shredded cheddar and slowly add the cream. Stir until everything melts together. You have soup. Eat with toast. This will feed one person for about a week. I know
because I lived off this my first two weeks in NC. Enjoy. (03/21/2008)
on top of the ready made pizzas and add mozzarella cheese on top. Then finish with the chopped veggies and pre-browned chicken. Place in oven at 450 for 15 minutes. (04/12/2008)
By Taylor and Kara
This is something that my boyfriend and I make all the time because its easy and cheap.
Sometimes we throw in a little tub of Sour Cream, though I'm not sure why. Try it if you're interested.
Preheat oven to 350 and begin cooking pasta. Once it is complete, mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, but save at least 3/4's of a bag of cheese. Pour the mixture in a casserole dish and pop it in
the oven for about 20 minutes, then put the rest of that cheese on top and cook it for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. And there ya have it, a yummy, cheapo casserole. (04/22/2008)
Tater Tot Casserole
Brown Hamburger, drain. Mix hamburger with soup, cheese, green pepper and onion in baking dish. Top with tater tots. Follow baking directions for the tater tots. Delicious.
Red Beans and Rice is a nice idea for cheap. We ate this a lot when I was growing up. My basic recipe uses 2 Cans of Red Beans or 1 Can of Red beans 1 can of chili beans. 1 Roll of Sausage and at least 2
cups of rice.
Brown the sausage and then add in the beans drained or not drained. Let them simmer if you didn't drain them or simply leave the pan on warm if you did drain.
Boil the rice and serve the beans and sausage over the rice. I also use small amounts of Tabasco, garlic, steak sauce, and barbecue sauce to create a tasty sauce that is totally optional. Feeds 4-6 people
for one meal or just my self and girlfriend for at least 2 meals. When I was living alone I would eat this stuff for 2 or 3 days for under 5$. (10/01/2008)
A lot of these recipes have meat which is really expensive and not to mention hard to digest. It's so easy and cheap to make vegetarian tasty meals. Get some TVP (Texturized vegetable protein) at a health
food store. These are dried granules that mimic ground beef. You use 1 cup granules to 1 cup hot water and you'll get double the amount. Add a bit of soy sauce or soak in hot bouillon instead of water to give
it flavour. Then add to chili, tacos, spaghetti sauce, this is a great source of protein and much cheaper than meat. Some meat eaters use this and a combination of ground beef to make meatloaf. Here is a
great TVP meatless loaf that serves a lot. My friends kids who are meat eaters loved it
before removing from the pan. Serve with mashed potatoes and your favorite gravy. This entire meatloaf can feed about 6 people and costs about $2-3 to make. (10/27/2008)
Here's one I didn't see and my mom made a lot. Around here, a pound of bologna is about $1, 5 lbs of potatoes are $2 and a can of corn about $0.50. So it's less then $3 for 6 or so people to eat.
I've always called it: Fried Bologna Meal
Cook potatoes so that you have mashed potatoes and warm up the corn. Then fry the bologna in a pan, don't worry they will curl up like a bowl and that's what you want. Fry up two or three per person.
Then on a plate put the fried bologna, in the middle of the bologna put some mashed potatoes and put on some of the corn on top of that, enjoy.
Now that us kids are out of the house, my mom told me the other day that instead of frying the bologna in a pan, she puts it in a muffin pan just like she would on a plate and then adds cheese to it. I
haven't tried it yet but it sounds real good to me. (04/18/2009)
What are some inexpensive meal ideas?
Jessica from IA
Pancakes, eggs, and french toast if your family doesn't balk at eating breakfast foods for dinner. (05/11/2005)
Sandwiches- My favorite being peanut butter and jam or banana.
Soup- From a can or heat some stock and throw in some veggies, especially potatoes!
Pasta- Pasta and sauce, cheap, easy and fast.
Rice- Cook rice, add veggies or tofu
You can probably find some good books at the library focused on this topic. I know my library has many! (02/19/2007)
One of my family's favorites is linguine cooked and drained, tossed with butter, top with generous Parmesan cheese, and then topped with stewed tomatoes, with some garlic bread and a salad. (02/19/2007)
I made patties out of a basic meatloaf recipe, just beef, bread crumbs, egg, diced onion, salt and pepper to taste. Brown patties on both sides. Mix cream of mushroom soup (can use cream soup of choice) and 1/2 -3/4 soup can milk, pour over top of patties, cover and simmer until patties are done, about 1/2 hr. Served with corn and mashed potatoes, with the sauce for gravy, and dump cake for desert. My picky family loves it. (02/21/2007)
In small amount of oil; brown spaghetti and onions stirring, constantly not to scorch. When brown, add water and tomatoes, sauce and spices. Allow to cook until spaghetti is done
Optional: You can add jalapeno peppers. My daughter adds prepared meatballs. (02/21/2007)
Here is a one pan easy meal that I call Leftover Picnic Ham:
Three baked or fresh potatoes
Trim the bone and chip PIECES that were not sliced for sandwiches. Cut into bite size pieces. Place a small amount of oil in a pan. Put cubed pepper and onions in. Then add cubed potatoes. Fry until brown. Salt and pepper. (02/21/2007)
By janice westbrook
My take on this is never skimp on the nutrition. You can buy ingredients for meals cheaply. Watch for sales, and then match coupons to the sale items. I got 20 cartons of free oatmeal last month that way, and 44 cups of free yogurt this month. If you go to the bread outlet, they might sell you a whole barrel of outdated bread for $3-4. Some will be moldy, so take it to the park and feed the ducks. Try to get whole grain. Stick some in the freezer. Dry some and make bread crumbs for chicken or pork or fish. Make bread pudding. Cook macaroni, canned tomatoes and chunks of bread together -- we ate a lot of that in my childhood.
All kinds of beans are nutritious, and you don't need expensive ingredients to make them good. Of course, I got a case of my favorite pork and beans when they were on sale for .40 and there were .40 coupons on them. With a can of garbanzos and some celery, you can have hummus dip. We do this for movie nights when we want something special. We are eating Oatmeal-To-Go that cost .50 per box with coupons and a sale, and we have 20 boxes! Ask the produce manager if he/she will sell you a box of culled produce for a reduced price. I have bought a whole lug for $2.00 lots of times. If you get all lemons, make marmalade or lemonade. Of course, save some to marinate some chicken. Beans and grains are nutritious and very cheap. A 25-pound bag of either will make at least 200 servings.
I bought a broken bag of whole spring wheat for $5, and it makes a wonderful pilaf or sometimes I make Bulgar. A hand grinder doesn't cost much, and you can use it to make whole grain flour from the spring wheat. It makes delightful cookies and cakes and pies. For bread you want hard wheat flour. Whatever you grow is cheap. Today (February 21) I am going to put up some pumpkin butter. We still have 10 large Kabocha squashes under the bed where they stay cool but don't freeze. They won't keep a lot longer since they've been there almost 5 months. So pumpkin butter, pumpkin pies, and lovely mashed squash as a veggie side dish for a year. Or I'll sell some pumpkin butter at the farmer's market next spring.
My meal plan is this: See what's in the refrigerator. Now see what's in the cupboard. Try to put together 1 protein, 1 starch, and 1 veggie. Protein can be as simple as an egg. Brown rice makes a great starch and is available for about $10.00/25 pounds. Veggies can be all kinds of things. You can even forage in the wild for dock, asparagus, etc. Are there wild berries in your neck of the woods? Good luck! (02/21/2007)
One other thing I just experienced is that I checked out the cheese bin at a local grocery and found some Irish cheese, an aged cheddar, with no price on it. Digging through the bin I found several other blocks, but none of them had prices either. Then I noticed the expiration date: 2/13/07. I took one to the deli counter and asked them to give me a price, pointing out that the expiration date had already passed. The lady said, "Oh, this should have already been pulled!" and went over there and started pulling it. I told her it looked okay to me and I just wanted to get a price on it, and she said she'd mark it down, and how many did I want? I told her that depended on the price, and she said she'd mark them down to a dollar each. If they had been priced I expect the original price on them would have been four to five bucks, so I scooped them up.
The moral of this story is, watch those expiration dates, and if something looks good but is outdated, ask for a deal on it. This works with anything; cheese, meat, whatever. If the date is out whoever is in charge just wants to get it out of the store.
You can save money if you *pay attention*. I figure most folks on this list are here for the same reason I am. We aren't rich and need to stretch what little money we have. I don't want to rip anybody off, but taking advantage of a deal like that is good for everyone. (02/26/2007)
This is a meal idea I came up with in my first year at University as a cheap meal for one or two.
Baked Flat Mushroom:
Take 1 or 2 large flat mushrooms per person and lightly drizzle with olive oil, bake for about 10-15 mins on a medium high heat.
Once the mushroom is baked to your preference place either Parmesan or Cheddar over the top of the mushrooms and grill until browned.
Serve with organic couscous (made in the bowl with hot water and a tea towel placed over the top for about 5 minutes), mixing the couscous with some organic olive oil. Also serve with raw spinach, making sure it has been thoroughly rinsed and tossed with a little bit of organic oil and sea salt flakes.
This meal was a life saver for me. It's unbelievably cheap to make, especially if cooking it for 4 or so people as you use up a pack of 4 large flat mushrooms and a bag of spinach at once. Also the presentation can be lovely for a dinner party with smaller portions for a starter, or even a main as the ingredients are really good for stacking. (03/27/2007)
I like to make tater tot casserole. Brown some ground beef and put in a baking dish. Pour cream chicken and cream of mushroom soup in. Place tater tots on top and bake about 30 min. After baking, put shredded cheese on top and place back in oven a couple minutes to melt the cheese. This is so good with ketchup! Sounds weird, but the kids love it. (09/13/2007)
This is a family favorite and so easy to make!
Just get some minced meat and brown it. Add a pack of taco seasoning. Cook the Macaroni and Cheese according to package. Place a little of the Mac and Cheese on a baking dish (make a layer). Add the meat and then add the rest of the Macaroni and Cheese.
If you have some nachos or tortilla chips, crumble some with your hands and add it all over the top of your dish. If you feel for extra cheese, add some more cheese on top. Bake it for a few minutes. So yummy! (09/29/2007)
Inexpensive Goulash (feeds 4 with leftovers for under $3):
Boil elbow macaroni per package instructions and drain
Meanwhile, brown hamburger in a large skillet (so you can mix everything together in it afterward). Season with a shake of garlic powder and a couple shakes of onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. When done, drain and add the tomato paste. Sometimes I add a splash of water to thin the paste and mix well with the hamburger. Add the macaroni and some more salt and pepper. Heat a few minutes - careful not to scorch the tomato paste.
My family loves this and I make it at least twice a month.
Cheap and Easy Beef Stroganoff (less than $5 to feed 4):
Make the rice first. This dish only takes about 5-7 minutes to make.
Cut steak into thin strips, and fry in large skillet in a tiny amount of oil.
Add mushrooms (drained) and a shake or two of both onion and garlic powders. Stir around for a minute and then add the beef broth and water. Bring to a boil.
When boiling, add the brown gravy mix and stir until all the lumps are gone. Reduce heat and add the sour cream. Stir until mixed, do not boil.
Serve over rice, as it's very good and satisfying. I usually serve this with peas on the side and bread or rolls.
Cheap and Easy Barbecue Pork Sandwiches:
Boil the ribs until they fall off the bones (1 1/2 to 2 hrs). Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with foil and shred ribs onto it. Pour barbecue sauce over and mix up. Spread out to one layer and bake about 15 minutes or until they don't look too wet.
Heap onto hamburger buns. Serve with coleslaw or salad. This feeds my family of 4 two meals. (12/01/2007)
By Cathy Lee
Brown hamburger and drain. Season with a few shakes of pepper, salt, and onion powder. I only do a small shake of the garlic powder. Add the tomato soup and stir to combine. Heat through and serve on hamburger buns.
My family prefers this over Manwich or other sloppy joe sauces, and it is much cheaper. (12/01/2007)
By Cathy Lee
Here are two recipes that my mom use to make that I got before she passed away. You probably already have some of the ingredients in your cupboard. These are good hits with my children, family, and relatives. The first is what she called:
***Mix together all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low 4 hours*** Saltine crackers crumbled up in the bowls are a plus.
And the second recipe my mom use to make is called:
King Ranch Casserole:
***Broil chicken in water on stove. After chicken is done cooking, peel chicken in large bowl. Mix chicken with rotel, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, onion, (bell pepper or any other ingredients you may wish to add) in a bowl. Spread corn chips in a baking dish, spread some broth from the chicken over the chips to moisten the chips. Spoon on the mixture over the chips. Spread shredded cheese over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
By Kimberly Gering, and my mother Sandra Sue Gering.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to share my mom's recipe for a fantastic dessert. It is also a big hit and cheap to make! She called it her Strawberry Shortcake:
***Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix thawed strawberries and gelatin together, set aside, generously grease bottom of a 13x9 cake pan. Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over batter. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Serve with cool whip or ice cream. Store in refrigerator. (This also makes a good baby shower cake, potluck dessert, or even a birthday cake, and it's easy and cheap!) (05/25/2008)
I use all of my leftover dinner meats (chicken pieces, turkey, ham, roast beef, roast venison) and make into a pot pie. Pie crusts are cheap and easy. All you have to do is saute some onions, potatoes, and carrots in butter for a few minutes, add one can of broth (match to meat) and cook for 6 minutes on low, covered. Then add 1 cup meat, 2 cups mixed veggies, salt, pepper, and 1-2 tbs flour to thicken broth. When thick, pour into pie crust, put other crust on top. Seal and flute it, cut 1 inch slits in top, then bake for 45-60 mins.
My family loves this recipe and it's a cheap way to use up extra meat. When I make turkey for Thanksgiving, I cut up the leftovers into portions for this recipe and freeze it so I have it for many more meals. Same with roast. (06/23/2008)
By Jennifer H.
We're cutting corners, and trying to cut way back on our grocery bills. I just got back from the grocery store. $46 for a family for a week! It's much better than what it used to be (and it still sounds like a lot to me).
I'm making three meals for the week, which will each have leftovers, plus the option for different groceries. I won't go over everything I bought, just the stuff for these two meals I don't think too many people prepare:
Chicken Mushroom Rice:
Slice the breasts up and fry them in a tiny amount of oil in a saucepan. When they're cooked through (and possibly even browned a bit), reduce heat, add can of mushroom soup, and let sit. Meanwhile, cook the rice with a bit of butter and a splash of lemon juice. Serve layered: Rice, chicken mushroom mixture, top with cheese. Makes four generous portions at a cost of $.88 a serving.
Chicken Curry Alfredo:
Same thing- slice the chicken, saute it up, add sauce, doctor with spices and most importantly, add a heaping spoon of curry powder. Add to penne. Serve. $1.05 per serving.
I like the whole "calculating the price of a serving" method, because it helps you sort out what's reasonable and what's just too much to be spending on a budget. About a dollar per serving for dinner (much less for other meals, of course), sounds reasonable to me. More is just too much. (07/11/2008)
Hamburger and Hash brown Casserole (serves 4):
Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and brown the meat and onion together, drain. Pour in the hash browns into the baking dish and then the meat/onion mix, pour on the cream of mushroom and then sprinkle on the cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
My husband and I love this recipe. It's SO easy and very cheap to make. Every time I've made this for someone new, they always say "This is amazing!" :) Enjoy. (10/05/2008)
I am looking for very cheap recipes and meal ideas. Half the week there are just 2 of us, and the rest of the week there are 6.
I already make things like spaghetti bowls, mac and cheese, shepherd's pie, lasagna, jacket potatoes, stews and soups, curries, etc. We also make our own bread.
We have a very low budget and 2 of us are vegetarians. I am looking for new ideas. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
By Charlie from England
The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczn is the best book I've found for saving money on groceries. You can buy the Complete Tightwad Gazette (which includes all three of the Tightwad Gazette series) used at www.amazon.com for $8.76, or you can buy the Tightwad Gazette II or III each starting at $0.01 at Amazon, so basically you would just pay shipping and handling for both books. I have the complete series and it contains a wealth of information. (12/23/2009)
By Patty Lynn
We enjoy baked potatoes with broccoli, butter, cheese, salt and pepper to taste.
Homemade vegetable soup is also good.
Make your own pizza dough add spaghetti sauce, vegetables of your choice, mushrooms, onions, etc., or buy cheap pizzas and embellish with other vegetables.
What about macaroni and cheese?
Make a vegetable lasagna and use cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese to cut the cost.
Buy sandwich sliced bread instead of the regular; more slices in the package; grilled cheese, salad sandwiches with dressing tastes good on toasted bread. (12/23/2009)
One of our go tos is corn stew. One can each of whole kernel corn, creamed corn, and stewed tomatoes. Heat and serve over rice. We add frankfurters cut into coins, which the non-vegetarians could add to theirs. You could stretch it even further with most types of canned vegetables and well drained beans, etc. It's fast (longest time is cooking the rice), can be made cheaply and the ingredients are usually on hand.
Farmer's omelet is easy too. Fry up some potatoes and onions, add beaten eggs. Can be served like an omelet (just flip with a plate and slide the uncooked side down into the frying pan) or scrambled. Sprinkle some cheese on it and enjoy. (12/24/2009)
We use Top Ramen which is 6 for 99cents here. As it is cooking, drop in an egg or two and cook until just the white is cooked. Add some chopped green onions (optional) and a little soy sauce. I learned this from a Japanese friend. Same thing with rice, add an egg to hot rice and mix. The heat from the rice partially cooks the egg. Add some soy sauce. These are family favorites now. (12/24/2009)
The Living More with Less book series may seem old fashioned at first, but the book has a wealth of knowledge and the cook book is a wonderful resource for those tight budgets. I found them both at Amazon.com for about $5.00 each because they were out of print, and rare, so they cost more! But having them has helped me realize all the things my family takes for granted! (12/31/2009)
This is an awesome dish that you can all enjoy.
Chop and crush garlic clove. Start two cups of water to boil and soak potatoes in sink.
While the water boils scrub the potatoes and dice them small. Add the garlic, bay, and rosemary to the water. Dice celery and leaves of celery.
Add all of the diced potatoes and celery to the pot and just enough water to cover them. Add milk, butter, and soup. You will not want to add more water if the soup cans are condensed. Bring the water to boil for 35 minutes stirring occasionally. Lower the heat to simmering and cook for two hours. Stir every ten minutes.
This makes an awesome crock pot dish, just be sure to boil the herbs before you add them to the crock pot so you get their full flavor.
Garnish with diced roast beef, cheese, or diced pan cooked toast. Salt and pepper to taste. (02/04/2010)
While cooking pasta, cut and saute onions and cabbage together in margarine or butter in a covered pan until tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix with cooked pasta and fry all together another 5 to 10 minutes. Very flavorful and is a huge Pennsylvania favorite. We like to add 6-8 oz of sour cream to it when finished, it is amazing, feeds 6-8 and is cheap! (09/15/2010)