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CHEAP Crock Pot Recipes- I'm broke. - Page 2

post #21 of 67
You probably know this but I've been saving all my leftovers that aren't enough to feed the family again but maybe 1 serving size and freezing it. ( if you aren't eating it for lunch etc) then after I have several, I make a smorgasbord stew. I turns out pretty good. I just add either water or chicken broth to it or occasionally whatever veggie on hand if I didn't have any in the leftovers.
post #22 of 67

Sub for chicken stock/bullion.

I saw several recipes that mentioned chicken stock or bullion cubes and thought I'd share a tip. I can't bring myself to buy bullion because it's expensive and I don't like the ingredient list.

Seeing "yeast extract" on so many labels gave me the idea to experiment with brewer's or nutritional yeast. (Is there a difference between the two? I'm still confused about that.)

You can use it in any kind of soup or broth to beef up the flavor. I've made brothy chicken soup when I just had beasts to use in a hurry, and you can't tell. I just dump it in til it tastes and looks right, using lots of garlic, onion and parsley.

I'm still experimenting with a good beef broth - passable with the brewer's and some Bragg's, but not great.

Anyway, I thought when you mentioned lots of spices you might have some of that on hand, one less thing to buy.

post #23 of 67
wow great links and recipes , ladies!

post #24 of 67
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the ideas!!
post #25 of 67
I just made a lime cilantro chicken the other day that was really good.

Just squeeze the juice from a lime all over and inside the chicken, season it with salt & pepper, put the squeeze lime halves in the chicken cavity along with some cilantro sprigs (they came from my garden- so free for me. But our grocery has it on sale for cheap all the time). Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

I shredded the chicken and we ate it in burritos with beans and rice, leftovers would be great in a tortilla soup too.
post #26 of 67
Originally Posted by Brightside View Post

Seeing "yeast extract" on so many labels gave me the idea to experiment with brewer's or nutritional yeast. (Is there a difference between the two? I'm still confused about that.)

FYI, the yeast extract in commercial packaged foods is hidden MSG- they process the yeast in a way that causes it to yield MSG and they use that description to avoid labeling the product as containing MSG.

Nutritional yeast is yellow, flaky, and has a cheesy/buttery flavor. Brewer's yeast is brown and powdery and tastes- well, yeasty People do tend to confuse these and it's quite common for people to use them interchangeably as a result of the confusion. I learned the difference when working at a health food co-op in the 90s.
post #27 of 67
I second the soup! expecally when you make your own bread, this is a super cheap strecher meal. Unforcunatly we have given up wheat and the grocery bill has been hurting. Split pea soup works well in the crockpot. You can make your own pizza, the flour for the dough is cheap, so is sauce and if you get WIC you have tons of cheese. I second the homemade tortillas as they are cheap and yummy. Make a crockpot of pinto or black beans, sometmes I like to mix you can make bean quesadillas with a little cheese. Have you tried the discount bakery rack at your local grocery store? Mine also has a dinged package goods area that is usually 1/2 price.
Good luck from a fellow straped mama
post #28 of 67
Originally Posted by caiesmommy View Post
We're vegan and the Saturdays I work I depend on my slow cooker. I LOVE IT TO PIECES!!! Last Sat I was at work and dh called saying some friends wanted to stop by after we were done work..it was so nice to say "Invite them to dinner!" and know that it was simmering away

I'm making this Sat night for dinner...well a version, I never follow a recipe exact.
I figure it costs about 5 bucks and it serves the 4 of us 2 full meals, then leftovers..it's a lot of soup. I usually throw crutons(using the ends of loafs of bread) in to make a full protein


Im wanting to try this
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Tangy-V...er/Detail.aspx veganized

You might find some ideas here


I also do sweet potato veggie chili-can of tomatoes, a little broth, kidney beans, a large chopped sweet potato, carrots, onion, garlic and spices. That was last saturdays dinner, with tortilla chips and a small salad...company loved it
I would second the crockpot365 site! It is totally great and she gives little reviews for every recipe she tries, like ways to make it better or what they loved about it.

my fav (so far) of her recipes is the 20 clove garlic chicken. Its literally 20 cloves of garlic, cut up chicken pieces bone-in (if you buy chicken when its on sale, you can get the family pack which is like 8-9 peices for 3-4 bucks) and an onion sliced-don't add any liquid! we serve it over rice with a veg on the side and its totally awesome!!! between the chicken and the onion, it produces this really lovely stock/sauce.
post #29 of 67

Tortilla soup

One of my favorite super easy and cheap meals that everyone in the family likes is tortilla soup in the crockpot (crockpot not mandatory...but the cp makes it easier). It's just opening up a bunch of cans in a pinch. What makes it popular with my kids is that they can control which toppings they want in the soup.

Tortilla soup
28 oz. canned pinto beans (or 1.5 cup soaked dried beans)
28 oz. canned hominy
14 oz. canned enchilada sauce (we prefer Ortega for best taste)
28 oz. canned chicken or vegetable broth (or homemade)
1 medium onion, diced
1 small can green chiles (optional)
2 chicken breasts, diced (optional), or leftover shredded chicken

diced tomato
diced avocado
shredded monterrey jack cheese
tortilla chips
sliced olives
chopped cilantro
sour cream

Dump everything (except toppings) into crockpot on low for 8 hours.

Crumble tortilla chips on bottom of bowl, ladle on soup, then add desired toppings. A winner every time.

post #30 of 67
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post
Also-just plain great northern beans (I add bay and s&p to mine) in the crockpot eaten with cornbread or just plain homemade bread. That's pretty much what I was raised eating-my grandma was very poor.
This is a great thread! I'd love to use my crock pot more -- especially this summer. Hey kittywitty -- or anyone else! -- can you share a recipe to make relatively plain pinto beans in the crock pot? We have a lot of dried beans here and we're trying to be more frugal with our out-of-control grocery bill. Thanks!
post #31 of 67
Got this one from Weight Watchers...

chicken (I use boneless skinless but could prob use any variety)
large jar of salsa

Just throw all the ingredients in the crock pot...on low if you want to cook all day while at work. I will usually add enough water to cover the chicken. Depending on the consistency of the salsa you use, it may burn and dry up kinda fast. So the water is like the security blanket.

And I've forgotten to thaw the chicken, and threw in the pieces frozen, and it turned out just as good.

We usually eat over rice or in tortillas.
post #32 of 67

Easy Veggie Broth

You can make your own veggie broth with all the veggie scraps left after making a meal, ie. onion tops, pepper cores, carrot peelings, spinach stems. Note: you may not want to use the peeling from veggies that aren't organic.

I save scraps in a container in the fridge until I have 4 cups or more. This happens faster than you might think. Then I put the scraps in the crockpot and add enough water to cover, turn it on low and leave overnight. You can also do this on the stove top for an hour or so, but I like the ease of the crockpot.

We use this broth not only in place of purchased veggie, chicken or beef broth, but also sometimes in place of water with rice. It's a great way to use every bit of what you buy or grow.
post #33 of 67
Everyone has great ideas! I'm going to save many of them. Thanks!

Have you ever seen the $5 Dinners blog?


The woman who runs it feeds her family on an insanely low grocery budget. Much of what she does is due to couponing, which if you're really dedicated to spending less is something you should at least explore--those women are HARD CORE. Even if you're not planning to go the coupon route, though, she has lots of great basic ideas.
post #34 of 67
I second the crockpot365 blog. I've used a lot of her recipes and have enjoyed all of them.
My crockpot has been in the cabinet for way too long. Its wierd- I go through phases where I use it a lot and then forget about it. Thanks for this thread- trying to decrease our grocery bill and I'm going to dig the crockpot out right now!!!
post #35 of 67
Turkey Chili

2 lbs. ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion
1 glove garlic
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cans red kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (with their juice)
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1-2 green or red bell peppers

In a big pot cook the meat (brown it), onion, peppers & garlic (over med. high to high heat)
Add the chili powder, black pepper, & salt and stir together for one minute (over high heat)
Add the kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce
Bring to a boil
Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 min.

This makes a lot of chili! I usually make my own beans which would be cheaper anyway. I make a big pot of beans once a week and usually freeze some for later use.

Eatingwell.com had some recipes under cheap and easy ground beef recipes the other day. I would check that out. I also second the idea on buying a whole chicken we get 2-3 meals out of that plus 2 quarts chicken broth! This is a fabulous recipe I make with left over chicken for making broth.
post #36 of 67
rice and lentils with whatever flavour you like
chicken curry- potatoes, rice, and/or lentils, bit of chicken, cream soup and curry
eggs- harboiled, salad sandwich, or french toast tend to be the most filling I find
chili-lime hashbrowns, potatoes in general are cheap and filling.
casseroles- noodles and whatever with some sauce and cheese always goes down well.
Pizza dough is really easy to make. You can even make a pizza crust with rice (I forget the recipe, but I am sure its easy to improvise)
frozen veggies make good sides.
post #37 of 67
I'll add in my 2 cents (all I can spare right now )

This is my main grocery list when we are broke

powdered milk
and maybe a bag of apples of box of raisins
cheap bone in pork chops
sometimes some evoo
Sometimes our grocery store has a bogo chicken or beef roast
A box of tea bags

Some of the ingredients we use multi puropose, too.

With these staple ingredients we have all of our meals covered.
We make beans and rice (use one pork chop for flavor)
We make bread and breakfast oatmeal ( eat leftovers for lunch or snack, dinner.)
Sometimes we have rice and milk with raisins for breakfast.
Just flour and water make a tasty pot pie noodle just add S&P!

Just so many ways to use these few igredients and not be super hungry or deprived.
post #38 of 67
What is a pot pie noodle?
post #39 of 67

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup-is always cheap, fast and easy


Sloppy Joes- food for 2-3 days 

3lbs burger

1 lg can tomato soup

brown burger with garlic, pepper, cinnamon, then after its mixed with the soup,  i always add a teaspoon of A-1 to beef it up


Stovetop Tuna Casserole- good for 2 days at least

1 bag of wide egg noodles

2 lg cans of tuna

1 small can of peas

After cooked you can put in a casserole dish w/panko crumbs on top put in oven at 350, till crunchy ( if you want to add a little crisp)

*I have been there so I know, I have two teenagers, lol **I have found breakfast is always a cheap dinner pancakes and sausage, or fried eggs w/cheese on english muffins. mine love it.



1 or 2 lb sage spiced sausage (cook with garlic, italian seasonings)

1 lg can of stewed tomatoes (diced) add 1 small can if you go with 2lbs of meat

cook and mix, if you need more sauce add a little tomato sauce till it taste good to you, (or cheat and use ready made spaghetti sauce)


**Casserole, Ghoulash, and Sloppy Joes can be put in a crock pot to preserve**




post #40 of 67

you said you have lots of spices.. turmeric and cumin? you could make curried chickpeas and rice. usually needs some tomato and onion but it's still good on its own and a bag of chickpeas goes a long way, could also put in chili, or make hummus

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