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Your best quick, easy, and cheap meals!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
DH started class and doesn't get home until 8pm twice a week. DS isn't always cooperative so I need things that are really quick and easy. I have this month covered but I want to try to not have to repeat things each and every month...
post #2 of 20
tuna sandwiches, grilled cheese, egg salad, scrambled eggs & rice, baked potatoes, roasted chicken...
post #3 of 20
1 lb small pasta (I like the new mini varieties by Barilla)
2 small cans diced tomatoes or 1 large can
2 cans chunk tuna, broken into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons EVOO
1/4 cup capers
1 can black olives, sliced (optional)
parmesan cheese, to taste (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
herbs of choice (basil and oregano are nice- also optional)

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and toss with oil and herbs, if using. Add tomatoes, tuna, capers and olives, if using, and stir gently to mix. Season with salt, pepper and parmesan and serve. eta: I always served with a side salad for veggies.
post #4 of 20
Crockpot meals are my go to for cheap & quick to prepare (and serve!) meals. http://crockpot365.blogspot.com
post #5 of 20
yum I will try that pasta recipe.

My quick meals- burritos, mac & cheese- cook pasta leave 1T of cooking water add shredded cheese and voila
post #6 of 20
Quick-cook brown rice, corn, black beans (or another variety of your choosing), top with shredded cheese, salsa, cilantro, olives and avocado. Yumm.

Or we do scrambled eggs and throw in whatever veggies we have on hand that need to be used---spinach, onion, mushrooms, etc. Serve with a smoothie or other fresh fruit.

Another fav of ours that is cheap is stir fry---you can chop up broccoli, carrots and onions beforehand and buy the pea pods in the bagged lettuce section. We add tofu because we don't eat meat, but you could just go veggie or add some cashews for protein.
post #7 of 20

homemade pizza

Homemade Pizza 15 -20 min

We buy crusts from the store and keep in the freezer. Load up with canned or jarred tomato sauce, cheese (we use whatever kind we have in the fridge) and whatever veggies you have. We always have frozen spinach. We usually add canned tuna, artichokes, and sometimes anchovies!
post #8 of 20

microwave a sweet potato until soft, mix with 2 cans black beans. mash with a potato masher. add in seasonings like chili powder, cumin, salt, etc. use to make burritos with warmed up left over rice, shredded lettuce, tomato and shredded cheese. or make quasadillas with a salty crumbly cheese... like goat or feta.... 

 

everyone seems to love these. adults and kids alike. 

post #9 of 20

Anything in a slow cooker or slow cooked in the oven or stove.  Minimal prep time and maximum results.

 

I like to throw a bag of bones ($3.50) in a stockpot and cook them all day long on Monday.  Then I leave the pot in the fridge, bones and all.  Throughout the week I just take some stock out of the fridge and add veggies.  Add water and reboil the bones to replenish the stock.  I do prep when I get the chance (like chop a bunch of potatoes, stick em in a container in the fridge, use as needed) and I find this to be less work than trying to cook a whole meal from scratch at any given time.  Just add stock and leave simmering.  It's about five minutes of work, some waiting, and easy meals for just a little thinking ahead.  I also like to make tons of stuff and eat the left overs in various configurations.

 

An example from my week:

 

First meal: Cabbage and carrots ($2.00) chopped together and cooked with lard, butter, or coconut oil, and dill or cumin over slow heat.  Play with baby, check on food every 20 minutes or so.  Enjoy when soft.

 

Next meal: Add cold cabbage and carrots to 2 cups stock, reheat.  Enjoy.

 

Next meal: heat 1 cup stock, add kimchi.  Enjoy.

 

Next meal: I'm feeling sassy.  Make quick dumplings (or use the sourdough that is perpetually in the freezer).  Add to stock.  Enjoy.

 

Somewhere in there I might also cook a whole package of sausage in the oven (open sausage, dump on pan.  Put in oven.  Set heat and timer.  Play with baby.  Eat one sausage, stick the rest in the fridge for later.)  Or I will fry cold cuts to add to stuff like potatoes and cabbage.

 

Etc.

 

I grew up cooking like this, though, so it comes like second nature.  I know many people did not grow up cooking like this so it can seem like more work.  But I think it's really easy.  Most of the work is just time.

post #10 of 20

pasta with prepared tomato sauce or peanut sauce, salad, bread- leftover meat or veggies can be added

If you make your own sauce make a big batch and store what you don't use for another day.

 

leftovers- cook enough for more than one meal and save it for another night that week or freeze it... like cyclamen posted you can re-invent the leftovers as something new. I often cook more rice or meat than we will eat at one meal and use it as an ingredient in another meal- since part of it is pre-cooked it saves a lot of time. I also make a big pot of soup and freeze some for later and still have enough for meals during the week.

 

A slow cooker meal is very nice because you do not need to prepare it when your child is hungry or tired.

 

eggs are generally very quick

 

pizza- I can make it in about 30 minutes- less if the dough/crust is pre-made

 

tacos, sloppy joes, burritos, quesadillas, stir fry using frozen vegetables are generally fairly quick to prepare.

 

Grilled sandwiches served with premade soup

 

post #11 of 20
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post #12 of 20

tacos , warm up torillas open a can of beans heat up chop some left over meat some peppes onion salsa done 10 mins

post #13 of 20

Soups are great.  I make a quick chili using tomato/vegetable juice (like V8), chili seasonings, beans, and ground beef/turkey (though that can be left out).  I also buy roasted red pepper and tomato soup from Costco, and then I add shredded chicken, black beans, corn etc.

post #14 of 20

I like making baked brown rice and serving it with a canned or frozen veggie or some roasted chicken if I have any. I add lots more butter to it, be sure not to undercook the rice (I do this a lot)

 

Potato cakes made from leftover mashed potatoes and a veggie.

 

 

Homemade flour tortillas made into quesadillas (fillings: shredded chicken, shredded cheese, refried beans, seasoned ground beef)

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post

microwave a sweet potato until soft, mix with 2 cans black beans. mash with a potato masher. add in seasonings like chili powder, cumin, salt, etc. use to make burritos with warmed up left over rice, shredded lettuce, tomato and shredded cheese. or make quasadillas with a salty crumbly cheese... like goat or feta.... 

 

everyone seems to love these. adults and kids alike. 



That sounds really good!

post #16 of 20

I've got a couple of quick, easy and inexpensive ideas, while not the healthiest options (I'm sure that most can be modified to be lower fat, lower salt, etc), they truly helped me manage my family while working full time and attending college, they are pretty easy on the pocketbook as well:

 

Fast Meatball sandwiches: A bag of hoagie rolls, a small bag of premaid meatballs, a cheap can of spaghetti sauce and some provolone cheese (or left over shredded cheese). This recipe is done as soon as the meatballs are heated thoroughly and the sauce is warm. Garnish with onion! I have used leftover meatloaf instead of meatballs.

 

Quick Chicken Alfredo: Left over pasta noodles (any kind will do), a jar of Alfredo sauce and left over chicken breast.

 

Fast Swedish Meatballs: 1 Bag broad egg noodles, 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup (add 1 can of milk) and 1 bag premade frozen meatballs (this makes a very large pot).

 

Mac N Cheese with meatloaf: I make boxed mac and cheese according to directions and add leftover meatloaf, hotdogs, or veggies, heat and serve.

 

Quick chicken pot pie: 1 large can (drained) veg all, 2 cans cream of chicken soup, left over chicken (deboned),  1 container of canned biscuits (mix veg all and soup with 1 can milk) poor into baking dish, cut biscuits into quarters and evenly space on top, bake til heated and biscuits are done.

 

Quick but not fast Tater Bake: 6 large potatoes, 1 pack of kielbasa sausage, 1 onion, shredded cheese, cooking spray (place cubed potatoes and sliced onions and microwave until they begin to soften), slice the kielbasa. Mix all ingredients together, salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste, and spray generously with cooking spray and then mix again, poor into a baking dish, cover and bake til potatoes are done. Add cheese to top.

 

Salisbury Steak: 1 lb hamburger, 1 box chicken flavored stuffing. Mix together with just enough water to moisten but stick together. Bake til done and serve with left over mashed potatoes and gravy (this recipe makes ALOT).

 

Leftover rice and meatloaf, add a can of stewed tomatos, mix and stuff bell peppers with the mixure, bake and eat. These freeze very well and don't take long to reheat if you freeze them seperately.

 

These are my "just don't have time to actually cook dishes" I try not to use them too much and work them in when I have left over chicken, shredded cheese, leftover meatballs and/or sauce, etc. Hope at least one of these recipes are usefull!

post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post

Anything in a slow cooker or slow cooked in the oven or stove.  Minimal prep time and maximum results.

 

I like to throw a bag of bones ($3.50) in a stockpot and cook them all day long on Monday.  Then I leave the pot in the fridge, bones and all.  Throughout the week I just take some stock out of the fridge and add veggies.  Add water and reboil the bones to replenish the stock.  I do prep when I get the chance (like chop a bunch of potatoes, stick em in a container in the fridge, use as needed) and I find this to be less work than trying to cook a whole meal from scratch at any given time.  Just add stock and leave simmering.  It's about five minutes of work, some waiting, and easy meals for just a little thinking ahead.  I also like to make tons of stuff and eat the left overs in various configurations.

 

Cyclamen, I really like your week (although I don't think my family would go for soup made of stock and kimchee - kind of scratching my head over that one - definitely did not grow up cooking like this!)

Can you explain a little more about the stock?  When you say you add water and reboil the bones to replenish the stock - how often do you do that - until the end of a week?  When I make stock I usually simmer bones and veggies, then strain it all one time and that's it, although I re-boil it every few days so it doesn't get old.  Also, I throw out the boiled veggies because they don't taste good after they've been boiled with the bones.  So you don't add any veggies or bay leaf, peppercorns, etc. when you make the stock, so you can keep re-boiling the bones?

 

I also think that I would be fine with everything you wrote but that my husband and teenage son would tell me they did not have enough to eat...

 

Thank you for this really neat post.  I will be thinking about these ideas.

post #18 of 20

I second the crockpot ideas. When my daughter napped earlier I would make and start it while she was napping and is was ready to eat at dinner time. I use the "Fix it and forget it" cookbook and a lot of recipes from allrecipe.com and search slow cooker.

post #19 of 20

Enchilada casserole is easy to put together and then you just pop it in the over for 30 min or so. Tonight we had them with black beans, corn, and zucchini in green sauce then topped with diced black olive, red onion and avocado slices.

post #20 of 20

this time of year I make a frittata almost every week- eggs, onions, maybe another veggie- sometimes cheese.  Its done in 10 minutes- perfect with a salad, roasted veggies, good bread.  Winter and fall Im all about the crock pot - veg broth cubes, onions, garlic, any veggies we have- add beans, tofu, cheese or nutritional yeast and the inevitable bread/salad- dinner for a week!  My husband likes bakes ziti- some kind of pasta mixed with brocolli and red sauce- sprinkle cheeses on top- oven 10-15 minutes and done!

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