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Frugal Mamas...whats cookin???

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 

ok, so it's no surprise that groceries aren't cheap, and they're not getting any cheaper!  So i'm interested to know, what recipes do you like that are budget friendly?


Here's one I just tried, it's a crockpot recipe for split pea soup:


1 onion finely chopped

2 stalks celery finely chopped


saute both in pan for about 5 min then put in crock pot


ad to crockpot:

1 pkg split peas

1 smoked ham hock

6 cups chicken stock


cook for 8 hrs on low


when finished cooking, remove ham, put on plate and shred with fork

put about 1/3 of soup in blender and puree

return to crockpot, put ham back in soup, and serve...


with the ham and stock, it really didn't need any salt.  you may want to add pepper later.  


it was super yummy!

post #2 of 61

DH makes wonderful chili. Just a few cans of kidney beans, tomato juice, onion, garlic and chili powder, some diced tomatoes and ground beef. We always have the two spices and onions on hand, and we are now getting WIC (something I REALLY didn't want to do, but have been grateful for) which pays for the beans and juice, so for the price of meat and diced tomatoes (about $10 total) we can make enough chili to feed all 6 of us for about 4 meals, and we're big eaters!

post #3 of 61

Right now I have a potato casserole in the oven. I browned a lb of ground beef with some chopped onion, salt and pepper and put that mixture on the bottom of a casserole dish and thinly sliced 2 carrots then thinly sliced 3 potatoes and layered those on top, salt and pepper again. Then I mixed some cream of portabello mushroom soup with about a 1/2 cup of milk and poured that over the top. When the veggies are tender, I'll top it with shredded cheddar and serve with a little sour cream. Cheap and easy.

post #4 of 61

Tonight was leftover potato & corn chowder (I made a HUGE pot the other night, fed my family, my friend's family, and still had enough for a side dish tonight), sauteed mushrooms, onions and thin cut beef, and artichokes which I got on super sale.

I am an avid sale shopper. I love it when I go shopping and everything I buy has a red tag on it smile.gif

post #5 of 61

we also do chili a lot, everyone in the house LOVES it.


lentil soup is another of the kids favorites. You must have it with my wheat bread which is REALLY simple to make.


5 minute a day wheat bread

you will need a 5 quart bowl or lidded (not airtight) food container.


(this recipe is easily doubled or halved)


3 C lukewarm water

1 1/2 T granulated yeast

1 1/2 T salt

1 C whole wheat flour

5 1/2 C unbleached all-purpose flour



Mix water, salt and yeast in the bowl. Add all the flour. mix. (this will be a sticky dough) cover with non airtight

lid. allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses. about 2 hours.


(the dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 14 days. (ours never lasts that long)



dust the surface of dough with flour, cut off a grapefruit size chunk. dust with more flour and quickly shape into a loaf by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating a quarter turn as you go.  place on cookie sheet covered in flour or cornmeal. sprinkle top of loaf with flour, wheat germ, oats, etc and slice top with a serrated bread knife. allow to rest  for 40  minutes


20 minutes before baking preheat oven to 450, place an empty broiler shelf below where the bread will be.


put bread in, pour 1 cup hot water into tray and quickly close oven door. bake for about 35 minutes or until top of crust is deeply browned and very firm.


allow to cool before slicing or eating...if you can


Lentil Soup


1 1/2 c lentils
10 c water
1/2 c brown rice
1 c diced onions
1 c frozen chopped spinach
2 c diced tomatoes ( i used one large can whole tomatoes and just sort of cut them in the can before i dumped itin)
1 T onion powder
1/2 t salt
1 T McKays chicken seasoning (i use a veggie bouillon cube instead)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp basil (i used a bay leaf instead)

place all ingrediants except rice in pot cook 30 min

add rice cook 45 minutes longer


The third all time favorite for the whole family is something my 8 year old dubbed


Yummy Pie


Cook ground meat ( I switch between ground turkey and ground beef depending on what is cheaper the day I buy it) and onions in cast iron skillet with salt and pepper (we are all crazy for pepper so our food is always quite peppery). Once cooked, drain add tomato sauce, frozen mixed veggies and small broccoli pieces. Transfer to 9 x13 pan. top with uncooked biscuits (I use bisquick, practically the only time i use a mix for anything because this is a quick throw together meal) cut out into fun shapes. place biscuits on top of pie and bake in oven until biscuits done. It's basically a sheperds pie but i use biscuits instead of mashed potatoes because like I said it's a quick meal I WON'T do instant mashed potatoes and from scratch ones take too long.


so those are the 3 favorites in our house.


post #6 of 61

I love the bisquick pie recipe, it's a favorite of ours that I often forget about. 


I stopped buying any kind of chicken but whole chickens. free-range ideally, but when the budget gets tight I just buy a bunch of them at 99 cents/lb at Costco. I usually defrost two, roast (super simply fool-proof roasting method at 450 - never dry!), we eat the dark meat that night and for lunch the next day, and white meat gets made into chicken salad or a soup. The bones, giblets, necks, fat, and liver get frozen. Right now I have six roasted chicken backs, necks, and giblets in a HUGE stock pot simmering with a bunch of onions, carrots, parsley (from garden), celery, and peppercorns. (Hmm, I forgot a couple bay leaves...BRB!). Once I get 1lb of livers I will make chopped liver, or maybe a pate. 


Using every bit of the chicken has made a bit difference in our budget. Occasionally I'll cut up the raw chicken and make dishes with the parts, but that's not the norm since it's more time needed and I like roasted bones for broth better than raw.


Our big expense is vegetables. I don't buy prepackaged veggies most of the time, but they're still the most costly item on our weekly lists. In the summer I basically buy NO veggies (grow everything we need), and it really makes an impact on our winter budget. We just build four more garden beds. I'm hoping that this will allow me to increase our yield such that we'll have a lot more to put up over the winter, either in cans or frozen, next year. 

post #7 of 61

good idea about the gizzards and neck and such I never thought about using it for stock.

post #8 of 61

I do the same thing with chicken, except the organs go to the cat and dog. Making stock and soup makes it go so much farther. Because I have four growing boys, I usually do two chickens or one small turkey (the free range hen turkey is the same price as the organic chicken, and about the same size as two). So we get dinner on the first night, a giant pot of soup to last usually two dinners and a couple extra bowls for lunch/snack, and meat for sandwiches and salads. Sometimes I use the last bit of soup and extra meat to make pot pie with fluffy buttermilk biscuit crust too yummy.gif

post #9 of 61

My boys (DH and both my DS's) are VERY picky about food.  I can't WAIT until I get my Magic Bullet for Christmas, I will be hiding veggies in EVERYTHING ROTFLMAO.gif

Right now, our favorite "budget" meals are Chili and Tater Tot Casserole.  I make my Tater Tot Casserole a lot different than a lot of others due to finicky eaters.


2 cans of Cream of Broccoli Soup (or Cream of Mushroom.  Unfortunately DH does not like mushrooms!)

1 med size package of frozen mixed veggies

1 lb of ground turkey (DH is unaware, but I have not used ground beef for ANY recipe in over a month! lol) (seasoned with whatever I feel like seasoning with, usually Tastefully Simple's Seasoning Salt or Sea Salt)

1/2 package of Tater Tots

Small package of Cheddar Cheese


Steam veggies and cook ground turkey (beef or tofu~ whatever floats your boat)

Mix everything together (besides the cheese and tater tots) in a casserole dish

Top with tater tots and sprinkle cheese on.  If you like a lot of cheese, you can add some to the mixture underneath. 

Bake for about 25 min or until tater tots are browned.  happytears.gif


Super fast, easy and cheap meal! This easily feeds my family of 5 with some leftovers if DH or DS1 don't chow the rest down!


For my Chili, I always add macaroni noodles.  It is almost more like a goolash than chili, but super yummy!

post #10 of 61

Chili is a pleaser in my house. Mostly because if I suggest "Hey honey, I have a hankering for your chili" DH jumps at the chance to make it! For some reason it has become his thing.


I just had an OMG THIS IS CRAZY moment with chicken stock.


After posting in this thread I realized I had a stockpile (heehee) of stock parts and it was time to make one. So I started it this morning and just gave it a taste. I never know exactly how much I want it to simmer down. Most times I just start it at night and let it simmer until morning. DH and I both weren't sure, and I grabbed a can of stock from the cubbard to compare. 


Mind you, I have never done a side-by-side taste test of home made and store-bought stock. I've just always "known" that stock at home is the good stuff, store-bought is the stuff you use if you have no alternative. The difference in taste was INSANE. The store bought (organic, good brand, high on cook's illustrative recommendations list, incidentally) stock tasted like corn syrup in comparison to my uber simple, chock-full-of-chicken flavor stock. WOO HOO for home made! I love it when something that is MORE frugal also tastes MUCH better! 

post #11 of 61

As long as you can get the shrimp on sale, this is a fairly inexpensive meal. Even regular price, frozen larger shrimps run about $12/lb here so it's not bad considering everyone I've ever made this for loves it. By using a bigger pot with more water to make more shrimp stock (boiling longer) and cooking more noodles we've fed 6-8 people a few times. Or if it's just DH and I, I cook 1/3-1/2# of shrimp but I don't eat shrimps so he eats them all. It's one of his favorite dinners, and DSD really likes it too as long as I don't use more than the 1 tsp of pepper flakes.




I don't bother with the starch water anymore. Instead, once I add as much stock as the recipe calls for stock and starch water, I add a bit of corn starch to thicken a tad and skip boiling it down. The noodle starch water and then boiling it down tastes better but takes longer than DH's patience. I also put all the lemon juice in with the shrimp right at the beginning rather than half at the end because it was a bit overpoweringly lemon for my taste otherwise. I'm not much of a salt person, but this recipe benefits a lot from well-salted noodles during boiling.


ETA: forgot to mention, if I'm having a day I don't feel like cooking, I suggest to my DH that chili would be good and he runs with it too! Chili is nice when it's chilly out, anyway.

post #12 of 61

one of my kids other favorites, and this is truly a throw it together meal. They love shrimp, I only buy it when it goes on sale for $5.00-6.00/lb. Then i boil it in water with lots of garlic and steam edamame and cut up some of my previously mentioned whole wheat bread.The meal takes under 10 minutes to make which is sheer beauty!

post #13 of 61

I do lots of whole chickens, probably two or three a month. And we generally eat it with sides one night and then in soup and other one pot type dishes a couple of other nights. One chicken usually gets us a meal on the cooking day, a pot of soup that is one meal with leftovers for lunch and another dinner and then one other meal with leftovers for at least lunches. 


I usually make a giant pot of lentils and rice once a month and also lentil tacos about the same. 


I recently made a pot of baked beans which I hadn't done forever and will probably revisit that from time to time this winter as it was a really comforting meal without a lot of work on my part with a little corn bread. I think it might also be nice with some creamy polenta. Somewhere I have a recipe to make a chowder with leftover baked beans and potatoes. I meant to dig it out but the beans were gone before I could get to it.


We eat quiche a lot. A lot. Usually about once a week. My son loves it and it is so quick, easy and inexpensive. We usually eat it with a salad or fruit.


Breakfast is my trickiest thing. I try to remember to make this really delicious baked oatmeal: http://nourishedkitchen.com/baked-oatmeal/ now and then. But I have been terrible about it for awhile. For awhile I was really good about making something that would last for a few days so that I didn't have to stress about it like muffins, or a breakfast casserole, but lately I just can't get motivated to plan ahead. Which means we have been eating leftovers (me)  or cold cereal (my son) more than I would like. 


For the others in WI: I just started using http://sharewi.org/ this fall to buy organic veg and fruit (10+ pounds for $15!; this month was a bag of potatoes, a bag of apples, a bag of pears, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes and a buttercup squash) and local pastured meat. It has been a really good deal. I try to buy the best possible meat which generally means that we aren't able to eat much of it and this has helped a lot in that area. They have lots of pick up sites throughout the state and also some in Minnesota and Michigan. 



post #14 of 61
Thread Starter 

such yummy recipes! thanks for sharing. I can't wait to try Courtheny's bread recipe and the lentil soup! Courtney, do you not bake your bread in a bread pan?  I've NEVER attempted homemade bread, but I'd like to...

post #15 of 61

kaismum - What do you for quiche crust, or do you go crustless? Got a favorite quiche recipe to share?


In the mornings I throw onions and spinach in a pan with olive oil, saute for a minute, then crazy a couple eggs over the top and scramble in the pan. I have the onions pre-chopped on hand, and the spinach washed and ready to just drop in the pan. If I have cheese shredded I toss that in but if not, I go without. Super quick and easy. DH makes breakfast shakes too, with berries, protein powder, kefir, flax seed, and a greens+. That's a habit from our triathlon training days that I'm glad he never dropped. Kefir could be substituted for milk and a whole blender full could be made at once. 

post #16 of 61

chiro-nope I  just form a rounded loaf (sometimes I make little rolls too) and place o n a cookie sheet well covered with flour or cornmeal.


when I make quiche I just used a store bought shell, the kind that is rolled up in a tube and you just unroll. I made one from scratch once and the flavor wasn't really much better and they aren't that expensive since I get the store brand.

post #17 of 61

I usually use a press in crust following this recipe: 1c flour (I use whole wheat), 1/2t salt, 1/4c of olive oil or grape seed oil and 1/4c ice water...just mix together with a fork and then press it quickly and with as little handling as possible into a pie pan. It is really easy and cheap. I usually throw it in the oven while I am mixing up the quiche stuff and it is pretty crispy.  If I have cooked rice on hand though, I mix that with an egg, a handful of shredded cheese and salt and pepper and press that into the pan. 


For the quiche itself I use whatever is handy to bulk it up and start with 3-4 eggs depending on size and how much other stuff is going into it and about a cup and a half of milk. I mix those like crazy with salt and pepper and whatever spices are good with what will be going into the quiche. I always use a pretty generous handful of cheese and then 1-2 cups of meat and/or vegetables to fill it. I put it in at a well preheated 425 and turn it down right away to 350. 


I like the onions-spinach-eggs suggestion, RosieL, thanks!

post #18 of 61

that IS easy, I will try it tonight.


and that spinach onion thing sounds so good


so does anyone make fried rice? I have tried and it didn't come out well but my kids really like it and I'd like to make it as opposed to going to the greasy chinese placce

post #19 of 61

okay so I tried your crust recipe. When I make quich I do a layer system. I crumbled feta on the bottom of the crust, then I put 4 pieces of cooked crumbled bacon on top of that. I cooked 2 onions and a bag of spinach in the bacon grease and put that on next. Then I poured in a dozen eggs mixed with milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg and tossed it in the oven. Now I wait an hour.


I am now cooking the rest of the bacon and I will add onions and black eyed peas to that.Then tomorrow I will have it on whole wheat toast. I made it up after reading about beans on toast. Yeah I have no idea if they are alike.  But my version is super yummy.

post #20 of 61

made this once, but need to make it again from the cookbook"feed your family for $75.00 a week"


  • 2 large onions
  • 6 potatoes
  • 1 pound ground beef, already browned

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 to 3 tsp cayenne pepper (add gradually, to taste)

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups water

Cook ground beef in a large heavy skillet and set it aside.  Wipe excess grease from skillet .  Peel onions and puree them in a food processor (or mince them very fine). Peel and mash garlic. Peel and chop potatoes into 1 inch cubes.

Heat oil in a large skillet and add pureed onions. Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown a little.  Add garlic, tomato sauce, water, and potatoes.  Add the ginger, turmeric, cayenne, pepper and salt.  Mix well. Add cooked ground beef. 

Stir and cook over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 3-5 minutes.  The mixture will look a little watery at first, but water will gradually evaporate as potatoes cook. Add the butter during the last few minutes of cooking.  If potatoes stick to the bottom of the skillet even after adding butter, add another 1/2 cup of water and turn down the heat a little.  Dish is done when potatoes are cooked through. 

Serve hot over injera or rice, or on toasted hamburger buns.  (Or serve it alongside a nice green salad.)



Note: If you happen to have berbere, a traditional Ethiopian seasoning, you may use it (to taste) in place of the  cayenne, ginger, and turmeric in this recipe.  I used 2 generous tablespoons of berbere when I made this recipe yesterday for my spice-loving family.

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