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Frugal Meals/Recipes

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Anyone have some frugal meals/recipes that they would share? We are trying to trim our grocery bill and although I have some frugal meals (burritos being the biggest) I'd love some new and interesting, yet very cheap meals to make......
post #2 of 33
Well I am too lazy at the moment to put whole recipes and meals lol (sorry)...but I will tell you that buying food in its purest form has really cut down on our food bill A LOT...such as rice, dry beans, etc...they take longer to cook but it is so worth it. Also, making a lot of things from scratch like muffins, pancakes, tortillas, polenta, even homemade granola (it is suprisingly easy, mostly just toasted and sweeted rolled oats) and the like is SO much cheaper...I think a lot of people spend so much $$$ mostly because of convenience items that if they took a bit of extra time to make from scratch could save loads...

post #3 of 33
The best things that I can make to cut $$ is stuff like chicken noodle soup, chili, stew - things that keep well and make multiple meals - lunches and dinners.
post #4 of 33


I can't promise anything "new and interesting", but I'll tell you some of my cheap and healthy meals.

Split Pea Soup ~ sauté onion and whatever other veggies you like and have on hand, carrots and celery perhaps, in oil or water; add a pound of dried split peas; add water and cook until split peas are soft; add desired seasonings, we like curry; serve with bread or other grain

Tofu Stir-fry ~ Sauté veggies; add cubed tofu; add seasonings, we just make it up as we go along; serve over brown rice

Whole grain pancakes ~ Make pancakes with whole grain flour; top with a small amount of syrup, nut butters, fruit, and/or jam (if used sparingly real maple syrup can be frugal, and it's probably better for health reasons, too)

Spicy lentils ~ cook lentils according to package directions; add spices, we just make this up as we go along, too, sometimes we just use some olive oil and garlic, sometimes we make it hot with chili powder, sometimes curry, whatever; serve over rice or other cooked grain with veggie on the side

Sorry this is all so boring, but these types of things can be made 10 different ways each. They don't have to be the same each time, just add combinations of spices you know you like or experiment. It's not so frugal, but sometimes we buy a bottle of flavored sauce and use that for the seasoning. If you use ingredients like bulk dried beans and rice that are super cheap, using some bottled sauces or flavorings won't break the bank, especially if you find a good deal on sale.
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
thanks for the responses!

We have cut out most prepared/prepackaged foods except dry cereal....Been thinking of making my own granola though....
I was thinking that some of our favorite foods are fairly expensive to make even from scratch....I do quiches, and other bakes with eggs...also dairy and am feeling that if I could cut down our dairy use as well as eggs we could be more frugal with our grocery bill.....
I never thought of doing pancakes with nut butters.Binah Yeteirah....my Ds would probably love this....Real organic maple syrup is all we buy...but it is really expensive, worth it but expensive!!!
We are doing lots of soups and stir frys too....

What about creative uses of leftovers along with frugal recipes.........anyon

post #6 of 33
Originally Posted by Earth Angel
I never thought of doing pancakes with nut butters.Binah Yeteirah....my Ds would probably love this....Real organic maple syrup is all we buy...but it is really expensive, worth it but expensive!!!
Pancakes with nut butter and syrup is practically the only way I eat them, lol. My stepfather turned me onto it, and now my whole family eats them the same way. YUM! It adds protein, too.
post #7 of 33
One of the things I like to do is put a chicken in the slow cooker. Then, a couple days later we have chicken and dumplings made with the leftovers. Since I buy inexpensive chickens, I can have two dinners (the chicken and dumplings night always includes extra friends) plus a lunch or two for my husband for less then $5.

Another thing is putting pork shoulder in the slow cooker and cooking it until it shreds. I have a recipe that adds wine, garlic, onion, and bell peppers, and then feeds a passle of people or a couple of dinners and three or four lunches for less then $10. I could do it for $5 if I did not cook as much pork but my husband loves this for lunches and snacks.

I also buy bulk frozen chicken breasts for nights that need to be 30 minutes or less. Bake the chicken and add potatoes/polenta/rice and salad. You are looking in the $5 +/- range for dinner again with leftover chicken possibly for jambalaya or chicken and pasta or fried rice when we need a quick dinner night.

We also bake our own bread and have started making our own pasta from scratch. It seems to fill us up faster then store bought (more nutritionally dense?)

When I can afford some organic beef, I am going to put together a stew in the crockpot. We cannot eat non-organic beef or dairy.

Can you tell I like my crockpot? It is because I work and we do not like to eat out anymore (quality of food, quality of service, atmosphere, money).
post #8 of 33
Lentil soup is definitely my most frugal recipe. I can copy it here later, but I don't have it in front of me right now.

We try to do at least one frugal recipe a week, so this thread is great (I've been meaning to start a similar one). I'm going to add these ideas to my book!

Also, I sometimes do a quick look through the cabinets to see what we have, then go to allrecipes.com and plug in my ingredients, and it will bring up recipes that include what I already have, so I don't have to go to the store to buy more thinngs!
post #9 of 33
Thread Starter 
These are great ideas....keep 'em comin'!!!!!

norcalmaommy...I didn't know allrecipes.com did that (allow you to enter in what you have and then link you to recipes)....that is excellent!!! We have gotten some great recipes from there too!!!!
post #10 of 33
Black beans are extremely nutritious and you can cook them up with anything from salsa to curry or just sauted onion, tomato and italian seasoning and put over rice for a meal- adding shredded cheese, yogurt or sour cream if you eat that. I throw veggies like kale or carrots in with the beans for nutrition.
post #11 of 33
Originally Posted by Earth Angel

norcalmaommy...I didn't know allrecipes.com did that (allow you to enter in what you have and then link you to recipes)....that is excellent!!! We have gotten some great recipes from there too!!!!
Yep, you just go under "ingredient search."
post #12 of 33
You may also wish to check out the archives on the Nutrition and Good eating thread. There are lots of ideas for crockpots and meals.
post #13 of 33
check this out for crock pot ideas www.justslowcooking.com
post #14 of 33
We have to be frugal, so I do have quite a few super inexpensive dinners.
-Minestrone soup...broth, black beans, tomatoes, a zucchini, a potato, and macaroni noodles. Simple, easy, cheap. good.
-Hummus or baba ghanouj w homemade pita bread
-red beans and brown rice w lots of garlic
-calzones...I have used everything you can imagine to stuff simple homemade dough...whatever is fresh from the garden, cheese, beans, whatever I have
-homemade pizza is cheap and fun for the kids
-scrambled eggs and pancakes for dinner (we eat lots of eggs, too, EarthAngel, but I definitely feel they are a frugal choice!)
-layered tomatoes (when we have them), bread, mushrooms w egg bake...really good w basil
-lentil soup
-Fantastic Foods makes a Veggie Burger mix that I buy for $2 that we really like...you just mix w water.

I know there are more, but these are all I can think of now.
post #15 of 33
I do spaghetti ( the original cheap mael) I make it with lots of veggies. (especially when i bought fresh and didn't get around to using them so they are about to go bad soon) Huge amounts. Some we eat for dinner, then the extra gets split into diffrent batches. Faimly sized to freeze, and one to toss in fridge for later that week. Then individual sizes (daddy, mommy and jewely sizes) to freeze as well as take the following day for lunch.

I make panckaes evey Sunday morining. I am using Krusteaz mix which tatse sooo good and I buy in bulk. (Although I would really like a whole wheat pancake recipe if anyone has one). I mix in diffrent fruit depending on what's on sale. We eat some (and my whole family and some friends comes for Suday breakfast), then freeze the left overs, again in diffrent sized individual packages. They are really good for DD to taketo daycare, or even eat before work for all of us.

(I will be keeping a close watch on this thread, and contributing as I can.)

post #16 of 33
I use a lot of bean and rice meals and the 'breakfast for diner" is a favorite here.
for pancakes i make my own using the recipe for whole wheat and topping with apples-sliced, peaches(that i froze from summer) or Raspberries (frozen also from our bushes)which have been simmered over med heat with a dollop of butter and some brown sugar and cinamon, Then we get really liberal and allow a sprinkling of powdered sugar!
I've begun making French toast too sometimes and my trick to get in the protein is to grind up filberts(hazelnuts) and before turning sprinkle with the nuts so that they stick to the egg and toast.
post #17 of 33
Originally Posted by mamamillie
-Minestrone soup...broth, black beans, tomatoes, a zucchini, a potato, and macaroni noodles. Simple, easy, cheap. good.

I made this tonight!!!!! We can't have tomatoes cause my son is allergic so I subbed some pureed sweet potato and some other seasonings...But is was so good and so cheap to make...Thanks so much for the idea....Mylie xx
post #18 of 33
Hey Courtney, you can make whole wheat pancakes with any pancake recipe by simply substituting whole wheat pastry flour for the white flour.

You can make your own mix, of course, by multiplying the recipe a bunch of times and mixing up all the dry ingredients. Then you figure roughly what volume of dry mix you need for one batch and when it's time to cook 'em you add the wet ingredients. I think www.allrecipes.com has a little button that will multiply recipes for you.

My favorite pancakes are made with some kind of "soured" dairy: instead of plain milk, I use sour milk (1c milk + 1tb vinegar), buttermilk, kefir or plain yogurt thinned with water. If you use sour dairy in your pancakes add 1/4tsp of baking soda to the dry ingredients.
post #19 of 33
We often must be frugal with our grocery shopping so we have learned a couple of things about cooking. One of our fav things to do is save and freeze all of our veggie and fresh herb scraps--you know, peelings, onion skins, garlic paper, etc. . .then once a month we boil it in some water and voila Veggie stock--totally awesome and different every time (last month we even added some strawberry tops and it was great). We also only buy whole foods--nothing convenience because it is way cheaper to make things yourself from scratch then to buy the box. Buying in bulk helps as well. DS just started getting fussy, so I will think about some specific recipes and post them in a few.
post #20 of 33
I've gotten some great fast&frugal recipes from my Moosewood "cooks at home" cookbook. Some of my faves:

Blackeyed peas w/spinach and cheese grits (or just rice, if so inclined): Saute an onion til soft, then add about 10 oz spinach (don't buy the bags - too expensive! but you can use the bags held up to the bulk stuff for an idea of how much 10 oz is). Once it wilts, add 2 (16 oz) cans of blackeyed peas (or buy dry or frozen and prep).
Simmer on med heat til done - then serve over cheesy corn grits (not instant) - just cook according to pkg directions. Cheeeeap and quick and so yummy - you'll be surprised! Nutrition info: 256 cal, 15.4 g protein, 4.7 g fat, 4.7 g carbo

Here's one more: Broiled polenta w/mushrooms and cheese:
Polenta: boil 3 c water w/ 1/2 tsp salt. Add 1 c cornmeal in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Lower heat; simmer about 10 minutes.

While the polenta cooks: Heat 3 tbsp olive oil. Saute 6 oz domestic mushrooms (diced) & 1 minced garlic clove til oil is absorbed (I add onions, too). Next, stir in 1 tbsp water and 1/8 tsp salt. Simmer for another minute or two.

Preheat broiler. Spread polenta in a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle 1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese over polenta. Spoon sauteed mushrooms over mozz. Top with shredded cheddar. Broil 3-5 minutes, til cheese is golden brown.
Nutrition info: 278 cal, 9.1 g protein, 15.6 g fat, 25.4 g carbo

This recipe doesn't take as long as you might think, about 30 minutes if you are on-the-ball. And it's cheap, too!
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