Whats for dinner? That is what is your frugal dinner? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 42 Old 04-16-2010, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We all have these nights, you need to get to the grocery store, you didnt because you're busy, its not payday, whatever. You throw something together and..

WOW! the whole family loves it, Mom, why dont you make this again???

So share your invented meals because..well you had to feed your family and this is what we had...


Tonight, my kids had speggetti with shredded parm cheese (they love doing that) and bacon?? Thats right, had it on hand. The kids ate the whole thing up....

I have done this with pizza, pasta dishes, salads for dh and I, etc. My MIL has a way of doing this with stew style meals and casseroles.

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#2 of 42 Old 04-16-2010, 09:48 PM
 
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Cut up and stir fry of whatever veg is in the fridge/freezer over rice, or if we already have leftover rice I use similar ingredients and make fried rice (not that good with fresh rice). If there's some chicken or other meat it gets cut up small and mixed in, otherwise a couple of eggs are scrambled in.
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#3 of 42 Old 04-16-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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Three nights ago, I decided to see what was in the very bottom of my freezer, and it produced a frozen salmon fillet, a brick of winter squash and a nearly empty bag of french fries. I also had a mango that was nearing its end, a handful of grapes, and an apple that I cut up for a fruit salad. My 3 year old went nuts over all of it!

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#4 of 42 Old 04-16-2010, 10:10 PM
 
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I made this the other night, and added chicken and bacon. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Tomato-...ta/Detail.aspx My family loved this, I used baby bowtie pasta.

I had leftover bacon so last night I made turkey, bacon, ranch wraps with homemade parmesan fries. I cooked the bacon, tossed it with the turkey, lettuce, sauteed red peppers and green onions with the last 1/2 cup of ranch dressing in the bottle. Can you say awesome.

Best part? All were made from my pantry and freezers. Sweet.

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#5 of 42 Old 04-16-2010, 10:26 PM
 
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I was determined not to shop for the entire week 2 weeks ago.
-I made a rce dish with dried apricots, pistachios and frozen peas. Had it with a chickpea stirfry.
-"green soup" using peas and kale blended in broth made it turn green then we threw a potato, carrot, leftover chickpeas. That was lunch then served with the below dinner
-lentil loaf(lentils I didnt even know I had!) and wasabi mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy with dried mushrooms, carrot sticks
-mac and "cheeze" and frozen corn
-stirfry with leftover lentils and whatever veg was left
No meal had been made before and everything was well recieved

Mon I mad throw together muffins...using a base muffin recipe I threw in whatever dried fruit,nuts seeds I had. All the muffins were eaten within 4 days I was worried they'd be nasty...I was wrong.

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#6 of 42 Old 04-17-2010, 08:16 PM
 
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Burritos is my standard 'need to go shopping' meal! Chop up some black beans, whatever leftover meat, and cheese, wrap in a tortilla and bake. Add a can of green chilies if on hand.

Turkey meat loaf is a good way to use up all kinds of veggies, and I usually have a roll of ground turkey floating around the freezer.

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#7 of 42 Old 04-17-2010, 08:34 PM
 
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Omlettes.

Quesedillas (we always have cheese and tortillas).

Sandwiches.

Burgers- we always have ground beef since we purchase beef in bulk.

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#8 of 42 Old 04-17-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ola_ View Post
Cut up and stir fry of whatever veg is in the fridge/freezer over rice, or if we already have leftover rice I use similar ingredients and make fried rice (not that good with fresh rice). If there's some chicken or other meat it gets cut up small and mixed in, otherwise a couple of eggs are scrambled in.
This is what I do, except it all goes over better if I grate whatever cheese we have on hand over the finished product. I swear, sometimes I think my kids would eat cardboard if I grated enough cheese over it!
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#9 of 42 Old 04-17-2010, 10:13 PM
 
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our emergency meal is usually whatever i can scrounge up in the fridge/freezer, stir fried then add some pasta and some sort of sauce - either tomato, a marinade, make my own, or even salad dressing in a pinch. Sort of a very far spinoff of hamburger helper.....

Charlotte wife to B momma to Q 2/22/09
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#10 of 42 Old 04-17-2010, 11:18 PM
 
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I make peanut butter noodles that work with ingredients I almost always have in the house. Mix peanut butter with some oil, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, (sometimes honey and hot sauce too, depending on your audience) pour over noodles and add whatever leftover veggies and protein you have handy. Totally delicious.

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#11 of 42 Old 04-17-2010, 11:26 PM
 
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I do "quick" chicken. Take some tinfoil. A bit of olive oil or pam. Skin the chicken (I use thighs/legs). Drizzle on some italian dressing or lemon pepper seasoning. Cut up a couple of potatoes & pop them in. Seal the tinfoil (lots of folding). Heat the oven to 350. Cook for about an hour. Done & delicious!
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#12 of 42 Old 04-18-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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fried rice. that ONE carrot left, and a tiny bit of broccoli.....whatever....i throw it in. add the egg for protein....one pan super cheap meal

proverbs 29:7 the righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.

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#13 of 42 Old 04-18-2010, 11:15 PM
 
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Any kind of pasta (or rice) with any kind of veggies that are in the fridge. I saute the veggies and mix with the pasta (or rice) I put in a little bit of bacon, lunchmeat or can of tuna and we're good hot or cold.

Or

Salad with lettuce or pasta, chopped or shredded vegetables, boiled eggs, whatever is in the fridge (olives, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.) lunchmeat, bacon or tuna.

Or.
Mexican casserole. Tortillas crushed, maybe eggs if I have them, canned tomatoes, beans, hamburger if I have it, maybe rice, cheese grated on top. bake until bubbly. sometimes it's good to make the casserole without eggs and add fried, over-easy eggs to the top..and hot sauce.

Or
Soup...whatever I can find. I start with sauted chopped onions. Add some crushed garlic and no matter what I put on top of that is good. Various broths, maybe some wine too. Various vegetables, pastas, rice, meats, beans, etc. Croutons on top and some salad on the side.

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#14 of 42 Old 04-18-2010, 11:30 PM
 
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Gf noodles with dairy free,soy free butter and salt and pepper and maybe a bit of garlic powder,sliced tomatoes...She loves her noodles!!!

Homemade French Fries!!!! She will eat 2 plates full...I usually have cantelope slices or canned pears in house and we eat that with ...
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#15 of 42 Old 04-19-2010, 11:54 AM
 
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Breakfast food is my fall back. Everyone loves eggs, so I'll do a frittata with any veggies on hand and pair it with some sort of carb depending on what's around.

This is usually a solution when I forget to defrost a protein and everyone's ravenous
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#16 of 42 Old 04-19-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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A couple of weeks ago, I had to throw something in the crock pot before I went to work. We had nothing that DH or DD could cook. I had a flank steak in the freezer and we usually grill those but grilling wasn't going to happen for a while. So I dumped the flank steak in the crock pot, tossed a can of diced tomatos on top and sprinked with garlic, parsley and italian seasoning. DH and DD LOVED it.
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#17 of 42 Old 04-19-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narmowen View Post
I do "quick" chicken. Take some tinfoil. A bit of olive oil or pam. Skin the chicken (I use thighs/legs). Drizzle on some italian dressing or lemon pepper seasoning. Cut up a couple of potatoes & pop them in. Seal the tinfoil (lots of folding). Heat the oven to 350. Cook for about an hour. Done & delicious!
Mmm. That sounds delicious.

Pasta Primavera - whatever odds and ends leftover veggies sauteed w/onion and garlic, in lots of butter, w/Parmesan over the top.

Rice w/Tuna Sauce - saute onion and garlic in butter, make a white sauce, add whatever cheese on hand (ie. cream cheese, parmesan, mozzerella - anything to make it rich), throw a handful of frozen peas in and serve over brown rice.

Grilled sandwiches - I love grilled PB & J w/soup or cottage cheese and raw veggies or fruit.

Vegetarian Chili.

I found a new, cheap, easy, vegetarian recipe in a free diabetes mag. It's a recipe from Patti Labelle's new cookbook: White Bean and Collard Green Soup. I modified it a little and it would make a good pantry/freezer meal. A bag of navy beans, bag of frozen collard greens, lg can tomatoes, 6 c both, onions, garlic, chopped carrots, bay leaf and my crockpot.
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#18 of 42 Old 04-19-2010, 02:21 PM
 
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The crockpot is my friend for many a frugal meal.

Last week I had chicken salsa black bean soup - package of chicken tenders, dried black beans, jar of salsa and some sliced mushrooms and frozen corn. Cook on low for 8 hours. I topped w/ avocado and cheese and heated up some corn tortillas to have with. It was really good.

Tonight is another crockpot meal - chicken tikka masala. Chicken thighs, can of diced tomatoes, onion and indian spices. I have tons of potatoes right now, so I threw those in the bottom.

Lentil soup is another one I make pretty often (stovetop, not crockpot). Onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, package of lentils and a package of kielbasa.

In the spring/summer I start throwing together more salads instead of soups, but I'm still in soup mode. And I am a diligent meal planner - my h and I both WOTH and if I didn't meal plan, I don't know that we would ever eat! So I don't have too many of the "what do we eat?" nights anymore...

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you." Buddha

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#19 of 42 Old 04-20-2010, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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These are all great!

Funny story, DBIL is a vegan eater. For us, its an adventure making him meals and incorperating it into the meal. 99% of the time, its a hit with everyone. So we had a party the other night for about 20 plus people. Another family member was coming into town so we ordered pizza from her favorite place, made pulled pork from 2 pork roasts I had in the freezer stash, salad with plenty of veggie ingredients, and a lentil vegan soup.
DH made his brother a vegan pizza that again went over big.

All this food, the soup was the hit of the party. All ages incl my kids went crazy for it. DBIL said to my DH he needed to get the recipe, and DH LOL and said not going to happen. Why? Top secret? No, my wife took whatever we had on hand and dumped it in the pot.....

DH came into the picture with chorizo he found in the freezer, cooked up, cilantro, and stinky cheese. He put all these things on the side to jazz up the soup. I am eating it leftover now!

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#20 of 42 Old 04-20-2010, 01:24 PM
 
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The other night I had one package of goat stew meat. I browned that, and added the last of a bunch of celery, one half of a bell pepper I had stuffed in the back of the crisper, some corriander seeds, fennel seeds, and kinda toasted/sauteed it (I had removed meat from pan). Added the meat back in, dumped in a couple of diced sweet potatoes that were on their last day, my last can of diced tomatoes, and oregano, cumin, salt, cayenne, and onion and garlic powder (had no more onions, either, lol). Cooked for awhile and added a couple of sprouting white potatoes and about a 1/3 head of green cabbage, sliced. Cooked for a few minutes and it was SOOOOO good!

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#21 of 42 Old 04-22-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ediesmom View Post
fried rice. that ONE carrot left, and a tiny bit of broccoli.....whatever....i throw it in. add the egg for protein....one pan super cheap meal
This is me. When we're scraping the bottom of the barrel, it's when we don't have "interesting meat" or fresh veggies or frozen veggies of the kind we like. So my fallback is rice with tamari and whatever veggies we do have and egg or whatever bits of meat we have - a sausage or two will stretch for the whole family this way.

Also when options are low, I make "instant veggie soup" using frozen meat fat and pan drippings (I store it in a jar in the freezer and scrape it out as needed) and frozen veggies or bits of whatever is growing in the garden (kale and chives, this time of year) and rice or potatoes or a bit of pasta. And seasoned salt.

I also make "egg drop soup" for the kids using frozen leftover turkey drippings, seasoned salt, egg, and a veggie or two. They love it.

Or pannukakkua for dinner - that's huffy puffy, swedish pancake, dutch baby, whatever you want to call it - egg with a little flour and sweetener and water baked in cast-iron pans in the oven until it's puffy. Served with frozen berries or cut up apple.

If we have potatoes, latkes are a big hit here.

Also something we call "peasy potatoes" which is basically mashed potatoes with a pile of frozen peas on top, margarine, possibly scrambled eggs on the side.

Lentil soup is definitely a "desperation dinner" that everyone here likes.

In summer we have big salads with hard-boiled egg and a bit of bacon and dressing and maybe some sesame or sunflower seeds if we have them. The salad things are free from the garden. Also summer is free-stirfry-from-the-garden time, too.

The garden and the extra freezer often save my butt at dinnertime. LOL.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#22 of 42 Old 04-25-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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I like to throw all leftovers either into an omelette or a wrap. The kids always like cooked pasta, hamburger, and tomato soup mixed together. We call it american goulash.

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#23 of 42 Old 04-25-2010, 04:31 PM
 
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Any kind of pasta tossed with garlic, butter/olive oil . Basil or oregano too. I didn't have sauce the other day , and when I looked in the fridge the tomatoes were gross. I salvaged 2 of them and tossed them with a little onion in skillet. I sliced a few little rounds of mozarella onto each plate and put parmesean on the table. Dh said he didn't miss the sauce.

Sometimes I just chop up whatever produce is in the fridge and put it in little bowls on the table ..kinda like a salad bar. I will make what I call relish and mix the remnants Ex; red cabbage, cucumber, and tomatoes with a splash of vinegar, salt, pepper, and cumin.. and put out some tortilla chips. If there are only a few tortillas left in the pkg. I will cut them and fry homemade tortilla chips with kosher salt and whatever they can dip beans, cottage cheese, hummus, chopped olives, cream cheese with herbs or minced jalapeno. We make a lot of tacos..so we usually have tortillas.

My little guy is a corn bread lover..I use to make a big pyrex dish and let them graze over it all day. They will have it with a meal and then later eat it with honey and butter like cake. I just got a mini loaf pan and they are really into breads right now.

I make breakfast for dinner at least once a week. Biscuits, ham, eggs, pancakes, waffles, sausage or oven cooked bacon. If we have a few potatoes I will make breakfast burritos. If I don't have enough meat I make an egg casserole and use it like garnish.

Sometimes we will have leftovers , but not enough to feed everyone the same thing. I will add chicken, steak, or whatever meat I have into a skillet with salsa or chipolte sauce and serve it over rice.

The kids love oven roasted potatoes. I add olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and pepper and roast till crispy in the oven. I will do sweet potatoes with syrup this way too..very filling.
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#24 of 42 Old 04-25-2010, 04:45 PM
 
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Loving this thread. Some of these have been mentioned but this is what we usually do on those frugal nights.

- Honey Baked Lentils
- Quiche to use up little bits of stuff
- Fried Rice
- Breakfast for dinner
- Blackbean & Cheese Quesadilla
- Red Beans & Rice
- Couscous with veggies
- Spaghetti
- Grilled Cheese or Tuna Salad or Egg Salad sandwiches (something we love but for whatever reason we rarely make it)
- Tuna in biscuits, sounds weird but it was actually really good.

Thanks for starting this thread, some great ideas!

Mama to (DS 7) and (DD 5), wife to DH

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#25 of 42 Old 04-25-2010, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ahhhhh, the honey baked lentils, this recipe has been floating around mdc for years now.....We make that too!

Tonight, we found lamb meat for kabobs in the freezer, 1/2 a cucumber and a tomato that needs to be eaten. Yay, also a few pitas in the fridge and some plain yogurt. DH is whipping up a middle eastern feast with this. He also found a can of chickpeas. Hummis, YUM!!

Some others:

I make mannicottis, lasagnas etc. Then we freeze and take out and bake as needed. USually I have about 1/2 cup of ricotta left. I par boil a 16 oz bag of pasta like ziti. Pour in a pan, add sauce and 1/2 cup ricotta. Then top w zella shredded. Bake or stick in freezer for later. Or use to give to a friend you need to bring dinner to.

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#26 of 42 Old 04-26-2010, 03:08 AM
 
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It may not be the cheapest meal I cook, but I swear it saves us so much money: home made pizza.

Trader Joe's has pizza dough for $1.29, we top it with Trader Joe's Marinara sauce and whatever cheese and veggies and sometimes meat we have on hand. It only needs to cook for 10 minutes.

It's so much better than any delivery/restaurant pizza we've ever had so now we don't even want to go out

Stay-at-home Mama to my fabulous DD (10/08)  and DS (9/12) and wife to my just-as-fabulous DH

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#27 of 42 Old 04-26-2010, 03:10 AM
 
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- Tuna in biscuits, sounds weird but it was actually really good.


My mom does that one but she puts peas in it and just lays the biscuits on top in a pyrex..I have to admit it is pretty good.
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#28 of 42 Old 04-26-2010, 08:58 AM
 
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Japanese curry was a big hit around here last night. I used a packaged sauce mix but it is not difficult to make from scratch if you want to avoid msg & preservatives. The sauce is thicker, sweeter, and milder than Indian curry, and you can serve it over rice, quinoa, noodles or even toast points. Literally any veggie combination can go in (I put cabbage & carrots in it last night, and I know someone who makes it with sweet potato, bell peppers, and whatever else is in her kitchen at the time)

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#29 of 42 Old 04-26-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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does anyone have a good tried and true lentil recipe (not the honey one)? Maybe a soup?

I tried the Italian dressing chicken and everyone loved it.
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#30 of 42 Old 04-26-2010, 05:55 PM
 
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Our frugal recipe is Mujadarra. It's a lentil-rice recipe. It's very frugal and can be less frugal if you add other ingredients, but its bare bones are oil, onions, rice and lentils.

4 cups water
1 cup lentil
1 cup rice
2-3 medium onions
oil to saute

Boil the water, throw in lentils once boiling, reduce heat, lid and let go for 20 mins. In the meantime slice up and sautee the onions. At the end of 20 minutes, throw rice and onions into the big lentil water pot. Let it go another 20 minutes, then serve.

That's the basic, you can add mediteranean style seasonings, other veggies, can make it brown rice by adding a little more water and putting the rice in there with the lentils.

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