Need Frugal Recipes!! - Mothering Forums
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Frugality & Finances > Need Frugal Recipes!!
MamaHippo's Avatar MamaHippo 02:33 PM 11-03-2005
I am DISO some super-cheap recipes for my family. Anyone have some good cheap standbys? What do you go to when its the end of the month and the pantry's bare?
I need some recipes for things like Rice and Beans, too. The only recipe I have for rice and beans is jamaican rice and beans, and it requires 4 cans of coconut milk! So i need one thats cheaper.
Meat, meatless, anything. For all meals!
any tips on how to take a regular recipe and make it frugal?
Help me become a frugal cook!


Snowdrift's Avatar Snowdrift 03:50 PM 11-03-2005
Hm, I wish I used recipes! Lentil soup: 3 parts lentils (I use mostly red with some brown mixed in) 1 part rice, plenty of water. Cook for half an hour so, make sure there enough water. I smuch them with a potato masher at this point to get a better texture. Cook until tender--maybe until 15 minutes then add a dash of lemon juice, salt, pepper, and some cumin and allspice. Sometimes I add some chicken broth when I add the water.
Rhiannon Feimorgan's Avatar Rhiannon Feimorgan 07:00 PM 11-03-2005
Honey baked lentils.

1 cup dry lentils
2 cups water
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
salt & pepper

Bake in a covered dish at 350 until tender (about an hour and a half)

Sometimes I sub 1/3 of a cup or so rice or barley for some of the lentils. I also sometimes add whatever vegetables are on hand for a one dish meal. Some that are good are carrots, celery, potato, yam, squash, turnip, cabbage and parsnip. Use what you have, "winter" vegetables work best.
Dar's Avatar Dar 07:52 PM 11-03-2005
TVP sloppy joes - mix TVP with water and heat until water is absorbed and it's about the texture of ground beef. Add canned sloppy joe sauce, or else tomato sauce, onions, peppers, and a little water. Simmer for ten minutes or so. Serve on buns or bread, whatever ya got.

Taco salad - you need beans (canned, homemade, or Whole Foods dehydrated), more TVP with Taco seasoning, tortilla chips (or make your own by baking corn tortillas), cheese, lettuce, onions, whatever ya got. I set out bowls of each item and let everyone do their own - basically, the chips are the base, and you can pile whatever you want on top. Good finger food!

Breakfast for dinner - try eggs, pancakes (wole wheat if ya got 'em), toast... whatever you like. Eggs are very cheap.

We also do a stir fry of fozen veggies and tofu over rice, if you have that in your bare pantry, or homemade pizza, which takles a little longer but is really cheap if you make your own crust. We buy Costco mozzarella cheese and keep it in the freezer so we always have it, and also canned tomato sauce. If you don't want to do the crust you can use English Muffins for mini-pizza. Top with whatever is left in the pantry...

isosmom's Avatar isosmom 02:24 AM 11-04-2005
Those honey baked lentils look good
We just made red lentil curry tonight. I cooked red lentils in water until mushy, adding more water as needed. Separatley I sauteed all the veggies I had on hand, bok choy, onion, garlic, ginger, potato, tomato, pepper. Added the lentils to the veg and added 1 T each honey and molasses (or you could skip this) and 2T curry paste (makes it really hot, you could use less, or different spices) and 1 can of coconut milk (would be good without). Heated through and served over rice. Good way to use up veggies.
Rhiannon Feimorgan's Avatar Rhiannon Feimorgan 02:33 AM 11-04-2005
Originally Posted by isosmom
Those honey baked lentils look good
They are, they realy, realy are. Mmmmm I think they are for dinner tomorow

That curry sounds good to. It reminded me of another favorite of mine.

Chickpea Curry

1 Cup dried chick peas soaked overnight in 2 cups water. Drain and rinse under cold water. Add 1 cup fresh water and cook until tender set aside.

*Note I usually cook up several cups at once and freeze them in 1 cup portions with liquid.

1 medium potato cut into bite sized pieces and cooked in ½ cup water until tender.

1 carrot grated
1 cup cabbage thinly sliced
1 small onion thinly sliced
½ cup frozen peas
½ cup green or red pepper diced

Saute above in about 2 tbsp olive oil then add;

2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbs fresh ginger grated
2 tbs mustard seed
2 tbs cummin seed
turmeric to taste
1 tbs curry powder

Pour potato and chickpeas with cooking liquid over the rest simmer for a few min. Serve with yogurt. I like to garnish with a few slices of fresh mango.
darkstar's Avatar darkstar 02:38 AM 11-04-2005
potato tacos

I cut potatoes into little cubes and boil for about 5 minutes, drain. Sautee onion in oil throw in potatoes, cumin and serve in a tortilla with cheese and guac or salsa

granolamom's Avatar granolamom 07:40 PM 11-05-2005
There are some great bean recipes in healthy eating.
Alkenny's Avatar Alkenny 09:26 PM 11-05-2005
I was just going to suggest going to healthy eating. You can use beans in place of most recipes that call for hamburger.
Emilie's Avatar Emilie 09:06 AM 11-06-2005
Homemade pizza

I have been makeing batches of pizza dough- really really easy- seriuously. At the beginning of the week- or whenever- then I just keep it in the fridge and pull it out.
I make cheese sticks for ds and a small pizza for me. It is so good and cheap.

I roll out the dough- put olive oil on the crust- whatever topping- or none-
I like canned tomatoes- artichokes( my parents always bring me jars from Sams) mushrooms- or whatever veggie I have on hand and cheese- stick in oven for 7-8 minutes- and wala- I like to mix whole wheat flour and white for the crust.

I buy a large bag of motz cheese every 2-3 weeks- it goes on everything( pastas- salads-etc)

It is easily under a dollar per pizza.

Bean soup
Can of Kidney beans( rinsed)
Can of black beans("")
Can of refried beans
Can of Stewed tomatoes
Bell pepper if you got it
3 cans of water
some chili powder- or whatever seasoning you like.
Cook the onion garlic- then add the beans and tomato- etc... it is really good.
This lasts a while. Throw some cheese ( I buy a bag of chedder too) on top and yum.
I would say it is under 7 dollars for the pot and has many servings.

I also love BLTS. I do not eat meat- so I have lettuce, tomato- and bread- with miracle whip- YUM!

Thin spaghetti noodles cooked-
1 TBS butter mixed in the add
alfredo sauce- but not alot- just a bit- a few TBS- depeding on how much pasta
and the add Garlic Pepper( not too much- but to taste!) YUM!!!!

I have found that by using ONE vegetable- instead of ALL the vegetables that recipes usually call for saves money- like making MUSHROOM lasagne- instead of VEGETABLE lasagne- since then you do not have to buy all the veggies- and have some go bad. just a few a week.

Use half the meat or less that a recipe calls for in the case of stif fries- etc. No one will be the wise.

I hope this helps!
root*children's Avatar root*children 11:58 AM 11-06-2005
Baked potatoes with any kind of yummy topping:

salsa & beans
cheesy sauce (nut. yeast or white sauce with cheese added) & broccoli
taco fillings, etc.

cheap cheap cheap!
umami_mommy's Avatar umami_mommy 11:15 PM 11-06-2005
This is an excerpt from McCay's Miracle Loaf, which originally appeared in the September/October 1981 issue of Mother Earth News. Check out the full original article. McCay's original recipe is for manual baking. If you'd like to try it in a bread machine, go to for formulas to convert regular bread recipes to be made in machines.


In the 1930s, Dr. Clive McCay, a Cornell University nutrition researcher, made a momentous discovery — he found that by feeding laboratory animals a low-calorie diet rich in minerals, vitamins and protein, he could retard the onset of old age and dramatically increase the animals' longevity. His research attracted the attention of New York state officials, who asked him to help improve the diets of the state's mental patients.

McCay developed a highly nutritious bread made with soy flour, wheat germ, wheat flour and dry milk. He offered the recipe to bakeries in a low-income section of Brooklyn in hopes of improving the health of the area's impoverished residents.
Acclaimed by The New York Times as the "Do-good Loaf," Cornell Bread attracted a wide following among bakers who praised the recipe for its delicious taste and extraordinary nutritional qualities.

The special features of the Cornell Bread that make it different from ordinary bread are the additions of soy flour, nonfat dry milk and wheat germ. Soy flour is a rich protein concentrate, with more than 40 percent protein. It supplies amino acids that are lacking in wheat as well as calcium, iron and B vitamins. Nonfat dry milk has about twice the protein value of meat. It is a good source of calcium and riboflavin.
Wheat germ adds more protein, iron, B vitamins and vitamin E to the mix.

Cornell Whole-wheat Bread

Place in a mixing bowl:

3 cups warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey
or molasses
2 tablespoons salad oil
3 teaspoons sea salt
1 egg

Let stand while you measure out:

3 tablespoons wheat germ
1?2 cup full-fat soy flour
3?4 cup nonfat dry milk
5 cups whole-wheat flour, or 50/50 whole wheat and unbleached white
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds or walnuts
1?4 cup raisins

Blend all ingredients with a mixer or by hand until you get a sticky, loose
dough (you may need more flour to shape it up). Pat dough down and clean sides of bowl. Cover.
Let rise in a warm place until almost double in size, about 40 minutes. Turn onto a board and shape into 3 loaves or 2 loaves and 12 muffins. Place in oiled bread pans or muffin tins. Let rise until dough doubles. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until loaves are brown and sound hollow when tapped.

Sprouted Grain Bread

A favorite variation of the Cornell recipe is to add sprouted wheat or rye.
Obtain clean kernels of wheat or rye. Cover 1 cup of whole kernels with warm water and let stand in a warm room overnight. In the morning drain the water and cover with fresh water.
Let stand in a warm place for another day and night. Drain several times and add fresh water. By the end of the second day, the grain will be much softer and more chewy. The 1 cupful will have swelled to 2 cups and small, white sprouts may begin to show. For the bread, put the sprouted grain through a food chopper. Add the ground-up kernels with the flour in the Cornell recipe. Add the remainder of the ingredients and proceed as usual.

— From The Cornell Bread Book by Clive and Jeanette McCay (Dover Publications).
umami_mommy's Avatar umami_mommy 12:52 AM 11-07-2005
2 C dried red beans
6 C water or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
3 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 - 6 cloves garlic
4 soaked sun dried tomatoes
2 roasted red bell pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne
salt, pepper and hot sauce (preferably Tabasco) to taste
2 C uncooked rice
Wash, sort and soak beans overnight, as per package instructions.

Place soaked beans in a large Dutch Oven with water and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Lower heat and continue to cook, uncovered.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet and sauteé onions, celery, garlic and herbs and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add onion mixture, along with sun dried tomatoes and roasted peppers, to beans. Cover, but leave lid ajar, lower heat and simmer until beans are soft, about 45 minutes. Add rice, cover completely and simmer until rice is cooked, about 25 minutes. Watch carefully and add more water or stock as needed.
rose angel's Avatar rose angel 01:44 PM 11-07-2005
This website has lots of interesting recipies, most very frugal.
Also lots of great tips. For instance how to use a bread machine that you don't have an instruction manual for. ( garage sale etc)
NCHIN's Avatar NCHIN 03:29 PM 11-09-2005
Originally Posted by Rhiannon Feimorgan
Honey baked lentils.

1 cup lentils
2 cups water
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soysauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
salt & pepper

Bake in a covered dish at 350 until tender (about an hour and a half)

Sometimes I sub 1/3 of a cup or so rice or barley for some of the lentils. I also sometimes add whatever vegitables are on hand for a one dish meal. Some that are good are carrots, celery, potatoe, yam, squash, turnip, cabbage and parsnip. Use what you have, "winter" vegitables work best.
Hi, I just wanted to hop in and say that I made this for dinner last night and LOVED it. It was Delicious. I did add 1/3 cup of brown rice and I put in what I had on hand. Turnip, Potatoes, and lots of carrots. It had the house smelling wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

corrie43's Avatar corrie43 12:19 AM 11-11-2005
I love this one and my picky son ate it up. It cost about $3 total and makes 6 servings


1 lb ground chicken
1 1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
3 TBS salsa
2 Tablespoons ranch dressing
1 packet taco seasoning or a couple TBS of southwest seasoning

Bake for 50-60 mins at 350 in a greased loaf pan. You can sprinkle on grated cheese in the last 10 mins if you want and serve with salsa and sour cream. I like it with ketchup.
Llyra's Avatar Llyra 07:52 PM 12-03-2005
Originally Posted by Rhiannon Feimorgan
Honey baked lentils.

1 cup lentils
2 cups water
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soysauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
salt & pepper

Bake in a covered dish at 350 until tender (about an hour and a half)

Sometimes I sub 1/3 of a cup or so rice or barley for some of the lentils. I also sometimes add whatever vegitables are on hand for a one dish meal. Some that are good are carrots, celery, potatoe, yam, squash, turnip, cabbage and parsnip. Use what you have, "winter" vegitables work best.
Just to add-- I made this, and added a few handful of spinach, and it worked great.
jilly's Avatar jilly 02:55 AM 12-04-2005
Our favorite frugal meal around here is what I like to call "the Ireland Meal" because we went on a trip to Ireland this summer and cooked this in our hostel kictchen almost every night. It is so good we didn't even care that we had it every night, and it had potatoes, so it felt very Irish.

1 large potato for each person
1 - 2 onions
2 - 3 carrots (or other veggies)
4 oz sharp cheese of your choice
salt and pepper

scrub or peel potatos and veggies and chop into small pieces. Put in a frying pan with 1/2 in. of water and let simmer with a lid until tender. Empty into a bowl. Fry onion in pan until almost cooked, add potatos and carrots back into pan and fry until slightly browned. Add cheese and salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted and well mixed.

I get better quality cheese than I would usually buy, but since I am only using a small amount and the other ingredients are so cheap, the meal comes out to abut $2 - 3 per person.
fireshifter's Avatar fireshifter 06:23 AM 12-05-2005
Originally Posted by Rhiannon Feimorgan
Honey baked lentils.
I'm such a goofus, I just made this but accidently put in red split peas instead of the red lentils I thought I had. It tasted really good, but very mushy...Just thought I'd add that in there
loon13's Avatar loon13 05:31 PM 12-21-2005
Originally Posted by Rhiannon Feimorgan
Honey baked lentils.

1 cup lentils
2 cups water
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soysauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
salt & pepper

Rhiannon, thank you so much for posting this. I made it tonight, with some carrots, celery and squash. I also substituted apple cider vinegar for soy sauce, (since I didn't have any).

And mind you, my finicky dd saw me eating it, asked for her own and ate TWO bowls.
Emilie's Avatar Emilie 02:07 AM 12-25-2005
I just discovered this in a mag I get.

Herb crusted tofu
mix cornstarch- garlic salt, oregano(or whatever spices you like), salt together
slice tofu into slices
put a bit of oil in a pan and fry it up. dsoves it and so do i.
easy and yummy. feel less guilty about eating fried food!
rabbithorns's Avatar rabbithorns 11:53 PM 12-26-2005
Frugal recipes:

Easy Cake Mix Cookies:

1 box cake mix (german chocolate cake is our favorite - we only buy cake mix when it's on sale for $1 a box)
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil

Mix ingrdients until smooth. Roll 1 inch bars and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie slightly. Bake at 375 degrees until tops crackle (8-10 minutes).

Pure Fruit Cookies: (we call them breakfast cookies also)

3 medium ripe bananas
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. uncooked oat bran cereal
1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped dried fruit - mixed or one kind (dates/ cranberries/ apricots/ raisins/ etc)
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or almonds (we use sunflower seeds)

Oven to 350. Mash bananas in large bowl til smooth. Stir in oil, vanilla, and salt. Add oats, bran, fruits and nuts. Srit well to combine. Drop by measuring TBSP onto greased sheets. Flatten slightly. Bake 20-25 minutes or til edges brown. Cool on rack. Store in fridge.

Taco Pie:

1 can refried beans or black beans
tortilla chips or fritos
grated cheese
sweet pepper
or whatever you have on hand

put chips on each plate
put out a platter of chopped vegies in piles
put out a bowl of grated cheese and one of refried beans
Let each person stack onto their chips what they like. Easy Schmeezy! Costs me up to $4-6 to feed 4 of us depending on what's on sale.

Red Zapple: (fake punch)

about 2 oz. of apple juice and 8 oz. Red Zinger tea per glass.

Little Meat Pies: (put anything you want in these)

biscuit dough
meat filling

Make 8-10 balls out of your favorite biscuit dough recipe. Flatten balls and put a small amount of filling in the center. Pinch dough closed. Bake on cookie sheet at 350 for about 35 minutes.
girlstar808's Avatar girlstar808 05:46 AM 12-28-2005
Lots of frugal recipes at , though, not all necessarily healthy.
mrmansmama's Avatar mrmansmama 02:09 AM 01-03-2006
1 can tuna fish
1 bag egg noodles (cooked)
1 can campbells cream of mushroom soup
enough Milk to make wet

Combine in a cassarole dish and bake 30min on 350
AngelBee's Avatar AngelBee 02:14 AM 01-03-2006
: I am sooo hungry reading here... :
opally's Avatar opally 06:32 PM 01-03-2006
Just wanted to add my thanks for the honey lentils recipe - I made this for lunch today, and it's delicious. I have a cold, and it's a glum, gray day, and the smell of this baking really helped - and it tastes as good as it smells. I thought that it might have a bit of an Asian flavor, with the soy sauce and ginger (and I also added dark sesame oil and green onions) but it doesn't - it's just savory & good. Thanks !
Owen'nZoe's Avatar Owen'nZoe 07:09 PM 01-03-2006
Yummm - the honey lentils recipe looks really good!

My standby is also a lentil recipe, but we go with my MIL's red lentil soup. I don't really know the exact amounts for anything, since we just go by sight, but I would guess it is something like this:

1 c. red lentils, rinsed
1 ch. onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1T Olive oil
Any leftover veggies you have that are about to go bad, chopped (but think mediterranian - carrots, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant work great - celery, on the other hand, gives it a really awful taste)
1 t. (or more) cumin
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice, butter, fresh parsely to garnish (optional)

In a medium-sized saucepan, saute the onions in a tablespoon or so of olive oil until soft and transluscent. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so. Add the lentils, enough water to half fill the saucepan, add the veggies, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let cook until the veggies are soft and the soup is a nice consistency (not super runny, but not too thick to pour off of a spoon). Let the soup cool a bit, and then blend it until it is smooth. Serve in bowls with a pat of butter, a little lemon juice (to taste), and a little finely chopped parsely. If you want croutons, you can fry leftover/stale pita bread (if you happen to have it on hand - we always do) and add those. I usually serve this with a thick slice of wheat bread as a light supper or a lunch.

One other idea - I will buy a whole chicken, roast it in a brown paper bag in the oven (works like the oven roasting bags you buy in the store - but it is free!), and serve it for dinner one night. I'm vegetarian, so just DH and DS eat it, so I can usually stretch it to two dinners. When there isn't enough leftover for another meal, I make soup from it. I set aside the edible meat for the soup, boil the rest into a broth, add cooked brown rice or barley (leftover if I have it), any veggies I have laying around, the set-aside chicken meat... In fact this is exactly what my guys are having for dinner tonight.
our3boys's Avatar our3boys 04:34 AM 01-04-2006
I was at my Grandma's house and saw a recipe she had (have not had a chance to try it yet, but we will).

4 eggs
1 can of chicken noodle soup, undiluted

blend all and cook as for scrambled eggs.

That should be really cheap since I think that soup is often 2-3 cans for a dollar. I usually don't have any, though, so that is what I need to buy next time I am at the store. I thought maybe my kids would like it.
dharmamama's Avatar dharmamama 05:22 PM 01-05-2006
Originally Posted by rose angel

I think this is probably the greatest website I have ever seen!!

dharmamama's Avatar dharmamama 05:28 PM 01-05-2006
Ok, I have to admit that I thought, "Honey? With lentils? YUK!" But since it seems to be getting rave reviews, I will broaden my mind and try it.

I plan to make the Irish dinner tonight!

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