Cheap but healthy meals - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 01-03-2013, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm pretty new here. I'm Kim, mom to 4 and wife to 1. I love to cook and am in the process of learning to bake. My husband and I are really interested in eating healthier and setting a good example for our kids. We also want (and need) to save money. I know that eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive, but I draw a blank after that! ;) So I ask you, what is your go to healthy, cheap, and kid friendly weeknight dinner? =)

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#2 of 25 Old 01-03-2013, 02:25 PM
 
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Hello Kim, welcome to Mothering forums! I was just thinking about posting some of my favorite recipes and this seems like the perfect spot.

 

Do you have a crock pot? If you do, you can make my favorite crock pot meal, which my great-aunt calls "Easy Busy Day Supper":

3 to 4 potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 Kielbasa ring sausage (or something similar), cut into 6 pieces

2 cans of green beans with juice

 

Season as desired with salt, pepper, and seasoned salt. Turn crock pot to low and let cook all day. Supper will be ready when everyone hits the door.

 

Note: I use one can of green beans instead of two because my husband doesn't like that many green beans. When I buy the sausage in the store, I look for "Polska Kielbasa" with no MSG.

 

I'll be happy to most more recipes when I have time. I don't know how cheap they are, but hopefully they will help.


May God bless you and His Blessed Mother Mary keep you!  :-)

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#3 of 25 Old 01-03-2013, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there! That was awesome! I can't wait to read more of your ideas! (And yes, I have a crockpot and LOVE it!) Thanks so much!!
 

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#4 of 25 Old 01-03-2013, 04:05 PM
 
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Looking for ideas as well. Look forward to hearing more :)

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#5 of 25 Old 01-03-2013, 07:45 PM
 
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Our cheap, healthy dinner is:

 

Pinto beans (soak dry beans and then cook them on the stove or a crock pot)

Corn Tortillas or fried potatoes

Green Chile, or salsa

Lettuce

 

or

 

Lentil Soup

Rice

Salad

Steamed Veggies

 

I'm looking for more ideas too, since we're trying to decrease our food budget.

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#6 of 25 Old 01-04-2013, 12:44 PM
 
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Yay, thank you for the positive responses! :)  I wasn't expecting that.

 

Favorite Seafood Lasagna  (actually the title has my and my brothers' names in it but I left that out for privacy)

9 lasagna noodles (I use 10 because sometimes one falls apart in cooking)

1 15-oz can Italian-style tomato sauce

Filling:

1 16-oz package of imitation crab meat (chunks or legs)

1 cup low fat cottage cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 egg

1 tbsp parsley

1/4 tsp onion powder

(I also add garlic powder)

 

Cook lasagna noodles as directed on package .Rinse in cold water; drain well. Combine filling ingredients with a fork. Cover the bottom of a greased 9/13 pan with part of the tomato sauce, then layer 3 of the noodles, one half of the filling, another small amount of the tomato sauce, 3 more noodles, the remainder of the filling, another small amount of the tomato sauce, the remaining noodles and the remaining tomato sauce. Bake covered at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Garnish with mozzerella or grated cheese, if desired.

 

 

This one was one of my all-time favorites growing up, and when I married and had my first daughter, I made it for her too. My children haven't always liked it and I have some picky ones but I think I've waited long enough that I can put the ingredients on the list and try it again! :)


May God bless you and His Blessed Mother Mary keep you!  :-)

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#7 of 25 Old 01-04-2013, 01:33 PM
 
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The simplest recipe I know of, besides peanut butter and jelly, is meatloaf. It can be made with either ground turkey or ground beef. If you're feeding more than 4-6, use more than one pound of meet.

 

1 pound ground beef

1 or more eggs

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp (high fructose corn syrup free) ketchup or more, to taste

bread crumbs or a torn up piece of bread

1/2 onion, diced

 

Don't brown the ground beef. Instead, combine everything in a medium mixing bowl with your bare hands or a big spoon while preheating the oven to 350 degrees. When it's evenly mixed, put it all in a loaf pan - or if you're like me and you don't have a loaf pan anymore, put it in an 8 x 8 baking dish and put it in the oven for one hour. Those who like ketchup might want to put more ketchup on their serving.


May God bless you and His Blessed Mother Mary keep you!  :-)

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#8 of 25 Old 01-04-2013, 01:39 PM
 
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This was difficult for me to make but maybe it'll be easier for someone else who has more experience with frying.

 

 

Ham and Cheese Broccoli Melts

 

flour tortillas (if your'e feeding 6, you'll need 6 tortillas; if you have less people but some people will want more, you'll need to adjust the number accordingly.)

shredded cheddar cheese

thinly sliced ham

chopped broccoli crowns

butter

 

Heat skillet or griddle over medium flame (or Low for electric burners). Lightly spread butter on one side of tortilla and place butter side down in heated skillet. Pile cheese in a line down the center of the tortilla. Add broccoli crowns and tlop with ham. Cover. Cook until cheese starts to melt and tortilla starts to brown, then roll tortilla up and secure with toothpick. Continue cooking and turning tortilla until cheese is melted and broccoli turns bright green.

 

LKS


May God bless you and His Blessed Mother Mary keep you!  :-)

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#9 of 25 Old 01-04-2013, 01:55 PM
 
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Scrambled Egg Bake

6 eggs  (I feed 6 people and I had to up this to 8 because we weren't eating enough)

1/4 pound mild or sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (I use shredded and it comes out just fine)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl with a wire whisk or fork, beat eggs until frothy. Stir in milk; mix well. Add cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a buttered 2-quart baking dish (equivalent: 8 x 8). Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes and serve immediately.

 

Optional: sprinkle cinnamon on top

 

I'm thinking about adding chopped onion and/or green pepper next time I make it.


May God bless you and His Blessed Mother Mary keep you!  :-)

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#10 of 25 Old 01-05-2013, 07:51 AM
 
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Another simple recipe is baked chicken. Pick out a whole chicken at the grocery store, and if anyone in your family eats onions, you'll need an onion too. So here are the ingredients:

1 whole chicken

1 onion

tbsp garlic powder (or to taste)

olive oil (I use extra virgin olive oil, though that costs more) or butter

Optional: vegetables such as carrots and peeled potatoes

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Get a 9 x 13 pan ready and cut the chicken out of the bag. Rinse it in the sink and take the giblets out (if they are included). When you don't see any more blood, transfer it to the 9 x 13 pan. Either pour some olive oil over most of the chicken, or rub some butter all over it. After you take the skin off the onion, stuff the onion (you shouldn't have to cut it) into the inside of the chicken. Sprinkle some garlic powder - or cut up pieces of garlic - on the chicken. Finally, arrange the optional carrots and potatoes around the chicken in the 9 x 13 pan. Bake for at least 1 hour 30 minutes or until when you take it out, cut it, and don't see any blood come out. Enjoy!

 

 

If you're like me you might have some chicken left over (even after feeding 6). When everyone is done and the rest of the chicken has cooled, pick the chicken off the bones and put it in the fridge for sandwiches or another recipe. At this point you can put the bones in the biggest pot you have and boil them with lots of water. When they've boiled for at least a good half an hour, carefully take the bones out of the big pot and put them in 2 or 3 plastic bags (unless you something better than what I use). To avoid smelling up your kitchen until the next trash day, you'll need to take this outside to the trash can, or maybe into your garage if that would attract animals in your area. Save the broth left in the pot - I store it in rinsed out glass pasta jars. Refrigerate and when you're ready to make chicken soup, use this chicken broth with some or all of the leftover chicken and some salt, thyme, a can of corn, potatoes, carrots, and your family's other favorite vegetables. I made this a few days ago and we couldn't get enough! :)


May God bless you and His Blessed Mother Mary keep you!  :-)

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#11 of 25 Old 01-07-2013, 08:45 PM
 
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One large (or 4 tiny) green cabbage(s)

One roast chicken

Kidney beans

White rice

Fat for cooking (leftover bacon grease would be a good choice, and kids love it)

Red chili paste

Ginger

Salt and pepper to taste

 

8-10 servings

 

Cook a pot of rice and store in the fridge until needed (enough for 1/4 cup for each person).

Roast your chicken (instructions are on the plastic). Shred chicken and keep in the fridge until needed.

 

Soak the kidney beans in room temperature water for atleast 24 hours, changing the water every few hours.

Once soaked, boil in fresh water for 5 minutes, discard water, add more fresh water, boil another 5 minutes, then simmer at low heat for 8 hours or overnight. (Enough water to cover the beans)

Once the beans are cooked (there shouldn't be any water in the pot anymore), mix shredded chicken with the kidney beans.

 

Shred the cabbage thinly with a sharp knife, store in the fridge until needed.

 

To serve, reheat the rice with a little water, stir-fry the cabbage on bacon grease with ginger, salt and pepper, until the cabbage is soft. Remove from pan. Add more bacon grease to the pan, and fry the mix of beans and shredded chicken, red hot pepper paste, and salt and pepper.

 

Also makes a great quick breakfast once all the ingredients are ready.

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#12 of 25 Old 01-10-2013, 01:12 AM
 
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I absolutely love lentil soup!  I only recently discovered it and it's a favorite with the family as well.  

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#13 of 25 Old 01-10-2013, 07:53 AM
 
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"Clean out the Crisper" Dinner

 

Last night found me staring inside the fridge wondering what to do to feed a hungry family. I don't think I've done a proper full grocery shopping expedition since before the holidays. I excavated half an onion, a few carrots, a quarter head of broccoli, one sweet yellow pepper (rather wrinkled), a few leftover roasted red peppers from panini-making on the weekend, and a little feta cheese. I had a bunch of fresh herbs that were near the end of life (rosemary, oregano, thyme). I also had a few tired cloves of garlic, half a lemon and some sweet potatoes I bought in October at the last farmer's market of the year. 

 

So I diced the sweet potato, tossed in olive oil and chopped fresh herbs, and roasted at 400F for about 40 minutes.  

 

While they were roasting, I made up a box of quinoa by simply boiling/simmering it until cooked (about 15 minutes). 

 

In a skillet, I sauteed diced onion in olive oil for a few minutes, then added crushed garlic, diced sweet pepper, diced carrot and broccoli and continued just until they softened a little. I added a little more chopped fresh herbs and then the roasted red peppers. I added the juice of the lemon (about a tablespoon), some salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. 

 

Then I dumped in the cooked quinoa and mixed it all up. 

 

I served it topped with the roasted sweet potato and crumbled feta. 

 

It's a pretty flexible dinner, using whatever veggies and cheese I find in the fridge and pantry. I often use pasta or couscous instead of quinoa. If I have no cheese, I may toast some almonds or pine nuts, if I have them. Balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar works instead of lemon juice. Etc. 

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#14 of 25 Old 01-13-2013, 07:21 AM
 
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These spicy black bean and sweet potato quesadillas are one of my stand-by cheap nutritious eats: http://www.eatliverun.com/black-bean-and-sweet-potato-quesadillas/


~Daisy~

Unschooling Mother to S, my 6yo "Moon Farmer"energy.gif

 

 

 

 

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#15 of 25 Old 01-15-2013, 08:35 PM
 
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here we eat a blend of mexican, middle-eastern and cajun food.

 

Falafels (I buy the dry mix because it's good and cheap):

in a pita bread with some tomatoes, cucumbers and some plain yogourt as a dressing, it's delicious!

 

Spinach and feta quesadillas (or pita bread)

 

Cornbread with shredded swiss or shard cheddar

 

Shrimp fritters, crawfish pies, Gumbo, shrimp po-boys (only cheap while in season)

 

Like I said in another thread: chicken or beef or beans or egg burritos (we also like to add boiled potatoes for a more filling dish) with cheese, salsa, lettuce, sour cream (if got any)

 

Nachos, enchaladas, tacos


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#16 of 25 Old 01-15-2013, 09:39 PM
 
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tonight we had baked chicken(we buy from a meat market and local. it costs about $6 a chicken. we buy 5-6 chickens at a time and have them cut them up. when we get home i bag the breast or portions i want for easy thaw. also, i keep the baks of the chicken to make a broth that i freeze and keep a large jar in the refrig)

pasta/cheese/garlic(stove top mac and cheese)

frozen veggies

 

night before

we had lentils(buy bulk)wild rice,green cabbage

night before/......chicken noodle soup from the broth i made when buying the chickens. soda bread. i have the best recipe for irish soda bread. we had this meal for 2 nights and two lunches.

we are looking to decrease our grocery budget too.

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#17 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 07:25 AM
 
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Vegetarian chili.

 

sautee one chopped green pepper, one small onion, and some garlic in oil until soft. Then add...

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed

1 can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed

2 cans diced tomatoes, chili ready

1 can tomato sauce

cumin to taste

 

Simmer until green peppers are soft. Serve with biscuits or sides you like.


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#18 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 10:45 AM
 
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Fajita Ranch Chicken Wraps

 

Love this quick recipe!

 

  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast strips for stir-frying
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 small red, yellow, or green sweet pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons bottled reduced-calorie ranch salad dressing
  • 2 whole wheat, tomato, jalapeno, or plain flour tortillas, warmed*
  • 1/2 cup Easy Fresh Salsa*
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
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#19 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 06:54 PM
 
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Supreme mashed potatoes:
1 potato per person
Milk
Butter
Crispy bacon, chopped
Grated cheese
Turkey, chicken, or ham, chopped
Veggies

The specifics are to taste. Cook and mash potatoes with skin on.
Add milk and butter to taste. Mix well.
Add bacon, meat and cheese. Mix well.
Cook veggies, chop if necessary. Add to potatoes. Mix well.

We serve this with gravy made from stock, but we've had it "dry"and it was still yummy. Selective replacement of ingredients could make this dish vegetarian, or other dietary types.

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I'm a witchy mama to DS ('06) and DD ('10) with DH, Stormie, a heathen homemaker daddy.

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#20 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 06:59 PM
 
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Soviet chicken:
Chicken (we use legs'n'thighs or sliced breasts)
1 cup Russian (1000 island) dressing
1 cup Apricot jelly
1 pack Onion soup mix

Mix together everything but the chicken.
Place chicken in a glass dish. Pour mixture over chicken.
Bake until thoroughly cooked.

Sliced breasts are great served over rice, or throw on a plate with a veggie and a grain.

Check out my business, Pangaia Metaphysical Store, and radio blog, Pagan Musings.
I'm a witchy mama to DS ('06) and DD ('10) with DH, Stormie, a heathen homemaker daddy.

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#21 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 07:05 PM
 
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Pseudo stroganoff:
1 lbs ground beef
1 can cream soup
2 cups water
Flour/corn starch solution
Salt
Pepper

Put meat, soup and water in a crockpot. Cook until done or supper time, whichever comes last.
Take the lid off the crockpot. Use a spoon to coarsely chop up the beef.
Add flour or corn starch solution to thicken the juice just a little.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over egg noodles, of course. Strangely, I like this made with cream of asperagus best.

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I'm a witchy mama to DS ('06) and DD ('10) with DH, Stormie, a heathen homemaker daddy.

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#22 of 25 Old 01-28-2013, 11:42 AM
 
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Egg drop soup (I haven't tried making it yet but it's inexpensive):

http://blogchef.net/egg-drop-soup-recipe/


May God bless you and His Blessed Mother Mary keep you!  :-)

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#23 of 25 Old 03-16-2013, 09:53 PM
 
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Hey, let's get this thread going again! My contribution:

 

Brussel sprouts fried rice (if you don't have brussel sprouts, use frozen peas)

For every 2 people:

  • 1 cup brussel sprouts, shaved thin with a potato peeler or a small sharp knife
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled into ribbons
  • Leftover cubed chicken meat (or beef, or pork, or whatever you like)
  • Leftover cooked white rice (1 cup?)
  • Shrimp, OPTIONAL
  • 1 egg (if you like moist/gooey fried rice; otherwise skip it)
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil

 

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan at high heat, then stir-fry the onion slices, carrots, and brussel sprouts until almost cooked through.
  2. Add the rice, and stir-fry until it mixes with the vegetables.
  3. Add the meat, stir-fry for a minute or two.
  4. Make a hole in the middle of the food and crack the egg.
  5. Work fast and stir-fry the egg just until cooked through! Don't overheat.

 

 

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#24 of 25 Old 05-19-2013, 02:12 PM
 
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Thanks, EloiseMM! I don't know if my family will eat brussel sprouts (and I don't know if I've ever tried them), but I'd like to try making that with peas sometime.

 

I made this recipe that my mother gave me for tonight's dinner:

 

Lil' Cheddar Meat Loaves

1 egg                             1 cup (4 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese

3/4 cup milk                    1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup chopped onion     1 tsp salt

1 lb lean ground beef       2/3 cup ketchup

1/8 cup packed brown sugar    1/2 tsp prepared mustard

In a bowl, beat the egg and milk. Stir in cheese, oats, onion and salt. Add beef and mix well. Shape into eight loaves (or less, bigger loaves if you have less than 8 people); place in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Combine ketchup, brown sugar & mustard; spoon over loaves. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

8 servings.

 

Delicious!


May God bless you and His Blessed Mother Mary keep you!  :-)

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#25 of 25 Old 05-19-2013, 05:46 PM
 
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Tonight we made chicken & dumplings: chicken stock (homemade), chopped chicken, ad homemade dumpling(3 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 egg, 1 those baking powder, about 1 1/2 cup of water, mix, roll out, cut into 1 inch squares, let air dry for several hours), boil stock, add chicken, drop in dumplings one at a time, let simmer for about 10 min.
We like to serve over smashed potatoes or bread, or with a salad.

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I'm a witchy mama to DS ('06) and DD ('10) with DH, Stormie, a heathen homemaker daddy.

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