Author Topic: Frugal Meals  (Read 25375 times)

Gin1984

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Frugal Meals
« on: February 26, 2014, 02:24:31 PM »
What are your daily/ go to frugal meals?  Recipes included please.  I am bored with our meals and want to cut our grocery bills (bad combo), so am asking for inspiration.

FiguringItOut

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2014, 02:44:22 PM »
I make a lot of casseroles and such, usually mix in there whatever I have at home and it stretches the meat well.  I add mashed cannellini beans to my turkey meatball mix.  Makes more meatballs and keeps them moist.  I don't cook with receipies, just eyeball and create. 

I also found this site very helpful www.budgetbytes.com

1967mama

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2014, 02:49:50 PM »
We love these bean burritos -- they taste like something from a good restaurant to me!

In a bowl combine 2 cups black beans, 2 cups cooked rice and 2 cups grated cheddar.
Season with salt, pepper, cumin and hot sauce.

Put generous amount of this mix on a flour tortilla and roll it up, tucking in the ends on the way.

Place in a 9x13 and loosely cover with foil. Bake 25-30 minutes or until heated through and tortilla is a little brown and crispy.

Serve with salsa and sour cream.

My whole family loves these so I double it for 10 of us. Before heating, pull out how many you'd like for that meal, and individually freeze the remaining burritos in foil. Great for lunches!

Frankies Girl

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2014, 02:51:05 PM »
http://www.budgetbytes.com/
Great resource for cheap but still tasty recipes

One of our regular meals in rotation (since it also means lots of leftovers) is beans cooked in a slow cooker with a ham hock for seasoning. I will also add in any greens that might be on their last legs (frequently have spinach used for sandwiches getting ready to go out) and will sometimes add in a meat like sausage or links I got for cheap as well (we buy most meats when they've been clearanced to at least 50% off and then freeze). We stretch it by serving over brown rice. You can do just straight great northern beans and add a bit of ketchup or some crushed tomatoes with some salt and pepper (I grew up with this being a meal, and go back to it occasionally).

http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/chickpea-fritters-tonight-185900166.html
Love this one and it's easy too.


Oh, and really easy chicken and dumplings - can of biscuits (usually get buttermilk - $1.50), 2-3 cans of chicken broth ($2-3), can or two of cooked canned chicken, or 1-2 cups of cooked chicken meat (if you're cooking a chicken, you can use this recipe to use up the rest of the meat) (chicken $2-3). Bag of frozen peas and carrots ($1). Flour and salt/pepper (less than a $1). Serves  4-6

In a large pot, bring broth to rolling boil, add in chicken. Flatten the biscuits with your hands on a lightly floured surface and use a pizza cutter to slice them into strips. Add strips of biscuit into boiling broth. Add in frozen peas/carrots. Bring back to a low simmer, and slowly add in flour, a little at a time, stirring as you add. When broth sets up to creamy consistency, stop with the flour (it's the thickener). Biscuit strips will be puffed up and cooked through by this point as well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 02:58:48 PM by Frankies Girl »

homehandymum

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2014, 03:04:30 PM »
Slow cooker to the rescue!

My go-to is to grab a cheap cut of real meat (Stewing steak/chuck steak/other chewy cuts of beef, or chicken pieces with bone in and skin on, and here in New Zealand, lamb neck chops and mutton flaps are cheap too).  Throw meat in the slow cooker with some balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, and maybe a tin of chopped tomatoes or something (tinned peaches is pretty yummy).  Herbs if you want, but just the balsamic and soy sauce is pretty tasty.  A dash of honey if you want.  Leave it to cook all day.  Depending on how hot your slow cooker is, it may need to start on high for a couple of hours and then turn down, or maybe be on low all day with a bit more liquid added - there's a huge variance in how hot different cookers are, and it can take some experimenting to work out how yours behaves.

Veges a la greque: In a fry pan with a bit of butter/oil cook onion and garlic on low heat until soft but not brown, add 1 t o 2 teaspoons ground cumin and 2tablespoons vinegar (I use my homemade kombucha vinegar, but white wine vinegar or similar would be good).  Add a tin of chopped peeled tomatoes and herbs to taste (go for Italian flavour or Mexican or whatever).  Salt to taste.  Add chopped veges - large but thin slices of whatever you like (zucchini, carrot, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower etc - about 3 or 4 cups), stir and simmer together until veges are cooked but not mushy.  Serve hot or warm.

Rice. We don't eat bread, but crusty bread would be a good replacement for rice with this meal. Or some potato dish.

This serves our family of two adults and 3 little kids.  Would easily feed a couple with leftovers for lunches.

homehandymum

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2014, 03:10:28 PM »
Oh, and really easy chicken and dumplings - can of biscuits (usually get buttermilk - $1.50), 2-3 cans of chicken broth ($2-3), can or two of cooked canned chicken, or 1-2 cups of cooked chicken meat (if you're cooking a chicken, you can use this recipe to use up the rest of the meat) (chicken $2-3). Bag of frozen peas and carrots ($1). Flour and salt/pepper (less than a $1). Serves  4-6

In a large pot, bring broth to rolling boil, add in chicken. Flatten the biscuits with your hands on a lightly floured surface and use a pizza cutter to slice them into strips. Add strips of biscuit into boiling broth. Add in frozen peas/carrots. Bring back to a low simmer, and slowly add in flour, a little at a time, stirring as you add. When broth sets up to creamy consistency, stop with the flour (it's the thickener). Biscuit strips will be puffed up and cooked through by this point as well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

What you guys call biscuits, we call scones, and they are REALLY cheap and easy to make from scratch - much better than $1.50 :)    This is the gold-standard recipe here:  http://www.edmondscooking.co.nz/recipe-1/best-ever-scones  And my cheap and easy work-arounds are:
1. sifting is a waste of time
2. you can grate the butter before rubbing it in, or you can melt it and stir it in slowly so it is evenly mixed.  And if you don't do butter, oil is ok
3. you can use half milk and half water, or buttermilk, or dilute yoghurt - just make it up to the correct volume
4. forget the 'extra milk for glazing'

Frankies Girl

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2014, 03:19:27 PM »
Oh, and really easy chicken and dumplings - can of biscuits (usually get buttermilk - $1.50), 2-3 cans of chicken broth ($2-3), can or two of cooked canned chicken, or 1-2 cups of cooked chicken meat (if you're cooking a chicken, you can use this recipe to use up the rest of the meat) (chicken $2-3). Bag of frozen peas and carrots ($1). Flour and salt/pepper (less than a $1). Serves  4-6

In a large pot, bring broth to rolling boil, add in chicken. Flatten the biscuits with your hands on a lightly floured surface and use a pizza cutter to slice them into strips. Add strips of biscuit into boiling broth. Add in frozen peas/carrots. Bring back to a low simmer, and slowly add in flour, a little at a time, stirring as you add. When broth sets up to creamy consistency, stop with the flour (it's the thickener). Biscuit strips will be puffed up and cooked through by this point as well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

What you guys call biscuits, we call scones, and they are REALLY cheap and easy to make from scratch - much better than $1.50 :)    This is the gold-standard recipe here:  http://www.edmondscooking.co.nz/recipe-1/best-ever-scones  And my cheap and easy work-arounds are:
1. sifting is a waste of time
2. you can grate the butter before rubbing it in, or you can melt it and stir it in slowly so it is evenly mixed.  And if you don't do butter, oil is ok
3. you can use half milk and half water, or buttermilk, or dilute yoghurt - just make it up to the correct volume
4. forget the 'extra milk for glazing'

Nice!

I do make from-scratch biscuits using heavy cream so there's no dealing with the butter at all (comes together FAST for baking), but for the purposes of the chicken and dumplings recipe, it's just easier if you're wanting a meal ready to eat in under 30 minutes with no real measuring or thought - to use the canned variety.

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-cream-biscuits-in-109151
They are HEAVENLY. I'll have to try the scones recipe. :)

windawake

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2014, 03:28:58 PM »
My favorite meal lately is roasted root vegetables. Chop up carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash into similar size pieces. Coat with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then stir, then roast at intervals of 10 minutes until they're soft. Sweet potatoes and squash get really nice and roasty on the outside.

A super delicious extrapolation of the above: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/10/butternut-squash-and-caramelized-onion-galette/

I like to make a lentil vegetable soup that's easy. Cut up one medium onion, a few cloves of garlic, a few carrots and celery stalks, saute them in olive oil with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (I tend to use more veggies than are called for). Once veggies are slightly tender pour in about a quart of stock or water. Add 1 cup of green or brown lentils. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 15-20 minutes. Add a 28oz can of tomatoes and heat throughout. I love this recipe with shredded parmesan on top, I freeze it in wide mouth mason jars for an easy lunch. It makes a lot of soup.

A big favorite of mine is just a formula: 1 part rice, 1 part bean, and a healthy smattering of veggies. Can be served cold or hot. For example, chickpeas, brown basmati rice, spinach, red pepper, and feta cheese salad with peanut sauce dressing.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2014, 03:35:52 PM »
we just made chicken and dumplings on Monday! I actually just use Bisquick (or generic version) + milk to make the dumplings, not sure if that is cheaper or not but it IS super easy! I also love this meal as a way to use up random bags of different frozen veggies I have on hand. even things that sound like they would be weird turn out totally fine (like this week it was sliced yellow summer squash, collard greens, and peas... sounds weird but no joke, it was delicious!). season with garlic, rosemary, and thyme, yum.

also agree with the rice + bean + veggie formula! this is my cheap easy go-to meal when I am just cooking for myself.

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2014, 04:06:30 PM »
I followed the cook for good meal plan while I was digging myself out of debt. She has super organized meal plans (and shopping plans) that are built around eating seasonally and mostly organic.

http://www.cookforgood.com/


Cwadda

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2014, 04:24:15 PM »
My local Stop & Shop is usually very anti-mustachian but it does sell Rotisserie chickens for $5 on Fridays. These last our family of 4 at least two meals.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 04:28:42 PM by Cwadda »

plantingourpennies

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2014, 04:27:11 PM »
I made this lentil soup this weekend.  Estimated cost about $3-$4 for the whole batch.  Tasty, decent source of fiber, good carbs, protein, and vegs.  =)

http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2012/11/lentil-soup-with-coriander-and-cumin.html



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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2014, 07:01:59 PM »
baked beans form a can, cut up hot dog and collard greens. Fast and simple.

Russ

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2014, 07:25:38 PM »
something to peruse: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/mustachian-recipes-8326/

basically though the closer you get to actual plants/animals (e.g. whole chickens instead of boneless skinless breasts or chicken nuggets, whole veggies instead of frozen or precut, dried beans instead of canned, etc.) the cheaper and IMO tastier it gets.

Some inexpensive ingredients I've been playing with recently:
red lentils... way tastier than brown IMO
sourdough starter... free yeasts, and I get to feel like I'm taking care of something <3 (its name is Chef)
whole turkeys... roast one and that's meat for like a month
root veggies... always cheap

bikebum

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2014, 07:39:22 PM »
Anything with eggs! There cheap and satisfying. Put 'em in stir frys, on top of salads, and raw ones in smoothies. Raw eggs will only make you sick if you're a wussy-pants.

Here's my favorite smoothie recipe:

1 or 2 frozen bananas
1 or 2 raw eggs
2 spoonfuls plain yogurt (no sugar!)
1 spoonful almond butter
chocolate powder (no sugar!)
ground flax seed
ground cayenne pepper if you like spicy (you're not a wuss)
honey if you need some sweet (you're a wuss)
enough water to blend it smooth

I have this for lunch a lot.

MrsPete

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2014, 06:09:20 AM »
We love these bean burritos -- they taste like something from a good restaurant to me!
Burritos are great for cleaning out the refrigerator!  You have one piece of chicken leftover?  Chop it finely and mix it in with the rest of the recipe.  You have a little bit of mixed vegetable left?  Run it through the food processor, and no one'll ever know they've had a bit more veggie in the meal. 

In my opinion, you need either beans or some form of beans or meat (and I hate fish in my Mexican food) and you need cheese.  Beyond that, it's a creative endeavour. 

MrsPete

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2014, 06:12:20 AM »
Oh, and really easy chicken and dumplings - can of biscuits (usually get buttermilk - $1.50), 2-3 cans of chicken broth ($2-3), can or two of cooked canned chicken, or 1-2 cups of cooked chicken meat (if you're cooking a chicken, you can use this recipe to use up the rest of the meat) (chicken $2-3). Bag of frozen peas and carrots ($1). Flour and salt/pepper (less than a $1). Serves  4-6

In a large pot, bring broth to rolling boil, add in chicken. Flatten the biscuits with your hands on a lightly floured surface and use a pizza cutter to slice them into strips. Add strips of biscuit into boiling broth. Add in frozen peas/carrots. Bring back to a low simmer, and slowly add in flour, a little at a time, stirring as you add. When broth sets up to creamy consistency, stop with the flour (it's the thickener). Biscuit strips will be puffed up and cooked through by this point as well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I do something very similar, but I don't do the flatten /cut strips thing; I choose biscuits that have the word "flaky" on the package, and I tear them apart into thin, flat circles, then I cook them just as you do.  I also much prefer any biscuit that says "buttermilk" on the package.

When I find chicken thighs for a good price, I make up several batches of this and freeze several.  I put in the vegetables before freezing, but I add the dumplings when I'm cooking it to be served. 

HUGE favorite in my house. 

MrsPete

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2014, 06:19:20 AM »
Perfect potato soup -- this is on the level of beans and cornbread cheap.  It's a simple, basic recipe.  None of the stuff that restaurants do to it:  No bacon, no cheese.  This is the way I grew up eating it, and it is perfect.  Warm, thick, satisfying.  When I was a kid, I didn't know it was super cheap too. 


Slice up 3-4 potatoes -- PAPER THIN -- and boil 15-20 minutes 'til they're cooked well. 
Add an onion, again chopped PAPER THIN.
Be a little skimpy with your water -- you want just enough to cover the potatoes.

In a cereal bowl, make a little well of self-rising flour.  A scant cup will do.
Pour a beaten egg into the self-rising flour, and use your fingers to mix it in -- we call these small, hard, irregular dumplings "rizzles".  I don't know why, but the word's been in our family forever.

Pour the dumplings into the boiling water and stir them around so they'll all be cooked. 

When the dumplings are cooked, remove the pot from the heat and pour in heavy cream.  How much?  Enough to make the soup turn white, but not enough to make it thin.  2/3-1 cup is probably about right. 

Add lots of black pepper. 



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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2014, 06:27:41 AM »
high protein bfast casserole 1.83 per serving.(max not on sale price)

24 eggs only use 4 yolks
1 lb of ground turkey
1 non fat large container of cottage cheese
1 onion
spices you like in sausage - salt pepper oregano cajun thyme ground red pepper garlic etc.
You can add any other veggies you want mushrooms spinach kale peppers etc.

dice onion/other veggies and saute in EVOO til translucent.  add turkey and spices and cook till done
beat eggs in bowl add in cottage cheese.  Add turkey and onion/veggie to eggs mix and put in a 9x13 and bake at 350 for 1 hour.  I separate into 6 even chunks and then reheat all week for bfast.  I have to have 30 grams of protein on my diet with in 30 mins of waking up.  So you could do smaller portions for cheaper... or add in hashbrowns as filler if you dont care about eating carbs and want to be fuller.

bikebum

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2014, 01:33:08 PM »
whole turkeys... roast one and that's meat for like a month

How do you keep the meat good for a month? Freeze some of it?

Russ

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2014, 01:42:19 PM »
whole turkeys... roast one and that's meat for like a month

How do you keep the meat good for a month? Freeze some of it?

yeah I keep something like 2 pounds in the fridge (enough for 7-10 days, yeah I know that's not technically "safe" but whatever) and freeze the rest in similar-sized packages

Herk

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2014, 01:51:05 PM »
Dhaal and Aloo Parata (lentil stew and potato flatbread).
Nettle soup in spring time (almost free since you pick the ingredients in the wild) - unfortunately still two months away for me.
Vichyssoise - fancy name for a cold leek- and potatoe soup, and possibly my favourite soup:

kg potatoes
1 leek
some cream
chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
salt, pepper if needed.

Chop into bits. Cook. Mix. Cool. Eat.
Works wonderfully warm as well. If served cold, you'll need more spices than if you serve it warm.

carozy

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2014, 01:56:23 PM »
I adopted the McDougall program diet (for health reasons) and it is very cheap.  It is vegan and starch-based by Dr. McDougall (www.drmcdougall.com).  Another guy who follows it has a lot of great recipes at Potato Strong (www.potatostrong.com).  It is a very healthy diet and reverses heart disease and type 2 diabetes (it is essentially the same diet President Clinton went on to lose weight and reverse his heart disease).  So I'll eat things like oatmeal, potatoes, pasta, rice, grains, veggies, fruits, and beans...most of those can be bought in bulk and fairly cheap.

Examples:

~ Oatmeal with maple syrup and sliced banana and cinnamon (maybe with a little almond milk)
~ rice, veggies, teriyaki sauce or soy sauce (buy the soy sauce in bulk to save money)
~ spaghetti (Costco - I am set for 2 years of spaghetti lol) with asparagus (bought at Bargain Market very cheap) with spinach leaves, diced tomatoes, garlic, and garlic salt
~ aloo gobi I make myself: chickpeas, potatoes, cauliflower, peas, diced tomato, a little veggie broth, with Madras curry powder... serve over rice
~ potato wedges (baked, not fried) make myself with ketchup
~ baked yams with black beans and salsa taste good
~ my fast satisfying meal is a can of chickpeas, drained, with garlic salt and a diced onion or sliced banana.  Pretty yummy and cheap.

I found an article by the doctor about cutting meal costs:  http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2008nl/mar/foodcost.htm

By the way the website has tons of info to answer questions anyone might have about protein requirements, calcium, etc..

Gin1984

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2014, 01:58:03 PM »
Dhaal and Aloo Parata (lentil stew and potato flatbread).
Nettle soup in spring time (almost free since you pick the ingredients in the wild) - unfortunately still two months away for me.
Vichyssoise - fancy name for a cold leek- and potatoe soup, and possibly my favourite soup:

kg potatoes
1 leek
some cream
chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
salt, pepper if needed.

Chop into bits. Cook. Mix. Cool. Eat.
Works wonderfully warm as well. If served cold, you'll need more spices than if you serve it warm.
Do you have a recipe?

Herk

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2014, 02:53:51 PM »
Of course.
Here is my version of a daal. Some spices are not that common, and not really necessary unless you plan on cooking a lot of indian or similar food.
Daal 4 servings:
3 dl dried red lentils
1 dl dried mung beans (can substitute these for more lentils instead)
100 gram butter
1 red union
4 cloves garlic
equal amount of ginger to garlic
1 tsp turmeric powder
1-2 dried chilis (small spicy ones)
tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
tbsp nigella seeds (onion seeds) optional
tbsp ajowan seeds (can be replaced with more cumin and fennel seeds)
salt

Soak the mung beans for about 8 hours.
Cook the lentils in 1,5 liters of water for about 15 minutes.
Add the mung beans, cook another 15 minutes. Pour off most of the water.
Melt the butter in a frying pan.
Chop the onion, garlic and ginger finely.
Ground up the spices and fry in the butter for 1 minute.
Add the chopped stuff. Fry on fairly low heat 5 minutes. Add to the lentils. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Salt as needed.


As for the parata. I can't seem to find my recipe for the potatoe one. But its really simple.

Boil a few potaoes. Peel them. Put them through a potato press. Fry the mashed potatos in a dry frying pan, until all moisture disappears. In the meantime, make a dough from wheat flour (3,5 dl) and water (1,5 dl). You can take 1/3 whole wheat if you like. Add tsp salt and some spices if you like (Ajowan or caraway is nice). The dough should not be sticky at all, but firm like a pizza dough. Knead for a few minutes. Divide the dough into 10 pieces. Make a little ball of each piece. Push in a thumb to make a hole. Put some of the potatomix in the hole. Make a little ball of it again. Roll out to a flat bread, about 4 mm thick.

Fry the bread in a dry frying pan. Brush some melted butter on the top side. Flip over when they start to get "stiff". Brush butter on new topside too. Flip again when you've got some nice color on the bread.

Daal and aloo parata, coupled with a rajita (youghurt, mint, shredded cucumber)is awesome! Tear pieces of the bread and use that to scoop up the daal.
Enjoy.

Rural

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2014, 07:04:20 PM »
Lazy "daal" soup, my own invention. This is nowhere near as classy as Patrik's daal, but it's easy and good.

Pound of dried lentils
Pound of celery, chopped
Half pound of frozen chopped spinach
Tablespoon or two of red or yellow curry paste
2-3 cloves of chopped garlic (I cheat and keep an economy-size jar of prechopped in the fridge. $6 jar lasts six months. I'm not sorry.)
Salt, curry powder, and cumin to taste

Cover the lentils in cold water in a big pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the other vegetables and spices. Simmer until the lentils are soft and adjust seasoning to taste. Makes lunch for two weeks, or feeds a whole bunch of people if you're not married to a lentil-, celery-, and spinach-hater like I am. Costs in the neighborhood of $4-$5 for the whole pot.

Abe

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2014, 08:03:36 PM »
I'm glad someone else pointed out how cheap lentils are. People think the spices are complicated. I just use some combination of these 5 for most dishes:
Cumin, garlic, black pepper, red pepper, turmeric powder

If you want to be fancy, add the other random spices (I don't know the english names for these, if they have any). Buying the five I mention in bulk saves a lot of money. Average cost per serving is less than one dollar.


horsepoor

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2014, 08:34:41 PM »
Pork butt in the slow cooker.  You can season however you want.  The more simply seasoned, the more versatile it will be for future meals.  We're big fans of chile verde and I have green chile salsa canned from last summer, which makes it very cheap.  If you cook it more simply as carnitas, it can be used throughout the week on top of salads, inside burritos, scrambled into eggs, with some BBQ sauce for a pulled-pork type of deal and so on.  Eat it with beans, rice and whatever veggie is cheap/in season.  Stretch it even more by cutting into cubes and cooking it with chunks of potato.

Chicken thighs.  Meatier than drumsticks or wings, but usually the same price per pound, and cheaper than breasts.  The whole bird is of course a good way to go, but for an easy weeknight dinner, a couple thighs seasoned and tossed in the oven is inexpensive and fast.

Soup - it uses up all sorts of odds and ends from the fridge and is filling, so it's been shown that fewer calories are consumed when soup is part of the meal.  Fewer calories = fewer $$.

Fat.  Fat is generally inexpensive for the calories, and is very satiating.  I've taken to being more liberal with my use of fats in lower-carb meals and it does make the meals stretch farther.

+1 on the eggs.  A hash with potatoes and leftover veggies and meats, with some eggs cracked on top and baked is really tasty and cheap.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2014, 08:23:43 AM »
This is my new favorite quick meal, so simple and delicious:

Brown Rice
Kale sauteed in olive oil until crispy
Egg fried in butter, sunny side up
Sriracha
Soy Sauce

Mix up in a bowl and enjoy.

LibraTraci

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2014, 10:09:02 AM »
I adopted the McDougall program diet (for health reasons) and it is very cheap.  It is vegan and starch-based by Dr. McDougall (www.drmcdougall.com). . .  So I'll eat things like oatmeal, potatoes, pasta, rice, grains, veggies, fruits, and beans...most of those can be bought in bulk and fairly cheap.

I eat the same way, and for the same reasons -- cheap and healthy. 

I tend to eat my food whole rather than combine it into "meals" that the common American would comprehend.  So, instead of making loaded baked potatoes for dinner, I just wind up eating maybe a bowl of broccoli (separate) and a baked potato (separate) and eating some fruit later in the night. 

Not everyone's cup of tea, but as someone who tends to easily put on weight, I appreciate the fact that my food doesn't taste so good that I wind up overweight.  With a minimum of fat, sugar and salt in the diet, it's easy to stay within 10 pounds of an ideal weight.   

kolorado

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2014, 12:01:32 PM »
Here are some of our most recent, most frugal meals:

-pasta bake(whole wheat penne with cream cheese, mozz cheese, parm cheese and sauce)with cooked spinach and homemade French bread, cost about $.60 per serving
-chili(onion, sale green and red peppers, pintos from dried, canned tomatoes, my own spice mix, 6 ounces ground turkey)with cheese and sour cream, cornbread(scratch), cost about $.80 per serving
-onion soup(browned onions, homemade veggie broth, beef bouillon cube)with Swiss cheese and homemade bagels with cream cheese, cost about $.50 per serving
-Hubby makes homemade pizza every Friday. The kids like plain cheese but he usually throws some chopped peppers, olives or pineapple on ours. Costs about $.25 a slice.
-Some recent breakfasts: applesauce spice cake(scratch from homemade core applesauce), whole wheat waffles w/homemade brown sugar syrup and natural peanut butter, chocolate chip pancakes, French toast from leftover homemade French bread, leftover cornbread and bagels, all served with fruit(clementines, apples, strawberries or bananas)
-Lunches are usually leftovers, grilled cheese, pbj, homemade pizza from the freezer, Tyson nuggets if we have them(B1G1F sale)or sale Hebrew National hot dogs, cost anywhere from $.00-1.00 per serving. Hubby takes 2-4 plain natural pb sandwiches($.45) to work everyday along with fruit and any baked goods we have on hand. He drinks water and free coffee all day.

We usually have salads or some kind of raw veg appetizer with low veg meals but this week we we were out of salad fixins and the raw stuff. It's been three weeks since my last shopping trip so we get to that point at the end of the month, eating what I've bought before I go out and buy more. Waste not! Don't ask me to calculate the roast beef and all the fixings splurge meal we're having next week. ;) Anyway, the kids aren't salad eaters yet so that adds only about $.40 each to a meal for hubby and me when we have the fresh veggies available. As long as we average out to 5 servings a day of F&V over a week, I'm ok with having some low cost/low veg meals here and there.

crumbcatcher

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2014, 02:01:44 PM »
I tend to eat my food whole rather than combine it into "meals" that the common American would comprehend.  So, instead of making loaded baked potatoes for dinner, I just wind up eating maybe a bowl of broccoli (separate) and a baked potato (separate) and eating some fruit later in the night. 

Not everyone's cup of tea, but as someone who tends to easily put on weight, I appreciate the fact that my food doesn't taste so good that I wind up overweight.  With a minimum of fat, sugar and salt in the diet, it's easy to stay within 10 pounds of an ideal weight.   

I've recently started doing something similar.  I decided to cut out starchy stuff like bread and pasta, and fatty stuff like cheese, and eat my food in as whole and original a state as possible.  Boiled eggs, oatmeal with almonds and dried cranberries, nuts, sliced veggies and homemade hummus (without the tahini).  I did this for health reasons, to lose weight and clear up my skin, and it's working well for that purpose.  An unintended side effect is that it's a lot less expensive because there is no processed "pre-made" stuff (the nuts are the most expensive) and I'm just less hungry, so I'm buying less food overall.

+1 for super whole, satisfying real food.

bikebum

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2014, 05:46:32 PM »
whole turkeys... roast one and that's meat for like a month

How do you keep the meat good for a month? Freeze some of it?

yeah I keep something like 2 pounds in the fridge (enough for 7-10 days, yeah I know that's not technically "safe" but whatever) and freeze the rest in similar-sized packages

Cool, thanks. I often eat meat that has been in the fridge for 7-10 days. I just use my taste and smell to decide if it is OK.

Gin1984

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #33 on: November 13, 2014, 09:22:35 AM »
something to peruse: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/mustachian-recipes-8326/

basically though the closer you get to actual plants/animals (e.g. whole chickens instead of boneless skinless breasts or chicken nuggets, whole veggies instead of frozen or precut, dried beans instead of canned, etc.) the cheaper and IMO tastier it gets.

Some inexpensive ingredients I've been playing with recently:
red lentils... way tastier than brown IMO
sourdough starter... free yeasts, and I get to feel like I'm taking care of something <3 (its name is Chef)
whole turkeys... roast one and that's meat for like a month
root veggies... always cheap
I am rereading this to get more ideas and just noticed this.  You know what is strange?  I can actually get boneless chicken breasts for cheaper than a whole chicken often.  Isn't that crazy?

Pooperman

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #34 on: November 13, 2014, 10:10:09 AM »
Once you know how to make general things like bean soup or burritos or whatever, the next step is to just focus on what the ingredients cost.

5lb bag potatoes can be had on sale for $0.50-0.75. Probably the least expensive foodstuff in North America.
Canned/Frozen vegetables (usually run about $0.50/8oz on sale)
Rice is also inexpensive (about $1/lb depending on variety)
Dried beans generally run about $1/lb.
Cheapest meats I've seen this past year are: pork butt/shoulder (@ $0.85/lb), and chicken (@ $0.99/lb) on sale of course.

Recent cheap meal:
2lb chuck (or whatever is the cheapest cut of beef) cubed ($5)
2 onions, chopped ($0.50)
2 large parsnips, cut ($3)
4 carrots ($1)
5lb potatoes ($0.75)
2qt beef stock (free if you make your own, $4 if you don't)
assorted spices (italian seasoning basically) ($0.25)
1/4 cup sugar ($0.05)

serves 12-15 ($1/serving approx)

Gin1984

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #35 on: November 13, 2014, 10:36:41 AM »
Once you know how to make general things like bean soup or burritos or whatever, the next step is to just focus on what the ingredients cost.

5lb bag potatoes can be had on sale for $0.50-0.75. Probably the least expensive foodstuff in North America.
Canned/Frozen vegetables (usually run about $0.50/8oz on sale)
Rice is also inexpensive (about $1/lb depending on variety)
Dried beans generally run about $1/lb.
Cheapest meats I've seen this past year are: pork butt/shoulder (@ $0.85/lb), and chicken (@ $0.99/lb) on sale of course.

Recent cheap meal:
2lb chuck (or whatever is the cheapest cut of beef) cubed ($5)
2 onions, chopped ($0.50)
2 large parsnips, cut ($3)
4 carrots ($1)
5lb potatoes ($0.75)
2qt beef stock (free if you make your own, $4 if you don't)
assorted spices (italian seasoning basically) ($0.25)
1/4 cup sugar ($0.05)

serves 12-15 ($1/serving approx)
How do you cook this?

Pooperman

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2014, 10:58:27 AM »
Once you know how to make general things like bean soup or burritos or whatever, the next step is to just focus on what the ingredients cost.

5lb bag potatoes can be had on sale for $0.50-0.75. Probably the least expensive foodstuff in North America.
Canned/Frozen vegetables (usually run about $0.50/8oz on sale)
Rice is also inexpensive (about $1/lb depending on variety)
Dried beans generally run about $1/lb.
Cheapest meats I've seen this past year are: pork butt/shoulder (@ $0.85/lb), and chicken (@ $0.99/lb) on sale of course.

Recent cheap meal:
2lb chuck (or whatever is the cheapest cut of beef) cubed ($5)
2 onions, chopped ($0.50)
2 large parsnips, cut ($3)
4 carrots ($1)
5lb potatoes ($0.75)
2qt beef stock (free if you make your own, $4 if you don't)
assorted spices (italian seasoning basically) ($0.25)
1/4 cup sugar ($0.05)

serves 12-15 ($1/serving approx)
How do you cook this?

Forgot the important part. Brown the meat + onion in a frying pan. Put everything in a slow cooker. Serve ~8 hours later after it's simmered for a bit. If you're feeling fancy, caramelize the sugar before putting it in.

2ndTimer

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #37 on: November 13, 2014, 11:49:57 AM »
Garlic Cabbage Potatoes

The name says it all.  Chop up some garlic and saute for a minute or two.  Add chopped cabbage and potatoes.  Put a lid on it and turn the heat down.  Come back and stir once in a while.  Eat when potatoes are soft and cabbage arrives at desired degree of limpness.  Salt and lots of black pepper.

This is the Hub's favorite food just before a weigh-in.  Made with minimal fat and potato and maximal cabbage and garlic it is a very satisfying diet dish. 

Silverwood

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2014, 10:33:08 AM »
I adopted the McDougall program diet (for health reasons) and it is very cheap.  It is vegan and starch-based by Dr. McDougall (www.drmcdougall.com). . .  So I'll eat things like oatmeal, potatoes, pasta, rice, grains, veggies, fruits, and beans...most of those can be bought in bulk and fairly cheap.

I eat the same way, and for the same reasons -- cheap and healthy. 

I tend to eat my food whole rather than combine it into "meals" that the common American would comprehend.  So, instead of making loaded baked potatoes for dinner, I just wind up eating maybe a bowl of broccoli (separate) and a baked potato (separate) and eating some fruit later in the night. 

Not everyone's cup of tea, but as someone who tends to easily put on weight, I appreciate the fact that my food doesn't taste so good that I wind up overweight.  With a minimum of fat, sugar and salt in the diet, it's easy to stay within 10 pounds of an ideal weight.   


I like this idea of not making meals.I live alone so most times it's soup or stirfry.  Something simple.  I'm guessing you don't believe in the paleo way of eating? You don't think you're eating to many carbs?  I find when im tired I revert back to recipes I grew up with. Hamburger helper, mac and cheese etc. It's hard not to think of simple meals as poor meals. When I'm eating just eggs for dinner I feel like I'm doing it wrong, if that makes sense? That I need a veggie, a meat and some type of carb.

FarmerPete

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #39 on: November 14, 2014, 11:19:16 AM »
This year we went a little nuts with winter squash when a local store had it for $0.25 a lb.  Spaghetti squash is crazy good.  Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, bake at 425 for 40 minutes.  Scrape the inside with a fork to create some "noodles".  It's not done yet, so put it back in for another 30 minutes or so.  Pull it out and scrape the rest.  If it's still not all coming out, put it back in and try again.  When it's finished, pour on some heated spaghetti sauce on top.  Add some mozzarella or parm cheese on top.  Eat it right out of the shell. Total cost for two bowls is ~$2.50 with sauce and cheese.

tarheeldan

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #40 on: November 14, 2014, 11:36:09 AM »
Slow Cooker FTW!

1 bottle/can of Thai Red Curry paste (not Thai Kitchen overpriced rubbish, but Mae Ploy, Angel Brand, Lobo or similar budget from actual Thai company)
1 can coconut milk
1 coconut milk can's worth of water
1-2 country style pork rib sections
1 bag mixed beans
2 bags oriental mix frozen vegetables

Soak beans overnight of course. Slow cook for 6-8hrs depending on thickness of pork, adding in the vegetables for only the final 1-1.5hrs. Serve over rice.

I freeze servings in freezer bags after they've sat in the fridge for a day to become even more yummy.

Trudie

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #41 on: November 14, 2014, 11:55:01 AM »
I have a huge bag of frozen mixed vegetables in the freezer (from Costco) that needs some attention.

I'm going to mix it with ginger, tomato paste, a can of tomatoes, coconut milk, onion, and curry powder and make a simple veggie curry to serve over rice.

I'm forever gathering up bits from the fridge (roasted chicken, roasted veg) and serving them over rice.  But it works, and you can develop different flavor profiles (Indian, Mexican, etc.) that there's a lot of variety.


2ndTimer

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #42 on: November 16, 2014, 11:06:33 AM »
Pasties

Requirements:  Discounted approaching sell by date biscuits, a couple of potatoes

Boil and mash the potatoes with no added liquid.
Add anything you happen to have around for flavoring such as garlic, sausage, leftover vegetables, cheese, spices

Mix well and taste.  You want a fairly strong taste since it will have to support a bland crust

Roll out biscuits to the size of tortillas

Put about half a cup of potato mixture on it and fold it up like a burrito

Bake 10-15 min @ 350

Unique User

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #43 on: November 17, 2014, 11:27:18 AM »
Once you know how to make general things like bean soup or burritos or whatever, the next step is to just focus on what the ingredients cost.

5lb bag potatoes can be had on sale for $0.50-0.75. Probably the least expensive foodstuff in North America.
Canned/Frozen vegetables (usually run about $0.50/8oz on sale)
Rice is also inexpensive (about $1/lb depending on variety)
Dried beans generally run about $1/lb.
Cheapest meats I've seen this past year are: pork butt/shoulder (@ $0.85/lb), and chicken (@ $0.99/lb) on sale of course.


Our menu changes based on what produce is on sale and what meat markdowns we found/are in our freezer, then I google to find recipes.  We do a lot of Asian and taco type meals in the crockpot or simple roast chicken/pork with roasted vegetables.  Check out this site, she has great ideas and recipes for frugal meals, many bean based.  I think she has a series on eating for 40 or 50 cents a day.  http://theprudenthomemaker.com/live/eat-for-less


MrsSmitty

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #44 on: November 17, 2014, 11:44:04 AM »
We tend to cook 1 or 2 new recipes each week and the rest of the week eat what I call "filler meals." Filler meals are those easy prep, no thought, meals that you probably already have the ingredients for. The new recipes keep me from getting bored in the kitchen but the filler meals keep me from getting overwhelmed with dinner planning. Plus I'm less likely to waste food since filler meals are designed around what needs to be used up.

Our favorite filler meals are
-leftovers
-rice & beans (can of black beans, can of diced tomatoes, cumin, other spices) with whatever toppings we have around (cheese, sour cream, salsa, jalapenos, etc.),
-pasta & sauce made from canned crushed tomatoes with garlic and red pepper flakes
-frittata (usually with potato, cheese, and frozen broccoli)
-grilled cheese & tomato soup
-something from the freezer.

Right now we're loving frozen lasagnas as a filler meal. There's just 2 of us so I made lasagna rolls and used loaf tins from the dollar store to freeze 4 per tin. I based my recipe on this one  but made a few tweaks (less meat in the sauce, added spinach to the filling). http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2014/05/lasagna-rollups/ I ended up making 7 2-serving portions at a couple dollars each. Just toss it in a hot oven when you get home from work and you're good to go.

wealthviahealth

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #45 on: November 18, 2014, 07:05:30 AM »
Lately I have been using red lentils to make dessert like breakfasts similar to oatmeal or cream of wheat.
When you add a bit of cinnamon and honey they taste like they were meant to be sweetened.
Dirt cheap and decent amount of protein and fiber.

The Borgs

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #46 on: November 22, 2014, 09:00:36 PM »

I do make from-scratch biscuits using heavy cream so there's no dealing with the butter at all (comes together FAST for baking), but for the purposes of the chicken and dumplings recipe, it's just easier if you're wanting a meal ready to eat in under 30 minutes with no real measuring or thought - to use the canned variety.

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-cream-biscuits-in-109151
They are HEAVENLY. I'll have to try the scones recipe. :)

I have to thank you for this. I'm great with other baking, but for some reason had always failed with scones/biscuits. Just tried these and not only are they stupidly easy, they're perfect. Slightly crisp on the outside, fluffy light in the middle, buttery, great crumb. Wow. This is now going into my regular recipe rotation and also most likely onto my thighs.

It's a great thing for me with frugal meals to have a look at what other countries have as their cheap home cooked dishes. The dishes always seem a bit more special because they're not native, you feel spoiled rather than deprived. With this in mind, biscuits and gravy is on my to do list now!

Adventine

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #47 on: November 22, 2014, 10:44:06 PM »


It's a great thing for me with frugal meals to have a look at what other countries have as their cheap home cooked dishes. The dishes always seem a bit more special because they're not native, you feel spoiled rather than deprived.

+1. This is one of the reasons why I stopped cooking rice (had it for every meal pretty much every damn day growing up). I make a lot of cheap "foreign" meals like pasta, hummus, salads, and sandwiches. Feels special and looks fancier than my coworkers' daily takeout rice meals.

The Borgs

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #48 on: November 23, 2014, 04:20:06 AM »

+1. This is one of the reasons why I stopped cooking rice (had it for every meal pretty much every damn day growing up). I make a lot of cheap "foreign" meals like pasta, hummus, salads, and sandwiches. Feels special and looks fancier than my coworkers' daily takeout rice meals.

In contrast, this is why I now buy my rice in 10kg bags!

I also made these today:
http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2012/03/28/roti-buttery-indian-flatbread/
Super easy and very tasty, less than 10 minutes from start to finish. Unfortunately for my hips, they taste so good I may have to make them again tomorrow.

Adventine

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Re: Frugal Meals
« Reply #49 on: November 23, 2014, 04:46:43 AM »

+1. This is one of the reasons why I stopped cooking rice (had it for every meal pretty much every damn day growing up). I make a lot of cheap "foreign" meals like pasta, hummus, salads, and sandwiches. Feels special and looks fancier than my coworkers' daily takeout rice meals.

In contrast, this is why I now buy my rice in 10kg bags!

I also made these today:
http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2012/03/28/roti-buttery-indian-flatbread/
Super easy and very tasty, less than 10 minutes from start to finish. Unfortunately for my hips, they taste so good I may have to make them again tomorrow.
Roti... Now that is a delicious idea for my next cooking experiment. Thanks!