How do you feed your family for less? Share your recipes and meal plans!
Cooking with frugal ingredients and making meals that stretch over more than one dinner can help your family have great meals without breaking the bank. Planning at least a week's worth of meals in advance can also make it cheaper and easier to buy groceries.
Here are some great tips for planning frugal meals:
- Choose inexpensive ingredients for your main dish
- Stock up on beans for cheap and nutritious meals
- Use eggs, not just for breakfast, but for lunch or dinner, too
- Make use of leftovers by turning them into stews or soups
- Cook casseroles that stretch for more than one meal
- Plan your frugal meals based on coupons and supermarket specials
- Familiarize yourself with store prices on items you can cook for less
- Think about pasta or rice dishes for stretchable, versatile meals
Here are a week's worth of $10 dinners:
- Turkey Chili: Estimated Cost: $6.75-$7.75; Serves 4
Ingredients: 1 pound ground turkey, 1 can chili beans (drained and rinsed), 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed), 1 14oz can diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato paste, 2 tsp chili powder
Directions: Brown ground turkey in a skillet and drain. In a large pot, combine black beans, chili beans, diced tomatoes (do not drain) and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Add in the cooked ground turkey. Stir in chili powder. Let simmer for 30 minutes on low heat. Serve with crackers or a slice of whole wheat bread.
- Dirty Rice Casserole: Estimated Cost: $6.00;Serves 4
Ingredients: 1 pound ground turkey or beef, 1 box of Zatarain's reduced sodium dirty rice, 1 small green pepper (chopped), 1 small red onion (chopped)
Directions: Cook rice according to package. In a medium-sized skillet, brown the ground turkey or beef. Add in onions and peppers. Once the rice is finished and the meat is drained, combine together in a large pot. Serve with hot sauce or teriyaki sauce if desired.
- Italian Meatball Soup: Estimated Cost: $6.50-$7.50; Serves 4
Ingredients: 8oz refrigerated or frozen meatballs;1 15oz can sweet peas; 1 14oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano; 1 14oz can beef broth
Directions: Combine all ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, about 10 minutes or until meatballs are heated through. Garnish with basil if desired.
- Baked Ziti: Estimated Cost: $6.75-$7.50; Serves 4
Ingredients: 1 box whole penne pasta, 1 jar spaghetti sauce, 1lb ground turkey, 1 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
Directions: Boil pasta according to package. Brown the meat in large skillet and drain. Add in jar of spaghetti sauce. Drain pasta and combine with meat and sauce mixture. Pour pasta into a lasagna pan and sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of reduced fat mozzarella cheese. Heat in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Meatball Subs: Estimated Cost: $7.50-$8.50; Serves 4
Ingredients: 8oz package turkey meatballs, 1 bag sub rolls, 1 jar spaghetti sauce, 1 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
Directions: Heat meatballs in a saucepan with spaghetti sauce. Place meatballs on sub rolls, and sprinkle with cheese. Place in oven until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.
- Veggie Wrap: Estimated Cost: $7.00-$8.00; Serves 4
Ingredients: 10-inch flour tortillas, 2 TB cheddar cheese, ½ cup cut up vegetables, 1 TB bottled ranch dressing
Directions: Layer cheese and vegetables on tortilla. Top with ranch salad dressing and roll up
*Note that the prices listed will vary based on brand, store and location.
What are your best tips for making frugal dinners? What are your favorite low-cost meals?