Recipe ideas on a low budget?



  • Lesa_Sass
    Lesa_Sass Posts: 2,213 Member
    Hey, try my facebook cooking page. I have a lot of tips and recipes that are cheaper than normal recipes:
  • goforthd5
    goforthd5 Posts: 167
  • _Wits_
    _Wits_ Posts: 1,312 Member
  • xaveria2
    xaveria2 Posts: 62
    bump for later. great links here, thanks
  • Bump, great ideas! :flowerforyou:
  • Yes2HealthyAriel
    Yes2HealthyAriel Posts: 452 Member
  • allisonrozsa
    allisonrozsa Posts: 178 Member
    Cooking with vegetables doesn't mean that you have to only eat salads. If you do have salads, looking through or Cooking light for more "salad" ideas (that don't necessarily even have lettuce). You can make stir-fries, pastas, rice dishes, roasts, and so much more with fresh veggies (that can also go a long way). Find a local market or low-cost grocery store (sometimes buying in bulk is helpful, like meats that you can freeze, but just be aware of how quickly things fresh items can go bad). I understand that money can be tight, but you can do this. Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive (in fact, I've seen friends budgets, and calculated my own that I spent less when eating healthy than I did when eating badly). I wish you the best.
  • sheen8r
    sheen8r Posts: 16
    Beans are your best friend. Dried beans are less expensive, and you just soak them.

    Cuban black beans on the cheap:
    Saute 2 cloves of garlic, onion, red pepper (all chopped) in a pot with olive oil and 1/2 tbs. cumin, 1 tsp. salt
    Add your canned or black beans and bring to a boil with a 1/2 cup water
    Lower the heat and simmer for 35-45 minutes
    Serve with rice....yummy, healthy, and only about 120 calories per serving!
  • weightloss12345678
    weightloss12345678 Posts: 377 Member
    Plans to try some of these
  • I just found this site and I LOVE it, it's my bible!! There are a ton of recipes on here too ;)

    LUV IT.....
  • gingerjen7
    gingerjen7 Posts: 821 Member
    When we're having a bad month financially, I make a lot of spaghetti. I get (all Great Value aka Walmart Brand) tomato sauce for about 97 cents, a tiny can of tomato paste for something like 48 cents, a box of pasta for about a dollar, and some ground beef which is probably the most expensive for around $4 (I think--I remember the whole thing being close to $6). The seasonings I have at home. I brown the ground beef with oregano, thyme, basil, real garlic if I have some, garlic salt if I don't, onion salt because I don't like onions. While that's browning I combine the tomato sauce and tomato paste in a medium sauce pan and put in the same seasonings over medium-low heat. If I can afford it, I will also get a can of diced tomatoes or a whole tomato and chop it up and throw that in there too, which is usually also 97 cents. The Italian blend with oregano and basil goes really well. When the meat is browned, I add that to the sauce and cover, then boil the pasta. My son is a spaghetti pig, and even so, the sauce is enough to last us for 4 nights; we just have to boil more pasta because I don't like reheated pasta.

    Other inexpensive meals that we live on when the money is tight (it still happens more than I'd care for):
    Shake & Bake pork chops with mashed potatoes (not instant--buying a bag of potatoes and boiling them is cheaper and tastes way better, plus you should be able to get several nights worth of sides out of a 5 lb bag) and salad--the great value shake and bake is just as tasty as the real brand
    Roast pork or chicken with potatoes or a pasta side and salad (my son really likes salad)--a roast should be able to supply ample leftovers
    Turkey dogs with turkey chili--just as good as a regular chili dog, inexpensive, and filling
    Worst and I only recommend it if you're absolutely desperate: ramen with stuff. It's not great for you, it doesn't taste that great (but you can add things to it to make it more like a hearty meal), but you can get a box with like 40 packets for something like $12. My cousin makes a salad with left over baked chicken, ramen, wasabi peas, and cabbage that is actually pretty delicious. I'm sure there's other stuff in it, but I've never made it myself so I'm not sure the exact recipe. In any case, there're some things you can do with ramen to make it a little more sophisticated, and then just eat a small portion if you're concerned about carbs/calories/sodium.
  • taiyola
    taiyola Posts: 974 Member
    I make bolognaise (with veggie 'mince') with pasta sauce (around £1 a jar and will make 5 servings), wholegrain pasta and frozen veggies like peppers, mushrooms and sweetcorn. Less than 300 calories with Feta cheese in my sauce and inexpensive.

    I take this to work all the time. Tasty, filling, low claorie, and cheap.

    I'm not sure about meat as I don't eat it, but try buying frozen. Veggies, meat if possible, big bags of potatoes to have as baked or mash, or even in a soup etc.

    Frozen is the way :smile: good luck! I am in a similar situation myself, on a low wage at work and going it alone. It can be made to work.
  • Soups! Soups are so easy and you can make all sorts of different kinds of soups on very simple and inexpensive ingredients. Sorry, I don't know very many recipies... I just basically throw whatever I have in the fridge into some chicken/vegetable/beef broth and call it good when our pantry is running low. Also invest in different kinds of noodles and rise and just experiment. You can't really go wrong :)
  • maurierose
    maurierose Posts: 575 Member
    Great ideas here! As mentioned by posters above, oats, rice, beans, sale fruits/veggies are all awesome ways to have healthy, nutritious meals for the two of you.

    Have a crock pot? You can easily make a very large (and cheap) batch of spaghetti sauce full of veggies (zucchini, squash, bell peppers, onions, finely chopped carrots, tomatoes, you name it... whatever you like) or a batch of chili in it; we make about 3x what our family will eat (gotta love a 6-8 quart crock pot) and then freeze the rest, and pull it out of the freezer as we need it. Don't laugh too hard, but we use frosting containers, and label them with masking tape.... each holds 2 cups, and it has it's own lid ;) They work wonderfully. Freezer ziplocks are awesome too, but a bit of a splurge if you're on a budget. You can even freeze the spaghetti sauce WITH the pasta.... just fill the container 2/3 of the way with the al dente pasta (don't want it too cooked or it'll get mushy) and cover with sauce, freeze... pull it out the day before and stick it in the fridge for a quick lunch/dinner.

    Buy veggies on sale - use what you can for the week, freeze the rest (tomatoes, celery, zucchini, squash, carrots, peas, green beans, strawberries, peeled/chopped apples, bananas, onions, bell name it, they all freeze wonderfully and work to toss into smoothies or soups, meatloaf, spaghetti, omelettes, etc. :)
  • brendajs
    brendajs Posts: 110 Member
    Wow! Great ideas and websites!

    Thanks for all the info!

  • AmyFett
    AmyFett Posts: 1,610 Member
    Buying in bulk definitely helps. I make big batches of things and then separate them out and freeze stuff all of the time.

    I do the same thing, I make 3-4 meals of alfredo, 3-4 of spaghetti all in one day. It's cheap to buy the big jars of sauce and huge things of the noodles. That's basically the advice I have, go for the bulk things.
  • All of the above tips are great, all things I would suggest, but I will go one step further. Waste nothing! I go shopping on Mondays usually, so on Sunday evening, I make a list of all the food in the fridge/freezer pantry that needs to be eaten. This includes all produce, dairy, condiments, meat, leftovers etc. Some foods are simply eaten as is, others are turned into new dishes. Then after checking to see what is on sale, I make a grocery list and plan a menu. The menu includes what is left to use and what I purchase on Mondays, and I think that greatly reduces bordem. I spend about $300-$350 on food for 4 people, so I think $150 is fine for two people. Here is an example of what this week looks like fore us

    To Use:
    pork (raw boneless chops)
    half and half
    pico de gio
    greek yogurt
    cream cheese.

    This weeks menu: Monday- Pork Fried Rice(uses pantry brown rice, pork, whatever veg. i find) Tues-kale salad, baked potato soup (uses kale, potatoes, half and half, cream cheese) Wednesday- Turkey Tacos- Thursday- Lemon Ricotta Pancakes Fri- Whole Chicken with roasted tomatoes, salad, polenta.

    Hope this helps. We throw away almost nothing and this makes a big difference. Get creative. Soup will hold nearly any variety of foods. Don't forget to make room for treats. Rice pudding, cookies, etc are all cheap and flexible!
  • cici52
    cici52 Posts: 34 Member
    I am in the same situation. Planning is key to success.

    1) Find your local food bank. That is free good food. Focus on the whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables. Don’t be afraid to try something new. There are plenty of recipes online.
    2) Plan your menu and make a shopping list. Never go shopping without a list. Take advantage of sales on meat and other whole foods. You might substitute one meat for another in a recipe. Spend your precious food stamps on good wholesome nutritious food.
    3) Figure out your portion sizes ahead and save the rest for another day. Saves both money and calories.

    Good luck and God bless.
  • Lizzy_Sunflower
    Lizzy_Sunflower Posts: 1,511 Member
    Great tips. Thanks!