Great Recipes on a budget!

MissingMyOldSelf Posts: 689 Member
This topic hasn't been visited in a while... so I'm looking for some great meals on a budget!

Due to some monetary issues for a while (approximately 6 months, thanks to an emergency bill that came around), we are on a strict budget for grocery shopping. We have about $75 dollars a week to feed ourselves on for lunches and dinners, and I'm calling on all your bargain shoppers, thrifty cooks, Pinterest fiends, and all of you creative cooks to help me, and possibly other people!

I think for this coming week, I'm going to experiment with the $30 a week challenge, found here:

PS - trying to stay away from the ramen noodles and microwave meals unless necessary because of the high sodium (yay for genetics and high blood pressure!)

Thanks everyone!!! You helping me and my husband get by will be TREMENDOUSLY appreciated!!!!!


  • juliep1974
    juliep1974 Posts: 222 Member
    Two of my favorite cheap meals are chili (with or without meat) and this one from Skinnytaste:

    I use chicken thighs (bone-in) a lot because they are so cheap. Good luck!
  • GeneveSparkles
    GeneveSparkles Posts: 283 Member
    I just made this recipe:

    It was really good and flavorful! It made 8 1 cup servings for 167 cals per serving. All the ingredients were pretty inexpensive and the bulgur is a good filler for other recipes. You could also get more bang for your buck by buying dried beans.
  • my fav cheap meals (made in bulk and frozen)

    cottage/shepherds pie
    sausage and cabbage stew
    pasta carbonara
    any kind of indian curry
    lentil soup (or any soup really)

    fav cheap meals made on the day

    tortilla pizza
    cheesy baked beans and eggs on toast

    this website is great for ideas with eggs (if you can get eggs cheap like we can here)
  • tgibbons1935
    tgibbons1935 Posts: 85 Member
    I always cook on Sunday and eat off of it all week and this week I made a pork loin and it was awesome! I had some pork rub spice that I bought at the store and I put it in a roaster so it would be covered and cooked it at 250 degrees for several hours and it was amazing. I just put some salt on it and completely covered it on both sides with the rub then I put it on a rack in the roaster (with the fat side up) and put some beef broth in the bottom of the pan for some moisture and cooked it for several hours. We are now eating it with green beans, brussell sprouts, etc. It was a really big pork loin so I sliced it and froze it so we can have it again. I also use Sandy's Kitchen Adventures recipes a lot and the meat lasagna and beef cabbage stir fry are great cheap meals that last for several days. I don't eat a lot of chicken but I have a great marinade for chicken breasts and then we usually grill them. I mix together picante sauce, low fat Italian dressing, lemon juice, hot sauce and cilantro and let it marinate for about a day or so and it is fabulous! I like to make kabobs with that chicken but you could just grill it and eat it like that.
  • Dee_84
    Dee_84 Posts: 431 Member
    We are also on a budget. Tonight we had salmon burgers. You can find the big cans of wild caught salmon on sale for under $3.00 (I got them at Walgreens for $2.49). Take out the big bones and mix the salmon with 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 2 eggs, some seasoning and form into 8 patties. Bake in the oven at 375°F for 20-25 min, flip halfway through.
    We had them on buns with lettuce, tomato, onions and homemade tarter sauce. Very tasty!

    Leftover patties can be frozen and reheated.
  • Mom4Liz
    Mom4Liz Posts: 55
    If you have a Farmers market in your area start there and build your menu around the deals you get. You need a real farmers market though. We have a couple of real ones in the city I live in and then a bunch of fancy markets that call themselves farmers markets but are really expensive.

    The really good farmers market in my city is only open on Saturdays. What you do is go there at 2 or 3 in the afternoon. By then the farmers have been there all day and they want to go home. They don't want to cart all their vegetables home. They probably won't keep until next Saturday anyways. So they start dropping their prices...significantly. I've bought an entire flat of tomatoes or strawberries for $5 before. You never know what will be the really good deal you get. Maybe it will be zucchini. Maybe green peppers. Once you find your great deal you build your menu around it.
  • MissingMyOldSelf
    MissingMyOldSelf Posts: 689 Member
    Oh man, Mom4Liz, I can't WAIT for the farmers markets and roadside stands to kick back in! The weather has been crazy here recently.... we had a few nice, spring days, and now, it's back to mid 40's and freezing at night, so I'm really hoping that this doesn't hurt the local farmers!!!! But I will have veggie pastas, and make salsas, and nothing better than a fresh fruit salad!!!!
  • iggyboo93
    iggyboo93 Posts: 524 Member
    One of our favorite cheap recipes:

    German Lentil Soup (total cost for 5 servings - around $6 or $1.20 per serving)
    1 bag of lentils, sorted ($1.09)
    1 onion, chopped (~$0.50)
    3 carrots, peeled and chopped (~$0.40)
    3 potatoes, peeled and chopped (~$.50)
    1 polish kielbasa sausage ($3.50)
    3 TBS flour (--)
    sugar and vinegar to taste (--)

    In a soup pot, combine lentils, 1/2 of the onion, carrots, and potatoes. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the kielbasa thin and saute in a frying pan until brown. Add the sausage to the soup BUT don't stir it in yet (save the oil created from the sausage). Saute the remaining half of onion in the oil until translucent. Sprinkle the flour over the onion and stir. Add the onion/flour mix to the soup. Now you stir - gently. Bring to boil for about one minute and turn off the heat. Serve with sugar and vinegar to taste (this is how my hubby's family in Germany garnishes this soup). 5 servings, each serving - 375 calories, 58 carbs, 8 fat, 32 protein, 860 sodium, and 10 sugar (you can will save a ton of sodium by skipping the kielbasa and I didn't count the calories in the sugar/vinegar)

    Stir fry is a great money saver - Costco has a bag of stir fry veggies at about $9/bag which is very tasty.

    Save your vegetable peelings and chicken bones for making stock - much healthier than using bouillon cubes or the high sodium stock from the store.

    My go to websites for good inexpensive recipes is: allrecipes and budgetsavvydiva
  • SenseiCole
    SenseiCole Posts: 429 Member
    Craigs - Apricot Jam, 60 g
    Bisto - Beef Gravy Granules, 300 ml
    Cabbage - Raw, 4 cup, chopped
    Carrots - Raw, 1 cup, chopped
    Generic - Curry Powder, 6 to 8 tsp
    Onion - White Onion, Raw, Diced, 0.5 cup (160g)
    Regular Beef Mince, 1000 grams

    brown mince and onion
    curry power
    add aprioct jam and gravy / water
    carrots and cabbage
    cook until cooked eat with rice
  • karensdream
    karensdream Posts: 135 Member
    great idea about the Farmer's Market. I shop them in season, but I am going to have to re-think the way I shop now. I always thought to get there early for the pick of the best produce, but I think now I will wait for the deals instead. Our Market goes year round even though we are in Ohio. They move it to an indoor market place. Only bad thing is fewer vendors in the winter.
  • Check out the Budget Bytes blog. She posts tons of great recipes, usually pretty simple, and all broken down by cost. I've made many of her recipes and never had one turn out poorly.
  • iggyboo93
    iggyboo93 Posts: 524 Member
    Check out the Budget Bytes blog. She posts tons of great recipes, usually pretty simple, and all broken down by cost. I've made many of her recipes and never had one turn out poorly.

    Just checked this site out. Wow!! I have a new go to place for cheap eats. The black bean and avocado enchiladas sound divine.
  • MissingMyOldSelf
    MissingMyOldSelf Posts: 689 Member
    I personally got overly excited about the Chunky Monkey baked oatmeal LOL!!!

    Thanks guys!!!! I really appreciate the ideas, recipes, and sites!!!! Please keep them coming!!!!!!!!
  • I personally good at making different type of eggs.

    Because I love eggs lol :D
  • Pasta bakes are my favorite. swap half the pasta for broccoli and use a low fat cream cheese for the sauce. Can get 8 healthy servings for £3.50.
  • GasnotGas
    GasnotGas Posts: 54 Member
    Stir fry: Very cheap if you buy the veg separately and cut yourself (instead of buying those pre veg cut boxes). Make sure you have a few essentials like low salt soy source, sake, white wine vinegar, fish sauce, Sesame oil, Chinese five spice and veg stock cubes. Experiment with different flavours (tip, less is more) and you be very surprised and how good a basic stir fry can taste.

    Bulk buy your meat and freeze it (at present I have over 20 chicken breasts in the freezer that I bought super cheap from a farmers market). Keep an eye on the reduced fresh meat section in the supermarket, I usually manage to pick up a few steaks and/or salmon if I shop late evening. I just bung it in the freezer and defrost on the day we plan to eat it.
  • GKoz004
    GKoz004 Posts: 87
    Tuna, tortillas, rice, and beans are always super cheap! I know you can't live off only those, but they can be the focus of some of your meals and they have pretty good staying-power.

    If there's an Aldi by you, they have super affordable food. Canned goods are usually ~50-60c, their breads are usually around $1, very affordable fresh produce, various cheeses are only $2, etc. Of course, if there isn't one by you this info is useless :/
  • mazdauk
    mazdauk Posts: 1,380 Member
    Hubs got 2kg of turkey mince at a bargain price (its now in the freezer in 500g portions). What are your favourite recipes for using this?
  • lil_pulp
    lil_pulp Posts: 701 Member
    Bump to read later.
  • happystars82
    happystars82 Posts: 225 Member