Favorite Cheap Meals

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by SCTeacher23, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. SCTeacher23

    SCTeacher23 Comrade

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    What are your favorite cheap/inexpensive meals?
     
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  3. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I made fried chicken dinner tonight for four, with leftovers for son's lunch tomorrow, for around $4.75.

    We butcher our own pork and beef. It is a big bill (around $978 for the beef and $400 for the pork this year). I have a full freezer of beef and another of pork. My beef was around $2.98 a pound this year. Pork was almost the same. The pork could have been done cheaper, but I have four types of sausage made and my hams all smoked. This really cuts down on my grocery budget. Plus it taste so much better.

    If you are interested in buying a butcher animal, contact your local 4-H or FFA leader. Most of these kids take amazing care of their animals. This animals are tested for drugs at most major shows. This makes it a healther product for your family. Also, if you do purchase a show animal, remember they are bred and fed to be lean. That means you don't want to have your hamburger ground 90/10...you need it to be 85/15 or 80/20 for flavor.
     
  4. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Pasta: pick a noodle, pick a sauce, add veggies (or don't), add a protein

    Wrap less egg rolls: ground chicken, broccoli slaw, soy sauce, garlic. It's like eating just the inside of the egg roll.

    Breakfast: eggs, pancakes/ toast

    Grilled cheese and soup
     
  5. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

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    During the winter, I make quite a bit of soup-- mostly lentil or bean based. It saves a lot of money and time.
     
  6. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    We make a "taco soup" that is SO yummy and ridiculously easy to prepare. It makes a ton so we always have left overs, even with a family of 4 (or 5 depending on if the college girl is home!)

    1 lb ground beef/turkey
    1 can enchilada sauce
    1 can diced tomatoes (flavored if you want)
    1 can "mexi-corn"
    1 can black beans with jalapenos
    1 can black eyed peas (also with jalapenos if you like)
    1 can hominey
    1 packet taco seasoning
    1 packet dry ranch dressing
    1 can beef broth

    Brown the meat, throw everything in a big pot (don't drain the canned stuff), and heat it for about 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, shredded cheese and sour cream if you wish.
     
  7. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Could I substitute chicken broth? I don't eat beef.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Pasta
    Eggs
    Pancakes/waffles...breakfast for dinner
    Salad
    Quesadillas

    All of the above are frugal and yummy.
     
  9. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Absolutley! :) You can add or delete any of the ingredients for the most part. They key is the enchilada sauce and the taco seasoning!
     
  10. SCTeacher23

    SCTeacher23 Comrade

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    All good ideas! Keep them coming! I'm trying to save for a house and am bored of the same things. I like the idea of soup recipes - I'm sure there are others that are cheap as well. Some of mine that haven't been listed yet:

    Sloppy Joe's
    Tuna/Hamburger Helper
    Frozen Pizza
    Hot Dogs with canned Chili
    Burgers
     
  11. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    My crock pot is a godsend. I make a lot of large batch meals in there.
    - pasta e fagioli and zuppa Toscana soup (copycat recipes from Olive Garden)
    - lasagna (yep I put it all in the crock pot without even boiling noodles first. You can also substitute zucchini slices as noodles)
    - rotisserie chicken
    - fiesta chicken
    - spare ribs
    - chili
    - chicken & stuffing

    Non crock recipes:
    - shepherds pie
    - zucchini boats
    - quesadillas and pizzadillas
    - beef & ale stew
    - baked potato hash with broccoli and smoked sausage
    - stir fry
     
  12. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I make split pea soup once a week. My son could live on it. I add grated carrots and potato chunks.

    I love a stir fry of chicken strips with sweet onions and chorizo served with rice and black beans. I add recaito to the beans for a quick version. Recaito is pureed peppers for seasoning.
     
  13. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    What exactly is in the crockpot lasagna, MLB?
     
  14. 4815162342

    4815162342 Companion

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    Wine
     
  15. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    My favorite cheap meal is homemade hamburger helper. Once I figured out how to make any helper with my own ingredients, I have never went back to the yucky box of unknown ick. Once you get the pattern down, it's easy-meat, starch (noodles or potatoes), 3 cups milk/water (how much of each depends on how creamy you want it), seasoning with cornstarch, and cheese if you want it.

    And they taste so much better! Especially if you use homegrown beef, as noted earlier.

    http://chickensintheroad.com/cooking/homemade-hamburger-helper/
     
  16. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Daisy - it's exactly like regular lasagna. I start with my homemade sauce (28oz cans of sauce and crushed tomato, small can of tomato paste, sautéed carrots/celery/onion/garlic, and Italian seasoning or whatever spices you like) that makes about 2 jars of sauce. Then I make the cheese mix with a large tub of ricotta, egg, parsley, mozzarella and Parmesan. I scoop a little sauce on the bottom of the crock, then layer noodles, cheese, spinach, and sauce. I usually break the noodles to get into the round parts. Sometimes they overlap - not a problem. Do not top with mozzarella yet. Cook it on low for about 5 hours, then top with mozzarella and let stand about 10 min so it melts. You can also add ground beef or sausage on top of the cheese.
     
  17. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I know I've seen something about "Cheap Meals" on Pinterest. Like another poster said, you can make big meals in the crockpot then freeze them for another time.
     
  18. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    If you buy a spiral ham when they are on sale you can get a lot of meals with it besides the main meal. We use it in potato soup, make like a sweet sour sauce with rice & pineapple, sandwiches, bfast side, etc
     
  19. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Well, only if you like cheap wine LOL The wine I like is more expensive than a regular cheap meal :lol:
     
  20. 4815162342

    4815162342 Companion

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    Lol, i do. The huge bottles from walmart for like $6. I'm a cheap date.

    But a for serious answer: tacos. Never can go wrong with tacos.
     
  21. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Thanks, MLB. That sounds so much easier than making a huge mess baking it.
     
  22. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Oh man you have no idea. I will never bake lasagna again. Plus with the crock I feel like I get better definition between the layers. It can be a little difficult to get out of the crock though.
     
  23. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Did you ever try it with meat?
     
  24. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    I have made it with meat before, yes. Just like with regular lasagna you have to brown it first. I would layer sauce, noodle, ricotta, meat, mozzarella, sauce (instead of mixing the mozz with the ricotta like I said earlier).
     
  25. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    OK, I wondered about the browning. I make a good, hearty beef stew in the crockpot with a good cut of beef cut in chunks, veggies of your choosing, a little water, and a packet of brown gravy mix sprinkled over it all. It comes out delicious and perfect every time. No browning of the meat needed.
     
  26. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    When I do pot roast or beef stew in the crockpot I just sear the meat a bit on each side but not fully cook it. I've never made anything with ground beef in the crockpot because I figure if I have to brown the beef then I might as well just skip the crockpot.
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    :thumb:

    I agree. Some crock pot recipes take so much cooking prep that I don't think it is worth it.
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Black beans and rice is a relatively quick, easy, and inexpensive meal. For ease I get canned beans when they are on sale and stock up. I cook rice in a rice cooker. I get smoked sausage or kielbasa when it is on sale.

    Skinless chicken breast seared in cast iron skillet and finished in hot oven with some starch and a frozen veggie cooked in the microwave. Done in less than 1/2 an hour.
     
  29. WarriorPrncss

    WarriorPrncss Companion

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    I do a lot of meal prep and stick to just a handful of things: a meat/protein, a veggie, a carb, and a small serving of a healthy fat.

    I've been loving Turkey Sriracha Meatballs with bell pepper and rice. Simple, tasty, and mostly spices.

    Sometimes I just whip out my George Foreman grill and grill chicken, veggies, and then make some rice, portion in out and there you go.

    I like to do Pita Bread Pizzas. I get the Pita bread at Costco, but there's a lot of it, add pizza sauce, cheese, whatever toppings you like, and broil in the oven on high for 5-7 minutes. (You can also use English Muffins and Bagels.)
     
  30. Ms. I

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    Cup of Noodles or Sapporo Ichiban instant noodles. I really can't think of anything else cheap, except for anything else that's INSTANT: Jello, 1-box pasta meals, Hamburger Helper meals, frozen meals, frozen pizzas, etc.

    Also, make enough of something & make it last a couple or so nights.
     
  31. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I cook up a bunch of ground beef at once, let it cool, then put it in plastic wrap then foil so I can grab a package out of the freezer for quick meal prep. Plus, I can get away with using less beef since I will make 9 or 10 packages out of four pounds. If it was up to my hubs, he'd use one pound per recipe!

    I usually just use onion and peppers to throw in while it's cooking since we like that but you could leave it out.
     
  32. ECE ABC

    ECE ABC Comrade

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    Stop & Shop has boxes of shells and cheese for 50 cents a box.

    I will purchase several boxes at one time (maybe 5 or 6) cook 2 boxes and add extra cheese, butter and milk and top with Italian bread crumbs....bake a tray of it in the oven and it lasts me for dayyyyyys:)

    I make it mostly in the fall/winter months!!!
     
  33. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    If you want actual healthy meals that are also cheap, try to stick with things that aren't processed. The beans someone mentioned can really stretch a meal without expensive meat. Veggies that are out of season might be expensive fresh, but frozen could be cheaper and still nutritious. I think of it as saving myself some serious $$ in the long run with good health now by not eating junk :2cents:
     
  34. ECE ABC

    ECE ABC Comrade

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    Ohhh that sounds so good, sounds like my moms.
     
  35. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Even though we're in Florida and it is crazy hot, he still loves it. I prefer it with ham in it and I like to have it with cornbread.
     
  36. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I buy the Perdue individually wrapped chicken breasts. They cost a bit more but there is literally no waste. I can snip open a packet and slide it right into the pan. Tonight, though, I sliced them, dredged in corn starch and seasoning, and sauteed them in onions and garlic. Served with black beans and yellow rice.
     
  37. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    I'm a country girl, so we often have pork chops smothered w/onions over some grits. Country, but good!
     
  38. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Life is too short to drink cheap wine. :spitwater:
     
  39. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    If I can't get fresh veggies, I always buy frozen (never canned). I can get bags for 99cents each that I use in a lot of recipes. Sometimes the steamable bags go on sale for the same price. Frozen mixed veggies are good for fried rice.

    I also often buy chicken thighs and leg quarters. I can get those for 89-99c/lb vs $1.99/lb for breasts.
     
  40. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    rice with a sprinkling of ground beef (like a third or even a fourth of a hamburger) cooked with chili powder, with cilantro and some black beans.

    Mostly it's rice, but has the flavors of everything else.
     
  41. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Sometimes I brown the meat first, but I often don't. It might add a little flavor, but if the recipe is flavorful enough as it is, I don't worry about it.

    I love to put a beef roast in the crockpot and sprinkle it with ranch dressing seasoning (I make my own, but you can use a packet). Turn it on low all day...that's literally all there is too it.
     

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