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miasmom's avatar

Share your favorite frugal recipe.

Asked by miasmom (3495points) February 5th, 2009 from iPhone

Money is tight, let’s collectively share some good frugal recipes.

Last night we made Mini BBQ Meatloaves…

1.5 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup honey BBQ sauce
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix together and divide into muffin tin (makes 12). Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

We made it with a side salad and they were yummy…and quick and easy.

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32 Answers

jonsblond's avatar

1lb. ground sausage
1lb. box spaghetti
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
onion and garlic

Cheap and easy spaghetti. Getting ready to make it right now.

laureth's avatar

Make a batch or two of ramen noodles, without the “flavor” packets, drained.

Cut up and lightly stir fry: some matchstick-cut carrots, sliced onions, red bell pepper, a little garlic. Toss on top of the noodles.

In the empty pan, mix a little sesame oil, some peanut butter, and enough water and/or coconut milk to make it into peanut sauce. Add some crushed red pepper and Thai fish sauce. Pour sauce over noodles/veggies.

Top off with crushed peanuts and chopped scallions. Thai Ramen. Mmmm. And most of the ingredients are extra cheap at Asian groceries.

benseven's avatar

1 Bottle Ketchup
1 Bowl
Tap Water

This is a j/k…

Darwin's avatar

Black Beans and Rice

2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed, or two to three cans of black beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 ribs celery, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 pound smoked ham or 1 smoked pork chop (either left over or from the deli)
1 tablespoon dried basil or oregano (I like either or both)
8 cups chicken stock
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 can of beer

If using dried beans : Place the beans in a large pot and cover with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside. Otherwise open cans of beans and drain them. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, add the onion and ham and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes, until onion is softened and ham is lightly browned. Add the red bell pepper, carrots, and celery, and cook, stirring for about 10 more minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the oregano and/or basil, broth, beer, bay leaves, salt and pepper, and drained beans. Stir to blend. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until the beans are tender.

Serve over rice for complete protein. Add a side salad if you want.

Save left over beans and puree to serve as soup on a later day, with a glop of sour cream and some diced chives or cilantro on top as it is served.

Darwin's avatar

@laureth – you can also stir in an egg or two for more protein. That is well within Pad Thai tradition and is tasty, too.

Darwin's avatar

This is one I learned from some Italian students:

Student Fettucine

1 package green (Spinach) fettucine
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 can tuna

Make the fettucine following package directions. While it is cooking open and drain the tuna and open the whipping cream. When the fettucine is as tender as you want it, drain it, put it in a large bowl, add tuna and whipping cream and stir ingredients together. Serve with a salad such as ripe tomatoes with vinegar and oil dressing.

In place of tuna you can use scrambled egg, but I like the tuna better.

charliecompany34's avatar

when i finally get finished with my cookbook, you can check out these cheap faves”

chicken cacciatore from left-over chicken
salmon croquettes (really cheap)
omelets (from whatever is in the fridge)
spaghetti and meatballs (left over pasta)
turkey chili (left-over taco meat)
turkey and potato hash (left-over turkey and potatoes and onions)
turkey salad (like tuna salad actually)
turkey-fried rice (left-over turkey again)
chicken fried rice (left over roasted chicken)

Blondesjon's avatar

A little bit of me
A whole lot of you
A dash of starlight
A dozen roses too

Let this rise for a hundred years…or two. It’s the recipe for making love.

Note: It doesn’t need sugar ‘cuz it’s already sweet. It doesn’t need an oven ‘cuz it’s got alotta heat.

figbash's avatar

I always keep these ingredients in the fridge. If I shop at Trader Joe’s I can get 6–8 meals for about ten bucks.

- One batch of fresh tortillas
– One kind of basic protein like chicken, fish, hamburger, tofu, etc
– Fresh tomatoes
– Black beans
– Lettuce
– Onion (which I don’t use)
– Avocado
– Cheese – if you feel like it or wanna splurge
– Salsa

Heat up a cast iron skillet and throw down the tortilla, cheese, protein and beans until it gets all melty.

It’s great to just have the rest of the items pre-prepped so you can throw it together at any time.

This is filling, really cheap, healthy, requires almost no effort and has very little cooking time or clean-up.

I then reuse the ingredients in omelets or breakfast burritos.

I think I may have posted this little taco system I have in another question too

btko's avatar

Sweet and Sour Lentils
Green lentils
Pineapple Juice
Brown Sugar
Onions Garlic

Served over brown rice. It’s the best tasting and frugal source of complete protein.

TaoSan's avatar

1 Can of Chef Boyardee
1 Microwave oven



TitsMcGhee's avatar

Pasta + butter.

I’m a college student, and that’s my everyday meal.

Although, I am also a fan of Easy Mac, made with extra Mexican blend cheese. Add dashes of Louisana hot sauce to taste. Delicious.

veneziana's avatar

3 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cup broth
Parmesean cheese as desired
Sauté and add to 1 pound of
cooked pasta
Serve hot

KrystaElyse's avatar

I have a great cheap recipe for a dish that my nonna always made for me. She immigrated to the US from Sicily and she said that she would make this dish because it was cheap to make, you always have these ingredients on hand, and it was of course delicious (if you like peas!).

Italian Peas and Eggs

1 small onion, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 box of frozen peas
4 eggs
salt & pepper (to taste)

Heat the peas in the microwave and discard the water. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil and add the minced onion. Add the peas to the pan and stir peas and onion together. In a seperate bowl, beat the eggs well and then cover the peas with the eggs. Cover the pan until the eggs are cooked. Salt and pepper to taste.

Jeruba's avatar

@TitsMcGhee, I lived on pasta and butter as a student too, but I did alternate it with meals of rice and soy sauce. Back then you could also get a lot of miles out of a sack of potatoes and a dozen eggs.

It continues to shock me how expensive the things are that we used to regard as poor people’s food—fish, cheese—the things we used to buy cheaply and eat when others were enjoying steak. Now you can pay more per pound for those than for beef. Being poor seems harder now than it used to be.

Jeruba's avatar

@btko, what are the quantities or proportions and the cooking directions?

sdeutsch's avatar

Baked Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
(or Taters and Sprouts, as my family likes to call them)

For the potatoes:

Scrub the potatoes, poke holes in them with a fork (to break the skin), and microwave until hot, but not cooked through (this is usually about 2–3 minutes per potato, so if you’re making four, nuke ‘em for 8–12 minutes). While you’re doing that, preheat the oven to 375. When the potatoes are hot, put them on the middle rack in the oven and bake until soft and crispy (about half an hour). Top them with salt, pepper, butter and grated cheese.

For the brussels sprouts:

Chop the sprouts in half, and put them flat-side down on a baking sheet with a little olive oil on it. Drizzle a little more olive oil over them, and sprinkle them with sea salt and some pepper. Roast in a 500 degree oven for about 15 minutes, tossing them every 5 minutes or so. You’ll know they’re done when the outside leaves start to get really dark and crispy. If you taste one, the insides should be all soft and buttery – and not cabbage-like at all.

This is one of the cheapest (and tastiest) meals we make – assuming you’ve got the butter and a little cheese in the fridge already, you can get two taters and a couple handfuls of sprouts for less than 3 bucks – not too shabby!

Raggedy_Ann's avatar

Box of Rice a roni (any flavor), ground turkey (beef, sausage or chicken works as long as it’s ground) and a can of french style green beans. Brown meat and set aside, prepare Rice a roni per package directions, add meat and beans (drained). Heat thoroughly. My mom used to make this when I was a kid and now I do it for mine. They love it.

Jeruba's avatar

Question for @sdeutsch: are these two dishes part of the same meal, as it sounds? If so, which one do you do first before you change the oven temperature for the other? Seems like one item or the other is going to get cold while you wait. Thanks for clarifying.

General question: is anyone trying to get away from high-fuel meals and do more stovetop and wok cooking?

miasmom's avatar

We use our George Foreman grill almost every night, instead of baking in the oven.

sdeutsch's avatar

@Jeruba: They are part of the same meal – I just forgot to include the oven logistics!

The brussels sprouts are best straight out of the oven, but you can wrap the potatoes in foil and they’ll stay hot for as long as it takes to make the sprouts. If they seem like they’ve gotten less crispy while they waited (which sometimes happens, depending on the weather where you are), you can stick them back in the oven with the sprouts for the last 2 minutes, and they’ll crisp right back up. Just don’t leave them in too long – a 500 degree oven will char them after a few minutes!

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks, @sdeutsch! People like me who are better with content than process knowledge need the logistics spelled out. I love Brussels sprouts. I’ve got to try this. (Wrap the potatoes after they come out?)

sdeutsch's avatar

@Jeruba Yep, wrap the potatoes after they come out of the oven, and they’ll stay hot for at least 15 or 20 minutes.

If you like that brussels sprouts recipe, you can also spruce it up a little more by sauteing some garlic in olive oil for a few minutes, and then tossing the sprouts in the garlic and oil after they come out of the oven. I’m kind of a purist, so I like them straight out of the oven the best – but I love garlic too, so I have to switch it up every now and then… =)

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@Jeruba: Being poor does suck, a lot :(

Jeruba's avatar

@TitsMcGhee, as one who remembers vividly what it was like to live on lettuce sandwiches for a week (the bread homemade, the lettuce brought home from a party to which we went empty-handed) and to go to the store and buy one potato for seven cents and make of it a supper for two, I agree. I promised myself I would never forget.

laureth's avatar

Yeah. We had government cheese and powdered eggs when I was a kid. And mom used to take rolls of toilet paper from public places, and “samples” of shampoo from friends’ bottles.

Darwin's avatar

I have lived on a food budget of $7 per week. On the whole I would rather not do it again, even though I was able to supplement it with frogs and fish, and U-pick leavings. It wasn’t a whole lot of fun.

Some of my parents’ favorite recipes date from lean times, though: biscuits and white gravy for dinner, Hoppin’ John (black eyed peas and rice), dandelion greens with white vinegar, macaroni and gov’t cheese as a main dish, and peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches (two unrationed foods during WWII – very tasty but very bad for you, and best with lettuce).

laureth's avatar

A slice of that government cheddar sure tasted good melted on the 5-for-a-dollar frozen pot pies from the store (bought with a food stamp).

Darwin's avatar

@laureth – it tasted scrumptious too on squishy white bread with mayo and pickles.

Hunger is the best spice, you know?

laureth's avatar


forestGeek's avatar

Here’s an easy and cheap one that I love…

1 can Black Beans
1 can Diced Tomatoes (You can usually find Chipotle tomatoes which are best)
1–1/2 cups of Cooked Rice

Cook the rice. Heat the beans and toms (I add hot sauce, TVP, nutritional yeast and garlic, but it’s still good without). Dish up some rice and pour Beans/Toms mix over. If you have sour cream around, add some of that too.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Any kind of pasta, toast it on the stove with s little bit of cooking oil
Add in a can of green beans and/or can of corn nibblets, juices included
*browned ground meat if you have or like it
1 can of tomatoes in juice, use the can lid to mince them up
Add enough water to just cover the stuff
Cook about a half an hour or until the pasta is al dente
*shred some cheese or sprinkle Parmesan packets on top

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