(Closed) lets share our budget friendly meals

posted 5 years ago in Cooking
Post # 3
259 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@Katnisseverdeen:  Ohhh, I’ve got lots.

Some of my favorites:

Chicken Enchilada Casserole–makes 6 servings =$2.08 per serving/person

  • 2 chicken breast  ($3.75–free range)
  • 6 whole grain flour tortillas ($2.25 for 12 pack–$1.12 per meal)
  • 1 can kuners black beans ($1)
  • 2 roma tomatos ($1)
  • 1/2 white onion (approx. .5 cents)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese ($2.50)
  • 1 can enchilada sauce ($1.50)


Chicken Stir Fry-$2.85 per serving/person

  • 2 chicken breasts ($3.75–free range)
  • 2 cups white rice ($2 for huge bag–maybe .50 cents for this meal)
  • 1 bag stir fry vegetable mix ($1.50 at King Soopers)

Spaghetti and Meatballs–$2.85 per serving/person

  • 1/4 pack whole grain pasta ($1.50 for whole box–.40 cents per meal)
  • 1/2 jar sweet tomato basil sauce ($1.50 for jar–.75 cents per meal)
  • 1 lb ground beef ($4.50– free range)


Post # 5
3697 posts
Sugar bee

Lentil soup!

(all measurements are approximate and can be adapted to what you have on hand)

– Chop an onion and saute’ with a little oil in the bottom of a saucepan. Add a crushed garlic clove or two a few minutes later. Add a tablespoon or two of cumin, and a dash of chili powder or cayenne pepper if you like it a little hotter.

– Rinse 1 C. lentils and add to saucepan, along with ~3 C. water and a boullion cube (vegetable or chicken – you can also use prepared veggie/chicken broth if you have it on hand). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

– Add a couple of chopped carrots, a few stalks of chopped celery, and a handful of orzo or ditalini pasta or a handful of rice/barley. Season to taste with salt & pepper; feel free to add other spices according to taste, preference, and availability. (I love making this soup with a generous dose of ground sumac, although that’s not such a common spice for people to keep on hand.)

Serve with good bread. Enjoy!

Post # 6
1856 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Frittata – a potato or two, whatever green veggies you have on hand, 4-6 eggs (depending on how many servings you need), a little sauteed onion and garlic.

Lentil soup – I do what the PP does basically, but without rice/orzo – we roast cauliflower and put it in.

Veggie stirfry – lots of veggies, sauteed tofu, rice or noodles.

Carrot soup – 5 or 6 carrots, onion, garlic, ginger, water and some spices. (We also do squash soup with the same ingredients, broccoli soup with different seasoning and no ginger,

Black bean soup – we use dry beans so per serving it’s really cheap. Onion, garlic, a red or green pepper, some spices and water/broth. When we have it, we put feta cheese on top and fried tortilla strips.

Quesadillas – black beans (usually from the soup we’ve already made), squash or sweet potato, peppers/mushrooms/other veggies, with tortillas and then homemade salsa (tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice) and avocado on the side.

Post # 7
3565 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Pasta dish–

1 pack of Lite Kielbasa, ~ $3.00

1 box Penne or bowtie pasta ~ $1.50

Broccoli florets (as much as you desire) ~ $3.00 (I use the frozen bags and only use about 1/3 of the bag for this dish)

1 jar of Ragu Roasted Garlic Parmasean sauce ~ usually about $2.50, but it goes on sale periodically for 2/$4 so I stock up when there’s a sale if I can.

Slice the kielbasa evenly and saute in a skillet with olive oil.

Boil water and cook pasta al dente (firm), add brocolli during last 2-3 minutes of cooking.

Strain pasta/brocolli, add kielbasa and sauce, stir and serve.

This usually makes about 6-7 servings.

Post # 8
5220 posts
Bee Keeper

Chicken Tacos:


 I just get a box of the taco seasoning/shells or tortillas, chicken and a can of Rotel. Cook chicken in crock pot with some water, rotel and seasoning ( can add broth, too) and then pull chicken a part, wrap in tortilla and done! You can add shredded cheese, lettuce, sour cream, salsa and all kinds of stuff or just eat it plain. It is pretty cheap, makes A LOT and can be cooking while you’re at work!

Post # 9
6015 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

BLT’s .  I go to the Farmer’s market on wed, get fresh veggies.  So we have veggie soup, then BLT’s  with fresh tomatoes and Lettuce.  So good in the summer. 

ETA: 5 tomato-$2.00,  lettuce-$1.00  bread: 15 small sandwcich circles-$5.00, and bacon -5 packs for $20.00,

now we use the lettuce for salads all week,  the tomato too, he takes whatever is left over on a sandwhich for lunch and the bacon… well we use that alot lol. 

Post # 10
477 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

My mouth is watering from this post.

Along the soup lines – curry cauliflower soup! Onion, cauliflower, green apple if you have it, curry and whatever other spices you would like – sauté and then puree everything.

Another cheap meal I make is spinach sauté. Fiance thinks it’s disgusting, but I love it! sauté some onions and garlic, add a bunch of spinach (you can use frozen if you want), then crack a couple of eggs and cover so they cook whole, toss in some cheese and serve. You definitely have to like spinach for this one 🙂

Post # 11
3697 posts
Sugar bee

Easy tortilla pizzas:

A pack of flour tortillas, tomato sauce, shredded cheese, other toppings as desired.

Spread sauce and cheese on a tortilla and add toppings. Cook under broiler for 3-4 min (keep an eye on it – food can burn quickly under the broiler!). An easy and cheap individual thin-crust pizza. Great for parties.

Post # 12
887 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

breaded chicken drumsticks with spinach and sweet potatoes (well, last time I made this meal with a side of KD and leftover bok choi cooked as if it was spinach!): 

coat drumsticks in egg then a mixture of bread crumbs and paprika) bake for about 30 mins at 400. 

spinach: whisk some flour into hot olive oil in a frying pan until the mixture is smooth. Add a cup of warm milk and mix it up with a whisk, once milk is almost boiling add the spinach (a thawed, drained pack of frozen spinach is fine). Mix it up, cook till done, add a bit of salt and pepper. (this is my MIL’s recipe, it is awesome.)

Sweet potatoes: peel and cut into chunks, mix in a bowl with some olive oil and herbs/spices of your choice. Bake in the oven with the chicken.

My guess is this meal is about 8 to 10 bucks. Feeds 2 for dinner with leftovers to take for lunch. 

Post # 13
6123 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I started a spreadsheet of some of our regular meals.  We get all of our lunches out of the previous nights’ meals.  Out of curiosity, I calculated what each meal costs per serving.  I did not include costs for oil, spices, etc.  The ingredients are listed in order then I price each one out in order.  We were getting organic onions and peppers for $1 each from our neighbor, but I’m sure the can come cheaper.  I do buy all organic or free-range meat/chicken, hence our desire to throw in vegetarian meals.




I’ll explain what some of them are:


Tortilla espanola is basically like a potato/onion omelet of Spanish origin


Shakshuka is sauteed veggies in a tomato sauce with eggs cooked right in the middle of the sauce


Keema Matar is a Indian dish with spiced beef, peas and tomatoes









If anyone wants a recipe let me know!


Post # 14
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

My absolute favorite dish, healthy(ish) and budget friendly. And fabulous during the summer!

Pasta Caprese:

Boil whole wheat penne noodles. Meanwhile, Sautee garlic and onions along with red pepper flakes and a dash smoked paprika. Then add chopped zucchini. Deglaze with a little white wine. Add chopped cherry tomatoes. Roughly chop basil leaves (or use food processor to make a pesto-type spread) and then add the pasta to the vegetables. Mix in basil leaves, add salt and pepper, then add chopped up fresh mozzerella. Top with freshly grated parmesan. 

You can basically add whatever veggies you have lying around too!

Post # 15
2556 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

This is my cheap AND quick go-to for nights when I just don’t want to cook and cannot justify spending $$ on another night of takeout (we usually save takeouts for Friday and Saturday nights):

Pizza Quesadillas

– Jar of pizza Sauce

– Tortillas

– Shredded cheese (whatever is your fancy)

– Turkey pepperoni


 Put pizza sauce on half of the tortilla, add cheese and turkey pepperoni and fold over the other half of tortilla.  Then I throw them on my indoor grill (you could probably use a skillet) and brown each side a minute or two.  Serve with remaining pizza sauce for dipping.



 Sometimes, I make mini pizza “sandwiches”.  Instead of the tortillas, I use the deli flats (the 100 calorie kind).  It’s basically the same ingredients.  Sometimes I use only cheese.  Sometimes, I’ll use whatever is in our fridge (left over chicken, tomatoes, pineapple).  You spread your pizza sauce on one end, add topping, and place other end on top.  Throw on the grill until cheese is melted and BAM!  Quick and easy (and cheap!)


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