So, I’m broke…..you’re broke, we’re ALL broke. Well, maybe you’re not broke, but this could keep you from becoming broke. One easy place to cut back on spending is the food we eat. As Americans we tend to always want more more more…bigger, better, fatter. Well people…lets get BACK TO BASICS! Basic meals that are nutritious, easy, and CHEAP! Below are just a few of the cheap meals we enjoy as a family at our house.
1. Bean & Cheese Burritos
Make this cheaper by buying blocks of cheese and using a little muscle to grate your own. Seriously folks…its not hard! Want to make it even cheaper? Make your own tortillas, we do this at our house and it is really easy. Even cheaper yet? Make your own re-fried beans! You can make tons and tons! You can make them from Pinto beans, black beans…etc.
2. Meatloaf, Veggie of choice, and Mashed Potatoes
Shred some carrots in there for those picky kids that don’t eat veggies. Make this cheaper by using a good filler such as oats, rice or cracker crumbs.
3. Crock Pot Beans, Cornbread and Veggie of choice
I always soak my beans over night in water inside the crock. Don’t turn it on yet though! Then the next morning you can plug it in and turn it on low. If you have it, you can throw in some fatty CHEAP bacon. I also add chopped up onion, salt, garlic powder, and tad bit of pepper. Let this cook on low all day. For my cornbread…um YUM…I fry it. Yes FRY IT. I normally fry it in bacon grease for extra …um… health value. Yea bad bad mama. Anyhow, I have no measurements for making things like this I just do it. So please just try to visualize what I am saying. I take the cornmeal and place it in a bowl, add chopped onion, garlic powder and salt. Mix that well. Now you want to add enough milk (or milk and water together) to make a thick batter. A bit thicker than pancake batter. Drop by big spoonfuls in the hot grease and fry til brown. When it is done you slather it with butter and salt if you so desire, and man I so do desire it that way! Or, if you are trying to be more health conscious as we all should be then you can skip the butter slathering and just dip it in your beans. I normally make spinach, turnip greens, collard greens or mixed greens with this meal.
4. Veggie Fried Rice
I use a bag of mixed frozen veggies for this. I also add a couple eggs, and for even more protein Tofu!
5. Baked Homemade Mac and Cheese, Polish Sausage, Veggie of choice
Again very simple and cheap. How do I make mine? Boil your macaroni noodles, and drain. Find your favorite baking dish and place your noodles in there. Stir in a spoon of butter to coat your noodles. I use block cheese cut up in to small chunks. Normally I use Colby/Jack, Cheddar and Mozzarella. Salt and pepper to taste, stir and bake until nice and browned. I normally stir once during baking time.
As you can see, meat does not need to be the focus of the meal. You can add in proteins with beans, cheese, eggs, tofu, etc. Use less meat in recipes that require meat as well, I swear they will not notice! There is so much you can do meal wise with $5.00. Put your brain into it and make a list! You can do it!
For more inspiration on cheap made from scratch meals be sure to check out Hillbilly Housewife. The main idea is to get back to basics and cook from scratch as much as possible!