I think most that read this blog do pretty good as far as stretching their dollars and their pantries. I know many read that don't comment, and we all need new ideas. I like reminders, alternatives, and just different choices sometimes. How about you?
Whether you are short on dollars, or the pantry is getting low, or weather is bad and you need to stay in, or you choose to stay home because of illness, or you are just bored - here are some frugal and easy ideas to stretch the budget and the pantry.
- MACARONI AND CHEESE - pasta is very cheap and a staple in most pantries. Cheese is a protein - so add meat or not. If you do - chopped up hotdogs, ground beef or sausage, ham pieces, smoked sausage, tuna, leftover taco meat.............. whatever you have. This can be a meal in itself or add a veggie as a side. You can also add veggies to the mac - broccoli, peas, tomatoes or salsa, asparagus, etc.
- ONE POT MEALS - can be anything. Chicken, pork, ham, smoked sausage with potatoes, carrots, onion, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, peas................... Put what you have in a crockpot and let it simmer together for a yummy combo. Your imagination is the only limit to what you can fix.
- RICE & BEANS - add meat or not. Beans are protein. I can make a meal of beans and rice, maybe add a biscuit or bread and a salad. You can add corn, hominy, mushrooms, onion - anything you want. **Use in burritos, enchiladas, put leftovers in soup or chili
- VEGGIE SOUP - always an easy throw together pot of goodness. Whatever you have leftover in frig - add pasta or rice to extend if needed - add meat or not - add a few cans of this or that - and season. No limits whatsoever and it can be added to over days and can make many meals! Hearty food!!!!
- FRIED RICE - super easy and tasty. Add egg, meat or not, and any kind of veggie you have. There are no rules. Add a bit of soy sauce or make your own sauce. Super good and very filling!! ******You can do the same thing with spaghetti and turn it into lo mein! One of my favorites
- BAKED POTATOES - NO limits whatsoever. Top with anything you have and make a meal of it. I do this about once a month or more. So good and cheap!
- BREAKFAST - another favorite. You can do anything and mix and match. Eggs, waffles, pancakes, French toast, toast, biscuits and gravy, egg sandwiches, quiche, bread pudding - all cheap and easy things to make. Cereal or oats or granola are good options. Add fruit (canned or fresh) if you have it.
- ROAST VEGGIES - YUM. One or a variety - have fun with it. Can add a small side of meat if you choose - or serve with pasta or rice. OR make stuffed peppers with whatever you have on hand.
- SALAD - tuna, ham, chicken, egg, pasta, rice, lettuce, potato, pea, bean, corn - salads can be hot or cold. Many, many meals here have been salad - serve with toast or crackers for a super inexpensive meal. Salads can be any combination of food you desire
- PATTIES OR FRITTERS - tuna, salmon, mackerel, corn fritters, potato cakes, zucchini fritter, dressing/stuffing fritters. bean burgers - there is just no limit to what you can put together.
- FOIL PACKETS - can be done in the oven or on the grill. Generally meat and whatever veggies you have - a little seasoning or butter and wrap it up and cook. Great for camping. Easy and no clean-up!
- OTHER SOUPS - chili is a fall/winter favorite. Make with meat or not. Add pasta to stretch it or serve over rice. Add cheese or sour cream - so many options. Potato soup is super frugal and easy to make. Any kind of cream of soup - broccoli, asparagus, corn, etc. I am sure we all have canned soups on hand as well - don't dilute much - pour over pasta or rice or add them to the soup. Jazz up a normal can of soup with cheese or sour cream - whatever you have.
- BEANS - soup beans, green beans, any kind of beans! Protein, flavorful and frugal. Add some corn bread and you have one super delicious dinner.
- SPAGHETTI OR ANY PASTA MEAL - spaghetti is about as easy as it gets. You can add whatever you want to pasta sauce to make it more hearty - veggies or meat. Lasagna, casseroles, goulash, etc. Pasta of any kind can be used for any dish - it is just pasta after all. If you don't have one kind - substitute another type.
- EGGS - hard boiled eggs are a yummy and filling addition to a meal. Scrambles, soft boiled, over easy, fried, frittata's, quiche. Add to salads. Eat as a side dish. Make a meals of hard boiled eggs, cheese cubes, maybe a little meat, some fresh veggies and crackers. YUM