I remember as a single gal - eating a lot of pasta topped with catsup!!! I would eat cracker packets for a snack when I went to my second job at the mall (from the food court). Soup beans were made once in a while as was mac and cheese. Hamburger (which was super cheap then) was a luxury. Loved going to Mom's and bringing home leftovers!!!!!! What a treat!!!!!
Of course I kept this to myself, as I didn't want people to know I had no money, nor did I want charity. I know there are many that feel that same way today.
I wish I had known more ideas then. (Heck I didn't even know about Ramen then!!!!)
A crockpot can be your best friend. Leftovers are never wasted. Creativeness is important.
I find there are many ways to stretch that food or that budget and fill those bellies. Maybe not every meal is well balanced - but by golly if you are hungry, that really doesn't matter.
Momma's especially, just want those babies to have full tummies.
A dozen eggs can be very reasonable - think quiche (with all kinds of leftovers added), or omelets or just scrambled eggs with toast or on a tortilla
PASTA - cover in sauce. Any kind of pasta - and kind of sauce. You can even add pasta to a can of cream of soup. Have cheese? Sprinkle a little over the sauce or soup. You don't have to have meat. Add pasta to soup, casseroles or salads. Pasta is cheap and filling.
Biscuits and gravy. Super cheap and filling. You can make pan gravy with bacon grease or even hamburger grease (for flavoring) - again don't have to add meat. Biscuits are super easy and cheap
French toast. Cheap bread and a couple eggs/milk - you have French toast. Super yummy - add syrup or powdered sugar. Top with fruit if you have it. So many ways to serve
Burritos - wraps. Tortillas are easy to make and they are super cheap to buy. You can make them for breakfast with eggs or you can add beans and cheese or beans and tomatoes (canned are fine). Add a couple slices of meat (lunchmeat) and veggies and dressing. So many ways to serve. You can also make quesadillas - yum.
Grilled cheese. Grilled PBJ - maybe add a sliced banana or a slice of apple and grill. Oh my goodness. Grilled ANY kind of sandwich seems special and is a filler at any meal
SOUPS - soup, soup, soup..... there is no limit. Throw anything you have together, add a bit of broth or tomato juice/sauce/pieces - veggie w/meat, no meat, no LIMITS to what you can do. Throw in pasta or rice or beans to bulk it up. Hot and filling!! Chili goes in this category as well.
Potatoes - so super versatile. Baked potatoes with whatever is left in the frig on top. Fried potatoes, fries, scalloped, au gratin, in casseroles, soup, mashed (use leftovers for potato patties) roasted with any other root veggie you may have...……… so many choices. Potatoes are filling and yummy.
Warm bowl of potato soup is always comfort
Macaroni (any pasta) and cheese - can be home made or boxed. Throw in a can of tuna or scraps of ham or a chopped up leftover burger. You can add salsa or chili beans. Add some frozen veggies or leftover veggies. It can be a meal.
Beans and Rice - so many ways to fix separately or combine. Soup beans, add beans to anything, refried beans, baked beans, made into a dip - add to salads. Rice combine with beans - season. Add meat or not. Fried rice, Spanish rice, rice and cheese and veggies. Both are great in soups or casseroles. Unlimited options.
Cabbage is often cheap and it is very healthy and tasty. Combine cabbage with some fried potatoes and maybe a small portion of smoked sausage or chopped ham. (Meat can be minimal - just add for taste). Cabbage soup is great. Cabbage and tomatoes. Roasted cabbage, fried cabbage, etc.
Any type of vegetable can be roasted or grilled. Cut up a piece of chicken or a pork chop and throw into the mix - dinner. Add what ever types of seasoning you like or have. Roasted and grilled are so very tasty.
Add a cheap homemade or store bought bread to any meal to stretch it out and fill you up. Bread is the great extender! It is very filling and just makes a meal seem a little special in my opinion!
Check those pantries and cabinets - use whatever you have. Mix up veggies and boxed mixes and come up with some fun meals.
Make sure if money is gone and food low - you go to a food pantry! There are so many places that can help you. Never be afraid to reach out and accept help if needed.
Get a little creative. NO need to go hungry!
Simple food is still food.