Frugal meals

            Sometimes making ends meet can be difficult. Many things can happen that can cause your family finances to drop drastically. Sickness, injury, layoffs; whatever the reason, these times will be easier to get through if you find ways to spend as little as possible on food so the money you save can be put towards other bills.

            To start off with you want to always be on the look out for things that are on special. Sales, reduced or marked down items will help your food bill come down drastically. Try to get the papers for the grocery stores in your area so you can look through them before shopping and plan some of your meals ahead of time. Several stores have online sites now where you can check the weekly sales. Also get to know when your stores mark down produce or meat so you can go on those days and pick up some extra for less.

            One-pot meals are some of the easiest, quickest and cheapest meals to make. With just a few ingredients you can make a filling, nutritious, tasty meal and it wont cost a great deal. Here are some we really enjoy that cost very little.

Spaghetti

1 can spaghetti sauce

1 box spaghetti

sausage or ground hamburger (pork, turkey if it is on sale and you like it)

Cook spaghetti according to box. Cook meat in frying pan until done; add sauce and heat through. Either mix sauce with spaghetti or dish sauce over spaghetti.

(You may also find some French bread on sale and add butter and garlic powder on top, bake in the oven until crisp for garlic bread to go with the spaghetti). 

Serves 4

Jambalaya and Smoked Sausage

2 boxes jambalaya rice

1 package smoked sausage

Make up the rice according to directions on box. Cut sausage in slices however thick you like. Cook sausage until heated through. Mix sausage in with the rice. 

Serves 4-6

Rice-a-Roni and Chicken

2 boxes a chicken type rice

Cooked chicken cut in pieces (this can be leftover chicken, canned chicken, or strips you have cooked etc.)

Cook rice according to package. Mix in chicken and cook just a few minutes more.

Serves 4-6

Chicken Rice and Tomatoes

Rice

Canned tomatoes

Cooked chicken (same as above recipe)

Cook however much rice you will need for the amount of people you have to feed. Add canned tomatoes (small can, large can, dependant upon how much rice). Add cooked chicken. Heat about 10 minutes more

Crock pot Chicken and Tomato Noodle Soup

1 bag egg noodles (you may also use any kind of noodle or even rice if you like)

1 large can cut up tomatoes

Chicken (same as two above)

small onion (or more if you like a lot of onion)

Salt and pepper to taste

Put tomatoes, chicken, onion and salt and pepper in crock pot. Fill about of pot with water or chicken stock if you have it. Allow to cook until about an hour before you want to eat (on low is fine). Add noodles and cook until noodles are done.

Serves 4-6

Mac n Cheese and Hamburger

2 boxes Macaroni and cheese

1 lb. Hamburger (this can also use smoked sausage)

Cook Macaroni and Cheese according to box directions. Brown hamburger in a skillet until cooked through, drain off grease. Mix the two together.

Serves 4

Crock pot Chili

 4 cans red kidney beans

2 cans pinto beans

1 lb of hamburger

2-3 cans tomato sauce

2 packages of chili seasoning

Put everything in the crock pot and let cook all day (I start mine on high and turn it down about half way through the day. Several things may be added to this recipe depending on what you like in your chili, peppers tomatoes etc.

Crock pot Roast and Mashed Potatoes

Any beef roast any size that you find on sale

Mushrooms, sliced

Onion, sliced

Salt and pepper

Flour

Mashed potatoes

Place roast, mushrooms, onion and salt and pepper in crock pot. Add water until the roast is coved, if it is a small roast if a large one fill crock pot about half way. Cook all day until the roast can be easily torn in shreds. Mix some flour with water in cup until smooth. It should be fairly thick. Pour slowly into crock pot mixture stirring quickly (a whisk is good for this) until the crock pot liquid thickens into a gravy. Serve over mashed potatoes.

        Rebecca Whitford