Meatless Meals- Eating Thrifty

Posted 09-29-2011 at 07:37 AM by whitneywalters

After watching our grocery bill double in the last year my husband and I decided we had to do something to cut back. I already meal plan and cook from scratch so after asking around for more suggestions we decided to try the top suggestion made, more meatless meals. Eating meatless does not bother me at all, I love veggies and would be perfectly happy if I never ate meat again. My husband and son on the other hand are not the same way. This made things challenging for me when it came to coming up with recipes that would please my whole family but with a little trial and error we have found several recipes that we all love and do not cost a lot to make.

The one dish I knew I would always be able to make and get my family to willingly eat was grilled cheese and tomato soup. While they were happy to eat tomato soup from a can, I wanted to find a recipe that I could make using tomatoes from our garden. Pair the recipe below with grilled cheese sandwich made with wheat bread and real cojack cheese and it is a really tasty meal.


  • 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 slice onion
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar, or to taste


  1. In a stockpot, over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, onion, cloves and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and gently boil for about 20 minutes to blend all of the flavors. Remove from heat and run the mixture through a food mill into a large bowl, or pan. Discard any stuff left over in the food mill.
  2. In the now empty stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux, cooking until the roux is a medium brown. Gradually whisk in a bit of the tomato mixture, so that no lumps form, then stir in the rest. Season with sugar and salt, and adjust to taste.

Another food staple in our house is eggs. We are lucky enough to be able to get farm fresh eggs from my parents for only $1 a dozen. There are a ton of ways to prepare eggs. Our personal favorite meatless variety is a cheesy egg bake. I take 6 eggs and add milk as if I was going to be scrambling them. Instead of frying them in a pan and scrambling I pour the mixture into a casserole dish, add cheese and bake at 350 for about 25 minuets.

My kids love homemade mac and cheese. I have been experimenting with different ways to make it more filling and ways to add veggies into it. Last time I made it I grated a yellow squash right into the mixture and it tasted great. My kids ate seconds and never even realized the squash was in it. My daughter’s would not have cared about the squash being in it but my son would have refused to even try it if he knew. Veggies are a battle with him at times.
If you are lucky enough to have a family that does love all types of veggies then veggie stir fries make great filling meatless meals. I made a veggie stir fry using all veggies from my garden and it was delicious. I cubed 2 small eggplants, 1 zucchini, sliced a small white onion, sliced a green pepper and chunked 3 small tomatoes. I tossed all the veggies with vegetable oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper and then cooked it all in a deep fry pan until all the veggies were tender. It is very good on its own or you can wrap it in a shell and eat it that way.
Another household favorite here is three bean soup. We love this paired with home made cheese toast.
Three bean soup


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (19 ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans, undrained
  • 1 (19 ounce) can lentils
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded


  1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Pour in oil and saute onion and garlic until golden-brown. Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, tomato paste, oregano, pepper, and salt. Turn heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. Sprinkle in cheese and stir until melted. Serve immediately, or cool and freeze.
Recipes from-
tomato soup
three bean soup
Filed Under: General, Savings Talk


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