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Old 09-19-2011, 08:31 AM   #1
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Needing cheap meal ideas

Money is tight for the next couple of months, especially since Christmas and 3 birthdays are in the mix. I have run out of ideas for dinner that are cheap and quick to make and could really use some help! We have gotten into a rut with the same ol same ol and we need something new. We are having the same thing almost every 2 weeks:
tacos (would love ideas w/leftover meat)
spaghetti
macaroni w/gr meat/sausage (goulash kinda)
beans & rice
chicken & rice
chicken enchiladas (our new fave, freezable leftovers)
breakfast
hamburger steaks (not much anymore because of $$)
meatloaf (again, $$)
porcupine meatballs (gr meat w/rice rolled into balls YUM! but can get $, freeable though)
Thats all I can think of right now but this is mainly it. We have been eating more chicken lately because it's cheaper than beef. DH doesn't like cheese of any kind but I can adapt most things so we have cheese on ours but he doesn't. We have porckhops when they are on sale, which isn't often. Anything that can be made in a huge batch and is freezable is great! I have a crockpot but don't use it that often. Any ideas would be sup(p)er!! TIA

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Old 09-19-2011, 09:08 AM   #2
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Re: Needing cheap meal ideas

Soups? I know here, you can get premix with your seasonings, beans, etc, just add water (the seasonings make it a stock ) The way I do it: water, mix, extra beans (I use butter, garbanza, any type really) mixed veggies, crushed tomatoes, cook for several hours, (makes your house irresistable, kids will be SO ready by dinnertime ) then about 10 or so mins before meal time, throw in some macaroni noodles, pinwheels, whatever you have on hand. Delish. Serve w/bread, rolls, crackers, etc. If you do not add the pasta, you can freeze the soup! Thaw, heat, add noodles My fav for fall/winter. Also, bean chili Buy a premix, add tons of beans & youre good! I have more, will add later as I have a boobie bambino calling me right now
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:16 AM   #3
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Re: Needing cheap meal ideas

You have lots of meat in your meals. If you cut that out to just 3-4 times a week, you'll save and eat better.

Beans and rice are staples here. I buy the bags and they can feed us for 2 meals. Red beans and rice; Cuban black beans and rice; hoppin' john; curried chic peas; split pea soup; 16 bean soup; lentil soup. Those are cheap, easy and healthy.

If you are more adventuresome, I'd recommend trying some dal-Indian lentils. It's one of the few meals in this house that the kids don't balk at and everyone enjoys.
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:46 AM   #4
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DH is a carnivore so cutting meat out really isn't an option for him. We have soup and chili when the weather gets cooler but that won't happen til next month at this rate. I can make meat stretch, especially ground meat by adding veggies to it but we have very hungry people in my house!
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Old 09-19-2011, 12:32 PM   #5
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Re: Needing cheap meal ideas

Tuna noodles

Cook a bag of extra wide noodles (or box of whatever pasta you have on hand)
drain
mix in 1-2 tins of tuna (drained), 1 can cream of mushroom soup, and enough milk for a creamy (but not runny) consistency. You can add in 1/2 C. of shredded cheddar if you're in the mood for cheesy tuna casserole.

A quick, cheap staple around my house especially when all ingredients can be bought on super sale and stockpiled for when needed.
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Old 09-19-2011, 12:35 PM   #6
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Re: Needing cheap meal ideas

Eggs are also a cheap source of protein. Does DH do eggs?
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Old 09-19-2011, 12:40 PM   #7
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Re: Needing cheap meal ideas

I made hamburger vegetable soup the other night and got 22 servings (man size servings) for 13.50 total.
1 lb hamburger meat
2 cans corn
2 cans carrots
2 cans green beans
2 cans peas
2 cans tomato sauce
4 packets onion soup mix. ( I made my own from the homemade thread in this forum)

It was super yummy. Even the pickiest child loved it!
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:34 PM   #8
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Re: Needing cheap meal ideas

Impossible cheeseburger pie- maybe an adaptation without the cheese
Homemade pizza
Stuffed peppers/cabbage
Chicken pot pie
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:55 PM   #9
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Re: Needing cheap meal ideas

I rarely ever make meat just for tacos. Instead I use leftover roast or grilled chicken tossed with a little taco seasoning or salsa. Even shredded pork is delish with a green sauce.

I also posted a lentil and black bean enchilada recipe in this forum. We are serious carnivores and like this version just as much as ground beef ones and it cuts my cost in half over meat.

Loaded baked potatos or breakfast skillets meals.

Meat has almost doubled in price where I am so Ive been trying to incorporate at least 1 vegetarian meal every week.

If $ is really that tight buying a whole ham might be a great money saving option. You can generally find one for under $2lb for spiral or under $1.50 for unsliced. Breakfast for dinner with ham, sandwiches, giant pot of beans, ham and potato soup, freeze the ham slices and serve those with a veggie and a bread.

Last edited by ittybittycoconuts; 09-19-2011 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:16 PM   #10
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Re: Needing cheap meal ideas

Lots of these sound yummy! I really wish yds would eat veggies (I'm lucky when he eats beans!) because I hate making seperate meals for him. I only do it when we have veg soup or pot pie, I've always said I'm not a short order cook but he wouldn't eat for almost a week because of his stubborness before so now on occasion he eats a sandwich or cereal for dinner. The enchiladas sound great! I may try it next week
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