Good, cheap food suggestions

Last night I updated my budget after ignoring it for a few months, and I desperately need to save some money. :frowning:

I’m looking for recipes for dirt cheap food that tastes decent. I’m getting bored with the ones I know.

My 3 favorites are:

Split pea soup from the recipe on the back of the bag of peas

1 Box Kraft Mac + Cheese, prepared as per label instructions
1 lb ground beef or turkey, browned
1 can corn, drained
3 T tomato paste

Mix, season to taste with salt + pepper

1/2 stick butter
4 tbsp. flour
1 can evaporated milk
1 can green peas, drained
1 can tuna

Melt butter in skillet. Stir in flour. Add milk and cook until thick. Add peas and tuna. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve on toast or saltine crackers.

What are your favorite low-budget recipes?

Don’t laugh at me.

2 T Butter
2 T Flour
1 package Buddig Corned Beef, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 C Milk

Cook the onion, garlic and beef in the butter till the onions are done. Stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes. Add the milk. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil - it’ll thicken. Serve it over toast. Yeah, it’s “shit on a shingle”. But it’s GOOD.

Not laughing at all! :slight_smile:
Did you read the tuna wiggle recipe above? I expect that will get some people wishing for a pukey smiley, I grew up with it, so it’s comfort food to me.

I assume Budding is a brand name of canned corned beef?

I use this one a lot:

Farfalle with spinach and garbanzo beans

3 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced (i use jarred chopped garlic sometimes)
2 cups canned unsalted chicken broth
1 15 1/2-ounce can garbanzo beans (chick peas), rinsed, drained
1 10-ounce package frozen leaf spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
12 ounces farfalle (bow tie) pasta, freshly cooked (or any kind of pasta, really)
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add garbanzo beans and spinach and boil 1 minute. Transfer spinach mixture to large bowl. Add pasta. Drizzle pasta with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and toss. Season pasta generously with pepper; sprinkle with grated Parmesan (optional - it’s a little bland without it) and toss well. Serve.

Italian sausage with polenta (or as we like to call it, “grits”)
• 4 cups water
• 1 cup cornmeal
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 pound Italian sausage
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
• 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian stewed tomatoes
• 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
• 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  1. Make some polenta, following the instructions on the bag.
  2. Meanwhile, brown the sausage and garlic in a large skillet; drain. Cool slightly. Cut sausage into 1-in. pieces; return to the skillet. Add parsley, tomatoes and tomato paste; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  3. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

I usually halve this recipe and skip the parsley. Halved, the recipe serves my family of four, since the kids eat light.

Skillet Ham, Cabbage, and Potatoes
• 2 tablespoons margarine
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 small head cabbage, coarsely chopped
• 1/4 cup water (Just keep some water handy and estimate. I always use more.)
• 3 large potatoes, scrubbed and sliced
• 1 dash seasoning salt
• 1 dash paprika
• 2 cups cubed cooked ham

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onions in the margarine. When tender add cabbage and stir. Pour water over, cover and simmer gently on medium low for ten minutes.
  2. Add potatoes and mix. Cover again and allow to simmer for ten more minutes. Additional water may be needed. Sprinkle seasoning salt and paprika over cabbage and potatoes. Allow to simmer covered for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until cabbage is soft and potatoes are nearly cooked. Mix ham in and finish cooking until ham is hot and potatoes are done.

Buddig. It’s a brand of inexpensive sliced sandwich meats in bags.

My version of Bachelor Chow:

1 pound of elbow macaroni, cooked
2 small cans tuna
2 cans condensed soup

Mix everything together and eat! A big bowl of this stuff would last me for about 5 days. If you’re feeling adventurous, just try a different sort of soup. New England Clam Chowder works amazingly well for this.

School Cafeteria Stroganoff:

egg noodles
ground beef or ground turkey
condensed cream of mushroom soup

No idea as to the amounts but this is something I grew up on and is pretty good.


Brown 4 good sized hamburger patties and place in a casserole dish.

Slice an onion and pt the slices on top of the patties (keeps tham moist).

Cover the whole thing with potatoes sliced about 1/2 inch thick.

Take a can of Cream of Mushroom soup, add some Worcestershire sauce or Soy sauce, salt and pepper, and a bit of milk to thin it out, warm it up in the microwave.

Top the casserole with the soup, then cover the casserole and bake at 400 for about an hour (the sauce will be all bubbly).
Sausage Casserole:

Make some rice (1c rice, 2c water)

Brown and crumble a chub of Jimmy Dean sausage (I’ve found other brands lacking), drain.

Mix the cooked rice, the browned sausage and a can of Vegetable Beef Soup + 1 can of water in a casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 375 for about 30 min.
Either one of these feeds 4 for somewhere around $5.

I thought grits was made with a special type/grind of corn meal. Is it really just the same stuff you make cornbread out of?

Thanks everyone for all of your replies. These sound like exactly what I’m looking for - cheap and tasty! Keep 'em coming!

Tuna Wiggle is like my Mom’s tuna casserole… only it’s just tuna, cream of mushroom soup and peas.

Ghoulash is just ground beef, peas, and a can of tomato soup.

Tuna rolls are simply biscuits (can make homemade or from a mix), tuna mixed with mayo or miracle whip as preferred (as like you would for a sandwich). Roll out the biscuits flat, spread the tuna mix on it and roll it up like a jelly roll. Cut into inch thick slices, arrange on cookie sheet and bake according to biscuit requirements. Eat either with a bowl of favourite cream soup, or pour cream soup over them. They make LOTS and also taste good cold. To change it up, we use canned salmon instead of tuna at times.

I’ll get you my recipe for hamburger soup later, it’s like a poor man’s beef barley and quite delicious. Also makes a lot.

One way to save money is to make in bulk. We do that with the hanburger soup, spaghetti and lasagna as we can get several meals. Freezing it means we have some stored up for later.

It’s not like regular white grits, I suppose those are hominy. I just feel kind of snooty saying polenta. :slight_smile:

Maryland Flag Chili

This vegetarian chili (can be vegan) can be made entirely with stuff that keeps for a long time (the only thing in it at all perishable is the onion, and those keep a long time), so it’s a good one to do when you really should go to the grocery store but you’re too tired or don’t want to bother. It also uses only one pot (I use a Dutch oven or big saucepan- nonstick is best, just because it’s easier to clean even if you’re a lazy procrastinator like me and don’t clean up right away) and one spoon. It doesn’t require precise measurement of anything. It requires no advance preparation, though it does get a little better if it sits on the stove a while (but it’s certainly edible if it doesn’t).

It’s Maryland Flag Chili because it contains things that are red (the tomatoes), white (the white beans), gold (the corn), and black (the black beans), which are the colors of the Maryland flag. Image of the Maryland flag

It was partly inspired by the Chili Con Corny served at an on-campus cafe at UC Santa Cruz.

Slice an onion and saute it in a little olive oil in the pot you’re going to use for the chili.
Add a big can of tomatoes, a can of white beans, a can of black beans, and a can of kidney beans.
Add a can of corn (you could also use frozen corn).
Add as much stock (I use vegetarian beef-flavored stock, which you can find in the kosher section of the supermarket) or water as you want to make the chili the right consistency (some people like it really chunky, some like it soupier).
Heat up the chili until it is simmering.
Add salt, chili powder, and cumin to taste. If your chili powder isn’t spicy enough, you could add some cayenne, too. I like to put in a splash of tequila as well, but you don’t have to.
Leave it sit on the burner until you’re ready to eat.

This recipe makes enough for a one-dish meal for at least three people.

Serving suggestions:

It’s good with crumbled-up tortilla chips in it, and that’s a good way to use up the little tortilla crumbs that you always get at the bottom of the bag.

It’s also good with sour cream and/or shredded cheese.

Do you belong to Costco? For years I thought it wouldn’t be worth it for me because I don’t cook in bulk. But Costco has quite a bit of stuff where you can take out one or two, say, frozen fish steaks, from a big bag. It works even if you don’t cook in bulk. It does help to have a fair bit of freezer space, though.

Do you have Trader Joe’s near you? They have better prices than other grocery stores, and I’ve liked most of their products that I’ve tried as well as or better than the national brand versions from the supermarkets.

Dump yoghurt in bowl. Top with cereal, fruit and/or nuts.

Cheap, healthy and tasty. Can’t beat that.

I like to make Rice-a-Roni with a hamburger patty crumbled in instead of butter. And then I add diced carrots and onion to add my veggie balance to it.

Yes, we have a Costco. Unfortunately my wife’s trip there yesterday was one of the things that prompted me to take another look at the budget. Who the hell needs a castle shaped cake pan anyway! I suppose I shouldn’t complain - I’m just as bad in that place! I don’t think I ever got out of there for <$200

I will probably be getting another freezer next year, as I’m planning to raise some chickens and possibly hogs.

No Trader Joe’s. I’m in rural VT - it’s Hannafords if you’re willing to pay 2x for variety, or Shaws if you actually want to shop sales.

Wow, I guess the font sizes here have nothing to do with those I’ve seen elsewhere. Let’s try that again… That was supposed to be in tiny letters.

Granola (which you can buy in bulk in some stores) mixed with strawberry yogurt instead of milk is really good. Or, substitute vanilla yogurt and sliced fruit - whatever’s in season will be the cheapest.

Beans and rice are always a budget stretcher around here. Add sausage or ground beef if you want a meatier dish. 5 lbs. of rice and 5 lbs. of beans from Costco will last a family a month, and cost all of $7. Play with the spicing to vary the taste, and cook with various broths.

My recipe for Bachelor Chow is a lot like Chuck Wagon:

1 box Mac & Cheese
1 lb. browned hamburger
1 jar chili sauce
diced red peppers, sausage, anything else that looks interesting in the fridge.