Low Budget Recipes

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Low Budget Recipes $5,000 Money Saving Mama Challenge

low budget recipes
Low budget recipes are very important for stay at home moms.

Inexpensive meal ideas and budget dinners can help moms save a lot of money on groceries.

Follow these cheap quick easy dinner recipes and menu ideas and save.

Are you having trouble coming up with creative, inexpensive meal ideas? Well, don't feel like you need to create a made from scratch budget dinners masterpiece every night.

Yes, you want a little variety, but once you find 8-10 low budget recipes that your family really enjoys, make them often, and be glad of the money you will be saving!

Are you new here? This page is part of the $5,000 Money Saving Mama Challenge. We'd love for you to join us!

Simply click the link for more information on how you can participate, and save some money this year.

frugal menu
Here is a sample week of my budget dinners.

Just remember, the term "low budget recipes" is relative; what may be budget dinners for one family may be extravagant for another, and vice versa.

Rayven's Cheap Quick Easy Dinner Recipes

The Menu:

Monday: Spaghetti, Salad, Bread
Tuesday: Chicken Tacos, In-Season Fruit
Wednesday: Chili, Salad, Bread
Thursday: Tuna Noodle Casserole with Caramel Apples
Friday: Stuffed Baked Potatoes, Salad
Saturday: Chicken Noodle Soup, Salad, Bread
Sunday: Chili-Cheese Dogs, In-Season Fruit

Monday: Spaghetti, Salad, Bread

Inexpensive meal ideas and low budget recipes start with inexpensive ingredients.

For these low budget recipes, you can buy the least expensive ground beef, the 70/30 or whatever is cheapest at your store, just drain and rinse it.

Also, I buy canned spaghetti sauce.

At less than $1 a can, its much cheaper than trying to make my own (and saves time).

I dress it up to make it taste better.
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 26.5 oz can spaghetti sauce
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium green pepper, finely chopped
  • 8 oz package spaghetti, cooked and drained

  • Brown ground beef in pan. After browning, drain your ground beef in your colander and literally rinse it in water.

    Put it back in the pan and saute the onion, garlic, and green pepper until soft. Add spaghetti sauce and heat.

    You can add extra spices if you want, like oregano or basil and if you don't have fresh garlic, feel free to use garlic powder.

    Serve over spaghetti noodles with bread and a salad.

    All my low budget recipes are adaptable, and this one is no different. This is a great recipe to hide veggies in.

    Add mushrooms or celery, take away the beef, whatever your family likes. Make it your own.

    My husband's mother uses Italian sausage instead of ground beef. Spaghetti is an old stand-by as one of the best inexpensive meal ideas.

    Tuesday: Chicken Tacos, In-Season Fruit

    Low budget recipes are possible when you buy ingredients that take a little work. Case in point, inexpensive meal ideas using whole chickens. One whole chicken will get my family 2-3 budget dinners, and a few lunches as well.
    low-budget-recipes-08; whole chickenMuch more economical than a pound of chicken breasts, which costs the same amount!

  • 1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • Misc celery leaves
  • Misc carrot tops

  • 12 ct flour tortillas
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 can black olives
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Cheap quick easy dinner recipes start with cooking the whole chicken in advance: In the morning, season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in crock pot. Stick in the quartered onion, the celery leaves and carrot tops, and cover with water.

    The parts of the carrots and celery you'd normally throw away, use those. Not the leafy parts of the carrots, just the tops you'd typically toss. Wash it all and stick it in. Cook on high for 3-4 hours.

    Once cooked, the chicken should literally fall off the bone. Use a large slotted spoon and spoon the chicken pieces into a bowl to cool. Carefully drain the remaining liquid (take out the onions, celery and carrot pieces) and reserve for Chicken Noodle Soup on Saturday.

    When your chicken is cooled, take all the meat from the bones. Discard any skin and bones.

    You should be left with 2-3 cups of meat. Use 2/3rds for tonight's meal and reserve the remaining 1/3rd for Chicken Noodle Soup. If you've gotten a particularly large bird, then you may be able to get a third meal out of it.

    Reheat the chicken in a pan. Add the taco seasoning mix. Dice the black olives.

    Make tacos with the tortillas, adding black olives, cheese and sour cream. Accompany with a fresh fruit salad.

    Variations on tacos are perfect for low budget recipes. Chicken, ground beef, stew meat or even just dressed up refried beans (with onion and cumin) make great fillers and inexpensive meal ideas.

    Wednesday: Chili, Salad, Bread

    Cheap quick easy dinner recipes make good use of store bought items, such as packaged chili seasoning mix. Buy mild, medium or hot, depending on how much heat your family enjoys for your low budget recipes. We usually get the mild and my husband adds Tabasco to his serving.

    I always make a double batch of chili. The whole family loves it, and the extras go towards Chili Cheese Dogs for Sunday night as well as lunch for my husband for the rest of the week, providing several low budget recipes. They also make great toppers for Friday's Stuffed Baked Potatoes.
    low-budget-recipes-04; inexpensive meal ideas chili
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15oz cans black beans
  • 2 15oz cans kidney beans
  • 2 15oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 package chili seasoning mix
  • Shredded cheese
  • Diced onions
  • I make my chili in the crockpot. First, I brown the ground beef in a pan, then rinse and drain it. I throw the onion, garlic and green pepper in and saute the mix a little longer, then add both packets of chili seasoning. While this sautes, I empty all the cans into the crockpot. Then I pour the beef mixture in, mix well, and let it cook on low for 5-6 hours, longer if needed.

    There's something about slow cooked chili that is just too good! Top with shredded cheese and onions if desired. Serve with bread and salad.

    Thursday: Tuna Noodle Casserole

    low-budget-recipes-03; casserole budget dinners Casseroles make great low budget recipes.

    Combine a starch (noodles, rice) with a meat (chicken pieces from a whole chicken, ground beef, tuna) and some kind of sticking agent (cream of chicken, mushroom or broccoli soups work well) then top with something crunchy or cheese and bake! Cheap quick easy dinner recipes!

    Here is my recipe for Tuna Noodle Casserole, one of my favorite budget dinners.

  • 1 5oz can tuna, drained
  • 1 10oz package egg noodles, cooked, drained
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 oz cream cheese, cut into small chunks
  • 1 small can french fried onion rings

  • Saute green onions and celery in butter over low heat. Salt and pepper it, then add in the flour and cook, constantly stirring, for about a minute. Now slowly add the milk, a little at a time. Stir well. Add in the chunks of cream cheese and stir and cook until blended. Add in tuna and noodles, stir well and put into casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 25-30 mins.

    Meanwhile, put the french fried onion rings into a Ziploc bag and get rid of all the air. Pound the bag and crush all the onion rings. Sprinkle on the casserole and bake another 5-8 mins. Serve with apples and caramel dip below.
  • 5 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4-6 apples, skin on, cut into slices
  • Use the extra cream cheese leftover from the Tuna Noodle Casserole for a great dip for apples. Let the cream cheese soften on the counter, and while the casserole is cooking, mix with the brown sugar and vanilla until well blended. Chill in the fridge until after dinner. Dip and enjoy!

    Friday: Stuffed Baked Potatoes, Salad

    low-budget-recipes-06; baked potato stuffed with chiliOur favorite cheap quick easy dinner recipes from leftovers include Stuffed Baked Potatoes.

    Using leftovers creatively goes a long way towards saving significant money on low budget recipes.
  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • Leftovers
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Butter
  • Bake your potatoes in the oven or microwave. Now get out all this week's leftovers! Chili, chicken tacos, even spaghetti meat taste great as toppings on your taters. Cheese and sour cream, even bacon bits or broccoli are good too. A creative way to use up leftovers.

    Saturday: Chicken Noodle Soup, Salad

    There's something about comfort foods like chicken noodle soup that just make me smile. And talk about low budget recipes! Chicken noodle soup tastes terrific and is extremely economical.
    low-budget-recipes-05; cheap quick easy dinner recipes chicken noodle soup
  • Leftover chicken from Tuesday
  • Leftover broth from Tuesday
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb carrots, chopped
  • Several stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • In the morning, start your noodles. Whisk the eggs and salt together and then stir in the flour, until you have formed a ball. Roll out dough with rolling pin until about 1/8 inch thick. Now take a butter knife and slice the dough into 8-12 large (uneven) squares. This makes it easy to turn while drying.

    Sit the noodle squares on a dishcloth and turn every hour or so throughout the day. About an hour before needed, cut the squares into 1/2 inch strips of individual noodles. Continue to dry.

    Meanwhile, place chicken and stock into crockpot. Add freshly chopped carrots, celery, and onion. Salt and pepper. Cook on low all day as your noodles dry. A half hour before dinner, put the noodles into the soup.

    Serve with bread and salad. Freeze leftovers for when someone is not feeling well, or eat later in the week for lunch. This makes a terrific comfort food!

    Sunday: Chili-Cheese Dogs, In-Season Fruit

    Well, I never said that these low budget recipes would be extremely healthy, now did I? But you can substitute turkey dogs (and for that matter you can substitute ground turkey in the above chili) if needed. Make these budget dinners your own.
    low-budget-recipes-07; chili cheese dog
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Hot dogs
  • Hot dog buns
  • Leftover chili
  • Shredded cheese
  • Finely chopped onion
  • This is one of my favorite cheap quick easy dinner recipes. The secret to making chili cheese dogs to die for is how you cook the dogs. You boil them. Set a pot of water to boil, adding 2 minced garlic cloves and a pinch of salt to the water. Boil the dogs for 3-5 mins.

    Meanwhile, reheat some chili in the microwave. Put a dog in a bun, top with chili, and then put shredded cheese on top. Microwave 15-20 seconds to melt the cheese. Top with onions. Yummy!

    Fresh fruit balances out the meal.

    Shopping List for Rayvens Cheap Quick Easy Dinner Recipes

    Did you like this week's menu? Great! I've put together a low budget recipes shopping list for you, listing all of the above ingredients.

    Budget Dinners Printable Shopping List

    Budget Dinners: Salads

    In many of the above low budget recipes, you'll find references to a dinner salad. We eat a lot of salad in our family; its a great way to get our full servings of vegetables. Salads can be very nutritious (depending on what you put on them) and can be an economical way to use up small qualities of ingredients.

    Salads can even be a great way to use up leftovers. Remember the chicken tacos? If you have some meat left over, toss it in a salad! Cheap quick easy dinner recipes!

    A word of caution: do not waste your hard earned money on iceburg lettuce. It has absolutely no nutritional value. Spend a little extra to get some leaf lettuce, like romaine. We buy a bag of 6 heads of romaine at Wal*Mart for about $6. It might not seem like an inexpensive meal idea now, but you're helping your health, which will save you money on doctor's bills in the future.

    Here are some ideas on salad toppings to turn your greens into low budget recipes:

    Green Peppers
    Red Peppers
    Yellow Peppers
    Diced Meats
    Red Cabbage
    Boiled Egg
    Pine Nuts
    Grape Nuts
    Bacon Bits
    Sunflower Seeds
    Chinese Noodles
    Feta Cheese
    Shredded Cheese
    Parmesan Cheese
    Green Olives
    Greek Olives

    $45 Emergency Menu

    Like the idea of low budget recipes, but want something with more emphasis on the low budget? Remember, the term inexpensive meal ideas is relative. What is cheap to one family might not be to another. But, lucky for you, I know of an excellent source for an emergency menu.

    Let's pretend for a moment that you have not a single item in your pantry, you have a family of six to feed, and only $45 until you get paid next week. Well, it can be done! Visit HillBilly Housewife and the famous (and free) $45 emergency menu, complete with shopping list.

    $45 Emergency Menu

    Sneak Peak at Next Week

    Like this section on low budget recipes? Next week we'll be talking about how to find freebies.

    Money Saving Resources

    Use the following resources to help you on your path towards frugal food.

    1. More pages on Stay-a-Stay-at-Home-Mom.com:
  • Meal Planning
  • Grocery Coupon Online Classes
  • Cheap Grocery Resources
  • Freezer Cooking Tips
  • Best Tupperware for Stay at Home Moms
  • Budget Cooking Ideas
  • Menus for Kids
  • Start a Food Exchange
  • Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden
  • Raise Meat Rabbits
  • Raise Chickens in Your Backyard
  • Buying Organic Foods
  • Order Groceries Online
  • Frugal Grocery Shopping Tips
  • Emergency Food Preparation
  • Start a Grocery Price Book
  • Printable Grocery Shopping Lists
  • 2. Rayven's Meal Plan book on Amazon:
    meal plan

    Meal Plan: Mom's Guide to Saving Money Time Sanity

    Quick! It's 5PM. Do you know what's for dinner? Does the thought put you into a sudden panic?

    It's a fact: if you have a meal plan, you can save money, time, and most importantly, SANITY.

    Learn how to create and implement menu planning for your family and solve the 5PM crisis for good. Complete with 3 week menu ideas for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks plus a bonus 3 week frugal dinner plan.

    Get Your Copy NOW! - Meal Plan: Mom's Guide to Saving Money Time Sanity

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