Meals on a Budget- Part 3: Easy Meal Ideas

Keep calm and cook on

This is the third post in the series Meals on a Budget.  In this post, I will share some meal ideas that are easy to prepare. You can find tips to help you stretch your food, and your budget, further here. You can read the first post on planning meals here.

Italian dishes are a great option for those wanting to stretch their budget. These meals can be made with or without meat and can be put together quickly. Examples include spaghetti, baked ziti, lasagna rolls, etc. A family favorite (passed down from my grandmother) is Pasta and broccoli- a cheap, yummy meal that reminds me of her every time I make it!  Complete the meal by serving garlic bread and salad.

In the winter, soup is another easy meal that is both budget-friendly and filling. My family’s meatless favorites include Minestrone, Split Pea, Italian Vegetable, and Tomato Parmesan.  Some hearty soups that include meat are Chili, Stuffed Pepper Soup, and Chicken Fiesta soup. Soups can be served with homemade bread sticks, grilled cheese sandwiches, or cornbread and a salad to round out the meal.

A favorite for kids is to have a “breakfast for dinner” night.  Examples include scrambled egg sandwiches, pancakes, or French toast served with hash browns (or tater tots), bacon, and sausage. Breakfast casseroles are easy to put together but keep in mind, most recipes require overnight refrigeration prior to baking.

Some other easy meal ideas include:

  • Baked potato bar that includes cheese, sour cream, salsa, chopped bacon, chives, or chili if you have it. Serve with a salad and this is a very filling and cost-effective meal.
  • Salad bar including hardboiled eggs, tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, cheese, diced lunchmeat or cooked chicken, Craisins, croutons, etc. Complete the meal with a crusty bread or grilled cheese.

Don’t forget about those “leftovers” in the fridge!  You can keep your leftovers and eat them on a certain day each week (i.e. Sunday), eliminating the need for a planned meal. Another option is to freeze leftover meats and serve the remaining side dish items throughout the week. Lunch is also an easy way to get rid of those leftovers!

With some planning and the tips shared here, sharing a meal together at home is possible no matter what your budget.

Share with me- what are some of your favorite recipes or cost-saving tips?

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