When money is tight, the last place you want to run out of ideas is the pantry. After all, the pantry is where you spend the most money. The best meals are those that don't require much money and make the most use of cheap ingredients. Soups are perfect frugal meals because you can flavor them with almost anything and they can be eaten as is or with bread. Here are some tips to get you started.
While grocery shopping, a good tip is to plan meals for your family so you can get the most bang for your buck. Avoid buying ingredients that can only be used once or twice and don't waste what you already have. You can make a whole chicken into shredded chicken enchiladas or make a delicious homemade chicken noodle soup using leftovers. You'll be surprised how much you can stretch one chicken!
Another easy and cheap dinner idea is to make a sheet pan dinner. You can use a crock pot to simmer some vegetable soup. Use two slices of bread, cheese, and butter and you can serve an entire family for less than $5. There are countless other meals that don't require much more than a crock pot, including pasta and spaghetti. A few staple ingredients and you're done!
Another cheap meal idea is to make ham and cheese croissant roll-ups. You can buy a ham and cheese on sale and use them as fillers for the dough. Alternatively, you can buy frozen vegetables or add them to a simple casserole. Some of these recipes don't even require a recipe! Just follow the steps listed below to prepare them and save a bunch of cash!
Oatmeal is an inexpensive staple. You can buy it in bulk or in canisters and add your favorite toppings for a cheap breakfast. You can even buy seasonal fruit instead of the usual cereal toppings. Pancakes are another inexpensive option that your family will love. The All Recipes recipe is very simple to make and provides high-quality results at a low cost. There are also a number of other cheap recipes available online.
Bulk up ingredients
Whether you are on a budget or not, bulk up your ingredients and store them for a month's worth of meals. Preparing a shopping list is important for many reasons. It prevents impulse buys, reminds you about your weekly meal plan, and will save you money. Bulk buying also cuts down on household waste. Foods purchased in bulk are cheaper per pound than packaged foods. Moreover, you can experiment with new ingredients without breaking your budget. One general rule is to cook only what you will use for two meals. This is the height of frugal living.
You should also use leftovers. You should make extras of the same kind of food. This will allow you to spread the cost over two meals instead of paying for an entire meal. Moreover, you won't have to cook as much as usual. And because you can use these foods for two more meals, you will be able to save money. And this way, you will be able to feed your family healthy food for less.
Oatmeal is another inexpensive staple. You can buy it in canisters for less than 50p a pound. Modern Honey offers tips for adding toppings to oatmeal without breaking the budget. You can also substitute seasonal fruit for the toppings. And pancakes are a favorite among family members. Make your own and slash food waste, and your family will be pleasantly surprised with how cheap and tasty they are.
Make meals that can be used for more than one meal
To cut back on costs, you can make more than one meal from a single recipe. For example, lentils and beans are great choices because they are versatile. Beans can be added to stews, soups, and casseroles. Vegetables can also be used in casseroles. There are several easy casserole recipes available at Allrecipes.com, and they can save you money as well.
Plan ahead. You may not have the time to look for recipes or make a list. This might force you to order take-out. When time is of the essence, you should have a backup plan ready. Keep a backup list, either in your phone or somewhere else easily accessible. This way, you can plan ahead and shop for groceries around sales. This is especially important when you're on a budget.
Use less expensive meat. Fresh fish and meat can be expensive, so look for cheaper cuts of meat. Chuck steak, pork top sirloin, and whole chickens can be inexpensive cuts of meat. Ground meat can be used in a variety of recipes, from stews and soups to burritos and casseroles. Try to preserve leftovers. By reusing leftovers and preserving them in an airtight freezer, you can enjoy healthy, delicious meals on a budget.
Make your own pasta
You can make your own pasta at home for many reasons. First of all, homemade pasta is healthier than store-bought pasta. You can use whole wheat flour, and egg whites, as well as farm-fresh eggs. Second, homemade noodles don't contain any preservatives, hidden ingredients, or weird industrial processes that make them unhealthy. Although the value is difficult to measure, it's definitely worth the effort.
When you make pasta at home, you can use a rolling pin or knife to roll out the dough, as well as to cut it. This process should take about twenty to twenty-five minutes, depending on the number of people who are helping. This is an enjoyable, hands-on activity, and it's great for the family. You can also store leftovers for later. Make pasta on a Sunday to have ready-made pasta for Monday dinner or lunches. Use an adjustable rolling pin to help you achieve the desired thickness.
To make your own pasta, gather some flour and place it on a clean counter top. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the egg. Knead the dough until it's bright green. Keep the dough moist by adding salt and kneading it on a lightly floured counter top. Depending on the humidity level in your area, the dough will differ a lot.
Make your own pesto
Pesto is one of the most versatile and delicious condiment to have on hand, but when money is tight, you should definitely make your own. Not only will your homemade version have a better taste than Jarred pesto, but you can also customize it to your liking. Plus, it's easy to make - just pulse all of the ingredients in a food processor until they become a smooth, creamy paste. Making pesto is easy and takes just a few minutes of your time. Plus, you can store it in an airtight container for up to a week.
To save money, you can grow your own garlic. If you're not a garlic fan, you can use walnuts or pumpkin seeds. Or, for a spicier pesto, try adding a dash of red pepper flakes. Just be sure to use plenty of salt. Otherwise, pesto will be bland. Make your own pesto for when money is tight, and you'll save money!
For the most authentic flavor, choose high-quality olive oil and make it drizzleable. Don't use a blender to make pesto. Blenders over-combine the ingredients and make them taste bland. You can also use a mortar and pestle, but it will change the texture. A food processor is faster and can turn pesto into a great sauce. Just keep in mind that a high-quality olive oil will enhance the flavor and texture of pesto.
Adding spinach is another great way to tame the pesto's flavor. Not only is it delicious but it's also nutritious. Plus, it's beautiful, too. And you can eat pesto as a sandwich or on sandwiches. You can even dip fries or breadsticks into it! The possibilities are endless! If you're in a pinch, try this recipe for homemade pesto for when money is tight!