Food Money Saving Tips

10 Inexpensive Recipes for Your Everyday Meals

10 Inexpensive Recipes for Your Everyday Meals
Written by Oana Schneider

According to CreditLoan.com, the average US consumer spends $6,602 out of their paycheck for food. The rest goes to transportation, apparel, services, entertainment, personal insurance, pensions, housing, cash contributions, health care and other expenditures for the year 2012.

Based on the figures released by the US Department of Agriculture for the same year, the average amount spent on food is about 6.4% of their annual consumer expenditures. Whether you’re an average or above average earner, you would not want to spend any more than you have to on food. Not only will saving money on food conserve your hard-earned dollars, but it brings about a lot of other benefits as well. For one, you can eliminate food wastage because you can cook up just enough to feed your family.

Second, you can feed your family healthier food items because saving money on food means lesser takeout and more home cooked meals. Third, you can experiment in the kitchen and broaden your food preparation skills. Here, we will take a look at inexpensive recipes that you can whip up in your very own kitchen, so that you can feed delicious dishes to your family without having to spend so much.

10 Inexpensive Recipes for Your Everyday Meals

When looking for inexpensive recipes, you should find ones with readily available ingredients – and do not take a lot of time and effort to prepare. To get you started, here is our version of the top ten inexpensive recipes for your everyday meals:

#1 Arroz Con Pollo

10 Inexpensive Recipes for Your Everyday Meals

Doesn’t It Look Delicious?

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon(s) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pound(s) chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) regular long-grain white rice
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed with press
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) ground red pepper
  • 1 can(s) (14 to 14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) water
  • 1 package(s) (10 ounces) frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup(s) drained salad olives or chopped pimiento-stuffed olives

Directions:

  1. In a non-stick 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add chicken to skillet; sprinkle with black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add onion and green pepper to same skillet with chicken. Cook until chicken is browned and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes, turning chicken over once and stirring vegetable mixture occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, with vegetable peeler, remove 3-inch strip peel from lemon. Cut lemon into wedges; reserve.
  3. Stir lemon peel, rice, garlic, ground red pepper, broth, water, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt into mixture in skillet; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in frozen peas; cover and cook 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; stir in olives. Spoon into serving dish if you like. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over each serving.

#2 Baked Smokin’ Macaroni and Cheese

10 Inexpensive Recipes for Your Everyday Meals

Mac and Cheese with a Twist.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound uncooked cellentani (corkscrew) pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 (12-oz.) can fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded 1.5% reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 3 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper, divided
  • 1 (8-oz.) package chopped smoked ham
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare cellentani pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp. butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Gradually whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and evaporated milk until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Whisk in Gouda cheese, next 3 ingredients, and 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in ham and pasta.
  3. Pour pasta mixture into a 13- x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Stir together crushed cereal, 1 tbsp. melted butter, and remaining 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper; sprinkle over pasta mixture.
  4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

#3 Big Batch Veggie Chili

10 Inexpensive Recipes for Your Everyday Meals

Perfect for a Cold Day!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (3.625-oz.) package chili seasoning kit
  • 1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups tomato juice
  • 2 (14.5-oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • Toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream, chopped green onions, shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Sauté carrots and onion in hot oil in a 5- to 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium heat 7 minutes or until onions are translucent. Stir in half of red pepper packet from chili kit; stir in all of remaining packets. Sauté mixture 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and next 7 ingredients.
  2. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serve with desired toppings.

#4 Braised Caraway Pork and Cabbage

10 Inexpensive Recipes for Your Everyday Meals

Pork Dishes Don’t Have to Be Dull!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder roast (about 4 pounds each), trimmed
  • 2 teaspoon(s) caraway seeds, crushed
  • 2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 2 slice(s) bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium head green cabbage
  • 1 cup(s) water
  • 1 package(s) (16 ounces) wide egg noodles

Directions:

  1. Pat pork dry with paper towels. Rub pork with caraway seeds, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt; set aside.
  2. In wide-bottomed 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven or deep 12-inch skillet (with oven-safe handle and lid, or with handle and lid wrapped in double thickness of foil for roasting in oven later), cook bacon over medium heat until browned. With slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
  3. Preheat oven to 400° F. In drippings in Dutch oven, cook pork over medium-high heat until well browned on all sides. Meanwhile, remove tough outer leaves from cabbage. Cut cabbage into 8 wedges; remove and discard core.
  4. Arrange cabbage around pork in Dutch oven. Return bacon to Dutch oven. Add water and remaining 1 teaspoon salt; heat to boiling. Cover Dutch oven and place in oven. Braise pork and cabbage 2 hours, stirring cabbage once halfway through cooking.
  5. About 30 minutes before pork is done, prepare noodles as label directs.
  6. Transfer pork to cutting board. Cut pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve pork with noodles, cabbage, and pan juices.

#5 Beef-Barley and Root Vegetable Stew

10 Inexpensive Recipes for Your Everyday Meals

Delicious Stew!

Ingredients:

  • 2 slice(s) bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 pound(s) bone-in beef chuck steak
  • 2 teaspoon(s) (plus 1 tablespoon) vegetable oil
  • 4 large (stalks celery) cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 small parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 package(s) (10 ounces) mushrooms, each cut into quarters, or eighths if large
  • 3 tablespoon(s) tomato paste
  • 12 cup(s) water
  • 2 tablespoon(s) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon(s) salt
  • 1 package(s) (16 ounces) pearl barley, picked over, rinsed and drained

Directions:

  1. In 6- to 8-quart saucepot, cook bacon over medium heat 5 minutes or until browned. With slotted spoon, transfer bacon to medium bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, trim and discard fat from beef. Cut beef into 1-inch chunks, reserving bones.
  3. Add beef and bones, in 4 batches, to bacon drippings, and cook over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes per batch or until well browned on all sides, adding 2 teaspoons oil as necessary. (You may need to reduce heat to medium if drippings in saucepot begin to smoke.) With slotted spoon, transfer beef as it browns to bowl with bacon.
  4. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to saucepot. Add celery, carrots, parsnips, onion, and mushrooms, and cook, covered, 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute, stirring.
  5. Return meat with its juices and bacon to saucepot. Stir in water, soy sauce, and salt; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in barley; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 40 minutes longer or until beef and barley are tender, stirring occasionally.
  6. With tongs, transfer bones to cutting board; cut any meat remaining on bones into small chunks. Discard bones and fat. Return beef to saucepot.

#6 Chicken-and-Brisket Brunswick Stew

10 Inexpensive Recipes for Your Everyday Meals

And It Doesn’t Take Long to Make!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons jarred beef soup base
  • 2 pounds skinned and boned chicken breasts
  • 1 (28-oz.) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (12-oz.) package frozen white shoepeg or whole kernel corn
  • 1 (10-oz.) package frozen cream-style corn, thawed
  • 1 (9-oz.) package frozen baby lima beans
  • 1 (12-oz.) bottle chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 pound chopped barbecued beef brisket (without sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Directions:

  1. Sauté onions and garlic in hot oil in a 7.5-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes or until tender.
  2. Stir together beef soup base and 2 cups water, and add to Dutch oven. Stir in chicken and next 9 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 hours.
  3. Uncover and shred chicken into large pieces using 2 forks. Stir in brisket and lemon juice. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

#7 Cheesy Broccoli and Red-Pepper Rösti

10 Inexpensive Recipes for Your Everyday Meals

In Case You Love Broccoli!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped
  • 12 ounce(s) broccoli, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon(s) water
  • 1 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 2 1/2 pound(s) (about 4 large) baking potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
  • 4 ounce(s) (1 cup) shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. In non-stick 12-inch skillet with oven-safe handle (or with handle wrapped in double thickness of foil for baking in oven later), heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onion and red pepper and cook 6 to 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in broccoli, water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until broccoli is tender, stirring once. Transfer broccoli mixture to medium bowl. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel and coarsely shred potatoes; pat dry with paper towels. In large bowl, toss potatoes with black pepper and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt.
  3. In same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add half the potato mixture, patting with rubber spatula to cover bottom of skillet. Leaving 1-inch border, top potatoes with broccoli mixture, then sprinkle with Cheddar. Cover with remaining potatoes, patting to edge of skillet. Cook 5 minutes or until browned, gently shaking skillet from time to time to keep pancake from sticking.
  4. Place large flat round platter or cookie sheet upside down over skillet. Grasping platter and skillet firmly together, very carefully and quickly flip skillet over to invert pancake onto platter. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet, then slide pancake back into skillet. Cook 5 minutes or until browned.
  5. Place skillet, uncovered, in oven and bake 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender throughout.
  6. Serve in skillet or slip pancake out of skillet onto platter or cutting board. Cut into wedges.

#8 Honey-Basted Chicken with Chili-Roasted Potatoes

10 Inexpensive Recipes for Your Everyday Meals

The Sweet Taste of Honey!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large (about 12 ounces each) baking potatoes, unpeeled and cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 1 large (about 1 pound) sweet potato, peeled and cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 2 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon(s) chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s )salt
  • 1 whole(s) (about 3 1/2 pounds) chicken
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon(s) honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) paprika
  • 2 tablespoon(s) hot water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. In 15 1/2″ by 10 1/2″ jelly-roll pan, toss potato wedges with 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until evenly coated.
  2. Remove giblets and neck from chicken; refrigerate to use another day. With breast side up, tuck wing tips under back of chicken. With string, tie legs together.
  3. Rub chicken with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place chicken, breast side up, on rack in 13″ by 9″ roasting pan or metal baking pan. Place chicken on center oven rack and potatoes on lowest oven rack; roast 1 hour. If potatoes are fork-tender, remove from oven and keep warm.
  4. In cup, combine honey, paprika, and remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder. Brush honey mixture all over chicken. Roast chicken (and potatoes, if necessary) 5 minutes longer or until temperature on meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh, next to body, reaches 175° to 180° F.
  5. Transfer potatoes to warm large platter. With tongs, tilt chicken to allow juices from cavity to run into roasting pan. Place chicken on platter with potatoes; let stand 10 minutes for easier carving. Meanwhile, skim and discard fat from drippings in pan; stir in hot water. Serve chicken and potatoes with pan drippings.

#9 Red Beans and Rice

10 Inexpensive Recipes for Your Everyday Meals

A Rustic Taste That Never Gets Old!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package(s) (16-ounce) dry red kidney beans
  • 6 cup(s) water
  • 2 small (1 pound each) smoked ham hocks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalk(s) celery with leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) crushed red pepper
  • 2 cup(s) long-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • Hot pepper sauce

Directions:

  1. In 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, place beans and enough water to cover by 2 inches; heat to boiling over high heat. Remove Dutch oven from heat; set aside 1 hour to soften beans. Drain. (Or, if you prefer, soak beans overnight in cold water. Drain.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In same Dutch oven, combine 6 cups water with beans, ham hocks, onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and crushed red pepper; heat to boiling over high heat. Cover Dutch oven and place in oven. Bake 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove cover and bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours longer or until beans are tender and mixture is creamy, stirring occasionally.
  3. With slotted spoon, transfer ham hocks to plate; refrigerate until cool enough to handle. Discard bay leaf. Meanwhile, prepare rice as label directs.
  4. Cut meat from hocks and chop; discard bones and fat. Stir meat and salt into beans; heat through over medium heat.
  5. To serve, spoon hot rice into 6 large soup bowls and top with bean mixture. Sprinkle with green onions and serve with hot sauce.

#10 Salmon Cakes with Soy-Ginger Mayonnaise

10 Inexpensive Recipes for Your Everyday Meals

The Delicate Salmon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pound(s) (about 2 large) baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 pound(s) salmon fillet, skin removed
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 teaspoon(s) vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon(s) peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon(s) peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup(s) light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon(s) soy sauce
  • 6 lettuce leaves, sliced
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Directions:

  1. In 3-quart saucepan, combine potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and enough water to cover; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 6 to 8 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain potatoes; place in large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, with knife, finely chop salmon; refrigerate. From lemon, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 1 teaspoon juice; set aside.
  3. In a non-stick 12-inch skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 tablespoon ginger; cook 30 seconds. Add onion mixture to bowl with potatoes. With potato masher, coarsely mash potatoes with onion mixture.
  4. To bowl with potato mixture, add salmon, lemon peel, egg, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to mix well. Shape salmon mixture into twelve 3″ by 3/4″ cakes, using about 1/3 cup mixture for each.
  5. In same skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat. Add 6 salmon cakes and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until cooked through and browned on both sides, turning over once. Transfer salmon cakes to plate; keep warm. Repeat with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and salmon cakes.
  6. While salmon cakes are cooking, prepare soy-ginger mayonnaise: In small bowl, with spoon, mix lemon juice, mayonnaise, soy sauce, and remaining 1 teaspoon ginger.
  7. To serve, on each of 6 dinner plates, place some lettuce; top with 2 salmon cakes. Serve salmon cakes with mayonnaise and, if you like, lemon wedges.

Don’t these recipes sound mouth-watering to you? Not only are they delicious and healthy, but they are very easy on the budget, too, so try them out now!

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

8 Comments

  • All of these recipes look fantastic, I will certainly have to have a look and make some of them when I can. Another thing that I think is a really good idea, too, is to freeze anything that you don’t manage to eat on the day. This is great if you live on your own, as you can cook four portions and then save the rest for over the next week or so. It means that you wouldn’t have to cook every day, which is great – because a lot of us just don’t have the time to be able to do it these days. I make a lot of pasta dishes and then freeze them so that I don’t have to bother with cooking.

  • I love these recipes for the simple fact that they are not only inexpensive, but they are also healthy. It’s hard trying to shop on somewhat of a budget and eat healthier. I will definitely be trying a lot of these recipes.

    • Well, it’s a common misconception that eating healthier requires some large budget. You can get tons of healthy food for far cheaper than the processed foods if you’re willing to look around. Far too many people just believe the common notion that being healthy is an expensive endeavor, but these recipes help prove that’s not the case.

  • These are all great recipes, potentially among the most inexpensive yet the most appetizing of all the recipes I’ve encountered. I especially like the chili and the salmon with soy. They are very easy to cook too–quick meals for when you haven’t got enough time.

    • Salmon is one of the few fish items that I like preparing and eating. Plus, the addition of soy helps give it some more flavor and a little extra kick. As for the chili, you really can’t go wrong with chili, and it’s hard to mess up. It is a little messy to eat, but the fact that it’s heart and filling more than makes up for that.

  • These are some terrific ideas! I have been having noodles almost everyday of the week the last few weeks and it’s getting pretty sickening. I have been looking for something to spice things up a little bit, but something that also isn’t too expensive for my family’s budget. These recipes seem affordable and delicious. They are also food that my entire family can agree on. I know sometimes kids can be picky, but these seem to be pretty kid friendly.

  • Mmm, good stuff! My go-to cheap meal is usually a variation on rice and beans, so I’ll definitely have to try out the rösti when I want to change things up. And I’m sure I could adapt some of the ones that use red meat to use alternative ingredients, as they all sound delicious. Will definitely be coming back to this post when I need fresh inspiration.

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