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ajrsmom 11-21-2002 02:22 PM

Frugal Dinner Meals
I thought that since the "Whats for dinner?" thread has become so popular, I would start a thread for frugal dinner ideas too.

Share your frugal dinner recipes here!!

Tonight we are having having Stuffed Pepper Soup with Corn Bread.

I had 1/2 the amount of hamburger called for in the recipe but made due. Had some green peppers in the frig. that were about to go rotten. All I added to it was a big can of tomatoes & a big can of tomato sauce -both which were on sale for 99 cents each and some rice-which I made extra for another meal and 1 small can of beef broth. This made a BIG pot of soup, so we will have plenty for DH's lunch and leftovers. The cornbread is a Jiffy mix--on sale 2/88 cents.

I thought this was a pretty good deal since we will get multiple meals out of it.

Who is next to share some family frugal recipes? :daisy:

ajrsmom 11-21-2002 02:26 PM

Here is another cheap meal that my DH and I like ( forget DS on this way he will touch it).

Tuna Wiggle:

This is quick and cheap!

Juliecc913 11-21-2002 10:47 PM

Love the name of the Tuna Wiggle recipe and the green pepper soup and cornbread sound tasty.

A cheapy that I do when things are tight is Creamed Eggs on Toast. I make a white sauce, boil a couple of eggs and dice them up and put them in the sauce then pop some bread in the toaster (good time to use up the heals) and serve the sauce on the bread. Filling and cheap.

ajrsmom 11-21-2002 10:54 PM

Hi Julie :)

The name for the Tuna Wiggle can from my MIL and it makes me smile when I think of it too.

The soup turned out great but it didnt agree with my pregnancy! Heartburn city!! :(

Ive been looking for more frugal recipes and have been lucky enough to find a few good ones. Please tell me that you can eat frugally without using CREAM OF SOMETHING SOUP!! I like to use it once in a while but come on!

Ill print some of my finding tomorrow.


ajrsmom 11-22-2002 12:04 PM

This is turning out to be the longest day in history!! DH is going to learn that he doesnt have an oncall maid and cook on hand when he needs one so for the next few nights, dinner is going to be something that can be made at my convenience and reheated if he wants to eat.

Looks like tonight will be spaghetti or something along that line.....easy and cheap.

Childish, yes but I hope it gets my point across ;-)

jenb 11-26-2002 10:15 AM

we like what I call Italian bake: ground beef, turkey (or TVP, your choice) browned with chopped onion. When cooked, drain if needed and put in a casserole dish with cooked noodles (any type), leftover veggies or microwave any veggie blend from the freezer, mix in spaghetti sauce or canned tomatoes, add italian seasonings to taste, and bake at 350 until heated through. I usually add parmesan cheese to the top for the last 10 minutes or so.
I only use 1/2 pound of meat, and noodles are cheap so use lots of them. It's a great way to use up leftover noodle or vegies.

Make double and freeze half (before baking).

OmommyO 11-26-2002 10:16 AM

Poormans (bachelors) Tuna Casserole:

This meal costs under $2.00 here and feeds a family of 4. I usually serve with peas and jello. Brings the cost of to around $2.50-$2.75.

Frazzled Leslie 11-26-2002 11:06 AM

There's the old stand-by of Corn Stew, easy and fast.

Jeannie 11-26-2002 11:40 AM

Here's an easy recipe and frugal....
frugal doesn't necessarily mean cheap.... *s*

1 lb of spaghetti...
2 zucchini, sliced in pennies
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup olive oil or corn oil
parmesan cheese
hot pepper flakes (optional)

In a frypan, put oil and garlic and zucchini.
Fry them to desired doneness and remove them from
a pan with a slotted spoon.

Cook spaghetti al dente, drain and add to frying pan, toss the spaghetti in the hot oil ( add the pepper flakes if desired).. add the zucchini... toss well...and serve with grated cheese.

You may, if you like after the zucchini is half cooked, add one 8 oz can of Hunt's tomato sauce and let simmer for 15 min, covered. Stir occasionally.

You can also add sauteed mushrooms and onions to the zucchini, with or without the tomato ......

MrsManiac 11-27-2002 05:42 AM

Eeww--tuna wiggle! Blyuck!! Sorry--I hated that as a kid! It didn't have a cute name, though--it was just tuna and peas on toast.
I think I would've liked it if it didn't have peas.

My family likes creamed anything over noodles. 2 tbs butter, 2 tbs flour--stir to make a roux. Add 2 c. milk and simmer to thicken, add meat, veggies and heat through. Serve over noodles, rice, potatoes, (and toast!
;-) ). If you feel like making a "fancy" meal--make some crepes and serve it that way. Or in popovers, or over biscuits. Think along the lines of "pot pie" without the pastry!

I also make a "Chinese" meal of egg-drop soup, fried rice, and stir-fried vegetables that I can usually make for about $1.50(got it from Frugal moms).

preacherswife 11-27-2002 12:33 PM

Juliecc913, a friend's mom (there were 8 kids) used to make that when we were growing up. She called it "eggs daffodil" and I loved it!

AnnaInOhio 11-27-2002 01:02 PM

3 ideas
Ramien Noodles, 3-4 TBS. ragu cheese creations (cheddar) or cheez whiz, 2- 6 oz. cans tuna, lots of hot sauce. Mix and serve over crackers. Purchased at Aldi's- 12 pkgs. of noodles $1.39( .11 cents each ) tuna .39 cents each, ragu purchased on sale and with coupons .40 cents and hot sauce at Aldi's I think is .89 cents =2.18

Chicken Salad

1 lb. chicken about $3.00, 1 or 2 chopped celery purchased at Aldis .49 cents a bunch, 2 TBS. sweet relish jar is .69 cents, about 2TBS mayonaise or miracle whip. Boil chicken let cool, chop in food processor add other ingredients and serve on bread .69 cents a loaf at Aldi's or in summer we like to serve stuffed in a tomatoe. Cost=about 5.00 and easily serves 4, you can add a side dish like chips or baked potatoe too, brings the price up about .50 cents.

Egg Salad

Boil 1 dozen eggs (cool, chop in food processor)@ Aldi's right now a little higher than normal .89 cents, add chopped celery .49 cents, sweet pickle relish 69 cents, add a little mustard and mayonaise or miracle whip and serve on bread .69 cents.=2.76 and serves at least 4 with leftovers. Add fresh baby carrots on the side @ Aldi's 1 lb. is .99 cents, bringing cost up to 3.76 a meal.


jb829 11-27-2002 01:07 PM

:worm: :worm:

Ajrsmom, my grandmother used to make shrimp wiggle when I was a kid, and I loved it. She also made what she called Welsh Rarebit...just a white sauce with lots and lots of cheese melted in it, and served over hot buttered toast. I loved that, too.

My mom made potato soup or corn chowder a lot when we were near the end of the week, but I didn't like those at all. Now I like potato soup, especially with either some diced ham or bacon in it, but I still don't care for corn chowder.

I think my favorite frugal meal is ground turkey gravy, mashed potatoes or rice, and some sort of canned vegetable...always buy my vegetables on sale, and I'm not brand loyal at all. You can make the gravy with ground beef if you prefer, and it stretches a pound of meat to feed four people. Some folks call it "S*** on a Shingle," too. I just brown the meat and some onions, season it any way you like...I use garlic, celery salt, pepper, a little sage, and maybe some Italian seasoning...stir in some flour, add water, and let it simmer for two or three minutes. The amount of water depends on whether you want the gravy thick or thin...up to you.

We also like "Beefless Stew," made with lentils. Make it exactly like you would beef stew, only substitue lentils for the beef. It's really good, especially with hot buttered biscuits.

Any time you need to cook with a "cream of" soup, try just making a plain white sauce instead, and add a few more seasonings than you would normally. Doesn't seem to me that there'd be too much difference, and it's certainly a lot cheaper than canned soups...much lower sodium, too, btw. I make most of my white sauces and gravies with water, as I don't buy milk due to my allergy, and usually soy or rice milk isn't in my budget. Neither of us have a problem with how the water-based sauces come out. Once they're seasoned, they're fine.

Happy cooking....and hope your holiday goes well.

Juliecc913 11-27-2002 04:01 PM

Preacherswife, Eggs Daffodil, so elegant. That is now what I will call my previously named Creamed Eggs on Toast--how boring.:)

Oh! and I agree with the idea of substituting white sauce for cream of--don't remember to do it often enough but it is a great idea and so much cheaper and healthier.

MrsManiac 11-27-2002 04:46 PM

Ooh--I've often wondered how a white sauce would be with just water instead of milk! I've just never had the guts to try it lol!! I'll have to give it a try--every little bit off the grocery bill helps, ya know??

jb829--is your mom related to mine?:-D She used to make potato soup, too. And bean soup(my dad's favorite), when money was tight. And the old standby, "SOS"--which to this day I cannot bring myself to eat! The rest of the family likes it, though. I love Welsh Rarebit--I could eat it all day!

tree3branches 11-27-2002 04:50 PM

:) Howdy Gals

Here the dollar stercher is Beans. 1 cup of dry makes about 2 cups of cook. so it goes along way. I use ham base to seasoning with. Make cornbread from selfrising cornmeal. Then if any beans left I then make chile out of them. Then the 3rd night we have taco salads out of the left over chile.

This be Tree:)

Sueanne 11-27-2002 04:56 PM

I really felt frugal today. Bought the ultimate chopper from on the tv. Decided to make my own chopped meat. Defrosted a small sirloin tip roast and chopped it in the chopper. Could not believe when I made hamburger for lunch no fat came out when I cooked it. Decided to chop some pork chops for dinner and chop it into sausage meat. Added some fennel & spices and shaped like a sausage. They were real good too no fat. Love the idea of experimenting with making new meals.

jb829 11-27-2002 07:01 PM

MrsManiac, I would love to be able to claim you as a sister, lol. Unfortunately, I have no relatives that I know of in Michagan...hey, stranger things have happened, huh? As for the white sauce/gravies made with water, give it a try. I really can't tell much difference, but someone else perhaps could. Dearly Beloved loves gravy, and as long as I've got some kind of grease, flour, and water, he's a happy camper.

I forgot about bean soup...that's great stuff, too...and cheap. I cooked a ham for supper tonight, and whenever I do, I always save the bones and excess fat in the freezer for seasoning beans or whatever later on. And I also freeze the water I boil the ham makes great cooking water for beans, or a good gravy base another time. Tree3, you really get your money's worth out of a pot of beans, girl. That's great.

Another frugal thing that I forgot this afternoon is leftover vegetables...I store them in a container, any and all kinds, and then make rice for another meal. There's always some rice leftover, so the next day or so I saute some onions and garlic, then add the rice and all the vegetables, and a little soy sauce...fry them all together until they're good and hot. Makes a good, cheap sidedish!!

Ajrsmom, another good, cheap meal is a pound of ground beef or turkey, brown it all up with some onions and garlic, then pour in two cans of pork and beans...bought on sale, no brand loyalty...and just get it all good and hot. You can do the same thing with two packages of Ramen noodles and their seasoning, too...just let that cook until the water is gone.

And tonight's ham will turn into ham hash(after I have some leftover mashed potatoes), ham fried rice, sandwiches, and possibly top off a pot of beans...depends on how many sandwiches we make.

I buy family packs of chicken thighs...on sale, of course...and use every bit of it...baked the first time around, and then the rest goes into a chicken soup, chicken and rice, or chicken or dumplings. Just about the only thing I can't turn into another meal is leftover fried fish, lol!!!

preacherswife 11-27-2002 08:48 PM

A few years ago, when we had a really tough time, our last few meals of the pay period were rice or macaroni with white sauce made from oil, flour, water and curry powder. It was not my favorite, but it was acceptable and as close to free as we could get!

MommyHill 11-28-2002 04:32 AM

I miss the egg white sauce on toast.. My mother made that for us when I was young.. With 6 kids to feed this was a cheap all time favorite... Dear hubby does not like it :( I have make it for daughter but not for son yet.. Guess will have to make it soon.:-P::

A real cheap and easy dish to make is plain old hambuger rice peas..
Brown hamburger. Add cooked rice and frozen or canned peas.. Let cook over heat in skillet.. Like the rice to get a little crispy... That's it!!
My kids and I add a slice of American Cheese to our servings..

I also remember mom making Cabbage rolls for us kids... YUM!^^

tree3branches 11-28-2002 08:30 AM

This be Tree:)

I like to take left over mashed potatoes and make potato cakes fried in butter, I sometimes add oinons to them too...

I take left over fried fish and flake it up and make fish patties out of it. Then make a gravey sauce to serve with it.

Take all the leftover vegetalbes for a few days and make potluck soup or casserole that way I get by if I add me just use 1/2 lb. If no meat I just add one of the bases I se them when I do have meat ROFLMAO .

Happy Thanksgiving

Minny 11-28-2002 12:11 PM

:) Hi.
I have a great recipie for using leftover turkey or chicken. I know you said you didn't want to use cream of anything soup, but I'll send it anyway.
Take your left over turkey or chicken & break it into pieces. Make your stuffing or use Stove Top stuffing.
spray a cake pan with cooking spray. Press the stuffing into the bottom of the pan. spread the turkey or chicken over the top of the dressing. Open a can of Cream of Chicken soup & beat it with a fork( do not dilute with milk or water) Pour the soup over top of the meat. Melt some butter & crunch up crackers in the butter to coat them well ( don't make them soggy) Spread the crackers over the top & bake at 350 for about an hr. This can be frozen & re heated when needed. It's easy & doesn't take long to do.

Jeannie 11-28-2002 01:12 PM

My favorite frugal meal is when I can get chicken for 39 cents a lb which is often here. So a 4 1/2 lb chicken costs $1.75.

I make an herbed roasted chicken, with garlic, thyme, parsley and rosemary, lemon pepper, and serve with the trimmings, potatoes and some green veggie...or maple and brown sugar carrots, cranberry sauce and homemade bread or rolls.

The carcass and all juices are saved and all bones and the next day I put all of this in a stockpot with an onion, celery and carrots, and water and make a broth.

In the meantime, I take some flour and eggs and make home made noodles. The result is chicken noodle soup with chicken bits... Add a salad and some bread...and the meal costs from roast chicken to soup......less than 3.50.

Tree.... I make extra potatoes just to make potato cakes...we love them! *s*

Songberries 11-28-2002 06:40 PM

Hi everyone,
I love your dinner ideas! Here is one I recently got from a cooking class I went to. Brown 1 lb or less of hamburger, drain, add some chopped onion and what ever veges you have on hand, canned, frozen or leftover. Then breakup 2 packages of top ramen noodles and pour them in along with the seasoning packets. I add a little liquid and some garlic powder, onion powder and seasoning salt. Cook and stir until noodles are soft. My kids love this stuff.

tree3branches 11-29-2002 05:53 PM

::-):: Hallo everyone again... I just remenber you said you don't want to use cream soups. They are costly unless you have an Aldda near you... But you can use a simple white sauce in place... I thought of that tonight while fixing some of out left over turkey ROFLMAO . I made a white sauce with garlic and wite american cheese in it and chopped turkey. I served this over noodles..

This be Tree:)

sheilaanderson 11-30-2002 06:05 AM

does anyone have a sav-a-lot ??
hello to everyone.
i am always trying to be frugal when shopping for groceries.
it is just plain dumb not to save money-no matter your income!!
my favorite way to save grocery $$$ is off course to use manufactures coupons-buy the sunday paper and you always get more $$ from coupons than the cost of the paper-sometimes i buy 2-3 papers if the coupons are items i usually use (and i have a good idea which area grocery stores sell my favorite items for). a little planning and going weekly to 2-3 different stores will save lots of money-along with runnung into those wonderful instore-unadvertised specials and marked down meat!!!

one of my favorite standbys is SAV-A-LOT grocery. it is similar to ALDI'S. now in sav-a-lot, some items are fantastic and others-well-cheap and not worth buying. but my favorites are-
1. the seasoning packets-3 for $1.00. they have-spaghetti seasoning,taco,chili,country gravy,chicken gravy,beef gravy,etc.
they are very good quality and not weak at all-1 chili seasoning packet will easily season 1 huge stockpot of chili nicely.
2.canned beans,veggies and tomato sauce-3 for $1.00 !!!
3.diced tomatoes 2 for $1.00
4. bananas- 33 cents a pound
5. pasta and noodles 50 cents (sometimes 3 for $1 at walgreens)
6. cream soup 50 cents
7. baking supplies-really inexpensive - pudding 3 for $1
condensed milk 99 cents, choc chips less than $1,graham shells less than $1,etc.

i would like to share my recipe for really good chili-it freezes really well. use for leftover chili, or for chili dogs,or for chili on pasta,or for chili pizza, or for chili salad (taco).
hope everyone enjoys it-everyone absolutely RAVES about it.

sheila's favorite chili recipe:

jb829 11-30-2002 06:59 AM

'Morning, y'all!

I love chili, Sheila, but it sure doesn't like me...I haven't been able to eat it for years now. A big pot of it is soooo good on a cold day, and the next day it heats up even better, lol.

I thought of another frugal meal, using either ground beef or ground turkey...sloppy joes. We actually prefer the turkey, and use it for anything we'd use ground beef for. Anyway, brown up about a pound of it with the ever-present chopped onions and garlic(there is NO life without garlic!!). Drain off any grease...if you use turkey, there usually isn't any. After it's browned nicely, add in ketchup...probably about a cup, maybe less...and water until it's as thick or thin as you want it...thinner goes further, lol. Let this simmer for a couple minutes, and serve over rice, noodles, potatoes, hamburger buns, or plain bread. If you're feeling flush, which I'm usually not, you can use a can of cream of tomato soup(I don't think the white sauce would work here), cut the ketchup in half, and then add the water. My kids used to love this, and none of us ever cared for the Manwich in the can. This same base can be used to make bbq turkey or ground beef, too...just throw in some vinegar, brown sugar, and your taste...serve the same way. You can make the sauce without the beef or turkey, and put in hotdogs, cut into "coins," too.

Tree, the white sauce and turkey sounds good. I've got a lot of leftover ham, and am going to do that with chunked up ham. And last night, Dearly Beloved cooked a LOT of rice, so I can use it to make ham-fried rice...garlic(DUH!!...did you know I like garlic, lol?), ham, rice, soy sauce, a little ginger, and the left-over peas in the fridge. I LOVE left-overs!!!

sheilaanderson 11-30-2002 07:43 AM

preventing gas from beans
hello to everyone.

joyce- i dont know if it will help u much-but there are a few remedies for preventing painful "gas" from beans.

i always soak my beans overnight in warm water with 2 tbsp baking soda added.the overnight soak makes the beans more digestable. then in the morning before cooking them-rinse them well ,4 or 5 times with fresh water. also i heard it is good to discard all cooking water when done cooking them and add new water and season then. ive also heard that BEANO really works.
but i usually just rinse them after soaking overnight and that does it for us. my husband will have "bowel" problems if i dont. for my chili recipe-i simply rinse the 3 cans of kidney beans in a collander and that helps reduce the gas.

hope this helps.

sincerely-sheila ann anderson

momof4 11-30-2002 05:18 PM

I thought I'd share my frugal dinner! Tonight, I was searching the freezer and found a homemade pizza crust I'd forgotten, then found some frozen hamburger meat and frozen green get the idea! I added some sauce, cheese and of course pepperoni and that was it! Very yummy and very frugal, since most of the ingredients were from frozen leftovers!!;-)

ajrsmom 11-30-2002 07:39 PM

You are all just full of it!.....great ideas,that is!! ;)

Are you being creative with the leftovers from Thanksgiving? Cold turkey sandwiches seem to be a fav around here. Tonight I made turkey noodle soup with canned broth that I got on sale, some leftover turkey, leftover corn, a can of Aldi's carrots and a free can of French style green beans ( given to me by my mother because she doenst like that style of beans). I added some cheap elbow macaroni to it too. There is plenty left for lunch tomorrow.

Tomorrow will probably be hot turkey sandwiches with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Im getting kinda tired of turkey so the rest will hit the freezer for next week. I think I will have enough for turkey quesidilas and the white sauce with turkey over toast.

Im not lucky enough to have a SAV-A-LOT around us but I do have 3 major grocery stores within 2 miles of my house so I load up on good deals when they have them. Our Aldis is about 15 miles from us so I load up there too. I dont think that our Aldis is as nice as some of you have though. My brother lives in Ohio and they have a real nice one pretty close to them.

Im the only one here that likes beans so I usually buy them at Aldis in a can just for me.

I make sloppy joes with turkey, ketchup, a little brown sugar, dry mustard ( can use spicy brown mustard in a pinch without anny difference--I do since Im too cheap to buy more ground mustard ;) ), onions and gr. peppers. These are great and we prefer them to Manwich or any other type like that too!

I do use cream of ? sometimes. I like the dish with the stuffing and meat. I also cook a roast in the crockpot like that once in a while.

Im loving all of your ideas!! Keep them coming :) Im making a list of everything to hang on my cupboard door in the kitchen for when I need menu ideas!


MrsManiac 12-01-2002 08:13 AM

I can't say I'm being "creative" with turkey, but I'm getting my money's worth out of that bird lol(it was free from dh's shop). After our dinner, I put some turkey slices into a casserole, topped with stuffing and potatoes, and dumped gravy over all. Froze it. Then I chopped up some turkey and grated some potatoes for turkey hash, fried it up and froze it. Turkey pot pie, turkey noodle soup(hm broth from turkey bones, of course lol), turkey, rice and cheese casserole---and I still have some meat left that I just stuck in the freezer!! Oh, and I made sandwiches for dh's lunches for work.

We have a sav-a-lot here--I LOVE that store!! I buy all my canned goods there, and my baking stuff, and sometimes meat. There is an Aldi's by my mom, so I stop there when I visit her.

Abear 12-03-2002 08:28 AM

Tonight we are having one of our favorite meals in cold weather... other than gumbo! ;)

An added plus is that it is also frugal!

My sister first introduced us to this "soup"...although she calls it "Hash".

All you do is brown ground beef (I always use ground round for lower fat content) with some chopped onion & minced garlic added just before beef is done. I always use several cloves of garlic as we LOVE garlic!

When the beef is done, add chopped potatoes. Cover with water by about 2". Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are done.

I usually serve with salad and crackers.

jb829 12-03-2002 08:34 AM

Abear, that sounds good!! And I"m with you on the garlic, lol. Did you realize that your meal is a Hamburger Helper meal...just much, much cheaper...and probably better?? I think you just determined what we'll have for dinner tomorrow night...I do the cooking on Wednesdays and Thursdays, my days off.

Abear 12-03-2002 08:39 AM

Actually, I never really thought of it as a Hamburger Helper meal! But you're right!

I should have mentioned that my DS makes hers with ground chuck. She says it gives it more flavor.

I hope y'all like it as much as we do! ::-)::

LuvMyFF 12-12-2002 08:01 AM

My kids favorite 'frugal meal' is bbq spam. I use Walmart brand though. What I do is cut it into cubes, fry in some oil(not too much), add chopped onions and canned mushrooms, and then pour fav bbq sauce over it and cook for 5 more mins. We serve it over rice. It is very good.


AnnaInOhio 12-12-2002 08:15 AM

More details...please
Mrs. Maniac-

Can you give me more details of how to make turkey hash? Are you using mashed potatoes, or just chopped raw? I've never heard of this before but it sounds good. Thanks.


MrsManiac 12-12-2002 10:41 AM

No problem OSI:). Actually, I use both, depending on what I have. But I prefer using raw potatoes because I like the crunch! I just cut up leftover turkey, and an onion if I have one, along with potatoes.(all cut to the same size). I heat a bit of oil in a skillet, dump everything in and cook until crispy, then flip it over and cook the other side. You can also add chopped veggies if you want, but I don't because I usually serve this with a veggie, anyway. I do the same with the mashed potatoes--just mix it all up and fry it. I don't know if this is how it's "supposed" to be done, but my family gobbles it up(no pun intended lol) and asks for more!

AnnaInOhio 12-12-2002 11:19 AM

Mrs. Maniac-

Thank you, solves 2 issues, leftover turkey and a whole bag of potatoes that we aren't using enough :)


Craftybear2001 12-23-2002 01:35 PM

Hi Everyone!
I have a tip for everyone. I store my bag of potatoes in the refrigerator in vegetable bin. They keep for a long time and don't rot like they do just in kitchen closet.

Talk to all of you later on. I need to find this recipe that I love to make easy and fast.

Bye for now.


Jeannie 12-23-2002 01:40 PM

Don't store onions and potatoes in the same bin...the potatoes will spoil......

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