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50 Frugal Meals And Their Recipes

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Have you been searching for recipes that will provide wholesome food for yourself and your family, without breaking the bank?

Often times, healthy and delicious does not seem to equal affordable. This list of 50 Frugal Meals will definitely meet your requirements. All of these meals are inexpensive, and easy enough for even a novice chef to make.

In this list you will find a large variety of flavors, from East Indian, to classic American, Cuban and beyond. Each recipe includes a quick description to let you know what to expect from the flavor profiles, followed by a simple ingredient list and easy to follow cooking instructions.

Nearly all of these meals can be made vegetarian, and many of them can easily be made gluten free. To feed a large crowd, most recipes can be doubled or tripled without any extra work. Leftovers are perfect for those eating frugally, so almost all of these recipes are able to be frozen and reheated, without losing taste or texture.

There are so many inexpensive recipes here, that I am absolutely sure you will find some that fit your family’s tastes, budget, and schedule. Enjoy!

A. Comfort Foods

1. Three Bean Veggie Chili

This chili is packed with nutrients thanks to the variety of beans and eclectic vegetables, and it is simple and inexpensive to create when you use canned varieties.  A twist on a traditional meat chili, making this vegetarian dish will save on costs without skimping on taste.

The versatile dish uses any frozen vegetable you happen to have on hand… so don’t be afraid to mix it up. Make sure to pair this with some fresh green onion and tortilla chips to take it to the next level of delectable. A dish that the entire family will enjoy.

Ingredients:
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can red beans
  • 1 can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables of choice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2.5 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil of choice
Optional Extras:
  • shredded cheese
  • green onions, chopped
  • tortilla chips
Directions (serves 6):

Gather your ingredients and chop the onion, while preheating a heavy bottomed pan to medium heat. Add the oil to the pan, along with the chopped onion. Saute for 7-10 minutes, or until soft. While the onion is cooking, do any work on your optional extras, such as shredding the cheese or slicing up the green onions.

Once the onion has cooked down, add in your chili powder, cumin, and salt. Stir for two minutes, or until fragrant. Drain and pour in all three beans, your frozen vegetables, and also add the tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes.

Bring to a quick boil over medium heat, stirring often, then reduce to low and simmer 20 minutes. Serve immediately in shallow bowls. This chili makes great lunch leftovers too.

2. Pepperoni Baked Ziti

Everyone loves a big, hot pan full of baked ziti… it is comfort food at it’s finest. In this version the traditional sausage is replaced with pepperoni, for a kid-friendly and crowd pleasing take on a classic dish.

Short on time? This ziti can easily be made ahead and frozen, or reheated in the oven a day or two later, making it a great choice for family gatherings or an easy option when you are tired after a long day. Ziti can stand on it’s own as a meal, or serve with some garlic bread for an extra carb fest (or a side salad to keep it light).

Ingredients:
  • 1lb dried ziti or penne pasta
  • 3 cans tomato sauce
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 package pepperoni slices
  • 8oz  mozzarella cheese
  • 8oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Directions (serves 8):

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Finely chop 1/2 of an onion, and begin to sauté it in a large pot with the olive oil. Cook onion for 7-10 minutes or until almost soft. While onion is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, and add the dried pasta. Salt the water liberally, if desired. Boil pasta for 9-11 minutes or until l dente. Drain and set aside.

Once the sautéed onions have nearly finished, add the ground beef to the same pot, and cook, stirring often, until browned. Once the beef is cooked through, pour in the tomato sauce, Italian spices, and salt. While you bring this sauce to a simmer, shred your mozzarella cheese. Buying a block of cheese is always cheaper than buying pre shredded.

Set aside 12 pepperoni. Stack the remaining pepperoni into short piles, and use a sharp knife to cut them into fourths. Let sauce simmer for ten minutes before removing from heat.

Working carefully with the hot sauce, gently pour the cooked pasta into the sauce. Mix in the chopped pepperoni. Ladle this mixture into a large casserole dish, and let cool for five minutes. Spoon in and lightly mix in the ricotta and half of the shredded mozzarella.

Top the ziti with the remaining mozzarella cheese, and place the 12 whole pepperoni slices on top. Place pan into the heated oven and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the edges are bubbling and brown.

To make ahead and bake later, stop before putting the ziti in the oven. Cover tightly with foil and place in the fridge. When you are ready to enjoy this meal, simple heat in a 350 degree oven (with foil on top) for 35 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

3. Savory Borscht Stew

This unusual stew is perfect for a lazy evening at home. It uses a few simple ingredients, and the bright color will delight the pickiest of eaters. This particular recipe skips out on the meat to save on money, but it really isn’t missed with the heartiness of the potatoes and the earthy taste of the beets and carrots.

Don’t be afraid to enjoy this beet stew on a warm summer day, it isn’t just for long winter nights.

This savory meal is complimented greatly by a heaping spoonful of sour cream, or to keep it a bit lighter without skimping on flavor, try substituting it with plain greek yogurt. The fresh dill is the perfect finishing touch, but dry dill will also work in a pinch.

Ingredients:
  • 4 medium or 3 large beets, peeled and shredded
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and shredded (or 2 cups shredded bagged carrots)
  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 quarts broth (beef or vegetable)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon oil of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
Directions (serves 8):

Begin by bringing the broth to a boil, while preparing the beets, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, add the oil, chopped onion, and minced garlic. Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Once the onion begins to soften, add the remaining vegetables, and cook over low for 10 -12 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Slowly ladle the hot broth into the soup pot. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Return to a simmer before adding the salt, sugar, and half the dill. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Ladle the hot soup into bowls and sprinkle with the remaining freshly chopped dill. Spoon 1/8 cup sour cream onto each bowl. Serve immediately.

4. Masala Potatoes

Potato based meals are inexpensive and well loved, but they can become monotonous. This surprising take on Indian flavored potatoes is healthy, filling, and can even be relished cold the next day.

If you aren’t used to masala spices, you may want to use half the spice mixture the first time you make this heavenly potato dish, to give your taste buds a chance to get used to the explosive new flavors. This recipe keeps well in the fridge for up to a week, so doubling up on the ingredients is never a bad idea. If you aren’t up to the task of peeling and chopping potatoes, use fingerling or Yukon Golds, which don’t need to be prepped at all for this recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
Directions (serves 4):

Bring a large pot of water to boil. While waiting on the water, peel and chop your potatoes (or use Fingerling or Yukon Golds without prep). Add potatoes to boiling water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Once tender, drain the potatoes and set aside.

In a small pan, heat the coconut oil, and add all spices. Stir constantly until fragrant, about two minutes. Slowly pour the coconut milk into the pan, and bring to a simmer. While the spice and milk mixture is still hot, gently pour it into the pot with the cooked potatoes. Add frozen peas, and cook over low until peas are heated through. Add salt to taste. Spoon into individual bowls and top with yogurt just before serving.

5. Lentil Potato Soup

Is there anyone who doesn’t enjoy a bacon filled dish? This soup is packed with protein from the green lentils, and it has a smoky, salty bite from the bacon and spices. Great for serving a large family or a hungry bunch, this soup is more filling than your average one pot meal.

Like most soups, it tastes even better the next day, when flavors have had a chance to meld and settle.

If you haven’t cooked with lentils before, you are in for a treat. These tiny legumes cook quickly and take on whatever flavors they are spiced with, making them a versatile choice for inexpensive protein and nutrition. This particular soup needs no sides, so double the batch and savor it on it’s own all week long.

Ingredients:
  • 3 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, chopped
  • 1.5 cups green split lentils, uncooked and rinsed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 6 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions (serves 6):

In a nonstick or cast iron pan, cook bacon for 3-4 minutes, or until crisp. Set bacon aside and drain pan, if desired. Add the oil, onion and celery to the pan, and sauté over medium heat until soft, about 7 minutes. Set mixture aside.

While the vegetables are sautéing, bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the chopped potatoes, the green lentils, and spices. Cook uncovered on medium heat until potatoes and lentils are tender, about 25 – 30 minutes. Try not to eat the bacon strips while you are waiting.

Once the potatoes and lentils are cooked through, add the sauté mixture to the soup pot, stir well, and add salt and pepper to taste. Roughly chop three slices of cooked bacon, and stir it into the soup. Let soup simmer for 5 minutes over low heat. Ladle soup into individual bowls, and crumble the remaining bacon slices over each serving. Enjoy immediately.

B. Lunch on the Go

6. Greek Pita Pockets

For an affordable and portable, light and flavorful lunch, these Greek pita pockets definitely fit the bill. The mixture can be made a day or two in advance, but wait until the morning to pack the pita pockets.

To bring the budget down even more, skip the feta cheese and substitute with whatever you happen to have one hand, a sharp cheddar or swiss works just as well. These handheld pita sandwiches can easily be consumed on the go… in the car, in the office, or in your child’s packed lunch.

Ingredients:
  • 2 whole wheat pita pockets
  • 1/2 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 6 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 8 kalamata olives, sliced
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons hummus
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions (serves 2-4):

Gather your ingredients and thinly slice the onion and cucumber, sprinkle with salt and set aside in a bowl. Halve the cherry tomatoes, slide the olives, and crumble the cheese, adding these to the bowl of salted vegetables. Lightly salt and pepper the mixture and toss to coat.

This mix may be tightly covered and placed in the fridge for up to 48 hours before use, so feel free to make it ahead of time and save your precious morning prep minutes.

Split both pita pockets in half, and gently split all four open. Spread one tablespoon of hummus into each pocket half. Divide vegetable mixture into four servings and stuff each pita pocket with a serving of the filling. Salt and pepper to taste. Once the filling has been added, enjoy this pita sandwich within six hours to avoid a soggy pocket.

7. Tuna Salad Sushi Bowls

Sushi may sound like an expensive meal, but these frugal sushi bowls are anything but. Delicious layers of fresh vegetables, rice, and tuna salad are piled high under a fresh soy based dressing, making this lean lunch a good choice for those watching their weight.

This lunch is a great way to use up any leftover rice you may have hanging out in the fridge, since cold, cooked rice is needed for this recipe. If you aren’t a fan of tuna, you can easily substitute canned shrimp or salmon as well, and vegetarians can skip the fish flavors and add tofu instead.  

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups of cooked white or brown rice (leftover rice works well)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and shredded
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 5oz cans cooked tuna (or salmon or shrimp)
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons soybean or sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
Optional Extras:
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Directions (serves 4):

Begin by draining the canned tuna. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the tuna, mayo, and chopped red onion. Set mixture aside. In a small mixing bowl or cruet, combine the oil and soy sauce, and set dressing aside.

If your vegetables are not pre-shredded, peel and shred the cucumber, and shred the carrot and cabbage. If you are using the optional avocado garnish, slice this now as well.

Now it’s time to assemble your lunches. Gather 4 medium sized bowls or to-go containers. In each bowl, layer one cup of cooked rice, 1/4 of the shredded carrots, cucumber, and cabbage, and 1/2 of the tuna salad mixture.

Garnish with optional avocado and sesame seeds. If you are eating this later in the day, reserve the dressing in a separate container and add immediately before eating. Otherwise, give the dressing a stir and pour 1/4 over each bowl. Devour right away.

8. Bean-ful Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a great choice for lunch on the go, since it doesn’t need to be heated and it can be carried in almost any container. This unique salad adds protein in the forms of three different beans, which will help keep you satisfied and full for much longer than a typical, protein-less pasta dish.

If you are missing any of the bean varieties from your pantry, don’t fret. Almost any bean would work well in this salad, from cannelloni to northern beans. This recipe is best served at least a few hours after making it, so be sure to plan ahead and make this on a Sunday night, so you can send it to work or school throughout the following week.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups small dry pasta, such as macaroni
  • 1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
Directions (serves 6-8):

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the small pasta, cooking as directed on package. While pasta is boiling, drain and rinse all the beans, and chop the tomato, onion, and bell pepper into small pieces. When pasta is ready, drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Mis pasta, beans, and chopped vegetables in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate, lidded container (such as a jar or bowl with lid), combine the remaining ingredients to make a dressing. Tightly secure the lid and shake until well incorporated. Pour immediately over the pasta salad. Cover the pasta salad and refrigerate at least one hour, and preferably overnight. This salad will stay fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge, so it is perfect for a week of work lunches.

9. Turkey Club Rolls

Turkey clubs are delicious and make the perfect lunch, but the sandwich is also messy and hard to take with you to work. This version of a club uses tortillas or flatbread to avoid the mess of sliced sandwich bread, and a thick cream cheese helps hold the whole thing together.

The roll can be eaten as is, or cut it into slices for kids or for easy car eating. This one is best made on the morning of, since you want to avoid a soggy tortilla by lunch time, but if you skip the tomato it can be made a day or two in advance.

Ingredients:
  • 4 flour tortillas or flat breads
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 4 leaves of lettuce
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 8 slices deli turkey, or deli meat of choice
  • 4 sliced bacon, cooked
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions (serves 4):

If not using pre-cooked bacon, go ahead and start by cooking your bacon slices in a nonstick or cast iron pan until crispy, about 4 minutes. You can also use the microwave to save a little time and effort. While bacon is being prepared, finely chop one tomato.

In a small mixing bowl, mix cream cheese and mayonnaise until fully combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Working on one wrap at a time, spoon about 1/4th of the cream cheese mixture into the center of the tortilla, then use a spoon or butter knife to spread it evenly over the entire tortilla surface. Layer the lettuce leaf, 1/4 of the tomato, 2 slices of turkey, and one slice of bacon onto the tortilla. Tightly roll the tortilla up, taking care not to squeeze out the filling.

To make this meal easily portable, wrap the tortilla in parchment paper before slicing in half, and then wrap each half in foil. This meal is best eaten the day you make it, to avoid a soggy tortilla, but it will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

10. Chickpea Salad Dippers

This interesting interpretation of a more classic chicken salad is protein rich and can be made in less than ten minutes. It is perfect for those days when you just don’t have the time to make lunch, and by skipping the bread and eating this salad with crackers instead, you save even more time and effort.

Toss this lunch into your bag with a piece of fruit and you will have a well rounded, filling, and nutritious meal in less time than it takes to drive through a fast food restaurant.

Ingredients:
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 1 tablespoon pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 servings crackers of choice
Directions (serves 2):

Drain and rinse the canned chickpeas, and gently dry them off until very little liquid remains. In a large mixing bowl, use the back of a heavy spoon to crush about 2/3 of the chickpeas. They do not need to be completely pulverized, lightly broken will do.

Add the mayo, relish, mustard, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly. If possible, refrigerate for an hour before eating. Serve with crackers for dipping, or put it into lettuce wraps if you are trying to eat lower carbs. Keeps well covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

C. Desserts

11. Choco-Banana Cream with Special Shell

This affordable dessert really takes the ordinary to the next level. A smooth and creamy banana chocolate soft serve ice cream is topped with a luscious solid chocolate shell.

You will need a blender or food processor for this recipe, or if you love the idea of making healthy ice cream out of bananas, you can invest in a special gadget that does just that. This is the kind of dessert that you can serve every night, and never get tired of it, so stock up on bananas and savor it.

Ingredients:
  • 3 bananas, frozen at least 8 hours or overnight
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, divided
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey or table sugar
Directions (serves 3):

Make sure to plan ahead and freeze your bananas overnight. To do this, remove the peel and place in a ziplock bag or lidded container before freezing. Bananas hold up well in the freezer, so you can do batches of half a dozen or more at a time.

Start by making the special shell. If your coconut oil is solid, easily melt it by placing it in the microwave in 15 second increments, stirring until it is completely liquid. Mix in 1/8 cup of the cocoa powder and the honey or sugar. Make sure all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, and set bowl aside.

Remove 3 frozen bananas from the freezer. Working quickly, place the bananas in a food processor or blender, and blend on high until smooth.

You may need to scrape down the sides or add up to a spoonful of water to keep things mixing. our the remaining 18 cup of cocoa powder into the blender and turn it on for 30 seconds longer.

Pour banana ice cream into three individual containers. Drizzle each bowl with a tablespoon of special shell and let it set for one minute before serving.

12. Cookie-Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies are definitely a blast from the past that anyone can enjoy. Made popular in the 1930s, this dessert is experiencing a massive revival, and it is easy to see why. Two delicious cookies with a layer of sweet cream in between, what’s not to love?

This recipe makes the entire creation a step simpler by using store bought or packaged cookies as the base, but if you have the time you can make some from scratch. While these cookie treats certainly don’t need any accompaniment, they will go perfectly with an ice cold glass of milk.

Ingredients:
  • 1 package raw slice and bake cookie dough, any flavor
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 jar marshmallow fluff
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions (serves 12):

Start by following the package directions on your cookie dough. Do not over bake the cookies, you want them on the softer side, not crunchy. Set cookies aside to completely cool.

While cookies are cooling, add all remaining items to a mixing bowl or stand mixer. Beat on medium for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Place filling into the fridge to firm up for one hour. Line up 12 cookies and place an ice cream scoop size of filling onto the middle. Top with a second cookie. Serve immediately or keep tightly covered in the fridge for up to four days.

13. Sweet Empanadas

This is the perfect make ahead recipe for a fun, no fuss, sweet treat. Smooth pie crust is baked to perfection, filled with cream cheese and jam, and covered in cinnamon sugar. You can make these empanadas a day in advance, and surprise your dinner guests with such an easy and affordable home baked treat.

No worries if you don’t have an empanada press, a fork works just as well to crimp the edges. The possibilities on this dessert are endless… you can use any combination of fruit preserves and filling that suit your mood and your budget.

Ingredients:
  • 1 package refrigerated pie crust (store bought or homemade)
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of jam or fruit preserves, any flavor
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Directions (serves 6):

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring cream cheese and pie crust to room temperature. In a separate container, lightly beat one egg.

While oven is preheating, combine cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer, or by hand. Make sure it is well incorporated, and set it aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease well. Roll out our your piece crust and use a bowl or cookie cutter to divide it into 6 even circles. In the center of each circle, place a heaping spoonful or cream cheese mixture, and an equal sized spoonful of jam or preserves.

Brush the edges of each circle with the egg, and fold over to close. Use a fork to crimp the edges shut all the way around the open half circle. Place each empanada on the baking sheet, brush the tops with egg, and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar.

Bake empanadas for 10-14 minutes, or until golden brown. Let rest for several minutes before serving, and enjoy.

14. Traditional Custard

This traditional custard has one secret ingredient that makes it really stand out: a sprinkle of sea salt on top. The slight crunch of the salt really enhances the creamy vanilla flavor, and brings this entire dessert to the next level. This recipe is easily doubled (or tripled) if you are feeding a crowd, or you just want leftovers for yourself.

To make this dessert feel more current, it serves wonderfully in individual mason jars. A sprig of mint is a festive garnish if you are making it for the holidays, otherwise the sea salt and cocoa powder topping gives it a lovely presentation.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Sprinkle of coarse sea salt
Directions (serves 4):

In a medium sauce pan, combine the whole milk, sugar, and cornstarch. Stir until well combined. Over medium heat, stir often until bubbles begin to pop up all around the edges of the saucepan. Once bubbling, remove from heat.

In a separate small bowl, beat the two eggs and vanilla. Add a tiny bit of the milk mixture to the bowl of eggs, and beat well. Then gently pour the egg mixture into the hot milk, stirring often. Return the saucepan to the heat and stir for about 4 minutes, or until the custard begins to thicken.

Remove the custard from the heat and let it cool for about ten minutes. Pour the mix into individual serving bowls or jars, and allow to cool completely before placing in the fridge.

Immediately before serving, sift a bit of cocoa powder over the top of each bowl. Lightly sprinkle coarse sea salt as a finishing touch.

15. Fantastic Fruit Pizza

This fruit pizza is a festive way to shake things up on pie night at home. Follow up your dinner pie with this sweet dessert. The beauty of this recipe is that you can use virtually any fruit, so it is easy to pick whatever is on sale or in season.

Try it with only berries in the Spring, or a variety of colorful apple slices with a cinnamon frosting in Autumn. While a pizza stone works great for getting the cookie into a round pizza shape, any baking pan will do. Store bought frosting is just fine, or you can use a favorite family recipe.

The possibilities are truly endless with this eye catching, crowd pleasing dessert.

Ingredients:
  • 1 roll sugar cookie dough
  • 1 cup frosting (any flavor or variety)
  • 2 cups of fresh slices fruits (any variety)
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
Directions (serves 8-16):

Begin by preheating your oven according to the directions on the cookie dough. Roll the dough out to approximately 1/4 inch thick, using a sprinkle of flour if it starts to stick. Shape the dough into a circle or rectangle, depending on the shape of your pan. Use a pizza stone, non stick cookie sheet, or cover a baking pan in parchment paper. Bake the large cookie base for 12-18 minutes, until golden brown and set in the middle.

While the cookie is baking, slice the fruit into bite size pieces. Once the cookie is finished, let it cool on the pan for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the cookie from the pan and spread it with the frosting, taking care to keep the top even. Arrange the fruit in whatever pattern you enjoy. Sprinkle with sea salt to bring out the sweet fruit flavors. Use a pizza cutter to slice it into 8-16 slices, depending on what serving size you prefer. Best served immediately.

D. Meatless Meals

16. Veggie Jambalaya

By removing the meat components from a classic jambalaya, this becomes an affordable dish that can feed a small army. This meat-free classic uses red beans for protein, however any bean that you fancy will work wonderfully in this meal.

If you have any leftover vegetables, they can be thrown into the pot for added flavor and nutrition, don’t be afraid to switch things up each time you make this, which will be more than once, guaranteed.

Ingredients:
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1.5 cups dry white rice
  • 1 can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 can red beans
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
Directions (serves 8):

Start out by making up your spice mix. In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano. Set aside. Dice the onion, bell pepper, celery, and zucchini into bite size or smaller pieces.

In a large soup or stock pot, combine the chopped vegetables with the spice mix. Turn heat on to medium and add olive oil, stir well. Sauté veggies and spices for about ten minutes, until beginning to soften.

Reduce heat to low, and add the rice, tomatoes, red beans, and broth. Bring to a simmer and cover, cooking for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from stove and stir in hot sauce. Serve piping hot.

17. Cheesy Corn Enchiladas

Vegetarian enchiladas do not skimp out on flavor in this spicy corn and jalapeño recipe. The rich cheese and fresh cilantro combine to create a delectable and distinguished meal that even meat-lovers will enjoy.

This hearty meal does well on it’s own, or stretch the servings and create lunch leftovers by serving it with refried beans and a side of Spanish rice. These enchiladas do so well for lunch the next day that you might want to make two batches, just in case.

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 12 small corn tortillas
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 2 jalapeños, sliced and seeded
  • 1 large can enchilada sauce (green or red)
  • 1 small can sliced olives
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, minced
  • 1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese
Directions (serves 4-6):

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small frying pan, heat vegetable oil until a small piece of tortilla sizzles when placed in the pan. Working carefully, use tongs to place one tortilla at a time in the hot oil.

After 15-20 seconds, or when tortilla begins to puff up, flip over and cook for 10 more seconds. Remove from oil with tongs and place it on a towel to drain. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Pour the enchilada sauce into a shallow dish or bowl, bigger than the circumference of the tortillas. In a medium bowl, combine the shredded cheese, corn kernels, and jalapeño. Cover a baking pan with a small amount of enchilada sauce.

Working with one tortilla at a time, fully submerge it into the enchilada sauce, then use tongs to lift it out and let excess sauce drip off. Scoop about 1/4 a cup of the cheese mixture into the tortilla, and roll up. Place the seam bottom side down into the baking pan. Repeat until tortillas are all used. Sprinkle any remaining filling into the pan.

Cover the enchiladas with the Colby cheese, and sliced olives. Place into oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the edges are golden and bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes. While the pan is settling, wash and mince the cilantro. Sprinkle cilantro over enchiladas and serve immediately.

18. Asian Tofu Lettuce Wraps

This fresh and crunchy restaurant favorite uses tofu for filling in this light and spicy dish. If you need to feed a larger group, this recipe easily doubles or even triples, to accommodate a group of any size.

The make-your-own lettuce cups make this the perfect meal to serve family style, and kids will love using the lettuce leaves as wraps for the savory tofu filling. If you happen to have leftovers (and you probably won’t) the tofu and rice filling is great cold, too.

Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1 cup rice, cooked
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 can water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 12 leaves of iceberg lettuce
  • 1/8 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
Directions (serves 3):

In a medium frying pan, heat the vegetable oil on medium for one minute. Add the crumbled tofu, and cook for 6 minutes, stirring often, or until tofu begins to crisp and brown. Add the cooked rice, soy sauce, and chili powder, and cook on low until heated through, 5-10 minutes.

Remove mixture from heat and stir in the water chestnuts. Prepare lettuce leave by washing and patting dry.

Place lettuce on a shallow plate. Put chopped cashews in a small bowl, and pour the tofu mixture into a heat proof dish. Serve family style.

19. Broccoli and Cheese Pasties

Pasties, also known as hand pies, are a traditional British dish, popular all over the world. The possibilities are endless when it comes to pasties. This recipe calls for the classic combo of cheese and broccoli, to keep it meat free but still a protein filled, crunchy hand pie.

If you have a favorite pie dough recipe, that can be used here, or grab a package of ready made dough to keep on hand for a quicker prep time. While this version calls for cheddar cheese, a swiss or Havarti would be just as good mixed with the broccoli and cream cheese.

These hand pies reheat perfectly in the toaster oven, making them a great option for weekday lunches at home or work.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 package refrigerated pie crust (or your favorite homemade dough)
  • One egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions (serves 6):

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large frying pan over medium heat, sauté the onion in olive oil for about ten minutes, or until translucent. Reduce heat to low and stir in the broccoli, cooking for 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the broccoli mixture, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Divide pie crust into 6 equal balls. Roll each ball into a rough circle. Using a spoon, add 1/6th of the filling to the middle of each circle. Brush the edges with egg, and fold over the cover the filling. Use a fork to crimp the edges, and brush the tops with egg before sprinkling with salt.

Place each pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet, and cook for 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow the pies to cool for ten minutes before serving.

20. Vegetarian Style Chili Mac

While traditional chili is made with ground beef or chicken, this take on an easy favorite relies on beans for flavor. Cutting out the meat doesn’t sacrifice the taste, but it does help cut down on costs.

The chili powder in this recipe can be reduced or added to, depending on the age of the crowd and the amount of spice desired.

Children will love using crackers to scoop up with macaroni & cheese and chili combo, adults may enjoy eating it out of a sourdough bread bowl, and it makes quite a hearty meal on it’s own.

Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups dry macaroni (or any small shaped pasta)
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
Directions (serves 8):

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, sauté the onion in the oil over medium heat, stirring often. Once onion has softened, add the garlic, and cook for an additional two minutes. Pour the tomato sauce, kidney beans, and vegetable broth into the pot. Stir well, while adding the spices, salt, and macaroni. Cover and bring to a simmer.

Cook over low until macaroni is soft and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from heat, and stir in the cheese until melted. Serve right away.

E. Slow Cooker Meals

21. Cajun Crockpot Stew

The spicy seasoning and zesty flavors of this traditional Cajun stew come alive while you sit back and relax, since this meal can simmer on it’s own all day long. Slow cooker meals are an excellent choice for those who are at work or school all day, and want to come home to a no fuss, budget option that their entire family will adore.

This stew can be easily prepped the night before, and kept in the fridge overnight before cooking, or quickly chop of your ingredients in the morning before work. Set the timer and your work is done. The Cajun seasoning in this stew really takes these ordinary items to the next level, and don’t forget to slice up a fresh loaf of bread for dipping.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 baguette or sourdough baguette
Directions (serves 4):

Stir all ingredients, other than the baguette bread, into the slow cooker. Heat on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6, depending on your needs. Once ready to eat, turn off heat, stir well, and taste. Add salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot with sliced baguette for dipping.

22. Garlic Chicken and Potatoes

Did you know you can roast an entire chicken with almost no effort? This slow cooker recipe combines the ease of hands off cooking with the comfort and delight of a home cooked meal, and homemade chicken broth all in one.

The chicken will roast all day on a bed of fresh vegetables, while the juices drop down to create a savory broth, which can be used over the next week for any number of recipes. Once carved, the bones can be returned to the crockpot to create a healthy bone broth for sipping.

This amazing recipe takes very little preparation, and can be easily set up within ten minutes.

Ingredients:
  • 1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 russet potatoes, cubed
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Directions (serves 6):

In your slow cooker, place the potatoes, onion, and carrots on the bottom of the ceramic. Place lemon slices over the vegetables, and sprinkle with half the salt.

Put the entire chicken on top of the bed of vegetables. Sprinkle the garlic, rosemary, thyme, remaining salt, and pepper over the chicken. Pour the olive oil over the chicken, and place ate of butter around the dish. Use remaining lemon slices to cover the chicken.

Turn on heat to high for 4-5 hours, or low for 6-8 hours, depending on your needs. Before serving, check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer. Chicken is ready if the temperature is 175 degrees or higher in the thickest part of the meat.

Turn slow cooker off and let chicken sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Save broth in a lidded container for use in another recipe. Bones can be returned to the slow cooker to simmer into a delightful bone broth.

23. Meatball Soup

If you are craving an Italian soup, but don’t want to deal with the hours of work involved, this is recipe for you. Simple and easy to find frozen meatballs are set up in the slow cooker, with salty beef broth, chopped vegetables, and savory herbs and spices.

The aroma of this affordable soup will greet you after a long day out of the house, ready to serve with some grated parmesan cheese. Leftover meatball soup also reheats well for lunch.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 bag frozen small meatballs (or homemade)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2lbs potatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Directions (serves 6):

Combine all ingredients, other than the parmesan cheese, in your slow cooker. Heat on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours, depending on your needs. Spoon soup into individual bowls, and top with a tablespoon of parmesan before serving.

24. Brown Sugar Overnight Oatmeal

Slow cookers are not just for dinner. For those who may run short on time in the morning, this overnight oatmeal recipe is the perfect way to wake up to a sweet breakfast treat.

Oats, brown sugar, and butter are combined with cream or milk to form a filling breakfast that doesn’t take any of your precious morning minutes away from you.

The optional extras are great cooked into the porridge, or pile a few on top of each bowl if you have picky eaters who all want something different.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups dry steel cut oats
  • 3 cups milk or cream
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Optional Extras:
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
Directions (serves 6):

The night before you want to enjoy this oatmeal, place all ingredients into your slow cooker, mixing well. Turn heat to low, and cook for up to 8 hours overnight. Serve warm.

25. Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Buffalo flavored chicken is always a delectable dinner, but this recipe switches things up by using the slow cooker to do the work for you. The shredded chicken is then made into hand held tacos, which are covered in ranch and sure to be gobbled up immediately.

If traditional buffalo sauce is too spicy for your tastebuds, look for a mild version to use in this recipe. Once the chicken has cooked, the rest of the meal comes together in less than five minutes, for a quick and sizable meal in no time.

Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 bottle buffalo wing sauce
  • 2 cups ranch dressing, divided
  • 16 small corn or flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded cheese or blue cheese crumbles
Directions (serves 8):

Combine the chicken, buffalo wing sauce, and one cup of ranch dressing in a slow cooker. Heat on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.

When the chicken is ready, use two forks to shred the chicken in the slow cooker pot. Combine cabbage and carrots.

For each taco, use 1/4 cup of cabbage mix and 1/4 cup of chicken filling, to fill shell. Top with cheese and drizzle with remaining ranch dressing. Serve right away.

F. Gluten Free Meals

26. Bunless Better Burgers

Gluten free eating does not have to be hard. This recipe is perfect for families who may not all be eating gluten free, since the burgers can easily be served on a wheat bun if desired.

The shredded cheese melted directly into the meat helps keep these burgers super juicy, and the egg holds it all together and adds an extra little boost of protein.

Make sure to use a large lettuce leaf, such as a crisp iceberg or a wide romaine. Baked potatoes or potato salad make an excellent side for these gluten free, bunless burgers.

Ingredients:
  • 1.5lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 egg or two egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 large lettuce leaves
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 2 pickles, sliced
  • 4 slices American cheese
Directions (serves 4):

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, chopped onion, shredded cheese, soy, sauce, and egg or egg whites. Use your hands to make sure it is thoroughly mixed. Add in the garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Allow mixture to sit for ten minutes.

While the meat mixture is resting, wash the lettuce leaves and pat dry. Slice the tomato and sprinkle lightly with salt. Slice the pickles.

Heat a large frying pan or griddle to medium heat. Divide the meat into four equal balls, and use your hands or a burger shaper to form into patties. Cook the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side, or until well done. Turn off heat and top each burger with one slice of cheese so it can melt while the meat is still hot.

Top each burger with one slice of tomato, and one slice of pickle. Using two large lettuce leaves, carefully wrap each burger individually so that nothing is falling out. Enjoy immediately.

27. Hearty Summer Salad

Although this recipe is named after the hottest season, it can really be enjoyed any time of year. If any of the ingredients happen to be out of your budget due to seasonal costs, you can substitute almost any other fresh or canned veggie instead.

Vegetarians can also remove the chicken and use a savory tofu instead, so this recipe really will work for any appetite or lifestyle.

To make this meal easy, prep and cook the chicken a day or two before, and you can even chop all of the vegetables and make the dressing in advance. When ready to eat, just throw it all in a bowl, toss, and rejoice.

Ingredients:
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 head of romaine or iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 fresh ear of corn, kernels cut off
  • 1/2 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled (or substitute any favorite, mild cheese)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup mild vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
Directions (serves 4):

In a medium frying pan, place the chicken pieces and olive oil. Turn often, cooking until chicken is no longer pink and the outside is crisp along the edges and slightly brown. Remove chicken from heat and allow to fully cool.

In a large mixing or serving bowl, combine the chopped lettuce, tomato, corn kernels, cashews, and bell pepper. Top with the slice red onions and feta. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium jar or bowl with lid, combine the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, rosemary, mustard and chives. Put the lid on tightly and shake well to make the dressing.

Add the chicken to the salad, pour 1/2 of the dressing over the mixture, and use tongs to toss until everything is coated. Reserve remaining dressing for anyone who likes a little extra on their salad. Enjoy right away.

28. Simple Stuffed Peppers

If you find Bell peppers on sale, this is a flawless way to use up a large batch all at once. While this gluten free dish can be made in about 45 minutes, if you know you will be in a rush you can stuff the peppers ahead of time and just bake right before serving.

The superb mix of beef, cheese, and bell peppers is rounded out with inexpensive and filling white rice, but if you follow a low carb diet you can easily substitute cauliflower rice instead. Savor this weeknight classic any time of year.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese, divided
Directions (serves 6):

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large sauce pan over medium, cook ground beef and chopped onion until browned and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, salt, rice and broth, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low for 10-12 minutes, or until rice is cooked through. Remove from heat.

While rice mix is cooking, prep the bell peppers. Wash the outside of each one, then using a sharp knife, carefully remove the top of each pepper. Using a spoon or knife, carefully scrape the seeds out of each pepper. Rinse to remove an stubborn seeds.

When rice is finished, stir in 2/3 of the shredded cheese. Using a large spoon, place 1/6 of the mixture into each pepper. Top with remaining cheese. Place in a shallow baking dish and put into the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until tops are brown and bubbly and peppers are starting to soften. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

29. Chilaquiles Rojos

Chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican dish, and this recipe stirs things up a bit with the addition of eggs for heartiness and protein. This meal is perfect for breakfast or brunch, or any time you have leftover or stale tortilla chips to use up.

While this version relies on a red enchilada sauce, a green or verde sauce would work just as well. This feast really needs no accompaniment, as it is substantial and filling on it’s own. If eating this for brunch a few mimosas would be the ideal addition for a leisurely meal.

Ingredients:
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 bag tortilla chips (stale is best)
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions (serves 6):

In a large ovenproof skillet, cook the onion in the vegetable oil until translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste. While onions are cooking, beat eggs in a separate bowl and set aside. Lightly break up about 1/3 of the tortilla chips. You want some whole chips and some pieces. Set aside.

Add the enchilada sauce to the frying pan with the onions. Heat until simmering, and slowly pour the egg mixture in, scrambling the eggs until about half set. Add the tortilla chips and stir continuously until eggs are nearly cooked. Remove pan from heat and top with shredded cheese.

Place the pan in the oven and set to broil for 3-6 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

30. Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Cuban flavors really shine in this black bean and rice dish that tastes like you slaved over a hot stove all day to make it. By using canned beans instead of dried you save on time, and by cooking this gluten free, vegetarian dish you save even more on money.

The spices in this dish can be adjusted depending on your flavor palate, and if you want to kick it up just a bit add in some smoked paprika for an earthy touch. Try serving this meal with buttered rice bread or top it with avocado and sour cream for a Tex-Mex twist.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Directions (serves 8):

Begin by cooking rice according to package directions. While rice is cooking, grab a large, heavy bottomed pot, and cook the bacon, onion, and bell pepper in olive oil for 5-8 minutes, or until tender. Stir often. Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano, and cook for 3 minutes longer, or until Fragrant.

Pour the rinsed beans and one cup of water into the vegetable and spice mixture. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the red wine vinegar. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving beans over a scoop of rice.

G. One Pot Classics

31. Sausage Style Gumbo

Gumbo is a delicious stew popular in the southern parts of the US. It gets its color and a lot of the flavor from the roux that it is based on, which is flour cooked in oil. While the fear of making a roux can sometimes stop people from attempting this dish, as long as you have 15 minutes to give the pot constant attention it isn’t as hard as it seems.

The Creole seasoning used to flavor this gumbo can easily be found online or in any market, since most people don’t keep it on hand. But once you do have it in your pantry, you will find yourself reaching for it time after time.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour, all purpose
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • 1lb spicy or smoked sausage, sliced
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 can crushed or diced tomatoes
Directions (serves 6):

Get ready to make a roux, which required constant attention for about 15 minutes. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed soup or stock pot. Once oil is sizzling (test this by putting a tiny pinch of the flour into the oil, if it bubbles, its read) slowly pour the flour into the oil.

Stir constantly, do not walk away from the roux. The flour will begin to brown, but do not let it burn. Once the flour reaches a deep brown color, the roux is finished, and remove the pot from heat.

Mix the onion, bell pepper, carrots and celery into the roux, and return to heat. Bring to a light simmer, and continue to stir often until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, Creole seasoning, and sausage, and cook for another 5-7 minutes, again stirring often.

Slowly pour the broth into the simmering vegetables, whisking constantly and adding only 1/2 cup at a time. Once the broth is in, pour the tomatoes in as well. Bring to a simmer again, cover, and cook for 60 minutes. Let sit for ten minutes before serving.

32. Chicken and Dumplings

This comforting meal is sure to warm your body and delight your tastebuds. Creamy dumplings top this delicious chicken stew, bringing back memories of simpler times. This inexpensive one-pot meal is hearty enough for a stand alone dinner, and the leftovers will make a wonderful lunch the next day.

If using fresh parsley instead of dried, make sure you double the amount for both the stew and the dumplings, since the flavor really shines in this one.

Ingredients:
  • 1 small whole chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley, divided
  • 5 cups water or chicken broth
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup milk or water
Directions (serves 4-6):

In a large soup or stock pot, heat the chicken and onion in the oil, over medium heat. Stir often, cooking for 5 minutes. Add in the carrots, celery, salt, pepper, and 1.5 tablespoons of dried parsley. Cook for 10 more minutes.

Gently pour the water or broth into the pot, and bring to a boil. Once boil, reduce heat to low and cover, allowing pot to simmer while prepping the dumplings.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining dried parsley until well mixed. Slowly drizzle in the oil and milk, until a soft dough forms. Roll dough into 1 inch balls.

Open the pot and gently place each dumpling on top of the stew. Allow to continue simmering, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Cover the pot and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pot to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Top each bowl of chicken with 1-2 dumplings.

33. Southwest Chicken

The southwestern flavor profile of this easy single pot dinner is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. If you are serving anyone who is afraid of spice, feel free to skip the chilies and use some green onion for added flavor instead.

This sizable and wholesome dinner takes less than an hour from prep to serving, and even a voracious eater should have some delicious leftovers ready for the next day.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 1 cup dry white rice
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar, Jack, or Mexican cheese blend
Directions (serves 4):

In a large, deep skillet or heavy bottomed pot, heat the chicken pieces and vegetable oil over medium heat. Continue to cook, stirring often, until chicken is browned. Pour in the chilies, rice, black beans, and salsa, and mix well to incorporate.

Add in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove pot from heat and cover with the cheese. Replace lid and allow cheese to melt and pot to settle, about 5 minutes, before serving.

34. Hearty Indian Stew

Indian flavors really come alive in this vegetarian wonder. By using chickpeas instead of meat for protein, you will save money and keep the meal as traditional as possible. If there are any spices you aren’t familiar with, you can easily reduce the amount in the recipe to meet your desired spiciness level.

The ginger gives this stew a tangy bite, and the turmeric adds a rich color that no other ingredient can meet. Don’t skip out on the greek yogurt (it cools the dish and adds a subtle richness) but if you happen to have sour cream on hand, that works just as well.

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 onion, diced
  • 2 russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cans chickpeas, not drained
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
Directions (serves 4):

In a large soup or stock pot, heat the vegetable oil over and onions over medium heat, until onion is tender and aromatic. Add the potatoes, salt, curry powder, turmeric, and ginger, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add the tomato sauce and chickpeas to the pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Top each individual bowl with 1/4 cup yogurt.

35. Chicken and Rice Fajita Soup

Between a quick prep time and a long simmer, this soup is perfect for nights when you might have other things to do around the house. If your family enjoys chicken fajitas, this soup is sure to please them as well.

If you need something for scooping or dipping, tortilla chips or baked tortilla triangles work very well for this recipe, and it can be a great way to use up any leftover cooked chicken you may have in the fridge.

Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into small strips or cooked and shredded
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dry white or brown rice
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions (serves 8):

In a large soup or stock pot, cook the onion, and bell pepper in oil over medium heat, until slightly tender. If using precooked chicken, skip the following step. If not, add the chicken breast strips and cook for an additional 8-12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Add the cumin, chili, and garlic to the pot and stir for about a minute, or until fragrant. Pour in the pinto beans, tomato sauce, green chilies, and vegetable broth. Bring pot to a boil.

Add the rice to the pot and reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until rice is cooked. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Top each individual bowl with a sprinkle of cheese, and enjoy.

H. Easy Dinners

36. Rotisserie Chicken Quesadillas

If you need a last minute dinner that takes less than ten minutes from start to finish, this one is definitely a perfect option. Pick up a rotisserie chicken, and the rest of the work is finished in no time. The salsa used for dipping is completely optional, but it adds a spicy element to the more mild quesadillas, that are perfect for kids and adults.

If you happen to be gluten free, these quesadillas also work well with corn or rice tortillas, just adjust the cooking time as needed, and eat up.

Ingredients:
  • 1 Rotisserie chicken (store bought)
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup salsa
Directions (serves 6):

Start by carving the rotisserie chicken into small, bite size pieces. Set chicken aside. In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Once sizzling, place one tortilla in the oil, cover with 1/4 cup of cheese.

Add a handful of the chicken pieces to the  quesadilla, and cover with another 1/4 cup of cheese. Place a second tortilla on top. Cover the pan and let cheese melt for about 30 seconds before flipping. Heat tortilla for another minute or until golden brown.  Repeat with remaining quesadillas.

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and salsa until well mixed.

Use a pizza cutter to cut each quesadilla into 6 triangles. Serve with a spoonful of the salsa mixture and enjoy immediately.

37. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are full of healthy vitamins and fiber, and this dish is so easy that you will want to make it every night. With less than a minute of preparation time and only two minutes of active cooking time, you can easily make these any night of the week.

While mozzarella is a good choice for these loaded potatoes, any cheese you happen to have at home will work just as well. Savor these baked potatoes with a side of broccoli or other greens for a well rounded and substantial dinner.

Ingredients:
  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 8 slices of bacon, precooked
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded (or 8 slices)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions (serves 4):

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. While oven is preheating, scrub sweet potatoes until no dirt remains, and poke each one with a fork 3-4 times. Place on a baking pan and bake in the hot oven for 40-60 minutes, depending on the size of the potato. They are finished when soft in the middle with wrinkled skins outside.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and slice each one in half lengthwise. Pinch each half to slightly open the potato. Place On each potato half, place 1/2 tablespoon butter, one slice of bacon, and 1/8 cup cheese. Sprinkle with salt and better and return to the oven, on broil, for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted, checking often.

Allow potatoes to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

38. Jam Packed Grilled Cheese

This delicious twist on an American classic can be made in less than 15 minutes from start to  finish. The jam packs a nontraditional but absolutely mouth watering punch in these sandwiches, and the tomato adds a bright flash of flavor.

Any variety of sliced turkey or ham will do, or go wild and use a little of both. These grilled sandwiches are great served with a hefty deli pickle and a small side of potato chips.

Ingredients:
  • 8 slices thick bread
  • 4 tablespoons butter or mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons fruit preserves (try apricot or grape)
  • 8 slices of cheese, any variety
  • 1 tomato, sliced thin
  • 8 slices deli ham or turkey
Directions (serves 4):

Set a frying pan or skillet on medium heat. While pan is warming up, spread each slice up bread with butter or mayonnaise on one side. Lay four slices butter side down on a cutting board or parchment paper. Spread the other side with jam of choice.

Layer the cheese, tomato, and deli meat. Spread the second slice of bread with jam, and place it jam side down on the sandwich. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Once pan is hot, add 1-2 sandwiches at a time, or as many as will fit on your cooking surface. Cover the pan to melt cheese, and flip after bottom edges are golden. Cool for another minutes or two.

Let sit for two minutes before cutting in half. Serve with a deli pickle and chips, if desired.

39. Shakshuka

Shakshuka is one of those dishes that most people love, but they just don’t know it yet. A traditional dish of tomatoes and eggs, this version cuts the cooking and prep time in half by using pre made sauce. If you have more time on your hands, any homemade tomato sauce will do.

This dish can be served as breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and can easily be doubled to feed a larger than average crown. The bread is an essential aspect of this dish, used to soak up the sauce after the eggs are eaten, but you can use a fluffy white, or even a flatbread or pita.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cans tomato sauce
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 slices thick white bread
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions (serves 4):

In a large and deep skillet, heat olive oil and onion on medium until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to slow, and add the tomato sauce. Cover until it begins to simmer, about 5 minutes.

Once sauce is simmering, crack eggs one at a time into the pan of sauce. Try to keep the eggs separate from each other as much as possible, by using the back of a large spoon to make an indent in the sauce. Cover the pan and continue to cook until eggs are at desired level of doneness, usually about 5 minutes.

Serve immediately in a shallow bowl with sliced bread for dipping.

40. Pinto Bean Casserole

Cornbread and sausage are the stars of this easy, one pan dish. With only oven cooking required, you can rest easy while the appliance does all the hard work. This casserole takes only 15 minutes to prepare, and has only 35 minutes of passive cooking time before it is ready to be gobbled up by the entire family.

If you have picky eaters, the pinto beans can be replaced by any other kind of bean, such as red or black. If you happen to have any vegetable odds and ends looking for a home, they can be thrown into the mix as well. This casserole can even be made the night before, and popped into the oven or microwave for easy reheating when you are ready to eat up.

Ingredients:
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. spicy sausage crumbles or slices
  • 2 cans pinto beans
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can corn kernels
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 box cornbread mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup water or milk
Directions (serves 8):

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sausage, pinto beans, tomato sauce, corn, and green chilies, mixing well. Incorporate 1/2 of the shredded cheese. Pour this mixture into a casserole dish and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cornbread mix, both eggs, and 1/2 cup of the water or milk. Stir until well mixed, adding more water if needed to keep the batter pourable. Stir in the remaining cheddar cheese shreds.

Pour the cornbread mixture over the pinto bean casserole, using a spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth and spread it over the entire dish. Place the casserole in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, or until bread is set and edges are bubbling. Allow the casserole to cool for ten minutes before serving.

I. PASTA BASED MEALS

41. Spaghetti Frittata

Spaghetti Frittata is an excellent choice for anyone who has leftover pasta ready to be used up. Any kind of pasta will do, but ribbon pasta is particularly good at helping to hold the entire dish together.

For cheese lovers, a small sprinkle of parmesan or cheddar will help brown the top nicely, but it is also completely unnecessary in this light and summery egg based dish.

This frittata works well for brunch or dinner, and is easily reheated in a microwave or skillet to be enjoyed the next day.

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced (or one large beefsteak tomato, diced)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk or water
  • 2 cups cooked spaghetti (or other ribbon pasta)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions (serves 6):

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large cast iron or ovenproof skillet, heat oil and onions over medium heat until tender. Add in the garlic, oregano, basil, and tomatoes, stirring well. Allow mixture to simmer for 5 minutes.

While tomato mix is simmering, prepare the eggs. Crack 6 eggs into a medium bowl, add milk or water and beat to incorporate. Gently pour the egg mix into the pan pull of tomatoes, and whisk to combine. Stir the cooked cooked pasta into the mix.

Remove pan from heat and place into the preheated oven, transferring carefully as it will be extremely hot. Bake until eggs are set, about 20 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

42. Lemony Thai Noodles

Thai dishes often look and taste like a complicated and complex array of ingredients were used, but this dish is so simple that it can be made in less than 20 minutes. The secret is in the cornstarch, which helps thicken the lemony sauce and give it that delicious, restaurant made taste.

For added crunch, a handful of chopped peanuts or cashews works well on top of this Asian pasta.

Ingredients:
  • 1 package linguine, or other thick ribbon noodle
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 carrot, shredded or slivered
  • 2 green onions, diced
Directions (serves 4):

Bring a large pot of water to boil, and cook noodles according to package directions, about 10-12 minutes.

While water it boiling, heat a large pan over medium heat. Pour in the soy sauce, lemon juice, water, and oil, stirring well to combine. Sprinkle the crushed red pepper and cornstarch over the top, and gently whisk for 3-4 minutes, or until liquid thickens.

Once pasta is cooked and drained, carefully add it to the pan, along with the carrots. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until carrots are just slightly tender. Serve in shallow bowls with a sprinkle of green onions on top.

43. Mediterranean Pasta

Aspects of the Mediterranean diet are found in this luscious pasta dish. The salty olives and refreshing lemon juice are the standout tastes in this meal, but can also be skipped to accommodate different palates. In a rush? Skip the chicken and use a can or two of tune instead.

This recipe will easily double if you are in need of leftovers for lunches or a quick meal, and it freezes well too.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb dried pasta of choice (try bow ties orzo)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Directions (serves 4):

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add in the pasta, and cook according to package directions, generally 10-12 minutes. When finished, drain and rinse.

While pasta is cooking, heat a large pan over medium heat. Add in two tablespoons olive oil, the onion, the garlic, and the chicken. Cook for 10-14 minutes, or until chicken is golden and cooked through. Add in the olives and tomatoes, and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

Return the pasta to the large pot. Add in the tomato and chicken mixture, along with the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, and cheese. Stir well to combine, and serve immediately.

44. Soba Noodle Salad

Soba noodles are an Asian noodle made from buckwheat, which can be served hot or cold. In this salad, the noodles are chilled after cooking for a refreshing and light pasta salad. While the sesame oil is optional, it really helps boost the Asian flavors and tastes in this meal, and the peanuts add the perfect crunch to the buckwheat base.

If you are looking to add extra protein to make this a full meal, chicken, beef, or tofu would work well in this dish.

Ingredients:
  • 8oz soba noodles (buckwheat noodles)
  • 4 tablespoons sesame or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts, chopped
Directions (serves 6):

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the soba noodles, and prepare according to package directions. When finished, drain noodles and rinse with cold water.

While noodles are cooking, prepare the dressing. In a jar or bowl with a lid, combine the oil, red pepper, soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, and sugar. Tightly cover and shake to incorporate.

When the pasta is finished and cooled down, place it into a large mixing bowl. Add the bell pepper and tomato. Give the dressing one final shake and pour it over the noodle salad. Top with the green onions and peanuts. Serve right away, or refrigerate while tightly covered, up to two days.

45. Beefy Taco Pasta

Two crowd favorites, tacos and pasta, come together to bring a creative noodle meal to fruition. By turning tacos into a pasta dish, the costs are reduced and the flavors are really turned up a notch, without sacrificing taste or efficiency.

Egg noodles work really well in this beefy pasta, but any other small bite noodle will do. Olives, sour cream, and avocado are all optional extras, or try some greek yogurt and lime juice as a topping as well. This dish can be switched up to suit any tastes or budget.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. dry pasta of choice (try macaroni or egg noodles)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 1 can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, divided
Optional Extras:
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 avocado, diced
Directions (serves 8):

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, about 8-10 minutes. When finished, drain and set aside.

While pasta is boiling, prepare the rest of the ingredients. In a medium skillet or pan, cook the onion in the vegetable oil for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add in the chili powder, oregano, and ground beef, and cook for 10-14 minutes, or until beef is cooked through.

Drain fat if desired, then add in the chilies and tomatoes. Cover and bring to a simmer.

Once pasta is drained, return it to the pot. Pour the meat mixture into the pot, and add the shredded cheese. Stir well to combine. Serve immediately with option extras on top.

J. BREAKFASTS

46. Spicy Sausage Breakfast Burritos

If you are finding it hard to make the time for a hearty breakfast in each morning before work or school, these breakfast burritos are the answer to your problem. This recipe makes a bath of 12, which is ideal for freezing and reheating when you only have minutes to spare before it’s time to be out the door.

The spicy sausage in this recipe really bulks up the eggy burritos and adds an extra kick to start your day off right. If you want to make life even easier, buy a package of hash browns instead of shredding your own potatoes. This thrifty recipe will make enough breakfasts to last a few weeks.

Ingredients:
  • 1 Package spicy sausage (such as Jimmy Dean)
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk or water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 Russet potatoes, shredded
  • 2 cups shredded cheese of choice (cheddar and gouda are both great)
  • 12 burrito size tortillas
  • 4 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
Directions (serves 12):

In a large skillet or pan, cook the sausage over medium heat until almost cooked through. While sausage is cooking, crack eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add milk or water and beat until well incorporated. Mix the shredded potatoes into the eggs as well.

Add the butter to the pan of sausage, and slowly pour the egg and potato mixture into the pan. Stir often, scrambling the eggs, and keep it covered in between stirring to help cook the potatoes through. Once finished, turn off the heat but leave eggs on the stove to keep warm.

Working one at a time, place about 1/4 cup of egg mixture in the middle of a tortilla. Cover with 1/4 cup of cheese, and fold up sides to create a burrito. Repeat this for all 12 tortillas.

Heat a nonstick or cast iron pan over medium heat. Add half the vegetable oil. Fry burritos two at a time, seam side down, until golden brown. Flip, and cook for a minute or two more. Repeat for all burritos.  Serve immediately, or wrap in parchment and foil to freeze for individual meals in the future.

47. Stuffed French Toast

Sweet French toast, loaded with berry flavored cream cheese, and topped with confectioner’s sugar… what’s not to love? While stuffed french toast may seem like fancy restaurant fare, this meal is much less tedious, and less expensive to make, than it looks.

Any time you have leftover bread that might be getting a little stale, break out this recipe to use up the old bread and make the kids happy with such a beautiful, delicious breakfast.

Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 loaf bread of choice, such as white, Challah, or even gluten free (16 slices)
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup jam or preserves, flavor of choice
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Directions (serves 4-8):

Beat the eggs, milk, and sugar in a shallow dish that is big enough to accommodate the bread slices. Begin to heat up a non stick pan or griddle.

In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese, vanilla, and jam, stirring until very well incorporated. Set aside.

Working with two pieces of bread at a time, dip each side into the egg mixture, and place it onto the hot griddle. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until eggs are set on one side. Flip both pieces. Use a spoon to scoop out about 1/8 cup of cream cheese mixture, and place it on one of the cooked sides of bread.

Top with the second cooked slice. Continue to turn 1-2 more times or until bread is cooked through. Press down to lightly seal edges while cooking. Repeat with remaining toast. Sprinkle with sugar and serve immediately.

48. Quinoa Breakfast Bowls

Quinoa is a well known super food that works a lot like rice or even oatmeal in many recipes. This grain is easy to cook and has a warm, nutty, and earthy flavor on it’s own. Combined with brown sugar, cinnamon, and milk, it is reminiscent of oatmeal, which will help make this more unusual grain taste familiar.

This porridge can be served hot off the stove, or made the night before and eaten like a cold cereal with milk in the morning.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water or milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar or honey
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1/4 cup peanut or almond butter
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 cups milk of choice
Directions (serves 4):

In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and milk or water. Set on medium heat until boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until quinoa is soft and tails pop open.

Once quinoa is finished, mix in cinnamon and sugar. Place into individual serving bowls and top with nut butters, almonds, and as much milk as desired. Can also be eaten cold.

49. Loaded Hash Browns

A twist on restaurant style potato skins, these loaded hash browns are well rounded way to eat potatoes for breakfast. By using frozen hash browns you can save a lot of time, and by making these yourself at home instead of ordering out, you will save a lot of cash.

While these are considered a breakfast food, there is nothing wrong with serving these for lunch or dinner, especially if you add a side of fresh melon or a green veggie. For an unconventional yet healthy twist, try making these with sweet potatoes instead of regular white.

Ingredients:
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 cups shredded potatoes, or one package frozen hash browns
  • 1 roll breakfast sausage, crumbled
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/8 cup bacon bits
Directions (serves 6):

In a large nonstick skillet, heat vegetable oil on medium, and add potatoes. Do not stir, but place a lit on top of the potatoes. After 7-10 minutes, use a heavy duty spatula to flip the potatoes over, and cover once again. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 7-10 minutes.

In a separate frying pan, cook sausage crumbled on medium heat until cooked through. Once potatoes are finished, remove lid and layer sausage and cheese on top. Cover for two minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with sour cream, green onions, and bacon bits. Serve immediately.

50. Stuffed Egg Muffins

Egg muffins are a portable, healthy breakfast, optimal for eating on the go when you have a busy morning. Just pop a muffin or two out of the freezer and into the microwave, and you have a protein filled meal that will hold you over until you hit that lunch hour.

The variety in these egg muffins is truly endless. You can substitute any vegetables or meats. Also, try making them in a mini muffin tin if you have kids to serve as well. The adorable, tiny egg cups are just so much fun to eat.

Ingredients:
  • 12 slices bacon
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, any variety
  • Butter or spray to grease pan
Directions (serves 12):

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

While oven is heating, cook the bacon and onion in a small frying pan, crumbling bacon as you cook. Remove from heat when finished.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the 12 eggs until smooth. Add in the bacon mixture, tomato, bell pepper, salt, pepper and cheese. Mix until well incorporated.

Grease each hollow of the muffin tin. Pour egg mixture into each cup until 3/4 full. Carefully transfer to the preheated oven, and bake for 20 minutes, or until egg is set in the middle. Allow pan to cool for ten minutes before removing egg muffins. Serve immediately, or wrap individually and freeze for future breakfasts.

Final Thoughts

I hope you have found this list of 50 Frugal Meals beneficial to both your tastebuds and your wallet. Remember, eating on the cheap does not have to b unhealthy or bland. There are so many ways to incorporate different tastes, flavors, and styles of cooking even when you are working with a tight budget.

Need more ideas? Try looking for Indian and Asian dishes, which tend to use less expensive ingredients. Skip the meat as your main protein a couple times a week, which will really save you a lot of money in the long run.

Plan your meals around what is on sale at your local market. Most of all, have fun with it! Cooking cheaply does not have to be a chore, as long as you plan ahead and have a willingness to try fresh and fun new recipes.

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