Every time I go through the check out at the grocery, I am amazed at how much money I spend there. It’s crazy and depressing, and sometimes I wonder how I can possibly put together a decent meal without spending a small fortune. No wonder so many people go for cheap, on-the-go foods instead of nice meals at home.
But the fact is, with a little planning, you can prepare tasty meals and spend less than you would imagine. And luckily, some of the most delicious foods around don’t cost too much.
Pasta is a great budget friendly choice for dinner, and provides many options of what to have. From the basic spaghetti with marinara sauce to something more elaborate like pasta with chicken and artichoke sauce, pasta makes a great, simple and inexpensive main dish. Pair it with a salad and bread and you have a lovely meal.
Even for those who love meat, pasta is a great way to go vegetarian while still having a filling meal that tastes great. Try spaghetti with marinara sauce or angel hair pasta with olive oil and garlic seasoning. For a family favourite, you can’t go wrong with macaroni and cheese or to mix things up a bit, try something like fettuccini alfredo.
Fettuccini Alfredo Recipe
- 2 Tbs butter
- 1/3 cup cream cheese
- 2/3 cup milk
- dash of pepper
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter and stir in the cream cheese. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly. Bring just to a very low simmer and cook a few minutes. Stir in pepper and add the Parmesan, stirring until melted. Cover and let sit until your pasta is done. This sauce is a bit runny, but good.
Meals centered around meat don’t have to be expensive. First of all, choose lower-priced meats like chicken and ground beef, which are great for making inexpensive family meals. For my son, chicken and rice is always a favourite, while my daughter prefers cheese burgers. Either way, I can make meat the main dish without spending too much.
When it comes to beef dishes, if you use a slow cooker, you can buy a cheaper cut and still have great taste and tenderness. Instead of buying a more expensive cut, such as a sirloin roast, buy a cheaper pot or rump roast. Cooking with a slow cooker also saves on electricity and it is extremely convenient. On top of that, you have an excellent inexpensive meal.
Slow Cooker Roast Recipe
- 3-4 lb. roast
Simply salt and pepper your roast, put it in the slow cooker, add the vegetables, cover with water and let it cook for 6-8 hours.
They may have a kind of kitschy reputation, but casseroles make great family meals that are simple and don’t have to be expensive. A casserole is a combination of ingredients that usually contains some kind of meat, either pasta or rice, seasoning and sauce. They are assembled then baked in the oven and when pulled out, provide a delicious dinner.
One of my favourites growing up was hamburger casserole. I remember the smell of it coming out of the oven. Yum. My grandmother’s hamburger casserole was basically a mix of cooked macaroni noodles, ground beef, canned peas and carrots and cheese. Delicious.
Providing meals for your family that don’t cost a lot can seem like a daunting task, but it can be done. With a little planning, you’ll be putting meals on the table that your family thinks are expensive, but that really only cost pennies per serving.
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Category: Frugal Living