Find these frugal meal ideas to help you plan meals quickly and easily without spending large amounts of money on fast food or unhealthy restaurant choices.
I know many of us are on a really strict food budget. With that, it’s important to know what you need to have to make ends meet if your budget just can’t stretch.
One of the best resources for us is our local CSA share – our meals revolve around what comes in our weekly bag – by focusing on the vegetables, we can cut back on the meat and save a considerable amount (especially for a family of 7!) You would be surprised how many meals you can create from a few simple vegetables.
We put together a pantry checklist that you can use to get a better handle on what you have in yours – sort it out, and log what you have on the sheet found here.
You should have the basic items on this list – if you do, you’ll find that you can usually whip together something fairly easily even if you are tight on money for the week.
These are items that I love to have in my pantry/freezer all the time – if at all possible:
- Pinto beans (great to make in the Instant Pot)
- Tortillas (flour or corn) — or make your own
- Frozen Vegetables
- Peanut Butter
- Common Produce (ie. Tomatoes, Lettuce, Cabbage)
- 1-2 Bags of Organic Tortilla Chips
- Pasta Sauce
We always have a bag of organic tortilla chips in our pantry because they make for a really fast and easy dinner. We can use those organic tortilla chips to make a really filling and healthy taco salad with ground beef or ground turkey.
An Instant Pot can be such a blessing, too! Use your Instant Pot to make refried beans or even healthy broccoli and rice.
Frugal Meal Ideas
Find over 30 frugal meal ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Combined with the free pantry checklist, you can be better prepared to whip up food for your family without having to rely on fast food or unhealthy restaurant choices.
- Mexican Chilaquiles (leftover Corn Tortillas with Eggs & Salsa)
- Egg Sandwich
- Oatmeal with Fresh Fruit
- Eggs with Beans
- Instant Pot Egg Bake
- Low Carb Egg Casserole
- Homemade Pancakes
- White Rice with Egg over Easy on Top
- Homemade Biscuits & Gravy
- Egg Burrito
- Rice Pudding
- Diced Potatoes with Peppers or Tomatoes
- Cheese on Toast
- Instant Pot Refried Beans
- Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot
- Egg Salad Sandwich
- Tuna Salad Sandwich
- Grilled Cheese
- Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Peanut Butter & Jelly with Yogurt
- Pasta Salad added Vegetables
- Baked Beans & Toast
- Cheese on Toast
- Baked Potato
- Sandwich Meat Rolled in a Fresh Tortilla
- Instant Pot broccoli and rice.
- Egg Fried Rice
- Penne Pasta with Sauce
- Broccoli pasta sauce
- Refried Bean Tostadas with Lettuce, Tomato & Rice
- Mashed Potato Enchiladas
- Vegetable Soup
- Chicken Noodle Soup with Leftover Chicken
- Tomato Soup
- Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
- Tuna Noodle Casserole
- One Pot Enchilada Pasta
- Chipotle Lime Cauliflower Tacos
- Roasted Squash Tacos
- Quiche (great if you have cheap eggs!) with fresh veggies
- Spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce
- Beef & Cabbage Stir-Fry
- Lentil Soup
- Barbecue Lentils
- Cabbage Tomato Soup
- Breakfast for Dinner
- Unstuffed Peppers
- Roasted Tomato and Green Bell Pepper Egg Casserole
- Instant Pot Cauliflower Pasta Sauce
- Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Basil Pesto
- Potato Tuna Patties
- Kid Favorite Taco Salad
By being better prepared in the kitchen, meals can be made quickly and inexpensively without having to rely on fast food or meals out at a restaurant.
susan o says
every family is different, that goes without saying. But I always make sure I have ground beef, chicken and italian sausage in my freezer in individual meal sized portions, plus pork chops and steak if there has been a sale. Of course rice, pasta, spaghetti sauce, cereal, canned soup and dry soup mix, frozen and canned vegetables, hot dogs, cheese, onions, pop tarts, taco shells, tortillas, canned tomatoes, black beans, tortillla chips, bisquick, tomato sauce and paste, tomato juice …. well you get the idea. I buy fresh veggies as I need them so they don’t go to waste
breakfast can be toast, english muffins, cereal, pop tarts, bacon egg and cheese quesadillas, pancakes or french toast,
lunch a cheese quesadilla, can soup, sandwich, tuna, hard boiled eggs,
dinner: chicken and dumplings, nachos, spaghetti and italian sausage, burritos, grilled ham and cheese with french fries, sloppy joes, goulash, crescent pizza rollups
Seriously, I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this! I earn up to $500 per week. And what’s awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my family. You’ll need a computer, an Internet connection & a can-do attitude.
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Super fast Irish Chicken and Dumplings- 1 quart chicken broth, 2 cans cream of chicken soup, 1 can diced potatoes, 1 can peas and carrots, 1-2 cans chicken, leftover chicken, or saute up some fresh diced chicken. Put all in a pot, stir well, and heat. Use Bisquick recipe to make the dumplings.