I hope to keep this thread going for awhile. Now for a great frugal meal...TaDa! Fried Rice.
This is probably the cheapest food I have ever made. I make a huge amount for the Wildbunch.
Start out with cooked rice. When I make rice I will make it in the crockpot. I freeze what I'm not using. Now with a tiny bit of oil saute onions, and whatever vegetables you like. I like whatever is in the refrigerator and needs cooking or leftover veggies. I have used squash, peppers, mushrooms, peas, carrots, eggplant, kale...well, you get the picture. Or a combination of veggies. Meat is optional but if you choose to use it, dice it up small. A friend of mine uses ham and pineapple and calls it Hawaiian Fried Rice. I have used a can of tuna for the meat, leftover barbecue chicken, hamburger meat...
After the vegetables and meat is cooked (I like the veggies to be tender but not soft) throw in leftover boiled eggs mashed, scrambled eggs or scramble some fresh eggs.
Pour some soy sauce over to taste and serve hot. I will sometimes have homemade baked egg rolls with them.
Rice is cheap and you can use whatever you have on hand. I make this from 3 or 4 cups of rice (or 6 or 8 cups cooked). Yes thats a lot of fried rice but I have 2 teenage sons and a 12 year old and 7 year old. 3 out of 4 play football, basketball, track and sometimes soccer.
I got a frugal recipe myself. Growing up in South Africa my mom often made us bean soup, which was a big family favourite. I've been unable to find the dried speckled beans she used here, in Ireland, but I found a good and cheap substitute that works just as well: mixed tinned beans. I found one with small red beans, chick peas and another small bean variety (sorry, I'm too lazy to go downstairs and look now ). I put a tin of these in a pan with about 2 cups of water, a little bit of meat, about half a carrot (chopped), 1-2 small potatoes (chopped), some chopped onion and half a stock cube of whatever meat I'm using (mutton or beef usually). Bring to boil and simmer for about an hour. It's delicious and costs me well under €2.00 for the meal, which is enough for two portions. Since it's only me and my son I cook "small".
I love bean soup or bean based soups. I make split pea at least every week or two in the winter. Last week I made a bean with bacon soup. Taco soup which has a lot of beans in it. So much protien, calcium and so filling.
I just made ham hock and white bean soup. It was delicious! With homemade bread... So filling and it made enough for probably 4 meals for the three of us. I made split pea soup a few weeks ago and didn't love it, but this was good!
@lcertuche said this would make a good post for the frugal post so here it is! Zucchini is sure cheaper to buy than apples and easier to raise!
It is best to use the really big zucchini, ya' know-the baseball bat sized ones. The crust mix made too much, so I put the extra in a zip loc bag and froze it for the next one. I also tweaked the recipe a little bit. I added twice the amount of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of ginger and a dash of cloves. It made it even more yummy! Ya'll enjoy!
8 cups Zuc. peeled and seeded use large
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix and cook until tender and set aside to cool
4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup butter or oleo
cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top
Mix crust till crumbly and pat 1/2 of crust into an oblong baking dish.
Bake that crust for 10 minutes at 375*
Place filling on baked crust and then put other 1/2 of crust mix over filling.
Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar over top.
Bake at 375* for 30 minutes.
Don't tell them it is zucchini and they will think it is apple....
I even prepared the zucchini and canned it in quart jars for the winter.
I have shredded zucchini and froze it to use in muffins. MIL use to can yellow squash and okra every summer. It turned out great and tasted fresh. It was so much better than my frozen. I think dehydrated would be good too. My zucchini never came up this year and most locals don't grow it. It's all about tomatoes, peppers, okra, yellow squash and sweet potatoes here.
1. Fry up the meat with the onions. Leftover chicken, pork roast, etc. is good for this. Debone and chop before heating up with onions.
2. Add canned veggies. I usually have dried beans either cooking, cooked or even in qt. bags in the freezer. I rarely buy canned beans. If they are canned I suggest you drain and rinse. If I have any leftover green beans, peas, fried potatoes, etc. they get tossed in the soup too.
3. Add the spices, salt and pepper. Simmer a few minutes or put all in a crockpot and turn on low before leaving the house.
We always eat this with cornbread. I can throw the ingredients in the pot and simmer while the bread is baking. You will be sitting down to eat within a half an hour. This is quicker than trying to wait for take-out in the drive through lane at rush hour, not to mention better tasting and waaaay cheaper.
I had so many yellow squash this summer that I put packages of shredded squash, 2 cups each in the freezer. I substituted the yellow squash for zucchini and made zucchini bread. Couldn't tell the difference.