When it comes to cheap eats, nothing beats eating at home. But eating at home can add up if you indulge in gourmet cheeses and pre-seasoned meats. Here are a few simple favorites to really watching your dollars. Good food, amazing savings. And don’t forget to freeze leftovers in small, one or two serving containers.
Spaghetti with marinara
Making your own marinara sauce for a better flavor at a better price. It’s fast, easy and inexpensive
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes: $1.56
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped: .52 cents
- Pinch of garlic: .27
- Loaf of bread: $1.50 on close out
- 12-oz. package of spaghetti: $1.70
Price per serving: $1.37
Saute onions in a deep skillet with butter or olive oil until well cooked and “clear” appearance. Add drained can of crushed or diced tomatoes and pinch of garlic. Cook for 20 minutes. Plain garlic marinara is fine but if you have spices you want to add like basil and oregano, toss a pinch of each into the mix.
If you like a thicker sauce, you can add 1 teaspoon of corn starch to ½ cup of water and stir into the mix. Bring to a boil and then you are done.
You can always add fun ingredients to Chili to change the flavor. It’s a fun dish to play around with! Here is a simple recipe to keep your costs down and your nutrition value high.
Brown ground beef first in a large pot, and draining the fat. Add chopped onion and chopped green pepper, and garlic. Cook until onions are well done. Then dump in a base of tomato sauce (or paste or juice), one large can of diced tomatoes, a chopped bell pepper, a minced clove of garlic, and some salt and pepper.
Add water and a package of chili seasoning and bring it to a boil. Add two cans of black kidney beans. (Black beans can also be used but they do change the color of the mix. (Of course, you can add sausage, celery, corn, or just about anything else you like, too.) Continue to simmer for 1 hours. If you want to eliminate the meat, you can make it into an extra economical meal.
- 1 lb. of ground beef: $4.85
- 2 cans beans: $2.10
- Large can diced tomatoes: $1.49
- 1 onion: 99 cents
- 1 bell pepper: $1.50
- Tomato sauce: $1.89
- Chili spice packet: $2.00
Total: $14.82 (makes 6 servings)
Price per serving: $2.47
This recipe is a cheap and fun way to eat. Chop up toppings –a tomato, a small onion, and some cilantro. Spray a cast iron skillet with olive oil. Plop 6” flour tortillas, one at a time, onto the pan. Fill half the tortilla with seasoned shredded chicken. Fold “blank” side of tortilla over the top of the chicken side to create a “half moon” filled tortilla. Cook until tortilla is golden and then flip over to cook the other side. Serve on plate and top with tomatoes, onions, cilantro or whatever you want. Or, you can fill each tortilla more and leave the taco open for a beautiful display of color. Garnish with fresh cilantro, sour cream and a dusting of chili powder. (Note: If you have extra rice from a previous meal, you can also add rice to the tortilla with the chicken)
- 8 flour tortillas: $1.88
- Tomato: $1.00
- Small onion: .79 cents
- Cup of shredded cheese: $1
- Cilantro: $1
- Salsa: $1.00
- 6 servings of shredded chicken from previous meal (pressure cooked or slow cooked) – spice the shredded chicken with taco seasoning or chili seasoning. $4.00
Total: $10.67 (makes 6 servings)
Price per serving: $2.67