Frugal Friday: Frugal Family-Friendly Food Favorites

by Kari on November 5, 2010

(Sorry, went over board with the alliteration there.) So the message I’m getting from ya’ll is that specifics are helpful. And if you’re anything like me, it’s less helpful for someone to say, “Eat healthy!” and it’s more helpful if someone says, “Here’s a recipe, try this!” So, here are a few to try. These use the whole, inexpensive ingredients I mentioned in our last frugal post. And, this just happens to be what we’ve eaten in the last week. :)

Tortilla Soup This, along with homemade bread, is my favorite frugal go-to. I use whatever is in the house—rice, beans, chicken, beef, onions, garlic, peppers, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, whatever. Here is a thrifty version with our recent healthy ingredients.

  • 2 cups pinto beans, soak overnight, then cook in a quart of homemade chicken stock, made from roasting one of the whole organic chickens last week. Let cook all morning. ($.75)
  • ½ onion, 1 TB minced garlic, one Taco seasoning packet ($.50)
  • 2 cups frozen organic corn from Costco ($.75)
  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked ($.25) Dump it all in the crockpot, cook on low a few hours. Delish! We ate it ladeled over some Juanita’s (local, Hood River) tortilla chips, but you could eat it plain or with cheese shredded on top. Serves 6, at least. ($.37 serving)

Baked Mac ‘n’ Cheese

  • 1 lb. Whole-wheat pasta ($.91 at Winco)
  • 2 tsp. Salt, ¼ tsp. Pepper
  • ½ stick real butter ($.25)
  • 6 cups whole organic milk (about $2)
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour (pennies)
  • 3 ½ cups Tillamook cheese (less than $2)

Cook pasta. Melt butter in sauce pan, add flour, cook 3 minutes, will clump together. Stir constantly and add milk slowly, allowing to thicken, about 7 minutes. Add cheddar and salt, cook 5 minutes until creamy. Add pasta and stir, pour into casserole dish and top with additional shredded cheese. Bake until cheese is bubbly on top. Devour. Makes 8 servings, at least. (<$1.50 a serving)

Chicken & Rice Bake (From Bethany Fegles)

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice ($.25)
  • ½ stick butter ($.25)
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour (pennies)
  • 1 ¼ c. homemade organic chicken stock (pennies)
  • ½ cup dry white wine (I use Winco’s white cooking wine, probably $.50 for this amt.)
  • 1 tsp Italian spices of any kind
  • ½ c. chopped onion ($.25)
  • ¼ tsp poultry seasoning (Winco, pennies)
  • 1 cup shredded Tillamook cheddar cheese ($.50)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (from a whole roasted chicken, about $2)

Cook rice. Melt butter, add flour and stir until smooth, gradually add chicken stock, white wine, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in seasonings, onion, and ½ of cheese, stir until cheese is melted. Add rice, chicken, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into casserole dish, sprinkle remaining cheese on top (I am generous with cheese throughout!). Sprinkle with a little paprika. Bake 25-30 min at 375 until cheese is bubbly, serves 4-6. ($.75/serving)

Quick & Easy Pansit (Pansit is a traditional Filipino dish similar to pad thai. This is a quick easy version that’s yummy.)

  • 8 oz. Whole-wheat spaghetti or linguini noodles ($.45)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves chopped ($.25)
  • 2 cups shredded chicken breast (from whole roasted chicken) ($2)
  • 1 cup match-stick cut carrots (I cheated and just shredded them in the blender to save time) ($.20)
  • 1 cup frozen organic peas (from Costco ($.50)
  • 1 cup frozen organic grean beans (from Costco ($.50)
  • 2 TB soy sauce (pennies)
  • 1 TB sesame oil (pennies) Cook pasta. Heat oil, cook onion, garlic 5 min. Add carrots chicken, peas, beans, cook 3 minutes or until heated through. Stir noodles, vegetables and all ingredients together. (Serves 6, $.66/each)

Barley Risotto This is another one you can vary with whatever you have on hand. Barley is even cheaper than rice and so good for you!

  • 2 cups frozen cauliflower ($1)
  • 1 TB olive oil, salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 4 cups homemade organic chicken stock (from roasted chicken) (pennies)
  • 1 ¼ c. barley (Winco, $.50)
  • 2/3 c. cup parmesan cheese ($1)
  • ½ c. slivered almonds ($.50)
  • 1 cup shredded frozen zucchini (free, stocked in freezer from summer garden)

Cook barley in the broth, saute cauliflower and zucchini in olive oil with onion. Add together, and add parmesan and almonds. Salt and pepper to taste (serves 6, $.50/serving)

Delectable Banana Bread

  • 2 1/3 cups over-ripe bananas (I keep bunches in freezer, or they always send then home from the food market at church when they are too bad for other people to take. They’re perfect for banana bread!–free)
  • 2 organic or local eggs ($.50)
  • ¾ c. brown sugar (I use less) ($.50)
  • ½ c. butter ($.50)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour (pennies) Melt butter, mix all together. Bake for awhile at 350 or 375 or something like that (Can you tell I developed this recipe? It’s not very exact. :) SO yummy! Makes 12 servings ($.13/servings)