Shoestring Meals Budget friendly ideas for healthy eating

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Old 10-28-2010, 02:46 PM   #1  
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Default your go-to meal when groceries are running low

I find i'm most creative when we are running out of food. So what are some of your family's favorites?
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:58 PM   #2  
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Yesterday I made turkey burger with taco seasoning, onions and peppers and put it over a baked red potato. SOO GOOD! I was proud, lol. Only 350 calories too!
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:03 PM   #3  
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If I have some leftover chicken in the fridge, I make one cup of rice (cooked in chicken broth or boullion or taco seasoning) and stir in the cut-up chicken and a cup of frozen peas during the last 5 min. of cooking time. Serve with fruit or a salad. Just used this one night before last!

Last edited by AnnieDrews; 10-28-2010 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:05 PM   #4  
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Homemade fried rice comes to mind. I like to throw in whatever is in the fridge. This works well for stir fries also.

I can make almost anything as long as I have meat. It's when we've run out of meat that I have trouble!

Breakfast for dinner comes to mind. Pancakes, eggs, sometimes cereal.


It depends on what you have.
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:59 AM   #5  
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I keep a good supply of a dried bean soup mix, when I'm running low on groceries I cook that up with whatever I have in the fridge. like tomato sauce and corn or pumpkin and sausage, I can always make a filling soup with that.
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:16 AM   #6  
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I'm on a low-carb plan, so I like to make what I call breakfast burrito filling. It's pretty much how I make breakfast burritos but I can't eat the tortilla. Brown some ground sausage, mix in eggs, then cheese, top with more cheese and sour cream and jalapenos. Salsa is pretty good too. I've made this a couple of times when I didn't have anything else to eat.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:30 AM   #7  
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Originally Posted by Linsy View Post
I'm on a low-carb plan, so I like to make what I call breakfast burrito filling. It's pretty much how I make breakfast burritos but I can't eat the tortilla. Brown some ground sausage, mix in eggs, then cheese, top with more cheese and sour cream and jalapenos. Salsa is pretty good too. I've made this a couple of times when I didn't have anything else to eat.
I'm on a low carb plan too and this is pretty much my go-to. I always have at least 2 dozen eggs in the fridge at any given time. My husband calls it "garbage bowl" haha... I pretty much dump whatever leftovers and veggies I have into my eggs and scramble it all up. Pretty yum most of the time .
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Old 11-13-2010, 10:10 AM   #8  
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Tuna salad (with onions, celery, peppers) on open face whole wheat toasted English Muffins (or WW Round, or slice of WW toast), or mixed with cold WW pasta as a salad, or on other veggies, tomatoes, cucumber, salad, whatever I have.
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Old 11-30-2010, 03:23 PM   #9  
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polenta, fried rice, bean salad, quesadillas.
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:13 PM   #10  
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I like burritos and quesadillas because they center around super cheap ingredients that are easily on hand - tortillas, beans, and chicken! I buy beans in 1lb bags from the grocery store or dollar store - it's usually $1.00 for a 1lb bag, and that bag about doubles once you soak/cook the beans so you have TONS of beans to use for lots of different recipes! I always have frozen chicken on hand, and tortillas are super cheap to buy and even more cheap to make from scratch. Whole wheat tortillas + beans (plus spices) + grilled/sauteed chicken = healthy burritos! Of course you can add in shredded cheese if you have it, or egg if that's your thing, or even tomatoes and onions. The healthiest sour cream substitute is unflavored greek yogurt, and salsa is super healthy as well.
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:28 PM   #11  
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When groceries are low I love doing breakfast for supper, I always have the stuff on hand to make homemade pancakes. Omelettes are good too, you can throw in a hodgepodge of pretty much anything. Grits are cheap and filling.

And there is nothing like a good ole PB&J. I like Nature's Own Light Honey Wheat, regular PB & sugarfree jam...I can fill my belly, get some a little healthy grain and oil and satisfy a sweettooth for about 200 calories.
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:37 PM   #12  
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Some great soups have resulted from the "grab whatever veg are in the fridge and shove them in a pan" method.

Pasta and lentils is one of our favourites. It's an Egyptian recipe, originally called rishta bi ads. Slice/chop an onion, sauté it in olive oil with ground cumin, coriander and cinnamon, add a tin of green or brown lentils, season with salt and pepper, and serve on pasta with a dab of butter/marg. This makes 2-3 servings depending on how hungry you are, it's very easy, and it's great comfort food.
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Old 05-29-2011, 05:05 PM   #13  
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I might try that, Esofia. It sounds interesting.

I mostly go with quesadillas, burritos with chopped steak, bell peppers, spinach leaves, and onions, or vegetable soups with chicken and leftover noodles when food is low. If food is really low a big bowl of beans with some salsa and cheese mixed into it is very satisfying and filling.

I also love Peanut Butter and Honey sandwiches. Mmmm.

Last edited by 3FCer344892; 05-29-2011 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 05-29-2011, 06:02 PM   #14  
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We're able to spend about half what we used to on groceries, just by having the luxury of stocking up when we find super good sales. We almost never pay more than $2 per pound for meat, and we freeze it. We buy beans and rice and such in bulk (eating fewer carbs, we're lucky that rice and beans have an almost infinite shelf-life if you store properly).

Soup is my random pantry-raiding standby. It's not only great when supplies are low, it's also perfect for overabundance - when you have leftovers or produce you want to use before it goes bad (in which case I make soup and freeze some).

Most of my soups are "dump" soups. I start with water in a dutch oven or soup pot, add some powdered soup base we buy in bulk (before I found the bulk food store, I used boillon cubes, saltier but still works well). Then I just start randomly throwing in stuff. Leftovers, almost wilted veggies, cans of veggies and/or meat.

My husband (who doesn't cut carbs as much as I do), ha a standby recipe he calls "stuff" (essentially homemade hamburger helper) which is ground beef or leftover meat (diced chicken,ham or roast) browned with diced onion and other seasonings mixed with either rice or pasta and vegetables. The vegetables can fresh, frozen, canned or leftover - whatever we've got.

I make a lower-cab version by eliminating the rice or pasta, to make a sloppy joe style "stuff" that I'll pour over faux mashed potatoes (mostly cauliflower with just a few tablespoons of mashed potato flakes to give it a more potato flavor and texture for very few extra carbs/calories). Or if I want to spend my daily carb budget on a baked potato, I'll pour the stuff over that. Or I'll add beans to the stuff for a chili-like concoction.

Scrambled eggs are another stand-by when choices and time are limited. Like my soups and stuff, almost anything (except fruit) can find it's way into my scrambled eggs. I call them "scrambled omelettes" because I don't have the patience or dexterity to make a traditional omelette. I just saute filling ingredients and pour beaten eggs over it and stir as it cooks. Some ingredients do color the eggs, so if you're really sensitive to color, you have to think about your choices. For example, I once used refried beans and other leftover taco ingredients in a scrambled omelette and the flavor was awesome, but the grayish-appearance was less than appetizing. I wouldn't make it for guests, but it was so yummy I didn't mind.
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Old 05-29-2011, 07:37 PM   #15  
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I never throw leftovers away...I freeze them. Even if it is a single serving (or even less) of something. Then when things are low, I pull stuff out and either have a "leftover buffet", or make "freezer soup", lol. I have dozens of tiny bags of random food items in my freezer at any time

Last edited by Hello Nurse; 05-29-2011 at 07:38 PM.
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