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Menu Ideas for Budget Cooking

budget cooking ideas

I have pulled together several menu ideas for budget cooking.

Low cost cooking doesn’t mean boxed mac and cheese for dinner every night.

You can make nutritious low cost meals using some of the menu ideas below. Plus browse the site. You will find lots of inspiration for eating on a budget.

Plus – find tips on cooking low cost meals and budget cooking below the menus.

Menu Ideas for Budget Cooking

Bean BurritosBean Burritos
Spanish Rice
Green Salad with Mexican Vinaigrette
Lemon Pudding Cake

Bean CasseroleSausage and Three Bean Casserole
Tomato Salad
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Cabbage RollsCream of Celery Soup
Cabbage Rolls
Pickled Beets
Peanut Butter Balls

MacandbeefMacaroni and Beef
Marinated Vegetable Salad
Banana Bread

MeatballrecsThrifty Meatballs with Mushroom Sauce
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Apple Crisp

Tomato SaucePasta with Easy Tomato Basil Sauce
Classic Caesar Salad
Parmesan Crisps
Chocolate Coconut Bars

chicken broccoli casserole smallChicken and Broccoli Casserole
Coconut Carrot Salad
Green Beans
Ambrosia Salad

whole wheat pancakes smallWhole Wheat Pancakes
Grilled Breakfast Sausage
Yogurt topped with fresh fruit

Tuna Noodle CasserolesTuna Noodle Casserole with Broccoli
Cucumber Salad
Zucchini Bread

Apricot ChickenApricot Chicken
Rice cooked with chicken broth
Roasted Carrots with Thyme
Fresh Fruit Salad

Eggplant ParmBruschetta
Eggplant Parmesan
Green Salad with Italian Balsamic Vinaigrette
Lemon Sorbet

Con QuesoChili Con Queso with Tortilla Chips
Taco Salad
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Did You Know?…

Here are some tips to eat well when budget cooking is your goal:

  • Buy fresh food that is locally grown and in season. Not only will you be supporting the farmers who work hard to provide us with our food, you will get more nutrition from food that is at its peak of freshness. Buying food when it is in season will be much easier on the budget too.

  • Buy packaged and canned goods when they are on sale. See something you enjoy eating at 50% off? Don’t just buy one. If you have any storage room at all, buy several, as long as you can eat them before they expire or go bad.

  • Meat is a large part of most dinner menu budgets. Cheap recipes are really recipes that stretch things out. We don’t need an 8 to 12 ounce portion of steak to be healthy. In fact many nutritional experts will say that our Western culture eats far too much meat.

If you are cooking on a budget and are using meat, find recipes that stretch the meat out, so each person gets about 3 ounces of meat. Mixed with a variety of vegetables, which are a large part of healthy low cost cooking, no one will even notice they are eating less meat.

  • Mix in some vegetarian dinners with your meat based dinners. We don’t need to eat meat every day. I have included some delicious meatless options for budget cooking too.

  • Soup for dinner is a fantastic option for low cost meals. Soup recipes can be really healthy but low cost too. Look for recipes that incorporate things like beans and legumes, potatoes or rice.

  • Include beans and legumes in your budget menus. They are very nutritious and provide low fat protein and fiber, while being very low in cost.

  • Look for bargains in the clearance area of the produce section of your grocery store. Bananas, peppers, apples and much more are sometimes packaged up and sold at a low price when they are just past their prime. Look them over carefully though – if the food is actually spoiled it’s no bargain. And of course anything you do buy in that section needs to be eaten immediately.

  • Most of the recipes on this site that call for chicken breasts can be made just as easily with cheaper chicken legs. When chicken legs are on special, scoop them up and put them in the freezer in meal size amounts.

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