What is the most cost effective meal you know how to make?

Luana - posted on 12/02/2009 ( 74 moms have responded )

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I sometimes have to cook for 6 kids so wanting to know any menu ideas that are cost effective and quick & easy to make

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Elizabeth - posted on 12/06/2009

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My sister taught me how to budget cook. You plan one day for a big meal. Like ham, enough mac'n cheese (Kraft kind) to have left overs, deviled eggs, and anything else you would like to have with it. When it's time to clean up, you take the left over mac'n cheese, some cut up ham and a can of cream of mushroom soup. Mix it together in a caserole dish, cover and put in the fridge till the next night. When it's time to cook supper. Put casserole in oven on 350 till hot. I serve mine with some butter bread. The next night make ham sandwiches. Next night make ham pot pie. Next night slice some ham and have breakfast for supper. The left over deviled eggs can be diced up for egg salad sandwiches.
You can do the same with chicken. Fix a baked chicken one night with all the sides. Next night have chicken salad. Next night chicken pot pie. Next night chicken sandwiches.
Chili pie
Doritoes, can chili with or without beans, and shredded chedder cheese
Crush Doritoes and put in bottom of casserole dish. Next layer is chili. Top with cheese. Repeat layers once. Bake at 350 till cheese is melted and chili is hot.
Keilbasa soup
Keilbasa polish sausage, potatoes, cabbage, and whole kernal corn or corn on the cobb
Slice the sausage, cut up the potatoes and cabbage. Put all the ingredients in a large sauce pan. Fill with enough water to cover and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and boil for 30 min. or till potatoes are done. serve
Hamburger, rice, and onion
Fix rice according to directions and add butter to taste. Dice onion and brown hamburger and onion together. Drain hamburger and onion and add rice. Stir to combine and serve.

Deanna - posted on 12/07/2009

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I get a ring bolgna or a ring of smoked sausage, cut it up into small pieces, small cube some potatoes (heat in microwave or use leftovers) mix with scambled eggs. Makes a lot especially when you cut the eggs with milk. Sometimes if I have any left over bacon I cumble that up an put it in there.. Very big in our house of 6 people!!!

CORSALIA - posted on 12/03/2009

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My favorite is franks and beans----I find it will fill you up ! Also chili !

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Samantha - posted on 05/12/2013

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I make potato and leek soup ( works out at about $2 a pot) , pumpkin soup (about $3 a pot) , pea and ham soup (about $7 a pot) or spag bowl (about $8 a meal) All are very cost effective ( I feed a family of 5). With the soups we get 2 meals out of 1 pot. The spag bowl is a quick and easy meal for me. 500g of mince and I buy the home brand sauce then add my own chopped onions, garlic & mushrooms. Then serve with a little bit of grated cheese and pasta.

Tiffanie - posted on 12/08/2009

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chicken and dumplings. big pk of chicken, chicken boulon, bisquick, and celery. price for all this comes to about 25 dollars.
i buy a big pack of boneless skinless chicken(it has about 8-10 big pieces in the pk) and seperate it in to to different meals. then take half of it and cut the chicken pieces into bite size bits, boil it in a big pot of water with about 4 chicken boulon cubes and celery. let it boil for about 1 and a half hours then add the bisquick dumplings(recipe is on the box) let it cook for about 15 minutes or until dumplings are fluffy and no longer gooey looking. its really good and if there is any left over it freezes really well for a later date. and you can use the other half of the pkg of chic. for another meal

Tonia - posted on 12/07/2009

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Well, beans (of any kind) with rice is inexpensive, but takes awhile, unless you have a crockpot or pressure cooker. My mom grew up eating a lot of beans and rice because they were very poor. My grandmother also made homemade bread back then, too. But a friend of mine used to cook spaghetti noodles and just toss them with butter, salt, and pepper when money was tight. Her kids loved it! As I walk the aisles in WalMart and every other grocery store, I'm amazed at the cost of food, period. It's almost to the point where we need to raise our own animals and gardens to save some money, but where will we find the time? ???? Hope this helped a little.

[deleted account]

I am a Pampered Chef Consultant. We have these recipe cards called "Weekday Dinners Done" for $6.50. It gives you two weeks worth of recipes plus the "shopping list" and "pantry items" cards to put in your purse and take to the grocery store. Each card has a full color illustration on it and the recipe on back. You will get two menu plans, 10 weeknight dinners at around $2.00 per serving. I use these cards to feed my own family and it saves me time and money at the store. I cannot give out my web-site on this, but you can e-mail me if you want to at cookwithkathy@charter.net. Thanks, Kathy Glover

Gina - posted on 12/07/2009

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Another recipe to make with leftover ham from the ham dinner is Scallopped Potatoes and Ham. For easy cheap sauce just use 2 cans of whatever cream soup you like. Another is diced ham and scrambled eggs.

Gina - posted on 12/07/2009

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Hamburger Casserole
Fry hamb. drain grease. Cook Wavy egg noodles, drain, add to hamb. Add 1 big can Bushes baked beans and 2 cans tomato soup. Heat through and eat.

Lee - posted on 12/06/2009

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I stock up on all kinds of canned and dried foods when they are on special and put them away for emergencies I have made some amazing meals for my kids and their friends with these and by adding seasional ingredients you'v got a meal. Rice and pasta go with anything, I once fried up some leftover meat added a tin of (sourcrout) cabbage, leftover baked potatoes and pumpkin a tin of peas and corn and cooked some rice and made an onion gravey (dried packet that was on special )to pour over just add your own sauce or spices pretty much anything can go into the pan. The kids loved it.Always keep some jelly packets, tin fruit and some custard powder in you pantry for deserts, these are cheep and keep for ages. Another favourite is a big pot of pasta of any kind and use any kind of sauce to pour over and top with off cheese.The key is to stock up your pantry with goods when they are on special. Just an extra tin or packet of something each week when you go shopping and you don't notice it in your budget. I hope this helps

Marquita - posted on 12/06/2009

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I would say spaghetti with a jar of store bought sauce and cut up your own green peppers onions and fresh garlic.

Marquita - posted on 12/06/2009

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I would say spaghetti with a jar of store bought sauce and cut up your own green peppers onions and fresh garlic.

Sophia Claire - posted on 12/06/2009

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you can also try chicken chunky sandwich with mayo,mustard and pickles w/ a combination of potato salad,or a ground chicken breast fillet grated cheese,seasoned w/ salt pepper make it like a meat balls roll it in a breadings and then dip fry! serve it w/ mayo,catsup or chiz dip!

Stephania - posted on 12/05/2009

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For breakfasts! Yummy homemade sausage, bacon, or white gravy over bisquits or toast:) During those tough times, my gravy was a bit on the runny side so it would feed more people, but it tasted the same:) and many neighborhood boys were thankful!

Stephania - posted on 12/05/2009

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I just found this recipe and have been making for ALL my potlucks and as a Holiday side dish:



4 lbs. Chicken (any chicken you like)

1 can whole berry cranberry sauce (trust me kids love it when it is all done)

1 bottle (8oz.) Catalina Dressing

1 env. onion soup mix



Heat oven to 350 degrees, Place chicken in 2(13x9 inch) baking dishes, Mix remaining ingredients; pour over chicken, Bake 50 min. or until chicken is done. (do not cover)



I have used bnls skinless chicken breast, thighs, legs, and wings. My boys ate them up and so did the ladies at a candle lite party-I cut up chicken into bite size pieces. I normally serve it over Jasmine Rice. Even the kidos love it. They range from 4-18 years old. Just to note, this is not my recipe, I found it in a Krafts, Food & Family magazine:)

Patricia - posted on 12/04/2009

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I fix for 3 kids and the favorite things I fix are Lasagna and impossibly easy cheeseburger pie. The cheeseburger recipe is on most boxes of Bisquik! My kids love it and you can even make it "deluxe" by adding cream of mushroom soup and mixed veggies!

Angie - posted on 12/04/2009

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Homemade pinto beans and tortillas. I can feed my family of 5 (plus our exchange student) for under $5.

Sherrie - posted on 12/04/2009

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my kids also like macaroni no-name works good cook and make macaroni then add ground beef seasoned with taco sauce a little salsa mix together done easy

Sherrie - posted on 12/04/2009

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our family loves potatoes you cut them up raw like french fries add a little oil to cookie sheet when potatoes are almost cooked take some taco meat spread ontop of fries you can add onion,green pepper ect whatever you like tof with a little cheese when cheese is melted serve really tasty..

Andrea - posted on 12/04/2009

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i cook spagetti and lasagna for my family! i had baught a case of pasta sauce so i have lots of that around my house. use to get cheese on wic ( dont any more) and the noodles arent very expensive.

Archana - posted on 12/04/2009

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Rice works best for me. I keep adding different things to it to alter taste like veggies, meat, lentils, beans etc. You can salt or seasoning as per taste or just saute everyting in little oil and cook. Or u can cook rice and veggies or meat seperately and mix them or serve with bread instead or rice.

Joanne - posted on 12/04/2009

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Shepherds/cottage pie. lean mince and mashed potatoes - you can always add a can of baked beans to the mince to add variety, or sprinkle cheese on the potatoes.

Laura - posted on 12/04/2009

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As a mom with 6 kids, this is my life :)

A favorite here is taco salad, made with either plain corn chips or Doritos, grated cheese, shredded lettuce, browned hamburger and a taco seasoning packet, plus whatever your family enjoys adding..we've done it with sour cream, and olives.

Also, Hamburger Helpers extended with extra noodles and broccoli added.

Also try an egg-drop-type soup made with ramen noodles and whipped eggs. Adding grated cheese is also a favorite.

Krista - posted on 12/04/2009

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Tuna Casserole

I bag of spiral pasta
1 can tuna
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 onion - diced
1 tsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup of milk

Cook pasta
While pasta is cooking, carmelize the diced onions in the tsp of butter.

In a oven safe dish, combine the tuna, soup, onions and milk. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake at 250 for half an hour.

That's probably a 5 dollar meal or so.

You can also add peas into it.

Tosha - posted on 12/04/2009

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Ramen noodles. My friends' kids can't get enough of them. Also I give them some greenbeans on the side so it's not all starch.

Isela - posted on 12/04/2009

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Velveeta pasta shells & cheese, sausage, & broccoli, jello pudding (pecans, teddy grahams, or gummys 4 toppings)........& sum fresh squeezed lemonade (kool aid works 2.lol)............ yum!

Joie - posted on 12/04/2009

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The best thing and heapest i made up when my daughter told me i had to make a dish 1 hour before wehad to go to band banqute

CalledMEXICAN MAC N CHEESE
2-3 bxs walmart cheapest noodles (thick and creamy work best)
ofcourse boil noodles while you do next step
next step brown at least 2pds ground meat with
add 1 pkg taco seasoning to the ground meat
while everything is cooking
once you have cooked the noodles drain and make(we make it a little soupy)
add ground meat when cooked
(you should have a large pot for this)
stir in put 1 can mild rotel
then stir put in 2 cans corn
through in large bag of mexican cheese (8 oz bag)

Your kids shoud love it if find a little spicy next time dont use taco seasoning

Kylie - posted on 12/04/2009

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Tuna mornay is a quick, cheap and easy meal, u can go to the Huggies website to get various recipes rangin from dinner, snacks, party thru to finger foods and stuff the kids can help u wiv as an activity time. www.huggies.com.au

Larissa - posted on 12/04/2009

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sausages are really cheap.u can make any meal with sausages such as a sausage casserole served with mash potatoes,or sausages with gravy,mashed and mixed veges on the side.CHEAP & Yummy. Plus kids love sausages!

Denise - posted on 12/03/2009

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These are a lot of great ideas and I'll be trying them too. But I'd like to add one myself. Mexican casserole. Simple. brown 2-4 lbs hamburger drain. season as you please. mix with hamburger 1 can cream of mushroom, 1 can cream of chicken, 1 can enchalada sauce and 1 can refried beans. In a 9x13 pan crunch doritos (or off brand) in bottom put the meat mix and sprinkle top with shredded cheese. bake till hot and melted. you can add other stuff too. i sometimes put in corn or black olives or mushrooms. the last time i made it i put a layer of cheese UNDER the meat as well.

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Mmm.. Santa Fe Soup! It makes a ton. You brown 1lb of ground beef, drain. Then add a packet of ranch powder seasoning and 1 packet of taco seasoning. Then add 1 can each of: Pinto Beans, Kidney Beans, Black Beans, Diced Tomatoes. Add 2 cans white corn. Do not drain any cans. Mix all together let cook until heated through (best if you simmer for about and hour but you can do less). Then serve with shredded cheese and tortillas. It is very very good and makes alot of food. If you buy store brand canned items it is very cheap! Enjoy!!

Holly - posted on 12/03/2009

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chicken casserole, brown 2 to 3 chicken breasts diced when chicken is done put in to casserole dish add what ever vegatables your family likes add one can cream chicken soup and one can cheddar soup, mix up stove top stuffing like it says on the box when done top the casserole with it and bake for about 30 mins. at 350 degrees.. enjoy

Latoya - posted on 12/03/2009

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hamburger helper with ground turkey, the kids like it and its low cost and quick and Aldi has the best price on the ingredients.

Luana - posted on 12/03/2009

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To everyone who answered my question THANK U SO MUCH I now have so many meal ideas dinner time is going to be so interesting and exciting. I am definitely trying a lot of your menu ideas. I hope your family's are keeping well & safe thru this festive season.
Ma te wa
Luana (New Zealand)

Amy - posted on 12/02/2009

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biscuits and eggs with gravy (who doesn't like breakfast for dinner) i also serve whatever fruit is on hand. Spaghetti and suace can feeed a crowd fro cheap.

Sharon - posted on 12/02/2009

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Friedrice...



1 pot of fried rice (amounts will vary on need) COLD - not necessarily refridgerated, but room temp - not fresh out of the cooker - when the rice is warm stir pats of margarine or butter through it.







1st - brown 1 lb of ground beef, season with soy sauce & 1 TBs of sugar - garlic & ginger if you care to

2nd - scramble 6 - 12 eggs

3rd - mixed veggies (carrots/greenbeans/corn mix is dead easy and basic) You can get fancier



Nuke the frozen veggies in the microwave, don't add water, ice will melt and steam them cooked perfectly, for a couple of minutes.



A. Dump buttered rice into a large pot and stir over med heat, dribble soy sauce over it until its a uniform light tan



B. Add ground beef, stir till well mixed



C. Add mixed veggies, stir till well mixed



D. Add eggs, and gently stir in.



Serve.



You can add bacon, onions, bits of bell pepper but the above is the most basic form we make. you can even leave out the ground beef and just season the rice..

Dorothy - posted on 12/02/2009

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my favourite cost effective meal is actually Ham and potatoes, for the reason that i get at least 2 different meals out of it. I purchase 1 picnic ham ( bone in) and 1 bag of potatoes and 1 bag of frozen corn. i cook the ham in my slow cooker with plenty of water, then we have Ham and potatoes for supper that night making sure to keep all the drippings and bone from the cooked ham in the slow cooker. my slow cooker inside come out, so i simply cover and place in the frodge ( you can freeze as well for later use). The next night i place the drippings and bone in my slow cooker and top with water to cook. about 2 hours before dinner i put in potatoes and onion and continue to cook. Then we have ham potatoe soup for dinner ( this is very filling). I usually get at least these two meals out of it, but my family is only four people so i usually have enough for ham sandwiches and a leftovers dinner as well. for my family this usually costs me $30.00 and i get 2-3 meals out of it plus extra's. for me this is cost effective. and my family loves it. these are easy to make as well because you put the slow cooker on in the morning and as the ad says " set it and forget it". hope this helps

Pamela - posted on 12/02/2009

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At 64, and single I no longer cook for others very often and I do misss the joy of seing others enjoy food prepared with my own hands. However, as a very practical soul, when cooking for my family I also thought of the "bulkier" foods as a base for a meal.

Though I was reared with cooking habits of the mid-west in the 50's and 60's, my eating habits have changed drastically. I can still cook the old recipes of my mother, but i do so with my own combination of healthier ingredients.

Choose what we used to call "staple foods" like potatoes, rice, pasta.....your starches and add to that vegetables and sauces of all kinds and made in all ways.

As a "pectarian" (?!!) is there such a thing?!! LOL... I am a vegetarian who occasionally eats fish. I would be called a lacto-vegetarian by those who choose "strict" definitions!

Try to steer away from foods that contain lots of "animal fats" which tend to clog the system.

Now my most cost effective meal when I had a family was my vegetable lasagna. It was layered with 3 different layers. I used spinach lasgana noodles or regular lasagna noodles; ricotta cheese; spinach; pasta sauce; (sometimes homemade); fresh grated parmesan and cheddar cheeses and special spices. CREATE YOUR OWN SPECIAL DISH using basic starch ( which fills the belly).

Personally, I shy away from using meats with starchy foods as the body will not digest both at the same time. Since the only meat I will eat these days is turkey at "festival times", then I would not advise the use of any meat. However, PLEASE suit your own taste!!! Given from my heart!

Rebecca - posted on 12/02/2009

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My cheep meal is hamburger with cream of mushroom soup over rice...my son loves it. I also do meals in my crock pot and it's so simple! Today i made "so simple salsa wraps" And it is very sinple!

Take 4-6 chicken breast,no bone.16oz of chunky salsa any flavor you can handle. Put the chicken in the bottom of the crock pot,thawed and uncooked and pour the salsa over it. Cook on high 1 hour then slow for 3-6 hours(depends on each pot as temperatures change with age and the bigger the size the shorter the time needed.)

Cook until chicken is tender and just falls apart and rip them all apart in the pot then serve on warmed wraps and add you favroite shredded cheese. You can add any veggies you would like as well while it's cooking. I would personally cook them slightly before adding them to insure they are cooked.

It was good and it was the first time i made it. I also have a recipe for a turkey chili that I LOVE. It's really more like a soup as i adjusted some things now and it's got lots of fiber and veggies in it that can be hard to get kids to eat. Private message me so i remember to dig it out of my book for you:)

Betsy - posted on 12/02/2009

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Chicken thighs are usually very inexpensive. Place them in a crockpot with chicken broth, BBQ sauce, dijon mustard and garlic. Cook all day until done, then serve over rice or noodles.

Sharon - posted on 12/02/2009

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1 pkg red beans & rice $2 - $3

1 polska sausage diced or in sliced in ovals $3 on sale

1/2 a red or green bellpepper, diced



Make rice as directed, before water boils add sausage, when the water is almost gone add the diced bellpepper , heat through & serve

Sharon - posted on 12/02/2009

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1 bx of prepared macaroni & cheese

1 can of tuna

2 cups of mixed vegetables



stir together and serve or get fancy and crumble saltine crackers on top and bake then serve.

Charlie - posted on 12/02/2009

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spaghetti bol , so easy , you can make a huge pot , freeze half and its always a winner with everyone !

Calyn - posted on 12/02/2009

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Hot dogs and mac and cheese. Or beenie weenies (cut up hot dogs, fried and mixed in with pork and beans. Really yummy.

Deborah - posted on 12/02/2009

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This is great. I was going to suggest Tator Tot Surprise, but someone already did that. That is the most cost affective and fast easy dish I know how to make. I make mine with 1lb of ground hamburger browned with onion and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste, spread out evenly into a 13x9 inch pan , 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup spread over hamburger, shredded cheddar or colby whichever you prefer enough to cover soup, and then tator tots, I use a whole bag layed out in a single layer. Cook at temp of Tator tots until browned and bubbly. My boys love this with ketchup .

Christine W. - posted on 12/02/2009

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my kids love tatar tot casarole...easy and cheep.. 1lb of ground beef browned drain, in baking dish 9x13 or larger if you like... layer tatar tots, ground beef, bag of frozen mixed vegies, one can of cream of cheese soup prepared with milk.. pour over entire pan. Add another layer of tatar tots and bake for 30-40min at 350. top with cheese if your kids like more cheese for the last 5 min or so..

Nickiea - posted on 12/02/2009

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You can never go wrong with pasta whether plain, buttered or sauced. Pasta is enexpensive, filling and so flexible. There are a variety of shapes and sizes to keep you from getting bored. Toss it with your favorite veggies and meat (chicken and fish are the least expensive) and pair it with a salad.

Tessa - posted on 12/02/2009

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I am obsessed with reducing our household costs, but also making sure we eat healthfully, so I make most things from scratch, which is a huge cost savings. My most cost effective dish is pasta with home made pasta sauce. I use the garden vegetable pasta which has a full serving of veggies (carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes) and is low in sodium. You can also get the protein pasta if you like, or just regular pasta. I throw coarsely chopped carrots and bell peppers into a food processor. And then I grate a sweet potato and a zucchini. Add all of this to a can or jar of sodium free, sugar free tomato puree and one can of tomato paste. Season with lots of garlic (I use powder because it's easier). The pasta sauce is really healthy (no sugar, no salt and tons of veggies) and the recipe is cheap. But most importantly, my toddler LOVES it.

Jaime - posted on 12/02/2009

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beans and rice work for tacos, they work for breakfast for huevos rancheros, you can serve it without any additions--- it is a complete meal! I make a big batch (3 cups) of mexican rice (easy!!! fry the rice in a little oil until it is golden, then add it your water, and I use comsume (broth cubes ) they are sold at walmart in the hispanic section. sometimes i add chopped onions and chopped bell peppers. also i add some garlic powder or garlic, and chili powder, and tomatoe sauce, and cumin (all of these things are optional). Then you can do either canned refried beans, or homemade, (homemade is much cheaper, and pretty easy! We eat it for days, and noone complains, because we change it up! Eggs and salsa with breakfast, and tacos for dinner, and baked chicken with the rice on the side... etc. it makes life much easier!

Amber - posted on 12/02/2009

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Casseroles.... Chicken Cor Don Blu Casserole Take chicken breast or tenders thawed and put them in a baking/casserole dish...cove the chicken with a layer of sliced ham...then in a small bowl mix Cream of Chicken soup,about a 1/2 cup of milk,salt,and pepper and pour it over then ham and chicken...then make a packet of Stove Top Stuffing and put a layer over everything, then finally put a layer of shredded Swiss cheese on top....Bake for about 30 min to and hour,until chicken is done. You can also make this dish with out the stuffing...either way is very good!

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