Great meals on an extremely tight budget

Leah - posted on 11/05/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )




Okay so we have eaten so much pasta,hamburger helper,mac & cheese,ramen noodles,canned chow mein,frozen microwaveable lunches,frozen french fries and I just can't take it anymore.

We can't afford to spend too much on food because we have many personal and household things we need including diapers and wipes for our 14 month old(we all know how expensive those can be).

I am wanting anything that would be very cheap/cheap to make and something that a 14 month old can eat as well. I have had intestinal issues and stay away from anything spicy or greasy.

Do any of you know of a food that I can make on a tight budget that not only my husband and I can eat but also our toddler?


Melissa - posted on 09/17/2012




Beans and rice, super cheap and healthy, both my 2 ear old and 7 month old love it as well. And dried beans are super easy to make in the crockpot, put 1lb in, cover with 2-3 inches of water and cook on low for 8 hours. You can add whatever seasonings/spices you like, I make them plain so I can set some aside for my 7 month old and then put the rest in a sauce pan to add all my spices shortly before eating. I buy the big 10lb bags (and sometimes bigger) so I usually only pay around 50 cents a pound and usually get 2 meals out of 1 lb. Sometimes with the leftovers I'll had some sauteed onion and cheese and use it to make enchiladas. Baked beans made from scratch using dried beans are also very cheap and cornbread made from scratch is really cheap, it cost me less then $1 to make a big pan.

For ramen noodles to make them better I put some veggies (whatever I have on hand, usually cabbage and carrots) in them and then drop an egg in when it's almost done and make more of a soup or I saute the veggies, add the noodles after cooking them and toss an egg in to make a stir fry. If I have leftover meat I might throw that in too, but we don't eat a lot of meat b/c it's a high cost food to me.

I live in AZ and have found the hispanic grocery stores have REALLY cheap produce and I know when I was in OR the asian grocery stores had really cheap produce, so I shop at places like that and just cook with a lot of fresh veggies.

Vanessa - posted on 11/06/2010




So I didn't have to type these up, I copied the links! These are firm favourites in our house (you can adjust amounts of meat etc. - I also buy meat that is heavily discounted almost at expiry date and freeze them til ready to use!) We have three kids and one is only ten days old - so I hear you about the tight budget thing!!

Iysha - posted on 11/06/2010




in the same boat. we spend $200 on groceries but my husband tries to eat at his second job when he can (free) and I eat only when I am hungry, most of the time that's just dinner or the couple of bites my daughter leaves behind with her meals. Tyson Chicken quarters are cheap... they are big bags of the leg quarters. that made dinner for us for 17 days. i cut the leggs off the thighs and packaged 4 legs together for a meal for my fiance, me and my 1 1/2 yr old. and packaged 2 thighs together for meals too. i use the cheapest butter at the store and salt/pepper for seasoning only. that is usually with pasta or rice and the cheapest canned veggies. breakfast is oatmeal since it's cheap and lasts a long time. lunch is sandwiches. we have some ground beef for dinner with baked potatoes/rice pasta. bean/ham soup can last a long time and big chunks of the ham can be used for sandwiches/breakfast/ other meals...the bone and attached small pieces of meat are all that's needed for the soup. peanut butter and jelly. crackers and cheese with deli meat for snacks. Bake/microwave as much as you can to save on oil/butter. get the breads from the clearance stuff(things that will go bad if not used that day) and freeze it for use later on. we buy all the things we are going to use at the cheapest prices on the shelves. WIC coupons are the only milk/cheese/eggs/fruits we buy. for flavored drinks we buy the gatorade tub of powder and make jugs of's cheaper than soda or buying individual bottles of gatorade. I add milk to the pasta sauce to make the jar last for 2-3 meals and refrigerate the jars of left over sauce.

Chrystal - posted on 11/05/2010




Here are some different dinner ideas for you. I hope this helps but here goes.
1.Chicken breasts marinated in pesto w/ a vegetable and maybe some mashed potatoes.
3.Baked Ziti
5.tator tot casserole
7.chicken alfredo
8.homemade pizza
9.grilled cheese and tomato soup
10.broccoli and rice casserole
11. lasagna
I really hope this helps you out some:)

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User - posted on 09/17/2012




Have you thought of a bland stew? I make mine with stew meat, pototoes, carrots and you add or subtract foods that your family likes and doesn't - just wondiering and I also season with dry onion soup mix - and it doesn't have to be brand name either. I use a lot of store brand names

User - posted on 11/06/2010




Stew meat cut up into smaller pieces simmered in something like A-1 or some other steak sauce diluted with water. Boil left over liquids in pan to thicken it up and put it all on top of instant mashed potatoes.
Not sure if your 14mos old can eat it or not...but it's an idea.
Otherwise chicken broccoli rice casserole
-2 cups of COOKED chicken (season to taste)
-2 cups of COOKED rice
-1 can of cream of chicken soup
-refill soup can with milk
-1 bag of chopped frozen broccoli
- 1/3cup of mayo
- 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (or more if you want)
Mix it all together in a greased 9X13 pan and cook at 350 for 35-45min.

Jennifer - posted on 11/06/2010




I love to make tater tot casserole and my family loves it. You can use 1 lb. or less hamburg browned or a couple chicken quarters cooked and deboned. cook 1 or 2 pkgs of frozen california blend veggies (or just broccoli) cook 1 or 2 helpings of rice. mix all that together in a casserole dish then put in a little velveeta (as much as you want) then use 1-2 cans cream of mushroom soup (enough that once the cheese melts that everything is moist and not too dry) stir everything together and top with 1 layer frozen tater tots. put all in oven and follow the directions for baking the tater tots, but give it an extra 5-7 min. for the tater tots to get cooked all the way through. I love this recipe, because if I have someone extra comming over, then I can just add an extra pack of veggies or another helping of rice and it is still cheap.

Nikkole - posted on 11/05/2010




I made homemade fettuccine Alfredo and ITS SUPER EASY and not too expensive! The recipe is 1pint heavy cream 1stick butter noodles Parmesan cheese black pepper All you do i boil the noodles till done, Heat heavy cream,butter,pepper and Parmesan cheese, and stir and let them cheese melt! You can also add chicken or broccoli if you want which is really good! And if you need more sauce just double up on the recipe which i like to! Also i like to do baked chicken put oven on 400 cook for 30min on each side put butter in the pain and tin foil so it wont stick or burn Then on the stove sautee some green peppers and mushrooms to put on top add any seasonings you want be creative and put on top of the chicken and make some mashed garlic potatoes or regular ones its really good! And another good recipe is Big Shell noodles get some ricotta cheese and mozzarella and stuff the noodles after you boil them then lay in pan poor spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce on top and cheese then put in oven on 400 till cheese melts its REALLY YUMMY

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