Frugal Foods: Cheap Eats, Thrifty Menus, Cost Cutting Cooking Tips

Frugal Foods...thrifty cooking, budget menus, cheap eats, money saving kitchen tips, and help for cutting your grocery bill. Follow along with our everyday eating as we share how we eat well for less.

Jul 26, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

Portion control! Don’t give kids more than they need to eat – it just wastes food. Serve moderate size servings to adults. If you aren't sure of what is "reasonable," check food guides, and then measure.

Jul 25, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

Ways to make use of ham leftovers: ham and cheese omelets, ham and cheese sandwiches, split pea soup, ham and bean soup, ham and eggs, pot pies or quiche, pizza topping, grind into a sandwich spread, ham and vegetable stir fry, ham fried rice, mix with BBQ sauce for BBQ ham sandwiches.

Jul 24, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

Make ham and cheese sandwiches to freeze - get flats of inexpensive hamburger buns at the thrift (day-old) bakery, or use other bread of your choice.

Jul 23, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

Have an adequate supply of food in your house so you don't fall into an expensive habit of going out to eat.

Jul 22, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

6. A good seasoning salt, such as Watkins, can make a world of difference in how something tastes. It can take it from blah or so-so, to really very good. You can make your own. Advantages are that if you already have the spices on hand, it can be cheaper. And, you can get a custom mix. However, if you have to buy all the individual ingredients, it may be more frugal to buy a seasoning salt blend. Buying one is certainly faster and less messy. And, you sometimes find the purchased ones have unique tastes that you can't quite reproduce at home.

Jul 21, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

Make "Whatchagot Stew." It is a one-dish meal, made with what you have in your fridge and your pantry.

Jul 20, 2017

Cheap Meal - Quick and Easy, and Good!

One of the cheapest meals we make is pizza buns. Buy hamburger or hotdog buns from the mark down rack or the thrift bakery. Split them open. Lay them cut side down in a greased skillet and cook until toasted. Flip over, top with a quick slathering of spaghetti sauce and some grated cheese. Put the cover back on the pan, and cook until the cheese melts. Serve these with carrot and celery sticks, or similar raw veggies.

Jul 20, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

13. Teach your family that they aren’t helping by finishing the last of something just to get rid of it or so that you don’t have to put it away – that last tablespoon of vegetables may be just enough to thicken thin soup, the last slice of roast beef just enough to make a huge difference in Ramon noodles

Jul 19, 2017

Thrifty Foods Meal Tips

Healthy-up boxed macaroni and cheese by adding in fresh or frozen vegetables. Perhaps most frugal is adding in the small amounts of left-over veggies already in the refrigerator. Broccoli is one of our favorites to add.

Jul 18, 2017

Thrifty Summer Salad Supper

Turn basic bagged lettuce salad into lunch or supper. Top with some of the following: cooked or raw vegetables, fruits, cooked meats, nuts, sunflower or other seeds, hard cooked or fried eggs, cooked dry beans or canned beans, croutons, cheese, party-mix (such as Chex Mix).

Jul 16, 2017

Thrifty Meal Ideas

Some quick and easy menu ideas:• Cheese and Onion Enchilada Casserole• Spaghetti and Eggs Strata• Tuna Casserole• Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Soup• Pizza Buns• Fried Spam and Baked Beans • Hashbrowns and Eggs Casserole• Fried Hotdogs and Baked Beans• Mac and Cheese

Jul 15, 2017

Frugal Meals Tip

Take advantage of the popularity of Mexican food. Enchilada casserole is a Mexican inspired dish that's cheap and easy, and versatile, as well as tasty. Layer corn tortillas in a baking pan with some sort of filling in between the layers. Top with enchilada sauce or grated cheese. Bake or microwave until heated through. Possible fillings include or a mix of these: refried beans, shredded cooked chicken, leftover meatloaf, leftover baked or fried fish, onions, peppers, canned pork and beans, any cooked dry beans, cooked potatoes, tomato slices, cheese.

Jul 14, 2017

Thrifty Foods Tip

If you have too much of any fresh vegetable, so that some of it is going to spoil before you eat it fresh, freeze the excess. Depending on vegetable, freezing may negatively affect the texture. That's the case with onions and bell peppers, especially. Even though they may not retain their crispness, they are safe to eat and have good flavor. Use them in purees, long cooking soups, and casseroles where the texture won't make a difference.

Jul 13, 2017

The Ultimate Thrifty Snack

Popcorn! The cheap, snack that's tasty and fun to eat. For variety, flavor it with a bit of cinnamon sugar or a sprinkling of all-purpose seasoning blend.

Jul 12, 2017

Thrifty Cooking Tip

Instead of buying buttermilk for cooking or baking, use this substitute. Add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of regular milk to equal one cup of buttermilk.

Jul 11, 2017

Frugal Foods Breakfast Tip

Save on breakfast cereal by making cooked cereal such as oatmeal, instead of cold, boxed cereal. You can get a large container of rolled oats that makes dozens of servings, for less than the cost of a small box of cereal that may be only enough for one family meal.

Jul 10, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip

Each week, plan one day's meals around canned or packaged foods. That way, if you have leftovers to eat, or you go out to eat, or for some other reason skip a meal, you can eat your perishables, and easily save those canned and packaged items. This has two main advantages: You won't waste leftovers and perishables. You'll gradually build up an emergency supply of extra groceries.

Jul 09, 2017

Corn Chowder: Thick and Satisfying Soup, Topped with Crisp Bacon

Corn chowder. Tonight's frugal supper was steaming hot, richly satisfying chowder. I asked my husband what he'd like that included bacon. I knew before he answered. It's his favorite hearty soup.

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Jul 09, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip

Have the ingredients for "go-to" meals in your cupboard. These are the meals you go to when plans go astray. When you are too busy or too tired to fix what's on the menu, use these as fall-back meals. These meals should be quick and easy to fix, and be meals your family likes. Examples: Mac and cheese and tuna casserole. Canned tomato soup and chicken salad sandwiches.

Jul 08, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip

Streamline your grocery shopping. Keep a list of things you use regularly. As you see you are running low on something, add it to your list.

Jul 07, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip

It's okay to leave a menu item off the meal. Dinner will be fine, even if you skip the salad one night. A missing condiment isn't the end of the world. You don't need dessert every night.

Jul 06, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip

Be flexible. It's difficult to stick to a rigid menu. Use your planned menu as a guideline. If it works better to have tomorrow's dinner tonight, fine. Have what's planned for tonight, tomorrow.

Jul 06, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip - Cheap Produce

Grow sprouts. Mung bean sprouts are easy to start with. A couple tablespoons of bean seeds makes a good size jar full of bean sprouts to use in stir fries, soups, chop sueys, and other mixed vegetable dishes.

Jul 05, 2017

Frugal Treat -- Wendy's Frosty 50-Cent Sale

Frugal Treat! Wendy's, the fast food restaurant, currently has a 50-cent Frosty special. I don't know if this is at all Wendy's, or how long it will last. But, that was the deal at the Wendy's in Rapid City, SD. For a small Frosty, we thought they were pretty big.

Jul 04, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip

Dollar Deals on Groceries

Shop dollar stores. (My favorite is Dollar Tree.) We've found excellent bargains there. One of the most recent is pinto beans, a two pound bag for $1.00. For comparison, the bulk price for them at the local grocery store is 88 cents per pound. The packaged price at the grocery store is over $1.00 for just one pound, making the dollar store beans less than half price.

Jul 03, 2017

Thrifty Food Tips – Just What You Need to Cut Your Food Costs

Thrifty food tips are little nuggets of info, hints to help you spend less on food. You can eat well, and have easy, nutritious meals, and not spend a fortune at the grocery store. These will help.

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Jul 03, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip

Size Matters!

You should always buy the biggest container of something, right? Wrong! The price per unit may actually be less on the smaller packages. This is especially true if you are using coupons, as the coupon is worth the same regardless of how big or how expensive the package. Also consider whether or not you will use a large container before it goes bad.

Jul 02, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip

Sweet Corn on the Cob!

Enjoy a simple meal of seasonal vegetables. Sweet corn is one of our favorite garden fresh meals. Cook up some corn on the cob, add butter, and seasonings if you wish. I usually do my sweet corn on the cob the simple way -- boil it for a few minutes. You can also grill it or microwave it.

Jul 01, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip

Eat Fresh Fruit

Eat fresh produce. Fresh fruit has the reputation for being expensive. It really is not. Compare it to other snacks. It's a nutritional bargain, of course. But, even when comparing just the monetary cost, a piece of fruit is typically less than a candy bar.

Jun 30, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip

Hit the Grocery Store Instead of a Restaurant

Eat from the grocery store. Restaurants can be great for the social experience and for having local foods prepared in local ways. But, restaurants are expensive. You can save a bunch by hitting the grocery store instead of a restaurant. Pick ready made from the deli. Or, have a simple meal of raw fruit, yogurt, and cheese. Or, get some sandwich fixings. You'll save a bundle over eating at fast food places.

Jun 29, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip

Frugal Foods Tip - How to Spend More on Food

Want to spend more on groceries? Here's how: Make out a list of what you'd like to eat for the next week, then go to the store and buy what is on that list. Don't stray from it, even if what you want is expensive and something else is a bargain. Don't buy anything extra, not even if it is on a great sale and you know you'll need it next week. Don't make substitutions, not even if the fruit on your list is out of season and expensive and in-season fruit is much cheaper.

Jun 28, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip of the Day - Eat Fresh Fruit

Eat fresh produce. Fresh fruit has the reputation for being expensive. It really is not. Compare it to other snacks. It's a nutritional bargain, of course. But, even when comparing just the monetary cost, a piece of fruit is typically less than a candy bar

Jun 27, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip - Sweet Corn on the Cob!

Enjoy a simple meal of seasonal vegetables. Sweet corn is one of our favorite garden fresh meals. Cook up some corn on the cob, add butter, and seasonings if you wish. I usually do my sweet corn on the cob the simple way -- boil it for a few minutes. You can also grill it or microwave it.

Jun 26, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip - Chicken Soup Base to the Rescue

There's something magical about a good chicken soup base. Well, no, not really. But it can seem like it. It can turn a ho-hum dish into something flavorful! Vegetables. Rice. Pasta. Main dishes. Gravy. Soup! If something is lacking flavor a little chicken soup base can give it just enough oomph. A basic chicken bouillon cube can help, but they tend to be very salty. It's better to use the paste or powder soup bases. It doesn't take much.

Jun 26, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip - Hotdog! Slider Buns

You can easily make slider buns from hot dog buns. Just cut them in half. Depending on the brand you buy, they may be somewhat oblong. They won't be perfectly round. But, that's okay. They are generally the right size. If making hamburger sliders from frozen patties, they meat may stick out a little on two sides -- that is a good thing. If you are shaping the meat patties yourself, you can choose to make them oblong to fit the buns or make them round and go for the overfilled look. With cold cuts, sliced meats, pulled pork, BBQ, sloppy Joe, mixes such as chicken or tuna salad, just pile the filling on as desired.

Jun 25, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip - Know Your Go To Meals

Have a few frugal, quick and easy meals that you can always fix. Keep the ingredients available. If you tend to get stuck and can't think of them, make reminder notes and keep them handy. A couple of our go-to meals are grilled cheese sandwiches and burritos.

Jun 24, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip - Toast!

This is a simple tip, but can really save money on breads. When your bread starts to get a little dry, toast it. Day old or older bread that is starting to get a bit stale -- just toast it.

Jun 23, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip - Rice and Roni

Have a small portion of leftover rice? Plus some leftover macaroni? But, not enough for a meal of either? Combine them. It won't be quite like the box rice and skinny macaroni mixes you get in the store. But, it will be a whole bunch cheaper! Add seasonings and use it as a side dish. Or, use it as a base for fried veggies, meat and gravy, or a cheese sauce.

Jun 22, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip - Raw Veggies Add Color

Raw vegetables are a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to add a pop of color to a meal. Use what is in season, what you have, or what you can get on sale. Carrots and celery sticks are the traditional veggies for orange and green. Bell peppers work great, if you can get them reasonable, and come in bright green, yellow, orange, and red. Broccoli and sugar snap peas are also good to add green color. Radishes and cherry tomatoes are good for red.

Jun 21, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip - Double Up On Savings

Double up on the savings! Use your manufactures cents off coupons or grocery store coupons on items that are on sale. We found sausages marked down on a clearance sale. There was a manufacturer's coupon on the package. The coupon, combined with the already low reduced price, made the sausages an exceptional bargain. We saved a bunch on meat for the freezer by doubling up on the savings.

Jun 21, 2017

Frugal Food Tip - Buy Quality Spices

Buy top quality spices. Sure, you can get cheap ones. But what do they taste like? Do some comparison. Those cheap bottles of spices may be mostly fillers or stems or something else less flavorful. The large jars of bulk spices may have been sitting on the store shelf for years, loosing flavor from light and heat. Spices are one of those things that the most value may come from spending a bit more.

Jun 20, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip - Eat Vegetables Raw or Cooked

Many vegetables can be eaten either raw or cooked. What surprises many people is how differently the two taste, as well as how the texture changes. We often start with eating the veggies raw, when they are at their best. Then, we move on to cooking them. If I see they are starting to wilt a bit, I will cook up what is left. Cooked, they'll keep fine in the fridge for another couple days, or we freeze the extra cooked vegetables.

Jun 19, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip - Save Those Seasoning Packets!

Save those extra little packets of seasonings that come with Ramon noodles, pizza kits, some bread mixes, salad kits, etc. You may not want to use them with the item they came with, but they may be just right for something else.

Someone gifted us with a bread mix that included a packet of hot pepper and garlic seasoning. It was a quick bread mix, and I needed a quick loaf of bread. But, I just wanted plain white bread. So, I saved the little pouch of seasoning that came with it to use in chili. It will be a good substitute for chili powder.

Jun 19, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip - Get To Know Your Produce Workers

Greet your grocery store produce workers when you see them. Get to know them. Let them know you appreciate saving money on your fruits and vegetables. They are often happy to tell you about specials and about items they are about to mark down.

Jun 17, 2017

Pork Roast and Vegetables, an Easy to Fix, Frugal Meat and Potatoes Meal

Pork roast and vegetables star in tonight's frugal dinner. It's especially good when the "meat and potatoes" crew is tired of casseroles. They don't need to know it is any easy to fix, one pot meal.

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Jun 16, 2017

Each Frugal Food Tip Adds Up to Save You a Bunch on Groceries

A frugal food tip is a little thing. But, it can make a huge difference in how much it costs you to feed your family. Use these hints and see how much easier it is to spend less on groceries.

Continue reading "Each Frugal Food Tip Adds Up to Save You a Bunch on Groceries"

Jun 15, 2017

The No Grocery Shopping Challenge Begins - Day 1

Our month of not buying groceries has officially begun. Is it a coincidence that this is April 1 -- otherwise known as April Fool's Day? Perhaps this is

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Jun 14, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip - Great Depression Recipes

Recipes from the Great Depression are typically made with less expensive ingredients. You may find them with names such as "Depression Cake" or "Dirty 30's Casserole." Cooks back in those days were creative and made up dishes using common and inexpensive foods.

Jun 13, 2017

Each Thrifty Food Tip Here Can Free Up Money to Use for Something Else

Put a thrifty food tip to use and watch your food savings grow. The money you save being frugal in the kitchen can be buy other things you need -- or want. Free up those dollars for something else.

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