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.

Privacy Policy for the Frugal-Foods.com Website and Email List

Frugal-Foods.com privacy policy.

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Coleen's Cruisin' Kitchen

Coleen's Cruisin' Kitchen

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Regional Frugal Foods

Regional Frugal Foods

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Frugal Kitchen Appliances

Frugal kitchen appliances.

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Frugal Food Meals

Frugal food meals.

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Frugal Food Tips -- Easy Ways to Cut Your Food Expenses

Frugal food tips to help you spend less on groceries. Hints to cut your grocery expenses and keep more money in your pocket. Each tip can save you money.

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Frugal Food Storage

Frugal food storage.

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Frugal Food Cooking

Frugal food cooking.

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Frugal Food Staples

Frugal food staples.

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Frugal Food Shopping

Frugal food shopping.

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Chicken Breasts – Cook Up a Batch for Frugal Convenience Food

Chicken breasts are one of those foods that look expensive at first glance, but are actually thrifty. Buy a family size bag of them and cook them all up at once. And there you have convenience food!

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Frugal Food 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.

Workers On Wheels Newsletter #1158

When go to events, we visit with the vendors. Ray had a table set up selling old-time hand crank telephones, horse tack, leather goods, and other miscellany. He was telling us about his friends who travel and what they do for work. His friend is a rodeo announcer. His friend's wife is a chiropractor. She works the rodeos, too. Cowboys getting thrown from bulls…certainly seems logical they'd be in pain and could use a chiropractic adjustment. But, the twist is that she works on the horses. We keep looking for more kinds of work RVers can do, and being an equine chiropractor is one we hadn't had on the list.

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Frugal Foods Tip - "Go To" Meals

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.

Chicken Melt Sandwiches: Frugal Leftover Chicken, Gooey with Cheese

Chicken Melt Sandwiches were the mainstay of today's frugal lunch. Grilled and gooey with cheese, they didn't taste frugal or like leftovers. This whole menu was cheap and easy – and good!

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Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches – A Classic Frugal Supper

Cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Tonight's frugal supper is a classic. Some thrifty meals never go out of style and this easy to fix soup and sandwich staple is one of them.

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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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Enchilada Salad Plate – Frugal, Tasty, Healthy, and Easy

Enchilada Salad Plate started with one of those bagged, ready to eat salad kits. We made the most of it by adding Mexican restaurant dinner leftovers. Frugal to the core! Tasty and super healthy, too.

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Halibut Dinner – Free Food From the Entertainment Budget

This halibut dinner includes herbed fish, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. The fish and sweet potatoes come out of the entertainment budget. From the food budget perspective, they are free food.

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Sea Stick Scampi: An Easy, Frugal Take on Seafood Scampi

Sea Stick Scampi starred as last night's frugal main dish. With leftover pasta, this one comes together in a jiff. It's one of my favorite ways to use imitation crab legs.

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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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Scrambled Hamburger with Broccoli Cauliflower

I made a quick, easy, and economical lunch today, by combining a few simple ingredients we had on hand in the house. I started by browning a pound

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Fried Apples - Taste Like Caramel Apples!

Fried apples, caramelized with a drizzle of pancake syrup and a little butter. Yum! My husband likes something sweet for breakfast. These fried apple

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Steamed Rice, Eggs, and Italian Sausage Breakfast

Steamed rice, grilled Italian sausage, scrambled eggs, toast, milk, and oranges for our frugal breakfast this morning. Even at full prices, it would have

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Bologna, Eggs, and Hash Browns Breakfast

Bologna is a tasty and inexpensive breakfast meat. We sometimes have it instead of bacon, ham, or sausage. Here, we have it with the traditional breakfast,

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Turkey Bacon for Thrifty Breakfast

Turkey bacon. Hmmm. In our local grocery store, turkey bacon is about half the price of ordinary bacon. And, this particular package was on a Manager's

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Grow Garlic

If you have garlic that is starting to sprout, plant it. Separate it into cloves. Each clove should produce a head of garlic. In the spring and early summer, I plant them outside, and even here in Alaska, they are ready to harvest in the fall. In the fall and winter, they can be planted and kept inside.

Coupons Make Dining Out Less Spendy

Use buy-one-get-one-free coupons. These are also known as "two-for-one" coupons. You pay for one restaurant meal and get the second one free. Sometimes the meals must both be the same. Otherwise, you pay for the most expensive one of the two.

Frugal Gourmet Coffee

Skip the $4.00 a cup coffee. Make your own that is better. Brew up a batch of regular coffee. Add a touch of extract flavoring. Add cream or milk. You have rich tasting cup of joe at a pauper's price.

Keep It Simple

Simple foods are just fine. People tend to complicate things, spending more time and money than necessary. Case in point: We were heading off to the car races and I took along sandwiches for the pit crew. Those that I made in a hurry, with a dab of mustard and a slice of bologna on a hamburger bun, were chosen before the more elaborate ones.

Frugal Food Snacks

Five frugal-foods snacks

1. Homemade soup2. Popcorn3. Saltine crackers spread with peanut butter4. Carrot sticks5. Toast with fruit spread

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.

Just Because It's on the Web Doesn't Make It True

Don't believe everything you read on a website. Just today, I read that you should never eat leftovers that are more than 24 hours old. I think that is plain and simple nonsense, though it was a good reminder that anyone can post most anything to a website, even if they have no idea what they are talking about.

Is That What You Really Meant to Buy

Do you sometimes make the mistake of grabbing the wrong food item? Our local Fred Meyer had Fred Meyer canned vegetables on sale a couple weeks ago. As the receipt was being processed, I noticed that I didn't get the sale price on two of them. Well, it turns out the mistake was mine. I'd grabbed two cans of Green Giant vegetables instead of the store brand. Those two cans were each $1.00 more than the ones I meant to get. I took them to the service desk to exchange them, saving over two dollars. Pay attention to what you actually put into your grocery cart.

Check Your Receipts

Check your grocery store receipt to see that you are being charged the correct prices -- before you leave the store. Mistakes are common. The store may have the wrong price entered into the computer. Or, they may have forgotten to input the sale prices. If the item needed to be hand entered the cashier could have hit a wrong number. And, in the case of produce, she may mistake one kind of produce for another.

Don't Want Leftovers? Recycle

Recycle your dinner. Funny how much difference the term we use makes. A friend won't serve "leftovers." But, she excitedly told me her new strategy for spending less on groceries. She is now recycling in the kitchen and she doesn't mean reusing the grocery bags. She now takes the meatloaf that remains after dinner, cuts it up into chunks, adds a can of spaghetti sauce, and serves it over pasta for the next day's dinner. If she cooks too much pasta, she takes what they don't eat for dinner, adds a can of tuna, sweet pickle relish, and salad dressing -- and has just recycled it into tuna salad for the next day's lunch.

Free Food from the Entertainment Budget

Hobbies and entertainment can supply you with free food. My husband likes fishing, a past-time that puts fish in our freezer. I like decorating for fall – using brightly colored squash, which we later eat. You may like gardening or hunting. While these activities are certainly not free, the cost of doing them comes out of the entertainment budget, not the food budget.

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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Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

Packaging – compare costs of bagged produce to that loose in bins, compare boxed cereal to that in bags, compare bulk oatmeal to that in a canister.

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

Shop various sources – supermarket, wholesale club, farmer’s market, flea market, dollar stores, large discount box stores, neighborhood grocery stores, meat markets, roadside product stands, u-pick orchards, hunting, fishing, gardening, gleaning from fields, bulk food stores, health food stores, bakeries, bakery thrift shops, party plan food lines such as Watkins, fundraising bake sales.

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

The last few crackers, pretzels, tortilla chips, popcorn, or other salty snacks, along with non-sweetened cereals, can go together to make a Chex Mix style snack.

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

Use coupons if it makes the product the same or less costly as what you’d otherwise buy in its place.

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

Use leftovers in different ways – roast beef: cooked as pot roast, slice and brown with onion and peppers, grind and mix with mayo, chunk and add gravy.

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

Start grocery shopping with a basic list, then substitute according to what is on sale.

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

Keep a list of frugal meals that you can fix in a hurry so when you can't think of anything to cook you don't have to rely on going out or eating expensive convenience foods.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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