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.

Jan 08, 2018

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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Oct 02, 2017

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.

Oct 01, 2017

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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Sep 29, 2017

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.

Aug 27, 2017

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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Aug 26, 2017

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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Aug 25, 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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Aug 24, 2017

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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Aug 23, 2017

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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Aug 22, 2017

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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Aug 21, 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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Aug 20, 2017

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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Aug 19, 2017

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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Aug 18, 2017

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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Aug 17, 2017

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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Aug 16, 2017

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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Aug 15, 2017

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.

Aug 14, 2017

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.

Aug 13, 2017

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.

Aug 12, 2017

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.

Aug 11, 2017

Frugal Food Snacks

Five frugal-foods snacks

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

Aug 10, 2017

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.

Aug 09, 2017

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.

Aug 08, 2017

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.

Aug 07, 2017

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.

Aug 06, 2017

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.

Aug 05, 2017

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.

Aug 04, 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.

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

Aug 02, 2017

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.

Aug 01, 2017

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.

Jul 31, 2017

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.

Jul 30, 2017

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.

Jul 29, 2017

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.

Jul 28, 2017

Frugal Foods Tip for Thrifty Families

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

Jul 27, 2017

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.

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

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 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 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.

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