One of the fastest ways to trim our living costs is to reduce our spending on food.
Most of us live busy, hectic, time-starved lifestyles, so my aim here is to provide frugal recipes that are easy, delicious and cheap that won’t ‘eat up’ too much of your time and effort.
According to USA today, Americans spend a total of $7,203 on food, with $4,049 on food at home and $3,154 on food away from home per year.
Preparing more of our meals at home will go a long way towards reducing our food costs per year.
Making dirt-cheap meals that are both healthy and tasty from frugal recipes is our answer then to scoring huge savings and helping us live below our means without blowing our fragile budgets.
Gradually implementing these frugal recipes once or even twice a month and slowly working your way towards once or even twice a week will certainly help reduce your family’s food budget.
What I love about these frugal recipes is that they usually take less than half an hour to prepare and you can eat them at any time of the day, be it breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner.
Healthy Color Salad
4 TB Extra Virgin Olive oil
6 TB lemon juice
( You can use commercial salad dressing in place of the above )
1 cup pitted olives
5 oz white button mushrooms, thinly sliced and sauteed
2 small potatoes, cubed and cooked
1 red bell pepper, seedless, diced
3/4 cucumber,diced with skin on
2 ripe medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 small red cabbage, shredded
3 lettuce leaves, torn
1/2 tsp salt and pepper, adjust to suit
Combine all vegetables in a bowl and mix together. Pour dressing over vegetables and mix. Serve.
Seafood Pasta Salad
4 cups pasta
2 cups surimi, sliced thickly
1 cup cooked shrimp
1/2 cup spring onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 cup seafood dressing
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
Cook pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water till tender. Drain and rinse pasta in cold water. Place in a bowl.
Place the surimi, shrimp, spring onion and cucumber in a bowl.
Mix the salad dressing and mayonnaise well.
Combine everything and mix well. Serve immediately.
1 oz butter (melted)
1 TB golden syrup
2-3 TB sugar
½ cup milk
1 large egg
1 cup self-raising flower
Heat a frying pan. (Use a high heat setting if frying pan is electric)
Put oil in a large bowl, add golden syrup, stir to mix. Beat in sugar, milk and egg.
Add flour, then mix with a beater. Stop stirring before the mixture looks smooth as overmixing spoils pikelets. Cook in spoonfuls in an oiled, heated frying-pan. When first bubble bursts on each pikelet, flip over. Second side is cooked when centre springs back when pressed. Pile warm pikelets on a plate.
NB: If mixture does not spread, stir extra milk into the batter.
Tuscan Bean and Chicken Soup
You can make in bulk and store the rest in the freezer or save it for another meal.
5 teaspoons cooking oil
1 small onion, minced
2 medium carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
15 oz chicken breast fillet, sliced into pieces
3 cups (25 fl oz) of vegetable or chicken stock
17 oz pumpkin, cut into 2 cm cubes
10 oz tinned crushed tomatoes
3 large handfuls kale, chopped
10 oz tinned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for 8-10 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally.
Cook garlic for 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently.
Stir in the stock, pumpkin, tomatoes, and kale and bring to the boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cannellini beans and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
1 cup (5 oz) self-raising flour, sifted
½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ cups (6 oz) grated cheese
1 cup (8 fl oz) cold water
Preheat the oven to 392°F.
Grease 18 patty pans.
Combine the flour, baking powder and cheese in a bowl.
Whisk the egg into the water and then stir into flour and cheese.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place dessertspoons of mixture into the patty pans.
Bake for 15 mins. Serve warm with a little butter.
Delicious with a bowl of soup.
Easy Chicken Wings
About 28 oz chicken wings (washed)
3 tablespoons of black soya sauce (vary the amount according to your preference)
3 quarter tablespoon of black pepper powder or freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
1 lemon to serve, cut into wedges (optional)
1 tomato to serve, cut into wedges (optional)
Place the wings in a large mixing bowl.
Add the soya sauce, black pepper and oil to the bowl.
Mix the wings with the soya sauce, black pepper and oil (ideally leave the wings for a few hours in the fridge, or for even better flavour, overnight in the fridge).
Preheat oven at 356°F for 5 minutes (fan forced setting).
Spread out the wings on a baking tray.
Place tray in oven.
Bake for 25 minutes.
As ovens are different, the baking may take more or less time.
Always check to make sure the wings are thoroughly cooked before eating. Our family loves this super cheap, easy and delicious recipe.
Crunchy Potato Wedges
7 medium Russet potatoes
1/3 cup cooking oil
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 374°F fan-bake.
Scrub potatoes, but don’t peel them.
Dry with a clean tea towel. Make sure the potatoes are dry.
Slice them into wedges. Place in a bowl with oil and salt. Mix thoroughly.
Place on tray. Make sure they are not touching.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. After this, turn them over and add more oil in needed.
Put back into the oven and increase to 392°F. Cook for another 10-20 minutes or until the wedges are crunchy and brown, turning them a couple of times.
Baby Vegetable Frittatas
4 cups of canned or frozen sweetcorn kernels
6 spring onions, finely chopped
½ cup self-raising flour
6 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons cream
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 392°F. Grease a 24 mini-muffin tray. (This recipe makes 48 mini muffins.)
Mix everything together. Place mixture into the muffin tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they’ve puffed up and cooked.
Remove these muffins onto a wire rack to cool.
Spoon the next round of mixture into the tray. You may need to reduce cooking time to 10 minutes.
Place the earlier round of cooled muffins on another plate.
Remove and cool this batch of muffins on the wire rack.
Buffalo Chicken Nibbles with Ranch Dressing
2.6 lb chicken wings or chicken nibbles
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 oz butter
¼ cup chili sauce
1 tablespoon honey
Juice of 1 lemon
Ranch dressing, to serve
Cucumber sticks and celery sticks to serve
Heat the oven to 356°F fan bake.
Place the chicken wings or nibbles into a large shallow baking dish.
Add in cooking oil and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 20-30 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crisp.
Just before the chicken wings are cooked, melt the butter in a small saucepan.
Whisk in the chili sauce, honey and lemon juice then simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Place the chicken in a large bowl and add the butter chili sauce.
Mix until the chicken is well coated.
Return the chicken to the baking dish and cook for a further 4-5 minutes, or until sticky.
Scones are highly versatile. You can eat them as a snack, for lunch or even dinner. Scone recipes are flexible-You vary this basic recipe by adding in chopped dates, raisins or 2-4 cups of grated tasty cheese. The beauty of this recipe is you don’t need to rub any butter into the flour.
3 cups of self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 oz butter
1 cup of milk
Preheat oven to 428°F.
Stir butter and milk over gentle heat.
Pour this mixture into the flour and mix to a soft dough.
Add extra cold milk if needed, about another 1/3 cup milk.
Knead very gently, don’t over handle the dough.
Press the dough flat up to about one inch thick.
Cut into squares and place the pieces on a tray.
Brush with milk and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked.
The scones keep well in the fridge. Microwave to refresh them.
Sweet Potato Fries
Want to eat healthy and fill up hungry stomachs the cheap way? This recipe fits the bill.
3 medium sweet potatoes (unpeeled)
2 Tablespoons cooking oil, and more for baking sheets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F
Place 2 baking sheets in the oven.
Cut sweet potato into wedges lengthwise. Try to keep them to about the same thickness to ensure even cooking.
In a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients.
Grease the baking sheets and place fries on both sheets. Make sure they don’t overlap or sit on top of one another as you want crispy fries.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes. Flip them over and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until crispy.
Peanut Butter Bread
This simple peanut butter bread is healthy and feeds many mouths at a low cost. It’s big on fiber with oats thrown in.
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, oats and spices.
Cut in the peanut butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
Add remaining ingredients and stir it till everything is blended.
Put the mixture into 2 greased loaf pans, about 2 lb each loaf pan.
Bake 356°F for around 45 to 50 minutes.
Slice into 12 slices for each loaf pan.
These cheap, tasty and easy food recipes are by no means exhaustive. So be sure to return and check out these scrumptious recipes as I will be adding more frugal recipes to tempt your appetite.
Looking for frugal ideas to feed your family for only $1.25 per person on a gluten free diet? This post will surely inspire you!
Looking to save more? Get my mega collection of 400 Frugal Living Tips to save tons of money today!