We all need to eat, but with that comes expense. Though food cost will always exist, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be expensive to feed the stomachs in your household. With the weather cooling off too, there’s no better time than now to warm up with a hot meal. Here are just a few ideas of simple, budget-friendly meals that are sure to leave everyone having smiles and feeling good all over:
The idea of soup can seem so simple but the contents can be as complex as you want them to be. The possibilities are nearly endless as you can either find more complex recipes online to stick to or, if you have a natural niche for good flavor, take whatever you already have in your refrigerator and pantry and come up with a recipe yourself at no extra cost. Soup is a great one-pot meal with little clean-up and can always be added to in order to feed a crowd if need be!
Similar to soup, chili is a great one-pot meal that can feed a lot of mouths. Often, chili doesn’t take a whole lot of ingredients yet focuses on the spices used. It can be made vegetarian or with the ground meat of your choice, and beans usually don’t cost a whole lot either. Pair it with some saltine crackers or bread of your choice to make it more filling.
03: Grilled Cheese
Nothing says “cozy” than a good grilled cheese. Take whatever bread you have on hand, use just a small amount of butter, margarine or oil in the pan or air fryer and add your cheese of choice on the bread. The great thing about grilled cheese is you don’t have to get fancy for it to be satisfying and it goes great with either that soup or chili you made before too!
Warming up with some good ol’ spaghetti is sure to please the entire family. Both noodles and a lot of jarred sauces are usually cost-friendly and spaghetti is a great dinner classic! If you want and can, turn it into a meat sauce by cooking some ground beef or turkey. Prep a small, simple salad or green beans on the side to make sure you and your loved ones are getting their vegetables as well.
Creating an at-home taco bar can sound complicated and pricy, but it really isn’t. Cook up your meat of choice and season as desired. Have tortillas, beans, rice and other condiments such as shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, sour cream and salsa etc. lined up for people to construct their meal as they wish. You don’t have to go overboard and it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser!
06: Meat and Potatoes
It seems as though meat can either make or break the bank in a meal. However, many times you can find major deals and sales that are bound to help out. Before you go grocery shopping, make sure you have a plan and a budget. If you truly want to save, only buy meat that is on sale. If you’re not going to cook it that day, freeze it for later use. Potatoes are usually always at a good price and are very versatile in their usage also. Mashed, boiled, fried, baked, as a salad, scalloped, you name it - they can be used in almost every meal. They’re also a good filler in a soup.
This time of year, squash is in season and can add some wonderful flavors to existing meals or be a meal altogether. Spaghetti squash is a good example of a squash that can be used as the main course of a meal and can be a healthy alternative for regular spaghetti noodles. Butternut squash has a naturally sweet, nutty flavor to it and can be used as a side dish or dessert. Other types including zucchini and acorn are good side dishes prepared in many different ways. You can even create chips out of them by using an air fryer recipe. The good thing about adding squash to a meal is you can usually find plenty of them in the store or at a produce stand for pretty inexpensive.
No matter what you decide to eat, have fun, stay healthy, happy, warm and full!