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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My baby sister is a teacher and has two small boys so she doesn't have a lot of time for cooking. She is also lately having trouble making her food last till payday. She asked me for some recipes that were fast and that she could make out of her pantry and freezer. I gave her recipes for basic chicken or beef soup (cook the night before, chill, skim fat, reheat and add vegetables) and also some crock pot recipes that she could put together the night before and put in the crockpot the next morning.

Any recipes you would like to share that are cheap and either quick to prepare or could be prepared at least partially the day before?
 

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Joy
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Buy cheap chicken (whatever is on sale - leg quarters, whole bird, frozen breasts) & cook a large batch (this can also be done in the crock pot). Once it is cooked, use part of it for the next meal, & freeze the rest in meal-sized portions. It is pretty quick to add a veggie, rice, & a pack of gravy mix for supper. For that matter, you could mix the rice, chicken, some sour cream or cream of something soup or a gravy mix, and a veggie in a casserole dish the night before; then it is a simple matter to pop it in the oven when you come in the door in the evening. I also precook hamburger. When I make hamburger helper (from one of Spinner's mixes in a jar), I fry the whole pound of burger, but only put in about 1/2-3/4 of the beef. The rest goes in a bowl to cool & I put it in the freezer. Then, when I'm in a hurry, I can make hamburger gravy & toast or add it to spaghetti sauce or put it with leftover veggies for a quick soup. You can also make up hamburger patties in advance (raw) & freeze. When you're ready to cook them, defrost them for a few minutes in the microwave, then fry. Or put in the oven in a covered dish & add some cream of mushroom soup (w/some water added) to make a gravy. Chicken bullion & cornstarch will make a gravy, as will beef bullion. I buy the bullion granules in a big container. It also makes a quick noodle soup if you add some broken up spaghetti noodles.

Shop sales, shop sales, shop sales. If it is on sale, buy several. If it isn't on sale, evaluate if you really need it. I mean, do you really NEED the $2 loaf of bread or will the $0.89 Kroger loaf work just as well? Chef BoyArdee is great, but the off brand is cheaper & tastes close enough.

We had to do some dietary rearranging when DH came back from Iraq & we decided that him going back to work wasn't what we wanted to do with his time. Our family of five lived on my teaching income and a small amount of National Guard drill pay for three years before he (reluctantly on both our parts) went back to work full-time. We learned to make do with what there was rather than what we wanted. It isn't fun, but it is doable, particularly if you make a game out of it. I used to take my shopping list to town & see how little I could spend & still get everything on the list. It became a challenge...

-Joy
 

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Crockpot stroganoff.

Put a couple pounds of hamburger in the crockpot, one can of mushroom soup, a cup of sour cream, salt, pepper and 1 tblsp paprika. Serve over noodles. I try to keep bags of cooked pasta and rice in the freezer for this and other crockpot meals.

She should cook enough for two days and a lunch so that the effort is less, but the result is more. Freeze one of the dinners to have next week. That way they aren't tired of the food.
 

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A variation of the above (that I'm making today):

Put a couple of pounds of stew meat in the crock pot. Mix together one can of cream of mushroom soup and one envelope of onion soup mix. I add S & P and garlic to taste. Cook on LO 3-4 hours or HI 6-8 hours. About 20 minutes before serving, add one cup of sour cream. Serve over noodles, rice, mashed potatoes, whatever.
 

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Go to the library and find the Once a Month Cookbooks. Also the Beans, Beans, Beans cookbook and other books by that author. I can't remember her name right now. She is great and frugal.

We - Keep a pot of beans cooking or in the refrig. These can be streetched or cooked in many, many ways.
We also keep a leftover container with veggies and bits of meat for a leftover soup and is cooked about once a week.
Meat is only a 2 day a week treat. It's a side dish and not the main dish to any of those 2 meals. Otherwise it's veggies based meals, soups with bread, hmade (no time? go to the goodwill a pick up a gently used bread machine) stew, pasta meals.
 

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1/2 a pound of hamburger or a couple pieces of chicken can be stretched pretty easily. Brown up hamburger or cut up small and saute chicken add in some sliced up onion and green pepper, cook until tender, mix in a can of tomatoes and some chili powder to taste, serve over rice. You can also mix corn in if no onion/peppers on hand.

If she has time on the weekend to make up some meatballs they are great to freeze and can be stretched as well. Add to a quick spaghetti dinner and if there is left over sauce have meatball subs one night.

Chicken and rice. Precook 2 cups of rice with 4 cups of water, 1 envelope onion soup mix and 1 can cream of mushroom soup. Cut of chicken into very small bite size pieces then saute until cooked through with a little onion if desired. Mix chicken in with the rice and put into the oven for 15-20 minutes to give a little crispness to the top (can also be done under the broiler) and serve.

I know there are a lot of others but I'm brain dead right now!
 

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just a thought...

cook any type of inexpensive meat on sunday, but plenty of it. use leftovers on monday to make quesadillas. use bones from sunday to make crockpot soup on tuesday. throw in one meatless meal a week (large salads, mac & cheese, etc) don't forget a "clean out the refrigerator meal" once a week as well.

tortillas or pita bread are your friend. you can fill or roll up most anything in them. veggies, meats, even chili
 

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Go to the library and find the Once a Month Cookbooks. Also the Beans, Beans, Beans cookbook and other books by that author. I can't remember her name right now. She is great and frugal.

We - Keep a pot of beans cooking or in the refrig. These can be streetched or cooked in many, many ways.
We also keep a leftover container with veggies and bits of meat for a leftover soup and is cooked about once a week.
Meat is only a 2 day a week treat. It's a side dish and not the main dish to any of those 2 meals. Otherwise it's veggies based meals, soups with bread, hmade (no time? go to the goodwill a pick up a gently used bread machine) stew, pasta meals.
I think her name is Tawra Keller. I agree with the less meat mindset. Cheaper and just as fast. Also doesn't hurt to sometimes have breakfast for supper - pancakes, eggs, etc. Makes for a fun change of pace.
 

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gumbos

curries

beans and rice

ham and beans

mac n cheese

hamberger soup

breakfast

casseroles many made in advance and frozen

fried rices
 

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Here is a really warm but cheap, err, inexpensive, recipe.
1 can chili with beans
1 package frozen mixed veggies
1 can beef broth
Mix together and heat until veggies are cooked. Serve with cornbread. It is ready about the same time the cornbread is baked.

This is really fast and easy to do. You make it with homemade chili or canned, doesn't really matter.
 

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My fav. trick is to go to the hardware store, and get one of those timers like you would put lights on if you were going to be out of town, but you don't want anyone to know? (What do you call those things anyway?)

PLUG your crockpot into that! It will start the food when you want it to. If you start with frozen foods, it is perfectly safe. The food thaws while it is in there waiting to be cooked.

Breakfast... OATMEAL! You can make it in the crock pot with the timer on, and it won't burn. Set your crock pot to come on LOW about 3 or 4 hours before you want to serve it. You can add milk if you want it to be really yummy, and also, raisins, nuts, and a small amount of sweetener. VERY nice. Inexpensive, healthy... You can do that with other grains if you have them.

Soups work well with this method too, and keeps you from having to buy expensive pre-packaged foods. We do a lot of soups for lunches.

Beans work well this way, too. Beans are inexpensive.

I have three crockpots for the crazy days... One for b-fast, one for lunch, one for dinner. (Don't do that every day. It gets old) But with the timer, it works really well if you need it to.

Cindyc.
 

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Hummus!
1 can of drained garbanzo beans
4 tablespoons of tahini (sesame paste) or if you don't have that, use peanut or other nut butter
1 clove of garlic mashed
half a lemon juiced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Mix all with a stick blender and salt to taste.
As a variation add a couple of roasted red peppers, or some chopped olives or?

Serve with pita bread as sandwich filling with lettuce, cucumber slices, tomato slices, olives or whatever is on hand.
 

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Spaghetti carbonara is fast and frugal - and it's spaghetti, so kids eat it.

I chop and saute about 6 slices of bacon. You can add chopped onion and/or garlic if you like. Another option - not necessary - is to add about a half cup of cream, whole milk, or white wine to the bacon once it's cooked. Meanwhile cook a pound of spaghetti. In a large serving bowl, beat 3-4 eggs. Add the bacon, when it's ready, to the eggs. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it then immediately put it in the serving bowl and toss everything well. The egg mixture will coat the noodles and the heat of the spaghetti will cook the eggs. Just keep stirring everything so the eggs don't sit in a pool and scramble. Add lots of parmesan cheese and black pepper and toss again. Parsley makes it prettier. Serve while hot.

You could cook the bacon/onions/garlic ahead of time and grate the cheese, too. Then the dish takes little more time to make than the pasta cooking time.
 

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today i made a crockpot of plain pintos. less than a full bag of them. on high with lots of water til soft. took about 5 hours. drain water. added less than a pound of ground beef, with a chopped green pepper. (browned) added a packet of onion soup mix, some beef bullion, pepper, dry mustard and mustard seeds. its very good, hot, filling and cheap. i will serve it with simple whole wheat biscuits for supper, and the biscuits will be used with honey or all-fruit jam for breakfast as well tomorrow. the biscuits with a sweet topping are even good for a dessert tonight too!

you can also make wheat berries and other whole grains in a thermos overnight, very cheap, can't get faster, and its very healthy. barely is great! hillbilly housewife has lots of good recipes, i really like her plain muffins. i do not agree tho. with how much oil she uses in some of her recipes, nor that she uses margerine. so some of the stuff there i modify to be a bit better for my family.

and for easy, fry some meat (cubed chicken, beef, whatever) or better yet, crockpot a good amt and freeze in smaller containers--then add some vegs. anything, any kind! add some rice, barely, beans, pasta. insta-meal, cheap and not from some mix with a ton of carpola in it. eating cheap and not spending hours in the kitchen isn't all that hard--and it tastes lots better if you work up an appetite!
 

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I love to make pasta bake. Take a 9 X 13 pan. Pour in a box of ziti noodles, a can of spaghetti sauce and a can of water plus a tad more. Cover with foil and bake at 425 for 30 minutes or so. Uncover and check the noodles to make sure they are cooked. Cover with mozzarella cheese and put back in oven uncovered for 5 more minutes to melt the cheese. You can serve it by itself or make a salad and some garlic bread. You can also add cooked hamburger or sliced pepperoni to it too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks to everyone for your recipes and ideas! I'll print these off and send them to her!:)
 
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