I thought I would put together a collection of some of my more frugal recipes, although most of what I make is on the inexpensive side. I find it easy to make a cheap dinner, compared to the price of eating out. It's the 'extras' that add up. If only my husband would take leftovers for lunch (actually maybe I will have a talk with him about that).
What is a bargain recipe? Well, it's hard to say exactly. What might have been cheap for me to make one time, due to sales, the produce season, etc, might cost more on another occasion. For this list I basically chose recipes that stretched the meat with pasta, rice or veggies. There can be a big difference in the cost of vegetables depending on the season and your sources for produce so you will ultimately have to decide for yourself which of these recipes are truly a bargain.
Korean Style Chicken with Green Beans
Let's start with my latest stir-fry. I only paid $2 for the fresh green beans but this recipe can be made with a bag of frozen french cut green beans, thawed.
If you get cheese ravioli on sale, and they go on sale often, this will likely be less money than building a lasagna from scratch. It will definitely be easier.
You can decide how much pasta to use in this recipe.
Cavatappi with Pepperoni
You can use a less fancy pasta shape if you wish. A little bit of pepperoni provides a lot of flavor. You can freeze pepperoni so stock up if you see a great sale.
No canned soup and you can even use brown rice.
This is a basic stir-fry with no fancy (i.e. expensive) vegetables needed. Stir-fries are a great way to stretch out meat.
Frank-ly Fabulous Spaghetti
Hot dogs are great because you can buy them on sale and freeze them.
Another fantastic hot dog recipe.
Greek Beef & Rice
This is especially cheap when someone 'gifts' you with some zucchini (Make friends with a gardener!)
Very processed but oh-so-good.
Kielbasa Skillet With Rotini
They consistently run buy one get one free sales on smoked sausage in my grocery stores.
Orange Pork with Scallions
Pork tenderloin isn't cheap but I buy it at Costco or find it marked down in the local grocery store. This recipe stretches it out with an inexpensive vegetable - carrots.
Rigatoni Con Salsiccia (Rigatoni with Sausage)
Sausage usually run under $2/pound on sale.
Smoked Sausage Skillet
As I said, I stock up on Smoked Sausage whenever I see a Buy One Get One Free sale. Usually two rings will hold me over until the next sale.
Spicy Ravioli and Cheese
Cheese ravioli go on sale quite a bit and no other protein (other than cheese) is required for this recipe. Best made when bell peppers are cheap.
Over rice, this stretches out even further.
Garden Chicken Sauté Ramen noodles are the ultimate 'cheap' food. I made this Asian but you don't have to.
Hobo Meatball Stew
Not only is ground beef usually less expensive than stew meat, stew meat shrinks. Try making beef stew with only 1 pound of stew meat. You're bulking up the ground beef with breadcrumbs when you make the meatballs for this stew.
Zesty Fish Stick Tacos
Mrs. Pauls frozen fish products go on sale for 50% off every so often in both my grocery stores. I suspect it's a sale that Mrs. Pauls instigates so you may see it in your area too.
Canned tuna is something you can stock up on when it goes on sale.
Chicken and Broccoli Rice Casserole
This does use one can of condensed soup but not packaged rice. It's a good way to use up leftovers.
Beef and Potato Tex-Mex Hash
The meat gets stretched out with potatoes in this recipe.
Bayou Chicken Pasta
Store brand salsa adds a lot of flavor for a small price.
This is even more economical if you make your own crust.
Macaroni and Cheese with Ham
This uses a lot of cheese but if you use leftover ham and get a good sale on cheese, it's still a bargain.
This uses only a bit of ham.
A little bacon goes a long way.
Skillet Chili Mac
You can't vary the amount of pasta in this one since the pasta cooks in the meat sauce but it makes plenty.
Beef Tamale Skillet Meal
This one uses corn tortillas. Tortillas are very inexpensive.
This recipe uses one of the least expensive items in the grocery store - Jiffy Corn Bread Mix.