7 low-cost and quick meals
Photo by: Zesmerelda
Each Monday here on Gather Little by Little I write about topics and techniques for saving money. This article is part of that ongoing series called Money Saving Monday Tips.
With 6 children in our house, it seems like we’re always on the run. Whether it be sports practice, Tae Kwon Do, school activities or church activities, most nights seem to busy. Trying to get dinner made and make it to the various activities on time can be a bit challenging. As a result, we use a few different dinner ideas that are not only quick and easy to fix, but inexpensive as well.
Breakfast for dinner
My personal favorite is breakfast for dinner. Eggs, bacon, sausage, country ham, toast, and biscuits…what could be better? Breakfast is a bit messy, but is pretty quick to fix, filling, and relatively inexpensive. We even do this sometimes when we aren’t in a hurry!
Sandwiches are our favorite standby. We always keep ham, turkey and cheese around in case we need to grab something quick, or even make a simple snack. The best part about sandwiches is that all but our youngest children can make their own and they enjoy doing it.
To change things up here are some different types of sandwiches we make: Bologna sandwiches, Tuna melts, Grilled cheese, Grilled Ham and Cheese, pimento cheese. I really like grilled peanut butter and jelly, but nobody else in my family does.
Spaghetti makes for a really great meal that can take less than 10 minutes to make. Whenever we make it, we always make extra sauce. Whatever we don’t use, we freeze. When you need a quick meal, all you have to do is boil the spaghetti and warm up the frozen sauce. Two key ingredients for me are Italian sausage in the sauce and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top!
Quick tip straight from an Italian friend of mine: When boiling the spaghetti, place a little olive oil in the water to keep the spaghetti noodles from sticking.
No quick meal list would be complete without hamburgers and hot dogs, especially during the summer. We always keep pre-made hamburger patties and hot dogs in the freezer. We’ve become pretty partial to kosher hot dogs such as Nathan’s or Hebrew National. They are more expensive, but taste better and frankly are made or higher quality products.
The best part of hamburgers and hot dogs is when cooked on the grill, there is little to no mess to clean up!
A fun twist on hot dogs is pigs in a blanket. Buy some Pillsbury Crescents and wrap them around the hot dogs. Bake in the oven until the Crescents are brown and you have pigs in a blanket.
Manwiches or Sloppy Joes
Manwiches (or Sloppy Joes) are always a quick and inexpensive option for dinner. Brown some hamburger, add a can of manwich mix, warm, place a little (or a lot) on a hamburger bun and you have dinner. I prefer to add a little cheese and maybe even some garlic salt.
To save even more money, you can make your own manwich sauce:
2 small cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup KC Masterpiece barbecue Sauce
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 of a large green pepper, diced (or put some red and some green)
Few sprinkles of Accent
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp brown sugar
If you decide to go this route, I’d suggest mixing up a large batch and freezing the extra.
Macaroni and Cheese
Another meal that’s on my top 5 list, good old macaroni and cheese. I honestly like the Kraft Deluxe from the box. It’s quick, cheap and easy to make. If you prefer to go scratch though, here’s a good and quick recipe.
My ultimate favorite Macaroni and Cheese recipe is neither cheap nor quick, but it’s really good. Martha Stewart (whom I am not a big fan of) has an incredible recipe for macaroni and cheese.
Our kids love Tacos and turns out they are quick and low-cost too. We purchase soft taco shells in the deli area, buy some Old El Paso taco mix, cheese and various veggies and some hamburger meat or chicken. It makes a great meal, that can literally be made in less than 15 minutes. It is a bit messy though, so clean-up can take a little time.
Do you fix any of these meals when you’re in a hurry? What quick and low-cost meals do you fix? Share your ideas and recipes! Add a comment!