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Recipes A to Z....."E" is for Economical Meals

Updated on September 23, 2009

Delicious Food Does Not Have to Cost a Lot

President Obama has said, "We are a long way away from a completely healthy financial system and a full economic recovery." In the meantime, we still have to eat.

It has been a challenge to go to the grocery store in today's economy, but we can still fix healthy, nutricious meals and not break the budget. Prices have gone up on just about everything. The following recipes can be made on a small budget and taste good, too!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Chicken and Veggie Pot Pie

Stir Fry Veggies

Beans and Rice

Breakfast for Dinner

Spaghetti and Meat Balls

I can make a "Cook all day" sauce or a "Quickie" sauce. I also have one that takes about 30 minutes. I will give you all three of these sauces.

"Cook all day" Spaghetti Sauce (I use my slow cooker)

2 cans tomato sauce

2 cans tomato paste

1 small can tomato puree

1 small can tomato juice

1 teaspoon salt and 1.4 teaspoon pepper

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon oregano

1 bay leaf

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1 1/2 ribs celery

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 pound ground beef, made into walnut-size meat balls

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook 1 hour. Add meatballs. (Just plain meatballs without anything added. They pick up all the flavors of the sauce.)

Cook 8 more hours in slow cooker on low.

"Quickie" Spaghetti Sauce

1 pound ground beef

2 medium onions, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 rib celery, diced

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Red pepper flakes, to taste

1 jar Ragu or other prepared spaghetti sauce

Brown all ingredients in skillet, covered. Stir occasionally until meat is browned. Add Ragu and simmer 15 minutes. Serve over cooked spaghetti.

Meatless "30 Minute" Spaghetti sauce

1 chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 Tablespoon each oregano, basil and parsley

1 teaspoon thyme

1 bay leaf

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes

1 can tomato paste (small)

1 teaspoon honey

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Saute the onion, garkic and spices in olive oil about 5-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes with liquid. Add the tomato paste and stir well until combined. Simmer about 30 minutes over low heat. After about 15 minutes add honey. Add cayenne. Serve over spaghetti with grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 3-4.

Chicken and Veggie Pot Pie

This recipe needs about 2 cups chicken, so with the leftover chicken you can make chicken soup. Two meals are better than one.

Sometimes I make this recipe without the chicken and my family likes it just as well.

1 rotisserie chicken (2 cups chicken)

3 Tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

1 package frozen mixed vegetables, partially thawed

1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 recipe biscuits (see below) or you can use 1 tube refrigerated biscuits

In a large saucepan, wisk flour and milk together until smooth. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Stir in the vegetables, chicken, salt and pepper until heated through. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Bake biscuits for 5 minutes at 450 degrees F. Transfer chicken mixture to a baking dish (9 X 13 X 2) Place biscuits over chicken mixture Turn oven down to 400 degrees F and bake everything for 5-7 minutes more until biscuits are browned.

Drop Biscuits

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup margarine or vegetable shortening

3/4 - 1 cup milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Add the margarine and sour milk and mix together until "just mixed." Drop onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 12-18 minutes. (if not using pot pie recipe) Otherwise, bake for 5 minutes and continue following recipe for pot pie.

Stir-Fried Vegetables

This can be a main dish meal by itself or you can pump it up with leftover meat, like the leftover chicken from the chicken pot pie.

The basic vegetables are carrots, onions and celery plus whatever vegetables you have on hand, including some nuts. Use whatever you have.

5 mushrooms

1 carrot

1 onion

1 rib celery

1/2 green pepper

broccoli or cauliflower

sliced cabbage

bean sprouts

eggplant or zucchini, cut into sticks

handful of nuts

1 Tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

2 teaspoons tamari sauce or low-sodium soy sauce

Cut everything and have it ready before you start to stir-fry. Heat oil in wok or skillet to high. Add the veggies that take longer to cook, like the carrot, onion, broccoli, pepper - then celery, eggplant, nuts and seeds. Last would be the zucchini, mushrooms and leafy veggies.  Stir constantly, don't walk away. Add tamari and cover for 1 minute. Don't let the veggies get soggy! Serve over rice.

Black Beans and Rice

Cook 2 cups rice in 2 1/2 cups chicken broth according to rice package directions.

In skillet or stock pot, saute:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic, in jar



2 cans black beans

Stir. Add tamari sauce, as needed until heated through.


Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast for Dinner is always a treat and very inexpensive. Choose from the following:

Bacon or sausage





Hash Browns



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    • profile image

      jennine 6 years ago


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      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      mmmmm a person could make their menu for an entire day from these. All my favs!