Low Cost Dinner Ideas - Eating Well on Little Money
Experts say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But what about dinner? Isn't dinner the time that you sit down with your entire family and enjoy each other? Isn't dinner the largest meal of your day? It is typically the most expensive meal of people's day. However it doesn't have to be. Here are some great low cost dinner ideas that will definitely lower your grocery bill.
- Vegetable quesadillas are a favorite around my house. Everyone loves it and I get to clean out the leftover veggies in my produce drawer. The ingredients you need are simple. Tortillas, cheese, a pat of butter and whatever vegetables you like. Place a tortilla on a plate, sprinkle a little bit of grated cheese (whatever you have on hand) and add chopped vegetables. Sprinkle with a little more cheese and top with another tortilla. Melt the butter on a griddle and heat the quesadilla - turning once, until the cheese is melted. You could sauté items like squash, zucchini or onions first, since they won't really be cooked while heating the quesadilla.
- Breakfast for dinner is another hit here. We had homemade pancakes tonight with a side of canteloupe. Fast, easy and best of all cheap! This is great for those nights when you are walking in the door at dinnertime. Anytime you have breakfast for dinner it should be cheaper than an average dinner. So whatever you like for breakfast, have it for dinner. I always have sides of fruit or vegetables to round out the meal. Scrambled eggs and toast is another nutritious, filling and inexpensive meal.
- Buy a large whole chicken or roast and eat for the week. Yes, the initial price of this piece of meat will seem like a lot for a cheap meal; however you can stretch these meats to last 3 or even 4 meals. This will bring the cost per meal down considerably and make these meats much more affordable.
- Make a pot of soup. There is nothing like a steaming bowl of homemade soup with homemade bread for dinner on a cold winter night. Soup is very easy to make and there are thousands of recipes online. Whatever ingredients you have on hand - you could turn it into a soup. This is a great one to help clean out the produce drawer. Very healthy, filling and inexpensive. It typically makes a lot as well and you should have leftovers for a second dinner or at least some lunches.
- Baked potatoes! You can do so much with a baked potato. Whatever toppings you like will go well on a potato. Leftover diced ham or chili? A little bit of meat goes a long way on a potato. Veggies and cheese are always good too. Whenever we have baked potatoes I make corn muffins to go along. These are also cheap and filling. The entire meal usually costs under $2 for the 6 of us to eat. You really can't beat it.
- Pasta is a great filler. A box of pasta and some homemade sauce make for a delicious and filling dinner. Having trouble getting veggies into your kids? Steam and then puree some and add it to the spaghetti sauce. The kids will never know they are getting so many nutrients! Homemade macaroni and cheese is an inexpensive and kid friendly meal. A box of pasta, an 8 oz block of cheese, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1.5 cups of milk makes a great mac n cheese. Total cost is around $2.
- Vegetarian meals are usually less expensive than ones with meat. Beans and rice go a long way and there are many different ways to prepare this.
So if you are looking to reduce your grocery bill - this week or for good, trying some of these ideas is a great way to save. Try several for a week when you are in a budget crunch or try one or two a week - it is up to you. But if you want to lower your grocery bill - trying some of these ideas should definitely help.