Frugal Menu 1
Frugal Living-Dinners For a Week
Frugal living is a passion of mine. It allows us to prosper on a single income with hopes of moving to a part time income in the near future. (see my hub on how we became mortgage free) Below I have compiled a list of some of the most inexpensive meals that our family regularly enjoys. I have attempted to estimate the cost of each one. Besides being frugal, we try to make the healthiest choices possible, like avoiding white flour products, high fructose corn syrup, msg and processed foods in general. We also spend a little extra and buy organic food when it is high on the "naughty" list for pesticide residues. Such foods include dairy, coffee and tomatoes (when we're not growing our own). And we grow our own sprouts, which is a healthier, cheaper alternative to buying supermarket lettuce. My rule of thumb is to get as close to a food's natural state as possible. But once in awhile we bend it a bit. Just a bit, though. These meals feed 4 adults.
Monday- Black Beans and Rice
Soak 1/2 lb black beans overnight, drain and rinse. Cover beans with water and bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat to maintain a gentle boil for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, these can be cooked in a crock pot. Season to taste with salt, chili powder, cumin and garlic. Save cooking water.
For the rice: heat 2T oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Saute 1 cup brown rice for 1 min. Add 1/4 cup salsa and mix evenly, then stir in 2 cups water. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 50-60 min. or until tender. Season with a little salt.
Serve beans on a bed of rice and top with 3-4 oz. shredded organic cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes or salsa, lettuce or home grown alfalfa sprouts, chopped onions and hot sauce to taste. This makes about 6 cups of food, which is a lot. Place all leftovers in the seasoned cooking water and save for Wednesday's meal. Estimated cost: $4
Cook one 12 oz. package of whole wheat pasta (we like rotini) according to package directions. Serve with pasta sauce (we can usually find a store brand organic variety for $2 a jar, but see my hub on how to easily make your own) and top with 3-4 oz. organic mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds. Serve with salad made with alfalfa sprouts and/or lettuce, 1 grated carrot, small amount of finely chopped onion and dressing of choice. Estimated cost- $6.50
Wednesday- Black Bean Soup
Take leftovers in cooking water from Monday and add 1/2 cup salsa and 1 cup frozen sweet corn. Add more water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 min. Serve in bowls with 1/2 lb corn tortilla chips. (suggested brand: Santita's for $2/lb) Estimated Cost- $2
Thursday- Fish Sticks 'n' Chips
Wash but do not peel 4 medium potatoes. Cut into thin sticks. Pour a couple tablespoons of oil onto baking sheet and spread the potatoes, stirring to coat evenly with the oil. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 F for 20 min., stirring halfway through. Bake fish sticks according to package directions. (Note: most brands of fish sticks contain msg, but ALDI's does not, and a box of 45 is only $3!) Serve with ketchup, and 1 or two vegetables such as corn, broccoli or green beans, or a salad. Estimated Cost-$5.50
Homemade pizza has been a family tradition while I was growing up and now I enjoy making it with my own children. To save space, I will post a link to our recipe below. The cost will vary with the amount of toppings you choose- my estimate would be for 2 large pizzas with 1 topping including organic cheese. Estimated Cost-$8
Saturday- Lentil Stew
This is a great way to use up any leftover veggies. Cover 1/2 cup lentils with 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 min. or till tender, then drain and rinse. In a large skillet, melt 2 T butter. stir in 2 T flour, 2 tsp. salt, dash of pepper and two cloves minced garlic. Stir in 2 cups water, 1 large diced potato, 1 diced carrot, 1 cup chopped broccoli and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce. Simmer till carrots are crisp-tender. Add 1 cup sweet corn, the cooked lentils (and leftover cooked veggies) and simmer for an additional 5 min. Stir in 1/2 cup milk and heat but do not boil. Serve in bowls with a hunk of homemade whole grain bread and butter. Estimated Cost- $4
To your favorite whole grain waffle recipe add chopped nuts, blueberries, and top with butter and maple syrup, fresh fruit or fruit preserves. Make extra to freeze for breakfast the next week. Estimated Cost- $5