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3 Frugal & Simple Dinner Recipes We Made Last Week

3 Frugal Meal Ideas

Need some quick and easy dinner ideas that are also easy on your pocketbook? As you well know, I’m all about keeping it simple — especially when it comes to cooking and meals.

Here are three meals I made last week that everyone in our family enjoyed (for more frugal meal inspiration, be sure to follow me on Instagram where I’m sharing what we’re eating for dinner most nights):

3 Frugal Meal Ideas

1. Waffles & Sausage

We love serving breakfast for dinner. It’s fast, easy, and affordable!

Here’s our favorite waffle recipe. These are freezer-friendly so you can make up a big batch ahead of time. Or, you can make the batter ahead of time and then just bake them in the waffle iron right before dinner.

Chicken Gravy Over Rice

2. Chicken Gravy Over Rice

This recipe is super simple, nutritious, and frugal. Plus, it’s amazingly adaptable.

Here’s how I make it: Sauté some onions in butter. Add flour and chicken stock (or half cream/half chicken to make it creamier/richer) to make a gravy. Stir in seasonings, salt, pepper, and chopped chicken. Simmer until it makes a gravy.

We serve it over rice with veggies and fruit on the side. We also sometimes serve it over mashed potatoes.

{I’m a “dump cook” and not very skilled at following recipes, so if you want measurements for this recipe, I can’t help you there… Because on this recipe, I just eye things and add ingredients until it looks and tastes right!}

3 Quick & Easy Frugal Meals

3. Fried Ground Beef with Onions

This is a recipe from my childhood. We would make this when we needed a quick meal. It’s healthy, super simple, economical, and can be made in less than 15 minutes of prep time.

This past week, we just served it with Ketchup and sides of brown rice, fresh fruit, and veggies. However, to stretch it more, you can add chopped potatoes or sweet potatoes or rice, peas, and/or corn.

What are some of YOUR favorite quick, easy, & frugal recipes?

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  • Claire says:

    What yummy suggestions! I love making a tomato based sauce (thank heavens for canned tomatoes) and adding whatever veggies or meats we might have around to serve over pasta. Quick, wholesome and tasty!

  • Grace says:

    Tonight I fried some leftover spaghetti noodles with onion until the onion was translucent. I then poured over some scrambled eggs (with some seasoned salt) and cooked them until done. I had some leftover grated cheese in the fridge, so I sprinkled that over the top and left it melt. I also had some green beans on the side. It was really good!

  • Jody says:

    I made the ground beef and onion recipe last night, it was so quick and filled us up! I was showing my husband pictures of your meals last night and he was interested in the chicken brocoli cheese casserole. Do you have a recipe you use for that one?

    Side note:
    1) I am so glad you are posting recipes! And that they are simple ones!!!

    2) Also, I am thoroughly enjoying your year of rest! Whatever we look at affects us and I can feel the effects of your year of rest in my own heart whenever I read here (and watch your scopes!). I feel like this may be my best year yet as a MSM reader ? So looking forward to 2016 here!

  • Carol says:

    Pasta with my Grandma’s quick sauce

    Package of Pasta – 1.00

    Two cans of Tomato Paste – .59 each


    Parmesan Cheese

    Fry up some chopped garlic. Add Two cans of water to 1 can of tomato paste. Stir in some parmesan cheese to taste.

  • Your waffles look sooooo yummy! I saw them on instagram and was like…Oh how I wish I could have waffles! I’m counting my calories right now, so waffles are not really something I could each much of. They looked so good though! Love it. 🙂

    I like to make spaghetti and use a recipe my mom shared with me. I eat it over spaghetti squash or zucchini to make it healthier for me. I feed the kids noodles though. With the leftover sauce, I make other dishes like pasta bake, the base for soup, and homemade pizza.

    I also like to make pinto beans and eat them with cabbage. I take leftover beans and make bean tacos and chili later on.

    It really helps me to cook a big pot of something and find ways to use it in other dishes all week long. 😀

  • Melissa says:

    Pasta, peas and ham or other meat, butter, salt and pepper.

    A whole store rotisserie chicken. Make broth for soup the next day.

    Taco soup- ground beef, onion, canned beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, corn and taco seasoning

    Quick chicken soup – broth, canned chicken, rice, onion power and basil

  • VanessaKC says:

    Hippie Hash. Dice, cook and season a couple of potatoes. Sauté a bunch of veggies, including a whole red onion, bunch of fresh greens, one jalapeno, few mushrooms and whatever needs to be cooked from the crisper. Add the potatoes to the veg and a can of rinsed kidney beans. I drizzle my serving with habanero oil. It’s always a hit.

  • Diana says:

    Grilled cheese and tomato soup, refried beans and cheese burritos with side of Spanish rice, pancakes eggs and bacon, egg salad sandwiches with a side of chips, cheese quesadillas, blt’s with a side of chips or fries

  • Joanne Peterson says:

    Sausage corn chowder – Fry a pound of bulk sausage and with a large onion chopped, until sausage is crumbled, browned and onion is translucent. Drain any grease, add 4 cups of potatoes diced and two cups of water and a tsp of marjoram dried. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are done. Add a 14.5 ounce can of whole kernel corn drained, and one 14.5 ounce can of creamed corn and one 12 ounce can of evaporated milk. Heat until warm. Taste for seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crackers or bread, and a salad. Makes six servings. Even better the next day reheated.

    A quick light meal is Roman Egg Drop Soup. Heat 6 cups of chicken broth until boiling. Lower the heat to medium low. Add a 1/2 to one package of torn baby spinach, and add six beaten eggs slowly stirring all of the time. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and stir in until melted. Serve immediately.

  • Shelly says:

    This week I made a batch of my caramel sticky buns. They are easy and cheap to make plus they are so yummy too. My family also like twice baked taco potatoes. Inexpensive to make and delicious too. The only problem is if I make extra for the freezer they never seem to make it because everyone loves them so much.

  • Wanda says:

    We like a mixture of the following: some browned ground meat ( very flexible I’ve used from 1/2 lb to 1b) 1-2 pkts ranch dressing mix, about 2 cups plain unflavored yogurt and a pan of hot cooked rice
    We call it ranch rice and there’s never any left
    This is an extremely flexible recipe but tasty and quick

  • Jennifer C says:

    We are looking for a waffle iron…Could you or anyone recommend on that they love? Thanks for these easy recipes! Gonna try them this week 🙂

  • polly says:

    My quick, cheap go-to recipe is cheese quesadillas.You need tortillas, low calorie or regular cheese( I use cheddar with jalapenos or mozzarella, it doesn’t matter). put a tortilla on a cookie sheet. Top with shredded or slices of cheese. Top with another tortilla. Bake at about 300 for 8 mins or until golden color, and slice like a izza. We sometimes put salsa, refried beans, or guacamole on the table to top our slices of quesadilla.

  • Sandra says:

    Here is my 1-2-3 punch when things get tight. I usually have these things on hand so I don’t have to go to the grocery saving money and gasoline.

    1 1/2 lb Ground Beef (or so)
    1 jar Spaghetti Sauce
    1 lb Cheddar Cheese or what ever cheese I have on hand

    1. Homemade Pizza – Brown about 1/3 lb ground beef and some onion, 1/4-1/3 of jar of spaghetti sauce, grated cheese and other toppings you have on hand. Homemade pizza dough: 1 packet yeast, 1 t. sugar, 1 c. warm water, 3 c. flour, 1 t. salt, 1 T. Oil. Mix, knead bread, let rise a few minutes, prepare pizza toppings, pat dough into pizza pan or greased cookie sheet. Add toppings. Bake about 20 minutes at 425 F.

    2. Hamburger Gravy – Brown about 2/3 lb ground beef and some onion. Add flour and milk and cook until thickened for gravy. Add your favorite spices. Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, broken bread, left over biscuits, etc. Add frozen veggies to gravy if desired (i.e., peas) or serve on the side.

    3. Spaghetti – Brown 1/2 lb ground beef with some onion and Italian spices. Add rest of jar of spaghetti sauce. Pour over cooked spaghetti and serve. Top with grated cheese. Toast bread. Butter and sprinkle with garlic powder. Add side dishes you have on hand.

    I like to grocery shop weekly except for the last week of the month. I do what I can to keep from spending any money that last week including groceries, gasoline, etc. The money I don’t spend that week goes to savings, bulk grocery purchases from time to time, or to catch up on a wayward bill. Putting it into savings is most satisfying.

  • Sandra says:

    Here is a very simple potato soup recipe. It is good when you are wanting to be frugal or on a Sunday when you want to do less work on the Sabbath.

    Fill sauce pan with peeled, diced potatoes. Cover with water and cook until potatoes are tender. Do not pour off water.

    While potatoes are cooking, melt some butter in a fry pan and add chopped onions. Cook onions until tender. Add butter and onions to cooking potatoes. Again, do not pour off potato water.

    Open a can of evaporated milk and add to cooked potatoes. Use a potato masher and mash to desired consistency. We like our soup lumpy. Soup will thicken as it cools. If the soup is too thick, add some milk. If it is too thin, add some potato flakes to thicken it if you have it.

    Serve hot with hot biscuits from the oven and add a salad or what ever you have on hand.

    I make drop biscuits instead of rolled biscuits because it is easier. Just increase milk in your favorite recipe and stir until just blended. Drop by heaping spoon fulls onto greased cookie sheet. I bake them at 425 F. until the bottom of the biscuits start to turn golden. We like our biscuits crunchy on the outside, but still tender on the inside.

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