Frugal Things To Eat

by heather

A person can only eat so much ramen, right? Yep, I’m a Ramen Queen myself, but my particular weakness is Sapporo Ichiban, an Asian-style ramen that’s widely available here in Michigan (you can order it online; it’s definitely worth it!).

Is it healthy? No way. I don’t think there’s any ramen that comes within 10 feet of the word “healthy”. But gosh it’s good, especially when you throw in an egg and some frozen rice ovalettes (also from the Asian market). Yum.

So, what does all this have to do with anything?

Well, I decided to create a list of frugal things to eat. Those Christmas bills are going to be coming due in a month or so, and if you splurged on gifts a bit more than you should have this year then you might have to resort to old standbys like rice and peanut butter to make up for it come January. Saving money on groceries is one of the easiest ways to trim spending, so that’s usually what people do first.

But, you can get creative when it comes to eating frugally. Here are a few ideas:

Frugal Eating Resources

If you haven’t yet discovered the blog Cheap, Healthy, Good, then go there now. This blog is so fabulous there are hardly words.

It’s full of wonderful, frugal recipes and money-saving tips. Plus, the gals that write for the site are great writers who will entertain you with every article. I visit this blog weekly and never leave disappointed.

Another link you might find useful is my article on “How To Save Money On Groceries“. Yes, it’s a shameless plug, but I researched some easy, cost-cutting strategies to save money at the grocery store. You might like it.

My List of Cheap Eats

Ok, Sapporo Ichiban (Oh how I love you!) aside, here’s a list of frugal foods I love to eat:

1. PancakesSmartSpending (MSN Money’s blog) recently featured this pancake recipe from Cheap, Healthy, Good, who claims it’s is the end-all, be-all of pancake recipes. I haven’t made them myself yet so I can’t vouch for this personally, but based on the responses from other readers, this really is the best pancake recipe around.

Pancakes are a great frugal food because they’re incredibly cheap, and incredibly filling. You can bet I’ll be trying this recipe next time I’m craving flapjacks.

2. Biscuits– Growing up in the south means that biscuits (smothered in gravy!) were on tap almost daily. So yes, biscuits are close to my heart. Especially the buttery ones.

Biscuits are also a very cheap thing to eat. This nice article from Planet Green extols the virtues of the average biscuit, and has a nice recipe for “Chedder Buttermilk Biscuits”.

You can get creative with biscuits; they make great sandwiches (with a fried egg and a bit of cheese).

3. Salads– I love salads. And, they’re not expensive, especially when you buy loose-leaf lettuce (say that three times fast…)

If you want to maximize your nutrition, go for the deep leafy veggies like spinach. Iceburg lettuce is sort of like the pet rock; you’re not sure what it’s good for except to waste money.

4. Pasta– Ok, I know pasta can get boring. But, you can to try this amazing recipe from Cooking Light. I’ve been making it for years; not only is it super cheap to make, but it’s super tasty and healthy. Plus, it easily doubles, making it great for a crowd.

The recipe is called Easy Meatless Manicotti. I’ve only made it once using the manicotti shells; I found that it’s easier (and quicker) to do this recipe with Jumbo Shells instead. Plus the tips will get crunchy, which makes it even more tasty.

5. Quiche– I love love love making quiche. It’s cheap, and smells so good when it’s baking! But, it might be a girly food. My husband almost groans when I make it, mainly because he’s hungry an hour later.

Is this a guy thing, though? I mean, I fill up on quiche, which is why I’m including it in this list. I think it’s a great meal, especially if you make it with a salad and maybe some oven-roasted potatoes.

I add things to mine to buff it up; I always put in diced tomatoes, spinach, and swiss cheese. And I usually make two at a time to maximize my oven use.

Here’s a basic recipe for quiche, from Cooking Light again. This is not the exact recipe I use, but it’s a pretty good one. If you’re going frugal, then omit the jar of roasted red peppers (I’ve never used them).

And you can easily play with the recipe based upon what you’ve got on hand. You can use only one type of cheese, or throw in some bacon or turkey sausage…quiche is one of the easiest things to tamper with, so don’t be afraid to play. It’s almost impossible to screw it up.

If you have some frugal eating ideas or some great recipes you’d like to share, please send them in!

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Micaela | Striving Green Blog December 19, 2008 at 7:39 am

Hi there, I like your blog!

My favorite cheap eat is beans, from the dried form. I have been making a once a week dinner based on beans since this summer, and refer to it as our “bean challenge”.

Thanks for the tips!

Micaela | Striving Green Blog December 19, 2008 at 7:40 am

whoops, forgot to add the web site. Thanks!

Kris November 19, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Hey! Thank you so much for the kind words! This is a beautiful blog.

heather November 20, 2009 at 9:52 am

Kris,

You’re so welcome! I love your blog; a good portion of my favorite recipes have come from your site (Avocado and Quionoa Soup: YUM!). Thanks for putting such great information out there!

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