Help! Pregnate Broke Mom Needs Cheap Recipes

Updated on October 30, 2009
K.W. asks from Bridge City, TX
21 answers

me and my husband just got out on our own agin sence the hurricane and we're still figuring out our budget i realy need some cheap but good recipes so we arnt stuck eating fish sticks and roaman noodles every night lol thanks :)

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answers from Houston on

Try different ways to make the ramen noodles:

My daughter is 12 and learning to cook. We have tried making a ramen noodle salad. We boil the noodles (do not use the seasoning), then add zesty italian dressing, cucumbers and tomatoes. or
.use miracle whip and add ham & shredded cheese
.add brocoli & cheese
.creamed spinach and so on....

Another is mac&cheese w/weiners or smoked sausage or spam
Red beans & rice w/smoked sausage

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answers from Austin on

You should check out

Lots of recipes,money management tips, organization etc.

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answers from Austin on

When we first got married we had a $30 a week grocery bill and feasted between 2 people (that was 20 years ago) What we did is used some of the same basic ingredients to make different meals. Making things from scratch is generally cheaper than buying the already processed meal so we saved that way. And shopping once a week means we are less tempted to buy extras each time we go to the store.

Think of all the meals you can make from:

2 pounds of hambuger (divided and freeze until use) $6
One head of lettuce became salads for a week. $1
One block of cheese (8oz) $2
1-2 fresh tomatoes $2
onions $.70
1 bell pepper $.40
garlic $.33 (this lasts more than a week)
1 jalepeno $.25
tortillas $1.99
pinto beans (from scratch) or a can of refried $1
kidney beans $.49
spaghetti noodles $1
one large can whole tomatoes $1.29
one small tomato sauce $.20
one can tomato paste $.40
packet of taco seasonings $.50
tortilla chips (extra) $2
salsa (extra)$2
tabasco (extra)?
black pepper ?
Italian salad dressing(extra) $2
Italian seasonings (skip this until you have money for herbs and seasonings...these can be added gradually as you have need cinnamon, Chili powder is another then cumin, bay leaf etc.)
a bag of apples $3
a bag of oranges $3
bananas $1
1 lemon $.25
a green veggie $1.50 (or canned green beans $.50)
peanut butter $2.50
jelly $1.50
whole wheat bread $2
eggs $1.80
oatmeal $2
brown sugar $2 (lasts a long time)
milk ($3)
butter ($1.99)

Some of these items will last more than a week others you may need more of: bread or milk... I think I have around $55 worth of groceries listed above that should last about 6 days for a family that's your size. (Breakfasts, lunches, dinners)

We would make soft tacos one day and taco salad the next.

Soft tacos:
brown in frying pan:
1 lb. hamburger (set asside 1/3 for the next day and refrigerate or you can freeze this part before cooking and do this a different day)
I usually use about a half of a packet of taco seasoning (less salt that way)to season
grated cheese (1/4 block...just a sprinkle)

We'd throw the tortillas on top of the meat to warm them before serving and let folks put their own together.

Taco salad:
Warm (cook) up the taco meat turn off the heat and add can of kidney beans (drained)
In a bowl assemble:
chopped lettuce, tomato, diced onion, grated cheese (another 1/4 of an 8oz block)
add meat and
crunched up tortilla chips
If you want a salad dressing on this you can take some Italian Dressing and mix with a few drops of tabasco to taste
Another add in that's good for new baby on the way is avocado...yum!

Pintos/and Burritos
Next day, make a good pot of pintos and use the jalepeno, onion, garlic...however you like. Serve with tortillas (or jiffy cornbread has a mix for around $.30)

Use leftovers to make burritos (If you're sick of Mexican food by now you can wait on the burritos for a day and make spaghetti after the beans.) For the burritos mash (or open a can of refried) sprinkle with the rest of the cheese grated add salsa and offer the same veggies as were on the tacos.


Saute onions, bell pepper, garlic with the hamburger and drain grease.
Add can of tomatoes, torn into pieces, tom. sauce, paste (with a little water to get to the consistency you want) any seasonings you like but if you just use pepper that's good.

Prepare pasta noodles using directions. Drain and put amount on plate you want. Add sauce.

Serve with a green veggie or green bean, and salad (lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese? It. dressing or salt and pepper with lemon juice

Leftover sauce can be used to make homemade pizzas if you add frozen bread dough (you thaw it before using) and an 8 oz. block of mozzarella to your list (another $4 for the two items.) You pat out the dough on buttered cookie sheet. Put some sauce on and cover with grated or sliced cheese stick in the oven at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Breakfast cereal is expensive...cheaper are meals like Oatmeal with a little butter, brown sugar and a splash of milk.
Eggs and toast (with jelly and or peanut butter)
Breakfast tacos (tortilla, egg, cheese, salsa)
Peanut Butter & Bananas on toast. Drink milk.

Lunches are leftovers or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with an apple or an orange, tortilla chip and salsa.

A yummy dessert is to take a few apples and slice them up. put them in a buttered oven dish. Take oatmeal, butter and brown sugar (if you have cinnamon shake some in) make a crumbly mixture, and put it on top of the apples. Bake at 350 for as long as it takes to soften the apples and crisp up the topping. YUM!

We'd alternate weeks and have hamburgers, chili, red beans and rice, roast a whole chicken (the cheaper kind) and make chicken pasta or chicken soup the next day for a menu plan other on another week. Things like this. My husband's rule is to always have some kind of veggie with a meal...saves dr. bills down the road.

I don't know what your budget is but you can cut extras and still have a tasty meal. Hope this helps some.

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answers from Houston on

There is this great recipe I stumbled on that's ultra easy and cheap to make. Everyone that's tried it has just loved it! Even my babysitter's house with all the kids she watched loved it. It's Tator Tot Casserole.
Here is what you need and how to make it:

One of the regular size bags of Tator Tots
2 cans of Cream of Mushroom
1 pound of hamburger meat
2-4 cups of shredded mild cheddar cheese (depending on how much cheese you would like on it)

Brown the hamburger meat in a pan and drain. Put in a large casserole dish and mix with Cream of Mushroom and make it into a sort of layer on the bottom of the dish once it's all mixed in. Then add the Tator Tot's in a layer and sprinkle the cheese on top. Cook in the oven according to whatever the normal directions for that bag of Tator Tots. They all different so make sure you check the Tator Tot bag for the correct heat and time. It's so easy and takes no time at all.

I have totally been where you are. Oh another thing you can always do is make the regular beef noodle Hamburger Helper and add in corn to it. Makes it stretch a bit. Just be sure to drain the corn before you do it. My husband didn't once and it was runny. LOL. Also you can take the boxes of Pasta Roni, I like the Angel Hair Pasta with Herbs, and add a can of chicken to it. I usually use two boxes of the Pasta and a can or two of chicken from the store.

Good luck.

D. H.

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answers from San Antonio on

Beans and rice or beans and cornbread
Spaghetti - don't need meat if you buy whole grain pasta
potato soup or any kind of soup

Check out Angel Food Ministries in your area for cheaper, bulk food. They can help you out on a budget. In fact, if you can afford it up front - you could feed a family of 4 with the basics for $140/month. You just have to plan ahead in order to preorder it and if you buy 4 weeks worth you need a freezer. So, sometimes I just buy one week to start off and add more when I can so that my dinners vary and I have enough stocked up in the freezer. I haven't done this in a while as I can't use my freezer right now, but it does help out a lot. It's not organic or anything - but you will get some meat and eggs and even a dessert.

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answers from San Antonio on

I have a great one that my friend sent me and we love it. She calls it Tortilla soup.
1 can chicken (I use the pkg of chicken that looks like tuna), 1 can chicken & rice soup, 1 can chicken broth, 1 can ranch style beans, 1 can rotel tomatoes. Mix it all together and heat it. Pour it over Tostitos bite size chips. Top with cheese, sour cream, avacodos, etc (whatever you like). Simple and tastes great. I personally do not add the broth because I like it a little thicker.

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answers from Austin on

1 lb ground beef
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 cups macaroni
1 cup grated cheddar

Brown the ground beef and season with salt and pepper (and a little Paprika if you like). Boil and drain the macaroni and transfer into a casserole dish. when meat is done browning pour in one undrained can of stewed tomatoes and simmer briefly while stirring constantly(you just want to get it warm and well mixed). Pour it over the macaroni noodles and mix together so that the meat and noodles are evenly distributed. Preheat oven to 350. Spread cheese over the top of the mixture and put in oven for 10 minutes.

Our whole family loves this casserole and our 18 month old gobbles it up.

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answers from Houston on

Here are my faves, quick & easy & relatively inexpensive:
1) Salmon Croquets (aka: salmon patties). Great served w/mac & cheese or boiled potatos/other veggies:
1 regular size can Salmon (I use store brand)
1/4 cup flour; 1/4 cup onion; 1 slice bread; 1 egg; salt & pepper; cooking oil (I use canola); corn meal.
Pour oil about 1 inch in bottom of fry pan/skillet, set aside. In one bowl (I use two bowls) open & drain salmon & dump in first bowl. Using fingers, separate & sort through salmon to remove all backbone(s) (sometimes there's more than one in there & sometimes none). Don't worry about the little 'sliver' bones, they dissolve when cooked, just the hard round backbone needs to be removed. As you sort through meat, place the sorted pieces in second bowl. When finished, rinse the first bowl out & dry, pour corn meal in that bowl & set aside (I'd start w/about half a cup). Wet & squeeze out bread slice (used to 'hold' patties together better) & rip into small pieces into salmon then add other ingredients & sprinkle salt & pepper to taste; mix well. As I'm mixing the ingredients I turn on the skillet to heat on medium. Shape mix into small palm-sized balls & pat lightly into patties, coat in corn meal & set into hot oil & fry til golden brown then turn over & repeat. Patties are ready to flip or remove when they 'slide' across skillet. Mix makes 7-9 patties depending on size you make. Careful not to make too big or they fall apart. Remove & drain on paper towel when done & enjoy!
2) Baked Porchops & rice:
Porchops (bone in or out, I prefer in).
1 regular size can of cream of mushroom soup.
Minute rice (we use store brand).
9x12 baking dish or 8x8 if smaller amount desired.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove & rinse porchops & set aside. Larger pan will hold about 4 chops for reference. Empty soup into pan; fill can to rim top w/rice & add to soup in pan; fill can up w/water to about 1" from top rim (or use the top 'rib' on the can to measure) & add to rice & soup. Too much water will make it 'soupy'. Mix well & spread evenly in pan. Using fry pan/skillet on medium, brown each chop on each side then lay on top of rice mix. I spray skillet w/Pam (or cooking spray) & add a tiny bit of oil...enough to spread on area you fry on to help prevent sticking. Cover w/foil or baking dish lid & bake approx. 30 minutes til done in middle of chops & most of the liquid is soaked up. Makes enough for 4. Enjoy!
I'll be more than happy to send more recipes in a personal message if you like. I have several more you might enjoy. Hope these help & happy eating!

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answers from Houston on

The HEBs in Houston often have split chicken breasts on sale for $1.00 a pound or less. That gives you three good size pieces of meat for $3-4 dollars. I have a pretty fool-proof method for getting them cooked and still juicy.

I put them in a small pan (touching) pour italian dressing or Girard's Light Champagne dressing over the top and pop them in the oven at 450 degrees for about twenty minutes or until I get some nice color on the skin. Then I reduce the heat to about 300 degree, cover with foil, and cook for another twenty. Let them sit and rest, covered for 10-15 minutes.

I debone and chop into bite-size pieces. My daughter and I can sometimes eat the entire week on 3-4 breasts. We make salads. Serve them with mac and cheese. Add a packet of taco seasoning and wrap in tortillas. Mix into scrambled eggs with cheese and chopped spinach. Cook some whole wheat spaghetii and toss in some chiken and frozen vegetables.

I also refrigerate the juices to separate the fat, scrape it off, and then freeze the defatted juices into ice cube trays. You can toss one or two into a pasta dish or add to rice for extra flavor.

It seems like more work than it really is. It is just a matter of planning. It adds a lot of flavor and gives you a lot of meal options.

Good luck.

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answers from Houston on

My family LOVES Homemade Gourmet. Most of the meals are about $1-$2 per serving. Not only do you then get to determine what your family eats, the meals are so easy! The concept behind the company is cooking should be as easy as Dump, Stir, Heat and Eat! Got to love that!! For some great easy recipes go to and click on the easy recipe tab at the top. I am a consultant for the company, so if you see something that you like or have any questions, please let me know and I will be happy to help you!

K. Sharp

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answers from San Antonio on

Check They have great recipes.



answers from San Antonio on

My family LOVES tuna noodle casserole. (ususally feeds 5-6) 4 cans tuna (we like it tuna-y) 1 big can cream of mushroom soup, 2 bags egg noodles, butter, milk, cheese, and I like to add a some salt, pepper, westersure (Iknow the spelling is wrong) and soy sauce, for taste. biol the noodles like it says on the package. drain water, (I like to mix all the other ingredients in a big bowl I think it tastes better for some reason and it is easier to mix with the noodles.) Mix in a big bowl or on top of the noodles, the drained tuna, cream of mushroom, 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk, a 1/2 cooking spoon of butter, some salt, pepper, westersure and soy sauce, for taste mix all together, once mixed put it in a cake pan, or I use a small 8x8 so I can pop it in the microwave, put cheese on top I use moterella and mild chedder, my MIL uses sandwich american cheese, just try what you like. pop it in the oven until the cheese melts or, like me use an 8x8 and pop it in the microwave for about 3 to 4 mins. It is always super good, and fiarly cheep to make, my family loves it.



answers from Houston on

My husband came with some easy family (and turns out cheap) recipes when we got married. The kids love all of them and usually request them when I ask them what they would like for dinner.
First is ham and cheese sanwiches---and we always have with egg noodles for the side (another familly thing!!)
Put tinfoil on a cookie sheet(no washing), spray pam so they dont stick, just take hamburger buns and place 3 slices budding ham and 1 piece american cheese on each, put top back on and lightly butter top, place in oven until lighly toasted and melted. If you like the egg noodle idea as the side boil egg noodles, then put in a skillet with butter, take 2 beat up eggs and fry up with the noodles. If you get everything on sale you could walk away with dinner for $1.00 hamburger buns, $1.00 egg noodles, Budding $.50, We always have cheese in refridge---I usually use whatever we have -even shredded. Of course with my boys I make 2 pkg. at a time but still easy and cheep!


answers from Austin on

Basics like chicken, rice, and beans are always good. My family likes refried bean chalupas, quesadillas with leftover chicken, fried rice with leftover rice. We buy boneless chicken breast when it's on sale and freeze some. Then we'll stretch 1 chicken breast into a vegetable stir fry(add carrots, broccoli, etc.) or fajitas(add peppers, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini). We tend to splurge more on fresh fruits and veggies and less on mixes or processed food unless we've got a coupon. Also, we don't buy soda.
If you have an oriental grocery store near you, sometimes they have good deals on noodles.



answers from Houston on

You can always find ground beef on sale, make and cook meatballs, throw them in a pan or a crockpot with sauce, Hunt's is under $1 at wal-mart and my family of 6 only uses 2 cans. Freeze the meatballs that are left for another meal. Kroger has a pretty decent bake and serve type of baguette that makes for a great meatball sandwich. Pasta isn't that expensive either so you can always add that. Grab some lettuce and tomato, maybe carrots, and whip up a salad. Good to go and under $10. (the soup website) has some decent ideas for chicken and rice that arent too bad.

Making a baked ziti is another good idea. Pasta, few cans of sauce, maybe a bit of the hamburger meat that was not made into meatballs could be cooked up and added to the sauce. Mix the cooked noodles, sauce, meat, motzarella cheese and ricotta (if possible or cottage cheese if you need to). Put it in a baking dish with extra cheese on top and you can have several decent meals from it.

Homemade chicken fried rice can be simple and inexpensive. a bit of chicken cut up into bite sized pieces with a bag of mixed veggies, and egg, some garlic butter and soy sauce cooked up and then mixed together with cooked rice.

Anything you can do to look for sales is best and then you can make meals that can be split up into multiple days. Pack up your freezer without even knowing it and you will be surprised when baby gets here and you have meals all ready too!



answers from Austin on

Red Beans and Rice made made with ham hocks is VERY inexpensive, tasty and full of protein. Deviled eggs are cheap too. I try to buy meat in bulk when it goes on sale. For example, I purchased a 7 lb porkloin at HEB last week for $7! Cut them into steaks and froze them between waxed paper. I like I'll do an ingredient search for what I have and come up with ideas. If you have a crock pot or can find one on Craig's List, that would be great. It will make the lousiest cut of meat good! Inexpensive veggie ideas: steamed carrots, brocolli, canned peas, collard greens, salad (buy a head of lettuce rather than the pre-packaged lettuce) sweet potatoes (eat the skin; it's full of nutrients). Watch the adds for the fruit that goes on sale. Citrus and apples are usually the best deal in the winter. I like to cut grapefruit and oranges out of their skin and have them ready to eat in a bowl. Pasta salads are great too. Cube up salami for protein and make your own salad dressing to toss it with. Lemon juice, raw garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil... whatever you might have in your spice cabinet. Throw in raw or blanched veggies too. Watch for chicken pieces on sale (chicken thighs are usually cheap). Put a little oil in a large pot, pan fry them until crisp. Then, dump a can full of diced tomatoes over them, some chicken broth and spices such as curry, garlic powder, oregano, cumin (whatever you have that sounds good) cover it and cook it for 2 hours (or after browning them in a skillet, put them in a crock pot and cook all day). Serve it over rice. Cheap and wonderful!!!! Make enough chicken that you can save some for the next day. Before putting it in the fridge, debone it and wrap it in corn tortillas the next night. If you can spring for one avocado, put that in too. Again, full of nutrients and the meal would be very inexpensive. Blackbean soup is very cheap and yummy too. Just find a recipe on a website. If it calls for an expensive meat, find yourself a cheap sausage or just use ham hocks. Good luck to you! You can do it!



answers from College Station on

There are lots of websites out there that you can use for reference. Flylady and coupon mom come to mind immediately.

Pasta is always cheap and you can dress it up in so many ways. Ground beef is usually fairly cheap as are whole chickens which you can then roast and use the leftovers in pot pie and the carcass for soup (I can get 4-5 meals out of 1 chicken!). Scour the grocery ads you get in the mail every Tues or Wed. Buy what is on sale and try to have a coupon for it.

Dried beans are also a good deal, both monetarily and nutritionally. There are lots of varieties and TONS of recipes. Lentils are some of the most versatile.

Some tricks to remember- buying in bulk or the biggest package is not always the best deal. If you are not going to use all of the product before spoilage you are wasting your money. Compare unit prices for the best deal on foods. Buy whole ingredients over processed ones as they are often cheaper.

Good Luck to you!


answers from Houston on

Do you have a Foodtown near you? They have really great prices on meat, canned goods and produce. The best I have seen actually. You can buy the fattier ground beef and just drain it good and make spaghetti, tacos, chili. For tacos and chili I just get a little cheap season packet but you can look up recipes online for taco season, make it in bulk and save money that way too, I get my taco and chili season at Wal-Mart for like 33 cents a pack. At Foodtown you can get a pack of tortillas for like 50 cents so tacos are really inexpensive and tasty. For chili you can get the season pack or just use a pound of ground beef, a can of red beans, a can of chili tomatoes, chili powder and salt a pepper to taste. You can serve it with corn bread, I use Jiffy like 25 cents for a box, or saltine crackers. For spaghetti of course just get a can of cheap sauce and doctor it up with whatever season you like. Another key that helps me is shopping at more than one store. Check the sale papers for deals and go to the store for those deals only. I usually go between Foodtown and Wal-Mart. Foodtown has the deals on meat, produce and canned goods. Wal-Mart has deals on cereal, milk, paper goods, personal care products, and baby items. So if you can find time to look at sale papers and go to a couple different stores you can really save money and still have some treats at home as well. Good luck to you:)



answers from Houston on

Buy seasonal veggies, whole chickens, pork tenderloin.

beef brisket is inexpensive and if roasted all day is very can use left overs for bbq or soup.

Beans and eggs are great sources of protein.

Avoid processed "convenience" foods...

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