Ask the Readers: What's Your Favorite Frugal Comfort Food?

By Ashley Jacobs on 1 November 2011 (Updated 8 November 2011) 127 comments
Photo: Michael Nutt

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Forrest, Jennifer, and Alex for winning $20 Amazon Gift Cards and Angie, Becky Greene, and Guest for winning a copy of Little Old Lady Recipes!

Everyone has a comfort food they crave from time to time. Whether its something your mom used to whip up or a special treat from your favorite restaurant, chances are there is always one comfort food option that can put a smile on your face and brighten your day. If your favorite comfort food happens to be a frugal option, even better!

What is your favorite frugal comfort food? 

Tell us about your favorite frugal comfort food and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card or a copy of Little Old Lady Recipes: Comfort Food and Kitchen Table Wisdom!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Or Win 1 of 3 Copies of 'Little Old Lady Recipes: Comfort Food and Kitchen Table Wisdom'

We are doing three extra giveaways for a chance to win a copy of Meg Favreau's new book!

Celebrity chefs? Exotic ingredients? Immersion blenders? Who needs 'em?!? Little Old Lady Recipes honors the extraordinary women who create pot luck dinners, church socials, wedding banquets, and the best desserts you've ever tasted. Ever page features their simple, no-frills recipes for pot roast, meat loaf, dumplings, corn bread, fried chicken, bundt cake, and other mouth-watering favorites, along with gorgeous photography of the chefs at work and generous portions of their kitchen table wisdom ("Butter comes from a cow. Tell me where the heck margarine comes from, and then maybe I'll eat it!").

These Little Old Lady Recipes are simple, delicious, and ridiculously cheap and easy to make. So ditch the food processor, stop wasting money on overpriced organic frozen dinners, and start enjoying the 70 classic dishes, plus variations, that our auntiesi and grandmothers have made for generations!

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below 

For extra entries (1 per action):

  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, and leave a comment telling us you did, or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, November 7th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after November 7th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all six drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Note: Due to recent changes in Facebook's promotions guidelines, we have restructured the entry format of our giveaways.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
bevb.

We enjoy french dip beef cooked in the slow cooker...

Guest's picture
Amy

My personal favorite is scalloped potatoes with a little bit of ham in it. My daughter loves salmon patties. Both are meals I tend to make when I'm broke and making things stretch.

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Therese

I love homemade Chicken Noodle soup, with the chicken and broth coming from the bones of a whole chicken from a previous meal.

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Christie

I'm hoping this one ends after November 7th, although I wouldn't mind going back to October weather -- it was gorgeous then!

Anyway, my favorite frugal comfort foods: for eating out foods, definitely a McD's double cheeseburger with extra pickles. I craved those when I was pregnant and now whenever I feel queasy, that's the first thing I go for. For just warm yumminess: polenta and my sweet balsamic sauce on it. Warm, cheesy, creamy deliciousness. Good loose tea (earl grey or darjeeling) is often one of my comfort foods as we live in the north and it is cold and snowy about 5 months a year. My kids often stop for a tea break instead of recess from school! :)

Lynn Truong's picture

Christie,
Yes! I guess the end of the year just passes so quickly! Thanks for the heads up!

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Keith

i love mashed potatoes!

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Katrina

French bread with pesto. I can survive on that all day!

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Lisa

Oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon.

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RazzBari

Cheesy grits!

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Guest

Left over mashed potatoes (or instant) with frozen corn and green beans and butter or margarine

Guest's picture

Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup!

Guest's picture

Tweeted for an extra entry! https://twitter.com/#!/lilmsmoneybags/status/131397962986291201

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Jan

Baked mac and cheese with bacon. Mmmm..

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Kate

Definitely homemade vegetable soup!

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Jay

baked macaroni & cheese

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NJJ

My favorite comfort food is apple bread and pumpkin ice cream!

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Brandon

I love eating an In-N-Out Burger whenever I am stressed or just want a delicious meal!

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gt0163c

Macaroni and cheese (made for real, not out of a box) and apple crisp are my favorite cheap comfort foods. Fried egg and cheese sandwiches are a close runner up...and now I'm hungry. :)

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Michelle

My all time favorite frugal comfort food is a big bowl of creamy mac n cheese! It soothes the soul...

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Guest

My favorite is creamed tuna fish on rice. It's warm, a little spicy from the curry, and cheap. Definitely my crave food.

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Verl

I liked Wisebread on Facebook!

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Verl

My favorite frugal comfort food is a sugar-free Jello shake. Dissolve your favorite flavor of Jello in a half-cup of boiling water. Add it in a smoothie maker to about a couple of cups of ice cubes and some fruit, plus a little milk or cream if you want. Blend until smooth. Let it set. Just like a fruity parfait!

Guest's picture
Guest

Impossible Salmon Pie with biscuit mix, eggs, milk, cheese, canned salmon, and vegetables has become my go-to comfort food in the last few years.

Impossible Pies are named because they make their own crust as they bake. The recipes call for Bisquick, but I use the whole grain Hodgson Mills Insta-Bake instead to add extra fiber and protein.

I use http://busycooks.about.com/od/impossiblepies/r/imposssalmon.htm as a base recipe and then sub frozen California veggie mix for the asparagus and add more spices.

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Guest

Wow, this sounds so good and easy. Never tried Hodgson Mills Insta-Bake but will now.

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Louise

My fav frugal comfort food has got to be gumbo!

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Louise

I already like WiseBread on FB!

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KS

Rice and beans with sausage.

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Stefany

Mac 'n cheese...hands down!

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Guest

My favorite frugal comfort food is a big bowl of angel hair pasta and bolegnese sauce.
even better, the majority of the ingredients are found at the local dollar store!

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Garon

$5 foot long! You can't beat a good cold cut on honey oat!

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Jennifer

Mashed potatoes!

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Alex

I love all kinds of soup.

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Diane Mendenhall

I love mashed potatoes with a little cheese and garlic thrown in. Yumm.

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judyyy

My favorite is soup. I save left over vegetables(like the corn cup off a leftover cob) a few tablespoons of green beans that were not eaten, etc and freeze them. I also freeze the liquid from cooked vegetables. When I have a tupperware container full, I just add a chopped onion and some hamburger meat, home canned tomatoes and it makes a very frugal soup.

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Raina

Plain baked potato with salt and pepper, or ramen noodles with tabasco sauce.

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judyyy

I like you on facebook.

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JKlare

layer thinly sliced potatoes, salted and peppered with pats of butter between each layer (and the bottom) in a cast iron skillet. Baked until golden brown.

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KelR1

My favorite frugal comfort food is mashed potatoes. It's something you can make as simple or as complicated/fancy as you want (I usually opt for very simple like Potato Buds in the box or microwave mashed potatoes). You can eat it when you're sick or well. It's just all warm and soft and reminds me of big family dinners when I was very young. Good stuff!

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amberwitch

Intrails! Pigs hearts in cream sauce. A winter favorite which unfortunately is rather timeconsuming.

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petra

My favorite frugal comfort food is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a tall glass of milk.

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Pedro

I like homemade chili.

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dairygirl

My favorite frugal comfort food is a dish I call "Sandy Surprise", comprised of a can of garbanzo beans mixed with a can of diced tomatoes. Just heat through and eat. The "surprise" is how delicious, affordable, and healthy this is!

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GM

I like chicken noodle soup from scratch.

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Peggy

Meat Loaf with macaroni & cheese from the blue box!

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michelle

I grew up in Korea, so I'm going to have to say rice!

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Loren

My number one comfort food: rice n' beans.

Nothing like it - nutritious, delicious, satisfying. Simple preparation, versatile, convenient.

I fix it up à la Asian, Cajun, Malaysian . . . endless possibilities.

My motto: If you got rice n' beans, you got it made.

Guest's picture
Forrest

Ramen noodles all the way. Its been long enough since college that I can enjoy them again.

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Gerholdt

Add a cup of frozen mixed vegetables and cook until done - many a study break snack!

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Guest

Rice pudding made with cinnamon and raisins.

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Pamela Belair

Ah, that would be Boston Baked Beans...in addition to it being a great frugal meal, it also warms up the house so we can avoid turning on the furnace...DOUBLE frugal.

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Lora

Mashed potatoes and meatloaf.

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Liz

My favorite frugal comfort food is zucchini bread, Grandma's recipe! Never fails to make feel at home, no matter where I am.

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Kelly

My favorite super cheap comfort food is air popped pop corn! It is super cheap and if you don't have an air popper you can make it in a brown paper lunch sack in the microwave. It's not too dangerous for the waistline if you need a "drown my sorrows in mindless munching" fix. You can also jazz it up with a bit of melted butter and salt. Toss in a packet of Splenda also and you've got kettle corn.

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Laura

Quesadillas made on a hot dry griddle with flour tortillas that puff up with air bubbles and cheese that comes out of the edges and gets all grilled and chewy. Sometimes I just put an extra pile of grated cheese right on the griddle and fry it. Super good!

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Rebekah

Macaroni and chese - from the box if I'm feeling lazy, or homemade if I really want comfort food.

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Amanda

Seems to be the favorite here....mac'n'cheese! Preferably homemade but a box will do

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casey

Ramen noodles!! If you add an egg it makes the dish feel even more "comforting"!

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Angie

Grilled cheese: whatever you have on hand! Not only frugal, but quick and easy and generally healthful! It's what I eat when no one else is home for supper. To make it extra-special I slip in a couple of slices of homemade dill pickles in and serve with leftover soup.

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GL

Hardboiled eggs!!! :^D I know, I'm weird...

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GL

"Liked" and commented on your Facebook page.

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GL

Here's my tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/grigorylukin/status/131490862189379584

Thanks for doing these giveaways, guys! :)

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Elizabeth S.

I like (love) your FB page!

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Elizabeth S.

My favorite frugal comfort food is what I grew up to call shepherds pie. Mashed potatoes, hamburg, and corn.

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Monica

Spaghetti, usually meat-less or using hot links sausage

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Wendy

Mine is baked mac & cheese. It's my mom's recipe that I've veganized (yepper, vegan mac & "cheese"). The organic pasta and vegan daiya cheese aren't cheap, but I compensate with homemade breadcrumbs made from homemade sourdough bread. Now there's another frugal comfort food: Homemade bread made in the breadmaker I scored on Freecycle.

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Cassie

Homemade baked macaroni and cheese made with whatever cheeses I happen to have left over in the fridge. If I happen to have some ground turkey or beef, that gets browned and goes in too! Comfort like a hug from the inside out. :)

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Aaron Lin

Scrambled eggs with a splash of A1 sauce.

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Dee Dee

Love grilled cheese and bacon sandwich on rye bread!

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Carson M.

Shrimp combos...typically couscous, rice, potatoes, stir fry, etc...mixed with pan fried or steamed shrimp and any array of fresh spices.

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Carvis Cathey

I am most comforted by a nice Snickers with Almonds candy bar, other wise a good meal on Sunday's after church.

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Larry

Homemade chicken soup.

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Tomomes

A bag of Snyder's of Hanover Honey Mustard Flavor... I try to limit myself to one bag a month. That's how it's frugal! :)

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Tonia

My family loves cinnamon toast as a frugal, comforting and tasty snack.

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Becca

Mine is definitely spaghetti! Super simple and always delicious :)

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Matt Phenix

Tuna noodle casserole, just like Mom made when I was eight. Egg noodles, chunk light tuna, cream of mushroom soup, peas ... perfection.

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Guest

A soft boiled egg with toasted homemade bread. A meal for 40 cents.

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Marja Kuijsten

Mashed potatoes mixed with spinach and a boiled egg on the side is our favorite tasty, fast and frugal meal, even the kids like it! (and they are very picky eaters!)

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Lynda

mac and cheese

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Lynda

i like wisebread on facebook

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Lynda

http://twitter.com/#!/oshkoshbgosh123/status/131560501833502720

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Michael

Funeral potatoes. The cheesy, crunchy goodness is where it's at.

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Joan

Scrambled eggs with cheese and toast. Cheap and easy to fix.

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Sarah

I adore mashed potatoes! With just the right amount of butter it's like heaven!

(I also love bacon on anything, so I guess that counts as a comfort food!)

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Sarah

I also "liked" you on Facebook!

Thanks for such a great giveaway!

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Angie W

This is going to be weird, but my favorite cheap comfort food is rice mixed with egg, onion, and corn. The ultimate comfort for me.

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Angie W

I like you on facebook

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Gerholdt

My mom's recipe for chopped chicken liver. Clean 1 pound livers, removing the yellow sacs. Saute slowly with a coarsely chopped onion until very firm but not rubbery. Discard the onion - it has given up its sweetness and absorbed any bitterness. Chop by hand with two hard boiled eggs and an onion to 1/8 inch pieces. Do not use a food processor! It should have some texture, not be a pate. Mix in a tablespoon or two of chicken fat (vegetable oil also works) until it holds together enough to spread on a cracker, miniature rye bread or baguette slice. Salt and pepper to taste - it takes about twice as much as you think. About $2 for ingredients, makes a great hors d'ouvre.

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kristina

Macaroni and cheese

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Becky Greene

Almost anything with melted cheese - homemade mac and cheese is the classic!

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debbie

ramen noodles...a frugal classic loved by many

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alison

Chili and cornbread are my favorite cheap comfort foods!

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Adry

The good old standby: classic Mac n Cheese!

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Guest

Beans and rice are my favorite comfort food.

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Guest

Saltine crackers crumbled in a cup with milk poured over. Must eat them fast while they are still crunchy.

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Megan

Wait a second now, can you think of many "comfort foods" that are expensive?

Personally, grits and cheddar is a winner every time.

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BillDeel

Home made squash soup. Although a great soup has many ingredients, most of them are spices that you only have to buy once. This recipe below is fine-dining quality. All you need for fresh veggies is 1 squash, 2 onions, 1 lemon, and garlic and ginger. I don't use the fresh corriander, I use dry instead.

The Worlds Best FRUGAL squash soup.
http://www.canadianliving.com/food/fresh_and_spicy_squash_soup.php

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Jenn

a simple box of annie's mac and cheese.

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Guest

Hot cocoa!

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Guest

I make a large sourcream pound cake and stick it in the frig. This gets better tasting with age and lasts along time. I love having something homemade to satisfy my families sweet tooth. I also like to have muffin batter in the frig for quick snacks or bkft. the batter will like several days giveing me more time for the holidays.

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jla

Favorite frugal comfort food:
Snack-Popcorn popped in oil on the stove (loose kernals are a fraction of the cost of microwave popcorn and they taste better!) topped with parm cheese (any cheese will taste good) and Frank's red hot sauce.
"Meal"-2 Corn or flour tortilla microwaved with two pinches of cheddar cheese and two spoonfuls of canned black beans in each. Add any veggies you might have around for added bulk. Quick and cheap and filling!