cheap meals http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9183/all en-US 10 Budget-Friendly Meals Everyone Should Know How to Make http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-friendly-meals-everyone-should-know-how-to-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-budget-friendly-meals-everyone-should-know-how-to-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cooking-178281634.jpg" alt="cooking" title="cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm always looking for ways to feed my family for less. It seems like no matter how much meal planning I do, I'm still running up a grocery bill that's higher than I'd like to admit. Thankfully, the Internet is full of great ideas for those of us looking to lower our food costs. Even better? We don't have to sacrifice flavor or portion sizes to see the savings! (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-eat-every-day-a-month-of-frugal-meals?ref=seealso"> What to Eat Every Day: A Month of Frugal Meals</a>)</p> <p>Here are 10 budget-friendly meals you should be making.</p> <h2>1. Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers</h2> <p>A staple in our home, these<a href="http://www.writingchapterthree.com/2012/05/5-dinner-stuffed-peppers.html"> Veggie Stuffed Peppers</a> are a complete meal on their own for just $5 total. If served with rice, this meal could even satisfy four people, though we usually divide it between two adults and one hungry toddler.</p> <h2>2. Slow Cooker Taco Bowls</h2> <p>The slow cooker is a great option for those of you looking to creative low-cost meals. These easy<a href="http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/07/taco-chicken-bowls/"> Chicken Taco Bowls</a> are no exception. The recipe serves eight, but costs only $10 to make. Whoever thinks budget foods can't be bursting with flavor will want to check out this recipe and its impressive ingredient list. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes?ref=seealso">25 Cheap and Easy Crock Pot Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>3. Pita Pizzas</h2> <p>This next meal is so simple, it doesn't require a recipe. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Then top store-bought pita or naan bread with some canned tomato sauce, shredded cheese, whatever veggies you have or like, and meat. Bake for eight minutes until the cheese is bubbly. This is a kid-pleaser, too &mdash; I mean, who doesn't like pizza?</p> <h2>4. Slow Cooker Curry</h2> <p>When thinking about the inexpensive, many gloss over more exotic flavors. This<a href="http://dinneronthecheap.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/cauliflower-potato-and-mushroom-curry/"> Cauliflower, Potato, and Mushroom Curry</a> recipe boasts a lot of spice, but relies on cheap ingredients (canned chickpeas, potatoes, garlic, onions, etc.) to make up the bulk of the meal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker-recipes-for-busy-or-lazy-vegetarians?ref=seealso">35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy Vegetarians</a>)</p> <h2>5. Veggie Lasagna</h2> <p>Another hearty dish, this<a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2011/05/10-meals-for-10-veggie-lasagna.html"> vegetarian lasagna</a> costs just $10 to make and totals 10 servings in all. I like to eat it for a couple nights, and then freeze the rest of the batch (cutting into individual slices first, then wrapping in plastic wrap and storing in some gallon zip bags) to keep the savings going longer.</p> <h2>6. Soup in a Jar</h2> <p>I love this novel ideal for weeknight<a href="http://www.noodlesandnuggets.com/2013/05/weeknight-soup-in-jar.html"> Soup in a Jar</a>. This meal is totally customizable and relies on dried beans (very reasonably priced and naturally shelf-stable) and whatever else you might have on hand. By clearing out your refrigerator and pantry shelves, you can use up certain foods before they go bad, lessening waste and saving money in the process.</p> <h2>7. White Bean Tuna Salad</h2> <p>At just $1.36 per serving, this<a href="http://www.bhg.com/recipes/healthy/dinner/cheap-heart-healthy-dinner-ideas/#page=5"> White Bean Tuna Salad</a> packs a good amount of healthy protein. The recipe calls for arugula or spinach, but I suggest seeing what greens are on sale at your local grocer. Plus, you can eat the salad on its own or serve with crusty bread for a more sophisticated tuna salad sandwich.</p> <h2>8. Black Bean Burgers</h2> <p>Sometimes it's not just about saving money, but &mdash; better &mdash; maximizing the ingredients you already have in the pantry. These<a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/black-bean-burgers-recipe.html"> Black Bean Burgers</a> are made of canned black beans, chopped onions and garlic, egg, and a few spices. They're a perfect meal to whip up while clearing out your cupboards before the next grocery run. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-delicious-and-healthy-black-bean-recipes?ref=seealso">Cheap and Healthy Black Bean Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>9. Stuffed Baked Potatoes</h2> <p>This<a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/potato-bar-chili"> Potato Bar-Chili</a> recipe costs an impressively low 51 cents per serving and just 159 calories per half cup. Please note that this recipe is for the filling only, but making perfectly<a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/the-baked-potato-recipe.html"> baked russet potatoes</a> is easy! Vegetarian? TVP would be a great substitute for the ground beef.</p> <h2>10. Macaroni and Cheese</h2> <p>Noodles and cheese are both inexpensive ingredients, but when combined they make an incredibly satisfying comfort dish. The author of this simple, from-scratch<a href="http://www.budgetgourmetmom.com/from-scratch-mac-and-cheese/"> Mac and Cheese</a> recipe suggests buying block cheese and shredding it yourself for the lowest cost. And don't omit the ground mustard &mdash; it's the best part!</p> <p><em>What are your go-to budget meals? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-friendly-meals-everyone-should-know-how-to-make" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Budget-Friendly Meals Everyone Should Know How to Make" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink budget meals cheap eats cheap meals Fri, 28 Feb 2014 11:36:18 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1127976 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Eat Every Day: A Month of Frugal Meals http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-eat-every-day-a-month-of-frugal-meals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-eat-every-day-a-month-of-frugal-meals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6274802557_e2e915a3b7_z.jpg" alt="making breakfast" title="making breakfast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have planned menus for the duration of my marriage (nearly 31 years). Every Saturday morning, I do a couple of things. First, I make a fresh cup of coffee. Then I get out a piece of paper and a pencil, and I start planning my week&rsquo;s menus.</p> <p>The following method works for me and has enabled me to stay within a household grocery budget for years. I&rsquo;m a bit of a foodie, so it&rsquo;s really important to me that food tastes really great. We could eat more cheaply, but to me, food is one of life&rsquo;s great pleasures. It is also important to me that meals I cook are family-friendly and both the husband and daughter will eat them happily. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grocery-shop-for-five-on-100-a-week">How to Grocery Shop for Five on $100 a Week</a>)</p> <p>A few general notes about grocery shopping:</p> <ul> <li>I rarely use coupons, because I have learned that I&rsquo;ll just forget them at the register. If you can remember to use them, bonus points. I do, however, participate in my store&rsquo;s discount program, so I receive 5% off every two weeks on my receipt. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>I do look at the grocery ads each week to see what is on sale, and I try to buy things we will use. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Once every two months, we do a big Costco shopping. (We would go more often, but our nearest Costco is two hours away.) <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>I shop at the same store every week because I know where everything is. Time is money, right? <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables.</li> </ul> <p>When I learned to cook back in the Stone Age, we were taught that a balanced meal was comprised of a protein, a starch, a vegetable or two, and fruit.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve evolved a little from that, but for the most part, that&rsquo;s the way I roll. While I am not a nutritionist, I believe the meals presented here are pretty nutritionally sound.</p> <p>You will notice that several of the &ldquo;proteins&rdquo; come up more than once during the month. For instance, in this plan you will see that fish comes up several times in different forms. However, it&rsquo;s all from the same bag of (frozen) fish. Buying in bulk is cheaper, but gang, we have to use it up. On the subject of proteins, you will notice that a few of the recipes can easily be made vegetarian, such as the split-pea soup, chili, and spring rolls.&nbsp; Similarly, you may &ldquo;lighten&rdquo; recipes by using turkey burger instead of hamburger or egg substitute instead of scrambled eggs.</p> <p>For purposes of brevity, I need to assume that you know how to make chicken stock or various types of potatoes. If not, the Internet has a wealth of recipes and video demonstrations, and I hope you aren&rsquo;t daunted by the prospect of picking up a new cooking skill.</p> <p>I also advocate large <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-five-day-freeze-batch-cooking-for-the-rest-of-us">batch cooking</a> and freezing portions. I work full-time, and on those nights when I can pop half of a lasagna into the oven or defrost some frozen soup, I think that&rsquo;s pretty great. This post also presumes that you have access to a microwave at work for re-heating leftovers.&nbsp;</p> <p>I am sure you will need to make some substitutions here and there. Keep in mind when you do that to look ahead on the menu plan &mdash; because we are using up leftovers here, your substitution might need to be worked into a meal on another date.</p> <h2>Week One</h2> <p>Notes about this week's menu:</p> <ul> <li>After shopping on Saturday, make a batch of hard-boiled eggs, wash and re-pack lettuce greens, and make a double batch of chocolate chip cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Shrimp is affordable if you buy it frozen and cook/clean it yourself.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Yogurt is cheaper if you buy the large tubs and repack into small plastic containers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Save ends of French bread and freeze for later use as croutons.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Here's my recipe for easy huevos rancheros: To two cans of fat-free refried beans, add &frac12; cup water and &frac12; cup salsa; heat. Crack four eggs into heated beans, gently spoon bean mixture over eggs, cover, and cook about 8 minutes, or until eggs are set. Add shredded cheddar cheese and serve over shredded lettuce with taco chips.</li> </ul> <p><b>Saturday </b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with cheese and English muffins. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Tuna sandwiches on whole-wheat bread with green onion, pickle relish, capers and avocado; chips; apple slices; and cookies. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/vegetable-spring-rolls-with-peanut-dipping-sauce/">Spring rolls</a> with vegetables and cooked shrimp, peanut sauce, and rice (save leftover vegetables).</li> </ul> <p><b>Sunday </b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Pancakes and sausage links (make double recipe and refrigerate half).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover tuna salad with crackers, tomato soup, string cheese, pear slices, and cookies. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://www.pauladeen.com/index.php/recipes/view2/bobbys_lighter_baked_spaghetti/">Bobby Dean&rsquo;s Lighter Baked Spaghetti</a> (freeze half), garlic bread, and salad.</li> </ul> <p><b>Monday </b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Cereal with sliced bananas, hard-boiled eggs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Turkey sandwiches on whole-wheat bread, chips, sliced pears, yogurt, and cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: Huevos rancheros over shredded lettuce, tortilla chips.</li> </ul> <p><b>Tuesday </b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Leftover pancake-and-sausage sandwiches.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Turkey sandwich wraps, chips, yogurt, banana, and cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://busycooks.about.com/od/seafoodrecipe1/r/salmonpatties.htm">Salmon patties</a>, rice, steamed broccoli with Dijon mustard-butter sauce and baked sweet potatoes (save extra potatoes for Thursday/Friday breakfast).</li> </ul> <p><b>Wednesday </b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Fried rice (use leftover rice) with egg and leftover vegetables from Sunday.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Egg salad sandwiches, leftover tortilla chips, yogurt, cookies, banana-pear cup.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: Chicken legs in BBQ sauce (slather with pre-made sauce and either cook in a slow cooker or in the oven at 350 for 1.5 hours.), mashed potatoes, carrots and green beans.</li> </ul> <p><b>Thursday </b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sweet-potato-muffins/">Sweet Potato muffins</a> and hard-boiled eggs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover BBQ chicken sandwiches; carrot sticks, chips, yogurt, and cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner:<b>&nbsp; </b><a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/the-best-beef-stew-sam-choy-378913">Sam Choy&rsquo;s Beef Stew</a>, garlic bread, and salad.</li> </ul> <p><b>Friday </b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast:&nbsp;Sweet potato muffins and cottage cheese.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover beef stew, crackers, cheese, yogurt, pears and cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sloppy-joes-ii/">Sloppy Joes</a>, French fries, and coleslaw.</li> </ul> <h2>Week Two</h2> <p>Notes about this week's menu:</p> <ul> <li>After shopping on Saturday, make a batch of Rice Krispies treats&nbsp;(this week's &quot;cookies&quot;) and hard-boil some eggs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Never toss out extra French bread &mdash; put it in your freezer.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Costco makes a cheaper rotisserie chicken than I can make, myself. In fact, my neighbors always get two and freeze the meat from the second one.</li> </ul> <p><b>Saturday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast:&nbsp;Whole-wheat tortilla wraps filled with scrambled eggs, cheese, and salsa.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Shrimp-salad stuffed tomatoes and crackers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: Rotisserie <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chicken-with-Tarragon-Caper-Sauce-with-Mixed-Greens-108454">chicken with tarragon sauce</a>, salad greens, sliced beets, French bread. (Save half of chicken meat. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tasty-ways-to-use-chicken-stock">Make broth with the chicken carcass</a> and freeze the chicken broth.)</li> </ul> <p><b>Sunday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast:&nbsp; Yogurt-fruit-cereal bowls and hard-boiled eggs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Chicken wraps with lettuce, tomato, and leftover tarragon sauce.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Easy-Split-Pea-Soup-1919">Split-pea soup</a> (freeze half); biscuits (from mix), carrot sticks (save extra for Wednesday's breakfast).</li> </ul> <p><b>Monday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Whole-wheat tortillas with peanut butter, bananas, and raisins.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Pasta salad with cheese cubes, cucumbers, olives, tuna, celery, and dressing (make double batch); crackers; yogurt; cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/quick-chicken-potpie-50400000110383/">Lighter chicken pot pie</a>, sliced tomatoes.</li> </ul> <p><b>Tuesday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Banana pancakes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover chicken pot pie, crackers, cheese, yogurt, and cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: Tilapia with tomatoes and rice; broccoli (save leftover rice and broccoli). To make the tilapia, spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Add tilapia filets and sprinkle with oregano, salt, and pepper. Top with sliced tomatoes, bread crumbs, and lots of parmesan. Bake at 375 for thirty minutes.</li> </ul> <p><b>Wednesday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Fried rice with carrots and broccoli.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover pasta salad, crackers and cheese, cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/simple-chili-190598">Chili</a>, cornbread, and celery sticks.</li> </ul> <p><b>Thursday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Toast with peanut butter and raisins, apple slices.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover chili, cornbread, and celery sticks (stuff with light cream cheese); cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=403446">Veggie calzones</a> and salad.</li> </ul> <p><b>Friday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Cup of instant miso soup with tofu and a hard-boiled egg, an orange.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover calzone and salad; yogurt and cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Meat-Loaf-with-Barbecue-Sauce-102658">Meatloaf</a> with BBQ sauce, mashed potatoes, carrots and green beans.</li> </ul> <h2>Week Three</h2> <p>Notes about this week's recipes:</p> <ul> <li>After shopping on Saturday, make a double batch of peanut-butter cookies and your hard-boiled eggs.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Wash lettuces and repackage.</li> </ul> <p><b>Saturday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: French toast.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover meatloaf sandwiches with pickles, cheddar, and lettuce; fruit.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: Tacos, fat-free refried beans, and rice.</li> </ul> <p><b>Sunday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakast: <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/moms-breakfast-strata/">Breakfast strata</a> (save half for Monday breakfast), fresh fruit.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Taco salad (using extra lettuce and leftover taco ingredients from Saturday).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://www.kansas.com/2011/02/01/1700359/meatball-minestrone-soup-a-hearty.html">Minestrone</a> (using your frozen chicken broth) &mdash; make double batch of meatballs.</li> </ul> <p><b>Monday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Leftover breakfast strata and fresh fruit.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Reheated minestrone soup, cheese sandwiches, and cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: Scalloped potatoes with ham, baby peas, and broiled tomato halves.</li> </ul> <p><b>Tuesday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Bagels with light cream cheese and hard-boiled eggs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover scalloped potatoes, salad, cookies, apple slices.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: Shrimp salad with home-made croutons, hard-cooked eggs, and avocado; French bread. To make the croutons, defrost leftover French bread and cut into cubes. Heat olive oil on stove and add bread; sprinkle with garlic salt. Toss until crunchy; drain on paper towels.</li> </ul> <p><b>Wednesday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with leftover ham and broiled tomatoes (from Monday dinner), toast.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Meatball sandwiches (using meatballs from Sunday), string cheese, chips, celery sticks, and cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/vegetable-stew-giambotta-recipe/index.html">Vegetable stew</a> with cheese toasts and couscous.</li> </ul> <p><b>Thursday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Bagels with cream cheese and hard-boiled eggs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover vegetable stew with couscous, celery with peanut butter, string cheese, and cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://southernfood.about.com/od/crockpotturkeyrecipes/r/r80418b.htm">Island BBQ&rsquo;d turkey legs</a> (slow cooker) with rice and bok choy.</li> </ul> <p><b>Friday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Fried rice with leftover rice and bok choy, orange sections.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover turkey sandwiches, cottage cheese, carrot and celery sticks, cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1743,130181-244195,00.html">Beef salad</a>, rolls.</li> </ul> <h2>Week Four</h2> <p>After shopping on Saturday, make a batch of <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/millys-oatmeal-brownies/detail.aspx">oatmeal brownies</a>.</p> <p><b>Saturday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Cereal and toast.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Chicken-noodle soup (canned), whole-grain crackers, cheese.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: Breaded tilapia sandwiches with caper mayo on wheat buns, sweet potato French fries.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Sunday</strong></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Coffee cake.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Tuna sandwich (with mayo, capers, celery and lettuce) in wheat pita bread.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1826,151180-245206,00.html">Cowboy beans</a>; corn bread (from mix); plate of carrots, celery, and cucumbers.</li> </ul> <p><b>Monday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-oatmeal-muffins/">Oatmeal muffins</a> and applesauce.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover cowboy beans and corn bread, yogurt, string cheese and cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: Defrosted/reheated Bobby Dean&rsquo;s lighter baked spaghetti; Caesar salad (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">use up any frozen French bread</a> and make croutons).</li> </ul> <p><b>Tuesday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Oatmeal muffins.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover spaghetti, salad, yogurt, breadsticks, and cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: Baked chicken thighs, twice-baked potatoes, sliced tomatoes.</li> </ul> <p><b>Wednesday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Whole-grain waffles with peanut butter and bananas.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover chicken thighs, leftover potatoes, orange-banana cup with yogurt and cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/hamburger-stroganoff-65570">Hamburger stroganoff</a> over noodles, cooked carrots, bread sticks.</li> </ul> <p><b>Thursday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: Cup of miso soup with tofu and hard-boiled egg.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Leftover stroganoff and breadsticks, fruit cup, cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: Defrosted/reheated split pea soup and English muffin pizza halves.</li> </ul> <p><b>Friday</b></p> <ul> <li>Breakfast: English muffins with peanut butter and applesauce.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lunch: Egg salad sandwiches, chips, yogurt, and cookies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dinner: <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/campbells-golden-mushroom-soup-pork-chops-111798">Baked pork chops in mushroom-sherry sauce</a> (I like to substitute sherry for the water listed in the recipe); dilled carrots; rice.</li> </ul> <p>I hope this helps you out, readers!&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-eat-every-day-a-month-of-frugal-meals" class="sharethis-link" title="What to Eat Every Day: A Month of Frugal Meals" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink cheap meals frugal meal planning healthy meals Mon, 12 Nov 2012 10:36:46 +0000 Marla Walters 954959 at http://www.wisebread.com Cooking With Kale: Easy Recipes for Real People http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-with-kale-easy-recipes-for-real-people <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cooking-with-kale-easy-recipes-for-real-people" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7867755072_fbe22871b8_z.jpg" alt="kale smoothie" title="kale smoothie" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Kale is packed with <a href="http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-truth-about-kale">healthful and disease-fighting nutrients</a>. Plus, it&rsquo;s cheap. A bunch that contains several servings can be had for a dollar or two at the grocery store, or a large bag with washed and ready-to-cook leaves can be purchased for about $5. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-cruciferous-vegetables-for-health-conscious-cooks">6 Cheap Cruciferous Vegetables for Health-Conscious Cooks</a>)</p> <p>Many recipes containing kale, though, require expensive and hard-to-find ingredients; preparation time is often excessive. That may have prevented you from cooking with kale.</p> <p>But there are easy and inexpensive ways to use this vegetable in everyday recipes. Preparation varies but generally starts by washing the kale's leaves, separating the leaves from the thick stems, and tearing the kale into small pieces. Then you might food-process raw kale, steam it in the microwave or stovetop, or sauté it.</p> <p>Consider these ways of making kale part of your diet.</p> <h2>Breakfast</h2> <p>One of my favorite <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-quick-homemade-breakfasts">cheap and quick breakfast foods is a smoothie</a>. Kale can easily be added to a smoothie by food-processing or blending torn-off parts into itty-bitty pieces and mixing into the smoothie. Extra-sweet ingredients can help mask the slightly bitter taste of raw kale.</p> <p>Grown-ups may like a <a href="http://taste-for-adventure.tablespoon.com/2012/05/11/strawberry-kale-smoothie/">strawberry-kale smoothie</a> for a nutritious start to the day. Kids may enjoy a sweeter <a href="http://www.andersoncooper.com/2012/06/22/kale-smoothie-for-kids-recipe/">apple-juice smoothie</a>. These recipes call for crushed ice, but I substitute water or milk to avoid clogging up my blender.</p> <p>For a more traditional type of breakfast, try <a href="http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=823623">eggs and kale</a>. I especially liked this recipe using extra butter to sauté kale to a crunchy texture plus add flavor to the dish.</p> <p>An elegant dish for a more leisurely breakfast or a Sunday brunch is this <a href="http://breakfast.food.com/recipe/baked-eggs-kale-parmesan-frittata-190817">kale and Parmesan frittata</a>. This recipe is slightly more elaborate than a scrambled-egg dish but uses ingredients that you are likely to have in your kitchen. I substituted corn meal for almond meal.</p> <h2>Lunch</h2> <p>Jazzing up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sex-up-your-sandwich-ideas-for-budget-conscious-brown-baggers">lunches cheaply</a> and easily is often a challenge. Kale and some special ingredients can help add variety without dramatically driving up costs.</p> <p>For a quick lunch meal at home, this four-ingredient <a href="http://recipes.womenshealthmag.com/Recipe/cheese-and-kale-quesadillas.aspx">cheese and kale quesadilla</a> is a filling solution that can boost your energy rather than induce sleep. Add black beans, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-rotisserie-chicken">rotisserie chicken</a>, and/or spices (like cilantro or dried red pepper) if you want something more exotic but still easy.</p> <p>A yummy and hearty meal that can be prepared for lunch, or served as a dinner entrée and eaten as leftovers, is <a href="http://littleleopardbook.com/2012/05/04/whats-for-lunch-kale-pesto-spaghetti-with-goat-cheese/">kale pesto spaghetti</a>. This recipe calls for goat cheese and cashews, but you can substitute feta cheese and almonds if those are your mainstays. You can also lighten up on the salt and water and still have a great pesto. Keep extra sauce in the refrigerator.</p> <h2>Appetizers and Side Dishes</h2> <p>Kale can be a great snack, prepared and eaten on the spot or saved for another day.</p> <p>A popular snack is <a href="http://tastefullyjulie.com/crispy-kale-chips/">kale chips</a>. These are relatively easy to make, but you do need to make sure the kale is completely dry before baking. Soggy kale does not become crisp even when cooked. <a href="http://tastefullyjulie.com/crispy-kale-chips/">Tastefully Julie</a> offers valuable tips in her recipe.</p> <p>My own concoction for an appetizer is a sour-cream dip made with a bunch of kale (approximately 7-10 large leaves). Steam kale (place rinsed and cut-up kale pieces in a steamer basket, put the steamer inside of a pot with water on the bottom, bring the water to boiling, cover, and cook for a few minutes to bright green). Chop the kale into fine pieces in a food processor; use half now, and freeze the rest for later. Mix the finely chopped kale with 16 ounces of sour cream, Parmesan cheese to taste, and either onion soup mix or your favorite spices. Serve with tortilla chips.</p> <p>To serve kale as a side dish, prepare like <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sauteed-swiss-chard-with-parmesan-cheese/">chard</a> or a similar green vegetable, steaming the kale and then sautéing in olive oil. For a side with even more healthy ingredients, try this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sweetonveg.com/2010/01/quirky-quinoa/">quinoa recipe</a>. Use olive oil and brown rice as substitutes if you don't have coconut oil and quinoa on hand.</p> <h2>Dinner</h2> <p>Kale can be part of a main dish for dinner. You might use kale in your favorite soups, stews, or pastas, substituting for spinach or mixing with entrees on a whimsy.</p> <p>Kris at Young Married Chic (who shared her <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes">fabulous, cheap, and easy crock pot recipes</a> with me) offers this <a href="http://youngmarriedchic.com/2010/12/rainy-day/">kale and white bean soup</a> as a perfect meal for a rainy evening.</p> <p>For those of you who are cooking for one, try this <a href="http://www.runningtothekitchen.com/2012/01/kale-feta-egg-bake/">kale and feta bake with marinara sauce</a> (it's wonderful, though I prepared the recipe without the egg). This dish can be doubled or quadrupled and serves as an easy-to-make and nutritious vegetable lasagna.</p> <p><em>Do you cook with kale? What are your favorite recipes? </em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-with-kale-easy-recipes-for-real-people" class="sharethis-link" title="Cooking With Kale: Easy Recipes for Real People" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Health and Beauty affordable recipes cheap meals healthy foods kale Wed, 29 Aug 2012 10:24:42 +0000 Julie Rains 952401 at http://www.wisebread.com