10 Easy Budget Meals Anyone Will Love Every Day
Today’s post is designed to share some easy budget meals I use weekly because you may have noticed that the price of groceries continues to rise. I wish I could say I have an animal in the backyard to slaughter, but I don’t. No chickens either. We live in an HOA and they are not allowed. Actually, my lot is too small to have a cow graze, but I can dream, right? I can’t talk Mark into a mini farm, but I keep looking for acreage. But for now, I am happy that I have a small home to live in.
My intention is to help those who have never, or rarely, cooked from scratch to realize the savings of cooking at home and eating as a family around the table. If you stock your pantry with the basics you can cook a meal from your cupboards, food storage stash, your freezer, and refrigerator.
If you missed my article on how to stock a pantry, here is one that may help you. Linda’s Pantry Please remember you can stock your pantry slowly. Each week throw an extra item in your grocery basket. Eventually, you will grocery shop less because you have your own grocery store right there in your house.
One tip I want to add is the fact that you can bake these meals and then divide them into serving portions desired and freeze them for another meal or two. My other Low-Cost Meal Ideas
Easy Budget Meals
Some of these meals you may already make, but I wanted to put them in a printable form. I picture possibly having to make several of these recipes for my neighbors, or at least those who may not be prepared for a disaster.
I am hoping that some church groups will teach the young members in their faith to learn to cook because the drive-up food places will be closed after an unforeseen emergency. These recipes can fill the belly today and in the event of a natural disaster.
1. Cream Chipped Beef
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 gallon milk
- 2 4.5 ounce jars dried beef
- Salt & Pepper taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Melt the butter in a large pan, add the flour and quickly use a whisk to make a roux. Continue whisking and add 1/2 gallon of milk. Keep stirring until the mixture is cooked and smooth. Rinse the beef, chop into pieces and add to the white sauce above. Add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Serve hot over bread, biscuits, or toast.
2. Macaroni and Cheese
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2-1/2 cups milk
- 2-1/12 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated (reserve 1/2 cup for the top of the casserole)
- 1/2 pound Velveeta cheese
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 pound of elbow macaroni cooked al dente
- 1 cup breadcrumbs optional
In a saucepan melt the butter and stir in the flour, salt, mustard, and pepper. Add the milk little by little and stir constantly until thick. Slowly add the cheeses until they melt. Pour the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce and scoop into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top of the casserole followed by the breadcrumbs.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese bubbles around the edges.
This recipe is perfect to take in a thermal cooker (after baking) to a family reunion. It will stay hot for several hours. Be sure and have the recipe ready to hand out to the family. I promise everyone loves homemade mac and cheese.
3. Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can peas drain and save the liquid to mix with the mushroom soup
- 1 can of tuna drained
- 1/2 cup grated cheese
- 1- pound pasta cooked and drained
- Optional crushed potato chips
Grease a 9-inch pan by 13-inch pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put a layer of pasta in the greased pan. Add a layer of peas, then the tuna. Cover with mushroom soup mixed with cheese and the liquid from the peas. If you have some potato chips crush some and put on top. Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
4. Taco Casserole
- 2 pounds hamburger
- 1 chopped onion
- 1-8- ounce can tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- garlic salt
- sale and pepper
- 2 cups grated cheese
- 12 corn or flour tortillas
- 1 can mushroom soup
- 3/4 cup milk
Brown the hamburger with the chopped onion, drain grease. Add the tomato sauce, chili powder, garlic salt, salt, and pepper. Let the meat mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Combine the soup with the milk. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place six of the tortillas in the pan then spread the meat mixture on the tortillas. Add another layer of the tortillas. Next, pour the soup mixture on top and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until heated thoroughly.
5. Spaghetti Casserole
- 1- pound hamburger
- 1 chopped onion
- 1- pound spaghetti cooked and drained
- 2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
- 1- pint sour cream
- 2- 25-ounce jars of spaghetti sauce
Cook the hamburger with the onion and drain the grease. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour one jar of the spaghetti sauce in the baking pan. Add the cooked spaghetti, and hamburger mixture. Dollop the sour cream on top of this layer. Sprinkle half of the cheese on this layer. Pour remaining jar of spaghetti sauce on this layer and follow with the rest of the Mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minute or until thoroughly cooked.
6. Sausage and Gravy
- one-pound of sausage (I like Jimmy Dean)
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3-3-1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
Brown the sausage until cooked. Transfer the cooked meat to another pan. Heat the grease and add the flour to make a roux. Add the milk and stir constantly. Add salt and pepper. Add the meat to the roux mixture and add additional milk if it's too thick for your taste. Serve over homemade biscuits or toast.
7. Meat and Tater Tot Casserole
- 1-1/2 pounds hamburger
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 cups grated cheese
- 1 can cream of chicken soup plus 1/3 can of water
- 1-16- ounce bag of frozen tater tots
- 1/2 bag of frozen peas
Brown the hamburger with the onion and drain the grease. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer the bottom of the pan with the meat and onion mixture. Cover this layer with cheese. Combine the cream of chicken soup with water (add peas here) and spread over the casserole. Top with the bag of tater tots. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
8. Homemade Beef Stew
- 2-3 pound chuck roast (cut into bite-size pieces)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- One chopped onion
- 3 medium size carrots cut in bite-size pieces
- 3-4 potatoes cut in 2-inch chunks
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1-6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
Brown the meat in the butter with the chopped onion. Combine the meat mixture with remaining ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for about 8 hours. Add water if needed.
9. Chicken Enchiladas
- 1-12.5- ounce can chicken or 2 cups of cooked chicken
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup
- 1-4- ounce can green chilies
- 4 green onions chopped
- 3/4 pound grated cheddar cheese (save 1 cup grated cheese for the topping)
- 12 corn tortillas cut into bite size pieces (spray with vegetable oil instead of frying them)
Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl except the tortillas. Grease a 9 by 13-inch pan and alternate layers of the chicken mixture and the tortillas. The last layer will be the chicken mixture and top it off with one cup of reserved cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Serves 6-8 people.
10. Ham Fried Rice
- Sesame oil or vegetable oil
- Bacon and ham
- Chopped onion
- Chopped bell peppers
- Frozen peas optional
- 1/2 to 1 cup rice cooked and cooled per person
- Salt and pepper
- 1 egg per person
Fry meat of choice in a little sesame oil, add onions and peppers. In another pan, scramble the eggs in a small amount of oil stirring until light, fluffy, and dry. Mix all the ingredients together and serve.
I hope you have time to try some of these easy low budget recipes. Let me know what you are doing to cut your grocery bills. I love when my garden is growing, but I don’t have a year-round garden, yet. Thanks for prepping and being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world.
My Favorite Things:
Taco Casserole: AdobeStock_41433241 by MS Photographic
Tuna Casserole: AdobeStock_16785428 by Joe Gough
Spaghetti Casserole: dobeStock_121120068 by Oran Tantapakul
Biscuits and Gravy: AdobeStock_11270184 by Margie Hurwich
Tater Tot Casserole: AdobeStock_32631533 by Dreambigphotos
Beef Stew: AdobeStock_191031603 by Slawomir Fajer
Rice: AdobeStock_43848910 by Chat Chal
12 thoughts on “10 Easy Budget Meals Anyone Will Love Every Day”
Hi, Linda! Some of my favorites in your list. Just for those who haven’t made chipped beef, your ingredients are missing.
You ready for the storm headed our way? It’s supposed to still be a tropical depression when it crosses the UT border.
Hope you and Mark are doing well. Big hugs!
Hi Mare!!!! How are you?? Thanks for letting me know the ingredients were missing, fixed it ASAP! I hope my yard doesn’t get flooded. Hey, a reader is asking for your apple cranberry pie recipe. I loved hearing from you! Hopefully, your home will be okay in this next storm. Be safe. Big hugs!! Linda
It’s been a busy summer, as always. I’ve been keeping up with you; I just haven’t taken the time to reply in a while. I hope your yard doesn’t get flooded, too. You have such a nice set up in your backyard. I’ll find my recipe Tuesday and post it for you. My home will be okay. I just hope Red Canyon doesn’t slide again before I get home from work tomorrow morning. *G* I don’t have to be back to work until Friday night, so I can sit out most of the storm at home. Biggest thing I have to worry about is the storm taking out the power and, as you know, that really won’t be too much of a problem for me. I just won’t be able to get on the internet, but I’ve got plenty to read, so I will have something to do. You and Mark stay safe, too!
Hi, Mare, this year has been crazy with fires in Utah. I sure hope that Red Canyon doesn’t slide again too!! I hope you enjoy your time off, it’s always good to regroup. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us. Big Hugs, Linda
Apple-Berry Ginger Pie
3/4 C apple juice
3 C (12 oz pkg) cranberries
1 1/3 C sugar
1/3 C cornstarch
3 medium cooking apples (McIntosh, Jonathan), peeled, cored, chopped (about 3 c.)
1 Tbsp snipped, crystallized ginger or 1/2 tsp. ground ginger (1 tsp grated fresh ginger)
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp orange rind, finely shredded
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C shortening (I use butter flavored Crisco)
4 – 5 Tbsp cold water
Cook cranberries and apple juice, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until cranberries pop, stirring. Combine sugar and cornstarch; stir into hot cranberry mixture. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in apples and ginger. Set aside to prepare pastry.
Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tbsp water at a time over part of mixture, then toss with a fork until moistened. Repeat until all of the dough is moistened. Form the dough into a ball, then flatten on lightly floured surface. Roll to 15-inch circle. Place into 9-inch pie tin, being careful not to stretch the dough. This will only cover the outer edge of the top of the pie.
Pour the pie filling into the pastry-lined tin. Fold the edges up over the filling, pleating the pastry to fit. Lightly brush the pastry with milk. Cover the pastry with foil to keep from over browning.
Bake at 375º F for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 30 – 35 additional minutes, until crust is golden brown. Cool to room temp before serving. Just before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
OH, Mare, I have got to make this and show pictures!!!!!!!!! Oh my gosh, my mouth is watering!!! Thank you, girlfriend. HUGE HUGS! Linda
There’s no reply link on your last reply (?), so just a quick note up here. It really is a good pie. Definitely one of my favorites. It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. Make sure you use fresh/frozen cranberries, not dried, even if reconstituted. It does not turn out the same. I’ve tried it. *BG* I usually just thinly slice the apples, as well, instead of dicing them. I just crank them through the peeler/corer/slicer.
I guess the storm is going to pick up again tonight. They’ve extended the flash flood watch, as well. Can you believe a week ago we were still in the 80s up here? With the storm we dropped down to the high 50s. By the end of the week we are supposed to be in the high 30s, with snow in the forecast. It sure changes quickly, doesn’t it? Of course, you won’t get snow, but I would guess you’ll get more rain and cooler temps.
My phone just started making loud funny beeps… I forgot all about the Presidential Alert test today. *LOL*
Anyway, you and Mark stay dry. Big hugs to you, Mare
Hi Mare, yes I got the Presidential Alert as well!! Yay! I hope it still works if we have an EMP, YIKES! Probably not! Thanks again for the tips on the pie. I have got to make this and take pictures. I love it!! Be safe, enjoy the snow looking out your window!! Hugs, Linda
Your Tuna Cassarole is just like the recipe my grandmother used. I had misplaced it but now I can make it again. She did put the potato chips on the top for good crunchy crust. I haven’t made a baked Macaroni and Cheese cassarole so this looks to be a good one for when my son, wife and their two sons come – the boys love Mac & Cheese. Also want to try your Taco Casserole. Do you prefer the corn tortillas or the flour ones? By the way, I love the tip of buying the flour tortillas from Costco – now those are the only ones I use.
Hi Carol, oh my gosh I bet our grandmothers got the recipe from the same book!! I usually use the corn tortillas unless my one daughter comes then I use the flour ones!! I think you will love the mac and cheese! It’s so yummy!! I love Costco tortillas! Linda
The tuna casserole is just like we had when I was a kid!
Funny story about tuna casserole: When I was about 12, it was my week to cook dinner for the family – my mom & dad, brother just older than me and my little sister (sis and I took turns cooking! but only in the fall when mom was packing apples). Well, I asked at Sunday dinner what everyone wanted me to fix for Monday’s dinner so I could take out meat, etc., in preparation. Everyone (including my brother) said they didn’t care. So, I fixed tuna casserole (my favorite). Monday dinner, I asked what everyone wanted for Tuesday dinner. Everyone said they didn’t care, so I fixed tuna casserole. Tuesday dinner, I asked again what everyone wanted and they (foolishly) said they didn’t care. SO, Wednesday’s dinner was tuna casserole again! Wednesday dinner, I asked again what everyone wanted for the next dinner and guess what? I had 4 suggestions!!! None of which was tuna casserole.
I pulled the same stunt on my husband after we got married. Now he was not a particular person when it came to meals but after the 3rd or 4th time in a row of the same meal, he was full of suggestions!
Oh, Leanne, I LOVED waking up to read your comment! I have the giggles, just so you know I love to laugh and your story is awesome! The tuna casserole story is a good one. My sister told me once that she made a tuna casserole one night when her kids were little and all of a sudden one of the kids said, “where’s the tuna”, she forgot to put the tuna in, oh we have laughed over this story for years! Happy Tuesday, my friend. Hugs! Linda