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