Thrifty Meals 10 Meals For $10.00 Or Less

By Linda Holmes

Thin cut steak or steak marked down in the meat department. If it is thicker you can cook it and cut it in strips on an angle. Serve with salad or over salad. Steak can be marinated for an hour in the same dressing you are going to use on the salad.

Chicken legs and thighs marinated in spicy italian dressing. Place chicken in a bag with the dressing for 1 to 24 hours, then remove and grill. Serve with boiled sweet potatoes and green beans. This meal is inexpensive and colorful.

Hamburgers with potatoe salad make a quick and easy meal. Grill hamburger patties and serve on buns with lettuce, tomatoe, pickles, and condiments. For the potatoe salad, boil 4 medium potatoes, hard boil 3 eggs, chop the potatoes, eggs (slice one egg for top of salad), a dill or kosher dill pickle, 1/4 onion (finely chopped), add in 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 cup mayo and 4 Tbls yellow mustard, 1 tsp pickle juice. Fold all ingredients together, taste to see if you need to add more mayo or mustard, top with sliced egg, sprinkle lightly with paperika or chili powder – good served warm or cold.


Pork chops, stuffing and greens are another quick and thrifty meal. Grill, broil or fry the pork chops until cooked all the way through. For the stuffing use either a box stuffing and prepare using the directions on the box, or make your own stuffing. Cook 1 to 2 strips of bacon and crumble. Make dressing for greens with 2 Tbls olive oil and 1 Tbls of white wine vinegar. Clean the greens by boiling them until just limp, drain and combine with bacon and dressing.

Chicken and noodles can be made of leftover chicken or from a whole chicken. Begin by making the noodles. In large bowl, combine 4 eggs with 1 Tbls of salt and enough flour to make a dough you can work with your hands. Dump dough out on counter and knead until flour is worked in. Roll to 1/8 inch – very thin. Cut into noodles and lay out to dry. About 2 hours before serving boil chicken until completely cooked. Remove chicken from water – reserving the water. If you boiled a chicken with bones and skin, remove all bones and skin. Place the chicken back in water and bring to boil. If you need more liquid, add some chicken broth. Once chicken is at a rolling boil, slowly add noodles, a bit at a time, giving the water a chance to come to a boil again each time. Boil noodles 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

Pasta with red sauce can be made with or without meat. Boil 1/2 package of spaghetti or spaghittini until just soft. To make a red sauce, saute 1 diced onion with 2 minced garlic cloves in 2 Tbls oil. When onions are clear, if you are adding meat, brown the meat with the onions – ground beef, italian sausage or any spicy sausage works well, once meat is cooked through, add 1 large can tomotoe sauce or diced tomotoes, 1 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1-2 Tbls chopped fresh parsley or 1 Tbls dried parsley. Heat through, serve with spaghetti and parmesian cheese. To add garlic bread to the meal, combine softened butter with garlic powder, spread on bread, wrap bread in foil and heat in 350 degree oven until warm.

Breakfast burritoes can be frozen and used all week. You will need 1 dozen eggs – scrambled, 1/2 pound bacon – cooked and crumbled, 1 pound sausage – browned and drained, 2 medium potatoes – boiled and chopped, 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (or any cheese you like), hot sauce or jalapenos optional, 8 flour tortillas. Fold all ingredients together except cheese and tortillas. Lay tortilla on a square of foil, spoon on 1 cup or so of egg mixture, sprinkle with cheese and fold up into burrito – fold both sides toward center, then from end nearest you, roll to other end, pushing ingredients inside as you roll. Cover with foil and either freeze or refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be removed from foil and heated in microwave or heated in foil in oven. You can also make these without meat and add chopped onion, bell peppers, squash, zuccini, or any vegetable you like. This will make 8 burritos.

Swiss steak – use any inexpensive cut of beef cut into thin strips. In crock pot, place meat, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 chopped bell pepper, 1 onion diced. Serve over rice with a side of cooked green beans or salad.

Macaroni and cheese cassarole is made by browning and draining hamburger, make the macaroni and cheese, add in the cooked hamburger, stir, pour into baking dish, cover with grated cheese, bake at 350 degrees until cheese has melted and serve.

Another thrifty meal idea is baked chicken with potatoes, celery and onion. Clean and place the chicken in a baking dish with 2 Tbls butter, salt and pepper. Cover and bake 2 hours at 375 degrees (cooking time and temp may vary depending on your area – cook until no pink juice runs out of thigh when poked. Last hour of cooking add 2-3 potatoes peeled and cut in pieces, 2 stalks of celery cut in pieces, 1 onion cut in pieces. Add water to baking dish when adding potatoes. Can be served with gravy.

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