5 Delicious Frugal Meals


You shouldn't have to sacrifice taste to feed your family on a budget. See more easy weeknight meals pictures.
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For most people on a budget, cutting back on groceries is an easy way to save money. Sure, we all have to eat, but there are plenty of inexpensive foods that can feed a family on the cheap. Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean dinner has to consist of ramen noodles or hot dogs and baked beans. Before you make any drastic changes to your weekly shopping list, feast your eyes on these five delicious, frugal meals that will make your taste buds sing -- and help you stay on track financially, too.

Not all pies are for dessert, you know. Read the next page to learn about a poultry dish that's as tasty as it is inexpensive.

5
Chicken Pot Pie
Once all the ingredients are assembled inside the crust, just cover the pie and bake!
Once all the ingredients are assembled inside the crust, just cover the pie and bake!
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Chicken pot pie is a dinnertime favorite in many households across the country. The fluffy pastry shell gives way to hot, creamy vegetables and chicken that's savory, delicious and very filling. All you need to do is place the ingredients into a pie shell, cover, bake and enjoy.

You can also spice up this old dish by nixing the pie crust and cooking the filling on the stove. Cream cheese, cream of mushroom soup and some herbs and seasonings combine with chicken and frozen vegetables to make a scrumptious meal. Of course, you need something to replace that tasty crust, so bake up some homemade or store-bought biscuits to serve on the side.

Regardless if you decide to make chicken pot biscuits or pie, all the ingredients needed to make the meal are ultra-affordable -- but don't expect to have any leftovers. This crowd-pleasing dish is so tasty everyone will go back for seconds!

4
Tilapia

Most fresh seafood is fairly expensive, but tilapia is a low-fat, high-protein fish that's delicious, nutritious and cheap. While a large portion of the fish and seafood we consume comes from the deep blue wild, virtually all tilapia available for sale come from fish farms, and the vast quantity of available stock leads to a dramatically cheaper fish.

There are many ways to serve this tasty white fish, but cooking it in marinara sauce with a little red wine vinegar will make for a flavorful meal. Finish it off with a dash of salt and serve on a bed of fresh baby spinach with a few tomato slices for a cheap, healthy dish everyone in your family is sure to love.

3
Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken noodle soup is a comforting food when you're sick, but it's also filling and delicious when you're perfectly healthy, too.
Chicken noodle soup is a comforting food when you're sick, but it's also filling and delicious when you're perfectly healthy, too.
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Chicken noodle soup is a global staple. It's a simple, healthy, inexpensive meal that warms the soul on a cold winter day. It's the only thing many of us can stomach when we're sick, but it's still tasty and filling when we're perfectly well. Best of all, it's really cheap. You can purchase chicken stock for less than $2 at almost any grocery store, and the only other ingredients you need are spaghetti noodles and chicken.

Of course, you're not stuck with just chicken and noodles. You can change up the recipe by swapping spaghetti for egg noodles for an Asian-inspired twist or by adding lime to the broth for an extra kick. In fact, you can toss virtually any veggie you have lying around into the mix, and it'll taste great. No matter how you make it, however, it's likely going to cost you only a few dollars per serving.

2
Quesadillas

Tortillas and cheese. It's a simple, cheap and totally tasty combo. Better still, quesadillas are one of those foods you can do almost anything with. Add chicken, beef or shrimp for a meaty kick, and don't be afraid to toss in some onions, bell peppers or other veggies for added flavor. Basically, anything that goes with cheese works. You can even add some bacon and scrambled eggs for a cheesy breakfast that's good any time of day.

Of course, if you want something totally different (and cheap), a Hawaiian-themed quesadilla night will get your family in the mood to do the hula dance. Pineapple, jalapeños, grilled chicken, cheese and tortillas are all you need to cook up some affordable island-inspired flavor.

1
Chicken Parmesan
Chicken Parmesan also makes the perfect topping for a bowlful of noodles!
Chicken Parmesan also makes the perfect topping for a bowlful of noodles!
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Chicken Parmesan is an Italian entree that's guaranteed to please your entire family. With only three main ingredients -- chicken breasts, marinara sauce and shredded Parmesan cheese -- the meal can feed everyone at your table for less than the cost of a single entrée at a typical restaurant. You can even slap each cheesy breast between a couple slices of bread for tasty sandwiches that are as delicious as they are affordable.

Of course, there are countless other inexpensive dining options for families on a budget. With a little bit of creativity (or Internet research), you'll be amazed with the amount of delicious dishes you can make on the cheap. If you're looking for other affordable dinner ideas, be sure to check out these TLC recipes.

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Sources

  • Rosenthal, Elizabeth. "Another Side of Tilapia, the Perfect Factory Fish." The New York Times. May 2, 2011. (Nov. 1, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/science/earth/02tilapia.html?pagewanted=all