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Cheap Meals: Ideas

19 Jun

Lately, I’ve been struggling with meal planning.  I think it’s because the BF and I are living together for the first time; now I feel like I need to make fancy, grownup food for every meal.  That is silly though, since he could totally care less about what he eats.  This guy can eat the same thing for every meal and not get tired of it.  Men are so strange.

So, in mostly an effort to jog my own brain, [and partly an effort to share ideas with you ;) ] here are a list of my favorite cheap and easy meals.

  • BBQ Shredded Chicken:  Place desired number of chicken breasts in slow cooker.  Pour BBQ sauce over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 8ish hours or high for 4ish hours (so precise, I know).  Shred the chicken.  Serve in tacos, over rice, on a bun, by itself… possibilities are endless.
  • Mexican Shredded Chicken:  Same recipe as above; substitute salsa and/or taco seasoning.
  • Mexican Egg Burrito:  Sautee diced vegetables/beans of choice (ex. green pepper, onion, zucchini, squash, eggplant, carrots, kidney beans, etc) with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning over medium-high heat.  While veggies are cooking, scramble 1-2 eggs.  Serve eggs and vegetables in a tortilla with salsa, avocado, cheese, and plain greek yogurt (tastes just like sour cream, seriously!)
  • Scrambled eggs and toast:  self-explanatory.
  • Grilled peanut butter and jelly:  also pretty self-explanatory.  Make a PB&J and toast it in a pan over medium heat.  Or in a toaster oven, if you are fancy like that!  You can add butter to each side to toast it up nicer.  Or do it without; it works both ways.
  • Turkey, avocado, and tomato sandwich:  on toasted bread, layer sliced turkey, sliced tomato, some sort of lettuce (whatever you have on hand- we usually have spinach or kale), avocado and drizzle balsamic dressing on top.
  • Pasta & Sauce:  you can just do pasta and plain sauce, or sautee some vegetables and add to the sauce; can also class it up with scrambled egg (don’t knock it til you try it), chicken, chick peas, ground turkey/chicken/beef, etc.
  • Tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad: by themselves, on a sandwich, or on a salad.
  • Quinoa Stir Fry

I also try to keep fresh vegetables (carrots, green pepper, cucumber, etc) and frozen veggies (green beans, peas) on hand at all times so that if we get lazy and decide to have PB&J for dinner, at least I can add some sort of vegetable and feel a little healthy ;)

What are your go-to meals when you’re feeling lazy? Please share, I love getting more ideas!!

Cheap Meals: Quinoa Stir Fry

15 Apr

Get ready to learn how to make one of my absolute favorite meals… quinoa stir fry!

The concept is fairly simple:  mix cooked quinoa with any random veggies, meats, sauces you have on hand, and you’ve got a tasty meal!


Quinoa Stir Fry

serves 4


  • 1.5 c uncooked quinoa
  • 3 c water (or if you want to be fancy, you can use chicken or veggie broth)
  • 1 c various mix ins:  I like green beans, carrots, scrambled egg, and peas.  But seriously, almost anything works!
  • 1 t powdered ginger
  • soy sauce to taste- maybe 3-4 T? (or if you’re feelin fancy, use stir fry sauce or a combo of the two!)

Step 1:  Add quinoa and water to pot.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to low and let it simmer 15 minutes.

Step 2:  While quinoa is cooking, dice up your veggies.  Add to a pre-heated and greased pan (I use about 1 T olive oil), on medium-high heat.  Cook until desired doneness (is that a word?).  Once veggies are done, take out of pan (or leave ’em in the pan, whatever floats your boat) and add eggs.  Scramble up the eggs in the pan and let them cook until done.  Sprinkle everything with half the ginger powder.




Step 3: By this time, the quinoa should be done.  Fluff it with a fork, make sure all liquid was absorbed, and take off the heat.  Add the other half of the ginger powder and salt and pepper to taste.


Step 4: Add everything to the same pot and start mixing together.  Add the soy sauce and mix until incorporated.  Viola!  Quinoa stir fry is ready.





This makes a great dinner and also a great meal to throw in a tupperware to take to work for lunch, as evidenced below :)




Cheap Meals: Spinach and Sausage Pasta

4 Apr

One of the easiest ways to save money is to make your own food.  Buying lunch or dinner every day can really take a toll on your wallet.

However, it may be daunting to sort through the millions (billions? gajillions?) of recipes on the internet and in cookbooks to find worthwhile meals.  Instead, I will post a few of my favorite recipes in hopes that you’ll enjoy them too and can end your internet searching!  The recipes that I feature will all be easy, fairly cheap, and healthy… and will usually make enough to have leftovers for a few more lunches or dinners!

To begin… today’s recipe is Spinach and Sausage Pasta.  Quite delicious, if I may say so myself :)  I’ve made it twice now and both times were fantatsic!  The recipe, with my changes below, made enough for dinner and lunch for my boyfriend and I.


I found the recipe on Budget Bytes.  If you haven’t checked out the Budget Bytes website yet, I suggest that you do so ASAP!  It’s full of these easy, cheap, and nutritious recipes that I love!

I made a few changes to the recipe on that site; I used 12 oz. of pasta instead of 8 and 3 cups of chicken broth rather than 2.  My BF doesn’t like cheese, so we left that as an optional add-on to our individual bowls (and I loaded up on it!).  Also, I added mushrooms when adding the broth and tomatoes (because I had some on hand and needed to use them up) and completely left out the green onion.  Even with the changes to the original recipe, it was quite fantastic!

Side note:  If a recipe calls for those extra little garnishes (green onion, chives, parsley, cilantro, etc) that you don’t have or don’t want to buy, don’t fret.  It normally won’t ruin the dish!