Why am I writing an article on the best frugal recipes right now? Well, I write this as the world is in pandemonium due to the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). So far 5,000 have died, 132,000 have been infected but we are told the worst is yet to come. Over 27 number of countries have shut their borders, banned travel and issued orders to lockdown entire cities.
All food eateries and anything not deemed as an ‘essential service’ has to shut. As a result, we now have to fend for ourselves and figure out what meals to eat, with any ingredients purchased at the supermarkets.
I know many have lost their jobs and are on unpaid leave, so they can’t afford to cook expensive meals. Do not worry, here are 17 best frugal recipes that you can cook to feed yourself and your family, on a tight budget.
Frugal recipes can still be healthy, you don’t need to spend load of money to make a dish delectable and nutritious. The price of a meal says nothing about its nutritional value.
These frugal recipes can be made with leftovers in your refrigerator or your pantry full of canned goods, that you have been meaning to empty out. Instead of throwing out anything (which is a big no-no), you might as well whip up something special by adding in what you already have at home!
Here are some ideas for inexpensive meals. The principle for all the recipes is pretty much the same. As long as you have your tools such as a crockpot, a blender, or a food processor, you are good to go. You can easily find these ingredients in the kitchen or replace them with other ingredients.
NOTE- If you click on each heading, it will link to the recipe for each frugal recipe 🙂
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If you need something a bit more in depth that can help you make cheap, frugal meals in under 30 minutes, check this book out :
Alternatively, if you are vegetarian, you try this book on ‘Vegan Recipes for Under $30 a Week, in Less Than 30 Minutes a Meal’
These books can be found on Amazon and come with a free 2-day shipping with an Amazon Prime Membership
Don’t have Amazon Prime? You can grab a 30-day FREE trial here.
Tip– You could order everything you need on and get free delivery and after the free trial is over, you can cancel.
Don’t fancy a hard cover? Save money by downloading it on your Kindle, much cheaper and easier to access and you get unlimited books to read.
Before we begin, if you are looking for ideas on how to save and make a little extra money, read these articles:
Related articles on making extra money:
- Speedy Tomato Pasta
I make this all this time when I need a quick lunch . Takes no more than 30 minutes and tastes yummy! You fry the onions and garlic, add the tomatoes and simmer for 15 mins and add the pasta and herbs. #done!
If you want to see a video of me making the cheeky tomato pasta and dancing like a tit…. check out this video here 🙂
Before you squawk about the high cost of a whole chicken, this meal will last you for an ENTIRE week. You can also make chicken sandwiches, chicken soup and chicken pasta out of the leftovers. It’s one of the best frugal recipes ever.
I recommend the recipe by Jamie Oliver as there aren’t many ingredients, it’s not too complicated and bish bash bosh, it is done. Highly recommend.
An inexpensive recipe featuring tomatoes to begin this list. All you have to do is add all the seasoning in the saucepan then add the chicken after. You can tenderize the chicken by putting it on low heat for about an hour.
For this, your only tool would be a crockpot. Just add in some white beans, chicken, and tomatoes. You can use sour cream for flavor.
5. Cheeky vegetable curry
I make this all the time but when I looked online for a recipe, they all looked complicated with loads of ingredients so here is my recipe:
Throw chopped onions and garlic in a heated pan with oil, fry it for 5 mins while dancing to Britney Spears ‘Work B**ch” song. Add curry and chili powder, keep frying, throw all the vegetables in, add water and salt. Simmer and serve. #done
If you want to go wild, add coconut cream, but it’s not a necessity.
- Curry powder
- Chili powder
This dish is traditionally made with chicken but you can make this cheaper by making it vegetarian and adding zucchini instead! This is the classic pasta favorite with a twist! The zucchini increases the dish’s nutritional value and its thin strands are fun to twirl on a fork. You can top off this pasta with any Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, ground pepper, and sour cream you already have in your kitchen.
Pesto is a great classic dip. You can mix and match it with anything. What makes this recipe even better is that you can use your leftover kale to make pesto!
Kale is also super cheap and comes in abundance. Great frugal recipe.
Ps; you can also use leftover kale to make kale chips. Throw kale drizzled with salt and oil on a baking pan. Stick it in there for 12 mins. Crunch crunch, yum, yum, you are welcome.
This bruschetta requires only some bread, garlic, and olive oil. You can craft many frugal recipes just with these three ingredients. You can put any garnish you want.
All you need to finish this recipe is a trip to the 99c store. It’s also great if you’re looking to empty your pantry of any prepackaged food. You will just need any pasta you might have on hand plus canned salmon or tuna as your protein source. For seasoning, use any herbs you have.
For this recipe, you will need potatoes, milk, bay leaf, garlic, whipping cream, and some nutmeg. You have the option to add salt and ground pepper.
11. Tuna Puttanesca
There are multiple many ways to cook your canned tuna for your frugal recipes. The same thing goes for pasta. Just add some olive oil, tomatoes, and garlic cloves. Finish it off with parsley.
Apart from offering some frugal recipes, this website offers advice on cutting down costs while grocery shopping. It says that buying a whole chicken is much more frugal than buying per piece. It would be particularly helpful for making homemade stock. This salad, in particular, is versatile. You can use anything you have in your pantry like apple cider vinegar, mayonnaise, and black pepper!
If you are into creamy meals, this is for you! It allows you to use any extra fresh vegetables, chicken, and rice, you might have leftover.
Note– I don’t like creamy chicken so I don’t add cream. Tastes equally good and is a bit lighter.
The most expensive ingredient in this recipe is probably the quesadilla blend cheese which costs around $1.50! It has chicken, spinach, and tortillas. As for cheese, if you are lactose intolerant, you can try the next recipe to make your own vegan cheese.
15. Vegan Cheese
This is simpler than I imagined. All you need are potatoes, carrots, and a blender. This recipe is perfect for mac and cheese or pizza and lasagna. You can also freeze the cheese to make them last several weeks, and even possibly months.
16. Chicken Quiche
One of the tricks when it comes to frugal recipes is swapping expensive ingredients with cheaper ones that are just as great. This quiche is one good example. You’d need a pie crust, chicken, and any leftover veggies.
17. Chicken and Pumpkin Soup
Many of these frugal recipes contain chicken. That’s because they can be an inexpensive source of protein. You have the option to top off this recipe with cilantro.
There you have it. 17 frugal recipes that will help you save money while eating delicious meals. There are multiple ways to make these frugal recipes even more inexpensive. You can switch things up by taking meat out and replacing it with vegetables.
You can also use any prepackaged ingredients you already have in your pantry and check your refrigerator for any good leftovers. You can also stock up on bottled sauces you may find in the 99c store or at Costco. If you want to make the dishes even more nutritious, maybe sprinkle some fresh herbs. (Please grow a herb garden if you haven’t already, will save you lots of money!)
Hopefully, these frugal recipes will give you some ideas on how to cut costs at home without compromising your nutrition. All it takes is some flexibility and maybe some creativity. The frugal life, after all, is about cutting unnecessary costs to make the most out of what you have.
I hope we all get through this touch period of COVID-19 with clean hands, full bellies and healthy bodies.
If you are looking for alternative ways to work from home and make money online, it’s worth checking out these articles :
How to Become an Online Teacher (and earn $6,000 per month!)
How to Become an Online Editor (9 Easy Steps)
Or perhaps you may be interested in starting your own blog that makes money within the first month?
Check out this step-by-step guide to setting up your blog today.