Real Food Recipes That Are Easy AND Save You Money

I used to make everything from scratch. Everything. Ketchup, graham crackers, and even mozzarella cheese. It’s great to have the skills and knowledge to do this. But at a certain point I had to ask:

Am I getting enough bang for my buck, here? As in, is the time I’m taking and the energy I’m extending to make all of this food really saving me money and therefore, is it worth it?

mozzcheese2sm

For the record, homemade mozzarella costs more than store-bought.

Now, sometimes it’s worth putting forth the effort or spending more to make food from scratch because of the health benefit and great flavor. I mean, I don’t even care how much it saves or doesn’t save to make Homemade Ranch Dressing because this recipe tastes thousands of times better than the bottled stuff and it only includes healthy ingredients. I don’t want high fructose corn syrup on my salad.

ranchdressin2sm

But as my schedule has gotten busier and as the quantity of food we plow through every day has increased, I’ve had to be more choosy about what I make, what I buy pre-made, and what I skip altogether.

For instance, I used to make all of our Whole Wheat Tortillas, without fail. These taste amazing and we miss them, but it takes triple the amount of tortillas to get us through a meal now, compared to the days my kids were little. It’s a rare occasion that I “go to the trouble” to make tortillas now, because it takes over an hour to get the job done. (Though when I do, there is much rejoicing.) We either skip tortillas now (often subbing corn chips), or I’ll buy a case from Azure Standard to keep in the freezer.

Having said all of that, today I thought I’d share some recipes I’ve stuck with for all these years, even with a busier schedule and a higher volume of food consumption. These recipes are worth my time, because the time investment is tiny. And they are cheaper than store-bought so they are a win-win! Also, homemade always tastes better, so score one more for that!

Real Food Recipes that are Easy and Save Money

Seasoning Mixes

I make all of our Ranch Dressing Mix, Italian Dressing Mix, Onion Soup Mix, and Taco Seasoning Mix. These cost pennies to make, saving a significant amount. And since I make big batches, the time saved on these is great!

condiments

Vanilla Extract

The price of beans has gone up, but it still saves money to make Homemade Vanilla Extract. It’s ridiculously easy to make, and well worth the effort because homemade vanilla is amazing!

vanilla_four

Stir-and-Pour Whole Wheat Bread

We don’t eat as much bread as we used to at our house. I think it’s wholesome and filling and my family loves it, but I prefer to fill everyone with more nutrient-packed sides like fruits and veggies. So bread has taken a back seat at our house.

I do sometimes buy a loaf of 100% whole wheat sandwich bread for sandwiches when we need to pack them for a road trip. But for bread at home, when as do eat it with a meal, I make this Stir-and-Pour Whole Wheat Bread. It takes hardly any time or effort, and it doesn’t cost very much. And it tastes awesome!

stir and pour bread loaf 5

Homemade Granola

I discovered this 5-Minute Granola Method and haven’t looked back. I add in whatever we have (dried fruit or chocolate chips) and we’ve got ourselves a great cereal for much less than store bought!

Stove-Top Granola

All of these Simple Meal Recipes

Check out this Spanish Rice Bowl and the long list of other Simple Real Food Recipes it includes. I keep coming up with more of these recipes and am amazed at how much time and money they are saving! I’ve cut down my kitchen time with these Simple Recipes so much that I feel like a cheater. Almost. ;)

spanish rice bowl11

Cool Pineapple Cream Dessert

This is ridiculously easy and so super yummy! Throw three ingredients in the blender and you’re set!

pineapple dessert 3

Special Coffee Drinks

It’s a rare thing for us to spend $$ at a coffee shop since we can make fun coffee drinks at home for much less! This Chocolate Frappe is awesome. Sometimes we put this Chocolate Whipped Cream in our coffee. We freeze coffee into ice cubes like this to make easy Iced Coffees. This Coffee Milkshake is awesome in the summertime. Sometimes I make a big batch of Chocolate Iced Coffee to offer several people at once. While all of these take a little time, it doesn’t feel like a lot of effort because it’s FUN to make drinks like this!

What are some of the foods you make from scratch that are easy and save money?

Did you get your Money-Saving Freebies yet?

Remember that anyone who signs up to join our FREE Heavenly Homemaker’s Savings Club gets both of these freebies sent to them. Fun!!

Top 10 Money Saving Recipes

30 Real Food Money Saving Tips

Sign up here, confirm your subscription, and both booklets will be in your inbox very quickly! Then we can keep you informed of any other money saving tips and deals we come across!

Simple Oven Roasted Rotisserie Chicken

Brace yourselves. Today we’re going to learn to butter up a chicken and rub him down with herbs and spices. This might not be the most precious moment of your day, but I guarantee you will find it to all be worth it after you taste your delicious Oven Roasted Rotisserie Chicken.

simple rotisserie chicken

Now, I’ve buttered many a slice of bread in my day. I would even venture to say I’m pretty good at it. But never before had I buttered a bird – until the first day I made this chicken.

Recipe research told me to “brush on the butter.” But that would require that I melt butter in a saucepan and dirty up a pastry brush. In the name of lazyness simplicity, I just slapped butter on my bird with a butter knife.

Did it work? Meh, good enough. I figure what didn’t get spread on smoothly will just melt and drizzle itself over the skin while baking.

Now, beyond the butter, we’ve got to do a little chicken massage for this recipe too. Don’t freak out about this because your hands will wash up just fine afterward. Sure, rubbing spices over a raw piece of meat in the shape of well, a chicken, will feel strange. But you can do this.

Here’s why the buttering up and the rubbing down are well worth your few minutes awkward chicken moments:

  • You will create a most delicious meal for your family. This chicken is incredibly juicy and flavorful.
  • All the “effort” you put forth to create this chicken will take less than 10 minutes.
  • You’ll save money, because making this chicken at home costs less than buying one pre-made.

So gather up your chickens and let the fun begin.

Simple Oven Roasted Rotisserie Chicken

Simple Oven Roasted Rotisserie Chicken
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pound chicken
  • 3 Tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Remove gizzards from the cavity. Discard them or save them to make broth later.
  3. Spread or brush butter over the chicken.
  4. Mix herbs and spices in a bowl, then rub them all over the chicken.
  5. Bake, uncovered, in a 300 degree oven for 2½ hours.

Oh yes. I failed to mention the “reach up into the ‘cavity’ of the chicken and pull out the little bag of gizzards.” I guess I was trying to stop while I was ahead so as to avoid scaring you away from this recipe. But alas, this task cannot be avoided.

I’ve found it’s best to go ahead and say “eeeewwww” while completing this gizzard removal step, because that’s how I feel and it truly is helpful to express oneself verbally during moments of trouble.

So before you butter and rub your chicken, get the gizzard step over with. After that, you will feel empowered to do anything. All hail queen/king chicken preparers. We are all super heroes.

Simple Oven Roasted Rotisserie Chicken

Keep this meal simple by serving this chicken with tossed salad, a steamed veggie, and fresh fruit (like strawberries, pineapple, or cantaloupe).

Make your life simpler by joining Simple Meals. Then you won’t even have to think about what to cook or what to buy because we do the work for you every single week!

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Check out how long this list of Simple Recipes is getting!

How to Make Homemade Chicken Patties for Sandwiches (Freezable!)

You want to know one of my favorite convenience foods I miss the most since switching to real food? Processed chicken patties for chicken sandwiches. (Bet you never would have guessed that, since that’s what this post is about.)

chicken patties9

I grew up microwaving Schwan’s chicken patties and slapping them on white buns for a quick meal or snack after a sports practice. They were yummy and easy and while I couldn’t care less about many other processed convenience items (I gave up boxed pizza rolls several years ago and never looked back) – I do miss the taste and handiness of chicken patties.

So why it’s taken me this long to figure out a recipe that resembles the beloved frozen chicken patties, I do not know. But here I am, finally learning a way to make breaded chicken patties for sandwiches. The best news is that you can make these in bulk and freeze them for a fast, convenient, ready-made meal on a busy day.

Homemade Chicken Patties for SandwichesYum

How to Make Homemade Chicken Patties for Sandwiches (Freezable!)
 
Author:
Serves: 15-20 patties
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds ground chicken
  • 4 teaspoons onion powder, divided
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups whole grain flour (I used whole wheat, but if you need these to be gluten free, use your favorite flour choice)
  • Palm shortening or oil of choice
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl mix ground chicken, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon sea salt.
  2. Shape meat mixture into 15-20 patties (make them larger or smaller depending on your family's portion size needs)
  3. Beat eggs into a bowl.
  4. Pour milk into a separate bowl.
  5. In a third bowl, mix flour, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon sea salt.
  6. Heat palm shortening or oil on a griddle.
  7. Dip prepared meat patties in egg, then flour mixture, then milk, then flour mixture again.
  8. Place battered chicken patty into oil on the griddle.
  9. Repeat process with each chicken patty.
  10. Cook for 7-10 minutes on each side, mashing down lightly as needed.
  11. Serve right away, or cool and freeze for future use, then rewarm in a 350 degree oven until heated through.

Are you ready to see some ugly chicken patty pictures? This isn’t pretty, friends. Raw meat pressed into patties – well there’s a reason we call stuff like this “processed food.” But take great comfort in the fact that this is all made from real food and wholesome ingredients and ignore the fact that naked ground chicken pressed into a patty really just ain’t purty.

chicken patties2

See the patty breading process? First the egg.

chicken patties3

Then the flour.

chicken patties4

Then the milk.

chicken patties5

Then the flour again.

chicken patties6

Then comes the part where we fry the patties in oil.

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We watch in amazement as they turn into beautiful chicken patties we can’t wait to put on a bun or between two big leaves of lettuce.

chicken patties8
Sure, it’s thicker than the patties we grew up eating. We like it that way. That means there’s double the meat.

Homemade Chicken Patties for Sandwiches - Freezable

One of the biggest perks is that you can form your chicken patties into any size you need for your family. Have small children? Make small patties. Have teenage boys? Make the patties nice and big. Have some big eaters and small eaters? Make a variety.

The biggest win is that if you make a bunch, you’ll have yummy chicken patties ready to warm up for sandwiches on a day you don’t have time to cook!

Did you grow up eating and loving processed chicken sandwiches? 

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

I’m at church camp this week, loving life, swatting bugs, and trying to stay hydrated. While I’m gone, you can enjoy a re-posting of some of our most popular time-saving, money-saving, healthier eating mix recipes

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Originally posted April, 2010

Save money by making your own taco seasoning mix. It is SO easy! And healthy!  And you can put it in a jar (my favorite part)! Actually, even if you don’t have a jar obsession like I do, I recommend putting this mix in a jar as the flavors are strong and will absorb into a plastic container, or mingle with other items it may be sitting beside in your pantry.

Homemade Taco Seasoning MixYum

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chili powder
  • ¼ cup onion powder
  • ⅛ cup ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a jar and shake!

Um, after you put a lid on…then shake. The jar. Shake the jar. With the lid securely on the jar.

Taco Seasoing Mix

Three Tablespoons of Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix is equal to one 4-ounce package of taco seasoning mix. I would recommend adding 3 Tablespoons of mix to one pound of browned ground meat for tacos.

I would also recommend shaking again before each use to make sure the spices are well distributed throughout the mix.

The jar. Shake the jar. You can shake all you want, but if you don’t shake the jar, your spices won’t be distributed evenly.

Just wanted to be sure I made the instructions clear in regard to the shaking.

Great. I can see it now. Husbands everywhere will walk into the kitchen and see their wives shaking (boogie down).

He will look questioningly at his wife, smile and say,

“Taco night again?!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recipes that use Taco Seasoning Mix

As you can see, having this seasoning mix on hand is super helpful. Just grab it, shake it, and stir it into whatever you are cooking. Love it!

Summer Family Fun ~ Less Than $1.00

Today’s “less than $1.00″ theme includes ideas for fun you can have with your family during the summertime. I am so excited to be soaking up the sunshine (free) enjoying food off the grill (yum) and taking a break from formal school work with the kids (summer break rocks). Here are a few ideas for ya:

Free kids activity book

Many of you have this eBook already, but for those who don’t – you can get it free. It contains 101 fun pre-school project ideas – and many of them are great for summertime fun! These ideas all came from you, my readers. We put it together several years ago and it’s a fun one! Since this book is FREE, and many of the activities listed inside are inexpensive to do, this definitely qualifies for our “less than $1.00″ theme!

101 Preschool Projects Free Download

Grab this FREE 101 Pre-School Projects book when you sign up to be a part of our Heavenly Homemaker’s Learning Zone!

Homemade Bubble Bath

This Homemade Bubble Bath idea has been on my site since my 14-year old turned 6. Needless to say, this 5’11” teenager with a deep voice doesn’t take bubble baths anymore. But he sure did enjoy this when I made it for him for his birthday 9 years ago. (I wish his birthday gifts were still this inexpensive!)

Homemade Bubble Bath for Pennies

Cook with your kids

Summer can be a great time to teach your kids more cooking skills. Here are a couple of Malachi’s favorite recipes: Homemade Real Food Tootsie Rolls and Easy Crustless Pizza Pie. You can also sign up for a free video series (open through June 6 only) that teaches your kids some basic skills, including how to use knives safely.

Homemade Real Food Tootsie Roll Candy

DIY Bracelets

These Easy Fabric Bracelets are really fun to make (even I can do it!). They cost about 8¢ each. If you have girls in your life, making these bracelets might be fun to craft some hot afternoon.

Quick and Easy Fabric Bracelets

Summer Blessings Printable Cards

You can grab the download for these printable cards here, then print them off to use this summer as you need them.

Summer Blessings Printables

See our other “less than $1.00″ ideas that have been shared this week here, here, and here.

This Week at Heavenly Homemakers: What You Can Cook, Read, Serve, and Craft for a Dollar or Less

Over the weekend I had a fun idea to highlight some of my fun money saving ideas for you. So this week, I’ll be posting:

  • Meals you can serve your family for a $1.00 or less per plate
  • Crafts you can make with your kids for $1.00 or less
  • Ways you can serve/bless others for $1.00 or less
  • Random $1.00 or less tips
  • Freebies

It’s going to be kind of hodge-podge because I’m trying to keep you on your toes. Or maybe I’m just unorganized. (Hey, I’m working on it.)

$1.00 or Less Recipes, Crafts, Gift Ideas, and more!

First a fun craft and service idea for around a dollar or less

You all know I’m not the craftiest gal among us. But I can cut and glue, so there’s that. I had fun making these fun Owl Gift Sacks a couple years ago. You’ll find the free printables for this project here. Print ’em off, cut, glue, and fill the sacks with a treat to share. Get your kids involved. Have fun!

Owl Gift Sacks Free Printable

Now how about a recipe?

It’s the perfect time of year to put Garden Veggie Chicken Skillet on your menu frequently. This is a one-dish meal. It uses many vegetables, you can make it to your family’s liking, and it doesn’t cost much to make. I’ve calculated that it costs $1.00 or less per plate!

Garden Veggie Chicken Skillet 2

Want more inexpensive recipes?

You’ll get this eBooklet for free when you sign up to be a part of the Homemaker’s Savings Club. That’s the newsletter where I keep you up to date on all the best homemaking deals I find!

Top 10 Money Saving Recipes cover

Stay tuned all week for many more fun $1.00 or less ideas!

Subscribe here to make it easy to keep up!

The running list:

I’ll continue to update this post all week with the newest links to $1.00 or less ideas shared!

~ Tuesday: Bread, Recipe Card Craft, Service Ideas, and More

~ Wednesday: All Chocolate, All the Time

Ways Our Family Saves Money on Homeschool Curriculum

Here are two things I’ve learned when it comes to buying homeschool curriculum:

  1. Homeschooling should be looked at as an investment.
  2. Homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive.

In my 14+ years of homeschooling I’ve learned to recognize that just like with healthy eating – it is worth it to invest in the good stuff. Spending money for great curriculum is as worth it as spending money for great food. Ahhh, books and butter. Curriculum and vegetables. It all goes hand in hand, right? Buying high quality is worth the cost.

But there are also many ways to keep your curriculum costs down so that maybe, just maybe, we can enjoy good books and save money too. (Well, of course.)

How to Save Money on Homeschool Curriculum

How to Save Money on Homeschool Curriculum

Here are several ways I’ve saved money through our homeschooling years:

1. Use the Library

This one is too obvious, but still worth a mention. While I have really appreciated owning lots of great literature and having it on our shelves to grab at any time – there are plenty of books we have simply checked out from the library as needed. Cost is free, unless you forget to take the books back on time and have pay late fees. I know nothing about this.

2. Buy Used

Every year, I sit down with a list of books each of our kids will be reading during the school year. If we don’t already own it and I prefer not to have to get it at the library, I check on Amazon and see if I can find a used copy. I have saved so much money doing this.

Occasionally I’ve found needed books at garage sales or I’ve bought curriculum from other homeschool families who are cleaning the closet. (I’ve even been blessed by people handing me their used books for free!) As long as the book isn’t falling apart, buying a used book is just as nice as buying a new book – and you’ll save a few bucks per book too!

books

3. Borrow and Share

One of the best ways I’ve found to save on big ticket items (like Teaching Textbooks or Apologia Science books) is to borrow and share with friends. This only works if our kids are in different grade levels and will therefore not be needing the same books or software at the same time. But coordinating with friends (i.e. I’ll buy the 5th grade book and you buy the 6th grade book, then we’ll swap next year) can be a huge money saver.

4. Divide the Dollar Amount by Number of Kids in Your Family

It has helped me “justify” a quality purchase when I do the math – knowing that I will eventually use each item for all four of my kids. Therefore, if I spend $40 on something, I know it really breaks down to just $10 per kid. Make sense?

5. Use and Reuse

With many of our consumable books through the years, I had our oldest kids leave the book blank and write their answers in a 20¢ notebook instead. That way I could save the consumable book to reuse – instead of having to buy it over and over each time another kid needed it. Yay for Malachi. The youngest kid gets to write in his books.

6. Go Digital

I’m learning to love digital books more an more for these reasons:

  • They save bookshelf space
  • I can organize them easily on my computer
  • They save money
  • I can use them over and over as needed for my family

Last year when the Build Your Bundle Homeschool Curriculum Sale was offered, I grabbed several packages to use for my younger two boys. Ah-ma-zing. Throughout this school year I supplemented our regular curriculum with eBooks I had picked up last year for cheap!!

What great ways have you found to save money on books?

Update: It’s back!

The Build Your Bundle Homeschool Curriculum Sale is back, but it’s has all new books this year! I just picked up this one for my youngest to use, and I keep looking at the others because they are all so full of great options!

This sale is only around until May 30, and there’s a lot to look at, so start shopping now. Be sure to take advantage of the Buy-2-Get-1-FREE option as you build your bundle package for your family!

The BIGGEST Homeschool Sale of the Year - ends 5/30/17

 

Some of these links are my affiliate links.

Stir-and-Pour Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Remember the Whole Wheat Stir-and-Pour Bread recipe I shared a few months ago? Not too long after I shared that, a reader Shelby, and then others, emailed to let me know they’d been using that recipe to make pizza crust.

Stir and Pour Pizza

Bless you. Bless you all. Now our homemade pizza making lives are easier than ever! Mix the dough, let it sit, spread the dough on baking sheets, let it bake. Your hands won’t even get messy. 

It took a little tweaking for me to get this crust just right. The recipe is the same as the bread, but it took a few tries for me to learn how thick or thin to spread this dough. I’m not a big fan of a thick crust, but the beauty of this recipe is that you can make it as thin or thick as you like!

I spread the dough into two large pizzas and could probably spread it into three if I tried. This recipe goes a long way toward a big pizza meal!

Whole Wheat Stir-and-Pour Pizza CrustYum

5.0 from 1 reviews
Stir-and-Pour Pizza Crust
 
Author:
Serves: 2 large pizzas
Ingredients
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat)
  • 2 teaspoons active rise yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons sucanat or sugar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups warm water
Instructions
  1. Stir all ingredients together.
  2. Cover and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Spread dough on two *well-buttered* large pizza pans (three if you want a thinner crust)
  4. Bake in a 375° oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Pull partially baked crust out of the oven and top it however you like.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes more or until cheese has melted and becomes bubbly.

Whole Wheat Stir and Pour Pizza Crust

I found that spreading the dough onto my baking pans with a rubber spatula worked best. I always use baking stones (like these) for pizza because I think they turn out the best crust. I’ve not tried them on metal baking sheets, so you may need to adjust the baking time if you don’t use stoneware.

You can definitely make these crusts ahead of time and freeze them until you are ready to bake pizza. This means that the easiness just gets easier. Amen and amen.

Have you tried the Whole Wheat Stir-and-Pour Bread recipe? How about Pizza Crust? Have you tried using it for pizza crust?

Just wait until later this week! I’ve got another great way to use this recipe that I’ll share with you!

Homemade Applesauce Cups To-Go ~ For Just a Few Cents

Brace yourself for the cuteness. 

Homemade Applesauce Cups

Typically I make a boat load of canned applesauce each year. Still, there are always times I end up buying the little packaged applesauce cups to take on the road with us to soccer or basketball games. It feels so silly to spend money on the pre-made applesauce cups when I have home-canned applesauce in the pantry. Still, I do it. We need food for the road, after all.

This year, I got a brilliant idea. (My one and only of 2015. We’ve been waiting ten months for this.)

I checked online for little cups with lids to fill with applesauce to take on the road.

Small jars with lids work great for to-go applesauce, but those make our cooler weigh 380 pounds. Plus, I wanted to give some to Asa for his dorm fridge but didn’t want him to have to mess with saving all the jars to bring home. The cups with lids are a great solution!

~~Let us all pause here to say nice things about avoiding plastic and disposables in general. Plastic disposables are not our friend. I agree and I know there are strong opinions about this. Right now I’m the mother of many teenage boys who are active, hungry, and on-the-go frequently. It was either compromise and buy these plastic cups in an effort to save us money and help us eat well on the road – or spend more to buy them pre-made – or buy junk from concessions or McDonalds. I chose the plastic disposables and I am excited about what this provides for my family right now. Now, back to the cute applesauce cups.~~

Organic 100% fruit applesauce cups cost around 74¢ each. Non-organic are around 33¢ each. My homemade organic applesauce cups just cost me 15¢ each. This makes me very excited. Plus if it’s okay that I say so, my homemade applesauce tastes better than store-bought. :)

Applesauce Cups

This batch of applesauce turned out such a pretty shade of pink because I used a variety of dark red apples with very white flesh (Empire, I believe). No one who eats this can believe I didn’t add sugar. No need for sugar, my friends. Not when God made apples this good and sweet.

The cups with lids I chose are a perfect 5.5 ounce size. I filled them about 3/4 full, put the lids on top, then froze them. (I tested one to see if it froze/thawed well. It did. Now I have a freezer full!)

Next time we need travel food, we’ll grab several homemade applesauce cups from the freezer. I am so excited about this!

Homemade Applesauce Cups To-Go ~ For Just a Few Cents

Have any other good ideas to share for fun travel foods?

This post contains affiliate links.

5 {Easy!} Real Food Dinners for About $1.00 Each

Remember our $1.00 Real Food Breakfast ideas? I promised then that I would share some lunches and dinners too.

Undoubtedly, lunches and dinners are trickier than breakfasts if you want to eat on the cheap. And just to be clear – I’m not into cheap. I’m into nourishing. But it’s always great when cheap and nourishing collide, don’t you think? (I actually prefer the word inexpensive. Cheap sounds so…cheap.)

As I stated in my $1.00 Breakfast post, the following dinner servings are my size, not my teenage boys’ size. They usually eat what I eat multiplied times four or five. Technically, these dinners still cost about $1.00 per plate. It’s just that my kids eat 3-5 plates. Each. But who’s counting?

Ooh, good news not entirely related to food but about the cost of teenage boys! We just learned how to lower our 18-year old son’s car insurance bill. So now we shall proceed with allowing our 15-year old son to pursue his license. Hey, it was “you can either eat or you can drive, which do you want?” I’m kidding. Mostly.

5 Real Food Dinner Plates for About $1.00

5 Real Food Dinners for $1.00Yum

Each of the following meals can be made for approximately $1.00 per plate. They are all made with real food ingredients. They are all served with 2-4 fruits or veggies (which ups the bill, but it’s worth it by a million).

1. Chili or Chili Mac

The trick to this one is to go easy on the hamburger meat. Let the beans offer the protein. Stretch it with a little whole grain pasta. And if you happen to have home-grown, home-canned tomato sauce all the better on the money savings.

chili_mac_2

2. Chicken Pot Pie

The best thing about this recipe is that it is a one-pot meal. It comes with veggies baked right in. Serve a salad on the side. Maybe a fruit. It is so good.

chicken_pot_pie_5

P.S. I just figured out a Hamburger Pot Pie recipe that I’ll be sharing tomorrow!

3. Pasta Alfredo

This is so delicious and tastes even better than a restaurant version (which you get for about twelve bucks a plate). Serve this with salad and steamed veggies. Adding some chicken will add to the cost, but it sure does taste delicious. If you have a little leftover chicken, stir it in, and you’ll still be keeping this low in cost.

alfredo_5

4. Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole

This casserole is super nourishing because you’re cooking your rice in veggie-rich broth. Plus there are carrots in the casserole. Plus you can serve a salad on the side. Plus you can make extra and freeze it for another time. So convenient!

chicken_and_rice

5. Garden Veggie Chicken Skillet

I love this recipe because you can use whatever veggies are on sale or that you have on hand. The potatoes help stretch this dish. Everything is flavorful.

Garden Veggie Chicken Skillet 2

I’ve got more $1.00 Breakfasts coming soon (here’s the first one I posted). Plus I’m working on some $1.00 Lunch ideas too!

I love all this proof that healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. :)