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Your Cheapest HEALTHY breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes

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My family is going to Hawaii from August 1st through the 15th to visit my hubby's family and we don't make much money as it is and want to have as much spending money as possible for our trip. I am trying to plan an extremely frugal and healthy but tasty (at least satisfying) menu for the month of July that can be enjoyed by young children and adults alike. Some things I will be making are pizza, split pea soup, homemade whole wheat tortilla shells for burritos etc.. homemade pizza, chili and cornbread, onion soup, possibly sloppy lentils for a kid friendly meatless meal... Any other ideas will be sooo appreciated. Thank you!! :)

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  1. Good call on the split peas and lentils...a dry 1-pound pkg of them here is usually under $1! I see that you are in Anchorage, Alaska, right? What's cheap to most of us in the lower 48 states might not be cheap up by you...oats are still very cheap here in Florida which I can buy for .89 per pound from bulk bin at independent health food store (NOT Whole Foods, their oats are much more expensive!!!) Corn on the cob is practically being given away right now here...8 ears for $1 somewhere locally! Will look at some of my minimal recipes and see what might work for you...which island will you be visiting? Everyone should see Hawai'i in their lifetime...it.is.stunning.!

    1. This may seem heavy for summer, but I've been doing an attempt at a less-expensive and healthier and kosher variation on a cassoulet.

      The ingredients are:

      1 TBSP oil
      A little thick cut bacon (I prefer to use duck bacon from D'Artagnan for the kosher version. I am not sure how turkey bacon will work, because the bacon fat provides a lot of the flavor for the dish. Even though it is a bit less healthy, you might want to use regular pork bacon but use a small amount. like 1/4 lb.)
      1 pack of savory sausage (I love lamb merguez, but you could use italian, chicken or duck sausage). (I usually chop the sausage into smaller pieces)
      4-6 chicken thighs
      1 cup carrot chopped
      1 cup celery chopped
      1 cup onion chopped
      2 cans canneloni (white) beans, drained
      1 can beef broth
      1 cup red wine
      Start by cooking up some
      1 Tbsp tomato paste
      3 cloves garlic, minced
      Tsp dried thyme
      Tsp dried rosemary
      Tsp dried sage
      salt and pepper to taste

      In a dutch oven, start by cooking the bacon in the oil. Once it is cooked, remove the bacon and place on a plate. Cook the chicken, skin side down, until it is brown and then remove also. Brown the sausage the same way and remove.

      Pour off about 2/3 of the fat, because you will not need it all. Add the onions for about 1 minute until they start to turn color. Follow with the carrots and celery. Let cook for about 3-5 minutes until soft. Add the wine to deglaze the pot.

      Add the garlic and herbs, white beans, and tomato paste. Then place the meat back into the pot and add the beef broth.

      Cover the dutch oven and transfer to a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.

      This will go a long way, and is really better the second day after the flavors melt. The last time I made a batch, it fed four adults, with substantial leftovers. For an adult, one chicken thigh and a couple of pieces of sausage will be more than filling with all the beans and vegetables in the dish.

      To make it a little healthier, you could remove the chicken skin after browning, but I do not know how that will affect the chicken as it cooks.

      For the sausage, if you have access to Aidell's sausage, they have a lot of chicken and turkey flavors that would work. (I see them regularly at Costco.) In most places, I think you can get 5-6 sausages for about $5, but I don't know if that is what they will cost in Alaska.

      1. How aout tamale pie - ground beef in spicy tomato sauce topped with cornbread topping? Also, egg dishes are healthy and inexpensive - quiche to use up leftover veggies and ends of cheese, or a casserole bake with sauage, eggs, hash browns and peppers and onions is a good breakfast. PB&J or cheese andwiches for lunch are good for the kids, and leftovers for you & hubby.

        1. I love this lentil taco base recipe http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/tasty-l... (I tend to tinker with everything, always) with the frybread here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fry-Brea...

          (SO inexpensive if you've got lentils and broth already on hand. Broth is a surprisingly expensive ingredient if you don't have your own.


          Every so often I'll revisit an odd recipe from my super-broke days that sounds bizarre but is delicious. Basically, it's canned beans - I like pinto & light kidneys in this - a can of corn, a can of Ro*Tel, and a cheap can of tuna. And I mean the cheap dollar store stuff, not the cheap StarKist. Drain the beans, dump everything (undrained Ro*Tel, tuna, the cheap stuff is hard to drain anyway, and the broth adds flavor) into a saucepan with a can of tomato sauce. Season to taste & serve over rice.

          And my standard cheap lunch is egg salad. Amazing how tasty eggs, mayo, a bit of dry mustard, celery & minced onion comes together. Also a good cheap dinner if you're not a meat & three type family.

          When we're really feeling a pinch (and with our eldest heading off to college, we are!) I often recall how my grandmother kept everyone satisfied: Bread, biscuits or cornbread with every meal. No exceptions!

          Speaking of Grandmother - Welsh Rarebit (rabbit) comes to mind, as does breakfast for dinner.

          And I'm a huge fan of .39 a lb chicken leg quarters for any number of protein-rich/very inexpensive family meals. It seems every time I see one of these posts I'm about to make gumbo - and tonight is no exception. Plain old chicken and sausage gumbo is a staple in our home because it is inexpensive but absolutely fantastic all at once.

          1. Stretching mac-n-cheese with dried beans/corn/peas/etc. is a cheap meatless meal. Dried beans are incredibly cheap - I often make up a pound of beans and keep them in the fridge for the week - add to salads, pastas, tacos/burritos, even eggs. Speaking of, frittatas and quiches are cheap ways to get protein, and a great way to use up veggies that are on their way out. I made this "green soup" last week from a bunch of CSA vegetables that were threatening to go bad (used stems and all) and it was delicious. http://www.semisweetonline.com/2010/0... - depending on how much you have to add, it can make a massive or medium amount!


            1 Reply
            1. re: gansu girl

              Thank you ganso, these are good suggestions. Sometimes I forget how easy it really is and need others to point out how to stretch a meal. I should do some of these things when we come back to help stretch the dollar too. Thanks again. That soup is a great idea! I always feel so guilty when I let perfectly good produce go bad because I don't have the proper meat or veggie complements. You are helping me expand my horizons, I never would have thought something so simple would work for a soup. Thank you.

            2. @ Val, we will be going to Oahu, where my hubby's family lives, and he grew up (this will be my 3rd trip there and 4th to Hawaii ... the first time I visited Maui with my family). The tickets were under $300 which is unheard of in Alaska so this year we all get to go! :)
              I wish we had your prices! Corn is 2 for $1 on sale right now. Dry beans are rarely less than $2.50-$3. these days. I think people are starting to catch on that dry beans are easy so the prices are going up.

              @Jwsel, I have been looking for a good cassoulet recipe, so thank you! I will probably have to wait till we get back because Aidell's sausage is no less than $10. at Costco, and Bacon as well is much more expensive here. I will revisit this recipe when we come back though! :)

              @jenhen2, I love pb&j or honey, my kiddos and I will definitely be enjoying some of those! :) As for the eggs, yes that is a great way to stretch the dollar. They have 2 18 packs for $4. right now at Fred Meyer, which is pretty good for Alaska. I'm thinking about omelets, yum! The tamale pie is a great idea too!

              @ shanagain, lentils for tacos are good, thanks for the reminder. I like the look of this recipe more then my other one though! Thanks! Any, yum egg salad is good too, craving right now actually! :) I wish I could buy chicken that cheap. The cheapest deal I know of is 2 whole chickens for about $10. at Costco, which isn't terrible in AK ... but that certainly isn't organic either. Organic is well over $20. for 2 birds. Thanks for the ideas and link!