My Frugal Go To Recipes

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Don’t think you can make any filling recipes with what you have at home? These are my frugal go-to recipes that I can use to stretch almost any amount left at the end of my food budget!

Don't think you can make any filling recipes with what you have at home? These are my frugal go-to recipes that I can use to stretch almost any amount left at the end of my food budget!

My Frugal Go To Recipes

The other day, I received a question from a Little House Living reader:

“When times are tough, what are your go-to frugal recipes?”

I have some great ideas on how to make frugal recipes for when the paycheck runs out before the end of the month. There are times at the end of the month before our next co-op order where we might be really stretching what we have on hand.


Frugal Beef

One thing I always have on hand is canned tomatoes. I purposely can many many MANY tomatoes in the summer so we at least have this one versatile fruit on hand. Hamburger is one of the most inexpensive meats so it’s a great one to have lots of recipes for!

My suggestion for an easy frugal recipe is to pair ground beef with pasta (any kind!) and you’ve got Goulash! Goulash is a great recipe to use your leftovers in, as well. If you have leftover vegetables that you need to use up, chop them up and toss them in!

–I have a bunch of other Frugal Beef Recipes on this blog post.


Frugal Chicken

The crock-pot is a great kitchen appliance because it can take all kinds of cheap foods and make them yummy! I like to bake whole chickens or cook whole chickens nice and slow in the crock-pot to make the meat super tender.

You can save the liquid from cooking it in the crock-pot, or save the bones and add some water and vegetables to a large pot, to create a homemade chicken broth. Or, you can simply add noodles to your crock-pot, toss in the shredded chicken and the juices it cooked in, and you’ve got Chicken Noodle Soup for supper!


Frugal Anything

I like recipes that I can easily alter to what I have on hand. This Lasagna takes a few ingredients that you might not always have on hand but you can really make a lot with a little! Plus it doesn’t use all of the regular ingredients that typical lasagna has, making it easier and cheaper to put together.

Frugal Desserts

There are way too many frugal desserts for me to list here so if you are needing to fill your sweet tooth on a budget, check out my post on these 7 Frugal Desserts.


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I hope that some of these recipes and ideas give you inspiration on how to put together your own frugal “go-to” list for when you need it. I feel like we are living proof that something can always be made out of nothing. It might not always be the prettiest meal but it can fill up your family and get them fed!

Want to find even more frugal recipes? Here are some places to start!

What are your Frugal Go-To Recipes?

Merissa Bio

This list of Frugal Go-To Recipes was originally posted on Little House Living in March 2012. It has been updated as of January 2022.

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  1. Mine would have to be “Dump Soup”..whenever the freezer gets too full, I make it in the Cockpot..all the leftover frozen veggies, meats & homemade chicken broth..then I decide what spices to use & whether I want it to be either a red based soup or a white bassed always turns out delicious!

  2. Spaghetti with shredded chicken instead of ground beef in the sauce. I always seem to have a jar of sauce, box of noodles, chicken, and a loaf of garlic bread in the freezer. (where we live, I can get boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.49/pound or less…much cheaper than ground beef)

  3. The macaroni with hamburger and tomatoes looks really good 🙂 Have a great weekend. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 😉

  4. love all these ideas…there are times you find some of this or that…soup is a great idea…or maybe even an everything pasta???

  5. I make ‘skillet tacos’:
    In a large skillet, combine the following:
    1 lb ground beef, cooked
    3Tbs dried onions
    1 can whole corn, drained
    10 corn tortillas, torn in to bite size pieces
    8oz taco sauce
    1 c shredded cheddar cheese
    Heat through, shred a bit more cheese on top and heat til melted.

  6. Make a vegan soup by sautéing onion in olive oil, chopping any veggies and throwing them in the pot with water and a vegan bouillon cube. Then add a handful of lentils or a can of beans and some rice for a complete meal. If you add quinoa you don’t need the beans or rice because quinoa is a complete protein with all 19 amino acids.

  7. Man, these are all tough if you don’t eat grains! Personally, I love cabbage in the place of noodles! It’s super cheap, nutritious, and you can top it with anything…My favorite is sauteed onions/garlic/mushrooms and seasoned ground beef…I could eat it every day!

  8. I like the tip on making chicken soup. I usually have cans of tuna on hand to make tuna casseroles or a quick addition to a simple mac-n-cheese dinner. Thanks for sharing on Link’n blogs link up. Have a great weekend.

  9. I love these recipes! We had Goulash alot when I was growing up, and I loved it! =)
    Im a new follower from “Freedom Fridays”!

  10. It’s amazing what you can whip up with a can of tomatoes and some pasta. All great tips. 🙂

  11. I found this link on Sweet and Savoury Sundays and I think Ghoulash is a great idea. I also keep a lot of ground chuck in the freezer and use it at the end of the month. I whip up all kinds of casseroles from whatever I have in the pantry or refrigerator. Beef isn’t that cheap but I use price matching at Walmart. I don’t have any grocery stores where I live at but I get all the ads in the newspaper. When I find a good deal I buy 10-15 pounds and split it up into one pound packages.

  12. Thanks for the recipes and tips. Always looking for ways to stretch the grocery budget.

  13. Great ideas to have, when life takes an unexpected turn. I’ve pinned this to my Low Cost Recipes board. Thanks for sharing with us at Simple Supper Tuesday.

  14. These all sound yummy! I am pinning!
    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!