Humans are capable of surviving on much simpler foods than many Americans are used to eating. While this does not promote self-denial, it does promote simplification and practicality. During a time of low funds, it may not be wise to serve authentic Italian lasagna or a rib roast. These are wonderful foods, but are also expensive to prepare. When families lack finances, it is important to make a food shopping budget.
The following are some simple and cheap meal suggestions for cutting down overall monthly food costs (items can be mixed and matched for a weekly variety):
There are things that can be done to packaged or canned foods to help them stretch, and even kids will enjoy them. For example, add a can of chili and sliced hot dogs to macaroni and cheese. Add extra hamburger and egg noodles to a pan of Hamburger Helper. Add a handful of extra noodles and a bag of frozen mixed veggies to a can of chicken noodle soup. Throw in sliced hot dogs or frozen veggies to a pan of Top Ramen. Nearly any packaged or canned food can be increased with ease.
Another great meal stretcher can be prepared using leftovers from large meals like pot roast. Reserve the leftover gravy and juices, chop the leftover meat, carrots and potatoes and add everything into a pot with a can of beef broth to make a stew. Serve with sliced bread or a large pan of cornbread. Chances are there will still be leftovers to serve for another meal.
Slow cook boneless pork ribs in a bottle of barbecue sauce, and serve them with mashed potatoes and carrots for a great country-style meal. Then, later in the week, mix the leftover juices into ground hamburger to make a fantastic and moist meatloaf the whole family will love, serving it with the leftover mashed potatoes and carrots.
Be creative in meal preparation, and keep a variety of food ideas on hand. Also, don't be afraid to try new food combinations. Some of the greatest meal ideas and recipes have been discovered by cooks who love to experiment while being mindful of their food budget.