10 Budget-Friendly Recipes for 2017
With the start of the New Year, most of us have big plans to improve ourselves. Once we’re in the 2nd or 3rd week of January, though, it gets harder to keep up with our resolutions. Most years, I vow to lose weight/eat better and also become better with money. But you know what? Last year, I actually did both of those things. I lost 20 pounds, and JD and I eliminated our ‘bad’ debt. When I say ‘bad,’ I mean credit cards, etc. I don’t consider a mortgage to be a bad thing, but I didn’t like the idea of a monthly payment for something I bought at Marshall’s 2 months ago and have since forgotten what it is. That felt silly, and it also felt overwhelming. This year I vow to improve my blog with better photos and more inventive recipes, and I vow to surround myself only with people who are positive influences (no emotional vampires or phony friendships, please and thank you).
Since this blog is all about food and stuff, I’m going to do a 2 part series for our resolutions. This one is 10 Budget-Friendly Recipes. The second entry will be 10 Healthy Recipes.
I’m going to go back through old recipes. These days in the hyper-fast world of Pinterest bloggers, recipes are churned out so quickly that new gets old really quickly. There are so many great ideas out there that get buried. Here goes:
- Budget Bytes: Halusky. This is a simple dish (as are most on this list), and because it has few ingredients, it’s easy on the wallet. Halusky is an Eastern European dish, and the egg is completely optional. I wouldn’t skip it though, because it serves as the protein component for a complete dinner. I would also replace the regular egg noodles with whole wheat egg noodles if they’re available. Strangely I could always find whole wheat egg noodles when I lived on the Florida panhandle, but I can rarely find them where I live now even though it’s a much bigger area.
2. Green Healthy Cooking: Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry. I made this last year for JD and me. Again, it requires very few ingredients. Aside from the basic pantry staples, just pick up some coconut milk and curry paste. If you didn’t want this to be vegan, you can add some diced rotisserie chicken. I posted my own version of this a while back.
3. Ina Garten: Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. This dish is just beautiful in its simplicity, and I bet most of us have the ingredients to make this right now! All you need is a salad or simple roasted vegetable to complete this dinner.
- Martha Stewart: Cinnamon and Chicken Stew. I love spicy food. As much as I can, I make it for my family. Last year, I really went for it as far as veering away from the boneless, skinless chicken and getting the thighs and leg quarters. Sometimes I can find these for less than $1 per pound! In reality, it seems a little weird to only eat one part of the chicken anyway. The legs and thighs have so much more flavor. For this dinner, if you don’t have cinnamon sticks, it’s okay. Just substitute ground cinnamon. Also to give the dish a little extra spice, I seasoned the chicken with Berbere instead of salt and pepper. It was a hit!
- Eating on a Dime: Easiest Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings. This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. It’s easy, it’s cheap, and it reminds me of growing up in the south and eating my Nanny’s chicken and dumplings. I’ve rewritten this into my own version, but this is where I found it. It takes so little effort and is so comforting on a cold night. Plus it’s all in one pot, and you don’t need to make any side dishes.
- Family Fresh Meals: One Pot Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls. This is the second cabbage dish I’m posting. I know a lot of people who don’t like cabbage, but I love it. It’s very inexpensive, and I think it’s underutilized. For the ground beef (or ground turkey if you prefer), keep your eyes out at your local grocery store. When they run a sale, get as much as you can, portion it out, and freeze it. Really, you would benefit to do this with all your meat products! It saves money, and you can cook based on what you know you’ve got in the freezer. Doing this is also what forced me out of my boneless, skinless comfort zone.
- Jo Cooks: Mustard Balsamic Pork Chops with Rosemary. I think pork chops are forgotten about in favor of chicken. Boneless chops tend to be a little dry, but when you cook them in their marinade, it helps them stay tender. Of course, you can always make this with bone-in chops, country style pork ribs (you need to try these if you’ve never cooked with them– so tender), or even chicken thighs (use what you have or buy what is on sale!). This marinade is so flavorful and only uses a few ingredients.
- Amuse Your Bouche: Butter Roasted Radishes. The poor radish. No one (except the French) ever thinks to cook them. They’re always in the salad section of the produce department. I love them in salad, but I think you should definitely try them roasted. I tried them roasted years ago out of boredom, wondering, hmmm, I wonder if this will taste good? It did. The traditional way to roast them is in butter, but you can always substitute olive oil. Pair this with the pork chops above or next to some pasta.
- Let’s Dish Recipes: Brown Sugar Balsamic Roasted Baby Carrots. Carrots are one of the most consistent tasting and consistently priced vegetables in the grocery store. You can get a pound of carrots for less than $1, and they’re always in season. Even if you don’t know what to do with them yet, I think you should always keep them in your fridge. They go with salads, casseroles, soups, even in omelets. And here on their own. I’ve posted a recipe for Middle Eastern Spiced Glazed Carrots, and the idea is the same. I like carrots that have both sweet and spicy flavor components (e.g. Ras El Hanout + honey or Vinegar + brown sugar).
- Yummy Healthy Easy: Slow Cooker Peach Oatmeal. I figured I should include a non-dinner option on here. Other than the canned peaches, you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry already. You can use any kind of nuts you have on hand. You can substitute maple syrup for honey. You can frozen peaches or even frozen berries for the canned peaches. If you like a hot breakfast on a cold morning, it doesn’t get easier. You set this up right before bedtime, and it’s waiting for you when you get up. How cozy!