16 “Poor Man’s Meals” That’ll Keep You Fed Without Going Broke

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Nowadays, many people want meals that are not too expensive but still taste good and are healthy. It could be because you’re a student with not much money, a smart cook trying not to waste food, or just someone who wants yummy meals without spending too much. Here are 16 affordable meal ideas that are easy on the wallet and tasty too.

From classic comfort foods like grilled cheese and spaghetti to creative culinary delights like aglio e olio pasta and sausage with sauerkraut, these recipes showcase how ingenuity and resourcefulness can turn simple ingredients into satisfying and affordable dishes. Here are more culinary creations that demonstrate that eating well doesn’t have to come at a high cost.

1. Budget-Friendly Burrito  

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Turning leftovers into a delicious burrito is a clever way to enjoy a satisfying meal without wasting food. Whether it’s last night’s chicken, vegetables, or even a simple scrambled egg, heating it up and wrapping it in a flour tortilla transforms it into a tasty burrito. This resourceful approach reduces food waste and creates a quick and affordable meal.

2. Ramen And Boiled Egg

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Embracing the Japanese tradition of adding a boiled egg to your ramen elevates this humble dish into a hearty, cost-effective option. 

The fusion of flavors and textures creates a delightful eating experience. It’s joked about as being “easy peasy, Japaneasy,” showcasing the simplicity and affordability of this satisfying meal.

3. Mushroom Soup

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Cream of mushroom soup served with crackers to thicken it up is a comforting and budget-friendly choice. It’s a tasty option that won’t strain your wallet, typically costing around 50 cents. You can dip some bread into it to be more filling but still friendly to your budget. 

4. The Classic Grilled Cheese

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Sometimes, the simplest meals bring the most comfort. Grilling a Kraft single cheese slice between buttered bread is a timeless go-to for many. The cost-effectiveness of this meal, with 16 slices of cheese for around four dollars, makes it an appealing choice for those on a budget.

5. Eggs And Toast

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Two fried eggs paired with toast form a classic and nutritious meal that’s easy to prepare. It’s an awesome meal that offers protein and essential nutrients, all at a low cost. Add some sauces and salt and pepper to excite your tastebuds. 

6. Cinnamon Sugar Toast

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Buttered toast sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar creates a delightful treat that’s both easy to make and budget-friendly. This sweet and simple dish is a quick pick-me-up when you’re craving something comforting. It can also be a great dessert when you are feeling fancy. 

7. Spaghetti And Tomato Sauce

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The affordability and versatility of spaghetti and tomato sauce make it a top choice for budget-conscious individuals or families.

A pack of spaghetti noodles and a can of spaghetti sauce can feed a family or provide multiple meals for under two dollars. It’s an economical and satisfying option paired with a loaf of bread and some butter.

8. Garlic Toast

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Garlic Toast: Garlic toast is a favorite that’s easy to make and budget-friendly. It’s a delicious side dish that pairs well with many meals. The tip of purchasing bread products from a factory store, like Mrs. Baird’s, at a reduced cost is a smart budget hack. By freezing extra loaves, you can stretch your food budget even further.

9. Hot Dogs And Onions

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Hot dogs and buns from a place like Aldi, costing around two dollars, provide a budget-friendly meal option. While the lack of a well-rounded diet might not be ideal, adding onions and frying them offers a tasty solution if preferred. Onions provide vitamin C, ensuring some nutritional value in this low-cost meal.

10. Beans And Rice

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Buying large bags of beans and rice to mix in a sealable container allows for a cost-effective approach to food. 

This efficient strategy helps answer the question: “How much food do I need to live, and how cheap can I get it?” A 5-gallon container of beans and rice, supplemented with a multivitamin and some eggs, can sustain you for an extended period. You can always add sweet potatoes, corn, and some leftover sauces for a more tasty and filling meal. 

11. Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich

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Elevating a simple peanut butter sandwich by mixing in sliced bananas and adding a drizzle of honey creates a delicious and budget-friendly meal. The combination of textures and flavors makes it a favorite.

12. Rice, Egg, And Soy Sauce

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his meal combines rice, a runny egg, soy sauce, and seaweed with any leftover protein you have on hand. It’s an example of creative cooking on a budget, combining staple ingredients with flavors that complement each other.

13. Dry Ramen Noodles

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Dry ramen noodles are a cost-effective choice that only requires a glass of water or a kettle for preparation. It may not be an exciting mean, but it’s good and can get you through the day.

You can add anything left over for more flavor, filling, and nutrition. Adding an egg means adding protein.

14. Aglio E Olio Pasta

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Known as the “Peasant’s Pasta,” Aglio e Olio is a delicious and inexpensive dish. It consists of pasta, olive oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese. This flavorful combination of simple ingredients shows that budget-friendly meals can be incredibly satisfying.

15. Sausage And Sauerkraut

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A classic German-inspired meal, sausage and sauerkraut offer ample protein, filling portions, and an extended shelf life. 

The key to preparing sauerkraut is rinsing it well in cold water, draining it, and cooking it with sausage. A dash of sugar, vinegar, and caraway seeds creates a balanced sweet-sour flavor that enhances this affordable and hearty dish.

16. Plain Oatmeal

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Oatmeal from a discount grocery store provides a nutritious and low-cost option. For approximately 20 cents per bowl, it is an adaptable base for adding any available leftovers or ingredients, making it a versatile and budget-conscious choice.

11 Quirky Items That Confuse Non-Americans About American Homes

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Behold the internet’s treasure trove of knowledge! Amidst my casual scrolling, I stumbled upon an interesting question: “non-Americans, what do you reckon resides within the four walls of every American’s home?” 

As I looked into the answers, I found many interesting comments that made me even more curious. And now, I’m excited to share them with you.

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Meet Dee

Meet Dee

I love to share recipes with real ingredients that are both sweet and savory (especially sweet:) My mission with Gimme From Scratch is to inspire you with recipes that will bring your families together in the kitchen. I'm introverted at heart but know how important socializing can be for maintaining good relationships, when writing not only am looking forward to sharing information - It's also building connections between readers who love good food as much as I do!

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