Budget friendly meal · Meal planning · refreshment at home

How To Reduce Your Grocery Budget and Still Eat Heartily

We’ve all seen that grocery prices are climbing. Is it possible to stay within a budget, but also cook delicious and filling meals at home? Yes! Here are my top five suggestions for doing just that!

Vegetable Pot Pie
Banana bread made from over-ripe bananas costs pennies and can be sliced and frozen to accompany oatmeal or eggs for breakfast.
  1. Take note of what’s on sale at the grocery store each week. Going to Southern Savers or Money Saving Mom sites can make it so easy!
    Also be sure to visit the marked down areas in each section of the store – produce, bread and meats. Then…
  2. Make a weekly menu from the items on sale. A menu will keep you from running to the store last minute and buying whatever it takes to make supper. You’ll also be buying when the items are lower.
  3. Stock up if you can. When items are on sale, buy more than one, if possible. When butter is on sale, I buy two or three and freeze the extras until I need them.
  4. Bake your own bread, baked goods and snacks. This French Bread is so easy and makes two large loaves. I buy my bread flour in bulk at Sam’s Club and this recipe costs very little to mix together. After calculating the flour and the yeast (also bought in bulk at Sam’s), it costs me about 35 cents per loaf! This bread is so good toasted, so aside from a great side for breakfast or spaghetti supper, the possibilities are endless – grilled cheese, French toast, or BLT’s to name a few.
    These Muffins and this sweet bread can be made so cheaply by buying bananas that are over-ripe. They are cheaper than ripe ones and they freeze beautifully. When berries are on sale, freeze them for berry muffins. Make up a batch of cookies that don’t call for extra items like nuts or chocolate chips (did I just say that?!). Reserve those for special times. Make simple recipes like Snickerdoodles or Sugar Cookies.
    Rather than buying microwave popcorn, make this easy recipe – it’s much cheaper (and so much better!). These Granola Bars are also a Yummy snack!

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5. Have meatless suppers once or twice a week.
You can have breakfast for supper and serve eggs, pancakes or waffles and fruit.
Go with beans as the protein and have Cracker Barrel’s Pinto Beans and cornbread.
Refried Beans in a tortilla with fresh tomatoes, lettuce and cheese is another good option.
Broccoli or Baked Potato Soups are both hearty and filling.
Vegetable Pot Pie is another yummy, filling option!

Just typing up this post made me really want to cook and bake! Each of these recipes are truly cost-effective – especially when you follow the five steps I shared. I hope this will help you to eat well AND stay in your budget!

Appetizer · Budget friendly meal · Main dish. · Pasta

Cheese Ravioli Appetizer/Side Dish

I have an old recipe for you today that can serve as either an appetizer OR a side dish. It can be served any time of the year, but because it’s served with a (red) marinara or spaghetti sauce, it makes a great accompaniment to a Christmas menu! This is also a budget-friendly recipe!

This Toasted Ravioli is super fast and easy, and is a true crowd pleaser. I discovered this recipe years ago in my Southern Living Cookbook. Being crispy on the outside and cheesy on the inside, makes it irresistible! It’s a perfect finger food appetizer, but you can also serve it alongside a meal, as I did recently.

Toasted Ravioli

  • Packaged frozen Cheese Ravioli – Thawed
  • Seasoned bread crumbs
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • Cooking oil – Canola works well
  • Marinara or Spaghetti Sauce

Instructions:

  1. In a dish, combine seasoned bread crumbs and about half as much Parmesan cheese.
  2. In another dish, combine one egg and milk
  3. Dip ravioli in egg wash, then breadcrumbs.  Place enough oil in the bottom of a medium skillet. After it gets hot, add ravioli, a few at a time,  Toast until golden This will only take a couple of minutes.  Keep warm.  
  4. Serve with a marinara or spaghetti sauce.

I made this French Bread to go along with the meal. I broiled it until it was lightly browned and crisp. This has come to be one of my favorite breads to make because I can have bread in two hours from start to finish.

I hope you’ll add this ravioli recipe to your menu soon, then let me know what you thought about it!

Budget friendly meal · dinner in 30 minutes · vegetarian

Pinto Beans Like Cracker Barrel’s!

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Have you ever eaten Pinto Beans at Cracker Barrel?  Yum!  They are delicious!  But what do you do when you can’t go to Cracker Barrel?  You use this shortcut method to get the same tasty results!! (I might also add, at a fraction of the cost!)

Even though we may have more time to cook these days, it’s always nice to have a recipe in our arsenal that packs heartiness, comfort, and is budget friendly.  As Cracker Barrel knows, Pinto beans and cornbread are synonymous in the south!  But if you use dry beans (which is the cheapest way), it takes hours to prepare.

I’ve recently found a way to take Bush’s canned Pinto Beans and cook them so that they taste just like the slower method!  I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to the long way of doing this favorite meal of ours! The added ingredients are staple items I always keep on hand, so I know that I can have dinner of Soup Beans and Cornbread on the table in under 30 minutes!

I only use Bush beans. Why?  They are gentle on your stomach!  I stock up when they’re on sale for $1!  Add a box of Jiffy Mix and you have a really inexpensive meal!

One can of beans feeds two people, so you can adjust the ingredients for your family.  Here’s the simple method I use:

 Pinto Beans Like Cracker Barrel’s

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs Olive oil
  • ½ inch slice of yellow onion – chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 slice of bacon – cut into 1 inch pieces – You could leave this out to make it vegetarian!
  • 1 can Bush pinto beans
  • 1/2 cup water – Or for more flavor you can use chicken  broth
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp white granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp hot sauce, optional
  • ½ tsp salt – Taste to see if it’s needed; the bacon will add salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and saute until soft and nearly transparent (about 2 minutes)
  • Add the bacon and cook together until the bacon is soft and nearly done.
  • Drain the liquid from the can of pinto beans.  Rinse.
  • Add the pinto beans to the sauce pan and continue to heat over medium heat.
  • Add 1/2 cup fresh water or (chicken broth) to the pinto beans
  • Put the butter, sugar, hot sauce, salt and pepper in and heat till bubbly.
  • Taste before serving and add more salt and pepper if needed.

I like to serve the beans with a piece of cornbread crumbled over it.  Chopped onions on top are a nice addition, too. 

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My menu:

Pinto Beans
Oven roasted potatoes
Cooked apples
Corn bread

If you’re curious about the cooked apples, simply peel , core and cube the apples and place them into a skillet.  Add enough water to just cover them.  Sprinkle with a little sugar and also cinnamon.  Cook on medium heat until they cook down and some of the liquid evaporates.  Adjust sugar as needed.  This is a great way to use up apples that are too soft to eat, or that you’re afraid will go bad. 

This is one meal that is on repeat at my house about once a month.  We love it.  I hope you’ll try it and enjoy the taste of Cracker Barrel at home!!

Are you a lover of Pinto beans and cornbread like we are?

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