The internet is filled with recipes that claim to be both “cheap” and “easy.” Those are relative terms, I have learned, as these terms are applied to many recipes that are both expensive and difficult!!
My husband and I both work full time. I go to school part time. We have a 7-month-old. Ain’t nobody got time to chop like 5 different vegetables or dirty 3 different pans just to get one dinner on the table. I definitely do not have time to go grocery shopping several times a week- which is what you need if you’re going to include fresh herbs in everything you cook.
I have spent the last seven months collecting an arsenal of actually cheap and actually easy recipes and I’ve decided to put them up on the internet for you. At this time, I’m most concerned with feeding my family and staying within my budget- so I’m not all that concerned about avoiding processed foods, being a vegetarian or buying local and/or organic food. That said- on with the recipes!
1. Pork Chops in Teriyaki Marinade- take 6-8 pork chops and put them in a pyrex dish. Cover them in teriyaki marinade (I get a bottle of the Kroger brand for $1.50 or so) and cook for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. If you’re ambitious, put the chops in a freezer bag with the marinade the night before or several hours before you eat. Only if you’re really ambitious. Feel great about yourself if you marinate beforehand. 🙂
2. Tilapia with Pesto – I buy packs of Kroger individually-wrapped frozen tilapia filets which I can get 2-3 meals out of. You take the filets out of their plastic sleeves and stick them onto a foil-covered baking pan. Cover each filet in a light coat of pesto (from a jar…) and bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.
3. Rotisserie Chicken – it’s great for a meal by itself- especially the day you go food shopping and you’re tired so you don’t want to cook any of the food you just bought (because food shopping is REALLY TIRING!)
4. Chicken Chili made with Rotisserie Chicken- There are two pretty simple chilis I make with rotisserie chicken. Here’s a link to one: http://www.budgetsavvydiva.com/2013/12/chicken-chili-recipe/`and here’s a link to the the other: http://sayyes.com/2014/04/easy-weeknight-meals-part-2.html
3. Chicken Pot Pie Soup- I pick the meat off of a spent rotisserie chicken and throw it in the refrigerator to use in this soup. It calls for 2 cans of soup and frozen vegetables – you don’t have to chop anything. Amazing. I usually eat it with biscuits from a can instead of crackers.
4. Crock Pot Steak Chili- I do this on weekends when I’m actually home 4-6 hours before I want dinner and it’s as crafty as I get. 2-ish lbs of fajita or stew meat (it’s already cut up, guys), 2 cans of diced tomatoes, a 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, 1/8 teaspoon chili powder, 1/8 teaspoon paprika, 2 tablespoons of sugar, one onion chopped, a packet of ready-peeled garlic chopped coarsely and 2 cans of red kidney beans. Put everything except the beans into the crock pot for 4-6 hours. Put the beans in 1/2 hour before serving. Brown rice is a nice addition to this if you’re up for it.
5. Frozen pizza -There is NO shame in this, people. Freschetta makes a really delicious crust.
6. Pre-cooked sausages- in buns or alone with some rice and/or salad- pretty good.
7. Frozen meatballs and spaghetti- heat jar of sauce with meatballs for 30 minutes- serve over pasta
8. Black beans, rice and cheese- I make the rice, dump the beans over it, then the cheese- and I stick it all in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese. Pico de Gallo is nice with this if you have it in your fridge already.
1. Kroger Chopped Salads – Kroger has just come out with chopped salad kits that are quite scrumptious. They have an “asian slaw” and a southwest kit.
2. biscuits from a can- no shame!!
3. frozen vegetables- more edible than I previously thought.
5. Mashed Potatoes- boil potatoes for an hour, then mash and add some dairy products like milk, butter and/or sour cream plus salt and pepper to taste. Mix with a hand mixer until desired consistency is reached.