Certain meals evoke comfort and childhood. Even when you are poor and can’t afford to spend on groceries, some delicious comfort meals are cheap and filling. Here are some of the best frugal meals.
Cheap and Satisfying Meals
This list of 20 cheap and satisfying meals is here to keep both your wallet and your taste buds happy. Get ready to indulge in some serious comfort food without sacrificing your savings.
After someone asked a popular online community for their best go-to comfort meals for the season, these are the top-voted dishes.
Ramen is cheap and can have just about anything to add to it. Anyone who eats ramen has their particular way of making it theirs. Some add butter, and others will add vegetables or meat.
One user shared, “Real simple ramen, start with the chicken flavor after it’s cooked, you throw in an egg and stir to scramble, a little bit of garlic (powder, minced or granulated) and a few dashes of sesame oil. So simple but delicious.”
2. Tuna Sandwich
All you need is a can of tuna, some mayonnaise, and bread. These are the basics, then make it yours with whatever you like. For example, one user suggests a “Tuna sandwich with onion and tomato slices.”
Another confessed, “I like to mix some sweet relish, chopped onion, and a little bit of powdered garlic to mine. I prefer red onions, but others usually prefer sweet onions.”
Soup is easy to make, and almost any ingredient can be added to make a delicious warm hearty meal. “I like to make soup out of whatever is in the house,” shared one.
“Take some carrots, celery, onion, other random vegetables or beans, and peas lying around, throw it in a pot with chicken stock, and boil it. Pick a few spices like rosemary and thyme from my herb garden.
Suppose we have half a cup of wine in the fridge, throw that. Add some cooked chicken or bacon. Then I usually make rice, couscous, or pasta to go with it.”
4. Salisbury Steak
Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes are easy and inexpensive to make. One user clarified, “A four-ounce patty would be a buck fifty. A potato would be about fifty cents. Butter and flour for the roux would be fifty cents. That’s two and a half bucks for a meal, give or take.”
5. Grilled Cheese
Whether you make it with Velveeta or mixed cheeses, grilled cheese is a staple when you feel like a warm hearty meal. Add some tomato soup to dip the sandwich in, and you have an inexpensive recipe to delight your family.
Someone admitted, “My kids prefer a thick slice of Velveeta, but I like a three-cheese blend with sharp cheddar, pepper jack, and smoked gouda. It has a nice little bite from the pepper jack and a smokey flavor from the gouda.”
6. Chicken Noodle Mashed Potatoes
People can get rather creative with essential products. No one can deny chicken noodle soup is hearty in itself, but this user takes it to another level.
They stated, “Get a can of chicken noodle soup, only a tiny amount of water, and instant mashed potatoes mixed in a while cooking. If done correctly, you can get excellent chicken-flavored mashed potatoes with noodles mixed in.”
7. Hot Dogs
For a hot dog, add some cheese, onions, chili, or just plain with ketchup and mustard. Add a side like a potato salad, macaroni salad, or chips. Quick and easy to make and a classic hearty meal.
8. Pasta With Butter
Pasta can easily be jazzed up with sauces, vegetables, and meat. But sometimes, you have to use what you have on hand. Simple pasta with some butter; try it with parmesan cheese, lemon, or garlic salt. Give something so simple a little pizzazz.
Recipes: 15 Amazing Mac and Cheese Recipes
Start with a tortilla and cheese, then add whatever else you want. For example, one user suggested, “Sometimes I do a simple cheese and onion quesadilla, but I like to get one of those premade chickens for dinner sometimes, then I use the leftovers in my quesadillas the next day.”
10. Bologna Sandwich
Many in the thread agreed that bologna sandwiches are boring, but try dressing them up with tomato, mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, or cheese. Also, try the sandwich with some chips mixed in between the bread, and it adds a little crunch for texture.
“I like a bologna sandwich with a slice of American cheese and lettuce,” one clarified. “Add a handful of BBQ potato chips; they must be BBQ chips. It’s the perfect lunch.”
“My father once told me meatloaf is so easy, and everyone loves it because it’s just hamburger mixed with foods you like,” explained one. This couldn’t be more true.
Another noted, “I like to make mine with teriyaki sauce. First, add sauce to the mixture; you’ll need extra binding. Then once you shape it into a loaf, you pour more sauce. Finally, add some pineapple or ketchup to the top, and you’re done.”
12. Chicken and Dumplings
Nothing will warm your belly on a cold evening more than chicken and dumplings. Easily thrown together in a crockpot to cook all day, it’s a super easy no-fuss meal that will make your house smell delicious all day.
One user commented, “Mmmm, Chili is fantastic comfort food. I feel like people tend to be super loyal to their family recipes.” However, those recipes are usually really delicious. Another explained how delicious it is with cinnamon rolls.
14. Macaroni and Cheese
Homemade macaroni and cheese is made with any cheese you prefer. “I like making mine with pepper jack cheese,” advised one. “It has a little bite and is so creamy.” You can add some chili, hot dogs, or some hamburger meat to make this meal stretch a little more.
From omelets to scrambles, to poached on an English muffin, eggs have endless recipes. One Redditor shared, “I like using the leftover vegetables I have for the week and making scrambles. I keep some sausage or kielbasa on hand to add to my leftover scrambles. Makes a delicious breakfast or a hearty breakfast for dinner for the family.”
16. Tuna Noodle Casserole
“We used to make a cheap tuna casserole using Krafft mac-n-cheese,” said one. “I would prepare that, then add a can of tuna, some extra shredded cheese, and some croutons. Mix it all, spread in a casserole dish, and top with more cheese and bake until it melts.”
17. Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Usually served with potato chips, fruit, or yogurt on the side, peanut butter sandwiches are a favorite among children and adults. Some like to add jelly, honey, bananas, and even pickles.
Most people don’t eat rice by itself, but rice is a great way to stretch a meal and make it more filling. For example, serve a stir fry on a bed of rice or stir some vegetables and meats in the rice for delicious fried rice. Add rice to soups for thicker, heartier recipes.
Spaghetti is a simple dish using noodles and a tomato-based sauce. Add meatballs or ground beef, mushrooms, olives, and a side of garlic bread, and you have a meal. Many in the thread agreed it’s “Cheap, easy, and you can get about four-to-five meals out of a box of noodles.”
20. French Onion Soup
Finally, one stated, “Honestly, I would have to say French onion soup. Cheap and easy.” You can add a few things to it, but a basic French onion soup is still delicious.
The onions are soft and flavorful, and the beef broth tastes good and feels good too. So if you’re sick or just feeling down, this soup can make you feel better.
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This post originally appeared on A Dime Saved.