Budget Meals

Simple Low Cost Recipes




These simple low cost recipes are a great way to make budget meals a part of your diet. They are all made with healthy natural foods and quick and easy preparation. Saving money is important for most people and keeping food costs down with inexpensive recipes helps.

These simple ideas contain only a few ingredients but are packed with flavor. They create quick and easy meals and are perfect for vegetarians and vegans but can also be adjusted for meat lovers as well.

Simple side dish options are offered to make meal planning a snap. With quick ingredient exchanges these recipes can create a wide variety of dishes so you will never be bored and these inexpensive and healthy budget meals will make a delicious part of your diet.

Each recipe makes 2-3 servings


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Related Recipes:
4 Ingredient Recipes, Mini Meals, No Cook Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes

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Quinoa Salmon Salad
Makes 2-3 servings

• Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss well:

- 3 cups of salad greens
- 1/2 cup each of (green beans, peeled and cubed jicama,and sliced mushrooms)
- 1 cup canned salmon (drained and flaked)
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 apple (cored and diced)

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• Toss all ingredients with a bottled Italian dressing to taste.

• When serving each salad top with sliced almonds.

Side Dish:
Serve this easy budget meal with warm rolls and whipped cream cheese.

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Vegetarian Option:
Use 3/4 cup cooked lentils instead of the salmon and increase the quinoa to 3/4 cup.


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Couscous with Black Beans
Makes 2-3 servings

- 2 cups cooked couscous
- 1 cup canned black beans (rinsed and drained)
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp prepared mustard
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp dried basil

Ingredient Exchange: Use 1 cup cubed grilled chicken instead of the black beans.

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Cool Meal:
- Cook the couscous according to package directions and allow to cool.

- Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss well to combine and serve either at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so and serve.

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Warm Meal:
- Cook the couscous according to package directions and keep warm.

- Heat the black beans and tomatoes together with a little water or vegetable broth (enough to keep ingredients from sticking to the pan) in a saucepan over a low flame until warmed through. Stir to keep from burning.

- Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine well. Serve immediately.

Side Dish:
Warm cornbread or corn muffins topped with your favorite spread makes a great accompaniment to this quick budget meal recipe.


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Chicken Salad with Apples and Ginger
Makes 2-3 servings

• Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss well:

- 2 cups cooked chicken (cubed)
- 1 apple (cored and diced)
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream

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• Serve salad on a bed of baby spinach leaves drizzled with a little low-sodium soy sauce.

Side Dish:
Serve this easy budget meal with potatoes cut into chunks, steamed until tender, and tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

Vegetarian Option: Use 1 1/2 cups of store bought baked tofu cut into cubes instead of the chicken.


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Simple Pasta Toss
Makes 2-3 servings

Directions:

• Combine a couple of cups of cooked pasta (rotini, farfalle, elbow) with a bag of your favorite frozen vegetable combination (cooked according to package directions).

• Add a couple of flavor boosters like cubes of cheese, chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or pine nuts), sun-dried tomatoes (in oil, drained and roughly chopped), lemon or lime zest, cooked beans, or fresh chopped herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, or thyme.

• Add a dressing like olive oil and vinegar, plain yogurt (alone or mixed with mustard, horseradish, crumbled cooked bacon (regular or vegetarian style), or tamari soy sauce), salsa, oyster sauce, peanut sauce, or your favorite bottled dressing and mix well.

Side Dish:
Serve this pasta budget meal with a small tossed salad and warm garlic bread.

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Ingredient Addition:
For meat eaters, add 1 cup of cubed, cooked chicken, or shelled, cooked shrimp, or cubed, grilled steak.


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Pasta with Red Peppers and Spinach
Makes 2-3 servings

- 2 cups cooked bow-tie pasta (farfalle)
- 1 cup packaged flavored tofu - cubed
- 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers (drained and roughly chopped)
- 4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
- 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil

Optional Addition: Add some fresh grated parmesan cheese to each serving.

Ingredient Exchange: Use 6 oz canned, water-packed tuna (drained and flaked) instead of the tofu.

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Cool Meal:
- Prepare the pasta and place in a bowl and allow to cool.

- Place all ingredients in the bowl with the cooled pasta and toss well to combine, adjusting the oil to suit your taste. Serve either at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so and serve.

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Warm Meal:
- Prepare pasta and keep warm.

- Have all the other ingredients at room temperature and add to the warm pasta, tossing well to combine. Serve immediately.

Side Dish:
Serve this simple budget meal with your favorite vegetable mix steamed and tossed with salt, pepper and a little olive oil along with plain or flavored breadsticks.


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Lemon Mint Quinoa
Makes 2-3 servings

- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup canned garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
- 2/3 cup frozen peas (thawed and drained)
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Fresh ground black pepper – to taste

Ingredient Exchange: Use 1 cup cubed cooked ham instead of the garbanzo beans.

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Cool Meal:
- Prepare the quinoa according to package directions and allow to cool.

- Place all ingredients in a bowl and combine well, adjusting the pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so and serve. Quinoa is very light and this makes a perfect summer meal.

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Warm Meal:
- Prepare the quinoa according to package directions and keep warm.

- Heat the garbanzo beans and peas together with a little water or vegetable broth (enough to keep ingredients from sticking to the pan) in a saucepan over a low flame until warmed through. Stir to keep from burning.

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Serving Option 1:
- Place all ingredients in mixing bowl and combine well, adjusting pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Serving Option 2:
- In a bowl, combine the warm beans and peas with the scallions, mint, lemon juice, olive oil and pepper (to taste). Place a portion of the warm quinoa on each serving plate and spoon the bean and vegetable mixture over the quinoa. Serve immediately.

Side Dish:
Serve a simple green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette dressing with this budget meal recipe.


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Creamy Pasta with Fresh Basil
Makes 2-3 servings

Directions:

• Place 2 cups of cooked, drained, and warm, long thin pasta noodles (spaghetti, linguine, fettuccini, soba or udon noodles) in a bowl.

• Add a smooth and creamy sauce like plain yogurt mixed with some mayonnaise, lemon juice and zest, torn fresh basil leaves, and salt and pepper to taste.

• Toss sauce together with the cooked pasta.

Side Dish:
Serve this budget meal recipe with fresh Italian bread and a simple salad of canned and drained chickpeas, chopped tomatoes, diced cucumber and some fresh or dried mint.

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Ingredient Addition:
For meat eaters, add 1 cup of some cooked and diced ham, roast beef, or smoked turkey to this pasta dish.


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Spicy Brown Rice with Cheese
Makes 2-3 servings

- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 cup cubed sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup frozen sweet corn (thaw and drain)
- 1/2 cup pitted black olives (halved)
- 3/4 cup (or to taste) salsa (choose your favorite salsa)

Ingredient Exchange: Use 1 cup cubed and cooked (steamed or sautéed) tempeh or 6 oz of fresh cooked or canned (drained and flaked) salmon instead of the cheddar cheese.

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Cool Meal:
- Cook the rice and allow to cool.

- This budget meal comes together quickly by placing all the ingredients in a bowl and tossing to combine well and adjusting the salsa to desired moistness. Serve this simple recipe at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so and serve.

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Warm Meal:
- Cook the rice and keep warm.

- Have all the other ingredients at room temperature and add to the warm rice, tossing well to combine. Serve immediately.

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Side Dish:
Serve this easy rice dish with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and cubed avocado tossed with olive oil and lime juice and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.


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Tofu and Vegetables
Makes 2-3 servings

Directions:

• Steam 2 cups of broccoli tops, 1 cup diced sweet red peppers, 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms, and 1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts until crisp-tender.

• Place vegetables in a bowl with 8 ounces of extra-firm tofu (drained and diced) and toss gently with bottled peanut sauce to taste.

Side Dish:
This easy budget meal can be served on top of or along side a bed of warm, cooked brown rice, pasta, or baked potatoes and top each serving with chopped peanuts, chopped fresh cilantro, and fresh squeezed lime juice.

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Ingredient Exchange: Use 4 ounces of cooked steak (cut into cubes) instead of the tofu.


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Quick and Cheesy Wraps
Makes 2-3 servings

Directions:

• Using two to three (8 to 10 inch) soft tortilla shells, place a layer of refried beans on one-half of each tortilla.

• Top with thin slices of avocado, sliced radishes, diced green bell pepper, salsa, and shredded cheddar cheese. For meat eaters, add some cooked and shredded chicken on top of the beans.

• Heat each tortilla in the microwave until the cheese melts.

• Remove tortilla from oven and top with salad greens, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, and chopped pitted black or green olives and fold the wrap closed.

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Side Dish:
Serve each wrap with a bowl of warm tomato soup topped with chopped fresh cilantro and thin slices of radish. This is a quick budget meal that can be easily adapted to whatever vegetables you may have on hand in your refrigerator when you make it.


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Tofu and Pasta
Makes 2-3 servings

• Make a simple five ingredient budget meal with pasta by combining:

- 2 cups of cooked pasta (any chunky, short shape)
- 1 cup of vegetables (some ideas are peas, mushrooms, asparagus,
sweet red or green peppers)
- 1/2 to 1 cup of some cubed packaged flavored tofu

• Heat some bottled marinara sauce in a pan and combine with pasta, vegetables, and tofu.

Side Dish:
Serve pasta with warm garlic bread or rolls.

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Ingredient Exchange: Use 1 cup of cooked and cubed turkey, chicken, or tuna instead of the tofu.


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Roasted Pepper and Rice Soup
Makes 2-3 servings

Directions:

• In a soup pot, sauté 1 cup of chopped onion in a little olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes.

• Add 1 cup broccoli (chopped), 1/2 cup carrots (diced), 1/2 cup green beans (cut into 1" lengths), and 4 cups of low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth to the soup pot and heat on medium-high until soup comes just to the boil.

• Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender (approximately 10 to 20 minutes).

• During the last ten minutes of cooking add 1 cup of roasted red peppers (roughly chopped), 3/4 cup of cooked beans (like kidney, garbanzo, cannellini, or pinto beans) and 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice.

• Just before serving, drizzle in some balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper to taste.

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Side Dish:
Serve this budget meal soup with crusty bread.

Ingredient Exchange: Use 3/4 cup of cooked and cubed chicken instead of the beans.


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Use these healthy and easy budget meals to save time and money and create quick and flavorful dishes any day of the week.








More Budget Meal Ideas:

Bean Salad Recipe
Mushroom Barley Salad
Quick and Easy Vegan Meals

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