Cheap and simple recipes anyone??

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Californiablonde, May 3, 2012.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I emphasize the word CHEAP. I can't afford a bunch of ingredients and being a working mom like I am, I need something simple, as in something that doesn't require me to stand over the stove and babysit the cooking for an hour.
    Both kids are absolutely sick of everything I make. They don't like chicken, pork chops, steak, or pot roast. All four are pretty inexpensive and very easy to make. Just pop em in the oven or slow cooker and their done. Nice and simple just the way I like it. Grilled cheese and soup is no longer an alternative either. Spaghetti is the only thing they both agree they like, but I can only stomach spaghetti one night a week. Unfortunately the kiddos don't appreciate my cooking at all and would rather have fast food every night instead of home made meals (typical.) We already do fast food several times a week and I refuse to go out more than we do. I am running out of ideas fast on what I can make that they will actually eat. difficult child 2 will actually skip dinner altogether and he'd rather starve than eat the meals I prepare. Anybody have any new kid-friendly recipes they'd like to share?
  2. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    You may be sick of spaghetti, as my kids did, but I turned it into spaghetti bake and now I can get away with giving them it AND spaghetti alternatively. You break up the spaghetti (after cooked) and mix in the sauce. You can also throw in some hamburger meat, crumbled sausage (already in bulk or out of casing or slice it), or if you want a splurge throw in ricotta. Any one of them will do. Add some kind of cheese on top whether it's mozzarella or chedder, provolone, etc...

    Bake for 30 minutes at 375.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    sending by PM...
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    Tiapet's recipe can be made with any kind of noodle. Cheaper than ricotta cheese is cottage cheese. Tastes just as good but retains more moisture. I mix my cheese with one egg and then grated mozzarella.

    They don't like chicken? Do they eat chicken nuggets? Cut up chicken breasts, rolled in flour seasoned with onion and garlic. Then just cook in oil. You can do a deep fry or saute. Takes only 10 minutes to cook through.

    Mac and cheese from a box? I actually ditch the noodles it comes with and use different shaped noodles for fun.

    Frozen ravioli or tortellini. I make mine with Knorr Parma Rosa sauce but you can use jarred pasta sauce. I prefer my ravioli with just butter.
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Baked chicken nuggets...I buy split chicken breasts, bone it, and make cutlets, cut them up, bread them and freeze them. When I want to use them, I take em out, pop into a dish and bake them. They come out crispy, you don't have to stand over a pan of oil and they are healthier than fried. Serve with rice made with chicken broth and a salad or broccoli and campbells cheddar cheese soup (heat and pour the cheesy soup over the broccoli - don't add water).

    I brown chopmeat in water - then all I have to do it pour it into a collander to drain it - low fat. After it drains you can use it for sloppy joes or chili or sauce or freeze it in one pound baggies for future use.

    Easy healthy chili: Toss into a crockpot browned beef (or browned chopped turkey*), one chopped zucchini, summer squash, small onion, red/green pepper, one can of red kidney beans, one small can of tomato paste, one can of petite diced tomatos (chilistyle is great), and one small can tomato sauce and spices (salt, cumin, italian, garlic, red pepper, chili, etc). Cook all day or afternoon. Serve with cornbread made from scratch or a box. Easy, cheap, and usually enough for lunch the next day. I can also make this after work and it's done within an hour and I don't have to stand over the pot.

    One night make a whole roasted chicken and serve it with potatoes, gravy and a green. The next night, strip the carcass, throw the meat into a pot with the gravy and heat. Serve over a slice of bread for open roasted chicken sandwiches. Easy, filling and you're using your leftovers.

    How about breakfast for dinner? My mom used to make scrambled egg omelets with french fries and we loved it. Also, she would sometimes make potatoe pancakes for dinner with applesauce - yummy.

    Buy pizza dough - very cheap at our local market - and make your own pizzas with your favorite toppings.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    REALLY cheap pizza dough: 2.5 cups flour, 1 cup water, 1 pkg yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp oil. Mix up, let sit for 20 minutes, flatten on a cookie sheet & prick with a fork. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes - till starting to brown - then put whatever you have leftover on it as toppings. One of the kids' favorites was leftover hamburger and hot dog pizza...
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    First of all, and please don't take this as criticism, my kids didn't have a choice to be "sick" of anything I cooked. They ate it, they liked it, or they went hungry. And trust me, they never went hungry, not for a single day.

    How about sloppy joe's? I actually prefer Aldi's generic to the Manwich brand. Fast, easy and yummy.

    Travis helped me develop a new recipe. Scrub potatoes like you're going to bake them, poke them with a fork and stick them into the microwave for like a minute or so. Take them out and slice them, peel and all. Take a pound or two of ground beef and crumble it up into a skillet, dice some onions (or use dried onions, is also good). Let it start cooking just a tad (to get some grease going), start putting in your potato slices, cook them together. Because you microed the potatoes beforehand it won't take them long to get done, and of course the hamburger takes no time at all. We're looking into what veggies might be good to add. I'm thinking green beans because those are good with bacon grease. Can't say I've tried many veggies with grease. lol Meat and potatoes in about 10 mins.

    Easy beef and noodles (and yup it's crockpot)- put a pot roast type roast into your crock pot. (more fat the better) add 2 family size cans of cream of mushroom soup and 1/2 can of water. Let it cook all day. When you get home toss the noodles into the pan and cook them up. While this is cooking remove the meat from the crockpot and cut it up into bite size. (you can do this before cooking but it's much easier after). Once noodles are done, drain water and add meat and gravy.

    I used to do a fast food type meal for my kids. Hamburgers (whatever toppings they wanted) with skillet browned buns, french fries, and whatever shake they liked (within reason, they had 3 flavors they could choose). The hamburger and fries were easy. The just put a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream into a blender with some milk and whatever topping they like, chocolate syrup, strawberry ect, and blend it up. Too thick, add more milk (a teeny bit at a time), too runny add more ice cream. My kids LOVED this during the summer. Which is the only time I made it. :)

    But honestly? While getting some new recipes for variety is always a win/win...............your kids are trying to opt for fast food. Nothing you cook is going to be "good enough" if that is the case. At 11 and 14 it won't kill them to skip a few meals. Like I said though, mine might have complained, but they never went hungry. (there was also no snacks in the house to fill up on after a missed meal) When they complained I told them they needed to grow up and get a degree that paid enough they could hire their own chef and invite me to dinner. LOL
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    OMG step, I LOVE YOU. I am soooooo trying that this weekend.

    We had one that has been in the family for YEARS. Comes out tasting like sweet bread, and I swear to all that is holy people literally fight over it. My sis was the only one who kept the recipe. She's done something to it over the years. Trust me, it's not the same. Heck, I can't even get hers to roll out right. And yeah, pizza dough with just a hint of sweet under pizza toppings is to die for. lol
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    LOL, rolling pizza dough?

    I flatten it between my hands, stretch a bit, toss for the kids' amusement (first job was Pizza Hut...) and then put it on the cookie sheet and squish out with my hands.

    Cause one of the kids put my wooden roller in the fireplace. (If it had been the one that belonged to my great grandma, I'd be in prison.)
  10. keista

    keista New Member

    Step, You stole my recipe! Although I use 3.5 cups flour and 1 and a third cups water. As a matter of fact we had it tonight. I use my Kenmore stand mixer with the dough hook. Also if you like your crust really soft an poofy, put a pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven when doing the first bake. Take it out once the toppings go on.
  11. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    My kids love Crock pot french dip:
    A can of Campbell's beef broth(10.5 oz), a can of Campbell's French Onion soup, can of brown gravy, a 12 oz. can or bottle of beer (or another can of broth & water)and a 4 lb. rump/pot/chuck roast. Put it all in a crockpot, add some chopped garlic and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Slice meat(mine just shred apart) and pile onto buttered toasted buns. I melt cheese on mine and also use horseradish sauce. Serve the au jus on the side for dipping.
    Everyday turkey
    I frozen turkey breast (often on sale after holidays) can of whole cranberries, packet of lipton onion soup mix. Put frozen breast in crock pot, pour cranberry over it, sprinkle with onion soup mix. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. YUM Make turkey sandwiches with the leftovers
    Cheeseburger-and-Fries Casserole
    Serve this quick-to-fix, stick-to-your-ribs casserole with a variety of condiments so diners can choose their favorites.
    Source: Midwest Living

    2 pounds lean ground beef
    1 10-3/4-ounce can condensed golden mushroom soup
    1 10-3/4-ounce can condensed cheddar cheese soup
    1 20-ounce package frozen, fried crinkle-cut potatoes (or tator tots or prepared mashed potatoes)
    Hamburger toppings (choose from catsup, pickles, mustard and chopped tomato)

    1. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef, half at a time, until brown. Drain off fat. Place the cooked meat in the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking dish.
    2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the condensed golden mushroom soup and the condensed cheddar cheese soup. Spread over the meat in the casserole.
    3. Sprinkle the frozen crinkle-cut potatoes over the top of the casserole.
    4. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until the fries are golden. Garnish with suggested hamburger toppings, if you like. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
    Rachel Ray's Yakitori Noodles
    1 pound soba noodles (I use whole wheat linguine)
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders, cut into bite-size pieces (or beef or pork, works well with any meat)
    2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced
    Freshly ground black pepper
    2 bunches scallions, trimmed of roots and cut into 2-inch pieces on an angle
    1/3 cup dry sherry (eyeball it)
    1/3 cup tamari (eyeball it) (soy sauce) or skip the sherry, soy sauce and sugar and use 2/3 teriyaki instead
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (can omit)
    Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (can omit)
    (I add veggies to make it a one pot complete meal)
    Yields: 4 servings

    Place a large pot of water over high heat for the noodles. Once boiling, add some salt and the noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain thoroughly.

    While the water is coming up to a boil, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of vegetable oil, about 2 tablespoons. Toss the chicken with the grated ginger and season with some pepper. Add the chicken to the hot skillet, spread it out in an even layer and let it brown up a couple of minutes. At this point you can add whatever veggies you have on hand, I do chopped carrots and celery, canned baby corn, or thawed frozen broccoli or string beans, whatever is around)

    Shake and stir the skillet to turn the chicken pieces then add the scallions, sherry, tamari, sugar and sesame oil, bring up to a bubble and simmer one minute.
    Add the drained noodles to the skillet and toss to combine. To serve, transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle with some of the toasted sesame seeds.(which I skip)
  12. SmallTownMom

    SmallTownMom New Member

    My boys can be picking at times, what I have found helped all of us is menu planning. I plan 2 weeks at a time and get all groceries I need in one trip. It helps with the budget as well.

    Things my boys like:
    tacos, burritos or nachos
    pasta with alfredo sauce with-carrots and chicken all mixed in

    beef stew in the crock pot
    add 1c flour with salt and pepper to a large ziplock bag, toss all meat in and shake
    brown 1sm pack of beef stew meat
    fry up 1-2 onion and 2-4 cloves of garlic
    add in other veggies I use carrots, potatoes, turnip or rutabaga, zucchinni
    place all ingredient in crock pot
    add 1 pack onion soup mix with required water
    turn on HI for 30 min
    turn to low for 6-8 hours
    in the last 15 min add in a pre shaken mixture of 1/4c water and 2T flour
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Geez, Baked Spagetti has been a family favorite for fifty years. At our house we use mushrooms, onions, canned sauce, vermicelli nad topped with mega cheddar cheese.

    on the other hand, your children should be sitting at the kitchen table with you suggesting good family meals. They are old enough and smart enough to participate and not just sit back and compare you to Taco Bell. Turn it into a family project with preplanned meals....and post it on the refrigerator door. Hugs DDD
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Have not read the responses, so sorry if I repeat what someone else has posted.

    easy almost lasagna - take any type of pasta but spaghetti - I usually use penne or bowties or macaroni. Do NOT cook. Mix 1 lb dry pasta, 1 big container cottage cheese (low fat), shredded mozzarella (1-1/2 pounds - we get a big 5# bag at Sams for about $12-$15 (it varies from month to month) and I use about 1/3 of it), and 2-3 cans of spaghetti sauce. Add browned ground beef if desired. Stir together in a bowl, adding enough sauce to make it fairly soupy but not soup. Put in casserole or slow cooker and cook until done. You do not have to cook the pasta first - this saves dishes, time and aggravation. Just add about 1/2 can of water or extra spaghetti sauce after you get it to the consistency you would like it when done. The uncooked pasta will absorb LOTS of flavor from the sauce and it will be awesome. Let it cook in crockpot all day or if baking, put in casserole dish and bake an hour or two until done and hot.

    We do queso for dinner some nights - super fast. Not real healthy, but kids love it. Just melt 1/2 of the 2 pound brick of velveeta (the walmart brand tastes just like the name brand, so save the extra $$) and 1 can rotel or about 10 oz salsa. Cut the velveeta into cubes and put in microwave safe bowl. Add 1 can rotel, microwave on high 2 min. Stir, microwave on high 2 more min. Continue to microwave at 2 min intervals until hot. Serve with chips.

    You can also make this queso and put on macaroni for a spicy mac and cheese.

    Brown 1 pound ground beef. Drain. Add 1/2 cup tvp (texturized veggie protein) and 1 cup water, and 1 pkg taco seasoning. Let simmer, add more water if needed, then serve on taco shells or flour tortillas or on tortilla chips (for nachos) with refried beans (take 1 can kidney or red beans, drain and rinse, mash with a fork adding some garlic powder, onion powder, and salt if you prefer not to buy refrieds). Let kids make their own tacos or burritos or nachos. I often will get 5-10 pounds of ground beef and make patties out of some, and brown the rest up. Patties get frozen for when they are needed. The browned meat gets frozen in 1 pound amts in ziplocs. Half of the browned meat gets made into taco meat for fast easy meals.

    The tvp is a GREAT way to stretch your food dollar. I generally get it from teh bulk section at Whole Foods. I just add about 1/2 cup per pound and about 1 cup of water and let this cook with the browned meat. Doesn't take long to make and not even my health food loathing father has EVER realized that it is in the spaghetti sauce, taco meat, meatloaf, or anything else. Usually I get loads of compliments about how tender the meat is when I do this. Especially from people who go on and on about hating soy, health food, etc... (I am one who HAtES the way most health food tastes and I cannot tell the difference! Just don't let the kids see you make this.)

    Want to make somethng that will have them BEGGING for one of your roasts or chicken or something? Try my father's mustard glop. This is a major reason why I learned to cook at age 10. HE used to serve this at least once a week and even our dog wouldn't touch it. Brown a pound of ground beef. Don't bother to drain - it takes away all the flavor - just ask my dad! Add 1.2 to 1 cup yellow mustard (the cheap kind). Then add about 1/4 cup of the juice from canned jalapenos and stir it all together. Simmer until it isn't watery. Serve on buns or on pasta or egg noodles or chips. this stuff will ruin the pasta, noodles, chips or anything else you serve it on.

    Lock down the kitchen so this is the ONLY thing available. If the kids complain, give them seconds. No tv, computer, mp3 player or anything else until they join the 'clean plate club'.

    they will BEG and PLEAD and PAY YOU to make a pot roast or chicken the next day. This worked on every kid on our street. I was welcome at dinner wth every family on the block after a few of the parents saw my dad cook this and tried a taste. Seriously. not at ALL joking about that.

    Taco soup is awesome and super easy. 2 cans each black beans, red beans, navy beans, chili seasoned/ranch beans, 1 can rotel, 12 oz salsa, 2 cans petite diced tomatoes, 1 bag (1 pound) frozen corn - preferably super sweet, 1 pound browned ground beef. Put into crock pot and cook on low all day, or put into pan and heat until hot. Serve. Can add 1 envelope ranch dressing mix, 1 envelope taco seasoning if desired, 1 chopped onion, etc... I usually don't add either the ranch or taco seasoning usually because we don't have any. Serve with cheddar cheese, guacamole, sour cream, hot sauce, anything else you like.

    For a fast easy dip, put 1 brick of cream cheese onto a dish. Pour salsa over it and serve with chips.

    Baked potatoes make a nice meal. You can bake them in the crockpot while you are at work - just put clean potatoes in the crock pot and cook on low all day. If you want to oil the skina nd wrap them in foil you can, or just put a bit of oil on the skins and dump them into the pot and cover. Serve with chili or canned/leftover stew, taco meat, almost anything on top. I like to take cooked chicken, cheddar, butter spray, salt, and low fat ranch and enjoy.

    Or take the baked potatoes and cut them in half. Scoop out the insides of the potato, leaving the skina s a shell with a bit of potato on it. If they are cooked all the way, you can just scoop out the center leaving some potato with the skin. Put the insides in a bowl. Put the skins, cut side up, onto a cookie sheet. Add some margarine, cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon if desired, and cook in the oven until browned. Mash the potatoes with some butter, cheese, milk, etc... and heat in microwave. Serve with cooked chicken. Or you can add some milk and make cream of potato soup.

    Easy alfredo sauce - melt 1 stick butter with 2 cups heavy cream in saucepan over low heat. Add 1 tsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp of cream cheese and 1/2-2/4 cup grated parmesan (NOT the powdered stuff in the shaker bc it will NOT melt) and stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Serve on pasta. Great with chicken and/or broccoli. (this is a copycat version of Olive Garden's alfredo).
  15. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I'm very big on buying whole chickens and getting several meals out of them. I just put it in the oven and roast it for the first meal, and usually have sandwiches the next day. Then with what's left I make old fashioned chicken and dumplings - very filling and very economical. If you have the time, you can make your own chicken broth by covering what's left of the chicken with water, throw in some onions, maybe a carrot, and simmering for a while. Then pick the meat off the bones. Or you can use canned chicken broth. I put one can of chicken broth and one can of cream of chicken soup in a big pot and heat it up, add the chicken meat and a can of mixed vegetables. Then for the dumplings, I use one of those little envelopes of biscuit mix (around $1) or Bisquick, mix it with enough water or milk to make a soft dough, and drop it by spoonfuls into the simmering liquid. Cover the pot and let it simmer until the dumplings are big and fluffy and their surface looks dry. That's it. You can jazz it up but that the basics. And you can make it pretty much from leftovers!
  16. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Ummm. I think I'm a bit dense. I'm always hearing about "making your own broth" when it comes to chicken. So I'm wondering if I'm doing something different, because I have TONS of broth when I bake a whole chicken. Maybe I add more water than most people or something?? Because no kidding I've got at least 2 quarts of broth from one chicken, and it's rich broth too. I have plenty for gravy with the first meal, to cook the noodles in for chicken and noodles the 2nd meal, AND to pour over the dogs food at least one or 2 nights so they think I made chicken just so I could do that. lol

    And while we're at it, I have the same thing with beef broth. lol

    I'm not complaining. I'm just trying to figure out why people seem to need to make extra broth........

    I came up with something by accident our grade school (back in the day when they did home cooked meals) called chicken a la king. I was at a loss as to have a new way to do chicken breasts. We'd been eating them a lot because they'd been on sale a lot, and it's not normally something I serve often. So I put them into the roaster pan, added cream of chicken soup and cream of celery soup. When done if you cut up the chicken breast and pour it with the gravy over biscuits.......OMG is it good!! Tastes the same as what my school made way back when. lol (and you can do this one in a crock pot too)
  17. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Lisa, are you talking about ending up with broth when you're ROASTING a whole chicken? You must put a lot more water in there than I do. I just sit the chicken in the roasting pan with maybe a quarter-inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Eventually that water will evaporate and what is left on the bottom of the pan is just the juices and the fat that cooked out of the chicken. That's what I make my gravy out of. What I was talking about is what's left of the chicken carcass after I've had a meal or two off of it. I put what's left, bones and all, in to a big pan on the stove with just enough water to cover it and then just let it simmer an hour or so. Then take out the chicken, pull the remaining meat off the bones, then you can use the meat and that big pot of broth to make some other recipe with.

    I'm making myself hungry now! I had a really good recipe for potato soup that I'm going to try again. I just peeled a whole big pot of potatoes and cut them in to small cubes, but I added some onion and cooked them in chicken broth instead of water. When they were done, I took about half the potatoes out, mashed them with a little butter, and stirred them back into the remaining potato cubes and chicken broth. It will be pretty thick. Then add some milk or cream (cream is better!) until it is the consistency that you want. If you like, you can stir in about a cup of shredded cheddar cheese and stir till it melts. REALLY good and really cheap! You can add veggies to it if you want - whole kernel corn is good. I also put little 1/2 inch pieces of asparagus in it once and it was wonderful!
  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Oh, yeah! I put in LOTS more water. LOL And a stick of real butter too. So that is what it is after all. (well, I baste the chicken using a whole stick of real butter that is)
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This one has me chuckling... because there is SO much about cooking that is unwritten.
    I have a whole slew of family recipes. If I were to share them? You'd never get what WE get from them. Because, there's 3 or 4 generations of "we do it this way" packed into every recipe. My kids can cook them - the neighbor can't!
  20. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    IC that is so true.

    And I do so much of "just a little of this, and some of that, and a pinch of this" that it makes it hard to pass recipes on as well. I don't measure often, mostly only for baking.....and sometimes then it's still a pinch of this and that. My kids can do it, because I've either shown them or coached them enough, and they know exactly how it is supposed to turn out. But it's much harder for other people to do.