Ask My Readers | Frugal Meal Ideas

Reader Q&AToday’s reader question comes from Rachel. She wants some good ideas for super frugal meals that don’t involve eggs.

I really need to keep our grocery budget low, but my kids don’t like eggs. Do you have any other ideas? I feel like they are really getting sick of PB&J and pasta.

Can you help Rachel out? Let’s talk super frugal meal ideas in the comments section!

Do you have a question about budgeting, couponing, menu planning or anything else? Please send me an email – I love hearing from my readers!


  1. Rice and beans, salads with grains and beans, tuna, cheese or chicken (small amounts of animal protein as they are expensive). Stir fries served over rice or other grains. Tortillas (homemade are easy and can be filled with whatever you have).

  2. A favorite in my house is chicken tortilla soup made in crock pot. It lasts my family of 6 2 1/2 suppers. Here’s the recipe.
    4-6 chicken breasts
    1 onion chopped
    1 can corn
    2 cans red beans
    1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
    1 can tomatoes and green chilis
    8 cups chicken broth- I make my own using osem powder
    1 packet taco seasoning
    Salt, garlic, and a pinch of cumin to your taste.

    Place all ingredients in crock pot and cook low 8 hours. Serve with tortillas- most mexican brands have a hechsher or you can make your own on the griddle. Maseca cornmeal is CRC and has instructions on package. Or you can serve with white rice like we do. And avocado wedges on the side too. Enjoy.

  3. Do you live somewhere where you have the option of a rotisserie chicken? Cut into eighths, I’ve stretched one $9-10 chicken to make dinner for two nights (either in pieces or chop into salads, casseroles, stews, stir fry), throw the back and neck into a netted bag to make chicken soup or stock, and then I strip the remaining meat off the bones and mix with soup vegetables to make a few jars of baby food. Figure $5-8 for vegetables and rice/pasta plus $10 for the chicken often gets me three meals.

  4. Eggplant is good peeled, sliced, dipped in an egg and bread crumbs. Layer it w/pasta sauce and mozzarella. Top with parmesan if you want.

    Homemade pizza is inexpensive. If you have a breadmaker it is pretty easy.

    Do they like tofu? Cube it and serve w/veggies and make a sweet and sour sauce. Almost any veggie can be stir fried and use whatever you have. Use inexpensive ones like carrots, onion, etc.

  5. Think Mexican and Asian. Beans and rice are extremely inexpensive.
    Here are some quick ideas that come to my head:
    1. Black bean burritos in flour tortillas
    2. Mexican salad bar with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, black beans mixed with lime juice and cilantro, chopped green onions, torilla chips, and salsa
    3. Baked Potato bar with steamed broccoli, cheddar cheese (if it is not too expensive, otherwise cream cheese) cottage cheese, salsa, and lots of butter, salt and pepper
    4. Vegetarian chili
    5. Chickpeas cooked with canned tomatoes and oregano served with brown rice

  6. caroline says

    I’ll post more ideas later, but for now, Mara’s list at is terrific. All three have been incorporated into our regular meal rotation.

  7. If you have time to cook things from scratch (like bread) you buy flour in bulk and it will last a long time. Bread doesn’t have to be fancy but you can do a lot with it!
    Whole chicken that someone else mentioned is great and then you can make chicken broth with the bones. I usually get 3 meals out of a chicken: Chicken salad, chicken quesodillas, in a rice casserole, or roll it up in a tortilla with cheese & onions for taquitos, enchilladas, soup, lots of options.

  8. We do breakfast for supper. I make pancakes from scratch. It’s cheap and most of my kids like it. I also make homemade pizza. The dough takes about 10 minutes to make–I don’t let it rise and then bake it.

  9. Jessi Levy says

    We have a set rotation, similar to Mara’s,where I fix a theme each night of the week.
    Soup on Sunday, Meat on Monday, Taco(or mexican) Tuesday, Crock-pot Wednesday, Pizza Thursday, And Fish on Friday(when it’s just us)
    My favorite is Mexican. Once a month I make a big batch of pinto beans(dry beans are cheaper and more healthy), puree them and freeze into 2 cup sections. You can use the beans with taco’s, buritos, we make tostadas, chimicangas, quesidillas and taco salads! It’s all dairy, but so yummy!

  10. We eat a lot of lentils, rice and the like, and not a lot of eggs! I have posted lots of recipes on my Frugal and Kosher blog. It’s geared towards Israelis, but you can make it work in America too!
    Feel free to check for frugal recipes –

  11. It sounds crazy, but losing a car (and deciding not to replace it) has revolutionized my shopping, and therefore my menus & budget. My grown daughter and I share a car, and she has it at work most of the time. I do one big grocery shop a week at Aldi. I supplement at a regular grocery store every 2-3 weeks. Aldi produce (especially on sale) cannot be beat in my area. Every Monday we have meatless pasta in some sort of sauce–whatever produce I have on hand. Tuesday is egg night (they are cheap at Aldi also). Wednesday is fish night. Aldi has 2 lb packages of whiting. I make burgers with them. Often we have roasted baby carrots alongside. On my computer I keep recipe files for pasta, eggs, fish, etc. When I see a good recipe, I save it in the appropriate file. In that way, I can usually find a recipe to accomodate whatever I have on hand. I have slashed my grocery bill doing this! My biggest food expense by far the is the kosher butcher–but that’s not going to change, so I work on the other stuff.

    • That doesn’t sound crazy at all – it really is all connected! I hadn’t thought to buy fish at Aldi, I’ll have to look for it! Thanks!

  12. I’m on a sweet potatoe kick. I like to pop on in the microwave, chop up some veggies, and add to rice.

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