Healthy, Frugal Recipe Options!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see Full Disclosure Policy for more information.

As a child, my home was one where frugalness took center stage. Both from necessity and my mother’s seemingly innate drive to live frugally, she knew how to stretch and save and craft and create just about anything we could possibly need and she made it look so ridiculously easy. At the time, I thought her efforts were typically more time consuming (and/or annoying) than anything else. But now! Oh, now I look back and wonder how in the world she did it, and more importantly, how I can do it too. When it comes to food in particular, I’m always at a bit of a loss at how she managed to put at a dinner of at least a meat, starch, vegetable (usually 2) and salad on our plate every single night. Milk was a staple, vegetables were in abundance, everything was made from scratch and there was always a variety that never get old. Now, in my own efforts to continue that healthy, frugal eating pattern, I refer back to her often for tips, recipes and suggestions.

When Jennifer asked if I might be willing to write about some healthy, frugal recipes, I jumped at the chance, knowing that my mother would be my inspiration. If you’re looking for ways that you can provide your family with nutritious meals and snacks that don’t break your budget in one fell swoop, consider some of these recipes, fully inspired and shared by my frugalista mama that I love so!

Dinner Options

Taco Soup

1 1/2 lb hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
1 can pinto beans
1 can corn
1 can tomatoes (Mexican, stewed or plain)
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 TB roasted and ground cumin seeds or 2 tsp. cumin
2 1/2 cups water or more for thinner soup

Brown hamburger and onions in large pan, drain off fat. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for an hour or so. When ready, serve in big soup bowls.

Everyday Black Beans

{Courtesy of The New Vegetarian Epicure

1 lb. dried black beans
3 large onions
6 – 8 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 1/2 TBs. olive oil
1 green pepper, chopped
2 TBs. cumin seeds

Soak the beans overnight. Drain, rinse and put in a pot. Cover with water and add 1 onion, 2-3 cloves garlic and small handful of cilantro. Simmer gently until the beans are tender adding water if needed. Stir in a teaspoon of salt towards end of cooking time. Chop the remaining 2 onions and sauté in olive oil in large pan until limp. Add green pepper and continue cooking until onion and pepper begin to color. Lightly toast the cumin in a small pan and then quickly crush in a mortar. Chop the rest of the cilantro (about 2 TB) and add along with the cilantro and beans with their liquid to the vegetables. Add salt if needed to your taste. Simmer everything until it has thickened some and is the consistency you want.

(Delicious with brown rice, in whole grain tortillas with cheese and salsa, on salads, in soup, or just about anywhere!)

Side Option

Creamed Vegetable Soup

One of the most affordable, easiest and healthiest sides to make is a vegetable soup. Soups are very filling, especially when eaten at the beginning of a meal and provide the comfort and warmth only a hot soup can. You can make any vegetable soup simply by boiling/steaming your vegetable (or vegetables) of choice until extremely tender. Then simply place in a blender, add as much water or broth as necessary, and puree until liquid. Add salt and seasonings to preference. For an even faster option, buy bags of pre-chopped vegetables and simply unthaw and then puree.

Breakfast Option

Bran Muffins {Courtesy of Allrecipes}

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup oat bran
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup skim milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup apple sauce
2 cups shredded carrots

Preheat over to 350 degrees. In a medium-large mixing bowl combine flours, oat bran, ground flax seed, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Add eggs, milk, vanilla, and apple sauce to the flour mixture stirring until well combined. Stir in shredded carrots/zucchini, raisins, and chopped walnuts. Scoop batter into prepared (sprayed with non-stick spray) muffin tins until 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until done. Allow to cool for 10 minutes inside tin before removing. Enjoy!

Snack Option

Homemade Crackers

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt (heaping)
3 TB flax or sesame seed
1 tsp baking powder
¼ cup olive oil
1/2 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and blend well. Add milk and gently mix. Roll out thin right on your baking sheet, score into the size and shape you want, and poke all over with a fork. Bake at 300 till lightly browned.


1 can garbanzo beans drained – reserve 1/2 of the liquid
2 TB tahini oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lemon – juiced
2 TB olive oil

Mix first 5 ingredients (including the liquid from the beans) in food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If you don’t have tahini, you can roast 2 TB sesame seeds (in the oven or in a pan on the stove) and then mash with enough olive oil to make a paste.

Enjoy Saving & Eating!

Frugal and healthy doesn’t have to mean complicated. In fact, more often than not, it means simpler and easier. It can be more time consuming, but most things worth it are. Get creative, swap out ingredients you don’t have with ingredients you do, always interchange whole wheat for white, and olive oil for margarine. Add extra spices to perk up basic recipes with normal staples to pack an extra punch of flavor and make common foods feel new to give your overall meal plans a facelift and some needed variety.

Image source: via Jennifer on Pinterest
Image source: via Genevieve on Pinterest
Image source: via Jo on Pinterest



Author Jocelyn Anne is a full time writer for Air & Water and is in charge of all content to help families find electric home heaters that are efficient and cost-effective.  When not writing for work, she opts to indulge in her foodie passion and write baking and cooking articles every chance she finds.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!


  1. Thank you for welcoming me to your site! I can’t wait to share more recipes… :)

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge