On a Budget: 3 day dinner plan

United States
December 5, 2006 12:40am CST
Right now my husband and I are broke. Usually I have tons of can goods in my cabinets, but now they are almost gone. I'm getting worried about what will happen when there are no cans left. Due to the fear of running out of food I have gotten resourceful with my canned goods and other food. Here is how I stretched one meal out to last 3 days and still have something different every day. :) Everything was cooked with things I already had in my cabinets or fridge. Oh, and this is for 2 people only. Day 1: Spaghetti Ingredients: 2 sweet italian sausages I had leftover and frozen 1 can diced tomatoes: put in food processor for a couple of seconds to make less chunky. 1 can tomato paste 1/2 of medium onion chopped, sauteed in EVOO garlic powder basil Directions: Sautee onions in a small ammount of oil. Once tender add diced tomatoes, the can of tomato paste, 1/4 cup of water, garlic powder, and basil. Let this cook for 30 minutes. It gets better the longer it cooks. crumble sausage, cook in seperate pan, and add to sauce. Day 2: Chili Ingredients: 1 lb ground beef left over spaghetti 1 can kidney beans chili seasoning 1/2 onion Directions: Add together, bring to boil. Once boiling turn down to a simmer and cook all day. Cayenne Pepper optional. :) Day 3: Chili Mac Ingredients: left over chili macaroni
10 people like this
38 responses
@mfrancq (1808)
• United States
5 Dec 06
Trust me, I know what you are talking about. Since I had to quit my job to stay home with our son, I have become a queen at stretching out food. My husband laughs because he'll go and look for something to eat, come back in the living room and say he can't find anything. I'll go in there and in two minutes I have a whole meal going. You just have to appreciate what you do have and go with it. It's better then nothing, you know? Good for you with the creativity!!!
2 people like this
@killailla (1301)
• Canada
6 Dec 06
i also like to stalk up on veggies, in a pinch we have salads. And i freeze leftover spagetti sauce to reuse, i fefreeze all leftovers we have if it can be done just in case, meatloaf freezes well!
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Dec 06
meatloaf tastes better after it has been prepared and frozen then reheated and served to me, lol, I guess its because the meat absorbes more flavor :)
@brokentia (10395)
• United States
5 Dec 06
I have a better idea... Day 1 PB&J - cost: bread, peanutbutter, and jelly Day 2 PB&J - Just think of how much your saving on electric Day 3 PB&J - Hey, if you get sick of it...just think of all the weight you will lose. You can't go wrong with PB&J!!! :)
@Faye88 (1009)
• Singapore
5 Dec 06
Good idea can buy all flavour of jam and butter/margarine/chocolate etc will not get sick of it.Can put other sauces like tomatoes/chille/mayo,spaghetti suace with eggs,lettuces,ham or even ice cream.Or plain bread with coffee and tea.
• United States
5 Dec 06
haha...what do you think I've been eating for lunch? PB and J or ramen noodles.
@Faye88 (1009)
• Singapore
5 Dec 06
Oh!I left out the garlic bread.Put garlic into processor.Spread a bit butter or margarine then garlic but into oven for 5 mins.
@Meljep (1668)
• United States
5 Dec 06
You can get real good at the stretching thing if you have to. Those are good recipes for stretching the dollar. Another one that is good is Tuna Casserole. This one was made up during WWII when people didn't have alot of money.
• United States
5 Dec 06
I've never had tuna casserole. I'll have to look at recipes for that. Wait..is it warm? I can't imagine warm tuna. If I must...I must.
• Ireland
5 Dec 06
I often have toasted tuna sandwiches, and I think it tastes quite nice when eaten warm. I have often made them for unexpected visitors and they too liked them.
• United States
5 Dec 06
My mom used to take tuna, cream of mushroom soup and canned peas and heat them up in a suace pan and serve them over toast or biscuits. I hate tuna now... but it was good poor mans food when we were younger.
@DIXIE444 (123)
• United States
6 Dec 06
Hello my friend, Actually I am in your shoes now as we speak. I feed a family of 6 almost daily and we sometimes have to stretch 50.00 over 8 or 10 days of food. We eat lots of pasta and rice too. I make elbow mac (boil it) and add a can or two of diced tomatoes to the mac after you drain it. I sprinkle on some cheese cheddar if we have it. That is what we eat lots. It makes a ton. We also eat lots of soups. I cut up whatever veges we have and add them to chicken or beef broth and sometimes even add some pasta for extra bulk. Pancakes and eggs are super cheap to whip up. oh another filling meal....bake a couple baked potatoes, buy a can of campbells cheese soup and top your tater with cheese and have a hot dog with it. pretty filling. Chicken wings are super cheap too. for two of you, you can eat for days on a large pack of wings for about $4.00. for some sweets....just bake a cake and sprinkle some powdered sugar on top instead of icing. good luck to you and hope that it all turns around for you. Maybe one day you guys and us too will be able to afford filet mignon every month. LOL YUM....
• United States
6 Dec 06
Thanks for all of the great tips! I will certainly keep these things in mind.
• United States
6 Dec 06
In my bachelor days I'd live on 7 day goulash, it'd start off as 2 ramen noodles (8 for a dollar) and spagetti sauce (a buck) with a little hamburger meat (roughly $3)=$5 meal. day two another pack of noodles and a .50 cent can of chili is added, day three a $1.19 can of dinty moore beef stew goes into the mix. By day 4 the noodles thinning out so another 2 packs of noodles gets added along with a .30cent can of beans. Day five add tuna (2 for $1) and mix well. Day six another ramen noodle pack (that makes 6 outa 8 used so far) and some cheese (18 slice pack for $1.29). day 7 would be what was left mixed with the last two ramen noodle pack, the last of the cheese, and whatever else I could find in the fridge. then I'd go shopping for all the ingredients to do it all over again, when through 8 months of this routine 7 days of meals on $10 bucks a week budget..
• United States
6 Dec 06
Wow..now that is stretching it. I'm in awe.
@LovingIt (5398)
• United States
6 Dec 06
When we were going to college my husband and I only had $35 to make it though the week. A lot of weeks I'd make a big pot of soup out of ground beef and whatever vegatables I had handy. It would be pretty thick to start with but I'd add water after we'd eat a meal or two and thicken it with flour to make it stretch further.
• United States
6 Dec 06
I hadn't thought of doing that. Very good idea. Soup is really the best way to go in situations like this.
@TerryZ (22083)
• United States
5 Dec 06
Sounds good Ill give it a shot. That is something my husband would really enjoy. Hope things work out for you. Talk to you
• United States
6 Dec 06
When my huby and I were first married, he made ketchup spaghetti one night...cook the spg noodles, then sautee them in a frying pan with ketchup... its not as bad as it sounds! although its been several years...lol
@lilmissy (481)
• United States
5 Dec 06
we have a easy easy soups that are filling 1 can of refried beans and two cans of tomatoes ,1 onion sauteed and add a lil hot pepper add any kind of sausage or shredded chicken if you like and eat with a loaf of bread we just take a slice of bread and dip it in and eat it ,its warm and filling and cheap
• United States
5 Dec 06
That sounds really good. We just went shopping and spent $50 on food. I planned out 7 meals that will all last 2 days if not more. Soups are a really good way to stretch things out. If I'm lucky we won't need to go shopping for at least 2 weeks. I know I can stretch it longer than that if I try.
@brendalee (6083)
• United States
5 Dec 06
I have been in your shoes before. Its not easy. Don't you have some sort of food pantry where you live? Where I live,this church gives out food to people that need it. Its not much but every little bit helps. But anyway, I have something I make when funds are low. I take hamburger rolls and put some spaghetti sauce on them(add some spices to the sauce if you want) then sprinkle some cheese on them. Put them in the oven, I can't remember how long,probably when the cheese melts, And you have mini pizzas, sometimes we put pepperoni on them. Also, I found a recipe for you for tuna casserole....... 2 cans tuna fish 2 cans cream of mushroom soup concentrate Boiled noodles Mix together drained tuna fish, cream of mushroom soup concentrate and boiled noodles. Transfer into an oven-safe dish. Bake into a preheated 350°F [180°C] oven, for 45 minutes
• United States
5 Dec 06
Thanks so much for the recipe!
@katprice (807)
• United States
15 Dec 06
A lady I used to work with told me when she was growing up and things got tight, her mom would serve them chipped beef and gravy over toast for dinner. A great inexpensive meal that will fill you up.
@rozidin (25)
• Indonesia
6 Dec 06
Better eat the fresh food, it is not food in continuous can.
@Aali311 (6126)
• United States
6 Dec 06
Sounds like a good plan, I hope things get better for you all soon.
@Khokhonut (702)
• United States
6 Dec 06
You are doing GREAT ! :) I know it's not always easy being creative, but amazing what you can do when need be ! Good job !
• United States
6 Dec 06
wow you are very creative!! I hope everything wrks out well for you.
• Philippines
6 Dec 06
wow, that's great! been there also but the things I remember I have done was cooking an instant pancit canton with canned corned beef to make it a real noodle meal and I did also with corned beef (on cans) with thin slices of potato and carrots and would last 2-3 meals. things like that...crisis always bring good things, we become wise, creative and humble. :)
@wahmoftwo (1298)
• United States
6 Dec 06
I really commend you for trying so hard to stretch your dollars. So many other people just whine for someone to bail them out. I don't have any recipies to help you out. Although the cheapest meal we have around here is pizza. A six dollar pizza from the grocer will feed my family of four two meals. Good luck to you and hope your finacial situation improves soon :)
@farocop44 (448)
• Canada
6 Dec 06
How about "Food Bank"
@Fritty7 (13)
• United States
6 Dec 06
Another quick, inexpensive dish is chicpea pasta. Simply use a campenelle or butterfly type package of pasta, a can of chicpeas and a tomato, fresh or canned. Cook the pasta and sautee the tomatoes if you'd like. Mix it together with the chicpeas and coat with olive oil. Add Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. You can even spice it up with crushed red pepper flakes. You can have it warm or cold. I made it real quick for my boyfriend the other night and he loved it.
• United States
5 Dec 06
those are really good. although I can really add to that, I can give some suggestions for the future. Try using turkey meat instead of beef. You can use a bullions to make it taste like beef. It much cheaper. Also try getting beans and rice, those with a smoked turkey tail will make great soup and you can flavor it differently for a change in pace over the days. If you dont want to cook beans all day, put them in the microwave for about 45 mins, it will cut your cooking time in half. If you like chicken, buy it whole, that's cheaper. Then if there are piece that you don't care for, (like me, I don't like white meat), you can use that to make a cassarole with.