In these increasingly tough economic times, it’s more important than ever to do things on a budget: Shop on a budget, go out on a budget, and perhaps most importantly, cook on a budget. Unfortunately, many people think that cooking on a budget means sacrificing taste and nutrition, which does not have to be the case. Equipped with budget-friendly menu ideas, even the most hard-core foodie can make meals, sides, even desserts—and not break the bank.
One way to make cooking on a budget easier is to buy in bulk. Many of us belong to warehouse clubs such as Sam’s Club or Costco. While it may not seem sensible ... at first ... for a single person to shop there, you might just be surprised. You’re not going to need five pounds of flour or sugar today, but if you really plan to cook more and eat out less (another key to budget living), you’re going to need those ingredients. No one is suggesting you go out and buy a giant-sized package of honey if you have no intention of using it, there may be some staples it would make sense for you to buy in bulk. If you don’t already belong to a warehouse club, take advantage of the “free for a day” offer that most of them have. This gives you a chance to mosey around the store for a day and check everything out to help determine if it makes sense to sign up for membership. If it doesn’t make sense for you, no sweat. At least you checked for free.
Now, for some low-budget recipes. Start your meal with something warm and wonderful like this Vegetable Chicken Noodle Soup . Comfort food that’s budget-friendly is what this vegetable chicken noodle soup is all about. Make the full batch, or cut it down to feed a smaller crowd. Any way you make it, this soup is deeee-licious, and the extra veggies make it healthy too. Another cheap, easy starter is Spam Chowder .
As main courses go, this Black Bean Casserole  is a surefire winner. Black bean lovers will love this simple casserole recipe. It pairs perfectly with garlic lime chicken or steak. The best thing about this recipe is that the ingredients are inexpensive, but it will still feed a whole crowd. Another easy budget stretcher is this Chicken and Rice with Gravy  dinner.
Cooking on a budget by no means you have to give up the sweet things in life, and by “sweet,” I mean “dessert.” There are plenty of dessert recipes that fit into a low-budget lifestyle. Take these peanut butter cookies  for instance. Not only are they budget-friendly, you can even have them if you have a gluten intolerance! Perhaps it is the aptly named Poor Man’s Cake  that is the fitting end to your budget-conscious meal. Think you can’t enjoy a sweet treat when you’re living on a tight budget? Think again! It’s a yummy way to end your meal.
Originally published on RecipeLion