Super Simple, Super Cheap Recipes

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

I’m always on the look out for super-simple, super-cheap recipes for lunches, snacks and using up leftovers. I usually do okay with dinner (there’s almost always something tasty hiding in my freezer), but sometimes I run out of ideas for  the other eating times during the day, especially on those busy days with little time to cook. 

A couple of simple things we do: 

“Tortilla Roll-Ups” — Just spread cream cheese and a couple slices of inexpensive sandwich meat onto a flour tortilla, roll up, and enjoy! I also add sprouts or lettuce if we have it around. A friend of mine slices the Roll-Ups into Pinwheels for variety — the Tortilla Pinwheels make a nice snack item for parties, too. 

“Fruit Salad” — Fill a salad bowl with large cubes of fresh fruit (apples, oranges, bananas, melons, etc.), and then pour a carton of VANILLA-flavored yogurt (NOT plain yogurt) over the fruit for a sauce. This is so simple, but very tasty. 

“Pudding Pops” — Prepare a box of instant pudding according to instructions, pour into popcycle molds and freeze. If you use chocolate flavored pudding, you have super-simple do-it-yourself fudgesycles. Butterscotch pudding is really good this way, too. 


1) For lunches, stuff a pita pocket with green salad (and shredded cheese if you have it), and then top the whole thing with ranch dressing.2) For snacks, spread cream cheese on a slice of salami and add a stuffed olive, roll it up and insert a toothpick in it to hold it together.3) Another snack that I make: top a graham cracker with cake frosting (my favorite is chocolate!). Yummy!4) Cut a cantaloupe in half and fill with cottage cheese.5) There are wonderful and usually very economical recipes at the “Taste Of Home” web-page. I think their address is:


Take a can of cheap spaghetti sauce and a can of black beans, heat together and serve over pasta.


Apple slices with peanut butter… yummy, cheap, easy.


Serve leftover chili on top of leftover rice. Makes a “Red Beans and Rice” type of meal.



I prepare a box of macaroni and cheese, and heat a can of chili. Then I serve the chili scooped over the macaroni. Using leftover homemade chili makes this even more economical and a great deal healthier, but you asked for cheap and “easy” ideas so I immediately thought of this simple recipe just using boxes and cans.


Perfect Oatmeal: 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of regular oatmeal, a dash of salt and 3 minutes in the microwave equals perfect oatmeal. I came up with this after much trial-and-error looking for that “perfect” proportion of ingredients. 

One response to “Super Simple, Super Cheap Recipes

  1. Charlotte Perkins

    Make a bowl of tuna salad for sandwiches. Then cook, drain and cool some pasta, to mix with the leftover tuna salad for tuna macaroni salad.

    Make your own croutons for soups and salads by dicing leftover French or Italian bread and toasting it in a 250 oven for two hours. This gets the croutons really dry and crunchy. You can sprinkle them with garlic salt when they’re done.

    Make a three can vegetarian chili: One can black beans drained. One can niblet corn drained. One can good quality diced tomatoes NOT drained. Open the cans and mix together in a pan. Add a tablespoon of chili powder. Heat well. Serve with cornbread.

    Watch for chicken legs on sale. They are often a very good buy and kids like them, but they need to be crunchy. I use the store brand version of Shake and Bake.

    Learn to make your own white sauce instead of using all those high-sodium cream soups. You’re not saving on casseroles if your “sauce” is another dollar or more. Try this. Heat a cup of milk in the microwave for 2 minutes. Meantime, melt 2 tablespoons butter or margarine (not the whipped kind) in a skillet. Stir in 2 tablespoons flour until well blended and bubbly. Add a whole can (juice and all) of sliced mushrooms and stir. Take the milk out of the microwave and pour it in slowly. Cook an stir until thickened and taste for seasoning. Now you can add leftover chicken and green peas for a great Chicken A La King, which is great over toast squares or over baked potatoes. You can skip the mushrooms and add a cup of grated cheese for a good cheese sauce .If you want a ‘cream of chicken’ just add a chicken boullion cube or the granules to the recipe above. Add an extra cup of milk and a package of chopped frozen broccoli, thawed, to the basic recipe you’ve got a good cream of broccoli soup. Now you’re cooking the old fashioned way. p.s. the reason for heating the milk is that it helps avoid lumps in the sauce


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s