Favorite easy economical meal

Joined Dec 7, 2009
I just thought I would throw out a broad "idea net" asking other what was there favorite economical easy meal.  I should be fairly healthy too please.

I really like a simple cooked squash/zuchinni with shrimp and penne pasta with lemon juice.  I dont have the link but it is easy and not too expensive if you dont use alot of shrimp.

I want to get a few more favorites and then I can try to polish my work.

Your attention to this matter is sincerely appreciated.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Lentil soup with vegetables. A few minutes chopping, then a little attention now and then to stir. Great meal, healthy full of flavor and very inexpensive.
Joined Aug 13, 2006
Zuppa di scarola - escarole soup - the easiest to make (put escarole, onion, celery and carrot cut up in a pot with water, lots of pepper, salt, and let it cook an hour.  Boil rice separately. 

Add rice to soup and parmigiano on top.  Can't be simpler, but wow, is it good.  So incredibly satisfying. 
Joined Aug 9, 2010
   As soups go I would recommend egg drop, very easy. Put 2 cups chicken broth in pot (if you use canned broth or bullion cubes use only 1 cup broth 1 cup water). add 1/2" slice of ginger root, bring to boil. Mix 2 eggs w/ 1 tsp soy sauce. With broth at a boil, remove piece of ginger. Stir broth and while stirring poor in egg at a steady drizzle. The faster you stir, the smaller the egg pieces will be. Add a couple sliced scallions, salt to taste.

  If you want something a little trendier, try fish tacos.

For the sauce: (sorry I can't give you exact amounts I do it by taste)

Mix plain yogurt w/ chopped dill weed, sugar (small amount), 1 small can green chiles and corn.

For the fish:

Any mild white fish will do (tilapia, ocean perch, trout for example). Poor juice of one lime over fish. Spinkle w/ cumin and coarse sea salt, drizzle w/ olive oil. Grill, broil or pan fry fish as you prefer. Obviously grill or broil would be healthier. Serve in soft corn or flour tortillas. My preference is corn, especially if you make em yourself, but that does complicate the recipe.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Pasta springs to mind.  Pasta of choice (I use penne), some sweated onions, carrots, garlic, and celery.  Toss in a can of diced roma tomatoes.  Heat thru.  Toss cooked pasta in.  Voila! Serve with a tossed green salad on the side if liked.

Of course you can add a grated tasty/cheddar/parmesan cheese of choice, of even some sliced cooked sausage (low fat), or some cooked diced chicken, sometihng along those lines.  This will add to the kilojopules and cost, but makes a variation of the original.
Joined Nov 5, 2007
I'll often buy a whole chicken at the market for about 5 bucks and get at least three meals out of it.  Doing so does require a bit of work, but nothing too difficult.

Breakfast type stuff is often cheap and easy.  This morning I made myself a real tasty meal.  It was just grated potato for hash browns, with some diced onion added.  Out of the skillet and on to a plate, covered with about a quarter cup grated cheese, topped with a couple fried eggs and some salsa verde.

Beef chuck can provide some economical meals.  There's always the pot roast option, but some chuck steaks are good if marinated for an hour or two, then grilled and broiled.  Sliced thinly the meat goes great on a sandwich roll or put in a tortilla or pita.

Joined Jan 2, 2007
I often make up a spinach or basil pesto and simply toss through pasta with some shredded cooked chicken. Quick, simple and very tasty.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Easy, economical.....


Veg sandwiches.....usually a combination of cooked and raw veg depending on season

ditto chicken....usually roasted, then on a salad, then on bomba rice with onions/thyme/cheese...one chicken, many dishes.

most of my meals involve long prep (dried cranberry beans) that can be eaten for a week....thrown in soup, eaten with sausage/rice, mashed into "hummos", etc.....
Joined Aug 19, 2010
I'm a complete amateur at-home-cook but one of my quick favorites is to fry up a few slices of bacon, toss in and saute some chopped cabbage and then serve with a splash or two of malt vinegar.  YUM!

justin thomas

Chicken Fricassee and dirty(ish) rice.  One chicken (with the kidneys and liver and such), one big onion, a bit of flour, and those spices you got laying around.  At least by me whole chicken is the cheapest way to get your meat.  Wish I had enough fridge space to soak some beans though
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Fishy stuff on some sort of warm or toasted bread.

Lox on bagel, taramosalata on pita, sardine salad on sour pumpernickel, oyster po' boys, shrimp tacos... you get the idea.

And leftovers.

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Joined Oct 9, 2008
I'm in the soup camp here.

Soak beans overnight, or use canned if you prefer. Sweat diced onion and carrot and celery and whatnot in a little olive oil, add some diced ham or leftover chicken or whatever, toss while cranking the heat up, then add stock or water to cover very generously. You can add the drained beans now or cook them separately if you like --- I just toss 'em in, usually. Add an old Parmesan rind or something if you've got it, and more firm vegetables, and herbs like thyme and oregano (fresh for preference). Cook about 1-2 hours at a simmer until the beans are tender. (If you want potatoes in it, dice them and add them when the beans are just barely tender.) Season the soup generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, add any really soft vegetables (leafy greens, fresh tomato, frozen par-cooked peas or carrots, etc.), and add also a generous handful or so of some kind of dry pasta you like. Cook at a medium boil about 10 minutes until the pasta is barely tender, then shut off heat. Season to taste. Wait 5 minutes. If you like it creamy, scoop out half a cup or so of beans, then put them through a food mill or just mash through a mesh strainer, and stir the mush back in. You can now leave it to cool and reheat it, or serve at room temperature (more salt needed!), or serve it immediately.

I like grated Parmesan, lots of fresh coarse-ground black pepper, a pinch of crunchy salt, and a drizzle of good olive oil on top.

Note for parents: I serve this at least once a week in the cooler months, because it's ludicrously healthy, cheap, uses up leftovers, and my kids --- ages 5 and 2 1/2 --- will shovel it in. I've seen my son (the 5-year-old) eat two generous adult-sized bowlfuls, then decline dessert because he was full. So he should be!

Note on variations: Search around for serious Italian cooking sites and books. What most Americans know as "minestrone" is a pretty despicable crime against a vast range of wonderful soup-stews along this general line.
Joined Dec 7, 2009
Wow, thanks for all the great replies.  I still need to read them all.  Since this post was so popular don't I win something, some Tupperware maybe?
Joined Aug 13, 2006
Yes, you did win kevin - a collection of recipes!!!  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

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