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10 Bang-For-Your-Buck Meals

A lot of times people assume that I spend a huge amount of money on food every month.

And you know what. They aren’t wrong. Betsy and I definitely spend an above-average amount of money on food, but eating well is something that we care about, so we just prioritize it.

That’s not to say that we don’t like to save money though! I have a huge number of meals that I consider to be a really great bang-for-your-buck. This usually means that the recipe makes a bunch of food that stores really well so you can eat it for a while.

I thought it’d be fun to compile ten of my favorite Macheesmo bang-for-your-buck meals over the years. Most of these are pretty easy to make and will stretch your bucks to the max. At the same time, I’d like to think they are pretty original so you aren’t just eating rice and beans every night.

Here’s my list!

10) Pesto Quinoa Salad

Ok. So quinoa can be a bit over-priced these days, but the other ingredients in this salad should be pretty reasonable this time of year and also very fresh. Not to mention that this salad makes enough for 4-5 days of lunches.

That’s some big time bang for your buck!

9) Overnight Oats

Oatmeal is about as economical as you can get. Steel cut oats are a bit more expensive normally, but also I find them to be more filling. In other words, more bang for your buck.

If you cook them overnight you can easily have them during the week even though they normally take at least an hour to cook. This was mine and Betsy’s daily breakfast during the winter.

8) Grilled Tempeh Salad

A really simple salad with tempeh, corn, black beans and basil. It makes a ton of food though, keeps really well, and is pretty inexpensive to make. It’s almost like a step up from a traditional bean and corn salad.

7) Beet Burgers

Beets are generally cheaper than beef. Unless you’re buying very low quality beef. I got a lot of, well, beef for these burgers, but I thought they were completely delicious and more economical than any meat variety of burger.

6) Chickpea Patties

Beans are pretty freakin’ cheap. And filling. Chickpeas definitely fall in that category. These patties are great on their own or they make pretty solid veggie burgers also. The recipe in this post makes about eight, but you could make them in a larger batch also.

5) Tuna Pasta Salad

A really light and fresh pasta salad with some good protein coming from tuna. Some of the ingredients are a bit expensive but you only need a bit of them to get the flavor and it makes a lot of salad which keeps well for days and days.

4) Lengua Tacos

In general, meat should be the most expensive thing you buy for your dinners. This doesn’t have to be the case though if you start learning how to use lesser used pieces of meat. Like beef tongue. It’s a stretch for a lot of people in America, but trust me. If you cook it correctly, it’s one of the best taco (or sandwich) ingredients you’ll ever have. And it’s dirt cheap to boot.

3) Green Chile Mac and Cheese

A bit of chicken goes a long way in this dish, but if you were really on a budget, you could leave it out. There’s plenty of flavor from the peppers, corn, beans, and cheese. It’s make a truck load of food.

2) Breakfast Sandwiches

If you’re a sucker for a certain restaurant’s breakfast sandwich, this is the thing for you. It’s very economical and you can make a bunch at once and freeze them. No need to hit the drive through anymore!

1) Frozen Pizzas

Anytime you can cook in large batches, you’re probably going to save money in the long run. Also, pizza is always a great way to stretch ingredients because you just need a little to top with. Couple those two things together and making a big batch of frozen pizzas is a fantastic bang-for-your-buck dish.

What’s Yours?

So those are some of my favorite economical meals. What’s yours? Leave a comment with a link to your favorite bang-for-your-buck recipe!

4 comments on “10 Bang-For-Your-Buck Meals

  1. i LOVE that pesto quinoa! One of my faves of your recipes. One of my go-to economical meals is chicken enchiladas. It makes so much and you can even prep the chicken in the crockpot so when you get home you just sautee the veggies and throw it in the oven. Great post!
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  2. Wow Nick. I'm truly impressed. All ten items on your list are vegetarian! You certainly aren't a convert or you might lose that Mickey D job of yours! LOL If I were not already a vegetarian, I might just convert after seeing your photographs and ideals.

    Thanks for the listing and recipe reminders. I'm salivating right now and it isn't because of rabies.
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    1. Ha. Yea… I can slip right in to the veggie crowd without too much problem. I actually love most vegetarian food and really enjoy coming up with flavorful veggie dishes.

      Giving up meat entirely isn't really in the cards for me though. ;)

      1. I haven't had meat in almost a week. I too will never be a vegetarian, but I do like the idea of reducing it. If you like indian food, it's a fantastic way to eat less meat. I put in so much spice that the difference between the veggies is simply texture ("hmm that must've been broccoli… ehh no idea what that was.."). Actually most asian cuisines are pretty easily vegetarian. I made some pad see ew on sunday (except with wheat pasta cuz i couldnt get rice noodles) and used some kind of soy product (carne de soya) instead of meat. pretty good.

        anyway, nick, i've been waiting for this post. I've been sort of making it myself by creating a new folder in my book marks for budget/make lots of it recipes. As a soon-to-be grad student for 3 years, I'd like to avoid eating crap but not breaking the bank either. thanks for putting this together. I love when you make lists!!

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