Meals That Stretch

published by unwrittenfate on Nov 22, 2008

With these tough times in the economy, it is important to know how to make your meals and your budget stretch. This saves time and money and makes sure you are never left with an empty dinner table.

The author of this article is also know as; The Magickal Green Fairy or Mechanicalmom, or Dontchaknow although it has not been published on any other sites before it was published on Triond.

Thanks Triond!

When times get tough and each meal needs to really count, its nice to have some idea’s for meals that are cheap and fill you up the most.

In this article I am hoping to reveal some of my favorite meals when the budget is low.

Make a note that most of these items are easily available at bargain outlets, dollar stores, wholesalers or other discounted grocery stores.

Beef – Mac

As the name suggest, you want to mix a can of chili with a box of mac and cheese.

1 box and 1 can feeds 2 to 3

2 boxes and 2 cans feed 4 to 6

If you keep some sour cream and shredded cheese around this can be a hearty meal that you seldom get tired off.

**Make the mac n cheese first, then add the chilli for better results…


Okay, so its not an original idea. But! It is still a Good idea. Not only that, but you can make burrito’s with very little and still get a lot. You can also make a variety of different types of burrito’s to keep everyone happy.

The cheapest and easiest is Ground Beef. But don’t forget that you can also use Chicken, Steak or Pork.

For this recipe, we are going to go with Ground Beef.

What you will need for this recipe:

*Shredded Cheese (Single slices will work if your in a pinch)

*½ lb of Ground Beef *Sour Cream

* Fresh Potatoes *Refried beans

* Fajita’s * Soften Butter

You will want to cook your ground beef first, I usually use a a heaping spoon of butter to help the meat stay nice and juicy. Cook it on a medium to high heat. Chop your potatoes into small squares, then start adding them into the skillet with the meat. At this point in time I usually add in a lot of butter, but if you are watching your weight, you can use about a ½ a cup of Vegetable Oil instead.

Make sure there is enough butter or oil to cover the potatoes a bit. Then place on a lid and let the potatoes soak in the butter or oil on a medium heat for at least 15 minutes. Add in any seasonings that you might like at this time.

Add in the refried beans so that they can soften. Then add in your cheese as much as you like. I like them extra cheesy, but you can add only a little if your not such a cheese fan. Once you have a nice ooy gooey mess, take your sour cream and spread it around on the fajita. Then take a big spoonful and put it in the middle of the fajita. Roll up your burrito’s and enjoy nice and hot!

This recipe will feed 2 to 3. Double up to feed more!

Some extra things that are also cheap and easy to get for your burrito’s are:

*Tomatoes *Garlic *Oregano *Paprika *Taco Seasoning *Guacamole *Salsa

Burrito’s have always been a great meal idea in my home. You can combine so many things in them to keep the hubby and the kids happy. I can usually go Costo and buy 12 cans of refried beans, a tub of sour cream, a large package of Fajiata’s, a bag of potatoe’s, some chicken, steak and ground beef and can serve burrito’s 3 or 4 nights a week and that will last for around a month and a couple of weeks. No that’s Stre-e-e-e-tching it!


Ok, so this one is not original either. However, pasta is Cheap Cheap Cheap!! Spaghetti noodles, manacotti, alfredo noodles, angle hair pasta, egg noodles, bow tie noodles, or just about any kinda of noodle you desire. You can usually find a big bag of noodle at any bargain stores, and sometimes at the dollar store!

Remember your meats! Chicken, Pork, Steak or Ground Beef.

Cook your meats first in a decent sized pan. When the meat is done cooking, add in a cup or two of water, than add in your noodles. The recipe really is as simple as that, there are plenty of options you can choose from to make pasta stick out from every other dinner.

*Onion *Tomatoes *Garlic *Bell Peppers *Cheese *Paprika *Thyme *Oregano *Basil

I usually add them in before I add the water and noodles.

You can also do all of this with a box of Mac N Cheese. Make your meats in a small skillet, and cook your mac n cheese in a pot by itself, then mix the two together. You can also use well known classics such as Tuna Fish or Shredded Turkey.

Don’t forget your pasta sauce when you are down. Red Pesto sauce is a favorite around here, but you can also use Alfredo sauce or many other choices. Pesto sauce tends to be the cheapest and most available though.

Okay! Speaking of classics, lets go over a combo of classics that you might not have thought about.

Mac N Cheeseburgers

This is a great one for both the kids and the hubby, seriously! Just make your cheeseburgers, make your mac n cheese, than throw the mac n cheese in the middle of your cheeseburger. Its almost like a different version of sloppy joes.

1 box of Mac N Cheese and 1lb of Ground Beef will generally feed 2 to 4 people.

Ok, so that last one was short, but it was easy right? You can make that one several nights a week and no one will be unhappy.

There are plenty of meals you can make that will stretch your meals and your budget to help you get through the hard times. Before I end this nifty little article, I would like to go over some other items that are really nice to have in your kitchen in times of need.


*Oregano *Powdered Garlic *Paprika *Salt *Pepper *Johnny’s Seasoning Salt

*Taco Seasonings *Basil *Thyme *Poultry Seasoning


*Shredded Cheese *Bread *Tomatoes *Potatoes *Turkey Bacon *Bell Peppers *Olives *Canned Mushrooms *Cream of Mushroom *Corn *Peas *Tomato Paste *Kidney Beans

Good Luck!!

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