Hey there folks! Jenny here from A Thyme and Season. I am SO excited to have graciously been invited to The Tiny Blue House by your very own Jenny to share some tasty, frugal goodness with you today.
Just to share a little about how my blog came to be, here’s a quick backstory. I became interested in cooking about 10 years ago when I moved out of my parents’ house, primarily as a result of an incredibly embarrassing experience. A guy I had recently met and kind of had a crush on at the time had gotten me out of a bind. Wanting to do something nice to say thank you, I offered to cook him a meal. Except, I totally didn’t know how to cook (whyyyyy did I think that was a good idea?!?!?). So I planned to just fry up some chicken with salt and pepper and a side of rice-a-roni. Easy enough, right? Except totally NOT. I burned the chicken so badly that my apartment was filled with smoke, and we had to open the windows and doors just so we could breathe without a fit of coughing. The poor guy choked down every blackened, dry bite, and pretended it was just great. Ok. Embarrassing enough right? Or not. A few weeks later I came to find out that he used to work in a nice restaurant…..as a chef. A CHEF. And how did I find this out? When he cooked ME a meal. Humiliation complete, folks.
Thankfully, I allowed that experience to challenge me to become a better cook. (Mostly to avoid a repeat situation in the future….can you blame me?) But in the process I discovered a love for good food that has become unquenchable. When my husband and I started dating and eventually married, it became even more intense because now I didn’t have to eat whatever I cooked for a week straight (cooking as a single person is rough, ya’ll) so I was able to try so many new recipes. As our family grew and our budget shrank, I even began to love the challenge of feeding us with limited funds. I was totally determined that we could eat well without spending gobs of money. And we DO! So I decided to start a blog to share my favorite recipes, frugal tips, and ways that we live a good life on a small budget. And so, A Thyme and Season was born.
Okay, now it’s time for the good stuff! Today I want to share 7 days worth of my most frugal recipes that are great for those weeks where you really need to make your dollars stretch but you don’t want to go hungry. The bonus? Not only are they cheap to make, but all of them are DELICIOUS and toddler approved. Bonus bonus? The majority are packed with a healthy serving of veggies, so if served with an extra side of veggies (which is typical at our house) it doubles your daily intake! Each one is easily adaptable to your preferences and can be adjusted to leave out some of the more expensive ingredients if necessary. So without further ado:
Veggie Fried Rice
This is one of our favorites. The oyster sauce is not necessary if you really want it to be cheap, but it definitely adds a delicious flavor. Because we use it in other dishes at our house, it’s worth the expense.
Pesto Spinach Mac N Cheese
My toddler LOVES this dish. I get my pesto very cheap at Aldi, but I know that at many grocery stores it can be a pricy item, so if it’s not a frugal option for you it can be omitted. The flavor will be less distinct but still tasty.
Parmesan Garlic Chicken Pasta
Toddler approved and a family favorite. This is a great meal to pair in the same week with the Pesto Mac since they share a lot of similar ingredients.
Southwest Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
This is my go-to easy crockpot meal. You can make it even cheaper by reducing or eliminating the chicken and adding an extra can of the beans or veggies. This is a company worthy meal for sure, that makes enough for plenty of tasty leftovers.
White Garlic Veggie Pizza
Huge HUGE hit at our house, and the toppings can be adjusted to whatever you have on hand. You could easily leave out the mushrooms or artichoke hearts if you won’t have another use for them and drastically reduce the cost of this meal.
Loaded Sweet Potato Fries
This meal could be made using any kind of potatoes, and uses up some of the same ingredients needed for the white garlic veggie pizza so they make happy meal plan companions.
To me this is the ultimate hodge podge meal that’s great for using up leftover ingredients from the week. I made this a TON when I was single and it’s still a huge favorite.
And there you have it. I hope you find some great frugal options for your family here and maybe a little encouragement that even if you’re currently sitting at the “burning the chicken” chef status, with a little time and practice you too can become a good cook, and maybe even a food blogger. I’m living proof. Happy cooking friends!