One of the biggest expenses for people, after their housing, is food. Creating cheap meals is a great way to combat that high cost. Groceries are a great place to look when you want to trim the edges and there are almost always options when choosing where to shop. Cheap meals mean shopping for cheap groceries.
Options for shopping are chain grocery stores, all in one store, and discount grocery stores. Discount grocery stores normally do not have name brand items but they are a great option to really cut your budget. In our area, we have a Price Rite and Aldi.
My favorite is Aldi because of their organic line and honestly, I have yet to find anything I do not like! Not everything is offered with an organic choice but all the products that are offered, I chose them over conventional whenever I can. Purchasing all of my groceries organic isn’t in the budget right now so I do the best I can. This mac and cheese recipe is one of my go-to cheap meals.
Grandma Stone, my great, great grandmother used to make this dish and it has been passed down for generations. The generations of the Great Depression were experts when it came to cheap meals. By far, this recipe for macaroni and cheese is a favorite of my family. A casserole type macaroni and cheese, as opposed to a stovetop macaroni and cheese, makes clean up easier as well as cheap. It is a layered dish similar to the way you would put together a lasagna so there is no making a rue in a saucepan. This meal is very easy, very yummy, and is perfect for a frugal budget and perfect for a Meatless Monday. I am going to give prices for conventional ingredients (not organic) to put this meal together for a family of four. Prices were pulled from my local Hannaford store.
The ingredients needed:
A smaller pasta like shells or elbows, one pound. $.80
2 pounds of sharp cheddar cheese in blocks. $3.10
1/3 sleeve of saltine crackers. $.12 ( an entire box is $1.49)
1 cup of milk $.38 (based on $3 for half a gallon)
Frozen green beans $.99 for 16 ounces
Total $5.39 or $1.35 per person.
Directions for Macaroni and Cheese:
Boil pasta al dente, drain.
Start with the pasta, crumble up about 4 crackers at a time for a light layer on top of pasta.
Layer cheese slices on top of them and then repeat starting with pasta. I usually get two to three layers combinations out of these ingredients.
After layers are assembled, add milk. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes or until the top has browned and the rest is bubbly and gooey.
Steam some beans as a side and there’s dinner.
We have water to drink with our dinners most nights.
Mac and cheese Pan 7 1/2 inch by 9 1/2 inch by 3 inches deep.
A little over five dollars for dinner is a pretty good deal and we almost always have leftovers!
Come back for more cheap meals in the future.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the drawing on 3/26 for a chance to win gift cards! Giveaway explained here