12 Low-Cost Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook


Eating well doesn't have to drain your wallet. Here are 12 cheap and tasty meals that are perfect for anyone on a budget. Each dish is packed with flavor, proving you can enjoy delicious food without breaking the bank.

AUTHOR: Rebecca Holcomb

1. Italian White Bean Soup

Italian White bean soup
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A hearty, comforting soup always hits the spot for one home cook. "Italian white bean soup. I do onion, garlic, celery, carrots, a can of diced tomatoes, a little tomato paste, chicken broth, ground meat, white beans, fennel seeds, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. I'll chop up some kale, massage it to make it less fibrous, and put it in the bottom of the bowl before putting the soup on top. The residual heat cooks the kale a bit without completely wilting it. It's a very hearty soup and SO easy!"

2. Fruit and Protein Smoothies

Protein Shake
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Talk about home economics. One person found out they could make a delicious homemade smoothie for a fraction of the cost they used to spend. "Smoothies! There's a market by which I can get fruit cheaper than frozen fruit in the freezer aisle. Freeze it and add spinach, almond milk, and protein powder. It's a perfect high-vitamin and protein smoothie that I used to be able to purchase somewhere for $8. My home smoothies are about $1.75 a piece for the same amount."

3. Dog Treats

Man feeding dog
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Taking care of your furry friends is just as important as caring for your family, mainly as dog food and other animal feed prices stay high. For one individual, making dog food at home became an essential way to beat back the cost of inflation. "I make my own dog food. It's much better quality, and I don't have to worry about what is contaminating it. It's still not inexpensive, but you can use whatever protein is on sale and make it worth several weeks (or months if you've got the freezer space) when you find an excellent deal."

4. Breakfast Tacos

Mexican tacos with beef
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No matter how you like your breakfast tacos, these tasty treats can give you a mouthwatering start to your day. For one forum poster, they even beat takeout. "I've been doing vegetarian breakfast tacos. Sauté frozen bell peppers with cumin, paprika, chili powder, and a tiny pinch of oregano. Scrambled eggs, maybe air fry some tater tots or hash browns if I have them. Two corn tortillas, cheese, hot sauce, and salsa."

5. Wontons

making Wontons
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If you've got a hankering for Asian cuisine, try this cilantro chicken wonton recipe; one user posted, "I've been doing frozen cilantro chicken wontons in chicken broth with a lime wedge, squirt of sriracha and hoisin, and a few basil leaves to satisfy my constant, unrelenting pho cravings." Cravings are nothing to mess with, so when they hit, it's always good to be prepared.

6. Cold Brew Kombucha

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Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea and may have originated in China, where the beverage is heavily traditional. Today, the kombucha market is in the billions and will likely expand to nearly $10 billion by 2030. Thankfully, making it home is simple if you have black tea, sugar, and a fermenting agent known as a SCOBY. For one respondent, making it homemade is the only way to go. "Cold brew kombucha. It's easy to make and always available."

7. Cheese Sauce

Beer Cheese Dip
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No more paying the store for a good cheese sauce when you want nachos. For one participant, making homemade cheese sauce is one way to beat inflation at the table when money for food gets tighter. "Cheese sauce is an easy one. Flour, butter, milk, and a block of cheese (pre-shredded is coated to keep it from sticking)." Homemade nachos are some of the easiest and tastiest finger food you can create, and it all starts with the perfect sauce.

8. Hard Cider

Refreshing Hard Cider Flight of Beers to Drink
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If you're in the mood for something more substantial than tea, water, or juice, try homemade hard cider. One interested party admits it's a process to get all the steps right, but it's worth the effort when it works. "Hard cider. I'm still perfecting this one, but I want to meet or beat Downeast brand, which is $2.50 for a 12 oz can. I've got a ways to go on taste for this one. A gallon costs me about $2 to $10 in ingredients, and I've bought about $70 in equipment."

9. Beef Jerky

Beef Jerky
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For someone, beef jerky is something you can make from scratch to beat back the high prices inflation causes at the store. "Beef jerky is the big one! So easy to turn a cheap London broil into several pounds of jerky." If you're not a fan of jerky but would like to find cured meat that you can use for emergencies, biltong is a great option, as another user said. "We don't have jerky in my country — I think the closest we have is biltong (miles better than jerky if you believe the people that have had both)."

10. Flour Tortillas

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Almost nothing is as comforting as biting into a warm, fluffy tortilla, especially when it's filled with your favorite taco, burrito, quesadilla, or fajita fixings! And for some people, making them at home is worth the effort! " I make a batch at a time. The quality difference is insane and worth it if you have the energy."

11. Yogurt

Woman eating yogurt
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Whether you use organic milk, soy milk, vanilla, honey, maple syrup, fruit, or plain yogurt, making your yogurt can be fun and adventurous. For several people, the process is worth the effort in the end. "Depends on the quality of what I buy here: no added sugar yogurt is more expensive, so it works out cheaper." Another person said this about their yogurt: "I started making my soy milk yogurt. It's so cheap I feel like I'm stealing my breakfast."

12. Quail Eggs

Quail Eggs
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For one grocery-conscious poster, fresh eggs were worth the time and expense. They did make a case for quail eggs over chicken. "They drop an egg a day per bird for a few years. This fact is good because it takes 3 to equal one chicken egg. All around, I'd go with quail over chickens for personal consumption. Aside from being a more manageable size, they're so much quieter. They're like pigeon volume."

Source: Reddit.

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