Miserly Meals

by Jonni McCoy


Soups can make a healthy yet frugal meal and are a great help to the budget. We keep a bowl in the freezer for leftover meats and vegetables and use them to make soup once a week. We accompany the soup with a homemade biscuit.

These meals cost less than a dollar to serve all four of us. Aside from being frugal, soups can provide all of the essential nutrients that you need from a meal: protein, vegetables, carbohydrates, fiber, etc. Adding a side dish can add even more nutrients!

Thick Minestrone Soup

Serves 8
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories: 228
Fat: 4 grams
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 39 grams
Fiber: 7 grams
Protein: 14 grams
Sodium: 676 mg

1 T. olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cups cubed zucchini
28-oz. can low-sodium stewed tomatoes, diced
15-oz. can low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
14-oz. can sauerkraut, drained
15-oz. can low-sodium garbanzo beans, drained (or 1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans)
15-oz. can low-sodium kidney beans, drained (or 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans)
1/4 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large (6-qt.) pan. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes, or until the garlic is light golden brown. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, broth, water, Italian Seasoning, and sauerkraut. Stir. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients, stir, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the macaroni is tender.

Note: This is excellent with some Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Cost per serving (1 1/2 cups): 72 cents

Cheesy Garlic Biscuits

Serves 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories: 336
Fat: 21 grams
Cholesterol: 22 mg
Carbohydrates: 29 grams
Fiber: 1 gram
Protein: 8 grams
Sodium: 343 mg

2 cups Baking Mix or Bisquick® (see below for recipe)
2/3 cups low-fat milk
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 T. butter, melted
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

In a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Mix well. Drop golf-ball-sized spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 8-10 minutes or until light brown.

Cost per serving (2 biscuits): 25 cents

Carrot Salad

Serves 6
Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories: 109
Fat: 1 gram
Cholesterol: 2 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Protein: 3 grams
Sodium: 53 mg

2 cups grated carrots (about 4 medium)
8 oz. canned crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup raisins
8 oz. vanilla flavored yogurt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (or more to taste)

Mix all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cover and chill. Chill overnight in the refrigerator to enhance the flavor.

Variations: Try lemon or peach yogurt for a new taste combination.

Cost per serving (3/4 cup): 39 cents

Baking Mix (like Bisquick®)

Makes 10 cups
Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories: 759
Fat: 42 grams
Cholesterol: 2 mg
Carbohydrates: 82 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Protein: 13 grams
Sodium: 698 mg

8 cups flour
1 1/4 cups powdered milk
1/4 cup baking powder
1 T. salt
2 cups shortening (don't use butter)

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a very large bowl and mix well.

Cut in the shortening until it looks like coarse cornmeal. Store in an airtight container in the cupboard. This does not need to be refrigerated.

NOTE: This can be used in any recipe where Bisquick® is called for.

Cost per serving (1 cup): 19 cents


Jonni McCoy is the author of Miserly Meals (2002 Bethany House), Miserly Moms - Living on One Income in a Two Income Economy (2001 Bethany House), and Frugal Families - Making the Most of Your Hard Earned Money (1998 Holly Hall). Prior to motherhood, she spent ten years at electronics firms such as Apple Computer and National Semiconductor. She presents seminars on living for less to women's groups and other conferences. She has been practicing her frugal ways since 1991.

Jonni has appeared on several TV shows, including "The 700 Club," and radio programs such as "Family Life Today" and the "Dick Staub Show." She has also been featured in Good Housekeeping and Woman's Day magazines. Jonni and her husband, Beau, make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. You can visit her website at miserlymoms.com.

No part of these recipes can be reprinted without permission. All recipes are used with permission from Miserly Meals by Jonni McCoy, copyrighted 2002, Bethany House Publishers. All Rights Reserved.

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