10 Ingredients to Make Inexpensive Meals

Save in the kitchen: Ingredient substitutions
Supermarkets and stewardship: Does God care how much I spend on groceries?

Can you really feed your family healthy well-balanced meals with inexpensive ingredients?  You can if you keep these 10 ingredients to make inexpensive meals on hand in your kitchen.


  1. Brown Rice.  Rice is such a versatile ingredient and cost just pennies to serve.  You can use it as filler for meatballs or meatloaf.  Lots of recipes call for rice and any recipe that calls for white rice can be substituted with brown rice.  Just remember that it takes longer to cook so adjust cooking time accordingly.  My family likes to eat rice as just a side dish as well.

  2. Dry Beans.  Beans can be used in soups, with rice (red beans and rice) chili, casseroles or as a side dish.  A 16 oz pkg of dried beans usually cost less than a $1.50 at most grocery stores.  You can cook what you need or cook the whole bag and freeze what you don’t need now.

  3. Pasta.  Pasta comes in all shapes and different types of flours and what kid doesn’t love pasta?  Add some tuna or a little ground beef with some sauce and you have a very inexpensive meal.

  4. Canned Tuna.  You can keep cans of tuna in your pantry for up to three years.  This lets you buy them on sale and keep them until you are ready to use them.  1 or 2 cans of tuna will go a long way to feeding a family of 4-6.  It’s also packed with protein.  My kids love it when I add a can of tuna to a simple inexpensive box of macaroni and cheese for lunch.  You can add tuna to pasta, salads, or casseroles.  It’s much less expensive than beef.

  5. Eggs.  Eggs are packed with protein and can feed a family of 4-6 for just pennies.  Scrambled eggs for dinner or an omelet is a great way to make your groceries stretch.

  6. Peanut Butter.  A jar of peanut butter can fix a whole bunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. J  Have you tried grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?  Add a veggie and a glass of milk and you have a lunch or dinner any kid would probably love.

  7. Cabbage. Cabbage is usually cheap, yet it can be utilized for more things than people give it credit for. Nutritious and packed with vitamins, it’s perfect to have on hand.

  8. Canned Tomatoes.  Canned tomatoes and tomato paste are inexpensive and often on sell and can be used to make inexpensive soups and stews.

  9. Spices.  Keep plenty of spices on hand in your pantry.  Spices go a long way to “spicing” up the flavor of whatever you might be cooking.  Some stores will sell spices in bulk which can cut down on the overall price.

  10. Potatoes. Potatoes are so versatile and not expensive.  Used as a side dish, potato pancakes or baked with leftovers as a topping.  There are so many ways to cook up potatoes.

 Every family has their own favorite list of “cheaper” ingredients that they like to fall back on.  Many of them can be bought in bulk and have a long shelf life or can be frozen.  What cheaper ingredients does your family like to keep on hand?

Happy Shopping,

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Save in the kitchen: Ingredient substitutions
Supermarkets and stewardship: Does God care how much I spend on groceries?

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