Easy, Healthy and Frugal Meal Ideas




It often seems that the three words mentioned, easy, healthy and frugal, can’t all be in one sentence when talking about food.  They can if you do a little pre planning when you do have time.  Sometimes just having precooked food in the freezer that is easy to pull out can make a world of difference when you need a fast meal.  I am not referring to having entire meals ready, just pieces of a meal. 


My favorite items to have on hand in my freezer are cooked brown rice and cooked beans.  It is amazing how a quick dinner can be thrown together with these items.  Also having cooked chicken, hamburger or chopped ham will help.  The next time you make beans or rice, make a double batch.  This does not take any extra time.  Put the extras in the freezer.  When you fry up hamburger, fry up twice as much as you need and put this in the freezer.  Same goes for cooking chicken. 


Here are a few things I like to do with them…


Chop up and onion and fry up the rice with some type of meat (this can be cooked hamburger, sausage, cooked chicken or cubed ham).  When it is all heated up you can do a few different things with this. 


Add a nice scoop of sauerkraut to the top and serve with a green salad. 


Or add some salsa to the rice mixture and sprinkle a little cheese over the top, turn down the heat, cover for a few minutes to let the cheese melt and serve.   You could also put this in tortillas and serve as you would a taco. 


I have also added a couple eggs to the mix and then cook and served with soy sauce or Tabasco sauce. 


Easy Stir Fry

Olive oil

1 bag (16oz or more depending on how many you are feeding) frozen veggies of your choice, I like to use a mixture of veggies

Green onions, 2 or 3

Mushrooms 1 or 2

1 T apple juice

Soy sauce

Cooked whole wheat spaghetti noodles or cooked brown rice


Heat a frying pan to medium hot.  Add olive oil and let it heat up a little.  Add all veggies and stir fry until veggies are soft.  Add soy sauce to taste.  Serve over whole wheat spaghetti noodles or brown rice.


I like to shop at Asian grocery stores and will sometimes add hoisin sauce to this recipe and chili sauce because we like things on the spicy side.  You can all a few red pepper flakes to this if you like your food spicy.







If you have beans cooked up ahead of time they can also make a quick meal.


Here are a few that I like to make:


Quick Bean and Rice Soup

2 to 3 cups cooked beans

1 cup cooked rice

1 cup frozen peas

1 carrot, grated

6 cups water

3 bullion cubes

Salt to taste


Combine all ingredients in a 4 or 6qt.  and heat until hot and bubbly.  Serve with homemade whole wheat toast and fruit. 


If you would like this spicy you can add 1T taco seasoning. 




Easy Tacos 

1 cup cooked pinto beans

1 cup cooked rice

2 T taco seasoning

Whole wheat or corn tortillas

Cheese, grated

Sliced olives

Chopped lettuce

Chopped tomatoes


Combine pinto beans, rice, taco seasoning and about ¼ cup water in a frying pan and heat until all is hot.  Assemble tacos with remaining ingredients.  Top with salsa.


Potato Taco Salad
3 to 4 medium potatoes
2T olive oil
½ of a small onion, chopped very fine
small amt. olive oil to cook onion
2 cups cooked beans (pintos, red or black beans would be my choices, but any bean will work)
2 to3T taco seasoning (depending on how spicy you want it)
Sliced olives
Grated cheese
Chopped lettuce
Sour cream

Wash and chop potatoes into bite size pieces (no need to peel). Put in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake potatoes uncovered at 375 until they are fork tender. This may take up to an hour depending on how big your potato pieces are. While they cook make sure to stir them several times.

While the potatoes are cooking heat a skillet and cook onion in olive oil until soft. Add beans and about ¼ cup water (left over water from cooking the beans works well too). Add taco seasoning and cook and simmer until hot. Remove from heat.

When potatoes are done serve this meal by putting a scoop of potatoes on each plate and topping with bean mixture. Top this with the olives, cheese, lettuce, sour cream and salsa.

This recipe will feed 3 to 4 adults or several children or any combination thereof.







If you don’t have any frozen rice and beans and just need a quick meal idea (that is still healthy and more frugal than going out to eat or buying more expensive ‘quick’ type foods) here are a couple easy recipes.  These can be served as meatless meals or you can add a little meat of your choice (not a lot, just enough to season your meal).


Noodles and Veggies

3 cups dry whole wheat noodles, any shape (spaghetti, macaroni, rotini, etc..)

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup broccoli pieces, fresh or frozen

1 cup cottage cheese

½ cup cheddar cheese, grated

¼ cup whole milk

Salt and pepper to taste


Cook noodles until tender.  While noodles are cooking combine peas and broccoli and cook (boil or better yet steam them) the veggies until the broccoli is cooked and soft.   Put cooked veggies in a medium size bowl and add cooked and drained noodles, and all remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine well and serve. 


Baked Macaroni and Cheese

3 cups whole wheat macaroni, cooked

3 cups milk

6 cups grated cheddar cheese, reserve 1 cup to sprinkle on the top

3 eggs

2 t salt (or according to taste)

1 t pepper (or according to taste)


Put cooked macaroni in a 9x13 pan.  Combine milk, cheese, eggs, salt and pepper.  Mix very well and pour over macaroni. Sprinkle reserved cheese over the top.  Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.  Enjoy!




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