Like everyone else in the world, our family is watching our pennies these days. I've had several friends ask for cheap and easy recipe ideas lately. Budgeting is a common concern! Since I plan to stre-t-c-h our leftovers this week, I thought I'd share a couple of simple, frugal recipes.
I make this dish when we have leftover spaghetti and meat sauce (an easy and economical meal in and of itself). I always seem to make more spaghetti than we need but hate to let it go to waste. This casserole freezes very well.
Cooked spaghetti (we like whole wheat)
Spaghetti sauce (with meat or without)
Small broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
Shredded cheese (we like low-fat cheddar)
Combine spaghetti and meat sauce. If you'd like, add extra veggies such as shredded carrot, mushrooms or pureed squash. Place in a large casserole dish and arrange broccoli on top. (If you use fresh broccoli, steam it for a couple minutes first.) Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, until heated through.
Chili and Cornbread Casserole
We often seem to have leftover chili in our house. I can usually find a container or two in our freezer! We enjoy both meatless or beefy chili, and this recipe works with whatever type you have on hand.
1 C. cornmeal
3/4 C. flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. milk (I usually mix up powdered milk to use in baking)
1/4 C. oil
3/4 frozen kernel corn, thawed
Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in one bowl. Whisk together milk, oil and egg in another bowl. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in corn.
Arrange chili in a casserole dish. Spoon cornbread mixture on top and smooth flat. Bake at 400F for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cornbread comes out clean. (Alternately, this recipe makes one dozen cornmeal muffins or one 9-inch square cornbread cake.)
My friend Sara has another delicious suggestion for using up leftover chili right here.
Have fun cooking at home, get creative with leftovers, and save a few pennies in the process!