Reader’s Request: Meals that Stretch Part 1

by Nicole on August 26, 2011

Happy Friday! This hurricane business is getting scary! Are you all food shopped? I’m doing it today. Hopefully we’re planning for the worst but going to get the best (or not the worst…)

Yesterday we went to Pottery Barn Outlet and got a couple more pieces of furniture, mainly an outdoor table and 4 chairs. We figure we’ll be doing a lot of eating outside since we plan on doing some work to the kitchen right away.

My workout got a *bit* derailed yesterday and I didn’t end up running to the gym, doing weights and running back. I made it out for a 4 mile run, but my weights session didn’t happen and that’s ok. I got a good run in and next week I’ll be back on track with my weights. This week I didn’t plan for it and it didn’t really happen. Oh well, next week will be better!

I got a reader’s request from a senior in college about how to make your dollar stretch. Here are my top tips:

Grains: Grains are cheap, healthy and easy to cook. If you buy them dried (as in not “minute” rice) then they are even cheaper AND less processed. Double win. Get creative and try different types of rice, quinoa, wheatberries, speltberries, etc.

Beans: Dried beans are also cheaper than canned beans. Yes, they take more time to make, but it’s worth it because they taste better AND you get more for your money. Another double win.

Frozen veggies: Frozen veggies are frozen at the peak of their ripeness, so they are still nutritious. They also can be cheaper than fresh produce. My tip is to get what is in season fresh and then supplement with frozen.

Planning tip: Pick one day/night to make 4 servings of a grain AND 1/2 a package of two types of dried beans/lentils and there is dinner for a couple of nights. It really takes 5 minutes to prepare and then 40-50 minutes on the stove.

Another $$$ saving tip: Check out amazon & amazon prime. If you are a student I’m pretty sure you can join free. You can buy things like rice & beans on there for cheaper and with free shipping. You may end up with 15 cans of beans or 20 pounds of rice, but hey, it’s cheaper!! (Also check out/read my post onĀ subscribe and save, you can cancel at any time and it saves you 15%!)

Now onto meals that stretch: (You can also get flours from Amazon. Any flour will do with these recipes.)

Salmon Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Very Veggie Quiche


WheatBerry Lentil Burgers

Quick Quinoa Casserole

Very Veggie Quiche

Mushroom & Spinach Quiche with Socca Crust

Wheat Berry and Lentil Burgers

WheatBerry and Bean Salad (can use another grain for this too)

Protein Power Goddess Bowl (beans, speltberries, may use another grain too)

Rice & Bean Bowl

Quinoa Salmon Salad (leave out salmon & add beans for veggie dish)

These meals are all packed with nutrition, whole grains, protein and healthy fats. Make ANY of these at any time for lunch or dinner and they will not disappoint. Yes, some require some planning to cook grains or dried beans, but a little planning goes A LONG way. You’ll be left with not only leftovers for a couple of meals but a smile on your face and a happy belly.

What are your money saving tips to make meals? What are you favorite meals that give you leftovers?


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt @ The Athlete's Plate August 26, 2011 at 7:42 am

Nut butter! Cheap calories :)
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Stephanie August 26, 2011 at 8:51 am

Lentils are the frugal foodie’s best friend! They’re cheap, filling and nutritious. They’re also really fast to cook, so you don’t have to think ahead, like with most beans/legumes. I love lentil sloppy joes, lentil soup, lentils in my spaghetti sauce, lentil shepherd’s pie…
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Maribeth August 27, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Thanks Nicole, this is PERFECT. I just finished my first online purchase for food…I never thought of doing that, but I’m now buying in bulk things that I always want in my pantry at a fraction of the cost :) Can’t wait to try some of the recipes and I’ll definitely have to send Christine some pictures of how it all comes out!

Thanks again, you’re great!


Maribeth August 27, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Oh and I’m loving shopping online because I can find organic options (even via Amazon) that I could NEVER get a hold of during my weekly grocery store trip!


Sam @ Mom At The Barre August 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Hummus is something that I use in everything. From sandwiches to smearing some over fish and baking it (trust me, it works, it’s easy and it’s delicious!). Lentils are another item I keep on m. It was mentioned above and I agree that they are cheap, hearty and nutritious.
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