Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
18 Jul

Budget Eating Recipes

Sure, you want to save money at the market, but how does that translate to the dinner table? Here are just a few options (among so many) for serving up healthy food without breaking the bank. No need to concoct strange dishes no one recognizes. These are tried and true meals that show up among pretty much everybody’s favorites. Bon Appetit, we say!

Tuna Salad

Tuna Salad

Yes, we mean something a little different from the typical deli version. More variety, more nutrition, no mayo to speak of (though a homemade version would work too). Throw some greens (whatever was on special) in with veggies of choice. Some good options: red pepper (roasted or raw), celery, mushrooms, scallion or white onions. Top off with a tasty but inexpensive can of light tuna, and drizzle with olive oil. (You can also use tuna canned with olive oil to save a step.) Add salt and pepper to taste. You’ve got yourself a low-cost lunch packed with antioxidants and omega-3s.

Pot Roast

Pot Roast

Sure, it’s summer, but wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the day without having to work in “cook” time? And, what’s better? This old-fashioned staple uses a cheaper “thrift” cut of meat and goes a long way for its cost.
Add to crock pot a 4 lb. pot roast cut, 1 large onion, 3 cloves garlic, sprig of rosemary, washed and cut small bunch of carrots, 1 can beef broth, and 1 can tomato paste. Choose the 6 or 8 hour setting depending on the day’s schedule. For added veggie goodness, cook up a bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower. It’s a fast, worry-free, and budget-friendly dinner option.

Chicken Stir-fry

Chicken Stir Fry

Roast at 350 degrees skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs or package of mixed chicken parts (a.k.a. cheaper chicken options). Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Remove skins and cuts chicken meat into bite-size pieces. Set aside. In wok or large fry pan, add a couple tablespoons of coconut oil. Using frozen stir-fry veggies or leftover fresh vegetables, sauté until softened and heated through. Add chicken pieces and fully warm. In final minute, add enough olive oil to hold spices. Add spices and flavorings of choice, such as garlic, ginger, sesame oil, low sodium soy sauce, lemon zest, cayenne pepper, red chiles and rice vinegar.

So many frugal food dishes. So much possibility. And, surprisingly, so little time invested for these options. You get to keep your money and your afternoon to yourself.

Have other budget-friendly favorites you’d like to share? We’re always up for good, healthy, cheap eats! Shoot us a line.

feministjulie, JustinelsPrettyAwesome!, 46137 Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

How to Eat Healthy and Save Money

Mark’s 2 Minute Salad

The Whole Series of Eat This Today, Feel Better Tomorrow: 1, 2, 3, Intermittent Fasting, Special Occasions and Dessert Editions

Healthy Tastes Great!

All MDA Recipes

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. My grandmother used to make the best pot roast that there ever was. I think it may have included some potato in it though, which I think is not a very good idea right? Anyway, 3 solid ideas to save money.
    Thanks.

    james wrote on July 18th, 2008
  2. So good! I can’t wait to try these recipes out. I’ve been doing the Primal Challenge while trying to keep my grocery bill low, and this is the perfect solution. Also, omelets are a great low-cost meal, add some chopped sausage and bell peppers, and blam! breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

    McFly wrote on July 18th, 2008
  3. I believe even canned light tuna is now fairly high in mercury. I often use sardines in salads and soups. Not as meaty but similar nutritional profile high in omega-3s and very low contamination. Foil-packaged wild-caught Alaskan salmon is reasonably priced and tastes great.

    All the classic salad veggies are in season now and summer is the perfect time to eat salads, so keep the recipes coming!

    Sonagi wrote on July 18th, 2008
  4. I believe even canned light tuna is now fairly high in mercury. I often use sardines in salads and soups. Not as meaty but similar nutritional profile high in omega-3s and very low contamination. Foil-packaged wild-caught Alaskan salmon is reasonably priced and tastes great.I can’t wait to try these recipes out. I’ve been doing the Primal Challenge while trying to keep my grocery bill low, and this is the perfect solution. Also, omelets are a great low-cost meal, add some chopped sausage and bell peppers, and blam! breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

    Julia wrote on July 18th, 2008
  5. Here’s a great side I came up with to pair with red meat.

    1 large butternut squash
    raw pecan halves
    real butter
    ground cinnamon

    Peel and cube squash. Put in pan on stove with lots of butter. Cover very liberally with cinnamon. Cover, and cook on medium heat. After a little while, toss in the pecan halves. The squash is done when it is tender like a sweet potato and the pecans are slightly roasted (but not burnt).

    Kyle wrote on July 18th, 2008
  6. the first photo? a lunch mainstay up in herre.

    and yes.

    when visitors are in the domicile they GAG for some reason (??) I think we’re too conditioned to the SUBWAY (the restaurant not the mode of transport) version…

    MizFit wrote on July 19th, 2008
  7. Mmmm, that pot roast sure looks good.

    Personally, I’m not a big fish fan and can’t do tuna without mayo and sweet pickle relish, which is SO not primal of me. And I need some nice slices of whole wheat bread to make it a sandwich. Oh, and about that Diet Coke I sometimes wash it down with?

    Still not quite in touch with my inner cavewoman I guess… but it’s always inspiring to come visit and see how the Primal People are doing.

    Crabby McSlacker wrote on July 19th, 2008
  8. Love tuna, but I’ve gotta mix it with something or it’s just too dry for me. Some options: (Not all at the same time, yuck!)

    Cottage cheese

    Fresh salsa

    Mustard

    Any other suggestions?

    dragonmamma wrote on July 19th, 2008
    • I love to use avacodo, makes it creamy

      Sabrina wrote on April 10th, 2012
  9. I’m with you on mustard, dragonmamma. Some good dijon, sweet and sour, or spicy brown mustard always rounds out a good tuna salad in my book. Some people like relish. I also, from time to time, will add some horseradish for a kick.

    Aaron wrote on July 19th, 2008
  10. Like the recipe seems to be very yummy. I am going to try this tonight. You have explained it in a perfect way. I hope all goes fine and i will have a wonderful dish.

    Julia wrote on July 19th, 2008
  11. Each meal is probably cheaper to prepare than buying a gallon of gasoline…. and taste way better.

    Personal Traienr wrote on July 22nd, 2008
  12. Lately I’ve been making curried tuna salad: tuna with a bit of mayo, a bit of chutney, and a good amount of curry powder. I like equal parts Madras and a milder, roasted blend, but whatever you like works well. Great with chopped celery and walnut or hazelnut chunks in it, maybe with a few raisins, too!

    Mary D. wrote on July 22nd, 2008
  13. Ooh, I like that idea, Mary. I even have some mango-ginger chutney in the fridge; I’m going to plop a tablespoon of that into some tuna for my next meal!

    dragonmamma wrote on July 22nd, 2008
  14. Just had the tuna mixed with chutney and curry powder, and it was great! Thanks for the idea.

    dragonmamma wrote on July 23rd, 2008
  15. I’ve started using avocado with tuna instead of mayo– or sometimes a mixture of the two– and it creates that moistness I’m looking for in tuna salad.

    Stacey Jehlik wrote on December 21st, 2010
  16. Hi there, You have done an incredible job. I?ll definitely digg it and in my view suggest to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this website.

    Hawaiian Massage wrote on October 27th, 2011
  17. Try balsamic vinegar and olive oil or an italian-type dressing… Sooooo good. I make tuna salad with diced tomatoes and cucumbers and balsamic with a little mustard and oil – YUM. Hope

    Girlgonzo wrote on January 12th, 2012

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