It can be difficult to find cheap recipes when you don’t have access to shopping at large supermarkets in rural areas. The prices of butter and eggs have skyrocketed, leaving many people searching for alternatives that still provide the same taste but for a fraction of the cost.
Don’t worry, there are plenty of budget-friendly ways to prepare meals without having to break the bank. Read on to find out more.
Cheap Recipes Ingredients
Substituting Ingredients To save money on ingredients, try substituting expensive products with cheaper alternatives. For example, one egg costs around $0.75, whereas a quarter cup of applesauce is only $0.20 – so why not replace an egg with a quarter cup of applesauce in your cake recipe?
You could also substitute expensive butter with olive oil or vegetable oil or use mashed bananas or avocados instead of butter and eggs in baking recipes.
A Rural Community Responds With Cheap Recipes
I was sharing some prices on the social network “Gab” where there is a rural community and many offered some great suggestions which inspired this blog post to be written.
Some of the suggestions received were:
One Gab reader suggested:
I have had success subbing smashed bananas or applesauce for butter and 1/3 c water mixed with a tablespoon of ground flaxseed that has set a few minutes for an egg
Applesauce. Or ground flaxseed meal. One tablespoon of flaxseed meal to three tablespoons of water. Let soak and use in place of eggs.
Great Suggestion From Another Community Member On Cheap Recipes:
I don’t know where you are located, but ask around at the little greasy-spoon type diners and you might be surprised at who has chickens in their back yard. Even if you can’t raise your own, you can pitch in to help someone else.
Part of the problem we face is we’ve allowed ourselves to get lazy about supporting our own small corners of the world. In order for those big chain stores to have groceries on the shelves, they have to control a huge chain of suppliers, and that’s a necessarily fragile construct. But we all voted for cheaper and cheaper. We all refused to support our local farmers and ranchers and butchers because the big box store had the same thing for a dollar less.
Now we’re seeing the real costs come due.
So the answer is to go back to how we once did things. Raise your own, or get in touch with the local farmer’s co-op to see about buying locally – even if that means you have to buy a bunch at one time and freeze it, can it, bake a ton that week, etc.
If you have a friend you trust, you could get a few chickens and built a “chicken tractor” for very little. Help them build the coop and get a share of the eggs the chickens produce.
Build tight-knit communities of people who share common interests and have common bonds…. just like it used to be.
Whare The Expensive Recipe Ingredients Today?
According to Eating Well and my own recent grocery shopping experience, these are some of the most expensive foods in the United States right now:
- Citrus Fruit
Save Money On Food With Pantry Staples
The key to creating delicious meals without breaking the bank is using pantry staples like beans, lentils, rice, and grains. These are all items that will last for months in your pantry and can be used to create an infinite number of dishes.
For example, beans can be used in soups or stews or even turned into vegetarian burgers or tacos. Lentils can also be used in soups or as a side dish with rice and vegetables. Grains like quinoa and bulgur wheat are extremely versatile as well – think salads, grain bowls, and veggie burgers – the possibilities are endless.
Of course, planning ahead to purchase these items when on sale to stock up is the wisest way to create cheap recipes for living in a rural area.
This tidbit came from a Gab user about cheap recipes and food prices: Glassing eggs is one of those miraculous things. I have no idea what the science is behind it, how you could let an egg sit in the lime water for a year and still be perfectly good for frying, but it does work. A miracle if ever there was one!
I love this lady’s kitchen! I could never keep a place that clean and organized.
Listen to her warning about unwashed eggs. Total yuck fest if you don’t.
If there’s a butter supplier here in Gab, that’d be great. Gonna have to hunt around to see what’s out there!
Buying Frozen Fruits & Vegetables for Cheap Recipes
Fruits and vegetables can be expensive, but you can save money by buying them frozen instead. Frozen fruits and veggies are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts; however, they cost much less and last longer.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about them going bad before you can use them all up. My father-in-law grew blueberries and had frozen many bags of them before he passed away. I was using them in my protein shakes for 2 years. He would have been so happy that they were used up and not thrown out.
Of course, you could plant vegetables from your own seeds. Then freeze the crop after using what you need during the warmer months.
Purchasing Canned Goods for Cheap Recipes
Canned goods are another great way to save money when cooking at home. Canned beans, peas, tomatoes, and other items are cost-effective and will keep in your pantry for months at a time.
They also add protein and fiber to any dish – plus they’re easy to prepare. Just heat and serve in most cases.
Making Meals Ahead Of Time
One of the best ways to save money on meals is by cooking ahead of time and freezing them in individual portions. This way, you can quickly grab a pre-made meal whenever you need it without having to spend extra money to go out for a meal or have to purchase high-priced food items at your local market.
Making meals ahead of time also saves time when preparing dinner during busy weeknights as all the hard work has already been done. Plus, if there are leftovers after dinner, they can be frozen too so nothing goes to waste. Purchasing the food items on sale in advance will save you both time and money for cheap recipes.
Recipe #1 Polenta
My grandmother used to make this when I was a kid and I recently made it but I found another recipe without butter.
This original polenta recipe that has butter can be substituted with broth and oil.
- 1 Cup Cornmeal: Use medium grind for a little texture. We prefer using yellow cornmeal for color, but you can also use white.
- 4 Cups of Vegetable Broth: Using vegetable broth adds a complexity of flavor.
- 2 Tables Olive Oil: Olive oil adds depth and richness: if you have another vegan oil on hand, you may use it as well.
- 1 Teaspoon Salt and Pepper: For added taste.
- Tomato Sauce – Perfect topping for polenta. Use as much or as little as you like for taste and added moisture.
When this vegan polenta recipe is hot or warm, it will be naturally creamy. As the polenta cools, it starts to harden. You can easily get it creamy again by mixing the polenta with a little water and reheating it.
You can also add mushrooms or any meat on sale to keep this for your cheap recipes if you want to have added protein. However, polenta does have some protein as well as fiber and vitamin A. It is also gluten-free.
Recipe #2 Classic French Bread
This is a great cheap recipe IF you have a breadmaker. We had one in the house we purchased when we moved to our rural area and I didn’t start using it until last year. It saves so much money over buying bread at the store or bakery.
3/4 Cup Water
1 tsp butter
2 cups flour (bread flour works best)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 quick-drying active yeast or bread machine yeast.
It takes about 4 hours for the breadmaker to produce this small loaf of classic french bread that probably costs no more than $1 per loaf.
Recipe #3 Cheese and Tuna Bake Cheap Meals
Another recipe of my grandmother who raised a family of 4 children during the great depression. She knew how to make food last.
1 Cup of Yogurt – Plain is best. (You can use sour cream as a substitute.)
2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
1 Can Cream Mushroom Soup
3 Cans of Tuna – Stock up when on sale. The old recipe called for 2 cans but I made it yesterday and it needed at least 3 cans of tuna as they are smaller cans of tuna today.
2 Cups Cooked Rice
1 Cup Celery
1 Table Minced Onion
4 Slides of Mild Cheese
Combine all of the above ingredients except cheese in a greased casserole dish. Mix well. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Add cheese and bake another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Recipe #4 Cheap Dinner Ideas For 2 or More with Pasta
Even the price of pasta has gone up to over $2 per package a most rural stores but if you can find them on sale and stock up you can save money using pasta as your main dish.
Just add meats or fish that you can find on sale or add your own home-grown vegetables to make a tasty and satisfying meal cheap. You can make sauces from sour cream which is still relatively cheap compared to butter, etc.
Of course, you can use a red sauce or create your own. As kids, we even had leftover pasta for breakfast. Now that’s a cheap breakfast recipe idea.
Recipe #5 Soups From Leftovers
You can create soups from any leftover dinners you have in the refrigerator. Start with heating some olive or vegetable oil and then add chicken or beef stock.
Then, add your leftover meats and vegetables to the pan. You can also add your favorite rice, potatoes, or pasta to the soup to make it a more hearty and tasty meal.
Conclusion of Creating Budget Recipes Today
With these tips in mind, you can easily cook delicious meals without having to break the bank or go without ingredients due to high grocery store prices. Whether it’s substituting ingredients or purchasing canned goods or frozen fruits and vegetables.
There are plenty of ways to get creative while still staying within your budget with these cheap recipes.
Rural area residents no longer have to feel left out when it comes to cooking inexpensively – now everyone can enjoy tasty dishes from their own kitchens even if they don’t have access to the big supermarkets or Walmarts of the world.
How are you saving money on the high price of food in rural areas? I’d love to hear about your cheap recipes in the comments below to help us all save more money.