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As a stay-at-home mom to seven children, I have learned to be frugal in the kitchen. I figured it out years ago, when I was finally able to quit my job to stay at home with my son. It was something I’d dreamed of doing for a long time, but I wasn’t exactly planning on the financial hardship it would place on our family. Because of this hardship, I learned to cut corners on our spending, including on groceries, so I could continue staying home.

Throughout my years of being a stay-at-home mom, I found three big keys to saving money on groceries.

  1. You need to use cheap cuts of meat.
  2. You need to use recipes with few ingredients.
  3. You need to use off-brands.

Today, I’m going to share five of my favorite recipes that fit the above guidelines. I can buy boneless, skinless chicken breast for about $2 a pound, making most of these meals pretty reasonably priced. Ground beef isn’t quite as cheap (I pay around $3 a pound), but it’s still not as high priced as many alternatives. Granted the prices may be different where you live, but these are still pretty reasonably priced meals to make for you and your family.

1. Chicken Tacos in the Slow Cooker

Ingredients:

1 3-pound bag of frozen chicken breast
2 cans of diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 envelope of taco seasoning
2 packages taco shells
Optional toppings: cheese, sour cream, salsa and lettuce

Directions: Combine chicken, tomatoes and green chilies, and taco seasoning in slow cooker. Cook for 7-8 hours on low or for 3-4 hours on high.

2. Montereys

Ingredients:

Ground beef – We use about 2 pounds for our family of 9 (but several small kids), but you can adjust accordingly
Chili Beans – 1 can per pound of beef you cook
Optional: Taco Seasoning – Sometimes we let the chili beans do the flavoring, while other times we like adding something extra, depending on what I have on hand.

Flour Tortillas
Oil (to fry tortillas in)

Directions: Brown ground beef and drain grease. Once it’s cooked, add in chili beans and taco seasoning. Heat oil and fry flour tortillas until lightly browned on each side. They will puff up, but you can poke holes in them with a fork to make the puffiness go down a bit.

3. Pinto Beans

Ingredients:

2 pound bag of pinto beans
2 cups ham (chopped)
Water
1 onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt

Directions: Pour the pinto beans into the bottom of your crock pot and look for any that need to be thrown out. Cover them with water (the water level should be a few inches above the beans). Chop the onions and ham and add them to the beans. Add the cumin and salt. Stir it all up and cook on high for 6-8 hours.

4. Italian Chicken

Directions: Place a 3-pound bag of frozen chicken breast with a bottle of Italian dressing into your slow cooker. Cook it on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.

5. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Directions: Choose your favorite brand of BBQ sauce to use, then cook a 3-pound bag of boneless, skinless chicken breast with the bottle of BBQ sauce in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Shred with a fork and serve on hamburger buns.

Image: JackF

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