Tag Archive | "Budget Meal Ideas"

Bangers and Mash

Tags: , , Quick and Easy Weeknight Meals,

Bangers and Mash

Posted on 03 April 2012 by noelskitchen

A very budget-friendly meal that’s quick for any weeknight. We didn’t even get to have any leftovers…

Bangers and Mash


Servings: 8


  • 8 large baking potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 beef or polish sausages
  • 1/2 cup onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 2 cups water


  1. In a saucepan, place the potatoes and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, add salt and simmer until just tender.
  2. Drain potatoes. Add butter and mash with a potato masher. Gradually add milk until you have a nice creamy consistency.
  3. While the potatoes are simmering on the stove,  start to cook the sausages.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, place the sausages and cook on all sides until brown and cooked through. Set aside in a warm place. (I used the crock pot and placed on warm setting.)
  5. In the same skillet, heat the butter and gently fry the onions until they tender and are golden brown.
  6. Mix the balsamic vinegar, beef stock cubes and water in a bowl. Add to skillet.
  7. Bring to a boil and simmer to reduce until you have a nice gravy consistency.
  8. Pile the mashed potatoes on the plate with the sausages on top and pour over the onion gravy.


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What’s For Dinner: Chicken and Mashed Potato Casserole

Tags: , Casseroles, , ,

What’s For Dinner: Chicken and Mashed Potato Casserole

Posted on 14 March 2012 by noelskitchen

Tonight’s Family Meal Plan idea is a Chicken and Mashed Potato Casserole served with Steamed Broccoli and Homemade Crock Pot Apple Sauce. A budget-friendly dish the whole family will enjoy!

Chicken and Mashed Potato Casserole

Serves: 6


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 10-12 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice chicken breasts into tender size pieces. In a large skillet,  heat oil and add chicken tenders. Cook chicken until no longer pink approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. In the bottom of a casserole dish, spread mashed potatoes evenly across the bottom. Add chicken tenders over the mashed potatoes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix cream of mushroom soup and milk and add over the chicken.
  5. Sprinkle crushed Ritz crackers over the top.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Note: To save time, make the mashed potatoes ahead of time and store in the fridge. This recipe also works with instant mashed potatoes. 

Need a little meal planning inspiration? Check out my Recipe Index which is updated daily with new recipes that include a grocery shopping list!


Are you wondering what to make for dinner tonight for your family? You’ll love my easy, make-ahead and money-saving recipes on what to cook your family for dinner! You are encouraged to not only list your dinner plans below, but to request ideas, make suggestions and of course add your favorite recipes!

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Skillet Macaroni and Beef

Posted on 22 February 2012 by noelskitchen

This satisfying one-dish meal gives you more dinner for the dollar than you are likely to find anywhere! 


This dish is simple. It’s extra thrifty, takes less time to prepare and cook and there’s leftovers for another night’s meal. This recipe I make quite often and rotate the vegetables I use with what I have in the fridge and using make-ahead ground beef, adds to making it a very fast meal to make.  This dish originated from my Busy’s Mom’s Hamburger Helper recipe and experimenting with different seasonings and ingredients. It really is yummy and the kids love it!

Skillet Macaroni and Beef

Serves: 6


  • 2 cups make-ahead ground beef
  •  1 1/2 cups frozen green beans
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 cups uncooked Radiatori spiral noodles (Costco purchase, makes it fun for the kids, but any small noodles will work)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried sweet basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups of water


  1. In a large skillet over medium- high heat, cook the onion until tender. Add the  garlic, green beans stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the already cooked ground beef to the skillet, uncooked macaroni, tomato sauce, salt, Worcestershire sauce, spices and water to cover the macaroni and beef mixture.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil. Place a lid or foil over the skillet. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 15, or until the macaroni is tender. Stir occasionally.

*You can substitute the green beans with frozen corn or peas and use ground turkey in place of the ground beef. This recipe can be halved, or leftovers can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days. If I simmered it a little more on the stove, most of the “sauce” would have been absorbed, but hey that’s what bread is for right?

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Quick Handy Breakfast: Homemade Oatmeal Packets

Posted on 18 October 2011 by noelskitchen

I’ve been  making my own Freezer Baking Mixes and Dinner Mixes (still working on those) for a while and have come to the conclusion that it is so much easier and frugal for my family to make my own. Yes, I know box mixes are more convienent for some, however you’ll be much happier making your own. You can make packets significantly cheaper and far tastier over the long run. I was able to purchase snack size zip-loc bags at the $1 store that hold the perfect individual serving size.

My family loves oatmeal. It’s on my weekly menu for breakfast quite often. It’s a very healthy way to get your body running for the day, plus it’s very good for you.

Homemade Oatmeal Packets~The Simple Recipe

 Each snack bag includes:

1/4 cup instant oatmeal
1 Tablespoon dry milk powder(can also use non-dairy creamer)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon raisins or dried cranberries
1 teaspoon nuts (optional)

When ready to make: Add 1/4 cup water or a little less depending on how creamy or think you like your oatmeal.

It’s the perfect way to start a busy school morning or when you’re in a hurry and need a quick handy breakfast.

Optional Ingredients: Dried fruit like apples, bananas, pears, peaches, strawberries or blueberries. Dry soy or rice milk can be used in place of regular dried milk or creamer.

Storage Tip: I’ve been storing my extra packets in the freezer with no problems. Each box of snack bags includes 25 baggies.

Money Saving Tip: Don’t throw away snack baggies. You can reuse them to make more.

These are some of our favorite ways to eat oatmeal. What are some of yours?

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The Benefits of a Slow Cooker:Come Home To Comfort Foods

Posted on 29 September 2011 by noelskitchen

Slow cookers can prepare just about any type of food you can imagine. Hearty soups and stews, creative chicken dishes, pork and beef recipes, exciting party ideas and old-fashioned breads and desserts. Are all fantastic recipes to warm up your weeknights or weekends.  I’ll be sharing those great tasting recipes here on Noel’s Kitchen Tips.

The Benefits of a Slow Cooker (Crock Pot)

  • No need for constant attention or frequent stirring
  • No worry about burning or overcooking
  • No sink full of pots and pans to scrub at the end of a long day
  • Great for family parties and buffets
  • Keeps your kitchen cool by keeping your oven turned off during the summer.
  • Save energy-cooking on the low setting uses less energy than most light bulbs

Considering the hectic pace of today’s busy lifestyle, so many busy families are learning to rediscover this time-saving kitchen helper. You just spend a few minutes preparing the ingredients, turn on the slow cooker and relax. Long cooking times without any fuss, take the stress out of meal preparation.

Someone asked me the other day, what type of slow cooker I have. My slow cooker was passed down to me from my grandmother. It was one of the best-selling slow cookers~The Rival Company’s Crock-Pot Slow Cooker. It has heat coils circling the crockery insert, allowing the heat to surrond the food and cook evenly. One of these days, I’ll upgrade to a newer and bigger slow cooker, but for now, I’m happy with mine.  Some of my family’s favorite slow cooker crock pot  dishes so far are:

 What’s a favorite slow cooker recipe of yours?

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