One of our go-to meals when we are wanting a simple cheap supper is breakfast for dinner. This comes in many forms: scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, omelets with fillings from the deli drawer and vegetable crisper, egg casseroles using up scraps of bread, cheese and vegetables, french toast made on the skillet or baked, breakfast burritos, fruit in season or from the freezer, pancakes, waffles, muffins, juice, coffee, and any combination of the above items.
A few weeks ago we had breakfast for dinner and put many frugal principles into practice. The menu looked like this.
Baked french toast - In a jelly roll pan sprayed with cooking spray I poured in some (maybe 1/2 cup) homemade peach syrup that was too thin for our liking, slices of homemade whole wheat bread that was a bit stale, a mixture of eggs and milk and vanilla, a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon. This was baked at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Frugality at work: use it up so you don't end up throwing it out.
Toppings for french toast - That night we had whipped cream, we used maybe 1/4 of a $1.00 can, and raspberries, frozen from the lowest-price-of-the-year-sale this summer. Buy special items when they are at their lowest price and freeze, if needed. In this case, the toppings really made the meal seem a lot nicer.
Fruit salad - This was a combination of blueberries, raspberries, pears, apples and bananas. Buy in bulk when things are in season and inexpensive and freeze for use throughout the year. We love blueberries and raspberries, but never buy them for 3.99 and up a package whenever we want them. I stock up when raspberries are $1 per package and blueberries are $10 for 5 lbs. Enjoy things in season in abundance. The apples and pears are in season, and also cheap, in the fall so we eat a lot of them. Come December/January we'll be feasting on lots of oranges. Use markdowns and warehouse clubs to your advantage. I only buy bananas when I shop at Sam's or Costco or they are marked down to $.35 per pound at the grocery, then we eat them quick or use them in baking or freeze in chunks for smoothies later.
Milk - I always buy it on a markdown (unless we are totally out and no markdown is available) and we use it freely. When it starts to turn I use it in baking as a buttermilk substitute, or I freeze for later use. By buying markdowns I am able to usually get organic milk at or below the price I would pay for the cheapest conventional milk that is on sale that week. Most of the time we find the milk to be fine for one week past the date stamped on the carton or jug. We shop frequently enough and have a family size that is suitable for using lots of markdowns. Use time to your advantage and get better quality.
Just for fun, the flowers on the table came from our yard, were cut and quickly put into a glass of water. This literally took less than 1 minute and made the meal seem more special.
This was a delicious meal that was rather nutritious and didn't feel "budget" at all. Plus it was super quick to make! There are more ways to eat on a dime than just eating beans and rice. Hooray!