Weight And Budget Friendly Spaghetti And Meatballs

Budget and Weight Concious Spaghetti and Meatballs
Weight and Budget Friendly Spaghetti and Meatballs

So, most of you know that I have resolved to lose weight in 2011. Call it a plan, call it a goal, call it whatever you like…2011 will see much less of me as the year comes to a close! I will be blogging about losing weight on my Weight Watchers blog, so I won’t be talking much about my progress here on Family Friendly Frugality. That said, I have a duel goal of posting more recipes on Family Friendly Frugality and eating well…so you’ll see a lot more healthy frugal recipes popping up over here!

The internet is a great source of inspiration to me in the kitchen. To be honest, although I have several cookbooks…I often refer to the internet first. While searching for Weight Watchers recipes, I found the site Skinny Taste and was delighted to see that Gina has a category specifically for meals under $10. Of course, much like brick and mortar stores (where I immediately make a beeline for the clearance rack!) that’s the first  place I checked out!

Her pictures are A-Mazing…so I needed to try out some of her recipes to be sure it wasn’t some fancy shmancy camera trickery making all of her food look so tasty. Yum, nope…the food is good y’all!

My first attempt at a Skinny Taste recipe were these Skinny Italian Spinach Meatballs. I, of course, didn’t make them exactly according to the recipe (because honestly…who does that?), but they were a total hit served with garlic bread and some low point spaghetti! The only changes I made were slight. I couldn’t find the Tutorosso tomatoes so I just used generic canned crushed tomatoes. I also didn’t buy Weight Watchers bread because we use Nature’s Own Light Bread (sidenote: Does anyone have a healthy low cal bread machine sandwich bread recipe?).

For the original recipe, be sure to head over to Gina’s Skinny Taste blog, but here’s my take (in pictures) on this yummy low Weight Watchers AND Budget Friendly recipe!

Budget Friendly/Weight Friendly Spaghetti & Meatballs

Mmm, nothing like raw meat and spinach. Seriously these are really awesome meatballs though!
I didn't count how many meatballs this made. All I know is that it served my whole family one dinner and one lunch.
The sauce, although surprisingly simple, was very tasty and would probably be good with anything that required spaghetti sauce.
My meatballs started to brown too much in the pan, so I let them finish cooking in the sauce
I let the meatballs cook away in the sauce while I cooked the pasta
Okay, the garlic bread was kind of high points...but I had the points for it and it was so yummy!

It was a fabulous dinner, and even my non-spinach loving husband enjoyed it. He did request that next time I chop up the spinach a bit more so it’s not quite so “stringy”. The taste was excellent and my kitchen smelled better than any Italian restaurant I’ve ever walked into!

For the full ingredient list, directions and nutritional information head on over to Gina’s Skinny Recipes.

Kid Friendly Couscous w/ Chicken & Veggies

Tot Tuesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a special kids activity, frugal recipe for kids, kids tutorial, etc.

So it’s a new year and many of us have resolved/planned/decided (no matter what you call it!) to eat healthier. This doesn’t start and end with us adults though. Our children need to be eating healthier too! In an effort to expand my little ones palettes, I have resolved to try a new recipe every single week with them, whether it’s ingredients they enjoy or not. You just never know when something is going to spark an interest or open a window!

So this week, I decided to pull out one of my favorite kid cookbooks: Superfoods-For Babies and Children by Annabel Karmel.

I bought this cookbook originally when I first decided I wanted to try and make my own baby food. The book has recipes all the way up to the elementary school years however. I have several children’s cookbooks, but I do have to say that this one is my favorite.

Since this resolution (feeding the kids one new recipe a week) was kind of a new one, I had to work with what was in my pantry and fridge. I flipped through the book and found a neat little couscous recipe and decided it was worth a shot.

Now my kids have never had couscous (in fact I haven’t either…), but on a whim awhile back I purchased some. My son is not a fan of pasta or rice, so I thought it might be worth a shot to see if he would eat couscous (I’ll spoil the ending on this one…no. My daughter did though!).

Feel free to omit the chicken in this recipe and use it as a side dish.

Kid Friendly Couscous w/ Chicken & Veggies


  • 1 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 1 tbspn unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup diced onion (diced very small)
  • 1/2 cup diced zuchini (diced uniform to the onion)
  • 2 tomatoes peeled and diced (I used canned tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken diced uniform to veggies
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Pour over couscous (be sure to do this in a bowl with plenty of room) and let sit. Fluff with a fork when the liquid is absorbed.

2. Melt the butter in a pan and cook the onions and zucchini until fork tender. Add the tomatoes and heat through, about a minute.

3. Take the pan off the heat and add the couscous, combining the veggies and couscous.

4. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

My daughter really enjoyed this.

My son wanted no part of it! My daughter is definitely our more adventurous eater, but I’m still glad I presented the dish to my son. I think it’s important to expose even the pickiest eaters (especially the pickiest eaters!) to a wide variety of foods on  a regular basis.

He really enjoyed his yogurt at least!

Turkey Soup Recipe

What exactly is your plan for the bones of your leftover turkey? I know what I always do… make turkey soup! My version is super easy, fast and frugal!

Turkey Soup

1 picked over turkey
Veggies…whatever you like (we use carrots, onions, potatoes, okra…seriously whatever you like)
1/2 cup rice
leftover turkey

Put turkey in a really big pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then lower down to a simmer for about 2 hours. Push the turkey down as it starts to tenderize (is that the right word for it?) and break down.

When the turkey is pretty much just floating bones, drain the stock into a colendar. Throw out all the bones (you can keep the meat if any meat is leftover) and put the stock back on the stove.

Season with salt and pepper and add all the veggies and turkey in. Simmer until the veggies are nice and soft. Add rice about 15 minutes before you intend to eat.


Super easy, super frugal!

What do you do with your leftover turkey?

My name is Heather and I am a frugal mommy saving money! Want to learn a bit more about Family Friendly Frugality? First subscribe to FREE daily emails. Next, learn more about our frugal blog by reading our about me post or read the popular series Our Story. Or jump in head first and learn how to reduce the family grocery budget, play the drugstore game, or catch up on the hottest frugality finds!

Comforting Potato Soup!

So yesterday I was checking out one of my favorite frugal recipe blogs $5 Dinners.

I came across this super simple recipe for Potato Soup and had to try it. I’ve made potato soup in the past and it was a total failure. This is amazing. I highly encourage you to try it! Super cheap, easy and quick.

I changed things up just a tad, so here’s my version.

Adapted from Connie’s Potato Soup For 10
Connie from Smockity Frocks on $5 Dinners


  • 10 potatoes
  • 1 lb sausage (I used Jimmy Dean Sage)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 cup cheddar
  • 2 cups cooked broccoli (frozen or fresh, just make sure it’s steamed to be pretty soft)
  1. Peel and cut potatoes into small cubes
  2. Put potatoes into a pot and cover with water (just a bit over the potatoes)
  3. Set to boil 
  4. Meanwhile, brown onion and sausage seperately
  5. When potatoes are soft…DO NOT DRAIN. Add sausage, onions, cheese, cream of mushroom soup and broccoli
  6. Let simmer until you are ready to eat! It will naturally thicken
Let me tell you, this is even better the next day. I meant to take a picture of my bowl, but I couldn’t stop eating it long enough!
Perfect for a chilly fall day and to get rid of those potatoes sitting on your counter! My husband ate an enormous bowl and my daughter even ate it! My kids are NOT soup eaters (I might have told her it was cheese soup LOL)

Tot Tuesday: Yummy Nachos!

Make a Healthier Version at Home!

So today’s Tot Tuesday WAS going to be Halloween themed, but my little helper just wasn’t in the mood. So instead, this week I bring you a fun kid friendly recipe!

My kids would seriously eat the same exact thing for every meal every single day if I let them. It takes some creativity to jazz things up!

We love nachos, so sometimes I make some right here at home. Corn tortillas are incredibly inexpensive, and making your own chips is a lot healthier than buying a bag at the store. Of course, if you are looking for something quick and convenient, using store bought chips is not really that big of a deal!

Forgive the cell phone pictures. I still cannot find my camera upload cord!

Bean and Cheese Nachos

-10 corn tortillas (this makes a fair amount of chips for 4 people)
-cooking spray
-beans (refried, pinto, homemade, canned…whatever your family enjoys)
-cheese (we prefer shredded cheddar)
-shredded lettuce
-1 diced tomato

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Stack all of your tortillas on top of each other. Cut into quarters.

3. Spray the tortillas with cooking spray and move them around so they are all pretty evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt

4. Lay the tortillas out single layer on your cooking sheet (you might need more than one) and place in the oven

5. Cook for around 10 minutes, check them often. Sometimes mine need more, sometimes they need less. You’ll know when they are done because they will start getting slightly browned.

6. Allow the chips to cool a bit and place on plates.

7. Top with beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and anything else you might want!

8. Enjoy!

If I were making these for dinner, I probably would have added some meat as well, but for lunch just the beans was protein enough!

It’s pretty simple and really doesn’t take that much longer to whip up than some sandwiches!

5 Minute Tostadas

By popular demand, I’m going to start posting some of my most frugal recipes on Family Friendly Frugality. I’m no gourmet, and I’m also not a health nut. I do know how to make a cheap meal that tastes good though!

Tostadas are an an easy easy dinner option when you need to get a filing meal on the table fast. My husband raves about my tostadas. They are so incredibly simple, so it’s a meal I don’t mind making on demand. (my husband NEVER demands anything of me, but you know what I mean!)

5 Minute Tostadas

  • 1-2 corn tortillas per person (If you want to make this even easier, you can buy pre-fried corn tortillas at the store…they aren’t as good)
  • refried beans (I either make my own or buy the fat free in the can)
  • shredded cheddar
  • shredded lettuce
  • diced tomato
  • vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat up enough oil to cover the bottom of your frying pan. You want it pretty hot. Test it by sticking the tip of a tortilla in…if it immediately starts to bubble, it’s good. 
  2. Using your tongs, place tortilla in oil. Let cook about 30 seconds each side and place on a paper towel to drain after (the tortilla SHOULD be hard and flat)
  3. Heat beans and spread a layer of beans onto each tortilla
  4. Top with cheese, tomatoes and lettuce
  5. Generously add pepper and just a teeny bit of salt
  6. Serve with rice or a salad
Super easy! I’m not going to claim it’s the most healthful meal. It’s quick, easy and cheap though! Add more veggies if you like, get creative with sides. Use refried black beans. Add meat! Change it up and make it your own!
Happy eating!

Guest Post at $5 Dinners-Chicken with Rice

One of my favorite frugal dishes is Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken and Rice). A total comfort food for me and my family, it’s a low cost meal that doesn’t feel low cost at all. I’ve tweaked this recipe a lot over the years and I’ve finally settled on a version of it that my family loves. With cooler temps about to set in, it’s the perfect meal to cozy up with on a cool fall night. Serve alone or with some pinto beans and a salad.

Head over to $5 Dinners for the recipe!

How to turn one $5 whole chicken into at least 6 meals

So you know those tiny little whole roasting chickens at your supermarket? Those chickens are a frugal gal’s best friend. They go on sale for $.77 a lb every couple of weeks and a good sized one ends up being around $5-$6(stock up at around $.77 a lb!). So why is that chicken a good deal when I can get a pound of ground beef that is only $2.94?
That pound of ground beef might feed your family for one night…but I’m going to tell you how that little chicken can feed your family for at least SIX meals.

You do need a few other ingredients, but luckily they are things most of us have on hand already


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 tbspn olive oil
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 3 carrots (rough chopped)
  • 4 stalks celery (rough chopped)
  • Salt&Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place chicken in a roasting pan either on a rack or just ball up some aluminum foil and set it up on top of the balls. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes.When the chicken is done, let it cool.
  4. Pull off the skin and discard. You can pull off the breasts and dice them and shred the rest, or just shred it all. I like to portion it out into bags in 1 cup portions and freeze.
  5. Now fill a big stock pot with 6-8 cups of water. Put the chicken, celery, onion and carrots in the water. Season the water with salt and pepper (chicken broth is generally pretty salty, you’ll know after it is cooked if it is to your liking). Bring it up to a boil and then bring it down to a simmer. Let simmer for 2-3 hours on the stove until the bones are totally falling apart.
  6. Drain the broth and portion it off in one cup portions into bags or plastic containers, and freeze. If you like, you can also separate out the veggies and serve them for dinner. They will be super tender and flavorful, but you probably want to eat them right away because they won’t taste as good reheated.

Use the chicken for pizzas, tacos, in casseroles or on salads. The broth can be used in any recipe that calls for chicken broth.

Make Ahead Freezer Friendly Breakfast or Lunch Burritos

PIN this post on Pinterest! —>
So the other day I mentioned making Freezer Burritos. Making your own convenience foods is a great way to save money AND it also is much healthier.

Have you ever had one of those convenience boxed breakfast burritos from the freezer case at the grocery store? Not only are they kind of gross and taste overly processed…they NEVER fill me up. Most likely because they are so packed with preservatives that there isn’t much room for the real food!

This recipe can be tweaked in whatever way you want. You can omit the eggs and sausage and sub in ground beef and beans to make lunchtime burritos. You can add whatever veggies you like. You can even add rice. Whatever sounds good to you!!

Freezer Burritos (makes 8)

  • 8 burrito sized tortillas (or you can use 16 fajita sized tortillas!)
  • 8 eggs (you can use half whole egg/half egg whites if you wish)
  • 16 oz of sausage of your choice
  • 8 oz of cheese of your choice
  • veggie of your choice (we used green onions; BUT they would taste great with yellow onions, red or green bell peppers, etc)
  • foil
  • paper towels
  • Ziploc Bag
  • Sharpie (or other permanent marker)

Crumble sausage and cook in pan. Meanwhile crack and scramble your eggs in a separate bowl.

Depending on what veggies you are using, you might want to cook them while you are cooking the sausage(in a separate pan). I used green onions so I just snipped the green onions into the pan right before I added the eggs.

When the sausage is almost done (don’t let it overcook! remember you’ll be reheating these), add the eggs and cook until the eggs are just a bit less done than you typically eat them.

Wrap your tortillas in paper towels and microwave…about 30 seconds (first make sure they pull apart easily and don’t tear).

Set up a burrito rolling station. Have all your components within easy reach.

Lay out your first tortilla and put 1/8th of the sausage/egg mixture along the center of the tortilla. Add veggies, cheese and whatever else you like. Fold down the top of the burrito, than the bottom. Fold over the left and than the right.

Wrap the burrito in a paper towel, than wrap it in your foil (NOTE: I rarely wrap in foil anymore! I just wrap in paper towels and put them in a Ziploc bag. Like this

Repeat for the rest of the burritos.

When you are done, write on your ziploc bag the date you made the burritos and label if they are breakfast burritos, bean and cheese, etc. Fit as many burritos as you can into the freezer bag (I fit all 8 into one bag).

Place in freezer. Take out as needed. Take foil OFF and heat up burrito in the paper towel for 2-3 minutes (the smaller they are the less time they need heating).

Serve with some salsa, or add some fruit for a fully balanced breakfast!!!

***Notice my sign is still on the bar? It’s actually working!!! More on that later 😉

Exit mobile version