Classic Meal Makeovers: Budget-Stretching Tips & Recipes

Classic Meal Makeovers

Budget-Stretching Tips & Recipes

Poor Man's Chicken Noodle Soup by LiveSimply

photo & recipe by LiveSimply

We have firmly established that I am cheap.  My reputation for cheapiosity proceeds me. 

I have given you an awesome breakfast burrito made out of last night’s leftover casserole.  We shared a letter from Chef Nancy about low-cost menu planning.  We taught you how to make delicious homemade tomato soup from just the peels, how to make vegetable broth for free,  and we rounded up a plethora of recipes and tips for food scraps.  Yes, even egg shells now get repurposed on the Pantry Paratus Homestead. 

Wilson teases me to-this-day about my “Bass Boots.”  I purchased them for something like $100 when I was a high schooler by day and the Fast Food Drive Through Queen by night.  Those hiking boots (which saw very little hiking) lasted for eight years.  Dead serious.  And with every passing year, I re-worked my “Bass Boot Math” to amortize out exactly what those boots cost me.  Somewhere around year six I proclaimed, “My boots owe ME money!”   The boots were long ago retired, but thus began my long career of amortizing out the value of something.  

Just how many meals can I squeak out of that pot of beans? That roasted chicken?  The potatoes in the garden?  Not just any meals, mind you…nourishing foods rich with vitamins and minerals to encourage my ever-growing children to new heights (literally). 

Since I evidently have my frugal reputation to uphold, I am bringing some great ways to stretch your whole-foods dollar!  My poor children have frugality from both sides of the family; and since Wilson’s Italian Nonny was the Champion of delicious Frugal Fare, let’s start with this very Italian-inspired Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash Pizza.

Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash Pizza

Kristin from LiveSimply will teach you the basics of saving money by way of roasted chicken.  For the record, this is considered one of the most useful techniques you can utilize for making the food budget stretch in the whole foods direction. 

LiveSimply Roasted ChickenLiveSimply Chicken Soup

LiveSimply takes it a step even further with her Poor Man’s Chicken Noodle Soup.

Healthy Roots Happy Soul will inspire you on your Journey for Complete Chicken Usage with these 11 uses!  I think you could nearly eat the pictures themselves.  I feel hungry for curry all of a sudden.  She does not stop with chicken, though, showing us a great use for that leftover turkey, too! 

Stovetop Turkey & Rice

I suppose I am not as clever as originally supposed. The more I read how others repurpose meals, I am not as ingenious as I had hoped, since many others have learned these tricks too! Leftovers frittata is one of my favorite ways to sneak those greens from the night before into a new meal, but we change the name before serving of course.  In fact, I tell my kids it’s “egg pizza” (snicker, they’ll catch on to me soon enough).   

RealFoodRN & Leftovers Frittata


We brought home 25 pounds of carrots last Saturday.  These started out as hand-sized snacks.  Then the cooked carrots found their way into a big pot of chili.  After a week of preserving, I think I still have something like 5 lbs of carrots left. 



We are carroted out.  My kids are done, save the ingenious discovery that they make great drumsticks on mom’s cast iron. 


Cast Iron and Carrot

And so that is why I am making this pie.  Raia definitely gets points for creativity; when her family was not sold on something (don’t you love her honesty?) then she repurposed it until she got it right.  It is not just about a specific recipe, it is about how we look at the uneaten portion of nourishing food staring back at us from the fridge.  What can be done with this?  What other flavors pair well with it? Maybe instead of hot soup, a cold smoothie would be a better fit?  This is equal parts creative flair and practiced-skill. 

If indeed it is a skill, here is the textbook from none other than Don’t Waste The Crumbs! 

Please let me know in the comments what your favorite meal makeovers are, too.  We would love to hear how you make your food dollar stretch.


Keep Nourishing (Frugally),







All photos with the PantryParatus logo belong to us; feel free to share or pin them in connection to this post only.  As for those super-yummy looking recipes? Those photos belong to the blogs who originally posted the recipes.  Please follow the recipe links to see further information regarding the photography owners.  While you are at it, make up a yummy batch of viddles.

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