Easy Inexpensive Meals For One Or Two Days

I’m a single senior citizen and am looking for very easy, inexpensive meals for one or two days. I don’t like to cook!

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Ann Washburn - April 13, 2011

for Robbie, the senior citizen who was looking for easy and inexpensive meals, I would recommend crockpot cooking, but I don’t know if you have a crockpot. with a crockpot, you can make up enough meals for a few days, and freeze the extra in inexpensive storage containers. there are all sorts of recipes where you have cheap frozen vegetables added to beef or chicken bullions and then you can add noodles or rice near the end of the cooking cycle.

I also have a recipe for Impossible Cheeseburger Pie (I make mine with just veggies, though, and so I call it impossible vegetable pie!). also mini pizzas made from English Muffins. I would be happy to share these recipes if Robbie would like them.

Jen - April 13, 2011

I would do a very simple Once-A-Month type cooking. One or two days a week cook a family size meat or main dish & divide it into portions you can freeze to take out when you need them.

For example – cook 4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken breast, I like to season with salt & pepper, sear them in a cast iron skillet then place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking. Freeze them individually for meals. You can eat one whole on a bun for a sandwich, slice one over a dinner salad, dice one to make chicken salad, slice for fahitas, pizza or quesadillas.

Do the same with ground beef – cook one or two pounds & freeze in 1/2 to 1 cup portions. Use on taco salad, spaghetti, a baked potato,ect.

If you do a different meat each week you’ll have your freezer stocked with a variety so you don’t have to eat the same thing for days in a row. Don’t forget soups & beans freeze well too. Just cook a family size portion & freeze in single serving portions. Around these meals simple sandwiches, salads, fish or even a tray of fresh fruit, veggies & cheese make a good, light simple meal. Breakfast is always a great fast supper too. HTH

Deidra - April 20, 2011

I’m not sure if you live in an area where you have access to Angel Food Ministries, but they offer 10 frozen meals for $29.00. The menu varies by month. You can go to their website to see what the current menu is and check for a location near you. http://www.angelfoodministries.com

This isn’t the most frugal option, but it might would provide quick and easy meals for those times that you really don’t want to cook. I agree with Jen…if you can cook a few meals and freeze them in single servings, that would go a long way toward helping with your meals. Another idea is that if you have a friend who is in your same situation, you might be able to both cook a couple of meals, put them in single servings and then swap 1/2 of each, so that would give you more variety.

Sharon - April 21, 2011

I’m with you…senior and single! Whoever said, “fry up 4 pieces of chicken…” was nuts! that would be like 8 meals for me and I don’t like to freeze stuff like that. I usually don’t eat it. and end up throwing it out. Even a bag of salad greens goes bad before I can eat it all.

I bought a set of “Grab It” bowls (Corning Ware with handles). I cook up one chicken breast and put a bag of frozen mixed veggies in it and a little cornstarch to make a chicken pot pie. I do individual bowls and they freeze well or keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Sometimes I take one to work and cook it at everyone goes crazy and wants it!

    Kathy - November 10, 2011

    I don’t think the suggestion was “nuts.” It was a very good idea. Most seniors are trying to stretch their dollars and food . It makes sense to buy a bigger pkg and then re-package into smaller portions. If you don’t want to pre-cook you can always just freeze individual portions to cook later.

Becky B. - April 21, 2011

Cook up a batch of sloppy joe meat (can use groudn turkey instead of beef) and eat in a bun or over toast open-faced. This keeps well, and can be frozen into single-serving portions. Same w/ taco meat: eat on a crispy corn tortilla or taco shell, or roll up into a flour tortilla for a burrito…. add salsa and veggies to make it frsh-tasting.

Same w/ soups. Included lots of dry beans/peas/lentils for fiber. Eat some now, freeze the rest for indiv. portions to heat up in m/w oven.

Chicken or Beef Noodle or Rice casseroles can also be made in individual portions. Keep a couple in the fridge, freeze the rest. This is a good way to reuse plastic frozen dinner containers, if you have them.

Jan - May 14, 2011

I’m a senior and living alone; cooking 3 times a day is not an option I choose for
myself. Here’s a few totally easy recipes I use. Each recipe cooks enough for a
several meals. If I get tired of eating it, I just freeze in one-serving increments, in
labeled freezer zip loc baggies.:

Besides a crock pot of homemade chili and a pan of cornbread……

__Speedy Spaghetti
One of the most frugal meals ever. So easy to make! Done as quick as going out to buy fast food, and better for you; takes about 25 minutes from start to finish. You will NOT be using a lid during the cooking process, or when it sits to thicken.

1 Tablespoon Cooking Oil Or Olive Oil
4 cups Water
1 can spaghetti sauce with meat….?28 oz. / (you could add more cooked ground meat if desired)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
8 ounces, dry spaghetti noodles
Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large pot, bring to a rolling boil: oil, water, sauce. The water thins sauce significantly, but don’t worry, it thickens up later. Stir in garlic salt. Break spaghetti noodles in half (put them in a plastic bag to break in half so pieces do not ‘fly’ all over). Add broken spaghetti noodles to boiling water/sauce mixture. Let this mixture come back to a full boil, then reduce heat to medium so the mixture is still boiling, but gently. Cook uncovered 12 to 14 minutes; stirring often. Take pot off the heat source and allow speedy spaghetti to sit uncovered for 12 to 14 minutes; stir a few times while it thickens.
Spoon into pasta bowls; top each serving with parmesan cheese, if desired. Salt and pepper to taste. I usually have this with canned green beans as a side dish.

__Chicken Lentil n’ Rice Soup

Put in a pot:
1 can chicken broth
up to 3 cans water (use empty broth can)….amount of water depends upon how thin you like soup
2/3 c. brown or green lentils
1 stalk celery, diced
3 to 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup uncooked rice

Bring to boiling, turn heat to low, cover. Cook 20 to 25 minutes.

Add at the end:
1 can chicken chunks, DO NOT drain
garlic salt to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Heat for just 3 to 5 minute; I don’t like the chicken to go ‘stringy’.
Ready to eat with a slice of whole wheat bread n’ butter.

__One Pot Chicken Alfredo

8 oz. frozen chopped broccoli, cook and drain
16 oz. rotini pasta, cook and drain***
1 can chicken, do NOT drain (I use the large can of chicken chunks from Sam’s Club)
1 jar alfredo sauce

First start cooking the broccoli. While that cooks, start cooking the pasta***. When done: drain, put back in pot. On low heat, add in the drained cooked broccoli, chicken chunks/broth, and the jar of alfredo sauce. Just heat until hot. Take off heat. Ready to serve.

***easy pasta cooking method: in large pot half full of water: bring water to full rolling boil. Add pasta, bring back to boiling. Turn off heat. Stir. Put lid on. Let sit, covered, 17 to 20 minutes (smaller pastas take less time). Done!! Drain and use.

__Black Beans Over Rice

First: I take a 2 lb. package of Jimmy Dean Sausage and just cook/crumble it with 1 to 2 finely chopped onions. When done, drain it…..cool it…..chill overnight in fridge. Then I divide into 4 to 8 piles (meat lovers, use 4…..to just use the meat as flavoring, use 8), put each pile in a freezer zip loc baggie, LABEL with permanent marker: “cooked sausage/onion + date”. .NEVER freeze warm food…..CHILL it overnight in fridge first……any food can spoil if frozen even a bit warmish.

OKAY…..to make…..
Start the rice: 1 cup dry long grain white rice + 2 cups water. Bring to boiling, stir.
Turn heat to low, let cook 30 seconds, stir again. Cover. Let cook 14 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan:
1 baggie of the cooked sausage/onion
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, DO NOT drain
…..OR…..1 and 1/2 cups cooked black beans + 1/2 cup bean cooking liquids
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic salt

Cover and cook on low, stir occasionally.

Rice: when the 14 minutes is up, TURN OFF heat. LET SIT, COVERED for 10 minutes.

Next: take lid off rice. Take lid off sausage/beans; stir. Put 1/4 to 1/3 of hot cooked
rice into a shallow bowl. Top with 1/4 to 1/3 of black beans/sausage mix. Top with
some grated cheddar cheese…..it will melt from the heat of the rice/beans. Enjoy!

OK…..I really like this, so I do 1/3 mixture. After eating the first 1/3, then I take 2
more shallow bowls and fix the other 2 helpings WITHOUT the cheese…..cool….
.cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 2 more fast meals. Just heat in microwave,
top with grated cheese; serve.

__Cheesy Tuna Mac

Make 2 boxes mac n’ cheese according to package directions.
Add 1 can drained tuna and 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese.
Stir and cover. Cheese melts from the heat of mixture while it’s
covered for 2 or 3 minutes. Stir again. Ready to serve.

Serve with side of raw veggies, a salad, or cooked chopped broccoli.

__Easy Green Chili Migas

4 eggs, beaten
1 can diced green chilis (about 4 oz.), DO NOT DRAIN
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese….or more it prefer
1/3 to 1//2 cup crushed tortilla chips…..or more if prefer

Heat a fry pan on medium. Add 2 to 3 Tablespoons oil. Mix beaten eggs,
diced green chilis, grated cheese, crushed tortilla chips. Pour into hot oil.
Cook. Stir here and there. When more than half done, do not stir anymore.
Let bottom cook, Cut in fourths. Turn each fourth to cook other side. Remove
pan from heat. Eat what you want. Let the rest cool, put in covered container.
Just heat leftovers. For me, this makes 3 meals, so I divide if by 3 when
cooking and turning. I top this with salsa and a dollop of sour cream to
complete the meal.

__Ham n’ LIma Beans

Sort one pound (about 2 cups) baby lima beans, put in colander and rinse.
Put rinsed beans, 1 chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic minced….. in a crock pot
(I have a medium sized crock pot that I found at walmart). DON’T SOAK THE
BEANS; just add 5 cups warm water, turn crock pot to low, let cook about 8
hours until beans are tender. When beans are done:: add diced ham, salt
and pepper to taste, and 2 T. butter. Cover, cook 30 minutes. Go easy on
the salt as some ham is quite salty.

Serve with a slice of whole wheat bread and butter.

__Beef Stew

Brown 1/2 pound beef stew meat in a bit of oil, in a pot, on high heat.
Do not let it burn, but get it very browned. Stir as needed while this is
happening. Have 6 cups of water ready to add……put in when meat is
very browned….

Cover pan, let the meat/water cook on medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes..

Add in this order:

peel and cube 3 medium-large potatoes, add to pot, stir in, cover.

peel and slice 3 to 4 carrots, add to pot; stir in, cover

chop 1 onion, add to pot, stir in, cover

dice 2 stalks celery; add to pot, stir in. Add more water if you think it’s
needed. Bring all to boiling, turn heat to low, cover. Let cook until tender.
Stir occasionally. I like to cook it until the potatoes thicken the stew.
Season with salt and pepper.

    lisa - September 6, 2012

    I read over the above recipes. I work for a senior apartment complex & am always on the scout for easy, economical ideas for one- thank you for sharing. D on’t think it doesn’t matter what you learn… someone out there somewhere will benefit from your tips. Promise.
    thank you again for taking the time to type all that in! I am placing a couple where my people have access. thank you to you all!
    Lisa Woods
    Serving the Father by
    serving one Senior at a time!

    PAM - September 27, 2013

    Thank you! This is so helpful to me. I’m actually preparing to do some freezer cooking for my elderly parents and these recipes are going to make it so much simpler for me plus give me more options.

Jan - May 14, 2011

I put up some good recipes for Robbie, where did they go?

    The Hillbilly Housewife - May 15, 2011

    Jan, I’m sorry. I went back and found them for you, and Robbie. I don’t know how they disappeared, but they now are back in the comments. Again, I apologize. And, thank you for taking the time to check! You have a lot of nice recipes there. Thanks!

jan - May 23, 2011

Thank you, Hillbilly Housewife, glad they were still there. I spent a long time typing them in for Robbie and was feeling sad when they didn’t show up!!!!

Jane - May 25, 2011

The freezer is my friend. I don’t know about other senior citizens, but we have found that as we have gotten older, we require a lot less to eat. I LOVE LEFTOVERS. Jan is right. Bag them and freeze. One container I like is the little 6 ounce plastic containers that yogurt come in. Those little containers are perfect for leftovers and best of all for soup and chili. They have straight sides. If one isn’t enough for a serving, two surely will be. I seal the tops with Glad Press and Seal. Just make sure the little container is level full and the rim free of any food.

Becky Chaparro - May 26, 2011

Thanks for the great recipes, these sound great. Will be trying them soon.

Linda M - May 29, 2011

I just made some french toast for my family and was thinking how easy it would be to do a double batch and freeze them in sandwich baggies for an easy on the go breakfast. Just pop them in the toaster any time add toppings and eat.

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