Making Meals Out Of Nothing

My family lives on a budget each month. I can not overspend. Otherwise it hurts the food budget. This month will be a struggle because the water and electric bills were much higher than normal. Higher than they have ever been living in this place in the last four years.

When this happens we tend to rely on the local food banks and the extra food I was able to stock up on.

First thing I need to figure out is what is pulling extra electricity. The water I am pretty sure it is because I have allowed my son and his girlfriend to use the washer and dryer a few times. The electric I have no clue yet. I will be making the rounds to each room and unplugging anything not being used.


As for making meals, I look to see what I have in stock to make meals. At times we will have smaller portions. Other times we have unconventional meals.

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Pierogies served with broccoli and cheese cubes is an unconventional meal. I try to serve meals with no meat on Mondays. Having meatless Mondays lower the food bill.

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Crayfish is something we recived from the local foodbank. I served it with salmon patties and imitation crab crescents. A little make believe of having a seafood night.

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A double turkey burger sandwich for the men. It cuts down on the use of buns. Plus, a homemade salad created with whatever fresh vegetables I have in the house. Covered in whatever salad dressing that is available. (As I pick different kinds up when on sale to use in cooking or salads.)

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Or I serve something as simple as fish and green beans. The fish I will create a homemade breading. Than fry in olive oil.

I try to make meals as cheap as possible when I don’t have much to work with. That way I can makes meals of of nothing.


  1. Tirso Bangod

    I think everybody needs to be very expert in budgeting. And congratulations for having that skills to prepare less expensive though yummy foods.

    1. Sandy KS Post author

      I agree. If more people was better at budgeting. People would be able to live within their means. It does help.

      Thank you. It is something mom always did. However, she is no cook. She lacks flavoring in her meals. I prefer to cook for her.

  2. Claire

    Hi Sandy,
    Can I just say how amazing you are in really finding ways on making meals from whatever you have? I come from a household that we ALWAYS have to buy something. Never would we eat leftovers or use food that has been in the fridge for awhile. I, personally, have always wanted to figure out how to make leftovers or food that has been in the fridge to be “new” again! Thank you for your food examples. I am incredibly in love with the fact that you have meatless Mondays. As someone who eats meat all the time, taking a break once a week not only helps your wallet, but your body too! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Sandy KS Post author

      You are very welcome. I tend to use leftovers and make new meals out of them. As I like to stretch what I can.

    1. Sandy KS Post author

      Thank you, I love playing and creating with food. My passion grew watching my mom and grandmother struggle putting food on the table growing up.

      I was raised by my father and stepmom who worked at General Motors and still grew a huge garden every year.

      Both had a different way when it came to cooking. My dad always cooked fried fish and chili. My mom never made those.

    1. Sandy KS Post author

      Yes, I do to. The fresher the food. The further one can make it go.

  3. JoDee Stout

    Oh, yes I know what you mean with budgeting money for food after bills are paid. This month we’re thinking of just strictly buying meat. WE still have some frozen veggies from the garden. WE also have plenty of beans and rice. I need to watch the carbs as I am prone to have high blood sugar. So potatoes, pasta and those type of foods are out, besides my husband really doesn’t like them. So, I’ve got flour to make my bread with, need to make up some noodles.

    I miss food pantries, we don’t have any here. Those places are a big help!!

    1. Sandy KS Post author

      I have issues with my blood sugar as well. I do what I can with what I have. Sometimes it makes it hard to make a cheap meal.

      Food pantries do help. My boyfriend helps out at one twice a month. Which helps us to get some extras.

      I think buying all meat with help you stock up on meat for your family. I do that at times as well. That is when my family depends on my stocked up can foods of vegetables.

  4. Marie Edgerly

    I know first hand how hard it is to budget. Like now, my husband and I are probably going to have to go to the food bank ourselves because he doesn’t get paid until next Friday and we are low on food. We also live off of leftovers alot as well. My husband is the king of just mixing stuff together and some of it doesn’t looking appetizing 🙂 but tastes better then it looks lol. It all comes down to doing what you have to do.

    1. Sandy KS Post author

      My oldest boy knows how to whip something out of nothing to. He best friend has told me he stuff my son makes may look like crap but it is delicious.

    1. Sandy KS Post author

      Yes, it does. but not as high as this last months bill. This is the highest electric bill I have ever had living in this place. The past four years. I kinda freaked when I seen it.

  5. Donna

    It is hard to pay the bills then buy food I’ve been trying to use up the leftover also, as the electric bill check out the hot water heater and turn off when not needed

    1. Sandy KS Post author

      I am going to have my boyfriend turn the temp down on the water heater. I think we turned it up over the winter. A few degrees should help.

    1. Sandy KS Post author

      Lol, I think we are sisters in this. My mom even says I am the Queen of creating a meal out of nothing.

  6. Nona

    Your meals always look lovely, even if they might be a little “unconventional.”

    I’m going to need some creative ways to feed my family if my husband keeps only getting one or two days a week to work. Its hard for us because the oldest boy will starve if he doesn’t have his staple foods (mac n cheese, hotdogs and instant potatoes.) I’ve seen him go to bed hungry rather than eat something different. And my husband is ALMOST as bad.

    Good thing the baby is an eclectic eater.

    1. Sandy KS Post author

      I know how hard picky eaters can be. My teen son is that way. Thank goodness my oldest boy and teen daughter never were. I also am with a man who can eat most things. He is at least willing to try anything once.

  7. Pat Z Anthony

    We do not use animal products (have not for decades) and of course, this saves us a lot of money. It is difficult for everyone on a budget and have to say, we don’t know anyone not on a budget these days.

    1. Sandy KS Post author

      Yeah, I know more families on a budget than not due to the economy. People who did not need to be on one years ago are on one now.

    2. Sandy KS Post author

      Sorry if that made no sense. I meant to say I understand more families now a days are on a food budget than ever before.

  8. Dawn Rae

    I often have meals impacted by budget (or lack thereof). Somehow, yours look much more tasty than mine! Oh and about electricity, dishwasher, dryer, and dehumidifiers are my biggest culprits. Ever since the complex had those “smart” thermostats installed, I can really narrow down what is an energy suck. I rarely use my dishwasher now because of it.

    1. Sandy KS Post author

      Main things running in my home : AC’s, stove, microwave (unplugged when not in use), small deep freezer, refrigerator and fans. Plus, computer.

    1. Sandy KS Post author

      I take it as a challenge and try to create new dishes when possible,

  9. Coral Levang

    I live by myself and so I don’t like to cook for just myself. But what I love to do is take whatever somebody has in the cupboards and make meals out of it when they tell me there is nothing in cupboard. I know better.

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