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Best Frugal recipe books

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    Best Frugal recipe books

    I received a gift certificate for, so I was trying to find the best frugal recipe book to get... any suggestions? And while we're at it, the best frugal books too would be appreciated.

    Any favorites?

    Re: Best Frugal recipe books

    If a frugal recipe book means having information about how to handle any type of foodstuff, frankly I'd make a case for Joy of Cooking.

    I kinda like hunting for these in used bookstores - the 1973 JoC will give you information on how to field dress a squirrel, while the 1997 version will give you info on how to use a wide variety of whole grains - quinoa, for instance.


      Re: Best Frugal recipe books

      I am a foods and nutrition teacher so cookbooks are my area of joy!! The joy of cooking is like an encyclopedia of cooking and everything is in there but I don't ususally pull day to day recipes from this book.

      I am always a big fan of the "betty Crocker" cook book. I just picked up an old one at a garage sale for .25 and love it. Sam's club some times has this reasonably for about $10

      I also have used two mennonite books. one from the 70's but they have newer versions. It is "more-with-less cookbook" look on e-bay for this. The premise of the book is to reduce our consumtion of food to help feed the world. I find these are some basic low cost meals. But when we went up to lancaster county PA, I stopped into the Mennonite center to pick up this cookbook for my daughter and they suggested another book that all new brides are given at their shower. The name is "Mennonie Country-style recipes &kichen Secrets" By Esther H. Shank. I saw this on for about $14. It sells for $25 at the mennonite visitors center. It is a very good book. It is over 600 pages and gives solid cooking advice and direction in the front of each section. It has the same recipe format as More-for-less cookbook but I think you will be much happier with the Mennonite country-styles recipes. I was given the Benjamin Franklin Award by the publishers marketing association. Whatever that is.

      Another good place to look for cookbooks is library book sales. I picked up some great ones there.

      Another thing I do is go to the library and tcheck them out, try them out and just copy down the recipes I like. I keep card files and notebook files. This is free.

      Old magazines are great. I ask students to bring in old magazines they don't want.

      Borrow a cookbook, recipes and learn to share ideas among friends, church members, and co-worders.

      ALWAYS ask for a recipe if you like something someone has served. Often they are willing to share and you'll have a great recipe for life!!

      Remember that your recipe collection can be passed down from one generation to the next.


        Re: Best Frugal recipe books

        I concur that "Joy of Cooking" is a very good basic cookbook, packed full of solid recipes. I am an infrequent cook, and it's a Go To for me.

        "How to Cook Everything" by Bittman is another comprehensive book. Bot a frufal focus, however lots and lots of good baqsic recipeis in all categories.

        I am a huge "Tightwad Gazette" Amy Dacyczyn fan. I have read volumes I, II, and III many times. There is a "Complete Tightwad Gazette" that is one volume-I am not sure if it contains all of the three, or is more of a best of. I mention this both because you mention recipes and other frugal books. TG actually doesn't have a ton of recipes, and Amy D says part of why is really that there are already so many books out there. She does give advice on how to make any recipe cheaper. Amy D will suggest that you can alter many recipes to fit you-dry powdered milk instead of whole, homemade white sauce instead of "cream of" soups in recipes, more of the starch/veggies less of the meats, less (expensive) walnuts and more (very cheap) sunflower seeds, etc. I am in love with her Universal Muffin Recipe- I never baked but now I can make muffins, sweet or savory, anytime, varying the ingredients widely. I also love her blender Gelatin.

        Amy D also praises the "More with Less" Mennonite cookbooks.

        "Relax! It's Only Dinner" By Cheryl Mercer is a readable one for me, a non-cook. It's not particularly frugal but it's not too extravagant; and a lot of tips and ideas are very useable. Part One is titled "Minimum effort, Maximum Praise." It seems like it would be especially good for someone who was aiming to please a spouse/significant other with "date" meals or someone who likes entertaining, but I'm neither of those and I still liked it. However, the recipes aren't directed at parents with younger kids for family meals. Anyway, this book taught me a lot, even though I don't use the exact recipes a lot.

        Peg Bracken's 1960s "I Hate To Cook" books are funny and mildly dated but the recipies are decidedly simple and most are economical if not cheap.

        "Living Well on a Shoestring" and "Your Money or Your Life" are two frugal books I really enjoy re-reading.

        Enjoy your spending! May whatever you get please you mightily.


          Re: Best Frugal recipe books

          Talking about Joy of Cooking, mine just sold on just as I was giving it a second chance after all your advice. LOL Go figure... it's been on there for months!

          A friend of mine suggested I get it, and so I did... but I'm a visual person... I need to SEE the recipes to be inspired. Joy of Cooking has no pictures... and whenever I cooked, I always found myself turning to Betty Crocker instead, so I put mine up for sale.

          I do love to cook... nothing fancy and nothing that takes a super long time (I did not say I'm a patient person LOL!).

          Thanks so much for all the advice. I will be checking out these books next time I make it over to Borders (two hours away sniff sniff).

          Keep the suggestions coming.


            Re: Best Frugal recipe books

            I just checked out a couple of books from the library - Student's Guide to Vegetarian Cooking or some such title. Cookbooks geared toward the college age crowd tend to be quite frugal.


              Re: Best Frugal recipe books

              Has anyone tried the Fix-It-And-Forget-It series cookbooks? Are they pretty good? I'm thinking of getting one as my mom wants it too so I thought I'd buy it and type up some of the recipes for her in large print (she has trouble seeing).


                Re: Best Frugal recipe books

                I was just looking thru someones journal entries (forgot who) and they mentioned the book "Dining on a Dime". Apparently, it's been around a while and is verrrry funny in addition to being truly frugal.