Last week I decided to make enchiladas. This can be expensive and tedious, but oh so worth it. I sauteed up some peppers, shrooms and onions for the filling. I also cooked up a 6 grain rice mix and added pinto beans to it. Mixing all those together with cumin and cayenne pepper powder for a kick, this was my filling. I rolled up my enchiladas and shredded pepper jack and cheddar cheese over it. I added the sauce, which unfortunately came from a can, I have no idea what is in the sauce and it is convenient to purchase the can. I again shredded cheese over the sauce. This is one of my few cheese heavy dishes. I had quite a bit of the stuffing left over. The dish itself fed both dinner and I had two lunches from it. Overall it cost about $30 to make and I got 4 meals out of it.
The good news is that there was two half blocks of cheese left, and the filling from the main dish. I took the filling and put it into a pot. I added another can of beans, this time great northern beans, since I had those on hand. I added a few cups of water and more seasoning. I simmered it for the better part of a day. In the end I still have half a pot of chili, and I have already had 3 meals from it. I cut some of the tortillas into strips and made crispy little strips to put into the chili. I also shredded a bit of cheese into it. Overall this $30 worth of groceries has made nearly 11 meals. So at less than $3 a meal ($2.72 to be exact) I have made a great couple of meals and managed to be frugal and healthier than if I had bought a pre-made meal option. And I still have tortillas and cheese left over for quesidillas if I choose.
To next time you make a dish that requires multiple ingredients and they tend to be rather spending, try taking what is left over and creating a casserole dish or a soup and stretch those ingredients to their maximum. Healthy filling food on a budget is not that difficult, you just have to consider the possibilities.