Mini Meatloaves and Stovetop Mac & Cheese (URS: Dinners for $10 or Less)

Talk about quick and cheap eats! This meal features mini meatloaves full of flavor as well as a made-from-scratch mac and cheese. Filling comfort food that won’t disappoint, all for less than $10.

Creating a dinner for four under $10 is not rocket science. Anyone who shops the sales and coupons can probably pull it off easily. However, creating a fully-homemade-from-scratch dinner for less than ten bucks can be a little more challenging.

In our efforts to get away from chemicals, GMO’s, and processed foods, I’m trying to feed my family more natural food — and still stay under budget.

This meal is that and more. Savory meatloaves are made miniature so that they cook quickly. Old fashioned macaroni and cheese cooks on the stovetop in about the same time it takes you to prepare that blue box. Serve steamed broccoli on the side and you’ve got a tasty, whole foods meal that really isn’t more work than opening a few cans and boxes.

In the old days I might have made meatloaf with canned bread crumbs and a packet of dried onion soup mix. Today I used the heels of a loaf of bread. Practically free since who wants to eat the heels anyway? You’ll be amazed at the great flavor this has with just a few spices from your cupboard.

The mac would have come from a box back in the old days. Instead a little butter, flour, milk, and cheese melted together “just so” far surpasses the boxed variety. Did you ever stop to think that you’re already adding butter and milk to the boxed packet? This is so much better for you and just as easy. Really.

This meal is a step up from the blue plate special of yore, but it’s still very budget friendly. And it’s good for you. ;) My kids gobbled it down. I was so pleased that I could recreate those comfort foods of the good old days — from scratch!

Here’s how the numbers crunched:

ground beef – $2.99
bread – free
spices – $0.25
onion – $0.25
macaroni – $0.88
cheese (1/4 pound) – $1.00
milk – $0.25
butter – $0.38
flour – $0.25
broccoli – $0.99
soy sauce – $0.10

Total for this meal to feed 4 to 8, depending on ages and appetites: $7.34

This was a hugely filling meal for a bargain price!

Ultimate Recipe Swap

URS Guidelines

Remember: Each week at Ultimate Recipe Swap, there is a posted theme. You are welcome to share any recipe that fits the theme and contains a link back to Life as MOM. If you’re curious about the upcoming themes, I have a calendar here. This week’s theme is Dinner Under $10.

If you have a recipe that fits the theme, please link it. However, things like Beef Strogonaff will be deleted from Chicken week because it doesn’t contain chicken. Please keep this meme as helpful to others as we can.

And don’t make me the bad guy! ;)

What’s a favorite Dinner Under $10 at your house?



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Comments

  1. The boxed stuff just doesn’t compare to homemade.

    Thanks for the linky.

  2. I am going to try this Mac & Cheese. I have yet to find a non-Velveeta homemade recipe for Mac & Cheese that doesn’t come out kinda gritty… I am hoping this is the one, because we’re trying to do away with the processed stuff!

  3. I make a “Versatile Beef Mix” for the freezer and make meatballs, mini meatloaves and Salisbury steak with it. We love the mini version of meatloaf better than the big one and you are right – it does cook in less time. Thanks for the recipes!

  4. First meatloaf I have seen without eggs! How does that affect recipe?

  5. What a great URS subject! Looking forward to clicking around to the other meals. Thanks Jessica!

  6. My husband eats the heels of the bread if he sees them. It’s so annoying. I grew up in a house where they weren’t eaten, and there were always plenty for meatloaf, etc. Now I have to improvise! Oh well, it just inspires creativity! :) Great ideas here!

  7. Just made the mac and cheese for my twins for lunch. It was sooo tasty, everyone enjoyed it! I’ve been trying homemade mac and cheese recipes for a few months now and this will probably be our go to recipe now. It’s crazy that we have bought the boxed stuff for so long and homemade is seriously just as easy… and better for you and tastier! Thanks!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Yeah! Isn’t it crazy how the boxed stuff isn’t any easier than homemade? Weird.

      • When I make homem-made mac and cheese I keep adding milk to the sauce until smooth, it takes out the grit. Also make the roux w/more butter than flour. I add ham, sauteed onions to mine.. and I top w/ crispy onions and bake. Not the healthiest, but sure is yummy. When i make it I have enough for 2 dinners and freeze a pan for next time.

  8. This was the first homemade mac and cheese that my husband didn’t make weird looks about! The sauce turned out really smooth! I usually end up with gritty/lumpy cheese sauces, so something was happening right tonight, whether it was recipe or me. Haha. I added some extra seasonings (Mrs. Dash shaker is my favorite!) to bump up the flavor as a main course. Next time I want to try using a sharper cheddar for more cheese flavor.

  9. I thought the meatloaf needed a little more moisture or an egg or katsup? I followed the recipe as it, but maybe our 3000 foot elevation effects the moisture content? Should there be some other moist or binding agent to hold it all together?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I live at sea level, so I’m not really sure. I should have specified which grade of ground beef I used. I think that could make a difference. Do you remember what you used?

  10. Can I use skim milk for this? Or another alternative?

    Thanks! :)

    Sarah

  11. I put the mac and cheese in a baking dish and bake it at 425 for 25-30 minutes until it’s browned and bubbly on top. I also use extra sharp cheddar. It is awesome baked!

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  1. [...] Remember last week when I shared my Stovetop Mac and Cheese? That’s not any harder to make than the boxed variety! Neither is this. This definitely has [...]

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