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4 Family meals under $20

Suzi Milovanovic has been a mother of all kinds: stay at home mom, work from home mom, and go-the-office working mom. She blends all these perspectives in her contributions to various local and national print and online publications, tel...

Tasty dollar stretchers

For many households, food is one of the greatest monthly expenses (second only to rent or mortgage). One way to stretch the family food dollar, however, is by eating at home instead of eating out. Learn to how to make frugal but fabulous family dishes for less than $20 with these easy budget recipes. They're quick, easy, cheap meals that don't compromise on taste.

Meatloaf and Potatoes

Meatloaf

1 pound hamburger
1 onion, diced
1 sleeve saltines, crushed
2 eggs
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Fresh ground pepper (about 1/2 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon salt

1. Mix until all ingredients are equally distributed. Form a loaf.
2. Place in shallow pan and add enough water so that the bottom of the pan is covered.
3. Cover and bake at 375F for 1 hour.
4. Remove lid, turn up heat in oven to broil, and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, just enough to brown the loaf.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
1 cup chopped green or red pepper
1 8-ounce jar picante sauce
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cubed
8 flour tortillas (6 inches)
3/4 pound Velveeta cheese spread or Velveeta Light, cubed
1/4 cup milk

1. Stir chicken, green pepper, 1/2 cup picante sauce and cream cheese in saucepan over low heat until smooth.
2. Spoon 1/3 cup chicken mixture onto each tortilla; roll up. Place, seam side down, in lightly greased 8-by-13-inch baking dish.
3. Stir cheese spread and milk in saucepan over low heat until smooth.
4. Pour sauce over tortillas; cover with foil. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
5. Pour remaining picante sauce over tortillas.

Barbecued Pork for Sandwiches

1 (14-ounce) can beef broth
3 pounds boneless pork ribs
1 (18-ounce) bottle barbecue sauce

1. Pour can of beef broth into slow cooker, and add boneless pork ribs. Cook on high heat for 4 hours or until meat shreds easily.
2. Remove meat from slow cooker, and shred with two forks. Preheat oven to 350F.
3. Transfer the shredded pork to a Dutch oven or iron skillet, and stir in barbecue sauce.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until heated through.

Chicken Noodle Casserole

2 cans chicken breast meat, packed in juice, drained and flaked
1 12-ounce package wide egg noodles, drained
2 cans cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/3 cup milk, water or chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
16 Ritz crackers, crushed finely
2 tablespoons melted butter

1. Cook noodles according to package directions, but drain noodles 1 minute before fully cooked.
2. In a large bowl, combine chicken, both cans of soup, cheese, soy sauce, milk (or stock or water), garlic and onion powder; season with salt and pepper as desired. Carefully fold in noodles.
3. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and pour noodle mixture into dish. Mix melted butter and cracker crumbs, and sprinkle over noodle mixture.
4. Cover and bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

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