Cheap and Easy Meals

Sliced no knead olive skillet bread

What to Cook When the Grocery Stores are Out of… Almost Everything.

I went to the store last week for a few things. You know, the usual, peanut butter, half & half, a gallon of water (for my cubicle at work for making coffee), and quinoa. I came home from the store with ONE of those things, peanut butter! All those other aisles were pretty much empty. There was sparkling water, and some of the pricy electrolyte water in bottles. Other than that, not much there! In 2014 there was a water crisis in Toledo and I remember not being able to buy water because the shelves were empty, but I’ve never seen entire isles cleared out of food or paper products. I didn’t go down every aisle, and they weren’t wiped completely out of all food items, but it was slim pickings! We’ll need to get creative with what we have during this coronavirus crisis, so I wanted to put together a quick list of cheap and easy meals for you. Lots of these are made from leftovers, a few ingredients, or even scraps! Some are quick and easy, some will use up leftovers, but all are delicious!

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Black Bean Tomato Soup

Sopa Tarasca

Otherwise Known as Sopa Tarasca, it’s Black Bean Tomato Soup with Bacon!

Have you ever heard of Sopa Tarasca? Do you cook your own black beans from dried beans? Do you like bacon? Silly question! Everyone likes BACON right? I’ve been quiet over the holidays and I’m sorry, but I think everyone will forgive me once they try this recipe for Baconny Black Bean Tomato Soup!

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Easy Shrimp Fajitas

I’m not much of a planner. Sorry! If you are a lover of lists and meal plans this may not be the blog for you. But if you want to know how to turn a few fridge and freezer finds into a quick meal, you’ve come to the right place! Easy Shrimp Fajitas are great on a weeknight!


I peeked in the freezer and all I had was a couple of bags of frozen shrimp, salmon, one chicken breast, and lots of ground meat. In the fridge, I had bell peppers, avocados, cilantro, scallions, leftover Instant Pot garbanzo beans, corn tortillas, and lettuce. Here’s what I came up with! Lettuce wraps for me and corn tortillas for my husband to take to work tomorrow for dinner. It’s not beautiful but it’s delicious and nutritious.

Quick Shrimp Fajitas

Ingredients for Easy Shrimp Fajitas

  • 1 lb Shrimp
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Bell pepper (if you also have a jalapeño it would be a great addition)
  • 1/2 cup Cooked beans. I’d prefer black beans, but I had garbanzos ready!
  • 1/2 Lime (optional)
  • Scallions (optional but they add great flavor)
  • Cilantro (also optional)
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Red pepper/cayenne for heat, optional (you can just use a taco seasoning packet if you prefer, instead of chili powder, cumin, and red pepper)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lettuce and/or tortillas

First, I cut the cheeks off the bell pepper and charred them over my gas burner. Once charred I put them in an airtight container to steam for a few minutes, while you slice your onions. After a few minutes, you can easily scrape off the skins and slice the pepper into strips. Charring the pepper is optional but if your stomach doesn’t handle pepper skins very well, and you like the extra flavor from the char, I highly recommend it!

Char peppers over a flame.
Steam the skins off the peppers
After steaming the skin scrapes off easily!
Thinly slice the pepper.

Slice the onion in half then cut into slices and cook in a cast-iron skillet with a teaspoon of olive or avocado oil, salt, and pepper to taste.

Cook until onions are cooked through but not mushy.

Cooking onions

Add the beans and peppers until heated through. Set aside and use the skillet to cook the shrimp.

Rinse the shrimp and pat them dry. Add a teaspoon of oil to the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp. Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper over the shrimp. If you like a little heat, start with a scant amount, like a very scant quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and sprinkle over the shrimp.

Season the shrimp.

When the shrimp start to curl, you can see them turning a little white and the tails are turning pink, flip them over. Immediately season the shrimp on the other side and add in the peppers, onions, and beans. By now the shrimp are likely cooked through! Stir it and cut one shrimp in half to test for doneness. Remove it from the pan immediately. Over-cooked shrimp is not good! Especially if it’s going to be reheated and served later! Taste and add seasoning if necessary.

Shrimp cooked through.

It’s done when it’s no longer opaque or squishy on the inside. The whiter it gets, the more cooked or overcooked it is.

Serve with avocado, thin-sliced scallions, and cilantro in lettuce cups or tortillas. Freshly squeezed lime brings out all the flavor! Add salsa if you have it, but with the lime, you won’t need it.

Easy shrimp fajitas on a weeknight

If I wasn’t so tired I would have steamed some rice to go along with this… and added a nutrition label to my recipe… but I’ve been fatigued lately. I’ve had some B-12 injections, started some supplements, and hope to be feeling better soon. Yawn.

I thought the garbanzo beans would be weird but they worked in this recipe! A red bell pepper would have been pretty, but this is what was in the fridge! Let me know if you cook up something similar with garbanzo beans, I’d love to hear about it, please comment below.

Quick & Easy 4 Ingredient Salmon Cakes

Salmon cakes
Super easy & quick salmon cakes.

Eating on a budget and turning one meal into two can be delicious!
Last night we had sriracha-glazed salmon for dinner that I baked in the oven. (#SalmonSunday) We ended up with about 7 ounces leftover, so I put it in a baggie in the fridge for 4 ingredient salmon cakes for tonight! I use a similar recipe to my grans tuna cakes and they are simple, crispy and delicious!

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