2 Quick and Easy Poor Man Meal Ideas

What are poor man meals? They are cheaper versions of more expensive meals. That way, you can afford to eat it and it tastes just as good or better than the original expensive meal.

The whole concept of easy poor man meals is that you substitute the pricey items with cheaper items or you have whatever you have in your home. So if you want some cheap meals to make, stick around for these poor man’s meal ideas.

Recipe 1: Poor man’s lasagne

This recipe is not expensive to make at all like other poor man lasagne recipes that I have seen online. My recipe is something that I used to frequently make when I was first married but we love it to this day. This lasagne recipe is customizable to what you have in your kitchen.


  • 1 box lasagne noodles (oven ready is fine)
  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • Cheese, any kind
  • Protein, such as cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, cream cheese, etc.
Making poor man’s lasagne


1. Prep

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put some sauce on the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish.

Making poor man’s lasagne

2. Layer noodles

Boil noodles first or take your oven-ready noodles and place a single layer on the bottom of the dish. (I used oven-ready noodles here.)

Making poor man’s lasagne

3. Spread cheese

Then evenly spread a thin layer of your protein (cottage cheese) across the noodles.

Making poor man’s lasagne
Making poor man’s lasagne
Making poor man’s lasagne

4. Keep layering

Add another layer of sauce over the cheese.

Place another layer of noodles over the sauce.

Repeat the layering process until you are done with the ingredients.

Your top layer would be the tomato sauce.

Making poor man’s lasagne

5. Top with cheese

Top the entire lasagne with the cheese you have chosen. I used two different cheeses.

Poor man’s lasagne

Bake the lasagne for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the pasta is soft.

Recipe 2: Poorman’s beef and broccoli

If you do the version with the steak sliced up, it can be a little pricey. Here’s my cheap but delicious recipe. But making it with ground beef or ground turkey makes it much cheaper. I serve this with plain white rice.


  • 1lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. broccoli (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (low-sodium)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Chili flakes (optional)
Making poorman’s beef and broccoli
Making poorman’s beef and broccoli


1. Prep the sauce

Mix the following in a bowl: ¼ of water, ½ cup of soy sauce, a tablespoon of cornstarch, and a tablespoon of brown sugar, and a teaspoon of ground ginger, and a heaping spoonful of minced garlic. Add chili flakes if you want it spicier.

Making poorman’s beef and broccoli

2. Brown the meat and prep the broccoli

Brown the meat and drain the fat after it is cooked.

Make the broccoli per the package instructions while you are browning the meat.

Making poorman’s beef and broccoli

3. Add broccoli to meat

When the broccoli is soft, add it to the pan with the browned ground beef. Add oil to the pan if it is too dry. Mix together.

Making poorman’s beef and broccoli
Making poorman’s beef and broccoli

4. Add sauce and simmer

Add the entire bowl of sauce to the pan and mix it all up. Let it all simmer for about 10 minutes.

Poorman’s beef and broccoli

It’s delicious, smells amazing, and here it is plated up.

Poor man meals

I hope you liked learning about these two easy poor man meals that are so quick to make.

Let me know if you think these are cheap meals to make.

Also please share with us in the comments any other poor man’s meal ideas you like to make for your family.

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