Organic Pantry Cooking For Less Than $5 a Meal

By Tess Pennington

Originally Published at Ready Nutrition

Let’s face it, we’re all trying to cut corners here and there to make our monthly budgets work for us, without having to sacrifice nutrition or flavor. Purchasing all organic foods can come with a hefty price tag, if you don’t know how to do it.

The best way to prepare affordable organic meals is to begin purchasing organic pantry staples that you will be using regularly. These low cost 25 pantry basics are a must have for your pantry and are extremely versatile. Be sure and store these foods properly so they last as long as possible.

Further, follow these tips on cooking for less.

  • Use up your frozen foods. How many of you are guilty of tossing leftovers in the freezer and then forgetting about them? With a little bit of meal planning, you can turn those leftovers into delicious future meals. Here are 8 recipes you can use your leftovers with to create new meals.
  • Make it yourself. If you have all the pantry basics, make some of your food staples yourself. Foods like instant oatmeal, homemade bread and instant potatoes can be made for a fraction of the cost compared to when you buy commercially at the store. Even tomato sauce can be made homemade at a fraction of a cost and used to season soups, added to pizzas and pastas. Not to mention, you will know all of the ingredients are organic and no preservatives or extras were added in.
  • Find cheaper replacements. If you are buying the most expensive type of rice, and a cheaper variety is available for a fraction of the cost and you get a larger amount, then purchase this one. Give your budget some flexing power and make the most of your hard earned money. Certain foods such as potatoes, rice and pasta are cheap ways to stretch a meal.
  • Avoid the inner isles at the supermarket. Side story, my husband does most of the grocery shopping. It’s not because I don’t want to shop, it’s because he won’t let me. His excuse is that I only buy healthy foods and no junk food. In all honesty, I avoid the inner isles at the store like the plague. They are riddled with gmo-junk and foods that masquerade as healthy when they clearly are not. Most of the healthy foods lie in the outer perimeter areas of the grocery stores. I always know I’m safe in the “outer zone.”
  • Have a soup night. Making soup once a week and pairing it with fresh bread is a great way to change up the monotony, as well as to utilize any leftovers that may be in the refrigerator. Mashed potatoes or rice could easily be thrown into some broth to make the beginnings of a hearty soup. All you need are some vegetables and anything else you can throw in.
  • Purchase the cheaper organic options. Carrots, cabbage, kale, beets, potatoes and spinach are all considered super foods and are low cost choices to other organic vegetables. Because many of these vegetables are root varieties, they will last longer as well.

When you use your pantry basics and take the time to make certain foods yourself, you can mix and match the foods and spices to create delicious, nutritious meals. I invite you to read my book, The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals as a starting point on making your own meals and utilize your pantry.


  • Toast with peanut butter ($.46/ $.026)
  • Homemade scones ($.67)
  • Oatmeal ($0.26)
  • Eggs with homemade tortillas ($1.26) *If you have your own chickens, this meal costs $.50!
  • Pancakes ($.22)


  • Leftovers from dinner ($0)
  • Beans and rice ($1.27)
  • Homemade pizza ($1.58)
  • Burritos and salad ($2.13/$1.56)
  • Soup and salad ($1.35/$1.56)
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich ($1)
  • Veggie tacos ($2.25)


  •  Pasta with red sauce ($1.50)
  • Beans and rice ($1.27)
  • Baked potato with roasted vegetables and butter ($2)
  • Scalloped ham and potatoes and salad ($2.15/$.46)
  • Soup and homemade bread ($2.10/$.46)

The Benefits

As you can see, many of these meals can be eaten for lunches or dinners. When you buy these staples in bulk, you will get the most out of your money. Imagine how much money you can save purchasing these organic staples and living off of them. Further, because you are eating a cleaner diet, you will be feeling more alert and because you aren’t purchasing the gmo-junk, chances are you will have shed a few pounds as well.

Purchasing organic foods does not have to be a budget killer. By purchasing organic pantry staples, you can easily integrate them into your meal plans, you save money and are eating healthier at the same time.

About the author

Prepper's Cookbook

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at