Everybody eats, but not everyone's got money to spare! That's okay, though, because with a few basic tools, cooking techniques, and ingredients, you can cook some seriously tasty and frugal meals. Here's a recipe for my favorite beef stew that you can replicate for less than 15 dollars...

Step 1: Cheap Beef and Veggies

Head on out to your favorite supermarket or budget food store to gather the ingredients for this frugal recipe. You'll need a store that has at least a basic meat counter or butcher's section, as well as some decent produce.

At the meat counter, look for a cheap, somewhat fatty cut of beef. Chuck is my favorite, and you can find it for just two to three dollars per pound if you check the right places! Don't worry about the fat, either, as much of it will render, or melt off, during the cooking process.

After you've picked a good two, three, or perhaps four-pound roast, head on over to the produce section to get your favorite stew veggies. The staple vegetable of this hearty frugal recipe is the potato, but look out for deals on carrots, celery, and onions - this humble but potent combination adds a wallop of flavor to any meal!

After getting the beef and veggies, you should be right at about 12-15 dollars. This dish is going to take some herbs and spices, as well, but you should have those on hand. If you don't, you'll want to go ahead and buy some, but remember that those products are going to stretch a lot farther than just this meal!

Step 2: Prepping the Stew

You could simply chop up the veggies, cut the meat into a couple of big hunks, and toss the whole pile into a crock pot with some water. That wouldn't make a half-bad stew, either, but if you really want to kick the flavor up a notch on your frugal recipes, take 15-20 minutes to do a more involved prep job.

First, heavily salt and sear the chuck roast on high heat in a cast iron skillet. Putting a golden-brown coat on the outside of the meat will go a long way in enhancing and deepening the flavor!

Next, chop your celery, onions, and carrots if you bought them, and throw the lot into the cast iron pan where you seared the meat. Add some olive oil or canola oil to cook them well on medium heat.

When the veggies are soft, it's time to add some liquid. If you're seriously short on ingredients, water will definitely do the trick. However, if you've got some cheap beer or chicken stock on hand, try throwing that in and reducing the liquid volume by half with the heat for a rich, deep flavor.

Finally, add plenty of dried herbs and spices to the veggie mixture in the pan. I like garlic, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram, but you can use whatever you've got.

When the meat is seared, and your veggie-spice mix is done, throw the lot into the crock pot with as many chopped potatoes as you like. I love potatoes, so I usually fill the pot nearly to the brim with all of that good stuff. Add some water or chicken stock to bring the liquid level to about one inch below the rim of the pot.

Step 3: Easy Cooking

Now that everything's in the pot, just set it to low and give the stew a good eight to ten hours to cook. If you can't wait half a day, you might try the high setting, but slow and low is the way to go for the best flavor! At the end, you'll have one of the best frugal recipes for an insanely low price.

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