I get so tired of hearing the cliche, "these tough economic times," but you know what, this economy is making almost all of us tighten our budgets and be cost-conscious. Be creative in your cooking, improvise, and let frugality work to your advantage.
My stepdaughters were here this weekend. They're pretty picky, but both love lasagna. We always put lots of shredded or chopped veggies into the sauce to sneak some nutrients into their diet, and we did that this time. We had leftover meatloaf that we made earlier in the week, using lots of shredded veggies and oatmeal pulverized in the food processor. TLOML chopped up the leftover meatloaf and added it to the lasagna sauce instead of plain old ground beef ... genius! The sauce was so healthy and nutrient-rich, but it tasted so good you'd never know it was good for you.
Normally we mix ricotta, shredded parmesan, and egg for the ricotta layer in the lasagna. When we started mixing up the ricotta layer we found that the tub of ricotta in the fridge was only half full and we only had about half a cup of ricotta, so we added some leftover cream cheese and sour cream, mixed in the shredded parmesan and an egg, and voila, an improvised ricotta layer that turned out to be pretty darn good.
Be frugal, be creative, use what you have on hand ... it's fun and yields surprisingly tasty results.