Besides dumpster diving and mooching off your friends, the ultimate frugal cuisine is--yes--COOKING. Especially if you use what you have. I have been using my leg of lamb for many meals, too many. And today, Funny About Money posted about a luscious-sounding soup she made with odds and ends.
Of course, the reason that Funny can do that is because she knows how to cook. I know how to cook too. That's why I can do it. I did not learn to cook till I was an adult. Like many, I slavishly followed recipes. Now I can put together many things sans recipe because I have some basic templates in my head.
I've written about this book before, but it is worth mentioning again. Pam Anderson put together a book of templates.
Another book I have--though I seldom use it--directly addresses the Mother Hubbard syndrome: what to cook when you have nothing to cook.
Hey! You can get that tome for a mere penny plus shipping. That's pretty frugal. This is a skill that's even more critical these days when we are all short of time AND money. Plus, of course, the gas to get to the store grows ever more expensive.
What do you cook when you have nothing to cook?