Cheap Yummy Food

Yeah, I’m still not making much money. I live more or less alone and I don’t have a lot of food at home. I don’t like eating processed foods, because a lot of the time I get nauseous afterwards. And I’m trying to eat somewhat healthily.

So, you people in similar situations, past and present, what are your favorite recipes that don’t cost much but taste good?

If they can not involve the stove or oven, so much the better (it’s hot out here and I have no AC).

A recipe from me to start:

Cooked pasta of some sort (elbow or shells are good)
Spaghetti sauce
Grated Mozzarella / other Italian cheeses
Optional: Garlic, other spices

Put in microwaveable bowl. Mix in sauce and some cheese. Pile more cheese on top. Microwave till warm and gooey.

Not so great when its hot.

Duh. The last line I meant to say when it’s hot weatherwise. Cold cheese and pasta wouldn’t be so yummy.

I recently discovered jasmine rice.
It tastes fancy, but it’s rice, folks. It’s cheap.

I’ll throw my support out there for jasmine rice. I’ll start off the ramen noodle snobbery.

I eat a lot of popcorn.

Ramen (or any kind of noodle) can be made quite tasty simply by adding some scrambled egg to the boiling water and adding in some onions, spinach, cabbage, or whatever other vegetables you like and have on hand. Sriracha optional.

And, of course, there’s the ultimate *cheap * and yummy food: beans and rice (and some kind of green vegetable, preferably greens themselves) but that’s a little more involved unless you use canned beans, in which case: ew.

Tabasco less optional.

What’s the problem with canned beans? Mexican, Chinese and Indian markets are often the cheapest sources of food round here, farmer’s markets are also great, especially if you bargain for good prices as they are about to close down.

This was one of my favorites, but it is better for cold weather. One expensive ingredient, olive oil, and the rest are some of the cheapest veggies in the store.

It is called Alsatian Vegetables.

Put peeled, cut up potatoes (and some carrots if you have them) in water to cover. Quarter a cabbage and put quarters on top of potatoes. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat, simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute a chopped onion and garlic to taste in a generous amount of olive oil.

Drain cabbage and veggies. Mix in onion, garlic and oil.

Eat with plenty of salt and pepper.

For summer, try tomato-cheese sandwiches. Slice a ripe tomato and some cheddar cheese. Put on bread, mayo optional.

Potato soup is well liked here.
Cook leeks or onions with garlic in butter.
A cup of chicken stock (I use some Kosher parve stuff Mrs. Plant buys) for each potato. Cook forever, mash the potatoes until they are, well, soup like.
Salt pepper, etc. Chopped parsley or some broccoli, something green at the last minute.
Add cream at the table. I like chopped green onions on it. Mrs. Plant does not.

Oo, I love ramen. I need to get some more Ichiban. And the last ingredient to make dashi so I can have udon and somen.

I’m a little sick of Mexian right now. I’ve been having tostadas (canned refried, sorry, it’s what I was raised on) for about a week now (finished off two cans). But I should’ve made rice. Mmmm, Spanish rice.

I loves me the rice. I suppose I should look up a recipe for jasmine rice. I worry though because the last time I had Indian I got a little sick.

Moved from IMHO to CS.

Cheap but tasty recipes, my specialty!
Quesadillas- some tortillas and cheese for a basic one, add chicken, hamburger, a cheap cut of steak, a variety of veggies if you wish. You can fry or bake them.

Mahatma brand Red Beans and Rice. Can be found on sale for under a dollar. Makes at least 3 servings, for me anyway.

Browned hamburger combined with cream of mushroom soup, over rice. Not my favorite, but you might love it.

When I was a kid, my mom sometimes make creamed peas over toast. A basic white sauce of butter, flour, and milk, canned peas, and bread. Pretty cheap, and darn tasty.

A can of Hormel (or whatever) corned beef, fried with diced potatoes. Probably not very good for you, but cheap.

And I forgot to say, I fully endorse jasmine rice. It won’t make you sick, it’s just a certain kind of rice. And it puts regular rice to shame. It makes regular rice run home crying to it’s mama.

If you buy some sriracha sauce you can make horrible, bland cheap Asian food products into delicious, spicy cheap Asian food products.

It’s just my Southern bias showing through. While I like quite a few different varieties of canned beans, beans with no descriptor mean pintos or red to me and neither one of those taste that good canned and I would never think of eating them with rice as the main part of a meal. It’s … just, wrong.

Fried frozen pierogies with sriracha. They’re cheap and available in bulk. Poor man’s potstickers.

I bake a lot. Homemade bread is cheap but a bit time-consuming in that you have to be at home for several hours. That said, homemade focaccia (which is just a moist bread dough with some olive oil in it) with herbs and garlic, dipped in more olive oil and balsamic, is divine.

I have a nice heavy grill pan. I grill a lot of different veggies (eggplant, peppers, zuchinni, asparagus, mushrooms) and toss them in some sort of dressing, usually lemon juice and olive oil or an Asian peanut sauce, and eat them cold. Good mixed into green salad, too.

Fried leftover spaghetti. Very tasty and easy. Use lots of salt and some hot pepper flakes. If you want, you can make a Nigella Lawson reciped and turn it into an omelette with some parmesan. Yum.

Black bean soup. A cup of black beans, eight (or so) cups of veggie or chicken broth, a can of tomatoes. Some cumin, garlic, and lemon. Cook together until the beans are really soft. I use a stick blender to puree it in the pot. Add lemon and sour cream or cheese or whatever you like, and eat.

I’m sure I’ll come up with others. There are thousands of tasty, cheap recipes.

Wow, until this thread I had never heard of sriracha. I’m not into spicy but I’m glad to know this exists!



Fried rice with egg, fritatta (noodles suspended in omelette).

I think the hardest part is remembering all this stuff. I kept getting reminded of recipes that I know.

Here are my suggestions, and a couple of links:

Meats (if you are not vegetarian): chicken legs (drumsticks) are pretty cheap, and quite tasty. I usually see them sold in packages of 6 for $2.00 - $2.50. If you like catfish, you can save a lot of money by buying the catfish nuggets, which (I hope!) are the small cuts that survive after the main fileting. (Just watch out for a few bones!) Generic-brand tuna is pretty inexpensive, and some seems to actually be superior to name-brand.

As mentioned, pasta & rice is your friend, although it can get plenty tiresome.

Eating healthy can be quite a challenge on a budget. I can buy frozen dinners for about $1.00 each that are quite tasty to me, but they’re not healthy. Fruits & vegetables can be expensive, relatively speaking, but in the summer you should compare prices at the farmer’s markets. They can be quite competive, and you’ll have a fresher product, too.

Here are the links:

$10 Grocery List - $10 for a week of groceries? I’m skeptical, but here you go anyway.

$45 Emergency Grocery List - serves 4-6, so you could probably get away with less. This menu is family oriented, so it may not suit you.

Cook some rice. Cool it in the fridge. Fry it in a few tablespoons of oil with some eggs and green onion. Sesame oil and lots of soy sauce are nice.

Cheap Fondue: make a largeish pot of white sauce (say three cups). Add two cups of grated cheddar and some sherry. Heat until it melts, and eat by dunking bread in it. Serve with roasted peppers, ham, and maybe some salad on the side.

Miso soup is cheap, good, and can be loaded with tofu.