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govtrust
Apr 29, 2008



eat
rice, beans, tomatoes, onions, garlic, okra

staples
oil, flour, cornmeal, oatmeal, sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper, tuna, ginger

drink
water, lime (for scurvy)

--------------------------

chili (hamburger, red beans, spices, garlic, onion, diced tomato), rice and beans (red beans), oatmeal, cornbread (jiffy mix), tuna (onion, mayo, celery), frozen veggies, bread, eggs, butter, oil, whole chicken (roast and make soup), carrots, celery, saltines, salt, pepper, lettuce, canned tomato (whole, diced), evaporated milk, pasta, parmesan cheese, flour tortillas, shredded cheddar cheese, tobasco, flour, potatoes

Drink: water with lemon or drink mix

Spatchcock whole chicken. Roast in pan with mirepoix. Eat. Fill pot with water. Add chicken carcass and vegetables, boil 4 hours, strain, add more vegetables. Make soup. Add saltines. Eat for week.

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Elizabethan Error
May 18, 2006

hello. i spent ten bucks to remove your angrytar and i hope this happy bunny helps you relax and be your best self. if that will not work, maybe have some brownies. brownies are good. ok, bye

Mathhole posted:

I'm one of the optimists, though, so I didn't take in much of what you said and will continue with my same eating habits.
optimist is not a synonym for ignorant

T.H.E. Rock
Sep 13, 2007
;)

Make your own bread. It's significantly cheaper and is an actual food, without all the conditioners and garbage in store-bought bread. The no-knead bread recipe is awesome and you can scale it up to have extra dough sitting in the fridge for whenever you feel like fresh bread.

edit: oops, that's what I get for not refreshing a thread before posting. Well I'll add quinoa too. It's pretty cheap and has a better protein balance than other grains.

Also get some rolled oats for breakfast. It'll come out to maybe 25 cents with toppings and takes all of 4 minutes to make.

T.H.E. Rock fucked around with this message at Oct 11, 2011 around 01:36

angerbeet
Mar 23, 2004


plob


Clip coupons. Yes, you will be the annoying person in line with double coupons for beans, but you will save money. If you get a weekly flyer or free paper there will often be coupons - you might need some imagination but 50 cents here and there adds up. There are also online coupon sites that can save you a buttload of money, check google for coupons in your area.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004





I have lived at points in time as a student where my entire *monthly* budget, before rent, was 300 euro. and rent was like 125, and alcohol was like 75 (priorities), so that was about 25 euro a week to live off of for food, or about 30-35 bucks. and hell, I even won an ICSA on that budget.

most of the good suggestions have been given already in this thread. Don't buy your food/spices/whatever at mega-marts. find ethnic stores where spices are .25 cents - $1.25, for twice the amount you'd pay 3 bucks for in kroger or publix or whatever. one of the first posters in the thread mentioned onions for $2 / 3lbs. if you go to places where actual people shop who aren't that well off, you can get a 10lb bag of onions for $4. and entire chickens for $3-4 - though I'd really advise just putting more money into your food budget and not supporting horrible farming practices. but, hey, everyone's poor at some point.

a chicken can make dinner for one for 4 nights in a row. I did this last week, and I'm not even close to poor as poo poo these days.

night one, I pan seared one breast, made a chicken caesar salad. night two, I roasted both legs, ate one with some mashed potatoes, ate the other for lunch the third day. third day I roasted and pulled the other breast in to BBQ sandwiches. fourth day, I boiled the wings and carcass into a rich stock, pulled the meat out, made some quick dumplings, and had chicken dumpling soup with some veggies I had lying around.

I mean granted I was able to do all that because I had all the other pre-requisites lyin' around, but you'll get there - you have to build up a fully stocked kitchen before you can really cook on the cheap. once you get there though, there will be hardly any recipe you need to buy anything for except fresh produce and meat.

slinkimalinki
Jan 17, 2010

Through moonlight and shadow she'd prowl and she'd pry.


A few things
1. Know your ingredients. For example, here in New Zealand, the most popular variety of potato in the supermarket is Nadine. Agria potatoes cost the same as Nadines. Nadines are bred for looks: smooth skin, no eyes, even oval shape etc. They cook into a tasteless mess of glue and toenails. Meanwhile Agria make gorgeous, golden oven fries, lovely soups, amazing mash etc etc. If you know your varieties, simple food will be a luxury. You don't need to spend as much, because your ingredients will shine.

2.If you want to cook Chinese food, shop where Chinese people shop, if you want to cook Italian food, shop where Italian people shop. The difference between crappy "student" food and great food is often authentic flavourings. Start stocking up your library of stuff and you'll soon end up with a storecupboard of possibilities. Luckily, authentic stuff is often cheap as balls at little local shops.

3. Grow yer own salad greens. If you have any outdoor space at all (hell, you could even rig up a windowbox), grow rainbow chard, perpetual spinach, and arugula. They're all pretty unkillable, grow year round, and provide random greenery whenever you feel like you're missing it.

4. "Luxury" stuff will make your life cheaper. Buy a bottle of extra virgin olive oil when you can. It will make a few cheap ingredients into a great meal. same goes for flakey sea salt and a bunch of other things.

5. Lump o' meat. Cook a lump of cheap meat on payday, say chinese roast pork, corned silverside, roast pork belly etc. Eat some of it on the first day. The remains can star in:
stir fry, fried rice, stuffed potatoes, sweetcorn fritters, potato salad, risotto, pilaf, cottage pie, etc, etc. You can usually get about four days of variety out of one cheap meatlump.

6. Puddin'. Make like it's world war two and serve old fashioned steamed puddings after dinner occasionally. They usually only need supercheap ingredients, and they make you feel happy and warm. Especially if the main course was a bit scanty.

onemanlan
Oct 4, 2006
I HAVE A MAN CRUSH ON YOU TOO, YOU LOVABLE FAGGOT!

Going to throw my 2 cents into the ring.

1) Cheap meats - Look for sales when you can and know when your local grocer turns over their meat selection. Typically the grocer will put that meat on sale to cut losses and make room for new stock. Find the day they do that and be there. Freeze what you don't use if you buy extra. Also as for cheap meat dark meat chicken and pork are typically good bang for the buck meats. Chicken is especially cost efficient if purchased whole then portioned out. Also some decent butchers will cut it up at little to no cost to you, so it's win-win.

2) Veggies go a long way - veggies are healthy, can be cheap filler, and taste good. If you end up getting a slow cooker you can throw veggies in to add filler to your dish. You say you don't get full from veggies, but that doesn't mean they aren't filling at all. Try to use less meat and add more veggies to the mix in order to keep your meat use and costs to a minimum. There are lots of dishes out there if you look around(hint, visit this forum more often!). The cheap veggies typically are: celery, carrots, potatoes, onions, lettuce, cabbage, rice, beans, and more. Also don't forget about our friends in the fungi kingdom, mushrooms.

3) Buy in bulk when you can - saves a chunk of change if you can afford it. The freezer is your best friend in this case.

4) Acquire spices over time - Spice adds... well spice to life. It will help invigorate your dishes with flavor and can be used for more than one recipe. Find commonly used spices and pick one up every now and then at the store when you can spare some change. Try to avoid recipes with obscure spices that you've never heard of or don't see commonly in other things you like to cook. Over time you'll collect a decent collection of spices that will allow for more lateral movement in what you can cook.

5) Slow cooking is your friend - Since you work long days this method of cooking is ideal for you. Set it early in the morning, low and slow, then come back to reap the reward. You might be pooped after work, but a nice meal will help ease the stress of the day. There are tons of crock pot recipes that you can make and on the cheap as well.

6) Pasta. Is. Freaking. Amazing. - Cheap, carb heavy, and filling. Pick it up and find some easy dishes to make(ex. Lemon pepper pasta). It also helps extend your meat much like veggies do.

I know I'm forgetting some stuff, but other people have posted some awesome tips so far.

Also gently caress that troll Nautatrol Rx, he's a dickhole who apparently wasn't hugged as a child. Furthermore he just lost $10

onemanlan fucked around with this message at Oct 11, 2011 around 07:11

heyfresh888
Feb 8, 2010


A big problem is that people will google recipes and just get overwhelmed with all the bullshit involved. My wife and I have been living on 100% organic/sustainable food for 3 years and our current food budget is about 30~40$ a week. A big part is keeping our staple items stocked like rice, flour, beans. Dairy is the most expensive since we purchase 2 gallons of milk and 2 quarts of yogurt. Proteins are always 1 lb of ground beef, a whole chicken (I make basic chicken stock, water and roasted carcass). Eggs recently have become insane for grocery store organic so we found someone local that sells them 2$ a dozen. We always go big on lettuce stuff since it's usually so cheap. Vegetables are always what is in season or on the end of season. We did a whole year of eating only in season products and it just stuck, probably not for everyone though.

Items to avoid: bacon is extremely over priced, the difference between chuck and ground chuck and cube steak, any steak item, packaged shredded cheese, the difference between some salted and unsalted butters can be huge, loving snacks.

slinkimalinki
Jan 17, 2010

Through moonlight and shadow she'd prowl and she'd pry.


Yeah apparently there are people who buy meat that is not on special and is not a cheap cut of meat. I am not those people.

Landsknecht
Oct 27, 2009
I hope this person is trolling, nobody can be so unfunny and dumb

I'm just going to echo what everybody has been posting in this thread and suggest that you make friends with beans. Lots of beans (and lentils). Examples of what you can do with beans:

Take some pinto/black beans (pinto for purists), boil them, then throw them in a pan with lard (or oil/butter) with onions and some chili, and you've got refried beans. This is a delicious and filling side dish, and is stupidly cheap per portion.

Take garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and mix them up with some lemon juice and tahini and you have humus, which is nutritious and delicious.

Make some sort of bean soup, there are tons of recipes online for all sorts of these as it seems every culture has their own variety.

I'd also heavily suggest getting acquainted with Mexican, South American, Middle Eastern (Lebanese/Israeli) and (North) Indian cooking styles, these are areas of the world that have amazingly delicious and exciting varieties of food, and since they're all developing nations everything is nice and cheap!

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004



Fun Shoe

slinkimalinki posted:

Yeah apparently there are people who buy meat that is not on special and is not a cheap cut of meat. I am not those people.

Neither am I. You can tell you've been poor too long when your idea of splurging on a steak is picking up a piece of chuck.

50s girl groupon
Jul 16, 2010

last night I had the strangest dream..

Like angerbeet said, use coupons. Coupons.com works, and Target has coupons you can print from their site.

How good are you at growing things? Try growing some of your own vegetables, like beans, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. It'll save you a lot of money in the long run (especially on fresh herbs).

When you have a little extra money, stock up on things you use the most. Rice, beans, pasta are the obvious choices, but you can stock up on meat and veggies when they go on sale, and freeze them for later use. Mark the use by date on the bag, though (a quick google search will tell you when various foods go bad in the freezer).

Ethnic markets are incredible. Its been mentioned before but it really needs to be reiterated. Italian, Spanish, Greek and Middle Eastern markets have spices, rice, beans, couscous and other staples in bulk for ridiculously cheap. Plus, its an awesome experience to browse them, especially if you have any roots in the cultures.

Places like Whole Foods is pretty expensive for produce and meat, but hit up the bulk foods section. If you can find it, stock up on Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP). Sounds gross, but its not really. You can make burgers, chili, "chicken nuggets" and other various foods with it, and be as full as if you ate meat, for a fraction of the price of meat. Its all pretty easy to make, and you can freeze burgers and nuggets for use later.

In addition to buying at ethnic markets, look into eating more ethnic foods. I grew up with Lebanese and Greek food, and can attest to how delicious it is, and cheap too. Check out the What Did You Cook Last Night thread for a lot of great recipes ideas too.

Ironsolid
Mar 1, 2005

Fishing isn't an addiction, it's a way of life. Everything to gain while losing everything

Try a cheap stir fry!

1/4 c sided onion
1 clove garlic minced.

Sautee in vegetable oil or sesame oil.

Once carwmelized add fresh green beans, sliced mushrooms (optional), corn or any other vegetable you like. Add a protein and finish with a light dash of soy sauce. Easy, but tasty.

Edit: excuse my awful typing I'm on ny phone.

One of the best ways I have found to make chicken is parboil it (until almost cooked) then pan fry it with vegetables. Other seasonings you can easily use;
Crushed red pepper flakes. A little goes a long way. I use these for flavoring purposes only.

Fuming and paprika. These are especially good for Mexican style cooking.

An above poster mentioned bacon being a waste of money. I would agree unless you are using it as a flavoring agent. I use a slice of Bacon rendered to cook onions and garlic for green beans.





If you enjoy pasta try making a touch with butter and flour, add 1 cup of milk 2.5 oz cream cheeae (approximately 1/3 of an 8 oz package) salt pepper and dried parsley served over pasta and chicken finished with red pepper flakes.

Ironsolid fucked around with this message at Oct 11, 2011 around 19:50

Captain Payne
Sep 27, 2011

by Y Kant Ozma Post


A lot of people in this thread have advocated slow cookers/crock pots, but I think you should also consider getting a rice cooker. I'm in a similar situation budget and time-wise as yourself, and I can put a couple cups of rice, some black beans, green beans, chopped onions etc in there and it's done cooking in 20 minutes with no work from me.

heyfresh888
Feb 8, 2010


Tofu (1.99$ for 1 lbs organic extra firm) is extremely cheap and can taste awesome if you marinate it. Probably one of the best taste:nutrition:cost items you can purchase.

Farmers markets can be extremely great for dairy/eggs. In fact, I got someone to trade stuff for things out of my garden for a few months.

Go to an asian or mexican market to purchase spices. Usually you can get 5x the amount for half the price. Indoor, herb pots are extremely cheap to get as well, usually 1~3$ and require very little care.

Mach420
Jun 22, 2002
Bandit at 6 'o clock - Pull my finger

Mathhole posted:

How much is a lot? I do probably 2 meals a week. Should I be heading over to discount tombstones now?

Why is the tastiest and cheapest food always bad for your soul? Kill me now.

I'm one of the optimists, though, so I didn't take in much of what you said and will continue with my same eating habits.

Lots of salt and a laundry list of chemicals and preservatives, nutritionally devoid of anything other than processed carbs. If anything, buy some fresh ramen or other noodles at your local Asian store and then make a miso-based broth for it.

Real ramen is actually good food, like pasta can be. Packeted ramen is a salt bomb with airy, unsatisfying noodles.

mombot
Sep 28, 2010

mmmmmwah - Trophy kisses!


Coupons again! Google coupon blog *your state or city* and people near you have done most of the work for you, will keep you updated on advanced postings of what coupons and sales will be available when and where to shop for the best bang for the buck, even free or money makers. Pasta, cereal, deodorant, and toothpaste should never cost you anything if you do it right.

Also, bread outlets, like Wonder Bread. You can get a ton of bread for cheap and freeze it.

WayneCampbell
Oct 7, 2005
You got me a gunrack?!? I don't even own a gun, let alone alone enough to nessecitate an entire rack.

LogisticEarth posted:

A lot of those prices are pretty low, $2 for spices? Where?

Mexican and indian groceries. Never buy spices from a grocery chain or a grocery owned by a white person.

Altair X89
Jul 27, 2002


Even if you go to the grocery store owned by a white person, a lot of the time in their "hispanic" section they have a bunch of spices in little baggies that are no different than the ones the next aisle over, they are just packaged and marketed differently. And cheaper. I've seen cumin (whole and ground), oregano (Mexican, is there a difference?), cinnamon (sticks and ground), chili powder etc. It's not as extensive as the other aisle but they have a lot of basic stuff for way cheap.

Also nthing the bulk aisle.

Science WHORE
Feb 2, 2010

This has been a complete intelligence failure of massive proportions


I live in a really small hick town in West Michigan, so ethnic markets are out of the question, I'll just use Altair's advice. All the other advice has helped, I started making more food that can be later used again and we've kept full all day eating it at work instead of buying snacks. We'll see how my spending improves. Thank you all so much.

oRenj9
Aug 3, 2004

Who loves oRenj soda?!?


My Little Puni posted:

I live in a really small hick town in West Michigan, so ethnic markets are out of the question,

I wouldn't be so quick to rule it out. There are ethnic markets all over the country, you may have to make a trip to a part of town that you're not so comfortable with, but I assure you that there is one close by.

If it turns out that you can't find an ethnic store, then you can try Penzeys. I haven't purchased from them myself, but my old coworkers would frequently buy stuff in bulk from there and share it among themselves. Their prices seem pretty reasonable from what I've seen.



Altair X89 posted:

oregano (Mexican, is there a difference?),

Absolutely, they aren't even in the same family.

Saeku
Sep 22, 2010


T.H.E. Rock posted:

Also get some rolled oats for breakfast. It'll come out to maybe 25 cents with toppings and takes all of 4 minutes to make.

Rolled oats with mashed banana, cinnamon, and a bit of sugar, baked for fifteen minutes or so, make healthy and filling cookies. It's good food to take to work. Quick breads are also filling, cheap, and portable, if a little less healthy. Almonds give you tons of energy and you can buy raw ones and roast them yourself in a skillet to get all the fancy candied flavours of store-bought ones.

Handy dry bean tip: you can soak them in your fridge for a week, maybe longer -- just cover and change the water every day or two. They will release gas, which makes them easier to digest.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004



Fun Shoe

Okay, since it's payday and thus 'going to the store' day, I'll break down what I'm doing this week. Total at the store today was $28, and what I picked up was this :



All in all, that is :

2.5 lbs of 'Reduced for Quick Sale' hamburger
2 lbs carrots
1 lb celery
1 green bell pepper
3 lbs yellow onions
1 spaghetti squash
1 acorn squash
10 lbs russet potatoes
1 whole chicken
1 lb elbow macaroni
2 large cans diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
Leaf sage and hot chili powder, because I was out of both
1 loaf cheap white bread, because I get a craving for PB&J sometimes

What this is, however, is a week's food for me, with some left over to freeze if I don't get to it quick enough. If you paid for the beans, rice, garlic, cheese, and egg noodles I'm going to be using that I already have in hand, I suppose the total rounds up to a nice even $35.

Meals :

Chili. Half the ground beef, half the diced tomatoes, onion, green pepper, spices, and a shitload of beans. Chili is slow-cooker awesome, and stretches for days as you get bored and start making chili tacos, chili mac, chili dogs, and finally in desperation chili omelettes to try and get rid of it.

Goulash. I'm hungry for it just now. Other half of the ground beef, bit of onion, green pepper, half the diced tomatoes, and Italian spices. Eat it out of the saucepan, or if you're feeling swanky, pour it into a baking dish, top with cheese, and bake to brown.

Roasted Chicken. We've got all of the necessary veggies to make a roast chicken marvelous, and oven roasting some of those potatoes and a squash will make one heck of a meal.

Chicken Soup. Chicken carcass and leftover veggie bits lying around? This gets to be a stock. Add back in some of the leftover chicken, some rice, and a little chopped carrot and celery, and it's a decent meal.

Chicken and noodles. Old favorite. Leftover roasted chicken plus a quick gravy made from some of the stock and some egg noodles, all over mashed potatoes. It's getting cold here, can you tell from my food choices?


So, there's five solid dinners from what's in hand. The chili, goulash, soup, and chicken & noodles will stretch to more than a couple meals each -very- easily, making lunches a snap, or giving you something to freeze so you can re-heat it later when you're tired of whatever you're eating that week. I'll probably make a daily loaf or two of no-knead bread to gnaw along, and add some canned beets, spinach, and the like for a bit of variety.

Breakfast isn't something I pay for, what with being the overnight baker who does all our breakfast concession, but on the days I cook it at home, it's either oats or eggs, depending on what I was drinking last night.

Hope this gives you a better idea of what exactly we were all talking about earlier in the thread!

muscat_gummy
Nov 30, 2008


I'm sure prices vary compared vary by region (I'm in Texas.), but from my experience, there are certain types of meat which will go on sale for around $0.99/lb. These include:
Chicken breasts (bone-in but if you're lucky, from a protein/money perspective, boneless)
Ground beef
Pork chops (usually bone-in)

Some things are even cheaper. Chicken leg quarters are cheap as poo poo. I get them on sale for $0.39/lb. They're perfectly fine when roasted, and bones can go toward stock. Worst case you roast your leg quarters, take off all of the meat, make something like a pot pie with it, and use the bones for stock.
Drumsticks and whole chickens are also cheaper than $1/lb, usually.

If you can find stew meat for $2/lb or less, buy it.

Buy fruit when it's on sale and in season. When bananas are cheap, they're pretty much the cheapest thing.

I second jambalaya, chili, and making your own bread (if you eat bread). Quinoa is great, too; the cheapest I've found it is actually at the Whole Foods bulk section. Whole Foods also has cheap store-brand soymilk if you're into such things.

Giant Goats
Mar 7, 2010


muscat_gummy posted:

I'm sure prices vary compared vary by region (I'm in Texas.), but from my experience, there are certain types of meat which will go on sale for around $0.99/lb. These include:
Chicken breasts (bone-in but if you're lucky, from a protein/money perspective, boneless)
Ground beef
Pork chops (usually bone-in)

Prices really do vary. The current prices for these at my local grocery store: bone-in chicken breasts ($6.49/lb. for the family pack), ground beef ($4.99/lb. for the family pack), pork chops ($5.99/lb.)

For that matter, a 5-pound bag of rice is $4.00 minimum, and a 1-pound bag of lentils is $3.00.

It really gets me when people act like those of us with $50 a week or more grocery bills are just retarded. Some of us live in places where food is expensive.

MojoAZ
Jan 1, 2010


Dollar stores frequently sell inexpensive spices as well, if you really can't track down an ethnic food store.

ValhallaSmith
Aug 16, 2005


My Little Puni posted:

I live in a really small hick town in West Michigan, so ethnic markets are out of the question, I'll just use Altair's advice. All the other advice has helped, I started making more food that can be later used again and we've kept full all day eating it at work instead of buying snacks. We'll see how my spending improves. Thank you all so much.

I'm calling bullshit on this. I'm in Saugatuck, mi and I can drive 20 minutes to get all the ethnic food I could possibly want. Just make a trip once or twice a month to get staples. Hell even meijers has cheap mexican spices. Tons of farmers markets as well (though those wind down after oct).

Angstmetzger
Jul 17, 2010


Captain Payne posted:

A lot of people in this thread have advocated slow cookers/crock pots, but I think you should also consider getting a rice cooker. I'm in a similar situation budget and time-wise as yourself, and I can put a couple cups of rice, some black beans, green beans, chopped onions etc in there and it's done cooking in 20 minutes with no work from me.

Seconding this opinion. My rice cooker has made my life a lot easier and cheaper on the food budget. Best advice I can give on this is look for one that can take 3 cups of uncooked rice as its capacity and look for one with a steaming tray. Cooking the rice and getting the veggies steamed saves a lot of time making dinner.

Also going to highly recommend ethnic/oriental/hispanic markets. Another thing that might help if you are comfortable with cutting your own meats look into finding a store that sells uncut primals and cut/freeze it yourself.

Doom Rooster
Sep 3, 2008


Pillbug

Angstmetzger posted:

Seconding this opinion. My rice cooker has made my life a lot easier and cheaper on the food budget. Best advice I can give on this is look for one that can take 3 cups of uncooked rice as its capacity and look for one with a steaming tray. Cooking the rice and getting the veggies steamed saves a lot of time making dinner.


Thirding this. Rice cooker is one of the best things that you can buy to help save money.

I just got this one from Amazon for 1/8th the price of one of the fuzzy logic ones, but the rice it makes is freaking perfect.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004O828KE

It has a bunch of nifty features that are not ridiculous and unnecessary, as well as a steamer basket, and the best nonstick bowl I have ever seen. Highly recommended.

bloody ghost titty
Oct 23, 2008

tHROW SOME D"s ON THAT BIZNATCH


PS your rice cooker and slow-cooker can be used more or less interchangeably with alternations for cooking times. It's easier to use the slow-cooker to cook rice than it is to make stew in the rice cooker, but they're very similar devices.

Seconding the steam basket, or you can jury-rig one of those foldable pot-sized ones (it will get crazy hot).

Mach420
Jun 22, 2002
Bandit at 6 'o clock - Pull my finger

To clarify, the one thing that you can't do with a rice cooker is making recipes that require low heat, simmering, or braising. The rice cooker will always go to a full boil, then switch to a warm mode when it detects that all the liquid is gone. It's good for stews though, since you boil those. Just set a timer and turn it off yourself. Otherwise, the crock pot will boil it until all the liquid is completely gone, then keep that lovely mess warm for you.

A crock pot will work for rice, but won't sense the exact point when the water has boiled off to turn off the heat. You'll have to watch the pot yourself for rice. Great for simmering, braising and stews, however. Good models have a timer which will switch it to a warming mode after a preset amount of time.

You can find combination models that do both flawlessly, but they will cost more than the basic models of dedicated rice cookers and slow cookers.

heyfresh888
Feb 8, 2010


crock pot stocks are some of the best there are especially when carrots/celery/onions aren't in season. Spices + bones/trim + 8~10 hours will always deliver.

Also, learn to make congee with your left over meats. Rarely do people think about it, but in winter time what a great porridge. Extremely cheap and tasty. Most rice cookers have a congee setting or you can do it in a pot or even a crock pot.

AnElegantPeacock
Jan 31, 2010

Hey gurl, hey.


Mujadarrah: Lentils, rice, onions, greek yogurt, spice to taste. Thousands of variations and you can add whatever protein on the side. Costs next to nothing and is goddamn delicious.

thefoozl
Nov 9, 2010


I thought that I had so many good ideas to post in response to this thread, but all the best ideas have already been taken. Seriously, this thread is already the best resource on eating cheaply I have ever seen (other than a good cookbook full of recipes etc).

One piece of advice that I didn't notice: cooking is a skill, it will take you time and effort to learn to cook well. It won't take that long, and is isn't that hard, but nevertheless time and effort. I think it is well worth it, and I am very glad that I learned to cook. Oh, and you don't have to learn everything at once, mistakes are okay, often delicious, or at least salvageable.


As for a recipe: boil up. It's not classy, but it's cheap. Take a couple kilos of meaty pork bones (I prefer the bits with pieces of rib on them). These are the cheapest meat I can find at the supermarket (equiv. 3USD/kg). Boil for a couple of hours (I like to change the water after I first bring it to the boil, but perhaps that's just me) or slow cook them. Add some potatoes (preferably waxy), some kumara (any type of sweet potato should do just fine) and a bunch of water cress (probably will need to go to some sort of ethnic store or farmers market for this). Cook until the potatoes/kumara are done. Definitely not as nice as a lot of the other recipes and suggestions in this thread, but it is a cheap way to do meat. Don't forget salt.

Lentil curry is also nice, and uses the same ingredients as mentioned by the first response to this thread.

Save up chicken bones in the freezer and make stock.

Kilersquirrel
Oct 16, 2004
My little sister is awesome and bought me this account.

WayneCampbell posted:

Mexican and indian groceries. Never buy spices from a grocery chain or a grocery owned by a white person.

This really can't be quoted enough for truth. Buying spices with the entire packaging printed in english is begging to get ripped off, go find where everybody that isn't white and/or speaks english as a second language shops for groceries, then behold the wonder of reasonably-priced spices and fresh produce. Badia corporation and Indo-Pakistani stores are your friends, although with you living in Michigan maybe it's more Iraqi/Arabic stores. Either way, don't waste your time with McCormick or Spice Islands or that bullshit and you'll save a shitload of money.

Also seconding the "buy in bulk" thing, my Costco membership has paid for itself many times over by now: regularly getting whole chickens for 88 cents/pound, 12-packs of thighs for less than $20, and whole pork loins for the same is like Christmas for my freezer. And the whole "buy paper towels for the year for $14" thing rocks too, you can essentially guarantee never running out of toilet paper for a year either for $11-$13. Also, you can't beat their $1.50 Polish-and-a-drink when you need a quick-and-cheap meal. You may not have a Costco local enough to be worth it, but there should be a Sam's or BJ's or similar that should work out the same. They'll also have 10-15 pound sacks of onions or potatoes for less than $5 if they're anything like my local Costco, which is a huge moneysaver as well.

I've been a "poor" off-and-on(currently back to "on" ) and you can eat drat well once you get the hang of ferreting out good deals and how to keep your kitchen stocked up in a way that fits your general cooking style. For example, I don't use beans all that regularly so I tend to just get a can or two when I need them for a recipe, but I eat a crapload of rice so I buy it 20 pounds at a time. Yes, I'm technically overpaying on the beans compared to soaking dry ones and cooking them, but when it's 68cents a can and you only need 1, it's not the end of the world. I also can't really get full without some animal protein in my meal(which generally confers a higher cost-per-meal compared to vegetarian diets) so I'll try to make a mental note of what day a grocery store tends to rotate its meats out by, even the pricey stores mark things down hugely when it's the day before the "sell-by" date. Unless you're at the seafood counter, those dates are generally pretty conservative. Hell, I've gotten lamb shanks for about a buck apiece at a Publix within 5 miles of a university in Orlando. Made enough ghormeh sabzi to eat every day for a week for like $6(I didn't eat it every day, but there was enough to do so easily).

Pasta has been mentioned as well, it's dead easy to make extremely satisfying pasta sauces with minimal effort. Find a nice pre-made+jarred pasta sauce for cheap(please nobody accuse me of going Sandra Lee here, when you're working your rear end off constantly to scrape by time becomes an important factor in dietary choices), then sautee up some onions and garlic in butter, toss some bay and grind some pepper, chop+sautee whatever fresh veggies are cheap at the moment and add to the jarred sauce and let it cook together with the herbs/spices of your choice and bam you've got pasta that's miles ahead of any premade stuff. You can dice up a bunch of cheap-rear end tough stew cuts and throw it into the sauce to simmer while you cook the veggies for the sauce, and turn it into meat sauce with barely any added effort/cost. Make a quart or two and you've got enough sauce for several meals worth of delicious rather than mediocre pasta.


Baking your own bread with the no-knead thing is a major, major cost saver if you eat a lot of sandwiches. It's the laziest thing in the world and you get fantastic fantastic bread out of it that freezes and keeps like a champ. It is totally absolutely extremely worth it to bake it yourself. Throw down on the King Arthur brand flour, it's worth the extra buck or two. Plus, if your loaf goes stale, you just got a large amount of breadcrumbs to fry things with or make meatloaf and such. Waste not want not is basically the golden rule for us "poors"(god what a lame troll) when it comes to eating .

Oh, and don't waste the tops of your celery, it makes baby jesus cry. Toss that poo poo into your soups/stews/etc, it's crammed with flavor and disintegrates in no time.

Kilersquirrel fucked around with this message at Oct 14, 2011 around 06:31

Erethizon_dorsatum
Nov 14, 2009


I'm new to cooking and a dumb babby . I am interested in learning how to make soup. How do I make stock from bones? Any good, easy recipes? Winter's coming and there's nothing like a bowl of hot soup on a cold day.

\/\/ Will do, thanks.

Erethizon_dorsatum fucked around with this message at Oct 14, 2011 around 16:24

bartolimu
Nov 25, 2002



Erethizon_dorsatum posted:

I'm new to cooking and a dumb babby . I am interested in learning how to make soup. How do I make stock from bones? Any good, easy recipes? Winter's coming and there's nothing like a bowl of hot soup on a cold day.

Try out the General Questions thread, Mr. or Ms. Porcupine.

slinkimalinki
Jan 17, 2010

Through moonlight and shadow she'd prowl and she'd pry.


I forgot something important: clear plastic containers in a variety of sizes. Sure you can store your leftovers in an old plastic ice cream container, but then you'll forget to use something up and it will sit around and get terrifying. Also you will always be disappointed that it isn't actually ice-cream. Clear plastic keeps your fridge neat and ensures you actually use your leftovers. Small containers are great for freezing stock, because you can freeze it in 2-cup doses, which is exactly enough for a risotto.

Ravingsockmonkey
Jan 24, 2007

Kharma police, arrest this girl
She stares at me as if she owns the world
And we have crashed her party

slinkimalinki posted:

I forgot something important: clear plastic containers in a variety of sizes. Sure you can store your leftovers in an old plastic ice cream container, but then you'll forget to use something up and it will sit around and get terrifying. Also you will always be disappointed that it isn't actually ice-cream. Clear plastic keeps your fridge neat and ensures you actually use your leftovers. Small containers are great for freezing stock, because you can freeze it in 2-cup doses, which is exactly enough for a risotto.

Wide mouth jars are also awesome for soups, stews, chowders, etc. I prefer them because they don't stain, no odors, and no worries about the dish washer melting them ().

Another thing to look at when you're planning your meals for the week is special ingredients. If you're going to have to buy something that you don't normally buy (celery for me), then you may want to make sure you have other things that you can use it in that week or find a way to preserve it for later use.

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Jyrraeth
Aug 1, 2008

I love this dino
SOOOO MUCH


Mason jars are my best friend. I've never been a fan of plastic containers (and if you want to get plasticizers) for practical reasons.

Other than buying things on sale, and learning how to use ingredients in a variety of ways, I don't have a lot of advice. Learning how to break down a chicken is great, and buying roasts and cutting them down to steaks is great.

The thing about breaking down your own cuts of meat is that if you have the freezer space, you can do it all ahead of time. I'm not a master chef, but I'm also not a complete newbie, the first time I broke down two chickens it took me 10 minutes. Not the best job, but serviceable. 4 breasts, 4 wings, 4 leg quarters, and 2 carcasses. Or you can roast the chicken first, and pull the meat off of it later, either or. Depends on how much you can spend on ways of freezing the parts.

This is a good tutorial on how to break down a chicken.

Slow cookers are awesome, and last forever. I was nearly jumping up and down when my mom gave me one of her slow cookers and a dutch oven. She was confused.

Doing things from scratch is the way to save money, people spend so much on convenience today.

quote:

Another thing to look at when you're planning your meals for the week is special ingredients. If you're going to have to buy something that you don't normally buy (celery for me), then you may want to make sure you have other things that you can use it in that week or find a way to preserve it for later use.

Also this, this time a million. While I may love roast asparagus, I can only eat so much of it in that form.

Jyrraeth fucked around with this message at Oct 17, 2011 around 02:55

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