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mombot
Sep 28, 2010

mmmmmwah - Trophy kisses!


I know many have mentioned vinegar for cleaning, and wanted to add that you can save a ton by making your own laundry detergent. My kids have really sensitive skin and we switched to homemade soaps and cleaners and it's great for the environment, your skin, and works great.

This is from a blog and is a variation of what I've used (I use Fells Naptha, which is a laundry bar soap). You can add essential oils for fragrance.

quote:


* I use these utensils for detergent making only. They all stay in the pot until I make a new batch.

You will need:

1 bar of soap (any kind you want)
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda
a big pot ( that holds more than 2 gallons)
a grater
a funnel
a long spoon
2 empty gallon jugs/containers



Grate your bar of soap into your pot.


Fill one gallon jug and pour water into pot with grated soap. Cook until the grated soap dissolves.


Add the Borax and washing soda.


Bring to a boil. It will coagulate.


Turn off the heat. Add 1 gallon of cold water. Stir well.


Pour 1 gallon of your detergent into each container. (one gallon recycled milk jugs are good for this) A funnel helps tremendously.


Now you have 2 gallons of homemade laundry detergent. I use 1/2 cup per load. With the prices of detergent being outrageous, I feel really happy every time I make a batch of this.

This won't make many, if any, suds. Suds don't equal clean. It took a while to get that into my head. This detergent cleans wonderfully! Fine for front loading HE machines.

****** edited 8/8/2011 to address those of you with the issue of the detergent becoming too thick. Try using 1/2 of a bar of soap instead.


***** edited 7/2011 to add that the detergent should thicken / coagulate when it cools. Usually within 24 hours! ****


* Edited 1/2011 to add comment from below about cost/savings!

estimated cost is $6.00 for 576 loads (depending on soap used and amount used per load, One BOX of Borax and Washing soda)
The savings is incredible.

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Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004



Fun Shoe

11b1p posted:

Shred up the meat from a store cooked rotisserie chicken and put Frank's Red Hot Sauce on it. Eat it out of a bowl or on a sandwich.

If I'm really pressed for time, or just don't feel like roasting a chicken, I'll do this to make chicken and noodles. Strip most of the meat, boil the carcass down to get a stock, cook the noodles in it, then add the meat back in and serve with mashed potatoes.

11b1p
Feb 5, 2008

This picture is worth 20 words or something.

Liquid Communism posted:

If I'm really pressed for time, or just don't feel like roasting a chicken, I'll do this to make chicken and noodles. Strip most of the meat, boil the carcass down to get a stock, cook the noodles in it, then add the meat back in and serve with mashed potatoes.

I am guilty of heating chicken stock and tossing in chicken and noodles. way better than campbells.

Moey
Oct 22, 2010

I LIKE TO MOVE IT


I believe in wasting my money on alcohol, so dirt cheap food is right up my alley. I know some of these things have been covered, but I am not looking for health input (I don't eat vegetables, yes I am a jerk, I feel the same about others).

Everyone has gone the fancy route, lets do some low brow cooking[eating].

Ramen. Mentioned already, burnt out, college food, heart-exploding sodium, cheap. It is not that bad. By itself I am content with it. Feel like getting fancy? Add an egg or two. I may be extra creepy, but I'll take a pack of ramen, crush it to small pieces before cooking (with minimal water) then eat it using whatever chip I have as a spoon.

Butter + Noodles. This is a go to meal. Add some garlic salt and parmesan, and you are living the high life. Switch it up with different kinds of pasta. My area is around .79 cents/pound. Dollar stores around here sell garlic salt for dirt cheap.

Chicken. Call me fancy, but I will still get boneless skinless chicken breasts. I'll hunt for the frozen ones on sale, but bones are more work. Enjoy life.

Eggs. Dirt cheap. Delish. Enough said. Cook them however you want, add in whatever you want. I could just have eggs with a shake of salt and be content. Sometimes I add a splash of hotsauce, extra fancy (this poo poo costs under a dollar a bottle).

I don't need to bring back up everything other people have said, coupons, sales, bulk, etc. I follow a mild blend of all of that. If you have the taste and attitude/time for fancier/fresh stuff then more power to you. If you are looking to eat for cheap, I can ramble all day.

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

Moey posted:

I believe in wasting my money on alcohol, so dirt cheap food is right up my alley. I know some of these things have been covered, but I am not looking for health input (I don't eat vegetables, yes I am a jerk, I feel the same about others).

Everyone has gone the fancy route, lets do some low brow cooking[eating].

Ramen. Mentioned already, burnt out, college food, heart-exploding sodium, cheap. It is not that bad. By itself I am content with it. Feel like getting fancy? Add an egg or two. I may be extra creepy, but I'll take a pack of ramen, crush it to small pieces before cooking (with minimal water) then eat it using whatever chip I have as a spoon.

Butter + Noodles. This is a go to meal. Add some garlic salt and parmesan, and you are living the high life. Switch it up with different kinds of pasta. My area is around .79 cents/pound. Dollar stores around here sell garlic salt for dirt cheap.

Chicken. Call me fancy, but I will still get boneless skinless chicken breasts. I'll hunt for the frozen ones on sale, but bones are more work. Enjoy life.

Eggs. Dirt cheap. Delish. Enough said. Cook them however you want, add in whatever you want. I could just have eggs with a shake of salt and be content. Sometimes I add a splash of hotsauce, extra fancy (this poo poo costs under a dollar a bottle).

I don't need to bring back up everything other people have said, coupons, sales, bulk, etc. I follow a mild blend of all of that. If you have the taste and attitude/time for fancier/fresh stuff then more power to you. If you are looking to eat for cheap, I can ramble all day.

I know single-emote response = banhammer,but rarely do you get a situation this perfect for a reply. I'm just going to assume you're eating vitamin pills regularly.

Tangent to this, if your appetite for beer/wine is as big as it is for real food, doing the homebrew thing will save you bucketloads of money and produce far superior (and generally stronger) beer than you get from the big 3. Grab one of those plastic brewing buckets to make starting up cheaper. Fringe benefits of this include all your friends wanting your beer and being easily influenced to feed you in exchange for cold ones.

I realize that might be going a little into the extreme, but if you've normally got a bar bill that's a significant chunk of your weekly income it might be worth a look at. It really is dirt simple and quite cheap, $30-40ish and a month of waiting for roughly 5 gallons of quality beer. However if you're not much of a drinker then I guess you can ignore all this.

Admiral Snuggles
Dec 12, 2008

Freedom


I got about 5 minutes until Dungeon Defenders finishes downloading. So I'll make this quick. This is a recipe for poached chicken parts in white wine.

1. Buy the cheapest chicken parts you can get. Thighs where I live go for less than 1.5 bucks a pound.

2. Buy one of those Italian Seasoning grinders, they will last you forever.

3. Get some carrots and celery. You can snack on what you don't use.

4. Get a bottle of decent but cheap dry white wine. Barefoot is pretty awesome for the price.

5. Cut up the carrots and celery like you would making carrot sticks, and sautee them in olive oil, butter, or margerine. (butter is best but expensive I know)

6. Put equal parts wine and water in a casserole dish enough to cover the chicken and veggies. Then sprinkle salt, pepper, and your awesome italian seasoning all over it.

7. Cook on 350 for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. You'll know it's done when you poke it with a fork and there's no blood coming out.

You can get a lot of distance out of this recipe and get tons of protein and vegie-ness. Poached chicken looks gross but tastes amazing. If you are using white meat like breasts, reduce the cooking time by about 5 minutes.

Jonny 290
May 5, 2005

[A]sk me about OS/2 WARP


Yeah, that's a very staple-ish dish, easy to make, warms the house in the winter. Might I suggest that the chicken can be Maillard-ed up a bit and made a bit prettier with a couple minutes in a skillet to brown before assembling it all up? You don't have to sit there and babysit and evenly brown, just 2-3 minutes each side on a hot skillet.

Moey
Oct 22, 2010

I LIKE TO MOVE IT


Kilersquirrel posted:

I know single-emote response = banhammer,but rarely do you get a situation this perfect for a reply. I'm just going to assume you're eating vitamin pills regularly.

Tangent to this, if your appetite for beer/wine is as big as it is for real food, doing the homebrew thing will save you bucketloads of money and produce far superior (and generally stronger) beer than you get from the big 3. Grab one of those plastic brewing buckets to make starting up cheaper. Fringe benefits of this include all your friends wanting your beer and being easily influenced to feed you in exchange for cold ones.

I realize that might be going a little into the extreme, but if you've normally got a bar bill that's a significant chunk of your weekly income it might be worth a look at. It really is dirt simple and quite cheap, $30-40ish and a month of waiting for roughly 5 gallons of quality beer. However if you're not much of a drinker then I guess you can ignore all this.

Wasn't shooting for a ban on that post, was just rambling on my cheap eating habits. As for homebrew, I think it is awesome, but I mostly consume whiskey (nothing fancy either , building a still may be somewhere down the road for myself). Also good call on the vitamins, that's probably something worth an investment for myself.

Noricae
Nov 19, 2004

cheese?

picklejars posted:

I know many have mentioned vinegar for cleaning, and wanted to add that you can save a ton by making your own laundry detergent.
What's washing soda? Baking soda, industrial grade? That looks pretty neat, especially for people that have allergies.

mombot
Sep 28, 2010

mmmmmwah - Trophy kisses!


Noricae posted:

What's washing soda? Baking soda, industrial grade? That looks pretty neat, especially for people that have allergies.

No, it's different. You should be able to find it in the laundry aisle or online.

Oh and it really is awesome for allergy and asthma sufferers.

Noricae
Nov 19, 2004

cheese?

picklejars posted:

No, it's different. You should be able to find it in the laundry aisle or online.

Oh and it really is awesome for allergy and asthma sufferers.

Ok! I've never seen it, but also have never looked for it. Yep, we use no perfume detergents but even they smell like something and this looks even milder, to be honest. Neat, and thanks!

Shooting Blanks
Jun 6, 2007

Real bullets mess up how cool this thing looks.

-Blade


Moey posted:

Wasn't shooting for a ban on that post, was just rambling on my cheap eating habits. As for homebrew, I think it is awesome, but I mostly consume whiskey (nothing fancy either , building a still may be somewhere down the road for myself). Also good call on the vitamins, that's probably something worth an investment for myself.

Fair warning: Owning and/or operating a still is a federal crime, the BATFE does NOT look kindly on it. Not to mention the possibility of blowing yourself up.

Content:

If you have an actual butcher that you shop at even semifrequently, there's a good chance you can get free bones (for stock), free fat (for sausage), and possibly other scraps for stews and whatnot if you just ask. That stuff is all waste for him - you'll probably have to show up at a certain time on a certain day, but it can be worth it if you're going to make 30 pounds of korv.

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

Moey posted:

Wasn't shooting for a ban on that post, was just rambling on my cheap eating habits. As for homebrew, I think it is awesome, but I mostly consume whiskey (nothing fancy either , building a still may be somewhere down the road for myself). Also good call on the vitamins, that's probably something worth an investment for myself.

No, no, I just was half-expecting somebody to go nuts on your scheme of eating what is essentially convenience food so much of the time and have a bit of a sperg attack over it.

The vitamins thing you should really think about doing though, you're probably low on a few important things by now. Take extra vitamin B complex, B is used up quickly to break down alcohol and you'll help prevent hangover and feel generally better after a good session of liquid therapy. It's always helped me, that's for sure.

Also don't worry too much about the still, so long as you aren't brazen about it and don't try to sell(this times 100) then nobody's going to bother with the time and paperwork it would take to mess with you. Also blowing up a still is pretty difficult if you stick to the basics like a pot or a single thumper, and aren't an idiot.

Science WHORE
Feb 2, 2010

This has been a complete intelligence failure of massive proportions


This all has been good help. I hope everyone else is getting as much out of as I am.

I recently got a pretty nice paycheck (72 hr weeks will do that) and went to stock up on bulk foods and jars. I now have a shelf full of jars of rice, beans, pasta, flour, sugar and spices for the coming weeks and I'm pretty excited.

My plan is to work on this no-knead bread thing. I would love to just freeze a shitload of dough (can you freeze dough?) and then just take it out when I need more bread.

I cooked a whole chicken for the first time the other day and let's just say it didn't last long with how my bf eats. But if I can find a large amount on meat for cheap, I can have sandwiches for a week. I just need to splurge a bit on cheese, but other than that lettuce and onions are total of 1.50. That plus little vinegar and oil, you can have some bomb loving sandwiches.

My rice creations could still use some work, they end up quite bland... so a LOT of salt is used, and I would rather avoid that.

Really my only big expense has been cheese and I'm not willing to give that up. I loving love cheese and almost no meal is complete without some form of cheese.

SoundMonkey
Apr 22, 2006

I just push buttons.


My Little Puni posted:

My plan is to work on this no-knead bread thing. I would love to just freeze a shitload of dough (can you freeze dough?) and then just take it out when I need more bread.

I've pre-formed pizza bases and frozen them before, it worked great.

As a 'furthermore' to the coupon/bulk thing... I just went shopping today, and thought I'd apply what's been said in this thread, to see how much I'd save. I only bought two things that weren't on sale (milk and eggs). The rest was either loyalty-card-discount or coupons. I got enough stuff to feed myself for two weeks or more, for $49. The total discounts earned through coupons and special offers and such was $24.41. With five minutes of looking at a flyer and cutting out one coupon, a $75 grocery bill became a $50 one. You can save unimaginable amounts of money this way.

As an example, I bought two boxes of frozen chicken breasts (for when I'm lazy) - $15 per box, but with a 2-for-1 coupon, that's a drat good deal. And with the loyalty card points I earned from buying those, I got myself two nice cloth bags for free to carry my stuff home in.

ascii genitals
Aug 19, 2000



You should try roasting a turkey, eating sandwiches for a few days and then turning the bones and leftovers into stock for a soup.

Drimble Wedge
Mar 10, 2008

Self-contained


If you like it and can cook it properly, liver is dead cheap (here you can buy enough for two people and get change back from a toonie). I wouldn't eat it that often but once or twice a month is a nice treat.

mombot
Sep 28, 2010

mmmmmwah - Trophy kisses!


My Little Puni posted:

This all has been good help. I hope everyone else is getting as much out of as I am.

I recently got a pretty nice paycheck (72 hr weeks will do that) and went to stock up on bulk foods and jars. I now have a shelf full of jars of rice, beans, pasta, flour, sugar and spices for the coming weeks and I'm pretty excited.

My plan is to work on this no-knead bread thing. I would love to just freeze a shitload of dough (can you freeze dough?) and then just take it out when I need more bread.

I cooked a whole chicken for the first time the other day and let's just say it didn't last long with how my bf eats. But if I can find a large amount on meat for cheap, I can have sandwiches for a week. I just need to splurge a bit on cheese, but other than that lettuce and onions are total of 1.50. That plus little vinegar and oil, you can have some bomb loving sandwiches.

My rice creations could still use some work, they end up quite bland... so a LOT of salt is used, and I would rather avoid that.

Really my only big expense has been cheese and I'm not willing to give that up. I loving love cheese and almost no meal is complete without some form of cheese.


Try using stock to make rice instead of water.

oRenj9
Aug 3, 2004

Who loves oRenj soda?!?


College Slice

Lyssavirus posted:

I put the flour through a fine sieve and used it anyway.

Extra protein.

When I was very little, about three or so, my family was pretty poor (like $200/mo poor). My mom would make those Jiffy muffins pretty often. Several years later, I was grocery shopping and saw boxes of them on sale for like $0.29, so I bought one.

When I went to make it, I saw that there were weevils in them, so I tossed them out. When I mentioned this story to my mom, her response was, "Yeah, when you were little, I wouldn't even bother picking them out. Eh, extra protein."

Your post reminded me of that.

Noricae
Nov 19, 2004

cheese?

My Little Puni posted:

I now have a shelf full of jars of rice, beans, pasta, flour, sugar and spices for the coming weeks and I'm pretty excited
*cheer* I get motivated to cook things if I have a nicely arranged row of glass jars full of dries stuff to look at. Of course, that ends up being stews and chili and soups a lot, but it's a good fallback.

Yep! Dough freezes well. If you freeze dough I recommend that you put it on little wax paper squares, and let it rise already because the texture will suffer if you freeze it unrisen and it will take forever to proof again or bake/rise. It's much easier to bake it though and then freeze it - or bake it and leave it a bit not browned, and rebake it or toast it again when defrosted. Pork/meat buns I would freeze unbaked and bread I would freeze baked. Wrap both in wax paper and then a plastic bag (uh, I have unused vegetable plastic bags that I accumulate when I go to groceries that I use for this purpose; I don't go to pick up bags but one or two generally ends up being torn off and I change my mind.)

Cheap meat: go and find a large piece of pork shoulder (butt) and slow cook it (either in a slow cooker or a large pot, so braise it). Shred it and it'll make tacos, chili, sandwiches etc for a while. Butt tends to go for $1.5-2 sometimes on sale where I am, especially at Mexican markets, so it's also a good fallback "what do I cook this week" for me. Pork belly can also be cheap (depending) and you can cure your own bacon (there's a thread here floating around) for a fraction of the price of bacon. For chicken? Buy whole chicken (I've seen this be 60-70 cents/lb for factory chicken, but I've also seen smaller local farmers sell them for $1.20-1.40ish a lb in the spring) and either learn to take it apart on your own or roast it and use the bones for soup.

You can try making your own cheese too, or at least substitute any ricotta and mozzarella for homemade versions (buy rennet tabs, also cheap in spanish groceries, or online, and some acid). Otherwise, actually I find Trader Joes (if you have one near you) to be the best quality for price cheesewise - they sometimes get very fancy cheeses on closeout (like Valdeon blue - sycamore wrapped and super strong).

Rice - have a rice cooker? I use mine a lot, and it's one of the best single taskers I have in my kitchen (the only other one being the coffee grinder, to be honest). You definitely don't need a rice cooker, but it saves time and gets rice perfect. You can put all sorts of stuff into rice before cooking it: various roasted nuts (pine nuts), saffron, sundried tomato, small amounts of tomato paste, various reconstituted seaweed (I recommend hijiki seaweed - tiny strands of black seaweed especially used in rice), mushrooms, and if you have a rice cooker various browned (and mostly cooked) meats and vegetables on top of your rice.

Rice substitutes that you can find for cheap at your bulk foods (Whole Foods is mine generally, and oddly - since it's one of their few decently priced sections): buckwheat, quinoa, wheat berries, and probably any other grains they have. Buy some red lentils and throw them in with your rice - they cook super fast and are nutty tasting.

Spices: sign up for a Penzey's catalogue, and maybe see if there's a store near you. Even if you don't buy spices there (I don't, mostly - they're great when compared to McCormick's, but there are cheaper bulk sources by mailorder) the catalogue very often comes with 1-2 totally free spice coupons per quarter in them and they're almost always glass jars (collection of spice jars, ahoy). Occasionally the spice coupon is a "pick 1 free anything," which is nice. Of course I always end up buying a couple of things when I visit to pick up my free jar, which is their point, but still...

Noricae fucked around with this message at Oct 23, 2011 around 07:15

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

My Little Puni posted:

My rice creations could still use some work, they end up quite bland... so a LOT of salt is used, and I would rather avoid that.

A few dabs of olive oil, stock (or bullion powder + water), pinch of salt, and from there you can add almost anything. Diced onion adds a lot of flavor. Whatever I have for leftovers often gets thrown into the rice.

Science WHORE
Feb 2, 2010

This has been a complete intelligence failure of massive proportions


I've been looking for a good cheap rice cooker or crock pot becaue that seems to be a good idea. I love pot roast so hopefully I'll find a good one.

I also forgot to mention although these are all great ideas, I can only use some of the because of my limitations.
By that I mean I live in an apartment with no appliances. We have an induction cook top, a mini oven (which just BARELY fit the whole chicken I roasted, and a mini fridge. So I'm trying my best to use this with what I have, but I really can't make too much food because of storage space (We convinced our landlord to buy us a drat fridge though, but who knows how long that will take). Frozens are the best because we do have a large freezer. That thing is kept pretty full, it's kind of a pain to have to thaw things all the time though.

Another thing, Potatoes are awesome. I bought a 10 lb bag and it's lasted me for 2 weeks so far. I've made hash browns, au gratin, scalloped potatoes, put them in soups, mashed potatoes.

Potatoes are awesome. If you are poor you need them.

Potatoes are loving awesome.

Windyblade
Oct 17, 2005

I look like Manila Whore Barbie.

My Little Puni posted:

I've been looking for a good cheap rice cooker or crock pot becaue that seems to be a good idea. I love pot roast so hopefully I'll find a good one.

I don't know if you can hold out another month or not, but I picked up a decent Hamilton Beach slow cooker for $9 as a Black Friday special last year and I've been very happy with it. They seem to be a popular choice for doorbusters at most of the big box stores.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

I have a cheap Oster rice cooker that works great. The warm setting will make crispy rice at the bottom if you don't unplug it but I don't consider that a negative since I like crispy rice. I prefer a dutch oven for pot roast & stews.

Crusty Nutsack
Apr 21, 2005



I came across this blog today, it's pretty good. Real food, costed out with each ingredient and then per serving. Plus the about sections have some very good info as well. If nothing else it will show you that you can eat much better than loving ramen on a tight budget. http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/

CannonFodder
Jan 26, 2001



Outrageous Lumpwad

11b1p posted:

I did it while doing low carb, you have to like hot sauce to begin with though to appreciate this.
I love Frank's Red Hot. Marinate some fresh chicken wings in Franks overnight (or thaw out some cheap-rear end frozen ones, then marinate), place a drying rack over a cookie sheet and bake the wings on that. Tasty and crispy, and wings are pretty cheap.

Did you know that if you save the bones from hot wings to make stock, the stock has a very slight kick to it? It was a pleasant surprise.

Admiral Snuggles
Dec 12, 2008

Freedom


CannonFodder posted:

I love Frank's Red Hot. Marinate some fresh chicken wings in Franks overnight (or thaw out some cheap-rear end frozen ones, then marinate), place a drying rack over a cookie sheet and bake the wings on that. Tasty and crispy, and wings are pretty cheap.

Did you know that if you save the bones from hot wings to make stock, the stock has a very slight kick to it? It was a pleasant surprise.

Where I live, the wings are the most expensive part of the chicken (more expensive by pound than breasts). I guess because of the popularity of chicken wings.

Admiral Snuggles
Dec 12, 2008

Freedom


Another recipe. Potato and leek soup. Fuckin cheap and utterly delicious.

Chop up potatoes (around 3 medium) and leeks (one stalk thingy). Add carrots and celery or other vegetables if you have them. Have enough water in a pot large enough to engulf all the veges. Boil until potatoes are soft. Liquify in a food processor (or mash with a fork for a while if you cant afford a 25 dollar food processor).

Salt and pepper!!

Jesus christ this poo poo is delicious.

Add cream and refrigerate for vichyssoise.

Admiral Snuggles
Dec 12, 2008

Freedom


Crusty Nutsack posted:

I came across this blog today, it's pretty good. Real food, costed out with each ingredient and then per serving. Plus the about sections have some very good info as well. If nothing else it will show you that you can eat much better than loving ramen on a tight budget. http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/

Most of the recipes are side dishes and the ones that aren't are far more expensive. Get one of the mastering the art of french cooking cookbooks or the essentials of classic italian cooking. Use your brain to figure out what's cheap. It will all be worth eating.

Did you know you can make a dish using garlic, olive oil, and angel hair pasta?? (OWNAGE)

Crusty Nutsack
Apr 21, 2005



Admiral Snuggles posted:

Most of the recipes are side dishes and the ones that aren't are far more expensive. Get one of the mastering the art of french cooking cookbooks or the essentials of classic italian cooking. Use your brain to figure out what's cheap. It will all be worth eating.

Did you know you can make a dish using garlic, olive oil, and angel hair pasta?? (OWNAGE)

Wow you sure did PWN me there man. Also what the gently caress are you talking about mostly side dishes and expensive things? You do realize that blogs often have more than one page of entries right? Maybe you should try using your brain to figure that out. I share a helpful resource for beginners and you poo poo it up. Shut up.

(USER WAS PUT ON PROBATION FOR THIS POST)

11b1p
Feb 5, 2008

This picture is worth 20 words or something.

CannonFodder posted:

Did you know that if you save the bones from hot wings to make stock, the stock has a very slight kick to it? It was a pleasant surprise.

Yeah, I am going to have to give this a try. Wing meat is expensive here in NJ too.

nop
Mar 31, 2010


My Little Puni posted:

I've been looking for a good cheap rice cooker or crock pot becaue that seems to be a good idea. I love pot roast so hopefully I'll find a good one.

I also forgot to mention although these are all great ideas, I can only use some of the because of my limitations.
By that I mean I live in an apartment with no appliances. We have an induction cook top, a mini oven (which just BARELY fit the whole chicken I roasted, and a mini fridge. So I'm trying my best to use this with what I have, but I really can't make too much food because of storage space (We convinced our landlord to buy us a drat fridge though, but who knows how long that will take). Frozens are the best because we do have a large freezer. That thing is kept pretty full, it's kind of a pain to have to thaw things all the time though.

A slow cooker will probably help a lot. Pot roasts, chicken thighs, all sorts of things can be cooked in one. And in large portions for left overs.

Other Ideas:

Oatmeal - Takes about 5-10min on the cooktop. Add some frozen berries (buy in bulk when on sale) and sugar or maple syrup for low effort meals.

Eggs - Fry, poach or scramble and place on bread, potatoes, legumes etc. Frittatas make for decent leftovers.

Meatloaf - If ground beef isn't usually on sale buy in bulk and freeze when it is on sale. It also doesn't require a lot of prep work. Maybe 10-15min to gather and mix the ingredients then let it bake for an hour in the over. I make about 2kg at a time and have meals for a week.

Peanut butter - I find it more convenient that eating raw peanuts, but those could work too.

Cheese - Can be added to many things or eaten as a snack. Like milk, should be fairly cheap per calorie.


A big thing that will help is to avoid eating 'snack' food. If you always have leftovers available or ingredients for a quick meal you will save a lot on fast/junk food. Legumes, cheese, nuts, eggs are all going to be cheaper (and better for you) than a bag of chips or something similar.

mombot
Sep 28, 2010

mmmmmwah - Trophy kisses!


Admiral Snuggles posted:


Did you know you can make a dish using garlic, olive oil, and angel hair pasta?? (OWNAGE)

This is a great quick cheap meal. And you can add sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, pine nuts, etc. very fast and simple and yummy.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

My wife picked up a couple nice cookbooks from the Cook This, Not That! series. They aren't budget focused necessarily but have real food alternatives to popular chain restaurant dishes. They also include helpful basic info on preparing food. One of the neatest features are charts that give you great ideas to assemble a variety of dishes like sandwiches, pizza or salads. While they aren't budget focused, they can save you money over going to a restaurant. Everything I've made from them so far has been delicious.

Here is one, this one is 350 calorie meals, but there are other versions.
http://www.amazon.com/Cook-This-Awe...19425642&sr=8-1

Admiral Snuggles
Dec 12, 2008

Freedom


Crusty Nutsack posted:

Wow you sure did PWN me there man. Also what the gently caress are you talking about mostly side dishes and expensive things? You do realize that blogs often have more than one page of entries right? Maybe you should try using your brain to figure that out. I share a helpful resource for beginners and you poo poo it up. Shut up.

I went through several pages of that blog looking for some new recipes and it was 80% side dishes 20% expensive main courses. Wasn't trying to PWN you or anything just opining.

Seconding wormil on the cook this not that series. I've skimmed through some of those at the local bookstore, and it has some great cheap meals. Quiches, omelettes, burgers, etc.

@picklejars: this time of year you might be able to get pounds and pounds of walnuts for insane prices if you keep your eye on them nuts. America.

Admiral Snuggles
Dec 12, 2008

Freedom


Mr. Wiggles posted:

Ramen really isn't a great thing to eat a lot of.

I have to add that I completely disagree with this point. Ramen is basically carbs, protein, and salt. These are things your body needs. Eat this poo poo if you're poor it will keep you alive.

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

Admiral Snuggles posted:

I have to add that I completely disagree with this point. Ramen is basically carbs, protein, and salt. These are things your body needs. Eat this poo poo if you're poor it will keep you alive.

And leave you with possible diabetes and sodium intake related problems. It'll keep you alive, but this stuff really isn't meant for eating everyday, much less multiple times a day for a long long time. If you're in a rut for a few weeks or a month, sure, it'll get you through.

At the very least, ramen should be fancied up with vegetables, meats, and eggs. Lighten the sodium load by only putting in a part of the flavor packet, and avoid drinking all the soup after the noodles are gone unless you actually need the salt, like if you go jogging in the summer, for instance.

Moderation and variety, folks.

somnolence
Sep 29, 2011


Shopping at asian, italian, or mexican markets is the best advice I've seen and used via this thread. An entire universe of awesome and new flavors for cheap. Buying chickens with the feet still attached may require some getting used to for some people, though.

Also, in lieu of meat, I would suggest buying tofu. Tofu is loving cheap at asian markets and tastes great if you pan fry it with some garlic and oil.

Kitto
Apr 26, 2011


My Little Puni posted:

My rice creations could still use some work, they end up quite bland... so a LOT of salt is used, and I would rather avoid that.

If tomatoes are in season, you could try this. I would actually imagine it would work with whole canned tomatoes, even. It's a Chinese dish, and I guess I'll just call it scrambled egg and tomato. Sorry about the guessing of ingredients, I just tend to make it up as I go. I made it for my friend recently (6 eggs, 3 tomatoes) and I'd say I got like 4 or so portions from it, but I don't eat very much.

You'll need (change recipe depending on how much you want to make):
2-4 eggs
2 or so tomatoes (chopped up like into segments of oranges)
1 clove garlic (crushed or smashed)
Salt
Sugar

Crack your eggs into a bowl and whisk them with a fork, add a dash of salt into it. Heat up your pan (med to med-hot), add some oil, and add your eggs when it's hot enough. Scramble the eggs/cook until they're not too wet, put the eggs back into the bowl you used and place on side.
Add some more oil back into pan at med heat, add garlic, cook garlic until it smells delicious (not brown, though). Once that happens, add tomatoes (make sure you scrape off any juice), and simmer at a slightly lower heat for about 10 minutes. Once the tomato skin has started peeling away from the flesh, add some sugar (a teaspoon or more depending on how much you make) and salt to taste. Let it simmer for a bit more and reseason if necessary. If there's no sauce, add some water, and if you want it to be thicker, add some cornflour + water mixture.
Once you're happy with the taste, add the eggs to the sauce, heat through and serve with plain rice!

It's pretty healthy, quick and delicious. It might not look like the most appetising of meals, but I really like it, and I don't really like eggs too much.

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dino.
Mar 28, 2010


If your rice is coming out too bland, there's a couple of things you can do to bump up the flavour.

1) Add salt to the cooking liquid. Rice is a starch, and like all starches, seems to absorb salt best when it's salted while cooking. This is why people ask you to add stock. It's not that the stock is all that flavourful, but that it has a bit of salt. You can save your stock for making something where you'll actually notice that you have stock in, and just add a bit of salt to the rice, and end up ahead of the game. Rice cooked in stock versus rice cooked in salted water isn't that different to warrant using the stock up.

2) Lightly sautee the rice with garlic, herbs, spices of your liking (cumin is an especially good one), in a bit of fat before cooking. Stir it frequently, but gently, and keep going till the rice smells toasty, and goes from translucent to opaque white. Then add your (salted) water, and cook from there. The rice will be lovely. If, during your toasting, you add a few pinches of turmeric, you'll even have a cheap and easy yellow rice on your hands. Add some onions and tomato paste, and you've got a Spanish rice like dish.

3) Consider the South Indian mixed rice dishes: tomato rice, lemon rice, coconut rice, tamarind rice. They're a little pricey on the spices (if you've never bought the spices before), but make such a good addition to any repertoire. There have been days like when my dad got pickpocketed on the train on the way home, and we didn't have any money to by food for the rest of that month (he got paid monthly). Aside from the cheap leafy greens my mum would by for pennies on the pound (the neighbouring farmers would use it for cattle fodder, and would more or less give it away at the end of the day so they wouldn't have to throw it out), we'd frequently have mixed rice dishes to take up most of the meal.

In India, one doesn't have Ramen, and by the time we got to the USA and needed quick cheap dishes, we weren't about to buy that poo poo because of what it cost to feed a family. When I was a teenager, I alone could clear off two of those fuckers in one sitting, and still be hungry in 30 minutes, because the meal had no substance. Rice, on the other hand, would keep me going for a lot longer, and mixed rice especially was a staple for when we had little or no money to live on. The fact that I can still enjoy it with gusto tells you how delicious it is. If you'd like, I can type out a step-by-step, or copy paste the recipes from my book, so you can wrangle your rice more easily.

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