Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

This looks great and I want to try it so I typed out my best guess at the recipe. Here it is for anyone else who might like to try it too. Note that I made many guesses on the quantities of things and some guesses on the method too. Please let me know what I got wrong and I will edit my post.

Thanks very much for your posts, you are doing a great job. I am also going to try your chana masala. I hope you have some more recipes to post.

Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

http://imgur.com/a/InlXD

 

Ingredients

Chicken and marinade:

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 Tbps minced garlic

1 Tbps minced ginger

1 small dried red chilli (adjust to taste)

1 tsp rock salt

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp coriander powder

½ tsp paprika

2 Tbsp fresh yoghurt

Sauce:

1 small onion, cut in half then finely sliced

4 Tbsp butter

2 tsp garam masala

2 tsp minced garlic

¼ tsp chilli powder

2 cardamon pods, shells removed

2 tomatoes, chopped

⅓ cup of cream

Garnish:

Cashew nuts, coarsely broken

½ spring onion, sliced

Method:

Chicken and marinade:

In a small non stick pan, dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds until they smoke. Using a mortar and pestle, crack the cumin and coriander seeds, then add the ginger, garlic, rock salt and chilli and grind to a paste.

Prick the chicken all over with a fork, then place the chicken in a bowl and coat with the lemon juice. Add the paste made earlier, and add the coriander powder, paprika, and fresh yoghurt. Mix everything well then cover with cling wrap and marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

Sauce:

Fry the onions, garlic, cardamon, garam masala, and chilli powder in the butter. Add in the tomatoes and a little water. Reduce the mixture down and leave to cool a little. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the blended sauce back into your pan and keep warm.

Cook the chicken:

Cook the chicken in a tandoor oven. If you don’t happen to have a tandoor oven then a BBQ is your next best option. Grill the chicken over a high heat for a few minutes each side, slightly charring the outside. When the chicken is done, add the cream to the pan with the sauce. Add the chicken to the same pan and cover with the sauce.

When serving, garnish with the chopped spring onions and cashews.

How to Bake Cheap Bread

The Twelve Steps of Baking

Scaling – This is the measuring of all ingredients before mixing. All ingredients should be weighed when possible. This is the most accurate form of measuring in a kitchen. A cup of flour does not equal the same weight as a cup of sugar. A cup of flour on Tuesday may not even weigh the same as a cup of flour on Friday. If you plan on baking a lot at home, it will be necessary to get an accurate scale. This will help ensure a consistent product almost every time.

Mixing – Mixing is everything! This is where you control 80% of how your final product will turn out! Mixing can be done by hand or with a machine, such as a Kitchenaid style mixer (using a dough hook, of course.) There are two steps in the mixing process. The first step in mixing is incorporation. All ingredients are added into the mixing bowl in a certain order and then the mixing begins. Here’s a rundown:

  • Add water
  • Add yeast
  • Add flour
  • Add Salt
  • Add remaining ingredients
  • Start mixing (on speed one if using a machine)

This seems simple enough, but it’s necessary. The flour acts as a barrier between the yeast and any other ingredients that might have an adverse effect on the yeast, such as salt. Once the ingredients are very well incorporated, then we can start the second step, which is called development. This is where we develop gluten.

Bulk Fermentation – Now we do the first and primary fermentation. Fermentation is a biological process from the yeast. Yeast eats sugar and break it down into alcohol, carbon dioxide and various acids. The alcohol burns off in the bake, the carbon dioxide gets trapped and makes the dough rise, and the acids add flavor. The longer and slower the fermentation process, the better the flavor.

Punch and Fold – This step is kind of a part of the bulk fermentation step. Once the dough has doubled in size, then we will degas the dough, which redistributes the yeast, and then we fold the dough a few times, which helps to further develop the dough and redistributes the heat that is caused by fermentation. After punching and folding, we continue the bulk fermentation once more.

Divide – After the bulk fermentation and punching has been done, the dough is divided into its proper weight for the final dough shape. Loaves are usually divided into one to two pound loaves. This step is often more appropriate for bread professionals who are producing many loaves, requiring pounds and pounds of dough. For a lot of us at home, we’re only making one loaf of bread, so dividing won’t be necessary.

Pre-shape – Once the dough has been divided into pieces, the individual pieces are then rounded into a ball, called a pre-shape. In some cases, the pre-shape will actually be more of an oblong or football shape, as would be the case for making a long baguette. Pre-shaping helps with development and makes it easier to do a final shape.

Bench Rest – Handling the dough will toughen it up a little and cause it to be too elastic and difficult to work with, so it will be necessary to let the gluten relax and become more extensible again. A small amount of fermentation continues during the bench rest, but not a whole lot. Bench rest usually lasts from twenty minutes, up to an hour depending on the dough type.

Final Shape – Now the dough is shaped into its final shape. Common shapes are boules (rounded) or batardes (football) but there are hundreds of different shapes out there. The final shaping influences what the bread will look like when it is finished, and it helps to create surface tension, which is necessary for a good oven spring.

Final Proof – The final shape(s) need to sit in a warm spot, covered, and rise to their final poofiness. Generally, the dough will double in size. Proofing will take some practice, though. Not proofing enough will cause the dough to burst when it’s being baked. Proofing it too much might cause the dough to not rise enough, as the gluten will have stretched too much. In some cases, the bread could fall completely.

Bake – Bread baking is one of the shortest steps of the process, and often the most rewarding. Or disappointing. There are some things to know before throwing that bread into the oven, however. First of all, your oven is not a commercial one, so don’t expect commercial results. Commercial ovens are designed to keep within a certain temperature range at all times. Not so much with your oven at home. If you set your oven at 400 degrees F, expect temperatures ranging from 375 – 425 degrees F. Bread ovens are also equipped with steam capabilities. Steam helps to create better oven spring and will interact with the starches on the surface of the bread to create a sheen and enhance browning. There are things that can help adapt your oven, however. Invest in a baking stone. Sheet pans work ok, but baking stones are much better, as they help transfer heat evenly to the bread more efficiently when preheated properly. A pizza peel will also come in very handy for getting the bread in and out of the oven. I also recommend a spray bottle full of water. You can spray the sides of the oven a few times during the first five minutes of baking to simulate steam injection. Another way of to simulate steam injection is to keep a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven. The dough will need to be “slashed” to relieve the surface tension of the dough and prevent it from bursting when it completes its final rise in the oven.

Cool – Now we cool the bread. Although tempting, a good quality bread should never really be eaten warm. The heat will actually disguise the flavorful nuances of the bread caused by the fermentation. It’s actually the same reason why bad quality bread tastes better when it’s warm. Olive Garden breadsticks, anyone?

Store/Eat – So, now you can store it or eat it. Hopefully you’ll eat it, since you worked so hard!

It can be (and has been) argued that some of these steps are so close together that they can be combined into one step. Some have learned this process as the ten steps of baking. But, this is how I learned it, and honestly it’s the same whether you call it ten or twelve.

Super Cheap Food and Budget Meals that Taste Good

A whole rotisserie chicken costs about $5 and can be used for many things. Combine with ramen, rice, veggies, pasta, potatoes, whatever, and add some seasonings. Use the bones to make broth. Dice the meat up and make chicken salad, or throw it in a soup. Try this:

What you need! * Rotisserie Chicken (5 bucks at Wal-Mart, best 5 bucks you’ll ever spend) * Flour * Butter * Chicken Bouillon * Rice * Whatever vegetable you want. I used canned green beans.

 

Cooking Cheap with Rotisserie Chickens

Rotisserie chickens are awesome. They’re cheap, easy, and delicious, and they provide a lot of bang for your buck. You should have flour, butter, and rice sitting around. If you don’t, go buy some. They’re cheap. Canned vegetables: also cheap. I got 8 cubes of chicken bouillon for 50 cents.

First, boil 4 cups of water. Add 2 cubes of bouillon to boiling water. Cook the rice (2 cups chicken water 1 cup rice). To make the gravy melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan. After it’s melted add 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk away. We’re making a roux. It should end up looking kinda like dough. After it looks like that slowly stir in the remaining 2 cups of chicken water. Let it sit on low heat (stirring occasionally) to thicken. I honestly don’t care what you do with your vegetables, I just hit my green beans with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Rip into that rotisserie chicken and make yourself an amazing plate with TONS of leftovers to spare. Assuming you have the butter, flour, and rice laying around you might have spent $1.20 on a couple cans of vegetables, $5.00 on a rotisserie chicken, and $0.50 on the bouillon. You’ll probably get around 4 servings from this. Enjoy.

If you have a GFS near you, a 50 pound bag of rice is about $27. If you eat A LOT of rice, go for it. It’ll last forever.

 

Cheap Breakfast Food

Cooking out Oatmeal, none of that expensive sugary cereal and milk!

You can buy rolled oats for pennies on the dollar. Here’s how to make a perfect bowl of oatmeal:

Combine 1 to 1 to 1 of rolled oats, water and milk in a saucepan and bring to a low boil, then let simmer on low for 5-10 minutes. Once it’s creamy you can add anything you want and have on hand (fruits, nuts, spices, syrup, etc.).

If you want to go cheap on milk, buy a bag of powdered milk. It’s super cheap and never goes bad and you always have milk on hand.

I’ve had steel cut oats every morning for about a year now and it has been great. On the right day, I can sometimes forget about lunch until about 3 in the afternoon. It helps to have a pressure cooker, which makes the whole process about 10 minutes from dry to done, but before I had that I just soaked the oats overnight before cooking in the morning (but change the water before you cook them!)

Here’s the actual recipe I usually follow:

  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 apple or pear cut into chunks
  • handful of dried cranberries
  • handful of raisins
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

While that cooks, I cut a banana (start eating red bananas, they’re way better than yellow) into a bowl with a spoonful of peanut butter. If you use a pear, nutella tastes lovely in addition to/instead of the peanut butter. It may seem like a lot, and super fancy, but if you buy the ingredients in bulk, you’ll be eating fancy for weeks on about $10, minus the fruit which of course goes faster and costs a bit more.

 

Crock Pot Breakfast Burritos

This recipe is super simple and for those of you already on a tight budget will be a great fit. Ingredients: 1 lb. Sausage

1 can Rotel tomatoes (I went with medium)

1 can black beans (strained and washed)

1 whole green pepper or your pepper of choice depending on the heat levels you want to get from it.

8 medium sized tortillas

4-5 eggs

Add sausage, Rotel ( juices and all ), beans, green peppers in that order into crockpot. Cook slow and low for 6-8 hours overnight.

In the morning heat up your tortillas in a microwave, skillet w/e. In the meantime scramble your eggs. Using a slotted spoon add crockpot concoction to tortilla. Add eggs, shredded cheese if you like. Then roll that puppy up! Want to keep it warm while driving to work? Wrap it up in tin foil, its also great cold!

Total cost: $10. Prep time: 10 minutes. 8 servings

EDIT: dice pepper

 

Making Cheap Ramen Taste Better

Ramen: Is it cheap? Yes. Is it filling? Yes. Is it healthy? Nope. Oh well.

A (very) simple and delicious dish which is also reasonably nutritious. Sriracha and soy sauce together make the dish spicy, while cumin adds some “warmth” to it. It’s not much of a looker (see picture near the end of the comment), but then again it’s ramen, which shouldn’t give one too high expectations.

I don’t know much about U.S. prices and due to taxes my local prices are generally much, much higher – so I’ve gone by averages I could find around the Internet. Hope that’s all right.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package noodles (mine was appx. 60 g) — $0.25
  • 3 dl vegetable stock — $0.12
  • 2 spring onions (scallions, green onions, call them what you will) — $0.16
  • 1 large carrot — $0.16
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (or to taste) — $0.12
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce — $0.12
  • 1 tsp cumin, preferably ground* — $0.05
  • 1 tsp paprika — $0.05
  • 1 egg — $0.20

* whole cumin seeds don’t hurt the taste in any way, but they end up at the bottom of the pot, making the last bit of soup too cumin-y. For the best result, grind the cumin yourself!

Total: $1.23.
This was intended to be one serving, but it ended up being a big one — possibly around a serving and a half — so it’s probably possible to get it under $1/serving.

Preparation:

  1. While bringing the stock to a boil, slice the carrot as thinly as possible, and cut the spring onions into pieces 1-2 cm each.
  2. Break the “block” of noodles into two or four pieces, making everything a bit easier to handle — then add it to the boiling stock. Discard any seasoning that came along with the noodles. It’s loaded with sodium and generally not very tasty.
  3. After two or three minutes, add carrots and spring onions to pot. Then add the spices, sriracha and soy sauce. Make sure not to go overboard on the latter, as too much soy sauce can ruin any dish.
  4. Noodles should be just about done by now, so it’s time for the egg: Add it, let it sit for about a minute, then basically just toss it around in the mixture, making it break apart. At this point the water should be just barely boiling. (The dish basically came out of my ineptitude with regard to poaching an egg – oh well, it still tastes great!)

Once the egg white pieces have turned white and the yolk pieces a bright yellow, remove from heat, serve with a bit of freshly ground pepper, and enjoy.

 

Cooking Lentils is Cheap

Lentils: I’ve heard good things, but I’ve never tried them personally. Here are some interesting looking recipes for them:

I can confirm lentils are DIRT cheap. From 1 lb @ $1.30/lb I’ve gotten 5 substantial lunches with a potential for 2 more.

  • 1/4c Lentils
  • 1-2 Cubes Chicken Bullion
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 2 tbls Chopped Onion
  • Plus anything else you might like
  • Cover with water

I toss this into my brand new 0.6 quart crock pot ($3 at Wallymart) before I head to bed, and pack it for lunch in the morning.

Simple, easy, filling, and very delicious.

For reference, 1 pound dried lentils = 2-1/4 cups dry

 

Cooking Indian dal with Lentils

For the dal I just sautee onions and garlic in oil, add spices (turmeric, garam masala, cumin, chili), then add water, boullion, and the lentils and boil until the lentils are nice and mushy. Flatbreads are flour (i use half white half wheat), a glug of oil, salt, then warm water slowly added until the dough is cohesive but never sticky. This is the among lowest energy to cook, most filling yet healthiest meals I know of. The only downside is the lentils make you poop a lot.

 

Cheap Rice Dishes  that Taste Good

Tuna Rice  1 large serving:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice (see instructions below) – $0.15
  • 1 Can of tuna – $0.96
  • 1/4 of an Onion finely diced – $.0.20
  • Mayonnaise to taste

$1.31 per serving + mayonnaise + extras

You may also add pickle relish to your mayonnaise, but it’s too expensive where I live. Also, feel free to add other things to the tuna salad too; I kept it to the basics.

For this recipe, I focus on two flavors, tuna oil and the mayo. They go well together and make this a little jazzier than the average bowl of rice.

Start off by cooking your rice. The trick here is to decrease the amount of water you would normally use ever so slightly and add in most of the oil from the can of tuna.

When the rice is finished, take it out and mix it with the tuna, onion and mayo. And then you have a tasty rice bowl that’s perfect for any meal, IMHO.

 

Cheap Basmati Rice Bowl Recipe

1/2 cup basmati rice

1 crushed clove garlic

1/4 cup peanuts

1 stalk of broccoli

1 tsp salt . 1/2 tbs olive oil

^ Throw all that in to a good pot with 3/4 cups of water, and whatever other seasonings you like, (basmati takes less water and cook time then other rices) Bring to boil, then cover on low for about 7 min. Doing it this way is super easy and makes the peanuts somewhat tender morsels within the rice while giving slight flavor and the broccoli is always cooked to perfection.

While that’s cooking, get small frying pan and throw on an egg with cheese I usually fry with olive oil, just drop the egg in with cheese on top and cover the frying pan too, no flipping. When cheese is melted it’s done.

Take out your rice into a bowl and then drizzle hot sauce and Teriaki sauce semi lightly, and place egg on top.

Delicious, nutritious, fast, easy, and most of all very affordable meal.

 

Budget Soups and Stews:

 

Budget Chicken Soup

  • 1 Whole chicken (not using the whole thing in the soup, but I’ll digress on that later) divided into wings, Leg quarters, and breasts (more on this odd division later) (1.09 or .69 per pound *Second number denotes sale price)
  • 4 small Calavasa (the little mexican squash, here in texas they’re .99 a pound, but if you have neighbors that grow zucchini or yellow squash, you can probably get a bushel for that price around harvest time)
  • 2 medium russet potatoes (5 lb bag for 2.29)
  • 1 small can of “rotel” (doesn’t have to be the brand rotel, just has to have the cilantro, lime juice, and jalapenos .45 on sale)
  • 3 large jalapenos (.69 a pound)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato chicken bullion (latin foods aisle 1.29 for a 6oz jar)
  • 1.5 gallon stock pot (or your largest)
  • Water to fill pot

Boil chicken for 2 hours. Take chicken out, add veggies, cut them however large or small you want.. Take the meat from the leg quarters and chop fine, adding back to pot. Add bullion and any other spices you want/have wrap up breast meat for sandwiches (use SPARINGLY) Use wings and a small can of Cream of chicken (.89) for chicken and rice 3-4 days of meals from one bird.

 

Making Cheap Taco Soup

I got this recipe from a friend at school, I tend to make the Vegetarian version for myself, but my boyfriend insists on adding meat when I make it for the both of us. Either way, this is probably one of my favorite meals and its cheap and easy to make :)

Taco Soup

  • 1 15oz can Black Beans
  • 1 15oz can Dark Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 15oz can Light Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 15.5oz can White Hominy
  • 3 10oz cans Rotel
  • 3 Stalks of Celery
  • 1/2 – 1 Onion (1/2 is usually enough for me)
  • 1 cup broth (Chicken, beef, veggie – doesn’t matter which ever you prefer)
  • 1 package Taco Seasoning
  • 1 package Ranch Dressing Mix (I get the hidden valley one)
  • Optional – Add 1 pd browned ground turkey/beef.
  1. Drain black beans, kidney beans and hominy. Add to large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add Broth, Rotel, Taco seasoning and Ranch dressing mix (and browned meat if so desired). Stir together.
  3. While that is heating up, cut up celery and onion. Sautee (I like to add a little garlic flavor to the celery and onions at this point)
  4. Add the celery and onion to the large pot and mix them in.
  5. Enjoy Delicious soup. I like to top it with shredded cheese and diced avocado. Also good with tortilla chips, or just tortillas.

A single batch will last me almost a week, eating it for lunch and dinner. It costs around $15-20 depending on if I have any of the ingredients and if I add ground turkey. Enjoy and let me know if you come up with any other variations.

How to Make Rice and Beans  Taste Good

To preface, this recipe does not require much measuring, I’ll try to approximate some of the amounts of stuff used but when I actually make it, I don’t measure anything. :) Also it makes quite a big batch, I live alone and have to freeze about half of it and half still lasts me the better part of a week.

Cookware:


  • Any large pan/pot with a lid will do.

Ingredients:


  • 1 boneless pork chop
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 gloves garlic (Can replace with garlic powder if you want)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can beans (I prefer pinto beans)
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • (Optional) 1 can sweet corn (It’s your preference, but I tried it and I like it, but it’s not necessary).
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Cooking oil, water
  • Herbs/spices used: Salt, black pepper, paprika, red cayenne pepper, cilantro, thyme

Instructions:


  • Chop up the onion, mince the garlic, and season the pork chop. Salt/pepper/paprika is good.
  • Heat up about 3 tbsp of oil in the pan on medium heat. Then fry the pork chop/onions/garlic. Once the pork chop is seared, take it out of the pan and chop it into bite-size pieces, then set aside.
  • Cook the onions and garlic til the onions are clear, and remove them from the pan and set aside.
  • Put about 3 more tbsp of oil in the pan along with the flour. Mix it until the flour integrates with the fat. It doesn’t have to be a liquid viscosity, just form it into a paste and it will do it’s purpose, which is to thicken everything up later. Add oil if you need to. It may seem like a lot of oil at this point, but in the end it’s not.
  • Add stuff in no particular order: ~7 cups water, re-incorporate your pork/onions/garlic, tomatoes, beans, rice, chiles, corn.
  • Stir everything together
  • Add spices: A LOT of black pepper, about enough to cover the top of the liquid in the pan. About 3 large pinches salt. A lot of paprika, similar in amount to the pepper. Cayenne pepper to taste depending on how spicy you want it. The green chiles I use don’t seem to add any heat, so I’m pretty liberal with the cayenne. It gets diluted quite a bit with all the liquid.
  • Stir
  • Cover the pan and cook until the rice is almost done, but not quite done. I use extra long grain brown rice, and cook for one hour. Instant rice probably takes about 20 min.
  • Uncover and add herbs, and stir. I use cilantro/thyme but if you only use one, go with cilantro. Let it reduce for about 30 minutes uncovered. Stir every 10 minutes because the rice starts to stick to the pan.
  • Serve

Some interesting ways to serve it that I use:

  • Smother a tortilla with the rice/beans, top it with a little cheese, sour cream, and greens.
  • Replace the tortilla with tortilla chips and add more greens, makes quite a good taco salad.

 

How to Make Homemade Tortilla Chips

I never buy tortilla chips, I’ve always made them at home. This method is way cheaper, healthier, tastier, everything. I can’t believe I ever bought pre-made chips in the first place. But here we are.

 

How to Make Homemade Tortilla Chips

So here goes! You will need:

  • 5 whole tortillas (5 makes enough for 2 people to lightly snack on, use more if you want more, this recipe is for 5 tortillas)
  • 2-tbs of olive oil (canola and vegetable are fine too, really any oil will do, so if you’re some kind of crazy vegetable oil baron then you’re all set)
  • Whatever spices you want. Despite not having testicles, I use cayenne, chili powder, Tony Chacheros, garlic powder, cumin, and S & P of course.
  • cooking spray (optional)
  • aluminum foil (optional)
  • ziploc zipper baggie, quart size (optional)

Okay! So you got everything you need.

Directions for Making Homemade Tortilla Chips

0) Before starting, get your cookie sheet ready and line with foil. If you want, spray a little cooking spray on there.

1) Cut your stack of tortillas into triangles, whatever fucking size you want. You like big chips that hold an ungodly, yet somehow admirable, amount of guacamole? Or you like smaller little triangles that you can lightly coat with delicious salsa one after another, in rapid succession because you haven’t gotten laid in a while andoh god those chips are so good? I’m not here to fuckin judge, cut ’em how you want ’em.

2) Toss your triangles into your ziploc baggie. Obviously the more chips you’re making, the bigger the baggie needs to be, but if I’m making a little snack for myself I just need a quart size. If you opt out of the ziploc method (I guess you never bag things, excuse me your majesty), it’s cool, just toss your triangles on your cookie sheet.

3) Ziploc method: pour about 2 tbs of olive oil into the baggie along with your chips. If you didn’t get ziplocs because you’re not 8 years old anymore and don’t take a PB & J with you to school for lunch anymore, never fear! Just drizzle the olive oil over your chips, but you’ll have to hand toss them and arrange them on your cookie sheet for best results. This can get slightly messy, which is why I use the ziploc, and when was the last time you actually cleaned your kitchen, you filthy animal?

4) Ziploc method: toss in whatever spices you want. Go crazy. Go nuts. You like regular salt and pepper chips? Whatever blows your hair back, buddy. You like spicy, fire-from-the-pit-of-hell flavor? Throw whatever you got in there, just don’t try to kiss me. This is the time for you to break away from the drudgery of your soul sucking job to get creative! If you’re doing it the other way, just sprinkle your spices directly on the chips.

5) Ziploc method: shake that bag of triangles like your worst enemy’s neck until all the triangles are evenly coated. I like to hit my dog in the face with it. Goes over real well. After shaking, place the triangles on your cookie sheet and space them apart as best you can.

6) You can spray them again if you want. I like to do this because I believe that God won’t let the chips cook evenly unless I do this. Fucker.

6) Bake at 325 for about 15 minutes.

7) Enjoy!

** Note: you can forgo the olive oil altogether and just use cooking spray if you want. I’ve done this before, and they’re still tasty, just not as full flavored. Just arrange your triangles on the cookie sheet, spray liberally (thanks, Obama), and then do your spices.

***Another note: if you want to go all out fattening and greasy and terrible, you can fry these fuckers. Just heat up some canola in a deep enough pan and drop the triangles in for a few minutes each. But that’s more time consuming and messy and, therefore, stupid.

So the price breakdown is this:

1-20 count package of tortillas: $1.25

1-32 oz bottle of olive oil: ~$6 (depending on brand, I’m fine with store brand or low end, I am no barefoot contessa)

Spices-you should already have a decent stockpile of spices from which you can choose, but if you don’t you can get all the spices I listed for <$10, or just S & P for ~$2.

Cooking Spray- $1.39 (I use store brand; PAM is about $1 more)

Ziploc baggies-Ziploc is actually not the brand I use, I use store brand, and I got a box of 30 for ~$2

So to go out and buy all the ingredients (less spices, but including olive oil) it’s $10.64. What I especially love about making chips at home is they’re so easy, and you can make as much as you want when you want it, and all the “ingredients” can cross-over for other cooking needs. If you use foil & ziploc there is literally no mess to clean up, and you can go from being a sucker with no chips to being a winner with lots of tasty chips in ~15 min with only ~3 minutes of prep time.

For maximum enjoyment, you can also write the big tortilla chip conglomerate a strongly worded letter. That’ll show ’em.

Stuff to Cook in a Slow Cooker Easily

Every Sunday I throw about 5lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the crockpot ($13@costco). Here’s what I do with it.

 

Things to Cook in a Slow Cooker

I toss them in there on low for about 6 hours with half a diced onion and some garlic, -edit- and a 1/2c of water. I want them kind of bland, so they can be used for many things. I have 3 kids, most dinner meals are planned (Ideally, in a perfect world). However, I have lunches for myself and random snacks for them and oh, no! we’re late dinners and wtf should I make? dinners and shit, I forgot to take out the chops/to buy that one needed thing dinners – well, basically, no matter how organized you are – families need last minute options.

After the chicken is cooked, I shred it with two forks and spread it out on a cookie sheets to freeze. After it’s frozen, I loosely pack it in a big freezer Tupperware-style container. It’s over 4c of cooked chicken. If done correctly, you can remove desired portions as needed.

Now the fun stuff. There’s endless options for readily available shredded chicken. Here’s some of my favorites (and the most budget-friendly):


1c chicken 3.25

1 can black beans .75

1 can of corn (or cup frozen) .50

2Tbps siracha or hot sauce.

mix and heat in microwave or stovetop. Eat with spoon, tortillas, or chips. Best lunch ever. serves 2-3 ($2.25/$1.50per serving)


1c chicken 3.25

6 celery ribs 1.00

3Tbls buffalo sauce .50

1/4c blue cheese crumbles or blue cheese dressing .50

Mix and heat chicken and buffalo sauce, load mixture onto celery, top with blue cheese. Low carb, easy, and satisfying. ($.87/rib)


1/2 cup chicken 1.62

1/2 keilbasa rope, sliced thin 2.00

5 potatoes, cut and sliced (bitesize) .75

1 bell pepper, any color 1.00

I pkt of onion soup mix 1.00

1/4 olive oil .50

mix all ingredients, throw ’em in a cake or roasting pan and into a 450d oven. Turn everything in the pan at 15 minutes, ready in 25 minutes or so. I LOVE this with an over easy egg on top. (Serves 4, $1.71/per serving)


1c chicken, thawed 3.25

1 box of bowtie pasta, cooked and drained 1.00

1 9oz bag of baby spinach 2.00

2c creamy ceaser dressing 2.00

1/2c fresh grated Parmesan 1.00

Toss everything together. Serve warm or chill and serve later. Serves 8 as a side, 4 as a main ($1.15/2.31 per serving)


The frozen chicken thaws easily for anything you’d usually use chicken for: nachos, casseroles, salads, soup, wraps, sammies, etc. The frozen shredded chicken is a HUGE time saver for me. My last post here did pretty well, so I thought you’d like more of my ideas.

Best Pizza Dough Recipes

Here are a collection of pizza dough recipes for standard home ovens.

 

New York Style Pizza Dough Recipe

Scott123’s Easy New York Pizza (Source)

Note: You will need a Standard Home Oven for proper baking of this dough.

IngredientBakers %GramsOuncesRecommended
Flour100%622 g21.9 ozKing Arthur Bread Flour
Water61%379 g13.4 ozWater
Yeast or Starter0.5000%3.109 g0.110 ozInstant Dry Yeast
Salt1.75%10.88 g0.38 ozSalt
Oil/Lards/Shortening3.00%18.7 g0.7 ozVegetable Oil
Sugar1.00%6.218 g0.2 ozSugar
Other0.00%0.00 g0.0 oz-No Others Needed
Totals1040 g36.68 oz
  • The above ingredients will yield 4 doughballs of 260 grams each.

Step #1. You will need a pizza stone to successfully bake this pizza in a home oven. If you don’t have one, order this. If your oven oven isn’t large enough, order this smaller baking stone.

Measure dry (no yeast). Measure wet (+ yeast). Mix to dissolve yeast. Dry into wet. Stir with a metal spoon until it’s too stiff to stir, then knead, by hand or by machine, until the dough is just about smooth (3-6 minutes). Ball and place in lightly oiled, large round disposable covered containers. Refrigerate 2 days. Remove from fridge 3 hours before baking.

Pre-heat stone for 60-80 minutes at the highest setting your oven goes to (using convection, if your oven has it). Stone should be positioned on an oven shelf that’s about 6-7″ from the broiler.

  • Dust wooden peel with flour
  • Stretch skin to 16″ and place on peel
  • Quickly dress the pizza, shaking between each topping to make sure the skin doesn’t stick
  • Launch
  • Turn pizza every couple minutes with metal peel
  • Bake until pizza top and bottom are well colored
  • Use broiler if top needs more browning
  • Retrieve, using metal peel, onto cooling rack

Allow to cool 7 minutes

 

American Style Pizza Dough Recipe

Pete-zza’s Papa John’s Clone Pizza (Source)

Note: You will need a Standard Home Oven for proper baking of this dough.

IngredientBakers %GramsOuncesRecommended
Flour100%616 g21.7 ozKing Arthur Bread Flour
Water56%345 g12.2 ozWater
Yeast or Starter0.1400%0.862 g0.030 ozInstant Dry Yeast
Salt1.75%10.78 g0.38 ozSalt
Oil/Lards/Shortening7.00%43.1 g1.5 ozVegetable Oil
Sugar4.00%24.631 g0.9 ozSugar
Other0.00%0.00 g0.0 oz-No Others Needed
Totals1040 g36.68 oz
  • The above ingredients will yield 4 doughballs of 260 grams each.

Add water (at a temperature of 55 degrees F) to the mixer bowl of an electic stand mixer. Add the salt, yeast and sugar to the water and stir to fully dissolve, about one minute. Add the oil to the mixer bowl, followed by all of the flour. Use the mixer’s flat beater attachment to combine all of the ingredients in the mixer bowl, at stir/speed 1, for about a minute, or until the dough mass pulls away from the sides of the mixer bowl and collects around the flat beater. There should be no raw flour left in the bowl. Scrape the dough off of the flat beater (it should be shaggy and on the sticky side) and switch to the C-hook attachment. Knead the dough at stir speed, for about 2 minutes, or just until the dough gathered around the dough hook in a fairly cohesive, but still somewhat wet and sticky, mass.

Mix the dough for about 5-6 minutes at speed 2. Turn the dough out onto a cutting board and form into as many round balls as you plan to make into pizzas. Lightly oil each dough ball and place it in an oiled container with a cover (e.g., a 1-quart glass Pyrex bowl with plastic lid) and place the bowl in the refrigerator. Leave the dough in the refrigerator for five days. During the first two days, there should be little noticeable expansion of the dough. The dough will be optimal for use after about five days, but it could be used at after three days and up to eight days in the refrigerator.

Upon removal from the refrigerator, let the dough warm up at room temperature (about 80 degrees F) for about an hour. Open the dough ball to about 10”. Dock the dough with a dough docker. For maximum authenticity, make a cloned version of Papa John’s Dustinator flour blend as follows: combine semolina flour, white flour, and soybean oil (a few few drops worked into the flours).

How to Survive on Very Cheap Food Budget

There’s a lot of focus on what to buy on minimal means, but I think it’s worth mentioning ways to make some extra cash quickly, so that $20 food budget for 2 weeks becomes $40 for 2 weeks, which can make a big difference. A $10 per week food budget would be very minimal. Below are some suggest recipes for ultra-low budget meal plans:

 

$10 a week food budget

$10 per week food budget: Buy Eggs (2 dozen x 1.99/dozen), WHOLE MILK (1.99/gallon), WHOLE GRAIN RICE (1 x 1.59/lb) Russet Potatoes (2 lbs x $0.79 / lbs), Spaghetti/Pasta (1 x 1.59/lb) = 10.50 per week + 7% for taxes brings it about $11.00 per person per week.

  • First you must look at poverty stricken world that survives “on less than one dollar a day”. How these people do it is by combining resources and sharing. It is a lot easy for 5 people to survive on $50/week than it is for 1 person to survive on $10 per week.
  • Best way to cook is to constantly make soups, stews, crock pot, etc in such dire situations. Use spices (as said before) including Salt & Pepper. Creating Soups and stews by adding water to ‘stretches’ the food you do have, extends the life of your basic staples, and can make 3-4 meals for a very inexpensive cost. Beans, Lentils, Rice, Pastas, are all very inexpensive and filling and will leave you full of energy.

 

$20 a week food budget

$20 per week the same as 10 per week just add a bit more variety cuts of meat (steak, chicken, ‘off cuts’ such as chicken livers and gizzards/hearts = $1.09 / lb and much more vitamins, nutrients, etc)

  • Add Cooking oils (coconut oil), butter, bread, beans, more ‘staple foods’ in a higher variety than the $10/week budget limit.
  • Increase the amount of spices and variety to keep food as a source of motivation and break up the monotony of surviving on a budget.

 

Tips for people in $10/$20 week dilemma

  • Find and collect any/all change in your apartment, car, couches, parents & family house, change and spare dollars add up very quickly especially if you are sustaining on $10/week for food. Use change counter at your bank which you can turn in for 100%, no service charge like CoinStar.
  • If you are in college, go to club meetings which usually serve food or pizza. Also a few of your friends have dinner meals/lunch meal tickets at the college cafeteria they may let you use.
  • Attend networking events, professional events, SALES PITCHES, everything and anything with free food.
  • Volunteer at soup kitchens/food pantries and learn the system and how the food is doled out, when the best times, etc. Ask for a free meal after each volunteer shift.
  • Start a garden. Cucumbers and Squash produce the highest amount of food in the smallest amount of space. Usually 4 week turn around from planting to producing food and can last for 6 months for the price of water. Find soil and containers through craigslist.
  • Eliminate expenses. Chances are if you are surviving on $10 a week for food, you are throwing away more money on something else. For example a single cup of Starbucks ($4.00) can cost $28 / week or $1400/year. Start tracking your expenses and eliminating as many as comfortably possible.

Other Ingredients to Buy on Small Food Budget

Things I would buy if I were in this predicament-

  • Oatmeal
  • Brown rice
  • Dry beans
  • Peanut butter
  • Whole wheat bread- or whole wheat flour and yeast if the poster is inclined to bake bread
  • Eggs
  • A box or two of pasta, preferably whole wheat.
  • Tuna fish
  • Seasonal/sale/clearance veggies and fruits as budget permits

If enough money is available, a small whole ‘fryer’ chicken to roast, make chicken sandwiches with, and turn into enough stock for a lot of soup with the noodles, some sale or canned veggies. A cup or two of cooked beans in your soup is filling and tasty.

I realize that not everyone can buy all things on the list. Some people have 30 dollars, others have ten, etc. Prices fluctuate depending on the store, sales, the region or country of the poster.

Shop your dollar store, you discount grocer (Aldi), sales, clearance cart at the grocery store, farmer’s markets, etc.

Now would be a good time to practice portion control if you don’t already. Read the serving sizes on your rice, pasta, beans, oatmeal, etc and follow them. Drink a large glass of water with every meal. In cold months, a hot beverage can be very soothing and filling.

Learn to cook- google basic recipes. If you do not know how to cook this is contributing greatly to your budget problems. Eating takeout and pre packaged foods will burn through your budget at a rapid rate. Ingredients are cheaper than a restaurant meal.

 

Cutting Out More Expensive Ingredients

Cutting the amount of expensive ingredients in a dish can really stretch what you have. I cut the amount of ground beef I put in chili in half, just add more beans or some TVP- no one will notice. Heck, I’ve made totally meatless chili and not had my husband notice the lack of meat until I told him.

 

Eating Proteins While on Budget

Eaten proteins are broken down into amino acids in the gut and enter the blood plasma (basically a salt/glucose/amino acid sauce your blood cells live in). The amino acids are then transported to where they are needed and rebuilt into proteins, to form new cell membranes and whatnot.

Rice and beans together create a complete protein, which is a protein containing enough of nine essential amino acids. Having either on their own isn’t as nutritionally sound as having both. Mixing lentils with rice is another complete protein. Peanut butter with whole wheat bread is, too.

 

Eating Amino Acids While on a Strict Food Budget

Some amino acids are essential. You need to get them, or you can’t build certain proteins. Most are not essential. One of the essentials is lysine, which is the amino acid found in rice and wheat and all it’s products. But not in beans, which covers all the other essentials. So, mix them together, and you have all the essential amino acids and can build every protein needed.

 

Drink More Water to Stay Less Hungry

Also, people must be careful to only eat when they are hungry, and not eat because they are stressed or bored. If you’re in a financial jam you have to make your loaf of bread last you all week, not two days. Drinking water between meals is a good way to stay full- if you’re still hungry 20 minutes after drinking a glass of water, then you were actually hungry.

Other Tips to Keeping a Food Budget on Low Budget

Hit up your local Asian/Indian/Philippine markets. They generally carry food at cheaper prices and in greater quantities. You may have to experiment a little bit, but generally you can get a MASSIVE quantity of rice-noodles and beans or other staples onto which you can put anything to make a meal. Buy SPICES…not sauces. Sauces are expensive. Spices can be put on anything.

If you must travel and your gas tank is almost empty, take EVERYTHING out of your car and run it until it’s nearly empty. Don’t do this permanently, as it’s bad for your engine, but only filling up for 10 bucks worth a few times shouldn’t hurt it. You’ll get better gas mileage on that tail end bit of the tank.

Cut your coffee intake to one cup per day, tops, and roll your own cigarettes. Switch to English Breakfast Tea, if you can. You can get 100 tea bags for $2-$3. Ideally, you’d quit while you’re nearly broke but some people can’t do that. You can get about five packs worth of cigarettes for between 4 and 8 dollars, if you buy the tobacco and papers by themselves.

Your local food pantries will probably all let you go once a month and the first time you go, you’ll get several weeks worth of food, so go to ALL of them. You should get enough food to last you from X to X, if you’re willing to hunt around a bit. Finding a food bank in your area can help supplement your budget with some free groceries such as bread, canned goods, and veggies. If you are uncomfortable with taking the help, you can always donate back later when you can afford it, paying it forward to help the next person in your situation. Occasionally, some food pantries even give out coupons which you can use to get fresh vegetables and fruits at local farmers’ markets.

One Dozen Weird & Extremely Cheap Vegetarian Meals For ‘Bare Cupboard’ Times

12 Weird & Extremely cheap vegetarian meals

So you need cheap, but you want vegetarian. Well you’ve come to the right spot. Here’s a dozen cheap vegetarian meals that are not only inexpensive, but delicious.

You know those times that there’s just nothing left in your fridge and cupboard? When it’s late at night and there are no stores open? When you’ve already spent all your weekly budget for food? You could eat some dried up bread with ramen, but you ate that for the last 10 days. Why not try one of these?

 

One Dozen Weird & Extremely Cheap Vegetarian Meals For ‘Bare Cupboard’ Times

Note: I didn’t bother with exact measures of how much of what do you need as you can easily look it up. I hope that’s alright.

Eggs, spinach, and puree recipes

Where I am from his is a relatively common meal, and it’s easy to make (and that’s probably why my mom made it so often). The preparation involves a fair amount of mashing and mixing, so it’s perfect stressed out people. Cook spinach, mix it up, cook potato, mash it, and cook or fry eggs and put them on top of spinach and potato puree. If you don’t feel like doing all of this, use frozen spinach and instant mashed potatoes.

Omelette recipes

Would be great for breakfast if anybody gave a shit about it. Take 2-3 eggs, break them, and mix them up with a fork. Add some salt and pepper to the mixture, and throw in anything you have at home; herbs, toothpaste, grated cheese, bacon, mushrooms. Spill this eggy soup onto a heated and oiled frying pan, and 2 minutes later fail at the attempt to flip it around in one piece.

Chili recipes

Great to make in a crockpot. Basically what you do is take a couple of cans of beans (kidney, black, garbanzo) and some raw chopped tomatoes and throw it all in a big ass cooking bucket. Add some water, chili powder, ground cumin, garlic. Add onion, corn, peas, zucchini, or whatever else you might have at home.

Gordon Ramsey’s broccoli soup recipe

Cook broccoli, jam it into a mixer. Done. I used to add rolled oats to any soup, it’s almost like a salty breakfast muesli except it’s not.

Heidi’s mac and cheese recipe

I made this recipe up when I had almost no food at home, and it must have been 3am so I couldn’t go to a store to buy some. Despite the fact I live very near the center of one of Europe’s capitals, we are lucky to be able to get a pizza of the size and taste of a A5 office paper.

So you cook some pasta, for example macaroni. While it boils chop up half an onion (with kitchen gloves on), and fry it in hot oil. Add whatever spices you have available, fry a little more, and put in some tomato puree or concentrate (I suppose tomato juice could work as well). Stir and add cooked pasta and eat it out of the vok (not a requirement). You can add tuna or grated cheese to the recipe and it’ll be awesome.

My mom’s idea of macaroni recipe

My mom isn’t exactly famous for preparing complex and sophisticated meals, and she is SUCH an inspiration for me in this regard. Oftentimes, my and my brother’s lunch consisted of the following: cooked pasta, butter, breadcrumbs. Parenting is easy.

Tofu something recipe

In my notes for this post it says that you should sauté some tofu. I don’t know what that means, but the ‘e’ has that line above it, so it must be legit. So after you do that, add some vegetables (frozen, says the note), and add soy sauce, which I believe is the only thing you’ll be tasting in this meal.

Cauliflower puree recipe

I learned this recipe in those three weeks when I was eagerly visiting the gym. In order to cut down on carbohydrates, you need to eat more veggies to fill you up, and cauliflower puree is just perfect for that. Recipe is really, really complicated; cook cauliflower and mash it.

Filled potatoes recipe

This is where salad dressing (or a regular mayo) finally comes into play. Mix it with some canned tuna and stuff it into baked potatoes. Prior to stuffing, create a large hole in each of the potatoes using a spoon. Afterwards, put it back into the oven for a couple of minutes so it gets crispy. Spice up with pepper or chili.

Pasta salad recipe

Great as a lunch-in-the-box: hard boiled eggs, mayo, cooked pasta, seasonings and any vegetable, mix it and eat. Another plus is that it doesn’t need to be heated up if stored in the fridge. Instead of pasta, you could use rice.

Pasta is really cheap and you can add pretty much whatever you like to it- frozen peas, onions, carrots, celery, peppers, olives, broccoli, canned beans, tomatoes, capers or really anything you happen to have on hand. Dress it with mayo or oil and vinegar and whatever spices you like- curry can be really good in a mayo based pasta salad, italian seasonings are good in an oil and vinegar based one.

‘Under the bridge’ dinner recipe

Another cold meal that can be awesome when you don’t have time to cook anything; open a can of beans or lentils, rinse them up well (Really. Well.). Season with vinegar, olive oil, pepper, salt, and add some fresh onions.

 

Oriental Broccoli Salad recipe

Broccoli salad (oriental salad)

-1 pkg (12oz)of broccoli slaw (in prepared salad section of grocery store)

-4 green onions chopped

-2 packages ramen noodles crushed up

-10 oz of sliced almonds (toast at 350*F for 10 min)

Dressing

-1/2 cup oil

-several shakes soy sauce

-2 squeezes of yellow mustard

-2 caps of cider vinegar

-1/2 cup sugar

(I usually use a little less sugar and less oil)

 

$0.29 bechamel pasta sauce recipe

In all honest, I made up that $0.29, and it’s very likely that actual cost of this meal is even lower. I suppose it depends on the prices, but just check out the ingredients in this instructions: heat up milk, melt some butter in it, add some flour, salt, and pepper, and mix it into a smooth paste. See that? You could virtually borrow all of these from your neighbors – just saying. Combine this with any vegetable and/or pasta.

 

Veggie Chili recipe

Veggie Chili can be a real cheap vegetarian meal. Look at the average costs of ingredients below

  • One onion (15 cents)
  • 2 garlic cloves (10 cents)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (25 cents)
  • Can of chickpeas ($1)
  • Can of black beans ($1)
  • Can of diced tomatoes ($1)
  • Can of kidney beans ($1)
  • 3 carrots, chopped (20 cents)
  • Spices! (30 cents) Chilli powder, cumin, cayenne, coriander, tumeric… I get these at the bulk store. You can get the amount of loose spice that would fit in a store-bought spice jar for under $1.

 

Cooking with Lentils is Cheap!

Lentils. The hero of frugal vegetarians.

  • Half a diced onion
  • Couple diced celery stalks
  • Couple of large carrots sliced on the bias
  • Half a diced zucchini
  • 1/3 cup of lentils
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp of bouillon (chicken, veggie, doesn’t matter)
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of liquid smoke

Cook down the veg for like 5-10 mins in a saucepan. When they’re soft, throw the lentils and everything else in. Cover that shit, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, let it simmer til the water is absorbed.

 

Vegetarian Spicy Tortilla Soup

Best spicy tortilla soup:

  • 1 box vegetable broth
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (I sometimes only use one if you don’t want tomato overload)
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • Juice from 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (The recipe calls for the whole onion but I don’t like that much. I usually just put in about 1/4 of a large onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic (I usually just buy minced garlic and put in about a tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Sauté onion and garlic with butter and olive oil in a large pot. Add rest of ingredients. Let simmer for 1 hour, occasionally stirring. Serve over tortilla chips with avocado, cheese, and cilantro. You can make this with chicken and chicken broth if you’re an omnivore, but it’s cheaper without it and still very filling. Makes 5-6 bowls.

 

Hummus is a great, cheap vegetarian option

Make a huge bowl of hummus!

  • Simple Recipe:
  • Big can of Chickpeas (precooked)
  • Tahini
  • Garlic
  • Salt or soy sauce
  • pepper
  • Cumin
  • parsley

Put all the ingriedients in a blender and add some of the .. uh broth(?) from the can if its to thick. If you want to be super frugal, buy dried chickpeas instead. Put them in water over night and then cook them for 1.5h. (change water before) Top it all of with some olive oil and spices

20+ Essential Dirt Cheap Ingredients That Go A Long Way

20+ Essential Dirt-cheap ingredients that can make a ton of different meals

Today we’re discovering the secret method for getting yourself to eat out less. It’s not that secret, really, the main idea is to have certain foods at home that enable you to cook up a delicious meal in very little time. I tried to put them in a handy list that can be easily transformed into a shopping list. Here’s our list of cheap ingredients that go a long way when you’re on a budget.

Essential Dirt Cheap Ingredients That Go A Long Way

Ready-made and processed foods

  • Soups

can easily be made into sauces – the best for this intent are mushroom, chicken, and celery.

  • Tomato sauce (jarred/canned)

even if you can’t cook anything, you can still cook a pasta with tomato sauce from a jar.

Veggies and fruits

  • Chickpeas, beans, and lentils

can be used for loads of things, like salads, soups, as a side dish, etc. They take a long time to cook, so it’s best in most cases to get canned ones.

  • Tomato puree/concentrate

if you’re out of tomato sauce, it can be used for pasta (for recipe, check out our post about weird meat-less recipes), plus it has numerous other uses.

  • Carrots(fresh)

are super, and I mean super, cheap. Stock up on them and recipes with them – my wife for example makes mean carrot soup with ginger.

  • Salad.

If you’re like me, you never have the time to wash, cut up, and prepare a salad, so I am a big fan of salad kits, but they can get a little bit expensive. I suppose you could buy plenty of salad, get it cut up and ready, and store it in the fridge.

  • Tomatoes

tend to be super-cheap, and they are also very healthy. Buy them in bulk and make pasta sauce or juice, or just cut them up fresh to make a simple salad. Tomato from the farmer’s market is much tastier than the one in supermarkets.

  • Potatoes

it’s really cheap and can be cooked, baked, fried, mashed, or mixed. The most basic recipe is to boil a few potatoes in salted water and cooking them for about 30 minutes.

  • Other frozen and canned vegetables.

Buy as needed, and stock up when it’s discounted.

Meat, fish, and alternatives

  • Tuna (pref. canned)

is great to combine with tomato sauce and pasta for a quick meal. Like other fish, it’s a great source of protein, and it offers a significant flavour.

  • Sardines (pref. canned)

Make a great snack when mixed with mustard, and can be used similarly to tuna.

  • Eggs

are dirt cheap, nutritious, and healthy. They can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and there are numerous ways of preparing them. They can even be frozen.

  • Cheese.

Everybody loves cheese, but it can be pricy at times. Buy it when it’s discounted, grate it, and  freeze. You’ll have cheese for the next couple of months. Isn’t that just grate?

  • Chicken

Chicken is like cheese, buy when discounted and freeze for later. Chicken is generally the cheapest of all meat. I love a good roasted chicken. You can do an oven roasted chicken with root vegetables for like $6. I buy these little 2.5lbs chickens and they are delicious (and usually about $1.50 a pound)
Tofu

is awesome if you like the taste. You can keep it covered in water in the fridge for up to a week, just make sure you change that water every day.

Starch

  • Pasta,

especially dried one is easy to prepare (10-15 minutes of cooking) and can be combined with meat, fish, vegetables, and pretty much everything else.

  • Rice

is great to be bought in bulk as it doesn’t go bad for ages. Normally, it takes some time to cook it, so if you eat a lot of it, get one of those rice cookers. Black beans and rice:

  • Cook up some instant rice (about 2 servings is perfect)
  • Toss in a can of black beans. For anything else I rinse them, but I like the bean brine for this.
  • Pour in some spicy V8
  • Add spices to make it hotter/tastier: red pepper flakes, garlic, onions (onion powder will do), your favorite hot sauce, and I usually put in some of this cajun rub from Weber. I put it on everything, it’s fantastic. Oh and salt, especially if you used low sodium beans or V8.

Feeds 2 and I can throw it together in 15 minutes.

‘Taste enhancers’ that are Cheap

  • Onions

are the core basics of many foods – from soups to pasta, you can always just fry half a sliced up onion and cook it along for better taste.

  1. Garlic

is almost the same as onions, and you can even use them together. It also has many positive health effects.

  • Soy and fish sauce.

You will need these to make anything asian. They don’t cost much and can be used for non-asian foods as well.

  • Essential seasonings

– as I had written in previous posts, simple seasoning can save the day when it comes to cooking. Even if you’re eating pasta or rice every single day, you can make it different by adding oregano, rosemary and other herbs de provence to the meal while cooking. Curry is another great example, but for another type of foods (soups, sauces).

  • Salad and barbecue sauce

can be used in things like sandwiches. If you happen to just make some plain chicken, you can add some sauce and make it into a finished meal.

So, it’s your turn. What would you add to the list?

22+ Insider Tips For Saving Money On Food And Buying Groceries When You Finally Move Out

22+ Insider tips for saving money on food and buying groceries when you finally move out

Moving out from your parents’ house can be quite a challenge, especially since many parents do a pretty lousy job of introducing their children to the skills they’ll be needing when they’re on their own. But fear not! It’s still perfectly doable even if you’ve been sheltered from the outside world, and even in these economical times.
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Why You Want To Freeze Everything Into Ice Cubes

Freezing almost anything into Ice Cubes

Today we’ve collected a few awesome ways you can use ice cubes. Or using the ice cube form, rather. Every Thrifter already knows that freezing leftover food can be very beneficial for our wallets, but did you ever consider freezing stuff in extra-small portions? Even if you did, this article might discover a few new uses of these tiny frozen chunks. Freezing stuff into ice cubs is easy and can help make your life easier.
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