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frithiof

Best cheap eats?

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OK, so the budget has gotten really small again, and I'm trying to think of cheap foods that I can buy and make that also taste somewhat decent.

I'll get the obvious suggestions out of the way: Rice and beans with soy sauce. Ramen noodles.

Anyone else have any ideas, or did I pretty much cover all of the super-cheap foods? My budget for food is somewhere around $50 a month.

I'm tempted to try cooking with tofu... (I will be supplementing with vitamin B12, to avoid the obvious problems)

I'm not a vegetarian, BUT I've noticed that it's possible to make decent, "meaty" meals with veggies and fruits. I wonder if it would be possible to make something like a hamburger patty with tofu, soy sauce, and bacon grease. Add a few french fries, drenched in salt, and a hamburger bun, and that could be a tolerable meal.

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You can try chewing your nails, or some other non-essential body parts if times get dire.

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j4rio said:

You can try chewing your nails, or some other non-essential body parts if times get dire.


I wasn't specifically thinking about that, but I suppose if I were to wander the USA during the summer, cannibalism COULD be a viable option.

You would be surprised if you knew how little the police care about people that go missing.

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I don't know how it is in the states. But here, if you soak and boil your beans yourself they are about 10 times cheaper.

Roots and beets like carrots are usually really cheap and healthy food. Tasty too. You can do a lot with that.

You can buy cheap pork bone and boil to make a good base for a broth or stew in general.

You can also make a good meal out of a couple of eggs and some cottage cheese.
Makes a nice kind of omelet dish. Also throw in some beets and you got a lot more to work with.

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Oatmeal porridge. Takes less than five minutes to make. Norse recipe.


What you need:
Pot.
Stove (a fire works, too).
4-5 decilitres* of water.
2 decilitres of oatmeal.
A pinch of salt (only if you feeling wealthy enough).

Mix the ingredients and put it on a stove.
Light the stove.
Stir continuously until the stuff becomes porridge, and a bit after that, when it thickens.

Serve it in a bowl with milk and a spoonful of lingonberry jam.

*A single decilitre container would be roughly equal in size to a small coffee-cup (not a beaker).

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kristus said:

I don't know how it is in the states. But here, if you soak and boil your beans yourself they are about 10 times cheaper.



It's pretty much the same in the states. When I have the money, I'll eat out, but I always keep a bag or two of rice and beans stashed away for the slightly more embarrassing times.

I used to eat just rice and beans when I was in the army to save money. Boring as hell, but cost effective. I would eat different types of potato chips at work with the rice and beans, and homemade french fries at the barracks, to keep myself from getting bored with eating identical meals all day long (and to prevent myself from "cheating").

Roots and beets like carrots are usually really cheap and healthy food. Tasty too. You can do a lot with that.


This is excellent advice. I'm not Irish, but I'm a HUGE fan of the potato (and to a slightly lesser extent, "Welsh Rarebit", which presumably was the inspiration for the somewhat popular combination of french fries, cheddar, and bacon bits).

I think you can also get a nice tan if you eat enough carrots. ;)

You can buy cheap pork bone and boil to make a good base for a broth or stew in general.

You can also make a good meal out of a couple of eggs and some cottage cheese.
Makes a nice kind of omelet dish. Also throw in some beets and you got a lot more to work with.


I will try those ideas. Thank you. :)

Olroda said:

Oatmeal porridge. Takes less than five minutes to make. Norse recipe.


What you need:
Pot.
Stove (a fire works, too).
4-5 decilitres* of water.
2 decilitres of oatmeal.
A pinch of salt (only if you feeling wealthy enough).

Mix the ingredients and put it on a stove.
Light the stove.
Stir continuously until the stuff becomes porridge, and a bit after that, when it thickens.

Serve it in a bowl with milk and a spoonful of lingonberry jam.

*A single decilitre container would be roughly equal in size to a small coffee-cup (not a beaker).


Heh. :)

Being in college sucks sometimes... (not poking fun at you, but rather myself; funds are not as plentiful when you are in college)

edit: Laugh if you want, but when I was a kid, I remember my parents making sandwiches for me when I was going to school that literally consisted of one slice of white bread, cut in half, and a bunch of Crisco. Gross, in retrospect, but I didn't get fat, and it kept me from feeling hungry.

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kristus said:

I don't know how it is in the states. But here, if you soak and boil your beans yourself they are about 10 times cheaper.

Roots and beets like carrots are usually really cheap and healthy food. Tasty too. You can do a lot with that.

You can buy cheap pork bone and boil to make a good base for a broth or stew in general.

You can also make a good meal out of a couple of eggs and some cottage cheese.
Makes a nice kind of omelet dish. Also throw in some beets and you got a lot more to work with.

Hey, great post! I recently started making Broccoli cheese pie:

1/4 cup flour
1 egg
8 oz. Cottage Cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons finely shredded parmesan cheese (divided).
1/2 cup breadcrumbs.
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil.
1 tsp. nutmeg
A medium head of broccoli

Combine 1 tablespoon of the parmesan cheese, the egg, the rest of the cheeses and blend until even, then add flour and nutmeg and combine. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Steam the broccoli for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs and dribble the olive oil over the mixture. Mix this until the olive has fully blended into the breadcrumbs. When the broccoli is done steaming, let it cool a bit and then gently mix into the original egg-cheese mixture. Once combined, spread over an oiled glass baking dish. Evenly sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and bake in the over for 45 minutes.

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People discuss anything and everything in Doom World aye? Has anyone asked Doom World for Marriage counseling yet?

Anyway, Vegemite and Toast can't do you wrong. Pretty healthy substance too. But since you don't ride Kangaroos to work where you wrestle crocs for a living you probably won't enjoy the taste.

Are fruits cheap? Generally buying a bunch of fruits and chopping them up makes a great little fruit salad which I'm sure only has healthy benefits. I like Tomato Salads too. Otherwise I only like bread or meat based foods.

Isn't Pasta cheap? Sure anyone who isn't Italian can't make a sauce for fucking shit but learn a decent recipe and you have yourself a good cheap energy boost.

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With a spoonful of peanut butter and a piece of chocolate you can last for some time before you get hungry.

Not eating and sitting is pretty cheap too, if you can find a free chair or sit on the ground. I think I hear rumbling...

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potatoes, dry lentils, some pasta. Invest in spices, and you can do whatever. Vegan roux is one of the cheapest sauces you can make, if you've got olive oil.

Also, if there's a farm-share in your area, get in on that, maybe split with a friend (you'll typically get buried in more than enough vegetables to satisfy your caloric requirements).

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Chezza said:

Anyway, Vegemite and Toast can't do you wrong. Pretty healthy substance too.

I'm more partial to Marmite on saltine crackers.

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Vegetarian shepherds pie, which replaces the meat with beans and mushrooms. Potatoes, peas, carrots and beans, pretty cheap. Mix in some tomato paste and spices with the beans for some flavour. Also look up "flax eggs", the vegan answer to baking. You could make plenty of pancakes/waffles/muffins for dick all using that technique.

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Obsidian said:

I ate spaghetti and tuna for about 9 months. I'm still here, so it can't have been that bad.


...but if you had to choose between a perfectly spiced blue steak (raw hamburger meat doesn't count, mostly because it is about as safe as eating raw bacon), with thick cut, salted fries and a pint of Guinness, or spaghetti and tuna, which would you pick?

*sigh*... I know this feeling all too well. Thinking about food that is better than I can afford is like thinking about that ex- that was too good for you. I kinda feel like a rich kid that suddenly lost almost all of his money.

Scet said:

Vegetarian shepherds pie, which replaces the meat with beans and mushrooms. Potatoes, peas, carrots and beans, pretty cheap. Mix in some tomato paste and spices with the beans for some flavour.



I will look into this. Veggies are starting to look like a serious alternative to meat. And I suppose I could be super lazy and just eat things like apples for dessert (supposedly this is what some of our ancestors did back before everyone could afford the common tools in our modern kitchens).

Also look up "flax eggs", the vegan answer to baking. You could make plenty of pancakes/waffles/muffins for dick all using that technique.


I will look into this as well. Sometimes I forget that vegetarian diets are a cost-cutting measure (versus something associated with PETA types). I might look into stockpiling cheap corn products that can be converted into other types of food, too, as wikipedia claims that this is the most mass produced "staple food". So it should be relatively cheap, right?

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You can eat spaghetti, butter, cheese, and sauce.

Butter increases your level of happiness and the more you eat the better life is, so add butter during your tough times.

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Doom Dude said:

I've never used this site --> MyFridgeFood (had it bookmarked thanks to Reddit) but it might give you some ideas for combining stuff you have on hand.


Cool. :)

And yes, butter does increase happiness. I daresay that bacon grease makes you happier, though.

Edit: I think I might go simple for a while and get a bunch of instant mashed potatoes. With a little vegetable oil, garlic powder, and soy sauce (for salt and that vaguely "meaty" flavor), it could be tolerable, I think. (I was never a huge fan of onions, since in my opinion they tend to have an overwhelming flavor that doesn't really complement the dish.) Made in bulk, that could be microwaveable food for a week.

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GhostlyDeath said:

Butter increases your level of happiness and the more you eat the better life is, so add butter during your tough times.

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antares031 said:

I'm happy with my McDouble which costs only ₩2000(about $1.7) in here. Good thing the McDonald is not far from my apartment. It only took 3~4 minutes to walk.

Strange thing is, while McDouble only costs ₩2000, the Cheeseburger which has one less beef patty than McDouble costs more; ₩2400($2.05). And the Double Cheeseburger which has only one more cheese slice than McDouble costs even more; ₩4000($3.4)


This may be a matter of opinion, but I like their breakfast menu options a lot more than their lunch/dinner items.

The $1.00 Sausage McMuffins (no egg) appear to become cost and calorie appropriate as soon as you buy two of them. Buy 3, and you're still kinda coming out ahead. (One Sausage McMuffin has 400 calories, and if you get three of them for a total of $3, not including tax, that's 1200 calories, which a ton of energy for the price. Also, more than half of it is fat, which means you will feel sated longer, and less likely to try and snack on other things until you are genuinely hungry.)

I think McDonald's kinda lost some its charm when they got rid of the Super Size option, and stopped flavoring the fries with beef tallow. I think the fries taste mostly like flavorless grease and salt, now. Would it hurt to maybe use soy sauce to add a little kick to the things?

And on that note, it's weird how olive oil and (Kikkoman) soy sauce can make a lot of things taste better, while simultaneously requiring few, if any, additional spices (at nearly one gram of salt per tablespoon, soy sauce kinda makes the salt shaker obsolete, and adding olive oil makes it easier to make dishes greasy without having to actually fry them, which means I can steam most of my stuff and not worry about making a huge mess).

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If you need good cheap take-away food then I'm sure there's somewhere that sells cheap food. I know of at least 2 places in my city who sell sausage/bacon/egg baps for £1 each with your choice of free sauce.

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Take out food costs it's weight in gold, at least here in Australia. I've prepared loads of homemade foods I used to buy out, and some interesting originals dishes as well.

Hommemade pizza, pasta, porridge, fried chicken, burgers, salads, fish&chips, veggie-only dishes, low-fat dishes, high-fat dishes.. I've made my limited cash stretch pretty far. (and with a few spices and an English muffin, any mince meat can become a McMuffin far better than anything you'd get at Maccas.)

One of my favorite simple, cheap and yummy dishes is Lemon chicken & veggies:

Put about 2 tbsps olive oil into a pan, set to med-high heat.
After a few minutes (once oil is hot), place chicken breast in the pan.
Cook on one side for 8-10 minutes, periodically squeezing fresh lemon juice over the top.
Flip and repeat for another 10 minutes. Should have a nice crispy golden brown exterior and a juicy lemon-flavored interior if done properly!

Steamed veggies of your choice go great alongside. I usually have broccoli and potatoes with some really HOT hotsauce. $10 spend can get you two great meals of this and it doesn't take long to cook at all, just be prepared to clean up a little stovetop oil :)


I've worked on so many recipies over the years that I'm considering making a page on Doomkid's WAD Shack for Doomer-eats.. But haven't gotten around to it quite yet.

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Another option is to go full Soccer Mom and spend some time each week clipping coupons and researching grocery store sales. You can get a ton of otherwise expensive food on the cheap with just a little effort.

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BombChel said:

Another option is to go full Soccer Mom and spend some time each week clipping coupons and researching grocery store sales. You can get a ton of otherwise expensive food on the cheap with just a little effort.


B-b-but... my masculinity!!

I'm kidding, of course. That's a good idea.

It's probably about time I expand my culinary horizons and start figuring out how to make decent meals on a small budget. Meals that don't taste of "college"...

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antares031 said:

P.S: Instead of soy sauce, I can add hot pepper paste which is one of the best sauces in here (yes, we do love hot pepper paste). Its price is also cheap in here.


Hot sauce is an excellent thing to add to some meals. I'm tempted to get this stuff, or something like it. Getting crystals (in powder form) would probably be a terrible idea.

It's been awhile since I've had any really hot sauce. I'd probably hallucinate and cry like a baby if I tried the hardcore stuff now.

Never really tried hot pepper paste, or at least the type you're thinking of, but I will put that on my To-Do List.

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