Limited Food Budget + Food Issue = Help?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Allenna, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. Allenna

    Allenna I am not a Dragon. Or a Robot. Really.

    @Lerxst ooh thank you. I normally eat them raw, but garlic is always a plus.

    @budgie oh! I didn't realize the greek yogurt was just a thickening thing. I can get the almond milk for cheaper than normal milk, but the greek yogurt is always so pricey and I fret about it going off on me. Thank you!
    • Like x 1
  2. Starcrossedsky

    Starcrossedsky Burn and Refine

    For the record, I also have cooked pasta using this method (just leave it in the bowl until soft before draining, maybe reheat it a little if it gets too cool) and it works wonders. Does require more water, obviously, but it does the job.
    • Like x 1
  3. rigorist

    rigorist On the beach

    You can turn regular yogurt into Greek yogurt!

    Proper way: Strain the yogurt by putting a pile of it in cheesecloth suspended over a bowl for an hour or two. Feed the liquid to the cats and keep the now much thicker yogurt.

    Cheater way: Stir a few spoonfuls of powdered milk into the yogurt. That's how they actually make most commercial Greek yogurt.
  4. Lerxst

    Lerxst salty parabola

    Oh, and I think you mentioned kale is a no-go, but is that just a texture thing? Because kale chips are super easy and have a nice light but satisfying crunch. Just get a bunch of kale and on a good spoon day, rip the leaves off the stems, wash them, shake them off, spread them out on a cookie sheet, spritz them with cooking spray (I get an olive oil spray at the supermarket that's fairly cheap), and sprinkle on some seasoning (a packet of Ranch dressing mix works well, so do popcorn seasonings). Toss them around a little and spray/season more as you like. Put them in a low oven and come move them around a little every ...20 minutes or so. I use a toaster oven to do mine, so your mileage may vary. When they rustle like dry leaves (which I guess is what they are at this point, aheh) take them out, let them cool, and put them in a baggie.

    Just be advised that eating these delicious clumps of green leafy matter out of a baggie in public is going to get you some funny looks...
  5. rigorist

    rigorist On the beach

    Is oatmeal on the good list or the bad list?
  6. Allenna

    Allenna I am not a Dragon. Or a Robot. Really.

    @rigorist thank you for the tip on the yogurt! Oatmeal is hit or miss, but it might be I'm just not making it right. I do eat cream of wheat (when I remember to by it. I need to put that cute hello kitty shopping list thing I bought to use)

    @Lerxst kale is a I don't know thing? I'm hesitant to buy any in case I don't like it.
  7. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    You know, I am not 100% sure, but I think cream of wheat is a thing I like but never remember to get or eat.
  8. Allenna

    Allenna I am not a Dragon. Or a Robot. Really.

    I'm weird and like it kinda under cooked at the 'cooked but soupy' stage, but I like it in its more solid? form too. I actually really love the texture of it in all it's forms, whereas oatmeal if not just right put me off eating for hours.
  9. siveambrai

    siveambrai Negative Karma Engine nerd.professor.gamer

    I used to love under cooked cream of wheat. I had a whole formula in college for getting it just right. I know some people suggested peanut butter but I want to add that if you can eat it on whole wheat bread, which makes it a complete protein.
    • Like x 1
  10. rigorist

    rigorist On the beach

    Try overnight oats. Little known fact--the oatmeal you can buy is already cooked, you're just rehydrating it. That's why this works.

    Anyway, it's super easy and the recipe is all proportions

    1 part rolled oats (get the cheap kind in a cylinder)
    1 part milk (I use 2%, but you can use whatever you like, including things like soy milk)
    1 part yogurt (greek is preferred but not necessary)
    1 part flavoring. This can be anything sweet. I like fruit cocktail (the cheap kind with the cherries) or raspberry jam. But go with what you like.

    You can add extra stuff or try flavored yogurt. It works fine with cheap store brand yogurt, too. No need to get fancy. Remember--we're eating cheap!

    Mix it all up. Put it in the refrigerator overnight divided into individual servings of about two cups each. You can make three or four servings at a time--it gets better if it ages for about two days in the 'fridge.

    The rolled oats will slowly rehydrate and absorb a lot of the liquid milk.
    • Like x 1
  11. Aurora

    Aurora Very freckly member

    Frozen vegetables are a great option. Many fresh vegetables are picked a few days before full ripeness because they have to travel, and then lose nutrients while travelling, while frozen vegetables can be frozen very close to the fields, so that's not an issue. So frozen vegetables can have more nutrients than fresh vegetables. And they're cheap and generally come peeled, chopped, etc, so it's just a matter of adding them late in the cooking stages.

    As you like potatoes, one low-energy meal is tray bake made from frozen roasted potatoes with frozen mixed Mediterranean vegetables, and sausages. Heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, chop the sausages into bite-sized chunks, put into a roasting dish with roast potatoes and other vegetables, drizzle over a bit of oil or butter, mix together and then put in the oven for 20-40 minutes until potatoes and sausages are cooked. If you're feeling a bit more energetic you can add some dried rosemary or other herbs.

    Another, bit more involved cooking, is frittata. Cut potatoes into small chunks and microwave to cook. Beat a couple of eggs together with a couple of tablespoons of milk. Add in any other left-over vegetables, or frozen vegetables, and some parsley (fresh or dried). Mix in the cooked potatoes, pour into a frypan, gently heat the bottom and then either turn over (messy) or put under the grill to cook from the top. It's basically a thick omelette.

    Also, how do you feel about dried peas, lentils, and tofu?
    • Like x 1
  12. Lerxst

    Lerxst salty parabola

    ooh, re: frittatas--

    You can do these in muffin pans too. On a good spoon day you can make a pan or two of them and freeze them, and now you have pre-portioned nukeable frittatas.
    • Like x 1
  13. Re Allyssa

    Re Allyssa Sylph of Heart

    Disclaimer: I've never really had to watch for prices much. I mean I tend to try the cheapest alternative, but I don't know if I always do. My mom tells me we've had to deal with food stamps and stuff from when I was little and we were kind of tight on money frequently, so I tend to assume that stuff we usually got was relatively cheap. Also while I'm a college student and I cook, I also have a meal plan and eat on campus a lot, so I don't know how what I spend a month compares to how much I'd spend if I had to cook everything. Apologies if anything I suggest costs too much.

    There are things called Pasta Sides (also rice and italian and asian sides why they split it up, I don't know) by Knorr. They're about a buck each, and they only take water (and sometimes milk, but it says on the back) and 7 minutes to cook. I get a bunch of those, plus some pre-cooked chicken strips (a bag is about $7?). I put a handful or two of chicken strips (after they're dethawed) in with the pasta and now I have a meal and a half. But I eat bigger portions than are strictly necessary, so for other people it could be 2-3 meals.

    I was gonna suggest rice and beans, but you said beans are a no go. Hmm... I have a lot of meals that I cook with rice + some protein, but if beans are out, then all that's left is meats and those are more expensive? Oh! I don't remember how much they cost, but if you get two cans of roast beef (the only brand I like is Hormel) plus one can of tomato sauce (like $0.69) and pair that with rice, that feeds me for a week+! I do the same thing with kielbasa sausage (I think I get one package for ~$7? eh that might be a lot, I don't know sorry.), and hamburger meat, basically. If you think any of these would be a good idea, I can give you more details on the recipes.

    I also do mac and cheese + spam. The Kraft boxes are ~$1.50 and make enough mac and cheese for 2-3 meals for me (I actually like it better after it's been in the fridge for a day, but I may be strange.) Spam is like $3.50 though, so that's probably too much. You could probably pair it with those chicken strips I was talking about though. Or something else (I like sausage with it too).

    And single serve frozen foods are probably a bad idea, but Banquet potpies are $1 each, and make a good breakfast for me. (it's easy to get tired of them though.)

    Edit: Clarification with the pasta sides. One bag + a handful of chicken strips is one-two meals. I just generally buy a bunch of bags at a time. I think that was a little ambiguous. Also, I tried the store brand once and I found that that particular one at least wasn't worth the 10 cents you save.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
    • Like x 1
  14. Lissiel

    Lissiel Dreaming dead

    Slightly more spoon cost, but if you're going to buy fresh produce, you can often chuck the ends in water and have more grow. My mom does this with cooking herbs pretty much any time she buys some and then you can use one purchase a whole bunch of times.
    • Like x 2
  15. Rongeur

    Rongeur ~Heartless Bitch Extraordinaire~

    Peanut butter and eggs are both good ways of getting a lot of bang for your buck, as far as protein and some other nutrients go. A spoon or 2 of peanutbutter (or an egg) + some vegetables + a not-totally-trashy starch to fill you up = an okay meal.

    Also this is just a shot in the dark, but if cream of wheat is okay with you sensory-wise, then you might be okay with refried beans?
  16. Re Allyssa

    Re Allyssa Sylph of Heart

    Oh something I just discovered last night! Can soup that's more cream than soup is really good over rice, and stretches it out into two meals, instead of one (for me). I think you mentioned not liking the taste of can though? I can't say if it changes that because I don't notice the taste you're talking about, I think. But it's an idea. x)
  17. Morven

    Morven In darkness be the sound and light

    A lot of things can be stretched out with rice (or noodles); perfect for budget eating.
  18. Allenna

    Allenna I am not a Dragon. Or a Robot. Really.

    The smell usally gets me there. I don't know even know why my brain as a thing against beans. Like firm green beans (and well steamed soy beans) are all I can do -- don't ask why those get around my color issues. My brain is the dumbest about food.

    One of my friend pointed out that when I get soup it tends to be my mom giving me cans that have sat in her pantry for uh quite a while and that might be the issue and reminded me to check expatriation dates in the future. I'm going to snag some chowder when my snaps renews on the 5th - I will look into soups that go good with rice and stuff too! Thank you.

    Yeah, I need to utilize my rice cooker more, especially since it has a littler steamer basket so you can cook stuff while cooking the rice.

    You all are awesome! Thank you.
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