I am moving into my own apartment and have started a new job, but what comes with all that new territory is a new cost of living set of rules.
I am starting to think that I don't completely have the best handle of cooking on a budget, based on some discussions and, as is true with all of us, I am in a kitchen rut.
I make stir frys, chili, the occasional Pho and Pupusas, ground meat and rice dishes, basic chef's salad, and grinders, but I realize that I don't cook enough of a variety of wholesome and cheap foods. But I have one BIG problem too: I am severely, really severely, dairy intollerant, something I only recently discovered. Even lactose free milk can make me sick, go figure! No more pizza for me.
Another issue is it will be a while before I have all the kitchen stuff needed, all the pots, pans, and ovenware.
I need more ways to cook chicken breast and chicken (other), for instance.
I am finding that for some reason, my own cooking is starting to turn me off, I am enjoying my cooking less. This is bad because starting to get a paycheck and moving to the city means the temptation to eat at McDonald's, and that isn't always economic or wholesome (the two are mutually exclusive at fast food chains).
Today for instance: I bought 2 dollar chicken sandwiches. I wanted a McDouble, but it has cheese and so so very bad for you. The sandwiches are kinda gross so I doubt I will make too much of a habit of eating there (the meat seems to contain chicken skin, I'd swear!)
I am going to let myself eat out once in a while though, as a reward for working again, but my budget is going to be almost as tight as it has always been so good home economics is paramount.
I'd make beans, but getting gassers a lot at a new job, well, YKWIM...
If any of you can suggest recipes, even if in a link, or your own, this might be great for each of us. Food is costing more and more, and with petro prices up, it will only increase yet more.
So what things do YOU cook, and do you have recipes? Especially non dairy? And maybe non glutin even for those of us here that are glutin intollerant?
Any of you have good vegetarian stuff? Fish stuff (the one store nearby to my future place is a fish store)? Mind you, I know nothing about cooking fish, and always felt it was too expensive. -- Join Teams Helix and Discovery. Rest in Peace, Leonard David Smith, my best friend, you are missed badly! Rest in peace, Pop, glad our last years were good. Please pray for Colin, he has ependymoma, a brain cancer, donate to a children's Hospital.
I've been having Healthy Choice steamers lately for lunch. It is a way for me to submit to a form of portion control. (I much prefer a $5 footlong on flatbread from Subway!)
I like the salad kits (like Caesar Salad) - but I make the whole thing a meal for me.
Heather can do OK on a small chilli from Wendy's for lunch.
I actually like Ramen Noodles. At $0.20 each, but one does not make a meal. (Two, but one "flavor packet" is just right.)
I used to like Kraft Macaroni, but mix in a bunch of frozen peas while it was boiling. Its been years since I went to that much trouble to "cook"!
I don't eat desserts, cake, pie, chocolate, ice cream, candy, or anything along that line. (I will occasionally have Sweet & Sour Chickenballs. - not cheap!)
Chips are still a vice.
I don't drink alcohol, milkshakes, ... I like Crystal Lite (Lately just decaffeinated ice tea flavor), milk, and water. Often bottled water.
Tomato soup is good.
I like popcorn as a big snack. (Get your own bowl!)
Canned green beans makes a great cold snack straight from the can if I'm feeling a healthy snack is in order. I bought a fancy mechanical can opener, and then they started coming with flip tops - go figure. --
I LOVE tomato soup, but I always made it with milk rather than water, doesn't taste the same with just water, and it does have cream in it.
It's like every darned thing I like has dairy, but eating dairy makes me sick in a way, well, we'll leave that one alone. I just can't afford to eat it with a new job starting, suffice it to say. I have a sister who is gluten intolerant.
I now suspect there may be other foods I am allergic to and wish there was a way to test for it.
I was going to ad macaroni a tuna salad to my meals index, but I made it last week and couldn't stand it for some reason.
I don't know if I am just getting worse as a cook or what it is, but food is starting to taste worse to me, why is that? Is that something that comes with age? -- Join Teams Helix and Discovery. Rest in Peace, Leonard David Smith, my best friend, you are missed badly! Rest in peace, Pop, glad our last years were good. Please pray for Colin, he has ependymoma, a brain cancer, donate to a children's Hospital.
Ramen noodles, (cooked & drained, then sprinkle a little of the "flavor packet" on the noodles) & a small can o' Beenie Weenies mixed in. $1.57 total! YUMMY! -- Come fold for a cure with us @ Team Helix.
Huh, beany weanies with Ramen, would never have thought of that! I put beans in my salad, chick peas and those white Italian beans.
Turns out there is a Fish Store and a Grocery store within walking distance of the new place. Lot's of Caribbean foods, so I'm gonna want to learn how to cook Puerto Rican stuff and such. I think they make a beans and rice dish.
I am thinking I will be eating more ethnic foods since much of the world is also lactose intolerant, it's just us Americans that devour dairy so much, and, erm, the Swiss and some other Europeans. -- Join Teams Helix and Discovery. Rest in Peace, Leonard David Smith, my best friend, you are missed badly! Rest in peace, Pop, glad our last years were good. Please pray for Colin, he has ependymoma, a brain cancer, donate to a children's Hospital.
Casseroles are out of fashion these days, but I really find that they are exactly what I want at times, and they are easy to make and don't cost that much either. Easy to make, easy to eat, good for you and you can make them from almost anything.
1) Find a good cookbook, specifically for your dietary restrictions, and find things in it that work for you that aren't loaded with expensive ingredients (no surf & turf every night!). I find this is the easiest way to find new ideas, even if I often take the recipe suggestions and alter them to suit what I have on hand or what I prefer.
2) Start with simple things like meatloaf or comfort foods like pasta and then expand as you have more varied kitchen 'hardware' to use.
3) Make multiple meals of a given dish and freeze individual meal sized portions for future use.
4) Good quality frozen veggies can be found at reasonable prices. Pair a portion or two of these with a starch and a meat to make nutritious and sensible meals that don't cost a fortune.
5) Buy a large quantity of a given spice every week / shopping trip. $5 worth of almost any dried spice will last quite a while and give added flavour and variety to the 'same old same old'. Much better for you than ketchup too.
6) Don't be afraid to "take a night off" once in a while. There are days when all I want is a fried egg sandwich or a PB&J. Both have protein, and if you have some fruit for dessert, it's not as unhealthy or lacking nutrition as you might think.
7) Add flavour to rice / couscous / pasta but putting something extra in the water when you cook them. Apple juice / Worchestershire sauce / chicken stock / you name it....it's just another way of adding a touch of flavour to a meal. -- All of us get lost in the darkness, dreams learn to steer by the stars All of us do time in the gutter, dreamers turn to look at the cars Join Team Helix
Even though there are lots of fast food places near work, I almost always pack a lunch. Since I'm lazy, I make a sandwich every other day and bring one half one day and the other half the next. I also put in fresh fruit and vegetables and raisins and sometimes a bit of a dessert like a cookie.
For breakfast, we bake a batch of muffins every few days and vary what 'extras' go in ... like raisins, nuts, banana.
As for supper. I'm lucky that I'm not the cook. Otherwise it would be KD or a can of beans .... -- Jamais le mal naura le dernier mot. La foi et lamour déplacent les montagnes de la haine. - Marguerite (Maggy) Barankitse
Cook Once, Eat Twice - Slow Cooker Recipes: I've found this very handy, if you happen to have a crock pot, to find ideas that are very easy to put together and are ready when you get home (no cooking after a long day, and you arrive to a home that already smells like dinner). You can often find a slow cooker at a garage sale or a second hand store for very little, they cost less in electricity than a stove, and there are so many things you can make in them, from chili/beans/stew to more complicated dishes, that they are great to have around. Rice cookers are a great convenience too, but a pot works just as well.
The Looneyspoons Collection: I just picked this one up at Costco after flipping through it and finding some ideas that sounded fantastic but weren't a ton of effort. I don't know who "Janet & Greta" are, but I assume I should (Food Network types? dunno).
From the Looneyspoons:
1 cup medium salsa 1/2 cup light peanut butter 2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate 1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce 1 tbsp liquid honey 1 tbsp grated gingerroot 1/2 tsp curry powder 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1kg or 2.25 lbs)
Whisk together salsa, peanut butter, orange juice concentrate, soy sauce, honey, gingerroot, and curry powder in the crock of a slow cooker. Place chicken thighs over sauce. Turn pieces to coat both sides with sauce. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or high heat setting for 2.5 to 3 hours, until chicken is tender. Garnish chicken with chopped green onions and chopped peanuts, if desired. Serve on a bed of hot basmati rice, or coconut rice.
That's at least 6 meals worth of meat portion, depending on how big the thighs are. Simple too. -- All of us get lost in the darkness, dreams learn to steer by the stars All of us do time in the gutter, dreamers turn to look at the cars Join Team Helix
I had some bread with margarine and got sick from that, too, darn it!
Stupid allergies, what a PITA they are.
I thought of one thing I can whip up fast: scrambled eggs and refried beans with salsa in a tortilla. No cheese, but I'll really miss the cheese.
I guess goat's milk cheeses will be ok...
Can Bisquick be made with water instead of milk? Or could I use soy milk? -- Join Teams Helix and Discovery. Rest in Peace, Leonard David Smith, my best friend, you are missed badly! Rest in peace, Pop, glad our last years were good. Please pray for Colin, he has ependymoma, a brain cancer, donate to a children's Hospital.
Whole chickens are a bargain IMO. Roasted the first day with taters and root veggies roasted along with. Leftovers the second day,maybe a stir fry w/rice or a chicken salad. Then make stock with the bones and carcass for a soup. Crack the bones to get the marrow flavor out and simmer with carrots,celery,peppercorns,garlic,etc etc. Also a Tbs of vinegar helps get more flavor from the bones when simmering. Quick mix of egg and flour and spice makes a nice chewy noodle/spaetzle dropped into the broth near the end(and after removing the bones and boiled out veggies).
Also,frozen veggies are a good alternative to fresh. Often cheaper and with good flavor and quality. Plus if bought on sale you can stock them to have on hand in the freezer. -- Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town. Team Helix- Folding@Home and Rosetta@Home