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Apr 18, 2005 12:34 AM

Your Best Budget Recipes Please

  • j

Hello -

The husband and I just bought our first home which means that our disposable income is no longer. The good news is that we'll be cooking in our very own kitchen! Please share with me your favorite ideas/recipes for inexpensive cooking/eating...thank you!

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  1. k
    King of Northern Blvd.

    Not sure where you are but.... Buy a big 10lb bag of Basmati/Jasmine rice from local Asian grocer...Get some Rice wine, hoison sauce and oyster sauce..They last forever and just add some fresh whatever you have and stir fry with some dried peppers, serve over rice....Just a basic idea but it's cheap and I do it at least once a week...

    8 Replies
    1. re: King of Northern Blvd.

      The KoNB gives excellent advice. I'll just add a suggestion to get some tubs of Mae Ploy curry pastes. There are 6 or 5 different flavors. Very versatile and will make damned near anything taste good.


      1. re: Jim Washburn

        Thanks everyone for your great suggestions!

      2. re: King of Northern Blvd.

        I agree with the other posters - where I live the Asian and Indian markets are great places to get deals on beans/rice and spices. The Asian markets also carry great produce that is MUCH cheaper than the local supermarkets.

        If you have local farmers markets you may want to check them out as well.

        Potatoes - cheap and versatile.

        Use everything! Save scraps of veggies from several meals to make veg. stock. Same with chicken bones and shrimp shells etc.

        If you can you may want to start a garden in your new home, at least for herbs that can be pretty pricey in a Supermarket

        1. re: AimeeP

          I second the suggestion for an herb garden. It doesn't cost much to set up, and fresh herbs can be so overpriced at the grocery store. If you live near a farmers market, herbs are usually cheaper there.

        2. re: King of Northern Blvd.

          Don't forget Hispanic markets too. I shop at the Mercado on Whittier Blvd in Los Angeles and spent $41 last week and got a heap of fresh fish, shrimp, cerviche plus several bags of vegetables, salads, scallions. Their bakery is unbelievable; a layered sponge cake with strawberries and chocolate frosting for $8 which looked divine. Central American butchers have very good meat too, different cuts but very fresh because the population they serve likes to shop every day or so.

          As far as receipes - cooking on the weekend for the week is a good way to save money; a roast chicken, a meat loaf to cut for sandwiches and making some soup or stew so you can eat off that for several meals is a good solution when you are too tired to cook. Its there already. Take lunch too and stay away from the $5.95 servings of latte at the take away coffee places. My daughter buys meat that is reduced because of the 'use by date' is almost up - wraps it in freezer paper and freezes it until she needs it. Just bought 3 turkeys last week for $3 each.

          1. re: Zoe

            zoe, i'm in LA too, what markets have turkeys for $3?
            and where do i find the central american markets?

            thanks in advance

            1. re: steph p

              My daughter who is the shopper that my Mom was goes to the Ralphs on Barrington and Olympic early on Monday mornings and gets the reduced meat for her week's meals. That's where she bought the turkeys.
              When I buy meats like that I wrap it in freezer paper with freezer tape, mark it and freeze it.

              The Mercado is on Whittier Blvd in East LA - off ramp Atlantic, go south to Whittier then East. Thats the cheapest of the cheap. A lot of areas, like West LA have Mexican butchers where the value is very good.

              Just bought a bunch of reduced meats at Vons on Barrington and Santa Monica blvd, in fact have just finished wrapping them.

          2. re: King of Northern Blvd.

            I eat a lot of mexican made at home-it's cheap, filling and tastes better than a lot of the dishes at mexican restaurants.

            Also, having a good quality whole wheat bread with meals and a bowl of soup before the entree is satisfying.

          3. If you and your husband like beans, that's another inexpensive food. The recipes would depend on your personal taste. For example, with chickpeas you can make hummus or fritters. Or you could cook them simply with a bit of tomato, onion, garlic and a bit of ham/bacon.

            1. Marcella Hazan's simple baked chicken and her tomato sauce that consists of tomatoes, butter and an onion. Both recipes are on this board - do a search for Marcella Hazan and you should find them.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rkn

                Pork Loin Chops Milanese--pulverize two 6-8 oz. boneless pork loin chops by pounding them between two sheets of plastic wrap until they're 1/4 inch thick and about 8-10 inches in diameter. Dredge them in separate bowls of flour, 2 beaten eggs, and bread crumbs (pref. panko) seasoned with salt, pepper, minced rosemary leaves, and grated parmigiano-reggiano. Fry in 1/4 inch of olive oil over medium heat, 3-4 minutes per side. Top with arugula and halved pear tomatoes dressed with olive oil and lemon juice and plenty of cracked pepper. Total cost (assuming you have olive oil and eggs and flour on hand) is under $10. Delicioso!

              2. Congrats on your house! The less processed the food is, the cheaper it is, generally. For example, buy a whole chicken instead of a package of skinless, boneless breasts. Make stock from the carcass.

                Learn to make bread-- I can make a multigrain, w/ nuts and seeds loaf for about $.50, compared to buying an identical loaf for $4.00. Sourdough and pizza crust for much less.

                I like fresh produce, but rely a lot on frozen, which can actually have more nutrition in it, if the fresh is not locally grown. Use your freezer, any time food spoils in the fridge, that's money down the drain.

                And learn to like store brands-- there are VERY few namebrand foods I have to have. Especially cereal. Cold cereal is a huge ripoff. Even coupons for name brands often turn out to be more expensive than the generic.

                Shop around. As mentioned, rice, soy sauce, etc are often much cheaper at Asian markets. Couscous and oatmeal are usually cheaper out of the bulk bins at your local co-op than they are packaged in tiny boxes at the grocery store.

                1. Indian/Pakistani and other etnic shops are great places to buy spices....much cheaper than the bottles at the local supermarket.