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Jan 15, 2008 07:40 AM

Budget Meals, no meat

Hi all,

We're trying to save money for our wedding (yay) and some unexpected dental work that has sprung up (boo). We're trying to cut back on our food costs because of this, but it has been hard because we both love to cook and eat. What are your favorite meals that don't cost a lot of money but taste great, and would satisfy a fish eating but otherwise vegetarian couple? And if they yield leftovers, even better!

We've been eating black bean quesadillas, roasted vegetables over rice, tofu curries, soups that yield lunch for a week, pastas, etc, but I'm looking for some "why didn't I think of that?" meals.


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  1. my favorite "super salad" can be stir fried over brown rice with shredded cheese on top, throw a few handfuls into chix broth for soup and makes an awesome salad that you can switch it up by adding fun toppings (guacamole, sprouts, grated cheese, different dressings, nuts, etc.). This salad lasts a while too, won't go bad fast like lettuce salads:

    white cabbage (sliced thin or shredded)
    red cabbage (less amount then white, same prep)
    carrots (sliced thin)
    broccoli (small pieces, slice thin the stalk)
    cauliflower (small pieces)

    I make a lot so I can eat it often, sauting in my favorite sauce (soy or whatever), steam a few handfuls for a very light vegie mix, my salad is different every day when I change up the dressing or top with something different (even add a protein like beans or tofu). I don't get sick of this salad mix.

    and congrats on your upcoming wedding.

    1. I don't know if you've thought of it or not, but here's my list:

      Vegetarian Chili (your black bean quesadillas made me think of this one first thing)
      the ol' standby Tuna Casserole (rib-sticking and cheap)
      Hummus...and anything else made with chickpeas or other beans...
      The uber cheap ramen noodles bulked up with whatever veggies you have on hand

      And I know there are more dishes but I'm drawing a blank. I'd suggest searching this board, you're bound to find more ideas in old threads.

      Congratulations btw (on the upcoming wedding of course(yay!) not the dental work (boo) :)

      1. How about polenta? I don't see it on your list...very very inexpensive and easy to make your own and can be topped with a mushroom ragout or something similar.

        1. we are in a similar situation (poor and no meat) and have the following standbys:

          -salmon burgers out of canned salmon, usually with asian flavors (ginger, cilantro, etc) or sort of french with lots of capers
          - Kuba, a czech barley dish we discovered on our honeymoon in prague. Boil barley with dried mushrooms, stock cube, minced garlic, marjoram. Once barley is al dente, drain, and add a knob of butter. Bake in 350 degree oven until it has a bit of a crust. Eat with dill pickles. Also, last night we tipped some leftover kuba into our cabbage soup; delicious!
          -bring to work lunch salads containing canned, drained and rinsed chickpeas, bulgur wheat, carrots, celery, lemon juice and parsley.
          -buy sad looking discounted fruit and stew with sugar and cinnamon and cardamon so you have fruit compote to put on top of plain yogurt
          -polenta which you top with quick tomato sauce from canned tomatoes, olives, capers. Saute a few fennel seeds in olive oil, and then fry an egg. put on top of tomatoes and polenta with some cheese.
          - we eat tons of cabbage. el salvadorian cabbage salad, german cabbage with caraway, thai cabbage salads, etc.
          -my husband makes a mean daal which we will have with basmati rice. often i turn leftovers into soup
          -he also makes a mean spaetzle that we eat with le puy lentil soup.
          -before my dietting, no knead bread

          when we lived in the usa, frozen veggies were a godsend in the middle of winter. unfortunately, they are harder to find in the uk. generally, i think peasant foods are the way to go.

          1. In their various incarnations and deviations:
            Rices , vegetable casseroles, eggs, cheese, pannini , salads......I would have begun with pasta, but you have that on your list....Good Luck and Happy Wedding Day!