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Challenge $35 for a week 3 meals a day for 2

Help what would you cook and how to make healthy filling meals on a major budget? I need to start doing this so I want some great recipes to go along with your wise help. I need it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 2 adults for 1 week on only $35, Then I am going to try this for at least 6 months until I get the hang of it. We eat alot of chicken and fish not so much beef but once in awhile. Thanks

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  1. Do a search on this board for "recession cuisine". Tons of great, inexpensive ideas.

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    1. May I suggest that you consult our own rworange who has done extensive research on this subject...here's a link to a post to get you started:

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/429348

      I see you each chicken and fish...do explore the world of beans, too, and lentils, very cheap and packed with protein.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Val

        Thanks for finding that link. While I only expected to do this for one month ... it has had a lasting impact on my eating. It boils down to the 5 'S''s.
        - seasonal
        - sales
        - spices
        - stock up
        - salad

        That last was a shocker. Because I was going for healthy in my month of cheap eats, I avoided the usual starchy junk so I had a big green salad every day. It was really quite filling and it is something I continue to this day. Lettuce can be surprisingly inexpensive either at farmers markets or on sale at various markets.

        Maybe two more 'S's ... skip supermarkets ... except for sales, they are really expensive. Check out the local small mom and pops ... especially Mexican, Indian and Asian markets.

        Hope you will post what you make during the six months.

      2. Try pasta dishes too. Pasta is inexpensive and you can dress it up very simply with olive oil and garlic, or pesto, be creative and you will be amazed at what you can come up with. I bake all my own bread and pizzas for pennies. It not only saves me money but it is much tastier and better for you since you control the ingredients that go in. There are just my husband and myself at home and we go shopping every 2 weeks and spend roughly 75-80 dollars. I also clip coupons and shop for sale items and if you can check out your grocery store mid week for fantastic sales on meat that is getting close to its expiration date. I do that and then portion it out for the 2 of us and freeze the rest for another meal.

        For example, last week the 1 store had pork tenderloins marked way down. I picked 1 up for under 5 dollars and it was enough for 2 meals. If you have a crock pot you can get away with cheap cuts of meat that tenderize nicely being slow cooked. Also now that warm weather is upon us purchase your fresh produce at local stands and save a ton of money. Good Luck!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Smileelisa

          Has pasta not really increased in price recently in the States? In Britain and Italy it's more expensive because wheat has doubled in price over the past year.

          1. re: Smileelisa

            Husband doesn't love pasta unfortunately and now they are rasoning (spelling)
            rice and I don't love pork tenderloins but will eat chops. I did that almost expired deal with chicken and almost killed myself so I will not do that. It just seems you just eat more calories when trying to cut back. I need more help please?

            1. re: nbermas

              Just what is it you will eat?

              While I can understand having a bad run-in with a discount chicken, that is the execption. That has never happened to me. However, years ago I had a run in with some bad smoked oysters (not discount) and it was years before I ate them again.

              The easy thing is to go for the high-calorie junk like potatoes, cheese and cheap cold cuts.

              If you read the threads mentioned you should get some ideas ... or you can go the easy route and make tuna casserole with Campbell's mushroom soup.

              It might be a little more helpful if you will describe what you usually eat and how you intend to modify that.

              Just going with breakfast ... what do you currently eat? What won't you eat?

              I like oatmeal a lot so for me, a $2 large container of oatmeal lasts all month. This week my local market had large containers of fresh strawberries for $1.47. So for me, breakfast was about $35 cents. It was neither high calorie nor unhealthy.

              This is the time of year for asparagus so for dinner that has been my vegetable. At $1.50 a pound, it was healthy and not expensive. I'm not going to be buying asparagus in November when it it $5 a pound.

              Look at what is seasonal and on sale and work around that. Really ... look at your local supermarket ads if you won't shop at ethnic markets. Post what is on sale this week and what you would eat ... I'll come up with menus for you.

          2. I think that sometimes "economies of scale" can be helpful. Supermarkets sometimes only put the "family size" packages of meat on sale, so if you can spend a little more one week when chicken is on sale, wrap it up individually and freeze it, it evens out the budget over time. Bigger bags of rice, beans, etc are often less expensive too. On the other hand, if you only need a little of something, it can be more economical to buy at a place that sells in bulk, like health food stores. Then there is less waste.

            1. Oh and homemade granola is good, easy, healthy, and can be very inexpensive. Great for breakfast and snacks.