HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Cheap and healthy

  • 8

I just moved and on a tight budget...what do you cook when you're strapped?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Noodles personally. There are a lot of eating on a budget threads already with some interesting ideas.

    1. Eggs and rice.

      Heck, I eat some combo of eggs and rice even when not "strapped".

      It's just good shit.

      1. Buy unprocessed ingredients - this strategy is summed up as "shop along the walls of the supermarket" - look for quick-sale mark downs in each area. In the middle aisles, stick with staples like beans and rice. The less prepared they are, the cheaper, so buy dry beans that you soak and cook at home, rather than canned.

        I make a large pot of soup every week, usually containing beans, lots of other vegetables, and a small amount of meat.
        I have soup with good bread or crackers for one meal every day. Dicing and deeply browning 4oz of kielbasa before adding onions, broth, and other soup ingredients will make 3 qts of meaty-tasting soup.

        1. Pasta, canned diced tomatoes, herbs, can't get much more frugal.

            1. Lots of threads on this already, but I try to cook meat that will last many meals: roasting a turkey or a chicken on a Sunday, for example.

              Eggs are always great. I buy tuna by the dozens when the cans are on sale.

              Veggies can be had quite cheaply....fresh, or frozen. Use what's available, good, and cheap.

              1. I make a crockpot full of beans every week. I alternate between pinto beans, navy beans and black beans. Then we use the beans in soups, side dishes, casseroles, make bean dip, etc during the week until we run out. Been doing this for a year and except for taking a few breaks we are not sick of this yet. Easy and cheap and healthy.

                1. I stock up on cans of crushed tomatoes and several different types of pasta. Your local discount grocery stores will usually sell 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes for about $1. You can whip up homemade sauce with just a few simple ingredients (fresh garlic, olive oil, dried italian herb mix, red pepper flakes, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, and a little sugar). It's a fraction of the cost of jarred sauces, plus the tomatoes sold as whole/crushed/diced are fresher (by law) than what they are allowed to use in pre-made sauces.

                  I also like to make sausage stuffed hungarian hot peppers. Just pick up a pack of bulk hot sausage, mix it with some eggs, romano cheese and seasoned breadcrumbs. Then stuff it in the peppers, and cover them all with a can of crushed tomatoes. Cover and bake for about an hour and a half. The leftovers are great cold in sandwiches. You don't even need to season the sauce, since all the seasoning is in the sausage and will flavor the crushed tomatoes.

                  Tuna noodle casserole is filling and cheap. Or you could pick up a pork ribeye roast for about $6, slow roast it in the oven, and get several meals out of it - bbq pulled pork sandwiches, throw it in a ragu, fry some of it up into a carnitas and serve it in tacos. etc...

                  If ground turkey is on sale, perhaps make a big batch of turkey meatballs. Great in sandwiches, with pasta, plus you can play with the sauces, such as a sweet & sour, or a buffalo wing sauce.

                  For breakfast, eggs and potatoes are cheap. I've seen 5 lb bags of potatoes go on sale for $1 a bag. Peel and cube them then parboil them to have on hand for home fries. You can jazz up scrambled eggs by adding some frozen spinach and a little cheese, perhaps some diced tomato to make an omlette to go along with it.