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prepared foods? for everyday eating

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rikk Sep 2, 2013 02:40 PM

anywhere downtown to get prepared foods on a daily basis, nothing to break the bank.... have no kitchen, except for microwave and bar-sized fridge, so need to be eating out every single meal.... Thinking something like a Wegman's or similar?

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  1. l
    lagatta RE: rikk Sep 2, 2013 03:42 PM

    Can you equip yourself with a hotplate and a small countertop convection oven? That would quickly save you $$$ and additives over a constant intake of ready meals.

    One of the best new places, at the west end of downtown, is Adonis. At the eastern end, there is an IGA at Complexe Desjardins that has a lot of food ready for office workers thereabouts, but you can also get Chinese and Southeast Asian takeaway very close by.

    You can get fresh vegetables at Adonis and PA, a little colander to rinse them with at any dollar store for $1 - just leave it there when you move on. If you have a hotplate (and a pot) or a rice cooker, you can make rice or pasta which can make a nice meal with treats you find.

    I had to look up Wegmans; didn't know anything about that chain. Do they have an exceptional choice of ready meals?

    5 Replies
    1. re: lagatta
      r
      rikk RE: lagatta Sep 2, 2013 07:12 PM

      Interesting suggestion about rice cooker - would need to figure out how to do more than just rice though!

      yeah, unfortunately, the optoins are limited - I am where I am and cannot move. I cannot get a hotplate or countertop convection oven. I am limited to a microwave, a small bar fridge, and something with automatic off (like a rice cooker)...

      1. re: rikk
        k
        kpaxonite RE: rikk Sep 2, 2013 09:29 PM

        if you can have a rice cooker then you can have a slow cooker- check the 'home cooking' of chowhound for other users advice on recipes, you will find plenty.

        1. re: rikk
          p
          Plateaumaman RE: rikk Sep 3, 2013 11:45 AM

          I've cooked meals for dinner parties from scratch in a microwave - rice cooks very well, in fact, although a rice cooker is a good thing to have. This is fun:

          http://www.buzzfeed.com/arielknutson/...

          A panini press, slow cooker or electric frying pan might be handy? I was going to post the fancy frozen food place and see C70 has done it and found the name, Cool and Simple. I'd be curious to know how those meals are?

          When I'm downtown I stock up on frozen dumplings from Qing Hua (oh, would need the electric frying pan or something to cook those) or grab inexpensive snacks at Coco Bun. Or maybe shish taouk in the food courts?

          1. re: Plateaumaman
            c
            C70 RE: Plateaumaman Sep 3, 2013 11:47 AM

            shish taouk is a good idea, I find most plates enough for 2 meals.. one hot, then one next day cold, rolled into a pita or two.

          2. re: rikk
            porker RE: rikk Sep 3, 2013 01:51 PM

            Theres an IGA in Alexis Nihon and a Provigo on St. Catherine near Fort, along with most other grocery stores, usually have tins of prepared foods (I'm thinking lasagna, shepherd's pie, etc etc. I dunno, but I seem to recall these while passing by in the stores).
            Not quite downtown, but Pizza Mota near JTM has quite a bit of prepared foods.
            Howsabout getting a whole chicken at Chalet BBQ and a half gallon of gravy. Can make a few meals outta that...

            You do seem to have an interest in the rice cooker. With that said, and not wanting to offend the likes of C70, have you considered a water heater, something like this
            http://www.amazon.com/Rival-4071-WN-3...
            I made stews, soups, beans, spaghetti, pulled pork, etc in one of these suckers (I once had a lousy desk job...).

        2. cherylmtl RE: rikk Sep 2, 2013 06:11 PM

          5 Saisons, on Greene, has a very good selection of prepared foods. Perhaps a bit pricier than other places, but still not bad, considering.

          2 Replies
          1. re: cherylmtl
            c
            C70 RE: cherylmtl Sep 3, 2013 09:53 AM

            best advice in this thread. he's made it clear that he does not have the space or equipment (and perhaps desire) to cook.

            1. re: cherylmtl
              m
              marblebag RE: cherylmtl Sep 17, 2013 08:06 AM

              5 Saisons is like Whole Paycheck. If you don't look carefully you will ;eave the store lighter.

            2. u
              unlaced RE: rikk Sep 2, 2013 06:23 PM

              Comptoir du chef have several locations downtown and offer prepared meals. I don't know what your budget is but they are reasonably priced given the quality/quantity of the food. I find them a little lacking in taste but the portion size, mix of ingredients (eg a meal normally has protein, starch and vegetables) and quality of ingredients make it a fairly good option.

              http://www.comptoirduchef.com/

              3 Replies
              1. re: unlaced
                k
                kpaxonite RE: unlaced Sep 2, 2013 09:40 PM

                with the loyalty card the tenth meal is free and most meals cost around 10 dollars. I go there once in a while and often make pitas out of whatever meal I buy. They dont taste great (dont buy the lamb one its nasty) but better than frozen dinners and are made with 'real' ingredients,, I think.

                Antoine and James sells take away salads that are ok but kind of pricey.

                TA pies are great and if you get the 12 pie (?) special you can get a great deal and might be able to work out a method to make them at home with your equipment (why a toaster oven is impossible is beyond me.. surely you can wait 30 mins for dinner when you get home?) .

                If I had no proper fridge or cooking area I would make a lot of salads.. but salads with many vegetables definitely arent super cheap. Im kind of confused whether you are looking for cheap recipes or great recipes with the equipment you have that are good value.. Either way I think you can find better info on other boards on chowhound.

                Further, I think you should specify what 'breaking the bank' means to you if you cant afford an apt with proper stove that might be quite different than other users' understanding of the expression.... in the long run a super cheap apt with stove will always be cheaper (unless you dont care whatsoever about health).

                1. re: kpaxonite
                  m
                  marblebag RE: kpaxonite Sep 17, 2013 08:08 AM

                  Buy the frozen TA pies and reheat at work?
                  All my prepared lunches cost 2$ in materials but you do need a rice cooker and toaster oven.

                2. re: unlaced
                  j
                  jptimbaud RE: unlaced Sep 4, 2013 05:57 AM

                  at comptoir du chef, with the loyalty card, the 13th meal is free (kpaxonite, maybe you have an old card?)

                  after 2pm on Friday, it's buy one, get one -50% at the Metcalfe branch (don't know about the other ones)

                3. m
                  meagain RE: rikk Sep 2, 2013 07:03 PM

                  It would be much cheaper to rent a place with a kitchen and cook than to eat out every meal. Much, much, much cheaper.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: meagain
                    l
                    lagatta RE: meagain Sep 3, 2013 09:43 AM

                    Much, much, much healthier too.

                    1. re: lagatta
                      chefjeannine RE: lagatta Sep 3, 2013 10:30 AM

                      Rikk mentioned that moving is not an option, and I'm sure they understand the financial and health benefits of not always eating out.
                      What about salads or other easy recipes that can be prepared with only pantry and refrigerated items with a microwave? (Such as a couscous salad, bean salad, maybe a chicken salad with veggies and rotisserie chicken?)

                  2. m
                    Maximilien RE: rikk Sep 3, 2013 10:54 AM

                    I you could add a small toaster oven, then your options would be greatly expanded; even when bringing in prepared food.

                    1. c
                      C70 RE: rikk Sep 3, 2013 11:13 AM

                      There is an "upscale frozen food" place at the corner of Monkland and Draper but I forget what it's called. I would definitely try that if I were you, rikk.

                      edit: Cool and simple!

                      http://www.cool-simple.com/

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: C70
                        l
                        lagatta RE: C70 Sep 3, 2013 11:17 AM

                        They also have a store on Mont-Royal, near Boyer (Mont-Royal m├ętro).

                        1. re: C70
                          cherylmtl RE: C70 Sep 3, 2013 12:12 PM

                          I had thought of mentioning this place, but If the bar fridge doesn't have a freezer, it will only work for purchasing one day's meal at a time. Not being centrally located, it might not be very convenient to do so.

                        2. r
                          rikk RE: rikk Sep 3, 2013 03:00 PM

                          Thanks everyone for your suggestions and ideas. A bit more background/detail, which maybe I should have started with. I'm trying to come up with some ideas for a friend who is just starting McGill, living in the dorms. She's in one of the converted hotels on Sherbrooke Street, And it really is a converted hotel - the room is a basic hotel room - 2 beds for 2 people, a tiny closet for everyone's stuff, etc. no real kitchen for cooking. And the rules apparently are that any appliance needs to have an automatic shut off. Toaster ovens are not allowed, apparently. Neither is a microwave. (I don't get it). So I was intrigued by the rice cooker - that however also doesn't work since it switches to warm and not off. But a food steamer which has a timer for shut off may work. Anyhow, trying to think creatively and provide her with some ideas rather than either cafeteria food for an entire year, or restaurants (which run expensively!)...

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: rikk
                            k
                            kpaxonite RE: rikk Sep 3, 2013 07:10 PM

                            I had a friend living there and cant remember if her fridge had a freezer or not.. super cheap nearby on the run is 'super sandwich' and there is always 'eden' where you can buy some prepared sushi and other dishes for reasonable prices... definitely more upscale (but still about 10 dollars and its very high quality) but very close is 'fou d'ici'.

                            If you dont get the microwaves then you havent seen what kind of explosions drunk college kids can create with them for youtube. lol

                            1. re: rikk
                              cherylmtl RE: rikk Sep 4, 2013 05:14 AM

                              The microwave could be because of the amount of power it draws - it's possible the electrical system can't handle it.

                              1. re: cherylmtl
                                w
                                williej RE: cherylmtl Sep 7, 2013 01:49 PM

                                I presume a toaster is ok? They do shut off automatically. Buy bagels at st. Viateur along with cream cheese and some smoked salmon. Makes a good breakfast and lunch.

                              2. re: rikk
                                m
                                marblebag RE: rikk Sep 17, 2013 08:18 AM

                                For the automatic shut off requirement you can buy an electric timer for your toaster oven, microwave oven and rice cooker.

                                I used to live in the McGill ghetto. and for the area, Basha and Alto's are restaurants you can eat inexpensively. Lobo has the best prices on groceries and you have all 3 major stores nearby (IGA at Complexe DesJardins). Make a friend who has a "real" apartment and cook with them!

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