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Topic: Even cheapskates need to eat  (Read 14343 times)
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« Reply #50 on: April 20, 2005 02:48:54 PM »

One of my favorite recipes is a pasta salad made with Annie's macaroni and cheese, especially the parmesan and basil flavor.  It can also be made with your favorite cheaper macaroni and cheese.  I have even made it Kraft Spongebob macaroni.  Grin

Cook the macaroni and cheese like usual, adding the cheese sauce to the noodles after cooking them.  Steam some broccoli and cut into small pieces, add to the macaroni, chop up a tomato, cucumber, carrots, any other veggies you like and add to the macaroni.  Last, add a few tablespoons of your favorite italian dressing.  You should end up with a nice creamy sauce on your noodles and veggies.  It's great for lunch or picnics because it travels really well.

We almost always have leftover macaroni and cheese at my house that no one will eat, so this recipe is great for using it up.

Or in English "the attempt on the life of the Hottentot chief's Godmother"
« Reply #51 on: April 22, 2005 10:17:34 AM »

here's my two in one sauce! 

i make this sauce for spagetti and lasagne.

2 cans of tomato sauce
1 can diced tomato (your choice of flavor)
1 can tomato puree
1 can tomato paste (tiny size)
1 jar of ready-made spag. sauce (i love the onion and garlic flav.)
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 med. onion diced
1/2 green pepper diced
1 T. evoo (extra virgin olive oil)

in lg. pot saute onions and green peppers in evoo until limp then add ground beef.  cook beef mixture until no longer pink, drain if needed.  then add rest of ingredients.  i always let mine cook for at least 2 hours on warm to low heat. 

one night you can make spagetti.  the sauce will freeze so you can use it for another night to make a lasagne.

i also use this similar recipe to make chili.  i omit the ready-made spagetti sauce and replace that with chili seasoning, 1 can of chili beans and 1 can of kidney beans.  i use the texas chili seasoning bag, i believe that's what it's called.  it's in a little brown bag.
we have chili dogs, chili burgers or frito pies from that.  just add your favorite cheese, sour cream, jalapeno's, and frito chips!  delish! 


« Reply #52 on: April 22, 2005 01:50:27 PM »

I just came out of about a year of unemployment. Trust.

my best tips for eating cheaply:


buy in bulk. bought dried they keep for a year. they're cheaper than dirt. all you have to do is plan your meals a little bit.

tips for cooking and soaking beans:

if you can, rinse your beans and then soak them in COLD water for 12 hours - 3 parts water to 1 part beans. adding 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda at this time helps break down some of the indigestible sugars (less gas). Drain that water and cover them with new water and simmer 'em until they're tender. The less you mess with 'em, the more they'll keep their shape.

If you don't remember to soak them just do this: Cover them with water in a covered pot. Bring them to a boil and let them go for a few minutes. Take it off the heat and let it sit for an hour or so and then cover them with new water and simmer them until they're yummy.

Or if you have a crock pot - 6 cups of water to 2 cups of beans. Cook on low for 12 hours ( At night, I rinse my beans and put them into a bowl along with veggies and seasonings and whatever else and stick it in my fridge. In the morning as I'm getting ready for work I plunk that thing into the crockpot and head out the door. When I get home from work it's almost done! )

With all the money you save you can buy a pressure cooker, which allows you to cook dried beans in like 30 minutes. AWESOME.

Baaa Ram Ewe....
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« Reply #53 on: April 22, 2005 02:28:47 PM »

When we run low on mulah, we make spaghetti carbonara..
I make me some sans the bacon cuz I don;t eat meat. but its yummy and hardly takes any money.
Here is the basics:

Boil some pasta drain and set as side.Any kind of pasta will do and any amount.
In a frying pan on medium brown your bacon in a bit of olive oil, or whatever oil. When its almost crisp or to your desired doneness, remove from pan. In that same pan dump in ur  beaten eggs, usually 2-3, again this depends on your taste. Scramble them and when they are set. Remove from pan set aside.
Now back to the pasta drain it really well and in a bowl add your bacon and egg. All ingredients should still be warm if not hot. Don't mix yet, first add cheese. I use parmesan and a grated blend of cheddar and monterey jack. But if all you have is sliced go for it. Also add seasonings to taste, i.e. garlic, parsley, salt pepper. If you find it a bit "dry" try adding some milk and Viola' you have a dish full of good things, plus oddly it reheats like well.

My daughter also like this odd things we call Emily Flips:
Corn tortilla, they are so cheap for a big old honking bag.
Can of refried beans
Cheese, grated or sliced.

Warm your tortilla in a dry skillet, when its pliable add beans and cheese to one side fold over the other unused side and toast it until a bit crisp.

Also you may want to check out allrecipes site, they have a lot of cheap and easy meals.


"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire (1694-1778)
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« Reply #54 on: April 22, 2005 02:38:29 PM »

For the person who asked about digestive biscuits, I don't think we have anything exactly like them in the states.  You can sometimes buy them as imports if your supermarket has an imported food section.  I think those zwieback cookies that you can give to teething babies are sort of close.  Or the fancy crackers you can get for teas - the sort of sweet whole-wheat ones.
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« Reply #55 on: April 22, 2005 02:43:49 PM »

Some of my fave low-cash meals:

Spaghetti-O's (bought w/coupon, usually from dented bin. A complete meal in a can!)

French toast - can use up that stale bread.  Mix about a cup of milk, two eggs in a casserole dish.  Dip bread in so it soaks in on both sides.  In nonstick skillet, heat until golden on each side.  By making it without the cinnamon or whatever they add to it, you can eat it as a savory food with ketchup (I'm told this is a Canadian thing)

Grilled cheese sandwiches

My take on rice and beans:  In a small saucepan, combine one can beans (I like kidneys), well drained, with one can chopped tomatoes.  Simmer until the tomatoes start to thicken slightly.  Meanwhile, prepare rice of your choice.  Serve bean-tomato mixture over rice.  If you have them, you can add chopped onions, peppers, or small pieces of kielbasa to the tomatoes and beans while they cook.

Dressed up ramen noodles.  There's a whole thread on them somewhere here.

Mmmm I'm hungry now.
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« Reply #56 on: April 22, 2005 08:58:48 PM »

this is such a fantastic thread!  makes me want to get cookin', but i'll put in my two cents instead ---

my absolute FAVORITE sauce/marinade - made up on the spot years ago, because I needed a marinade for fish and couldn't think of anything on hand, so I started randomly pouring things into the mixing cup.  No measurements, but from most to least:
maple syrup (or honey, i suppose)
soy sauce
chili sauce (i use what is known in my house as "rooster sauce," gotten from the local asian market.  clear bottle, green lid/spout thingy, with a big rooster printed on the front with lots of asian text.  like $3 for a HUGE bottle that lasts AGES.  it's delish.)
worchestershire sauce and/or fish sauce
smashed up garlic (smashing releases much more garlicky goodness than chopping or slicing)
grated ginger if i've got it

stir up and let sit for a few minutes.  give it a taste.  it'll be sweet and tangy and a little bit spicy (or a lot!).  it's fantastic as a marinade for just about everything (i've used it with chicken, salmon, beef, tuna, and tofu) and works great as a sauce for stir-frys (a staple of mine when i can splurge on a ton of fresh veggies).

And for the really poor - I always seem to have carrots and onions as the last veggies in my drawer (and they're cheap as dirt, and carrots are easy to grow!), so i caramelize them.  just saute them until they are just starting to get brown and almost-burnt (they'll taste very sweet), and maybe add a pinch or two of brown sugar.  toast up some nuts if you've got them, and pour the whole thing over rice or potatoes.  very simple, VERY filling, and you get the bennies of some veggies, too (not just starches and protein).

poor girl's tuna casserole -
1 box macaroni and cheese (i get Annie's white cheddar and shells when i can, but the cheapo yellow kind works, too) cooked according to instructions
add 1 can tuna fish (packed in water, and rinsed and drained well), stir
add a few handfuls of frozen peas, soybeans or broccoli (i use lots of frozen soybeans - they cheap at the asian market, they're SUPER good for you, and they're like yummy lima beans!), stir
add a bunch of shredded cheese (mozzeralla or colby work nicely), a little at a time and stirring lots, so that the cheese melts.  add a bit of milk if it starts to get gummy. 
i always doctor mine with herbs, too - just a few sprinkles of dried thyme, sage and garlic.  It's yumtastic.

« Reply #57 on: April 28, 2005 02:50:10 PM »

Oh man, I love to cook on the cheap.

Try a salad of baby greens with Wasabi Dressing.  Sure, you'll have to buy the wasabi paste and the rice vinegar, but you'll be able to make this vinagrette lots before you run out.  Plus it's only like $6 for both items.
1/2 tsp wasabi paste
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
then wisk in (or shake all ingredients together in a tupperware)
3 tbsp olive oil
It's SO good!

Check out the food network's webpage.  Rachael Ray has a lot of recipes that can be inexpensive, and they also make enough to feed a freakin army.

I also like to take one block of frozen chopped spinach and heat it up with about a cup of tomato sauce (yours or from a jar) and mix in parmesan or mozzerella cheese to your heart's desire.  You can add chopped garlic as well, and salt and pepper.  It's like eating the filling out of a spinach deep dish pizza!

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« Reply #58 on: April 28, 2005 05:35:16 PM »

If you have access to some dirt and some containers or a little plot of land, you can grow some veggies on the cheap with a minimum of care.  Take a couple of potatoes that have sprouted eyes, plant about an inch down in a deep bucket of soil (holes in bottom for drainage), water on occasion, and in the fall you'll have yummy baby (new) potatoes.  I also love to grow romaine lettuce from seeds.  It requires almost no care, and as long as you keep picking, it keeps producing.  Also, if you let a lettuce plant flower, you can collect the seeds and save them for another year.  If I don't tend the garden in the spring, I usually suddenly have new lettuce growing from where last year's crop seeded itself!

Without dirt, you can do all sorts of sprouts - sprouts are considered a "super food" because they're rich in nutrients.  The world's easiest sprouts have got to be lentils.  Buy a bag of lentils from the grocery store (like, 50 cents in the dried beans or ethnic section).  I use a clean jar (re-used from pasta sauce or whatever is fine, just clean and rinse well).  Put no more than a tablespoon of lentils in the jar and cover with a couple of inches of water.  Let soak overnight.  In the morning, drain off all of the water, but leave the lentils in the jar.  By the end of the day you'll probably start seeing little sprouts poking out.  Rinse in the evening, but make sure there's not any standing water or they may start to rot.  You can keep rinsing them and they'll keep growing, but I find they're perfect on the second day (much longer and they want to take over the kitchen!!!)  You can store them in a container with air holes in the fridge for a couple of days, but I generally eat them right away.  You can use them as a condiment, or as a green in salads or on sandwiches, or in stir-fries, or just eat them straight.  You can do the same with other types of seeds and beans as well.  I usually try to buy mine from the health food store, just because I know they haven't been treated with anything that's going to poison me! But I've done it with grocery store beans, peas, etc. without any problem as well.  Try: mustard seeds (spicy flavor), alfalfa seeds (delicate flavor), sunflower seeds (they have to be raw, not roasted, and in the shell - these have a nutty flavor!), mung beans (Those are what they use for the typical bean sprouts you'd find in asian cooking - you can often find big bags of them at ethnic markets.), clover seeds (health food store).  There are lots of resources on sprouting available, and you can have a whole smorgasbord of sprouts!!

Mentioning the ethnic food stuff reminded me - ethnic markets are GREAT places for finding interesting foods cheap.  I just found an Indian/Pakistani grocery near me, and have been having a blast trying out their curry mixes w/cheap cuts of meat and veggies.  I also found a product called "Snoodles" which are masala-flavored ramen noodles (from the same company that makes the regular ramen noodles).  We also have an asian market nearby, and I go stock up on amazing things to make stirfries and other yummy dishes.

Sorry I'm getting longwinded - I live for cheap food!

Oh, also check out www.stretcher.com - it is the online version of the Dollar Stretcher newsletter.  They often have recipes, as well as all sorts of tips on living frugally.  They have a great archive as well where you can search their recipes, and also great gift, craft, decorating, etc. ideas.
« Reply #59 on: April 29, 2005 04:53:44 AM »

thanks mthompson for the stretcher link.  my husband is quitting his job in about 6 wks to go to school full-time.  we will need some good frugal tips to get us through!

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