Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Best Food Buys For $1 Or Less




View Full Version : Best Food Buys For $1 Or Less


Onederchic
07-14-2009, 12:30 PM
Per Thighs Be Gone's request ;) :D

List all the healthy, cheap food buys you find here to share with everyone :)


Hugs
Michelle


Thighs Be Gone
07-14-2009, 12:31 PM
:) Thank you!

Okay, me first.

1. Canned Tuna
2. Beans

Thighs Be Gone
07-14-2009, 12:32 PM
3. Quinoa from bulk bin
4. Flaxseed from bulk bin


Onederchic
07-14-2009, 12:41 PM
Mine would be

Apples
Bananas

MugCanDoIt
07-14-2009, 01:06 PM
Kroger Carb Master Yogurt--40 cents each

MugCanDoIt
07-14-2009, 01:07 PM
3. Quinoa from bulk bin
4. Flaxseed from bulk bin

How doyou cook your quinoa? What do you do with it?

Onederchic
07-14-2009, 01:10 PM
Dannon Light and Fit Yogurt

nelie
07-14-2009, 01:12 PM
Organic millet - .99 cents/lb

non organic beans - .99 cents/lb or less. I bought a lb of split mung beans for 50 cents the other day.

Organic beans - usually around half a pound, it depends.

Other organic grains - price ranges but you can generally get half a lb or more for $1.

non organic grains - again depends but things like the huge bags of rice at the asian market are cheap. 20 lbs for $5 or something like that, even basmati, brown basmati, etc aren't very expensive.

Veggies/Fruits - asian market has them cheapest. My new favorite asian market has tons of fruits/veggies for under $1/lb.

nelie
07-14-2009, 01:13 PM
How doyou cook your quinoa? What do you do with it?

Quinoa can be a rice substitute basically. I use it a lot. Quinoa cold salads are also a favorite of mine. Here is a website on how to cook it and some recipes:
http://www.savvyvegetarian.com/recipes/basic-quinoa.php

merose
07-14-2009, 01:26 PM
tinned chickpeas
frozen soya beans
tuna

Thighs Be Gone
07-14-2009, 02:40 PM
How doyou cook your quinoa? What do you do with it?

Hey there--I cook it like rice--

1/2 part quinoa
1 part broth or water


I use it as a side dish. In the winter we have even had it for breakfast. For this option I add milk and nuts to it. Then top it with fruit.

I love it because it is versatile--higher in protein and healthy fat--I also make a pilaf sometimes but throwing in some finely diced veggies at the end of cooking.

ETA: Also wanted to mention that quinoa is great as a stuffing too--inside of fish or bell peppers or whatever. You can add things to it or just use it plain. Either way--just so YUM.

Truly, the sky is the limit with this stuff!

nelie
07-14-2009, 03:14 PM
Thighsbegone - I made a cranberry/quinoa stuffing for Thanksgiving. It was really good. One of my favorite things to do these days is mix quinoa/amaranth and eat. Amaranth is kind of like cream of wheat in texture but mixing it with quinoa gives a nice texture and makes a good breakfast.

JulieJ08
07-14-2009, 03:29 PM
Thighsbegone - I made a cranberry/quinoa stuffing for Thanksgiving. It was really good. One of my favorite things to do these days is mix quinoa/amaranth and eat. Amaranth is kind of like cream of wheat in texture but mixing it with quinoa gives a nice texture and makes a good breakfast.

Thanks for the idea. I've never tried amaranth, and I'm still trying for success with quinoa.

mandalinn82
07-14-2009, 03:52 PM
I finally found a farmer's market that was really farm-cheap prices, and bought all of the following for $1 a pound or less (the fruits were all organic...the veggies were mostly not):

The most amazing grapes I've ever eaten
Assorted stone fruits (peaches, plums, pluots, nectarines)
Green beans
Assorted summer squashes
Apples (didn't actually buy them, but they were ridiculously cheap)
Cabbage (I find cabbage is always a cheap veggie compared to others)
Purple bell peppers
Onions
Heirloom tomatoes (didn't buy these either, I grow mine, but they looked awesome)
Carrots

I point this out because sometimes, saving money is as simple as investigating alternate sources for your food. Farmers markets, fruit stands, CSAs, and non-traditional grocery sources (Asian markets, to name a popular one) can save you a ton of money, and the produce seems to be fresher than what you get at the local mega-mart.

I also go to another produce stand that sells dried fruits, grains, beans, and nuts...the beans and grains are all around the $1 a pound mark, in 2-3 lb bags. I buy quinoa, amaranth, pinto beans, white beans, black beans, brown rice, wild rice, and whole grain polenta there, and they're all in that price range. Their veggie and fruit prices are low too, I just like the farmer's market quality better.

Eggs are a really good, cheap source of protein, and very versatile for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

nelie
07-14-2009, 04:03 PM
I also think 1 block of tofu at the asian market is $1. Although if you really like tofu, a huge tub of it is something like $4. I rarely eat tofu so that'd definitely be overkill.

I also cook all my grains (except couscous) in the rice cooker. Put in grain, add water, add a dash of salt, push button and wait for beep.

Onederchic
07-14-2009, 04:19 PM
I have never tried tofu but am interested. Can someone give me an idea of the taste?

mandalinn82
07-14-2009, 04:22 PM
It tastes like whatever you cook it with....sort of a "blank slate". I always marinate it in something (I usually use it in stirfries, so I marinate in soy sauce, hoisin, a little sesame oil, sometimes a little citrus juice, etc), and that's what it tastes like.

Onederchic
07-14-2009, 04:31 PM
Hmm, interesting. Now I want to try it out.

nelie
07-14-2009, 04:32 PM
One of my favorite ways to cook it is 'scrambled tofu'. Its easy and delicious. so much better tasting than eggs ever were.
http://www.theppk.com/recipes/dbrecipes/index.php?RecipeID=110

Here are some other good looking recipes:
Pakal Tofu (Indian inspired tofu dish)
http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2007/05/palak-tofu-tofu-in-curried-spinach.html

Italian inspired tofu dish
http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2007/10/tofu-and-vegetable-cacciatore-on.html

Mexican inspired tofu dish
http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/02/tofu-tempeh-and-butternut-squash-in.html

Chinese style tofu dish
http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2007/08/home-style-tofu-with-shiitake-mushrooms.html

This link has tons more:
http://www.fatfreevegan.com/search/search.pl?Realm=blog&Terms=tofu&sb.x=0&sb.y=0&sb=Search+This+Blog

Onederchic
07-14-2009, 04:35 PM
So, let me ask this. Is tofu cheaper than eggs and/or chicken breast or no?

Onederchic
07-14-2009, 04:36 PM
Oh and is it something that can when I buy it, it will go for several meals or just one?

nelie
07-14-2009, 04:39 PM
Well if you buy it by the container, a lb of tofu is about $1. If you buy in bulk and freeze, it can be a lot cheaper. (This is based on asian market ability to buy in bulk)

If I make the tofu scramble, that is usually between 4-6 meals as a main part of the meal. I don't buy chicken/eggs so...

A block of tofu is definitely a lot in terms of food wise and I don't know anyone who would eat even half a block as part of a meal. You mix it with veggies, spices, whatever, etc and a block of tofu can easily get you 4-6 meals.

Elladorine
07-14-2009, 04:42 PM
At what section can I find quinoa in the store? Will it probably be near the rice?

Onederchic
07-14-2009, 04:42 PM
Okay. My boyfriend bought a pack of boneless, skinless chicken tenders for me last night. It was around 10 bucks and makes about 6-7 meals for me (I eat 2 of them with a salad and some other veggie).

I am about being healthy and saving money so if I can substitute tofu for other proteins, stay healthy and save money..I am all for it. That is if I like it but if it takes on the flavor of what you are cooking with it, I don't see how I could not like it.

nelie
07-14-2009, 04:45 PM
At what section can I find quinoa in the store? Will it probably be near the rice?

Near the rice yes but if you have a bulk section (Whole Foods for example), it'll be a lot cheaper than if it is packaged.

nelie
07-14-2009, 04:47 PM
I am about being healthy and saving money so if I can substitute tofu for other proteins, stay healthy and save money..I am all for it. That is if I like it but if it takes on the flavor of what you are cooking with it, I don't see how I could not like it.

Depending on how you cook it as well, it is often compared to eggs texture wise although you can make it a lot firmer by freezing/defrosting and/or pressing some of the water out then it can even have a more cheese like texture.

Also, if you like egg salad like textures, tofu/dill salad is one of my favorite ways to eat tofu as well.
http://www.theppk.com/recipes/dbrecipes/index.php?RecipeID=165

Onederchic
07-14-2009, 04:48 PM
Thank you for all the good links :)

nelie
07-14-2009, 04:58 PM
Which is where I will attempt to explain silken tofu :)

Actually there are various types of tofu. There is regular tofu, which is firmer although there is soft, firm and extra firm types of regular tofu. Regular tofu is suitable in mostly any dish you would cook.

Then there is silken. Silken has soft and firm tofu. The soft silken tofu is often used in smoothies/desserts. The firm tofu can be used in cooking dishes but it is more for stuff that doesn't require it to hold its shape too well. Like the picture there shows lasagna. It would probably be a good lasagna filling and I've seen recipes for lasagna ricotta and such.

If you want to cube and sautee or bake in the oven, then you'd want regular tofu.

Silken tofu you will find on a regular shelf in the store while regular tofu will be found in the refrigerated section.

Onederchic
07-14-2009, 05:00 PM
Whew. This is complex but I am so intrigued with it that I am gonna have to get some soon :D. Thanks so much.

nelie
07-14-2009, 05:05 PM
Any of those links I provided will tell you what type of tofu to use. If it doesn't say silken, then don't use silken :) Here is a better link that explains it:

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianvegan101/f/TypesofTofu.htm

Onederchic
07-14-2009, 05:07 PM
nelie -

You rock! :hug:

Elladorine
07-14-2009, 06:22 PM
Near the rice yes but if you have a bulk section (Whole Foods for example), it'll be a lot cheaper than if it is packaged.
Cool, thanks for the info. :)

kaplods
07-14-2009, 06:42 PM
I prefer the tofu that comes in waxed paper cartons (like milk comes in) to the kind that comes in plastic (which I think tastes like plastic).

Hubby hates firm tofu - it's the texture he says. Which I think is rather strange, considering he loves indian paneer which I think has a similar texture. He argues that it's because paneer is a "real" cheese made from milk.

He'll eat silken tofu in soups without complaint because he says it's almost indistinguishable from the egg in good egg drop soups.

kaplods
07-14-2009, 07:14 PM
Oriental grocery stores are a great source for saving money, if you can shop carefully (as in american groceries, staples are cheap, and extras aren't).

I can buy a quart bottle of gourmet soy sauces for the price of a small bottle of kikoman's. $1.50 to $2.50 a bottle (almost always a quart, I've seen 2 liters of kikomans sell for under $4, but I prefer mushroom soy).

Fish sauce. I buy a thai fish sauce that's about $1.49 for a quart bottle. I use it in asian recipes, but also use it in place of worcestershire sauce.

Sweet chili sauce makes a great dipping sauce for chicken strips, and is pretty cheap also.

I buy only the cheapest condiments and then use them to make the more expensive ones ( for example fish sauce or worcestershire sauce mixed with ketchup and a drop or two of liquid smoke, makes a really good steak sauce. Mayonaise, chopped onion, and a little dill and/or sweet pickle chopped fine or a spoon relish to make tartar sauce. Ketchup, a dash of lemon juice (optional) and horsereadish, make cocktail sauce. Ketchup, diet coke and a dash of liquid smoke makes an awesome barbecue sauce.

Bean sprouts are super cheap in asian groceries. They sell for about the same as in chain grocery stores, but you get about four times as much.

If you're able to buy in bulk, you can get a very good price on rice, especially on the better varieties like jasmine, basmati, and the hybrid jasmati. Black rice (which is really a purple whole grain rice - all whole grain rices can be called brown rice so black rice is a brown rice, but is neither black nor brown, but purple - how's that for nutty).

Everone probably knows my favorite budget slashing technique is mixing dry tvp granules (textured vegetable protein, also sometimes called textured soy protein or soy crumbles, they need to be reconstituted with water) with ground meat. The tvp itself is only about 15 cents for the equivalent of 4 oz of ground beef. I buy it in bulk from whole food and health food stores usually for about $2.50 per lb (which is the equivalent of about 4 lbs of grond beef).

I put my recipe on my blog a while back, as I've often been asked for the recipe.

http://www.3fatchicks.com/diet-blogs/kaplods/

I keep experimenting with different combinations of ground meats and tvp. With sausage or chorizo I can add a lot more tvp - even when calculating in the fat from the sausage, I can bring the calorie/fat content down at least to about that of extra lean ground beef chicken or turkey.

The batch I currently have in the fridge was made with 1 lb of ground pork (.99 per lb), 1 lb of 80% lean beef (2.29 per lb on sale), and 1.5 lbs of tvp. In addition to my standard seasonings, I added dried shiitake mushrooms (I put a handful in the food processor to break them into small bits).

After freezing it so it freezes crumbly, I use it in any recipe that would call for browned ground beef.

nelie
07-14-2009, 07:34 PM
I forgot to mention TVP but I use that less than I use tofu :)

One other thing I forgot to mention is soy milk but only because I just found an awesome brand at my asian market. It has 2 ingredients, soy beans and water. It is also 99 cents/carton.

Thighs Be Gone
07-14-2009, 07:35 PM
I absolutely AM going to try that TVP stuff.

I have to 2nd how much I love Asian groceries for fish and produce. Another HUGE bargain are the garlic pods (peeled and ready to use) and the fresh herbs. My asian market charges $1.49 for a huge pile of garlic--probably a pound. Fresh herbs (mint, oregano, basil, etc.) is just .69 and is probably five times the quantity you would get at an American market. Any day of the week I can find fresh fish of some sort under $2 a pound--with or without the heads. I have them take the head but have been told by many friends they are great for flavor.

Thighs Be Gone
07-14-2009, 07:38 PM
Thighsbegone - I made a cranberry/quinoa stuffing for Thanksgiving. It was really good. One of my favorite things to do these days is mix quinoa/amaranth and eat. Amaranth is kind of like cream of wheat in texture but mixing it with quinoa gives a nice texture and makes a good breakfast.

The stuffing sounds fantastic!

I haven't heard of amaranth. Is it in the bulk bins? Sounds yum.

Julie, we eat your "cocktail" almost every morning for breakfast. YUMMY!

nelie
07-14-2009, 07:58 PM
Yup, amaranth should be in the bulk bins.

mayness
07-14-2009, 11:05 PM
A lot of these have been mentioned but my favorite money savers are:

TVP (it's SO much cheaper than ground meat, even if I can't find it in bulk and have to buy a package of it)

Dried beans (cooked ahead in the crock pot and frozen)

Chicken leg quarters

Grains - brown rice, quinoa, bulgar wheat, barley for soups

Anything that's marked down because it's about to expire! :lol: In the case of meat, I can always freeze it if I don't want to use it right away.

bacilli
07-15-2009, 09:22 AM
I would suggest, your first go with tofu, to freeze it, then thaw it and press all of the water out of it that you can. DH has always had an issue with the texture of tofu, but cooking it that way he loves it. Gradually I've been using it different ways, and he's eaten it just fine. It just took getting it to have a meatier texture at first for him to get over his fear.

This thread makes me want to move! I live in a small town, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are an hour away (I make the trip every 2 weeks or so), and I've yet to find a really good asian market. The one I go to is great for shelf items, but the produce is seriously lacking.

Something we eat a decent amount of that I don't think I've seen listed is lentils. They're ~$1/lb and that's a LOT of lentils!

Onederchic
07-15-2009, 09:33 AM
Thanks for the tofu tip :).

My boyfriend says there's no Asian market around here :(. This place sucks :(, lol :D

Onederchic
08-21-2009, 10:13 PM
This thread is bump-worthy to me so come on people and let's add to this list :D

lunameower
08-23-2009, 12:38 AM
Hmmm, I'm not sure that I'm adding anything new, just adding my agreement with some of the previous posts.
I tried both tofu and quinoa for the first time about a month ago and am pleased with both of them. I really like the quinoa, I add it to sandwich wraps and soup and sometimes just have it by itself, I like the taste and texture. I get it at the bulk bin at Whole Foods, I forget the price right now, like 2.99 a pound or so, but that goes a long way. I also started buying tofu, the extra firm, I use it to stretch my soups and pasta, I brown it up quite a bit in the pan first, it's pretty tasty with some garlic and some sort of marinade.
When it comes to produce which can be pretty expensive I always think that bananas are the moneymaker.

Wolf Goddess
08-23-2009, 06:14 PM
Quinoa in my area goes for about $4 a pound, even in bulk, so it's not something I use regularly. I love barley, though, and I have a great recipe for a wild mushroom barley risotto that is a great vegetarian entree.

Anything that's marked down because it's about to expire! :lol: In the case of meat, I can always freeze it if I don't want to use it right away.

Glad to see I'm not the only one who does this! A gallon of milk marked down - $1.40. A dozen eggs - $.57 A pound of gizzards and hearts - $.63

Nice and cheap. :D

ThickAZChick
08-27-2009, 12:39 PM
Bulk grains
Fruit
Soup cups at Safeway (their Lucerne Brand 4 for $5- ok a little ver $1 but SO worth it) in Black Bean and Potato Leek...1-3gms of fat, high protein and low carb/high fiber. These were discovered by a co-worker that has vowed to eat healthy w/ me. *He was a Taco Bell/Carl's Jr. guy but stopped since we sit across from each other- He has actually lost 7lbs w/o trying! lol


http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt/t/wDtZzO5/weight.png
(http://www.TickerFactory.com/weight-loss/wDtZzO5/)