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Shoestring Meals Budget friendly ideas for healthy eating

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Old 01-10-2010, 03:45 PM   #16
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Oh this thread has been really helpful! Especially because I stopped at the store today to pick up a few things and my list:

single Tilapia filet
Green beans

all came to $19 and I even chose the stuff that was on sale, sheesh!
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:01 PM   #17
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I buy organic soup bones from the meat section of the grocery store. They cost anywhere from fifty cents to three dollars a pound (depending on whether or not they are organic, pasture raised, etc). I then make a soup with a beef bone, all sorts of cheap veggies (carrots, parsnips, broccoli stems, onions, celery), a handful of lentils and seasonings. It always makes a huge pot of soup that lasts all week. Plus, the broth from the soup bones is exceptionally healthy -- full of all sorts of minerals and vitamins.
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:27 PM   #18
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I didn't even think about bones from the meat dept. I wonder if the Whole Foods Market will sell me bones?
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:34 PM   #19
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They should -- that's where I get my soup bones from. It's a cheap way to get some of the benefits of eating organic meat...
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:06 AM   #20
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How do you prepare broccoli stems? I've heard you can eat them, but do you remove the skin?


Bombe, that seems like a lot of money for those items. Where, approximately do you live? And is there a cheaper grocery store nearby?

Last edited by Hyacinth; 01-11-2010 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:53 AM   #21
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You don't need to peel the broccoli stems -- just slice them thinly and throw them in a pot of soup (or stirfry them -- they are quite good that way as well). I don't use the toughest part of the stem (i.e., the part at the very bottom of the stalk), but the rest of it cooks up quite tender and yummy. I always save my broccoli stalks now after using the florets... It's a great way to get the most from you buck (or two, or three...).
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:11 PM   #22
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I love broccoli stems. I steam them. I just trim off the leaves and stuff.

Or I put them in soup, they make a very creamy broccoli soup with no flowers to stick to your teeth.
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Old 01-21-2010, 02:28 AM   #23
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i too try to keep my weekly food budget under $25. i find great deals on canned goods, slightly damaged produce, and bulk beans/seeds/etc. i typically have a general skeleton of a plan for the week, but i also allow whatever is fresh or on special influence me. i typically make one or two "dinner-like" items to eat for lunch at work, oatmeal or other grain for BF, and then veg for snacking. i also try really hard to not waste leftovers.. so i freeze or upcycle a soup or veg into something new.
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:04 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by marigrace View Post
Hi Hyaccinth !
I do love your hat and gloves...and your attitude....
Hyaccinth is a character on a Brittish tv sitcom called Keeping up Appearances. It's a really funny show. All of her sisters have flower names.
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:10 PM   #25
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Wendy, (lol) I promise I knew that....I watch PBS too !

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Old 01-23-2010, 09:30 PM   #26
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I love Hyacinth! She always makes me smile.

I regularly scan my grocery store's discounted vegetable section. I often get vegetables that can be prepared and frozen for use later. They had a huge pile of jalapeno peppers the other day for $1 ... if I had the time that day, I would've purchased them and dried or frozen them for use later.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:26 PM   #27
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I used to just use dried herbs, unti I discovered that I could buy fresh herbs when they're heavily discounted and just freeze them. I always knew about freezing food, but never about freezing rosemary twigs and thyme etc.

Also I've discovered it's so much cheaper to buy a bag of frozen bell peppers instead of fresh ones, they work really well in a stew where they don't need to be too crunchy.

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Old 01-30-2010, 08:07 PM   #28
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Marking-excellent thread.
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Old 01-31-2010, 11:50 AM   #29
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Ooooh, I love this new forum. I was a grad student for so many years, I had to learn how to eat very cheaply -- and cook!

I saved a lot of money drawing on my grandma's ethnic cooking (German and Dutch) -- you can eat very cheaply on the traditional "poor people" vegetables, like cabbage, and the root vegetables like beets, turnips, potatoes etc. These also have the benefit that they last FOREVER in the fridge. Like, months. In a cold climate you can keep them in a box in the garage in the winter, like my mom does, although you need to keep them from freezing solid because then they get mushy. You can still make soup from them at that point though.

A lot of people in the younger generations have never eaten them or learned how to cook them, but in the fine dining circles they are very trendy, so you don't even have to be ashamed of them -- there are recipes for them in Martha Stewart magazine and in the nice cooking blogs. I don't know how to post a link but there's one I read a lot called The Kitchn (no "e") that you can Google that has suggestions for them all the time. They can taste really good! The traditional methods often overcooked them, which hurt their reputation. Try stir-frying or roasting them (directions below) or making soup.

These veggies have a lot of fiber and good vitamins in them, so they are also very filling and diet friendly.

If you are totally horrified by the idea of cabbage or beets or things like that, try roasting them. It brings out the sweet flavors and does not produce that traditional "kohl" cooking smell:

1) cut them into chunks (peel first for beets and root veggies) 1/2-3/4" thick; cabbage can be in about 8 wedges.

2) drizzle with a little olive oil (you can get away with just a spray, but they are nicer when you use up to 1 tsp per serving) and salt and pepper. Or you can jazz it up with chipotle powder, or chinese five spice powder, or whatever you have on hand.

If you are feeding a cabbage-phobic person you can also cut up a slice of bacon and mix in -- it is divine and not so many calories if you reduce the oil in compensation.

3) Stick them on a piece of foil or non-stick pan (in the oven or toaster oven or on the grill or whatever you have) at about 450 degrees until they have crispy brown edges. Usually about 30 min. You can turn them over once in between if you need to impress bystanders with how hard you are working, but the nice thing is you can be doing something else this whole time.

4) If they are not soft enough in the middle at that point, reduce the heat a bit and cook them 10 min more more. You can cut them a bit thinner the next time.

5) serve and devour, being sure to mention to any audience about how this was on Rachel Ray or Nigella or the Guardian food column or whatever will suitably impress them.
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:06 PM   #30
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This is an awesome thread. In addition to the discounted veggie section, many groceries have a discounted meat section where you can buy the things that are really close to the use or freeze by date. I often purchase things there and depending on what it is I either just use it quickly, freeze as is, or cook and then freeze the cooked product.

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