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Old 07-20-2009, 11:28 PM   #1
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Smile GIRL! You Are SO CHEAP!!!

OK today I had an argument with my brother...we like to do that when we work together...time passes better

anyway he said he could eat cheaper by buying crappy food and TV type dinners than I could buying healthier stuff....

maybe he can....I see at our stores almost all the frozen meals are cheap-o right now....

I am not going to debate it...not the point of this thread...

A few nights ago Angie made grilled chicken (2 chicken breasts from the Costco big pack) with peach/mango salsa (store bought from the refrigerated section, Santa Barbara brand) with coleslaw ( one small head of cabbage shredded with some mayo and Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar)...and some brown rice

a very nice looking meal...I say around $20 at a mid-size priced restaurant...

Now I really don't have (don't want) time to price all this out but I bet it was pretty cheap!

My brother had hot dogs....Kraft dinner mac and cheese...and some baked beans...

maybe his meal was a lot cheaper...maybe not...but I bet mine was better for you!


Gives us your best shot on a cheap and healthier meal than hot dogs and Kraft dinner mac and cheese!
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:32 PM   #2
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mmm peach mango salsa sounds really good right now.

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Old 07-20-2009, 11:51 PM   #3
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Tvp or cheap ground beef or other meats, even pork browned with equal or greater parts tvp makes a ground meat substitute that can be as little as 15 cents per serving (even when I use ground beef, it's usually no more than 60 cents per serving).

One of my favorite meal-in-a-skillet recipes is to add the ground beef/tvp mixture (that I freeze in "crumbles" so I can make ahead and use in super-quick suppers) to tomato juce in a dutch oven and add veggies. It may be half a head of cabbage, or a package of mixed veggies. It may contain a bit of potato or corn, but mostly non-starchy veggies. Garlic and onion (of course). My husband and I can, and do often eat healthy meals that cost under $5 for the whole meal's production, and often provides leftovers.

My mother used to make this when my brother and I were kids (without the tvp, just 80/20 ground beef), and she'd add corn AND potatoes. We knew it as "slop," (my dad probably named it, as he said it looked like what they had fed the hogs on the farm when he was a kid), but it tasted really good, and we would often ask for it (that and my mom's meatloaf were just amazing).

Most homemade soups can be made very cheaply. Lentil and bean soups, are super cheap, very filling, and nutrient-dense. We live in an area where you can still get dried beans and lentils, chicken legs or thighs, soup bones, hamhocks (remove the fat first), pork neckbones, and oxtails very cheaply. All make great soup stock bases.

Cabbage, potatoes, beans, lentils, onions, celery, carrots and canned tomatoes are among the cheapest veggies, and I have tons of recipes that use only those veggies with a small amount of meat.

There's a wonderful "cheap" cookbook called "Good Cheap Food," by Miriam Ungerer (I bought it used on amazon.com - with shipping I paid less than $5, and it's still available at that price), and there are some very good recipes. Not all of them are diet-friendly, but many of them are or could easily be adapted.
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:53 PM   #4
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Hot dogs and Mac and Cheese might be cheaper right now, but imagine how much you're going to save in health bills in the future. ;-)
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:55 PM   #5
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I say...down with mac and cheese, baked beans and hot dogs, icky! Give me healthy and nutritious any day

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Old 07-20-2009, 11:55 PM   #6
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Uhh everything?

I went grocery shopping today and bought a ton of stuff for $50. A lot of the things I bought were on sale but I'm prepping for a trip. Many of the things won't make it on the trip but I'd estimate about $30 of my groceries will but even that is really only a portion of the total (ie, I bought a big bag of beans, small portion of that will go on the trip)

The food on the trip will include:
marinated tofu and veggie kabobs
chili with beans with veggies and couscous
Rice/Chickpea salad (rice, chickpeas, bell peppers, cucumber, an impromptu dressing)
no-tuna salad (mashed chickpeas, nori, dill relish, etc) sandwiches
lentil sloppy joes on sprouted grain bread
Hummus and pita bread (I made a huge batch of hummus from some canned beans I bought)
Carrot/cabbage slaw
Blueberries and cantalope (both on sale)
Cereal/blueberries and soy milk for breakfasts
You can't out-exercise poor eating habits.

Last edited by nelie; 07-20-2009 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:11 AM   #7
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Tonight we had grilled chicken salads. 3 chicken breasts (from the big Costco pack lol!) 1 head of romaine, 1/3 cucumber, 8 grape tomato's, small avocado, 1/4 red onion, 3 mushrooms. We each (the three of us) had a small serving of salad dressing, sprinkle of sunflower seeds and a slice of low fat cheddar. Pretty cheap I'd say!
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:15 AM   #8
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that's what were looking for ladies!
As long as I live I will TESTIFY HIS LOVE!
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:52 AM   #9
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My farmer's market tally for $17 total on Sunday:
Enough lettuce for 4 main-dish salads and 8 side-dish salads
6 carrots
A pound of lemon cucumbers
A giant bag (4 pounds or so) of assorted squashes
4 onions
2 heads of garlic
5 Red Bell Peppers
4 lbs of green beans
A bag of baby red potatoes.
1 japanese eggplant
That's the veggies I need for SIX meals for 4 (well, it's just the two of us, but we do lunch with leftovers)

My grocery store list/cost of meats in my freezer
3 lbs chicken breast - $9.00 total
1 lb pork chop - $3.00
1 lb lean chicken sausages - $2.50
1 lb lean beef skewers - $3.00
Package of sourdough for sausage sandwiches - $3.00
Pasta - $1.00
Tomato sauce - $1.50
1/2 cup lentils - 50 cents
1/2 cup brown rice - 50 cents
Croutons - $2.00
Dressing ingredients, spices, and extras - $2.00 (and that's liberal!)

Sunday - Grilled chicken breasts (on sale - was $3.00 for enough for the four meals), green beans, roasted potatoes

Monday - Grilled chicken salad with grilled squashes, peppers, red onion, sliced carrot, cucumber, tomatoes from the garden, and a bit of dressing made from tarragon vinegar and a little garlic, oil, seasonings (another $3.00 worth of chicken).

Tuesday - Pork chops (got them from my specialty butcher for $3.00 for the lb I'll use), assorted sauteed squashes, and a side salad with leftover carrots, cucumber, greens, a little dressing.

Wednesday - 99 cent box of pasta, $1.50 of tomato sauce, and another $3.00 of chicken, plus roasted veggies: Red onion, eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper.

Thursday - Grilled chicken sausages ($2.50 a pkg) with peppers and onions, on toasted rolls for $2.00, served with a side salad.

Friday - Grilled beef skewer ($3.00 a pound...pre-skewered!), served with a lentil and brown rice pilaf that's a real bargain from scratch - $1 for the whole 4-serving pot (onions, the brown rice and lentils, some curry powder, garlic, etc), and sauteed green beans.

In case you're keeping count, that's 24 meals (two meals a day for two, for 6 days) for under $2 a serving. That doesn't count seasonings (which I buy in bulk on the cheap), and I do live in an area with a ton of fresh produce for rock-bottom prices, being in the Central Valley growing area.

I also got tons of fruit for $15 - enough to snack on for days.
4 lbs red grapes ($3.00)
4 pounds assorted stone fruits (peaches, apricots, etc) ($4.00)
2 8-oz containers of blackberries (5.00)
A personal-sized watermelon (3.00)

For breakfasts, I've been having 2 slices of the loaf of sourdough we bought for the sausage sandwiches, soaked in 1/2 cup of egg beaters (50 cents or so) with some cinnamon, served with a chopped peach. I snack on fruit, yogurt with fruit ($1 a day), and popcorn that I pop on my stovetop...it costs less than a quarter for a serving. So between breakfast, lunch, dinner, and three snacks (a serving of popcorn, a $1 yogurt with some more fruit, and some grapes for snack), this week, I'm spending about $9.25 a day to feed myself.
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Old 07-21-2009, 02:46 AM   #10
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Just call me cheap!

You're going to have to do an intervention at your brother's house.
"All of the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal or fattening."
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:00 AM   #11
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I like to buy a whole chicken and put it on the rotisserie on the grill and eat the meat the first day with some veggies and rice. On the 2nd day I take the rest of the meat off the bones and make soup. Both meals end up being dirt cheap!
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:30 AM   #12
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I have no time for people saying they eat junk because it's cheaper if they have cable TV, iPods and stuff like that
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:39 AM   #13
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Do you ladies have Aldi in your area? I'm finding it a great source of super cheap produce and staples like milk, eggs, beans, spices...even things like hummus and goat cheese! The inventory is a little hit or miss as to what will be there on a given day, but if I'm flexible and creative, I can spend $15 and walk out with 2 weeks of healthy, tasty groceries for myself.

(and for those of you with kidlets, yes they do sell things like frozen pizzas and lunch meat!)
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:23 AM   #14
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To put it into perspective, have him compare the FUEL value of his food to yours. Vitamins, etc. It's like shoes. If you buy a $5 pair of shoes that lasts 3 months and a $30 pair of shoes that lasts five years, which is the better value?
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:28 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by aphrodite View Post
Hot dogs and Mac and Cheese might be cheaper right now, but imagine how much you're going to save in health bills in the future. ;-)

that was my first thought

a whole chicken which can feed two people for possibly 2 plus meals costs a little over $4 here; a cooked chicken (roasted) is about $5 plus.

Cole slaw, I bought it already chopped (the Dole from a chain grocery store, you probably could get it even cheaper chopped up from the local bodega cost about $4 -- I bought a bag of white cabbage, bag of red, and a bag of shredded carrots), put a little mayonnaise and vinegar in it, golden raisins. it made a huge tub that will last as a side for a bunch of meals.

I still have some black bean compote (has diced tomatoes with mild chilies in it, garlic, onion, cumin), the beans were about 70 cents, I'd guess the tomatoes were about $1 maybe $1.50 (the compote will feed 2 people for about 2 meals)

that's pretty dang cheap, tastes good, is really healthy.

the farmers markets here can be twice the price if not more of the regular grocery store, unfortunately.

Last edited by dragonwoman64; 07-21-2009 at 10:31 AM.
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