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cooking with dairy allergies on a tight grocery budget. need ideas please.

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

i recently had to cut dairy out of my diet because of dd's allergies, and i've lost all of my go-to cheap casserole recipes. other than spending a fortune on groceries or only eating chicken soup every day, does anyone have some good cheap dairy-free recipes? i eat meat, so i don't need vegetarian recipes per se (i call my new diet "vegan with a side of bacon" :P), just some things that i can cook cheaply, from simple ingredients, that don't involve butter or cheese or cream or cream of chicken/mushroom. i really don't have room in my budget to use fancy ingredients and dairy substitutes (and most of those have casein in them so i can't eat them anyways). i do get tofu and soymilk through WIC, but i have not had luck yet with trying to substitute those in sauces and casseroles. how do others handle food allergies on a budget? am i doomed to chicken soup?

post #2 of 31

- Chili (just beans or with meat if you can afford it)

- Pasta and sauce (tomato sauce, meat sauce, pesto, etc)

- Any affordable meat with a side of veggies and/or salad and/or rice

- Indian curries!  Big time!  Some recipes call for yogourt, but there are a million that don't.  The base of curry is tomato and onion and spices (you also might add garlic and/or ginger).  Then add whatever you want.  It could be a bit of meat stretched out with potatoes.  Or you could make dahl (lentils) or chickpeas for super cheap.  And there are tons of veg curries.  YUM!

- Stir-fry (tofu and veg or meat and veg)

 

I think the more you cook from scratch the cheaper it'll be, generally speaking.  When good sales come on take advantage and stock up your freezer/pantry on things that are usually more pricey (like meat, for ex.).  Make huge batches of sauces when the ingredients are in season (tomatoes for tomato sauce, basil for pesto, etc) and freeze a bunch.  Try to buy in bulk.   

 

Re. dairy substitutes... are you able to get any other milk substitutes through WIC or just soymilk?  If it's possible you might want to try almond milk, coconut milk and rice milk to see if one appeals to you more than soymilk.  I'm not crazy about the taste of soymilk myself and find it's best "disguised" in baked goods.  Try it in pancakes or muffins.

 

Besides that I'd say that you'd do well to look at some Vegan recipes online (or check out some Vegan cookbooks from your library) to get ideas.  Not every meal needs to have meat (in my opinion anyway, and I am a meat-eater), and you might discover some great new tastes.

 

post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 

thanks!!

 

i know there are so many things i could be cooking, just needed some help brainstorming. about 90% of my diet involved dairy, so suddenly having to cut all of it out sort of threw me for a loop. stir fry is a great idea, especially since i'm getting free tofu. i can only get soymilk with the WIC, but i don't mind the taste. i bought a couple cans of coconut milk to try. this will definitely make me expand my cooking skills. i'm pretty handy with a casserole or croc-pot meal, but have never made my own bread or tomato sauce. i'm trying to view this as an adventure and not a curse.

post #4 of 31

We have dairy allergies here too, and are vegetarian, and two family members are also gluten free. Some fav products and snacks for the dairy free child are:

 

Roman Meal bread

Scrambled eggs -- just don't add the milk when scrambling them

Tostadas- just omit cheese-- still tasty with all the trimmings

Mashed potatoes- substitute soy milk

Smart Balance Lite butter spread- dairy free and still tastes good and good for you

Ritz crackers

Aunt Jemima Pancakes Original Mix- works just fine with soymilk

Trader Joes has some mini dark chocolate bars that are diary free and good

Hershey's Chocolate Syrup is dairy free and tasty in soymilk

 

Hope that gives you some ideas!

 

 

 

post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadiamond View Post

 i'm trying to view this as an adventure and not a curse.


I think that's a great outlook!  This is a chance to expand your repertoire.  There's so much great food out there, but it's easy to get locked into the same old recipes (at least for me anyway).

 

I got dh a bread-making book for Christmas and since then he's been baking all our bread.  It's really very simple - not the daunting task I would have expected.  And tomato sauce is dead simple.  You can make it with fresh tomatoes or canned - it doesn't matter.  I imagine if you Googled "tomato sauce recipes" you'd probably get a million hits!  I never use a recipe myself.  I just fry up onion and garlic, add the tomatoes (with maybe some tomato paste to thicken it up), add salt and pepper and whatever herbs (oregano, basil and thyme are pretty standard).  Then let it simmer for a good long while.  Easy!

 

Re. tofu you can also crumble it into sauces. 

 

 

 

post #6 of 31

It does get easier and I don't really find it any more expensive.

 

Some dinners we've had recently:

grilled chicken, rice, roasted veggies

hamburgers and fries

pancakes

french toast

fried eggs and toast

steak

panini's

pizza

chimichangas

roast, mashed potatoes, carrots

 

 

You can make casseroles, it just takes some different thinking.  I use chicken broth for mashed potatoes and pretty much anything that needs a creamy type sauce. Like casseroles.  I've had a lot of luck with vegan recipes.  Some we add a little meat to, some we eat without. 

post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 

thanks everyone! this is really giving me good ideas and helping me feel like i can do this without breaking the bank :)

post #8 of 31

I think veganizing recipes is one of the easiest things to do. There are vegan alternatives to nearly every non-vegan item - often times they can be homemade for cheaply. There is no reason why you can't eat the same things (casseroles, for example) you currently eat, just with the vegan alternative. If you google up a storm, you can find "cheesey sauce", "buttermilk", "butter" etc. etc. I def. don't recommend vegan block cheese or slices or anything, because they are all repulsive (that's a fact, too, not an opinion lol ;P) but cheese sauces made with nutritional yeast are good for casseroles, enchiladas, even pizza :)

 

Good luck!

post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 

 

i've found some recipes for vegan cream cheese and cheese sauce, and they look good and do-able, but they involve nutritional yeast and cashews and other items that are out of my price range. when i can afford it, i'll definitely be trying vegan subs of all my favorite dishes, but for now i can't swing the ingredients.

post #10 of 31

We are dairy free, as well, because of an allergy.   I budget $100 a week for 5 people. 

 

I focus mostly on naturally dairy free meals.  Asian meals (especially Thai, Chinese, Korean), Cajun meals, and what we call "separate meals" in my house (meat, starch, veggie) are all naturally dairy free.  That's a good starting place.  I've also looked up kosher meals, as they are either dairy or meat, never together.

 

I do use some dairy subs (such as soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk), but I look for sales and coupons, and I frequently get these cheaper or as cheap as cow milk.  I make sauces for casseroles out of fake milk, as well as some out of just chicken broth/bouillon with water. 

 

Mayonnaise is a great creamy substitute for me.  Egg salad is good, as well as tuna salad, chicken salad, and ranch dressing made with mayo.  It gives me a creamy flavor\/texture that I like.  Most sorbets are dairy free.  Coffee is my big thing, and I vary between alternative milks and powdered non-dairy creamer.  Cheap store brand biscuits are sometimes dairy free (not-healthy, but definitely cheap), as is Jiffy pie and pizza crust.  I use dairy free margarine as well, and I catch sales on it every so often. 

post #11 of 31

I have been lactose intolerant for nearly 10 years now.  I never tried to use dairy substiutes EXCEPT for a dairy free butter i feel i cant live without ...and that one is a budget buster for me...

some of our staples:

fried brown rice

chicken cutlets

oops - baby crying...

post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 

mayonaise! i hadn't thought of that! it has the right texture, so i could probably sub that in and monkey around with my casseroles until it worked. mayo and chicken broth might come close to cream of chicken. :)

post #13 of 31


Do you have a store with bulk bins? Our budget is super tight as well ($125 for two weeks, feeding 4 people) and we are able to buy these items mostly because the bulk bins. You can just get a small amount and it ends up being pretty reasonable, vs. those individual packages. I've never used cashews for dairy subs, but I know those recipes exist. The cheese sauce one I use is pretty simple - just flour, nutritional yeast, seasonings. And it only calls for 1/4 c nooch, so price wise, it's cheaper than cheese ;)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadiamond View Post

 

i've found some recipes for vegan cream cheese and cheese sauce, and they look good and do-able, but they involve nutritional yeast and cashews and other items that are out of my price range. when i can afford it, i'll definitely be trying vegan subs of all my favorite dishes, but for now i can't swing the ingredients.



 

post #14 of 31

We are dairy free, and have a tight budget. I stockpile using coupons, and buy meat when it is super cheap to freeze it for future use. Most of my grocery budget each week goes to fresh produce and keeping up my stockpile, and I keep it under $100 a week for a family of 4. Here are some meals we've had lately:

Spaghetti & meatballs

Red beans & rice

Dairy free lasagna and stuffed shells (use tofu to make vegan ricotta)

Roasted chicken w/ mashed potatoes & green beans

pizza (just make it without cheese and load up on toppings)

Tacos

chicken & dumplings

BBQ pulled chicken

meatloaf (I make mini ones in muffin tins)

beef stew

 

We do a lot of Asian recipes, too. Stir fries, teriyaki chicken, fried rice, curries w/ coconut milk.

post #15 of 31

stew:

 

stew meat

broth

carrots

celery

potatoes

barley

post #16 of 31
Thread Starter 

thanks for even more great ideas! i feel so much more confident than when i first posted that i can do this and have fun with it :)

post #17 of 31

My DH is allergic to Why, Lactose, and Casin so basically all dairy. He's so allergic that I have to read ingredient list for Sodium Casinate, Lactic acid, and Whey powder. I have a link bookmarked at home (on work computer, subbing this thread to remind me to post it tonight) to a website all about dairy free eating. Almond milk is a great liquid milk sub, not sure on the cost...

post #18 of 31

Dairy free here as well, I substitute rice milk in most recipes. I buy vanilla rice milk or coconut milk for baking. I use coconut oil in place of butter. I switched to the earth balance brand of margarine, not my favorite but comes in handy for making frosting and when I want something on my bagel.

 

I bake most of my bread by scratch, which helps- french bread is super easy but good and you can make french toast with it.

 

I have purchased the non dairy sour cream and cream cheese and they are just *eh* but nice when I am feeling left out- like having dip and veggies. Now cheese is a different matter. I miss cheese. I tried the rice cheeses and they are very blah to me.

 

Once I find a brand that I like it makes shopping easier. I have tried to find substitutes for as many of my favorite things as possible though or I feel resentful.

 

 

 

 

post #19 of 31

Here's the link I was talking about above. http://www.godairyfree.org/ great website!

post #20 of 31

lol!! I was going to suggest the same link!

 

Btw, if a muffin recipe doesn't ask to cream the butter with sugar, you can sub the butter with coconut oil or other oil

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