Meals on the Cheap - under $2 meal ideas - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

Meals on the Cheap - under $2 meal ideas

velochic's Avatar velochic
08:45 AM Liked: 200
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02-07-2007 | Posts: 8,198
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Are these meals you all are posting really for under $2? Most of them sound more expensive than that.
Malva's Avatar Malva
10:46 AM Liked: 15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Are these meals you all are posting really for under $2? Most of them sound more expensive than that.
I agree, unless you have everything already in your pantry! A lot of the recipes call for broth, I do make my own chicken broth so it can be free but often I need to buy some and just one box is $3.50 (non organic)!
Attila the Honey's Avatar Attila the Honey
11:33 AM Liked: 66
#63 of 419
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malva View Post
I agree, unless you have everything already in your pantry! A lot of the recipes call for broth, I do make my own chicken broth so it can be free but often I need to buy some and just one box is $3.50 (non organic)!
I am a vegetarian, and we always have broth because whenever I cook a vegetable, any kind, I put the cooking water into an ice cube tray and freeze it. When it's frozen I add it to my big bag of broth cubes. When it is all simmered together it makes a good vegetable broth, or at least close enough for my taste.

If for some reason I don't have broth, or I want to make a 'chicken style' broth I just fake it with water, salt, some liquid aminos and some chicken style herb/spice mix that I buy in bulk at our co-op. It might not be the real thing, but it tastes good and does the job.

IMO, $3.50 for broth is outrageous! I'd use salted water before I'd spend that.

None of the recipes seemed expensive to me. $2 or under? Well, that's going to vary by where you live, the type of stuff you buy, and how well stocked your pantry is, but they all seemed like if I made them at home I'd be able to make them for around or under $2/meal.
my2girlz's Avatar my2girlz
11:53 AM Liked: 11
#64 of 419
02-07-2007 | Posts: 2,444
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My kids love my dad's recipie for goulash. It's right around $2.

2 cups of cooked elbow noodles (I get a large box for .99 so I guess .25)
2 cans of tomato soup (.88)
1lb or less of hamburger (I buy in bulk at .99/lb so .99)
squirt of ketchup (.05)

cook noodles, brown hamburger, drain noodles, mix everything together and let simmer for 5-10 min.

So total is $2.17. This feeds 8-10.
Canadianmommax3's Avatar Canadianmommax3
12:30 PM Liked: 10
#65 of 419
02-07-2007 | Posts: 2,805
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Large Can of Tomato Juice
elbow macaroni
shredded cheddar cheese

cook macaroni to almost done, drain, put back in pot and add the can of tomato juice, salt and pepper and shredded cheese. Bring to boil, once cheese is melted and macaroni is done enjoy.
My dh loves it!
velochic's Avatar velochic
01:31 PM Liked: 200
#66 of 419
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Honey View Post
None of the recipes seemed expensive to me. $2 or under? Well, that's going to vary by where you live, the type of stuff you buy, and how well stocked your pantry is, but they all seemed like if I made them at home I'd be able to make them for around or under $2/meal.
I looked more closely at the recipes in this thread. I live in the midwest US where it must be the cheapest place on earth to live. It's probably better to assume that these are inexpensive meals, but I don't think any of them come in under $2 (in case people are budgeting).

They're still great recipes. I just think that the title of the thread is misleading and people who are on tight budgets should allow some tolerance in final cost. Even if you start with dried beans as a main ingredient, you've blown half of your $2 budget.
Attila the Honey's Avatar Attila the Honey
05:54 PM Liked: 66
#67 of 419
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I looked more closely at the recipes in this thread. I live in the midwest US where it must be the cheapest place on earth to live. It's probably better to assume that these are inexpensive meals, but I don't think any of them come in under $2 (in case people are budgeting).

They're still great recipes. I just think that the title of the thread is misleading and people who are on tight budgets should allow some tolerance in final cost. Even if you start with dried beans as a main ingredient, you've blown half of your $2 budget.
I don't agree.

A 1lb bag of black beans is 79 cents at a regular old grocery store here, and a pot of black bean soup made from a 1lb bag of black beans is going to last my family 2 dinners and a lunch (3 people, so 9 meals total, I know this because I just lived it. We finished the last of it for lunch today!). The only thing I add to our black bean soup is vinegar, spices (bought in bulk, pennies), salt, a chopped carrot or two ($2/5lbs and I use maybe 1/10th - 20 cents?), a chopped onion (.99/3lbs and again, maybe 1/10th of the package - 10 cents?), a couple cloves of garlic (IIRC it's usually 3 heads of garlic for $1 and I used maybe 1/2 of one head- so 16 cents?).

So, let's err on the high side and say the entire pot cost me $2. Not likely that I spent 80 cents on a couple tablespoons of bulk spices, but for the sake of argument I will say $2. Then, you have to divide the $2 by 3 meals for a family of 3, or 9 meals total. Depending how you look at it that brings the total for that dinner to 22 cents - 66 cents.

Even with the plop of sour cream I like on top (15 serving/1.59 container and each person gets one serving on their bowl of soup - 10 cents) and with a cornbread on the side (from scratch, bulk ingredients) it doesn't come in over $2! Heck, I could add brown rice to the soup and still come in under $2, I bet.

Sure, it'd cost more than $2 to go get all the supplies from scratch if your pantry was bare, but it'd supply more than just one meal. These aren't necessarily meals that you could go to the store with your $2 and get the ingredients to prepare, but you could likely swing it if you went to the store with $14 and planned to eat the same 2-3 meals a couple days in a row for that week.

For "I only have 2 dollars and no supplies and need to make dinner" type meals? No name boxed mac and cheese? Canned tuna and a loaf of white bread? French toast made from a dozen eggs and a loaf of 50 cent white bread? That's all I can think of (and I wouldn't want to eat any of it!)
wife&mommy's Avatar wife&mommy
01:02 AM Liked: 5
#68 of 419
02-08-2007 | Posts: 3,560
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This is a great thread!!
I think our favorite is rice and beans or pancakes/eggs but they have already been mentioned.

We also eat potatoes/zucchini baked with parmesan cheese on top for a meal. Yummy!
CeciMami's Avatar CeciMami
03:41 AM Liked: 0
#69 of 419
02-09-2007 | Posts: 541
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: subbing!
Red's Avatar Red
07:44 PM Liked: 21
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For broth I either use homemade, a small can of the store brand (.50 cents) or a coupleof cups of water and a bullion cube. I've never paid $3.50 for a can of broth.

I use 3/4 of a lb of dried beans to make a BIG pot of chili. With a can of tomatoes at .99 (I get them for less on sale), a bit of chili powder, and an onion, it costs about $2. Since it feeds me, dh and two teens, twice it's actually a one dollar meal. So, I can add some cheese ($1.50 for 8 oz block) 1/2 a block is $.75.

Sushi: 10 sheets of nori, $1.99. I use 5 sheets and have enough leftover for one lunch. Rice costs $4.99 a bag and I can make 6 batches of sushi with it, so it's $.83. One carrot and 1/4 of a cuke...cukes are $.50 each....that's another $.13 and the carrot would be another $.10. I believe that's $2.06!

Soup? You can make a huge pot for under $2. Use the veggie scrapings, some garlic, a few bullion cubes if you want. Any less than spiffy veggies can go in for the broth too. Simmer all day. Strain, add salt, pepper, lots more garlic, a couple of carrots, a few potatoes or some uncooked rice, a stalk of celery, whatever you have.

Make a some homemade bread to go with it.

I haven't seen any recipes that wouldn't come in close to $2 in this thread, as long as you made most of it from scratch.


Only got $2 and need to buy a dinner? Oodles of noodles...$.16 so say two packages, buy two carrots from the bulk area, ask the produce manager if there's any damaged veggies out back for your rabbits.

Or buy a small bag of brown rice, and a bag of dried beans.

Or get a dozen eggs ($1.00), make a loaf of bread and have scrambled and toast. Or Pancakes. You can spread them with jelly, sprinkle them with sugar, put honey on them, etc.


But, trust me, I've frequently fed my family on $2 a night.
snowbunny's Avatar snowbunny
08:38 PM Liked: 0
#71 of 419
02-09-2007 | Posts: 1,564
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Mujadarrah

1 Large Yellow Onions ($.89)
2 T Olive Oil ($.38)
1 C Lentils ($.47)
1 C Brown Rice ($.23)
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Boil lentils until tender--about 45 minutes. Cook rice in a rice cooker until done--if you don't have a rice cooker, cook it as you normally would.

While rice and lentils are cooking, slice the onions very thin and then fry it in the oil until they're well-browned and slightly crispy on the edges. Drain lentils, serve over rice and top with fried onions.

If you have some tomatoes and parsley from your garden, it makes a nice addition. The cost estimate is based on prices in my area (100% organic, with everything purchased in bulk through our buying club except for the onions).
theotherkenny's Avatar theotherkenny
05:09 AM Liked: 0
#72 of 419
02-10-2007 | Posts: 24
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In my opinion, it's difficult to find the true price point of any recipe. It depends on family size, where you live, how many servings you can get, etc. I honestly don't think any of these recipes sound outrageous. To each their own...(Or whatever the old saying is, heh.)
deuxceleste's Avatar deuxceleste
11:04 PM Liked: 0
#73 of 419
02-10-2007 | Posts: 1,571
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No ideas at the moment, but I just wanted to thank you all!!

Back in the day when an ex and I were living together I would do just this! I'd go to the grocery store and challenge myself to make meals for (a little more than 2) $5 or less that would feed both of us. We had lovely pesto chicken pasta, breaded oven-"fried" chicken strips, and a google of others. I'm gonna keep my eye on this thread!
KathinJapan's Avatar KathinJapan
02:35 AM Liked: 10
#74 of 419
02-11-2007 | Posts: 1,113
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I live in Japan, where food is expensive, so no way I could make any of these meals for the equal of $2, but TONS of good ideas.

Here is one for cheaper sushi.
Chirashi Zushi
make sushi rice
pile on a plate, on top add chopped cucumber, tomatoes, tuna, scrambled egg (broken up into chunks) etc.. anything you like. Use one sheet of nori and fold in half a few times and cut with kitchen shears into match strips. Drizzle with wasabi soysauce.
If nori is the expensive ingredient this should cut the cost down. This dish is very popular in Japan, and is traditionally served on Girl`s Day which is March 3rd.

Kathryn
Attila the Honey's Avatar Attila the Honey
09:31 AM Liked: 66
#75 of 419
02-11-2007 | Posts: 2,614
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I made Tamale Casserole last night, quick and easy and CHEAP.

First in a cast iron skillet I sauteed onions, garlic and a bell pepper in olive oil until soft. Then I added about 1/4 bag of frozen corn and maybe a cup of pinto beans from the freezer. I added some salt, pepper and chili powder and a small baggie of tomato paste from the freezer (maybe 2T) and some water and simmered until everything was warmed and mixed.

In the meantime I made a pot of cornmeal mush - 4C water and 1C of cornmeal, simmer until thick. I put half aside to warm up for breakfast today, the other half I salted and peppered and poured over the veggies in the skillet. I topped the cornmeal with 1/3 of a pound of shredded cheddar cheese and I stuck it in the oven until bubbly and the cheese was melted.

I was pleased because it used up one of my red peppers (I got 8 for $2 in the damaged produce bin, they were a little smooshed but very firm and fresh) and it used up one of my many baggies of leftover tomato paste. The 25 cent red pepper was probably the most expensive part of this meal, and we have enough leftover to eat for lunch today.
***Heather***'s Avatar ***Heather***
11:01 AM Liked: 0
#76 of 419
02-11-2007 | Posts: 1,458
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My FRUGAL meals (maybe not under $2, I never add them up )

Turkey bought on sale at Christmas time (I think it was 10lbs @ $.89/lb CAD...) I roasted it up the other day, saved the broth and divided it into 6 meals. Some meals had more meat, some less. With the meat I made:

-soup: broth, salt & pepper, basil, turkey, onion, carrot, cabbage, turnip, rice (this was a quick and easy meal, veggies were purchased on sale last fall, cut into soup sized bits and stored in freezer)

-turkey and biscuits: turkey, cubed potatoes, carrots, onion in creamy sauce (butter/flour/milk) with homemade biscuits

-turkey rice dish: turkey, rice, fresh mushrooms, green peppers, celery, onion with seasoning or can of mushroom soup.

-Turkey on tortilla with green peppers, bits of mozzarella cheese, mayo

-Turkey, mashed potatoes and veggie

-Turkey linguine: Cream of mushroom soup, green pepper, onion, fresh mushrooms, chunks of turkey breast.

Others:
-chili and cornbread (assorted dried beans, some hamburger meat, can of diced tomatoes, onion, green pepper, mushrooms, garlic) cornbread made from scratch

-Pancakes made from scratch and real homemade maple syrup!

-Pea soup made from scratch with onion, spices, and bits of ham or bacon

-Potato soup

-Cabbage rolls: mix hamburger meat, spices and rice (or oatmeal, crackers etc also works. can also use cubed potatoes) wrap in cabbage leaves, place in roast pan, cover with diced tomatoes and/or tomato juice. Bake in oven.

-Succotash: Our families version: Always starts off with can of corn, can of kidney beans then include some/all of following: onion, green pepper, diced tomato, other kinds of dried bean. Add milk and smidge of butter for broth, pour over buttered or toasted bread.

-Eggs in white sauce on toast (slice hard boiled eggs and add to white sauce made from flour/butter/milk, serve on toast)

-Spaghetti sauce: brown hamburger with onion, green pepper etc (whatever is on hand) add can of diced tomatoes and let simmer. To thicken sauce, mix 1t-1T flour in a glass with warm water, stir into sauce.

- a cheap meat and potatoes meal that's quick and easy: brown hamburger with onion and spices. Add water and flour to make gravy (mix 1t-1T flour in a glass with warm water, stir into sauce.) eat with mashed potatoes and veggie on the side.

*I never claimed my meals were healthy.
wife&mommy's Avatar wife&mommy
12:08 AM Liked: 5
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Heather, your meals sound great but I'm on weight watchers right now! LOL
Babytime's Avatar Babytime
12:59 AM Liked: 10
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Egg bake -- a dozen eggs blended with a splash of milk, a handful of cheese and some diced peppers -- pour into a 13 x 9 and bake
SusannahM's Avatar SusannahM
08:16 PM Liked: 11
#79 of 419
02-12-2007 | Posts: 1,154
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French bread pizza

Loaf of French bread ($1)
2 small cans Tomato sauce spiced up to make pizza sauce ($.25/can = $.50)
8 oz bag shredded mozzarella cheese ($1.44)

Slice the loaf of French bread in 1/2 lengthwise. Spread on pizza sauce. Spread 1/2 of bag of mozzarella cheese on top. Put on other toppings that are desired (we use up our leftovers in this way). Cook in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

1/2 of the French bread loaf makes enough for 2 small children and two adults. So, the ingredients listed make enough for 2 dinners. So, the total price for each dinner is $2.94/2 = $1.47.
SusannahM's Avatar SusannahM
08:20 PM Liked: 11
#80 of 419
02-12-2007 | Posts: 1,154
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I also wanted to mention this blog here, because he has some very good ideas for cheap meals. It's called Cheap Eats. Here's the link:

http://www.bloglander.com/cheapeats/
kijip's Avatar kijip
03:05 PM Liked: 12
#81 of 419
02-13-2007 | Posts: 1,544
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Potato Onion Omelet.

1 cooked potato, 6 eggs, 1/2 an onion. In most places that would be about $2 for a family of 4, especially if you buy things in bulk. We used to buy eggs by the 5 dozen so 6 eggs works out to be less than 75 cents. Now we buy them at the co-op organic but even all organic, this meal comes in under $4-5. Add a little teeny bit of cheese and it's the high life.
wife&mommy's Avatar wife&mommy
03:37 PM Liked: 5
#82 of 419
02-13-2007 | Posts: 3,560
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Oh what about french onion soup? We are having this tomorrow, its just onions, broth, cheese, and bread on top if you like.
janerose's Avatar janerose
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:
AngelBee's Avatar AngelBee
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:
MissLotus's Avatar MissLotus
05:37 PM Liked: 367
#85 of 419
02-13-2007 | Posts: 3,110
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I just made a cheap recipe I got from a link off the Nutrition & Good Eating forum here at MDC....for Honey-Baked Lentils:


http://happyfoody.blogspot.com/2006/...d-lentils.html

It took maybe 3 minutes to put together...you don't even have to chop anything up! And I only baked mine about 35-40 minutes and it came out perfectly. It honestly is delicious!
grniys's Avatar grniys
02:52 AM Liked: 13
#86 of 419
02-14-2007 | Posts: 1,705
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babytime View Post
Egg bake -- a dozen eggs blended with a splash of milk, a handful of cheese and some diced peppers -- pour into a 13 x 9 and bake
How long do you bake this and at what temperature?
MomToKandE's Avatar MomToKandE
10:24 AM Liked: 0
#87 of 419
02-14-2007 | Posts: 2,995
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelagain View Post
I'm not exactly sure if this is under $2-- but it's close!

Peanut Butter Chicken & Rice
Cook 2 cups of rice as directed (makes 4 cups)

Sauce:
1/4 c P.B.
2 T. soy sauce
2 tsp. vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. water
sprinkle on some garlic powder
Heat and stir w/ whisk until creamy.
Add cooked/diced chicken- mix in with the cooked rice- delicious!
I would use either 2 chicken breasts, or I normally cook a turkey, eat it one night and freeze the rest of the meat in ziploc bags, each bag probably equals 1 cup of meat.

We made this last night and it was a huge hit! I bet it would work with pasta or rice noodles too.
Attila the Honey's Avatar Attila the Honey
12:05 PM Liked: 66
#88 of 419
02-14-2007 | Posts: 2,614
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The peanut butter chicken recipe is very similar to something I make with tofu. I take firm tofu and freeze it, then thaw it and squeeze out the extra water and cut into cubes. I make that peanut butter sauce and toss the tofu in to coat it and spread it on a baking sheet and bake on 400 until browned and crispy.

It's really good!
Red's Avatar Red
05:20 PM Liked: 21
#89 of 419
02-14-2007 | Posts: 4,392
Joined: Feb 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by deuxceleste View Post
No ideas at the moment, but I just wanted to thank you all!!

Back in the day when an ex and I were living together I would do just this! I'd go to the grocery store and challenge myself to make meals for (a little more than 2) $5 or less that would feed both of us. We had lovely pesto chicken pasta, breaded oven-"fried" chicken strips, and a google of others. I'm gonna keep my eye on this thread!
Well, you really ought to love this thread, cause it's about making the meal for $2 or less, not each persons portion!

Any recipe I put in will feed four for $2.00

I made peking ravioli th other night. I didn't think it would come in so cheaP! I mixed 3/4 of a lb of ground pork with a small head of cabbage, some mushrooms, and soy sauce, etc. I made the wrappers from scratch, which took FOREVER. (be warned) But it was simple. If anyone wants teh recipe, I'll post it. If you have small kids, you'd need help, or to use wonton wrapprs from the store. We ate them for two nights, had enough leftover to call "MooShu pork" last night.
Red's Avatar Red
05:26 PM Liked: 21
#90 of 419
02-14-2007 | Posts: 4,392
Joined: Feb 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Honey View Post
The peanut butter chicken recipe is very similar to something I make with tofu. I take firm tofu and freeze it, then thaw it and squeeze out the extra water and cut into cubes. I make that peanut butter sauce and toss the tofu in to coat it and spread it on a baking sheet and bake on 400 until browned and crispy.

It's really good!

That sounds great!
Tags: Meal Planning , Frugality , Budget

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