Traditional staple meals from around the world use rice, polenta, potatoes, pasta, buckwheat, etc as the bulk of the meal and veggies, meat and milk are used alomost as condiments to add flavor, appeal and extra vitimins.
Try not to base your meals on the especially expensive ingredient. For example, instead of eating a big bowl of yogurt, have borsht with a spoon of yogurt stirred in, instead of grilled eggplant, have ratatoullie on polenta. You can still have all the flavors you like, but the cost is a lot less.
I find that cookbooks can sort of misleading since they have lots of recipes for special occasion meals and few for everyday staples.