Vegetarian or vegan meals for two @ $50 per week or less - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 01-06-2009, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've browsed the web for recipes, and have found good solutions on vegweb and sites like Hillbilly Housewife, but do any of you wonderful mamas have suggestions for somewhat healthy and balanced meals for a week for two adults? We have about $50/week to work with.

Some of the ideas I've thought about are:

Oatmeal with banana for breakfast

Dinners & Lunch

- Lentil stew in crock pot (large batch for week of lunches)
- 3-bean chili & cornbread muffins
- Roasted vegetable burritos (using frozen broccoli, etc.)
- Stuffed potatoes with frozen broccoli
- Quesadillas and bean salad
- Scrambled tofu, spinach and homemade sweet potato fries


What else???

Thanks!! Cee
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#2 of 19 Old 01-06-2009, 03:02 PM
 
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I would buy a ton of bulk quinoa and use that as your staple grain. It's a complete protein and much more for you than say rice.

I eat a lot of black bean and quinoa chili. It's really easy. I like to cook up my quinoa separate always because I think it gets mushy when cooked in to something.

Saute up an onion, a little garlic, bell pepper if you have it, or if you like and have a jalapeno. Add some cumin (I like a lot, like a good tablespoon) chili powder if you like it really spicy. Add a can of diced tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce....basically any tomato product you have. I always keep canned whole, diced and crushed on hand. Simmer than a few minutes then add in your beans, simmer together, then add in your quinoa. I eat this literally all the time. This would go well with your veggie burrito idea as a filling with the veggies or something

I also eat quiona like oatmeal in the morning.
And at the end of the week you can clean out your fridge of all little bits of veggies/fruits and make a yummy salad
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#3 of 19 Old 01-06-2009, 03:12 PM
 
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I make alot of things with tomato sauce as a base...but I find canned pasta sauce to thick,and doesn't go far, so I water it down with CHEAP vegetable juice,or canned tomatoes...this week I used one can sauce, one small bottle of juice, 2 cans diced tomatoes...which totalled less then 4 bucks, added diced onions, garlic, spices...the great thing is since the onions/garlic is already in the tomatoes,it's one less thing to chop at dinner time(unless your like us and can't get enough) and simmered it for a few hours..then I had a yummy base for a ton of things, here's a list of things I use it for

-pasta(obvious),add tvp, or beans and whatever veg
-chili w sweet potato, carrot,celery,peppers, kidney beans, serve w chips or bread.
-minestroni soup, use some tomatoes, mixed w stock, beans, pasta, carrots, celery, whatever veg you want
-chickpea curry-diced potatoes, chickpeas, carrots, curry paste mixed with the tomatoes and served on rice
-quasadillas-refried beans, mashed sweet potatoes, diced veg, mixed together put in wraps and baked in the tomato sauce
-rice and beans-your choice of beans, veg on hand and cooked in the tomato sauce served on rice.

I'd stick to seasonal veg, which is always cheap...carrots, celery, potatoes always go far and are always cheap.

Save all your veg scraps, to make your own stock..Its WAY to expensive to buy and it's so much better when you make your own..and even plain rice tastes better when cooked in stock!

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#4 of 19 Old 01-06-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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I'd definitely buy some flour (I'd use ww and rye, but that's me) and make a loaf of bread to have around for sandwiches for the week. That's easy to send off in a bag if someone has to eat lunch out, and it's also useful for breakfasts and to accompany soups for dinner. If you make it yourself, it's not very expensive - you can make about six loaves from a five pound bag.

I noticed you mentioned a lot of frozen vegetables. I find that they're usually a lot cheaper, so I also use them for most things that don't require fresh.

I'd also suggest getting some dried beans and getting in the habit of setting them up to soak a few times a week. I usually soak two or three times what I'll need for whatever I'm making. I boil them all, and I store the extras in plastic bags in the freezer. Then they're ready to go whenever we need them, and we don't have to use the more expensive canned beans. Having beans in the freezer also keeps us from being tempted to eat out because there's always something easy we can make. I keep tortillas in the freezer too, and our easy, fall-back dinner is black bean burritos or enchiladas.

The biggest thing that saves us money, though, is to meal plan. I try to figure out ahead of time what we'll eat, so we don't end up wasting leftovers. I find I have to plan one or two nights a week to be leftovers nights. I also try to plan ahead, so if I need an onion sauteed tonight and I know I'll need one tomorrow too, I'll do both at the same time and that makes tomorrow's dinner faster. Anything that makes dinner faster really helps on nights when we're both done in and don't want to cook!

I'd also take a look at the frugality section in mindful home management. Those mamas have lots of great tips.
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#5 of 19 Old 01-06-2009, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you mamas! How do you freeze the beans, rainyday? Or is that a silly question?
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#6 of 19 Old 01-12-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ceeveg View Post
Thank you mamas! How do you freeze the beans, rainyday? Or is that a silly question?
I just always make sure to soak and boil an extra cup or two of dried beans. Then I cool them in the pot, drain off the liquid, rinse, and drain again, and freeze in about 1 to 2-cup amounts in zip-top sandwich and quart size bags. I just lay them flat on the freezer shelf or on a cookie sheet in the freezer, so they freeze into slabs. Because I drain off the liquid before freezing, it's easy to break off a small amount to add to something if I don't want to use the whole bag. I try to avoid plastic, but I do use it for frozen beans because it's just so much more convenient than the other methods I've tried (freezing in non-plastic containers). For me, having frozen beans ready to go is all about the convenience and keeping me from having to run to the store or getting tempted to order delivery!
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#7 of 19 Old 01-13-2009, 09:10 PM
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I'm making pasta putanesca for dinner tonight. Spaghetti, tomatoes, olives, capers. And I made my own ciabatta type of bread that was so super easy.

Last night we had carrot, corriander and coconut soup with a slice of home made multigrain bread.

I made a baked bean dish using a homemade tomato sauce (crushed tomatoes, oregano and garlic). Used dried lima beans because they cook up nice and easy for me. Mixed it all in with a bit of parm cheese and a bit of mozza baked on top. I use very little cheese, so one small block goes a long way. This was a great dish. The kids said it tasted like a baked pizza.

The other day I made pizza pockets. I have a great dough that takes a day to be ready. So I make it up the night before and then by dinner the next day I just fill and bake. I used the leftover sauce from the baked bean dish and a little mozza and whatever else we had in the fridge. This is a fantastic dough that will make you never want take out pizza again. It makes a big recipie, 12 pockets or mini pizza's, so I either freeze the extra or bake them up for lunch the next day.

Lentil soup is a staple for me. Basic recipie using French lentils or beluga lentils, canned tomatoes, and some spinach or greens. No stock. It's the best lentil soup I have ever had.

I also keep muffins in the freezer for snacks and lunches. I make a basic muffin and then add to it whatever we have on hand, frozen blueberries or even chocolate chips.

After having so much extra company this Christmas my January budget was cut in half. It has been very hard to do, but we have a major trip coming up and I had no choice. Planning for meals and only buying what I needed to make them, is the only way I have been able to stay on track. I plan for specific dishes and then make what we want off the list. Much easier than a rigid daily meal plan.
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#8 of 19 Old 01-14-2009, 02:29 AM
 
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I made a baked bean dish using a homemade tomato sauce (crushed tomatoes, oregano and garlic). Used dried lima beans because they cook up nice and easy for me. Mixed it all in with a bit of parm cheese and a bit of mozza baked on top. I use very little cheese, so one small block goes a long way. This was a great dish. The kids said it tasted like a baked pizza.
Ooh, that sounds good! And I have everything I need on hand, so I think I'll go soak some lima beans and make this for dinner tomorrow!
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#9 of 19 Old 01-14-2009, 02:41 PM
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http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives...ns-recipe.html

Here's a link to the recipie. I love this site. She uses chipotle in adobe sauce, but you can skip it if you want. I was afraid it would be too hot and didn't put enough in the make a difference. Maybe a little chipotle chili powder would work if you had it, or even smoked paprika.

The lentil soup recipie is also on this site. The split pea soup recipie is fantastic as well, and super cheap to make.
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#10 of 19 Old 01-14-2009, 05:19 PM
 
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Thanks for the recipe!
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#11 of 19 Old 01-15-2009, 02:02 PM
 
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cjr - that dough sounds awesome (the one that takes a day and then you make pizza pockets out of). Can you post your recipe??

THANKS!!!
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#12 of 19 Old 01-15-2009, 05:30 PM
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http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001199.html

This is the BEST pizza dough I have ever made. I have made it first thing in the morning and cooked up pizza later that evening for dinner, with great results. I have not tried it with whole flours, I honestly don't think it would work out as beautifully. I don't sweat the white flour for this meal, it is pizza after all and we put on healthy toppings.

Just a note though. This pizza has a very short cooking time so if you are going to use high moisture toppings, it's best to saute the moisture out first. Otherwise the crust gets soggy. You can make individual pizza's or the pockets. We love them both. Also, don't roll the dough just gently stretch it with your fingers being sure not to go too thin. It's chewy and delish.
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#13 of 19 Old 01-15-2009, 05:33 PM
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I wanted to add that you can make this super cheap by not using cheese. Simply brush the dough with some olive oil, sprinkle sparingly with parm if you would like, bake and then serve a marinara sauce as a dipping sauce. You can have a salad on the side.
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#14 of 19 Old 02-04-2009, 12:08 PM
 
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My DH and I have enjoyed the following:

*Pasta with Peanut Butter Sauce. We toss an assortment of steamed veggies on top of the pasta. This is the most delicious way I know of to eat veggies!! It is also a great way to use veggies up before they go bad.

*Lentil and Barley or Split Pea Soup (made with cheap vegetables-carrots, celery, onions...)

*French Onion Soup w/o the cheese. This is so quick to prepare and absolutely delicious!

*Shepherd's Pie Jennifer Raymond (vegan chef) style ... made with an assortment of veggies-carrots, celery, onions, canned tomatoes and red kidney beans topped with mashed potatoes.

*We make a pot of chili beans and use the leftovers for corn pone (baked chili beans with a crust of cornbread).

*Hummus is easy to make and makes a delicious sandwich filling! Try it (Jennifer Raymond style) on tortillas with brown rice and lettuce. Irresistibly delicious!

*Minestrone soup is another great way to use up vegetables before they go bad. I've even tried chopping up leftover spaghetti and throwing it into the pot (per suggestion of a vegetarian cookbook author). It tastes much better than it sounds.

*Tacos made with TVP is extra yummy! (This is another Jennifer Raymond recipe. If you can only afford one vegan cookbook, The Peaceful Palate by Jennifer Raymond, is my husband's and my cooking bible.)

We cook with a lot of dry beans, as others have suggested, freezing the leftovers. And we stick to the staples for vegetables (the ones that we use a lot of): carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, mushrooms and bell peppers. The others we buy frozen to save money. And we choose 1-3 other fresh vegetables to buy a week for special meals (such as broccoli or asparagus). For fruit we eat a lot of bananas and we also have frozen berries.

As a way to save on spices, we buy all the ones we can at the drugstore for under a dollar each. They usually have the most common ones: parsley flakes, garlic and onion powder, etc.

The biggest way to save money, of course, is cooking from scratch, something we've learned we love to do. Planning meals and shopping only once a week is also helpful. It's easy to cook a family sized meal for 2 people and enjoy the leftovers as lunches. Most soups can be frozen for easy meals later.

I hope this helps
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#15 of 19 Old 03-17-2009, 10:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cjr View Post
with a slice of home made multigrain bread.


I also keep muffins in the freezer for snacks and lunches. I make a basic muffin and then add to it whatever we have on hand, frozen blueberries or even chocolate chips.

.
do you have the recipe for the bread?

Also, I tried making muffins once and they were as flat as pancakes, a complete disaster!!!!!!!!!!!!!! could you post your recipe?

Lentil and lemon soup in our house is a weekly staple, we love it! We just use red lentils, onion, garlic, water, lemon and a tin of chopped tomatoes! So cheap and the kids adore it!


Thanks!

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#16 of 19 Old 03-17-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001199.html

This is the BEST pizza dough I have ever made. I have made it first thing in the morning and cooked up pizza later that evening for dinner, with great results. I have not tried it with whole flours, I honestly don't think it would work out as beautifully. I don't sweat the white flour for this meal, it is pizza after all and we put on healthy toppings.

Just a note though. This pizza has a very short cooking time so if you are going to use high moisture toppings, it's best to saute the moisture out first. Otherwise the crust gets soggy. You can make individual pizza's or the pockets. We love them both. Also, don't roll the dough just gently stretch it with your fingers being sure not to go too thin. It's chewy and delish.
is this recipe easier then it looks? The instructions look scary! but it sounds wonderful!

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#17 of 19 Old 03-17-2009, 10:49 AM
 
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Split Pea Soup (made with cheap vegetables-carrots, celery, onions...)


*Hummus is easy to make and makes a delicious sandwich filling! Try it (Jennifer Raymond style) on tortillas with brown rice and lettuce. Irresistibly delicious!


Do you have the recipe for these? i would love to try them!

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#18 of 19 Old 03-23-2009, 10:32 PM
 
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Lentil and lemon soup in our house is a weekly staple, we love it! We just use red lentils, onion, garlic, water, lemon and a tin of chopped tomatoes! So cheap and the kids adore it!


Thanks!
Mmmm, your soup sounds good!!

: I'm going to try making that. I think my children would love it, too!

so many roads to ease my soul...

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#19 of 19 Old 03-24-2009, 10:15 AM
 
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Mmmm, your soup sounds good!!

: I'm going to try making that. I think my children would love it, too!

My LO won't eat any other soup other than this one LOL:

Here's the recipe...........I have no idea where it comes from, my sister gave it to me:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
1 garlic clove
150g red lentils
1 pint veg stock (or just water)
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tsp tomato puree
1/2 tbsp dried oregano (optional)
salt and pepper
1 tbsp lemon


so cook onion and garlic gently for ten minutes in the oil, add everything else aside from lemon juice, bring to boil, cover with saucepan lid, simmer for 15- 20 mins! add lemon juice and season to taste. Usually I put my 'stick blender' (i don't know if they call them this in the USA) and blend it until it is nice and smooth. My LO is suspicious of lumps in soup! I serve with warm bread and chedder cheese. Let me know if you make this! I would love to know if you like it or not!

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