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Old 07-05-2013, 02:39 PM
 
Location: "Daytonnati"
4,245 posts, read 5,751,497 times
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This may have been asked and answered...Can you all recommend a good cookbook or source of reciepes for low cost/low income cooking? I prefer to do my own cooking but am looking for ways to economize..

Three ground rules....
1. I dont use much meat in my cooking (so meatless recipes are OK)
2. I try to buy fresh or frozen veggies and fresh fruit (not too much processed foods)
3. I don't grow my own food.

...so would look for some recs on good sources on cheap food recipes, etc...that would fit those three criterea.

I seem to recalll someone posting a link to a .pdf cookbook recently that had some of this (part of some challenge to see how low you can get your food bill, or if you can eat like 3rd world people. or something
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:50 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,859 posts, read 57,900,981 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayton Sux View Post
Can you all recommend a good cookbook or source of recipes for low cost/low income cooking?
...to see how low you can get your food bill
For most it's not about recipe's or food choices... it's about not wasting anything.
Using side dish veggie trimmings to make stocks and soups as an example.

Of Note: Not wasting anything needs to include not wasting your time as well.
Unless you have a LOT of unused idle and spare time available the 'gain' from getting
too deep into not wasting foodstuffs can/will become a waste of employable work hours.
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Old 07-05-2013, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
16,744 posts, read 20,511,200 times
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Don't know how poor you are, but I am super low income. I go to the food bank once a month, and I also qualify for a once/week senior food giveaway. It's way more food than I can use, so I don't even go each week.

So, I start by seeing what they gave me. I usually do get fresh fruit and veggies, along with random canned goods, dry beans, dry rice, bread, tortillas, pasta, eggs, chicken and ground turkey.

I cook up a pot of beans, a pot of rice. Put them in containers in the fridge. I cook up all the chicken, and freeze in separate baggies. I use the ground turkey in spaghetti sauce.

During the month, I augment my free food with a few items, maybe some more fresh veggies, cheese, more tortillas, maybe some canned sauces, from Grocery Outlet. Incredibly cheap deals there.

I eat a lot of burrito type meals, which I happen to love.

But, basically, my cooking/food preparation depends on what's in the cupboard/fridge, that i got for free, which will have to be made into simple food (which I actually like). Like burritos or rice and whatever.

I will share my super cheap chinese sauce recipe:

I just take chicken broth (buy it cheap at Grocery Outlet), pour it into the pan where I've stir fried veggies, etc., until it looks like a good amount of sauce.

Then I wait till it gets warm. Then, I take a cup and scoop some of the broth out of the pan, and add some corn starch to the cup, and stir it until there's no lumps. This works best with warm broth, seems to dissolve better, which is why I scoop it out of the pan.

Then I pour the dissolved corn starch mixture into the pan and wait to see if it thickens up the way I want, while stirring. If not, repeat. Be sure to give it a minute or so to thicken, or you may add too much.

Then I add some soy sauce to the mixture and stir.

Voila! Tastes and looks great. I always get compliments on it. You'd never guess it was so easy.

Super cheap meal. Just stir fry whatever veggies/meat you have on hand. Add the sauce. Pour over rice. Yum!
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Old 07-05-2013, 04:06 PM
 
Location: central Oregon
1,856 posts, read 2,026,686 times
Reputation: 2377
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
Don't know how poor you are, but I am super low income. I go to the food bank once a month, and I also qualify for a once/week senior food giveaway. It's way more food than I can use, so I don't even go each week.

So, I start by seeing what they gave me. I usually do get fresh fruit and veggies, along with random canned goods, dry beans, dry rice, bread, tortillas, pasta, eggs, chicken and ground turkey.

I cook up a pot of beans, a pot of rice. Put them in containers in the fridge. I cook up all the chicken, and freeze in separate baggies. I use the ground turkey in spaghetti sauce.

During the month, I augment my free food with a few items, maybe some more fresh veggies, cheese, more tortillas, maybe some canned sauces, from Grocery Outlet. Incredibly cheap deals there.

I eat a lot of burrito type meals, which I happen to love.

But, basically, my cooking/food preparation depends on what's in the cupboard/fridge, that i got for free, which will have to be made into simple food (which I actually like). Like burritos or rice and whatever.

I will share my super cheap chinese sauce recipe:

I just take chicken broth (buy it cheap at Grocery Outlet), pour it into the pan where I've stir fried veggies, etc., until it looks like a good amount of sauce.

Then I wait till it gets warm. Then, I take a cup and scoop some of the broth out of the pan, and add some corn starch to the cup, and stir it until there's no lumps. This works best with warm broth, seems to dissolve better, which is why I scoop it out of the pan.

Then I pour the dissolved corn starch mixture into the pan and wait to see if it thickens up the way I want, while stirring. If not, repeat. Be sure to give it a minute or so to thicken, or you may add too much.

Then I add some soy sauce to the mixture and stir.

Voila! Tastes and looks great. I always get compliments on it. You'd never guess it was so easy.

Super cheap meal. Just stir fry whatever veggies/meat you have on hand. Add the sauce. Pour over rice. Yum!
I cook stir-fry about the same, only thing I do is not always use canned/boxed broth because I don't always have some on hand. What I do is cut up and fry one piece of meat - pork, chicken or beef - in a tiny bit of oil. I want the meat to brown and stick. Then I add fat (bacon grease, oil or butter) and then flour and ramon spice packet (1 packet per one cup of fluid), then de-glaze with water and stir til it thickens. Then I add soy sauce to taste.
I have always had problems making sauces and gravies with corn starch, so I stick with butter and flour; this adds more fat into our diets and I've been told we need to eat a bit more fats to absorb the Vit D we take.
Next time I make stir-fry I will try the warm liquid and corn starch method. I really, really hate lumpy sauce and gravy.

I, too, get a lot of stuff from food banks and free places. We get more than we need in just a couple weeks and have to stop going for a few months to use up what we have.
I especially love when they give us dried kidney beans because I love to make red beans and rice. I don't have a special recipe, I look online and find one that I like. Once I do find one that I LOVE then I will only use that one.
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Old 07-06-2013, 05:44 PM
 
2,886 posts, read 3,952,248 times
Reputation: 1499
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayton Sux View Post
This may have been asked and answered...Can you all recommend a good cookbook or source of reciepes for low cost/low income cooking? I prefer to do my own cooking but am looking for ways to economize..

Three ground rules....
1. I dont use much meat in my cooking (so meatless recipes are OK)
2. I try to buy fresh or frozen veggies and fresh fruit (not too much processed foods)
3. I don't grow my own food.

...so would look for some recs on good sources on cheap food recipes, etc...that would fit those three criterea.

I seem to recalll someone posting a link to a .pdf cookbook recently that had some of this (part of some challenge to see how low you can get your food bill, or if you can eat like 3rd world people. or something
People have already talked about beans, which as far as I know are about the least costly source of good nutrition there is. If cooking dried beans is too inconvenient, even canned beans give you a lot of nourishment for the price.

I love eggs and most often make them as omelets or filled burritos with onions, mushrooms, spinach or whatever other veggies I have handy. Throw in a little cheese if you want.

Cabbage is a really versatile vegetable and still one of the cheapest you can find. I won't try to give you recipe leads, just wander the internet looking. The key about cabbage is to not overcook it.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:09 PM
 
13,711 posts, read 22,838,286 times
Reputation: 18526
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayton Sux View Post
This may have been asked and answered...Can you all recommend a good cookbook or source of reciepes for low cost/low income cooking? I prefer to do my own cooking but am looking for ways to economize..

Three ground rules....
1. I dont use much meat in my cooking (so meatless recipes are OK)
2. I try to buy fresh or frozen veggies and fresh fruit (not too much processed foods)
3. I don't grow my own food.

...so would look for some recs on good sources on cheap food recipes, etc...that would fit those three criterea.

I seem to recalll someone posting a link to a .pdf cookbook recently that had some of this (part of some challenge to see how low you can get your food bill, or if you can eat like 3rd world people. or something

The Living More with Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre would fill that role.
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Old 07-07-2013, 02:05 AM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
4,681 posts, read 4,587,757 times
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I've used Nava Atlas for cheap meals that are vegetarian based. Jeanne Lemlin is another one of my absolute favorite authors too... also vegetarian... if you haven't tried either one I highly recommend them!

So what I've done in the past (and will do again) is to have the main dish be one of the following each week... potato night (potato soup, potato casserole, potato pancakes, or twice baked, etc..), 2 nights of beans or lentils (lentil soup, tostadas, enchiladas, burritos, bean soup, etc), 1-2 nights pizza night (homemade, of course) and then usually a "meat night", using a different kind of animal each week of the month... fish, chicken , pork and beef. I try to bake a whole bird, peel the meet for 2-3 meals then make and freeze my own stock to supply at least a couple week's worth of chicken stock. I try to make beef stew which also gives me many meals. I'm not a fan of pizza (it's for the kids) so I usually we'll eat other leftovers. I would eventually like my last night to be mushroom or fermented food based. I took nutrition this past winter and we talked about a lot of the subtle nutrients (some not so subtle) that are in both these food items. Where I live, we can find kimchi really cheaply. I just don't know how to use it yet.
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:55 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
21,003 posts, read 25,781,024 times
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Of course, you save money by cooking at home.

One of the best ways is to only eat what you need. Most people only need 4 ounces of meat a day, and even at high meat prices, a 1/4 pound of meat isn't too much to pay for. There is no need for that 16 ounce steak (unless it is treat time)

The biggest savings of all comes with learning to bake. A loaf of artesan bread that would cost $4-5 can be made at home with 20 cents worth of wheat and a few pennies for the yeast. Dessert type baked goods are also much less expensive, although should be limited unless you are thin.

Concentrate on nutritional value per penny, not just on cost. Ramen is cheap, but it is all empty calories. Buy something else with useful vitamins or minerals in it. Although, I think that Ramen turned into a vegetable stir fry Chinese noodle dish is a good value.
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:36 PM
 
4,784 posts, read 4,669,685 times
Reputation: 5521
I wrote an entire reply and accidentally deleted it. Bah.

Anyway, I think, aside from looking for cookbooks, your best bet is to also search the internet for "cheap" or "budget" recipes. When I think of cheap meals, I tend to think:

-Beans
-Rice (I try to buy brown rice, though it costs more. But you will get a lot out of it.)
-Lettuce (Head of lettuce for multiple salads---not a bag it's pricier.)
-Eggs
-Pasta

I also think of meals where you could throw a lot of things together and make big portions, such as chili or soup. If you aren't particular about fruits and vegetables, you can buy what is on sale and adjust your recipes accordingly, which is easy with a soup or stir fry. When I buy meat, I buy it on sale (the lowest possibly price) and freeze whatever I didn't use.

You can also look up how to get the most out of your meals by looking for stuff like this:
How to Stretch a Chicken to Make Six Meals | Heavenly Homemakers

Or you can look for sites where they have an area for people on a budget:
Budget Recipes | Simply Recipes
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:52 PM
 
Location: in my mind
4,616 posts, read 6,120,652 times
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My favorite cheap recipe, which I seem to never tire of, is lentil tacos.

2/3 cup diced onion
1-2 tsp minced garlic
2/3 cups green/brown lentils (rinsed)
1 and 2/3 cup chicken or veggie broth
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano

Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until soft.

Add the lentils and spices. Stir in the pan for a couple of minutes until well mixed.

Add the broth, bring to a boil, then simmer with lid on for 30-40 minutes.

Remove lid and let it cook until most of the liquid is gone.

Then use it in tacos, tostadas, etc.
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