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#51 Posted by TheSquarePear (245 posts) -

Pork, eggs (cook a couple at once and put them in the fridge with the shell on) and cheese is pretty cheap in relation to the energy you get and the expiration rate. If you're like me you'll quickly get sick of dragging shit home and just want to fill your fridge once or twice a week.
Just go to a restaurant once in a while or your taste buds might go numb.

#52 Edited by Kieran_ES (270 posts) -

Day 1. Take a chicken. Rub in olive oil, salt and pepper. Stuff some rosemary and thyme in the cavity. Put it in an oven. Cook for 1h 20. Halfway through, baste. (depending on size).

Day 2. Take rice. Put in pan. Cover in water. Bring to a boil, then simmer (covered) until done. Use spare chicken and veg.

Day 3. Take chicken carcass. Put in pot, cover in water. Bring to boil, simmer for 2 hours. Throw in veg, blah blah and you have stock. Use stock to make soup.

Seriously though, cheap cooking is easy if you're economical about what you buy and how you use it. Make full use of everything (as above), plan your week out in advance if you can.

#53 Posted by Zelyre (1406 posts) -

Roasting pans are cheap. A thermometer is good, too.

A 3 pound sirloin tip is fairly inexpensive. Pork loin, too. If you're making it for yourself, it'll last a while. Mashed potatoes? So cheap and so easy. Cut some potatoes up. Boil. Dump the water out (but do save some of it.). Mash with butter, milk, salt and pepper.

Rub the meat in some olive oil. For red meat, I like paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic, onion powder, oregano. An hour at 350 and bam. Cover the roast and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

Go back to the roasting pan. Using a wooden spoon, loosen up the meat drippings and fat. Add a bit of flour to that and heat over low heat until it's brown. Stir in the potato water. Season to taste. Gravy.

For pork loin, I like to score cross patterns into the fat. It gets crispy and delicious. Poke a few holes into it with a knife and put in some slivers of garlic. I cook it to an internal temperature of 140 and then take it out to rest. It hits 150 by the time I cut it up to serve.

You can get salmon filets for a decent price, too. I dust them with paprika, cayenne, oregano, onion powder, salt, and pepper. On the skin side, I cut slits and then fill those pockets with a dusting of spice. On medium heat, add olive oil (or butter), cook the filet, skin side down. Generally, I go for ~6 minutes, depending on the thickness then flip for 3. The skin will be a golden brown and crispy. The filet gets plonked on a bed of white rice.


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#54 Posted by Devil240Z (3977 posts) -

holy balls. I didn't expect to get this many good responses. Its gonna take me a while to read through this! Thanks guys! I cant wait til I get some decent cookware and start getting a solid hold on what raw ingredients to keep on hand. I don't know if I came off as totally inept at cooking in my first post but I'm not. I have just never really had to shop for myself before I moved out of my parents place and I don't know very many recipes but good eats is one of my favorite shows and I was a bread baker for a year or so, not quite a line cook but I know my way around an professional kitchen. And if you cant tell I'm not a purist at all. I literally don't give a fuck ill eat shitty frozen dinners every day, I just actually enjoy cooking. I like stocking up on canned shit that way I have a fairly versatile set of ingredients that dont go bad if I don't use them right away. Right now I'm broke as fuck so I'm probably gonna eat ramen or canned chilli tonight. I need to go grocery shopping asap once I get paid.

Right now a few regular menu items(things made mostly with raw ingredients) for me are:

  • Bacon, eggs, pancakes.
  • Spam and rice.
  • baked potatoes with cheese and sour cream. and bacon if I have it
  • quesadillas fried in oil.
  • omelettes (usually with cheese and spam, I eat alot of spam... its too damn convenient to have around!

I totally want to acquire a good cookbook. I also want to get a white board for my kitchen that I can keep track of what ingredients I have and what I can make with them.

#55 Posted by NiKva (133 posts) -

Buy a big bag of rice. Rice goes great with everything!

#56 Edited by familyphotoshoot (703 posts) -

While we're on the topic of food, I decided to make stuffing out of White Castle hamburgers because I hate myself.

Not actually stuffing the bird until tomorrow. Might post pics of it if I remember.

#57 Posted by Tesla (2020 posts) -


Take some time to think about a dish you want to make. Look up recipes, and make it. Make mistakes, learn from them, and improve over time like all things.

#58 Posted by crusader8463 (14755 posts) -

During the week cheese burgers at various fast food restaurants and stuff like chips, pop, pizza, chicken fingers and egg rolls on the weekends and can't get to the restaurants. Pretty much stuff that can be thrown in the oven for 5-30 min and doesn't need to be babysat while it cooks.

#59 Edited by GS_Dan (1433 posts) -

Once you get a bigger pan, make some soup in that fucker. Leek and potato is delicious and is absurdly cheap per portion. Ham and lentil is also an awesome choice.

Also, everyone should check out sortedfood.com. Great guys who make funny, easy to follow but also delicious recipe videos.

#60 Posted by MrT (200 posts) -

Breakfast I eat eggs, oatmeal yogurt toast with peanutbutter, midday Neal is a gainer shake with powerbutter pbj, and protein bread. Late lunch is meatloaf, and rice. Predinner is what ever I feel like and jasmine frozen rice. Dinner us steak and a sweat potato. I've done thus every year for the past few years and why would any one ever eat anything else.

#61 Posted by Turambar (7260 posts) -

I've been making chicken/pork fried rice with eggs and some various veggies on a semi regular basis for years now. Always cheap, and always delicious. (Sometimes I replace the rice with cooked then dried ramen.)

#62 Posted by FiestaUnicorn (1667 posts) -

Farmer's Markets.

#63 Posted by The_Hiro_Abides (1284 posts) -

My diet mostly consists of ground meat (85% is fairly cheap comparatively), eggs, bacon, peanut butter sandwiches, granola bars, chili with cheese, corned beef hash, rice and hot pockets. I'm mostly using it a diet and that's been fairly successful compared to my former lifestyle. I admit though that I work in a grocery section in a store so when there's a cheap deal on steaks, I jump all over that when I have the capital.

#64 Posted by bombHills (650 posts) -

Stir fry is easy. Just fry up some chicken in a bit of oil, add veggies or whatever, and chow down.

#65 Posted by Ghost_Cat (1550 posts) -

Souls. Children's souls.

#66 Posted by EpicSteve (6909 posts) -

You can usually get a huge bag of frozen chicken breasts for about $8. Combine that with some veggies and you got a weeks worth of dinners and lunch for about $15 or so. Get a George Foreman grill

#67 Posted by Sticky_Pennies (2032 posts) -

You can make a retarded amount of salad out of a single head of fresh lettuce. Try to get the larger ones. I can make three ginormous salads for like a buck-fifty. That's not including other stuff, like chicken, dressing, bacon bits, or whatever.

Frozen chicken breast is generally a less expensive protein, from what I've found. You can do all kinds of stuff with that. I've used it in sandwiches, grilled, baked, fried. Works very well.

#68 Edited by CornBREDX (6751 posts) -

Get some chicken breasts, put your favorite seasons on it (I recommend lemon pepper, but season salt is ok and so is emerils essence). Cook in the oven for like 30 minutes at 350 I think it is. 
Get some noodles, boil water in a pot, boil the noodles until they are soft (probably 10 minutes or so), strain the noodles (don't run cold water on it just strain the water), mix in some cheese and your choice of seasoning (i recommend a dash of salt and some pepper) 
Get some green beans (or your vegetable of choice), boil some water, put in the boiling water, boil til it's how you like, strain the veggies, add butter 
Cooking is pretty simple. Ya, there is complicated dishes, but if you're trying to keep it simple it's not hard to make something that tastes good, is decent for you (it is said if you make it at home instead of going out it's already 10 x better for you just because it's fresh), and you can refrigerate left overs and eat more of it later. 
To get even simpler: rice, pepper, and butter is delicious.  
Actually a ton of stuff goes great with rice. Try some brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and milk on the rice. SO GOOD! And easy to make.

#69 Posted by Theassman (34 posts) -

Alright, heres what you do:

Breakfast: Oatmeal. Healthy and the taste grows on you. Add nuts or berries for taste (not peanuts, theyre shit for you). Personally I prefer goji berries and a few almonds. How to make? Google it, easiest shit in the world (takes like 20 min).

Lunch: Bruchetta. Get a good bread, dont care if its white or whole-grain, slow-fry that shit in a little olive oil, mix tomatoes with basil, oregano and a little bit of salt and pepper. Pretty healthy and tastes alright, fills you up. You can add turkey or chicken if you like the extra protein.

Dinner: Pasta, with protein. Super cheap, and fills you right up. Carbonara is easy as shit (you can google that too, add mushrooms for a lil extra) or one of my favs. aubergine pasta. Square a whole aubergine and sweat it. Soak it in olive oil and add a whole chopped onion, saute. Few cans of crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and chopped chili. Get a whole pot basil, save leaves and chop stalks, add the stalks and let simmer for a while. Add a little bit of cream and the leaves, at this point it only gets better the longer you wait. When you think it's enough, turn off the heat and add shredded cheese (mozzarella, parmesan whatever) let it melt and serve. Doesn't take that long if you're in a hurry but tastes good. Again, add whatever hard protein you like, still tastes good.

You can mix up dinner as much as you want, get fish and meat fillets with whatever ovenbaked veggies you like, lamb is pretty awesome if you rub it with a bit of soy, garlic and vinegar, but never fast food or soft drinks. Snacks are for emergencies, and if you eat one, skip a meal. Go running at least 4 times a week and you'll feel pretty awesome!

#70 Posted by panvixyl (337 posts) -

When I left for college I just got all kinds of fucked up on chickpeas - your hummus', your felafels, etc. Full of protein but not as expensive as meat!

And as for a guide to basic, healthy cooking I found Just Bento to be very useful (provided you don't hate Japanese food). A lot of their recipes are easy to make, healthy, and budget friendly. PLUS their portions are healthy! Many recipes fuck me up because they'll instruct in quantities that 'Serve 4' buttttt then I end up just eating it all myself. Which is stupid. And shitty.

So my advice is don't overeat! Or you will die.

#71 Posted by Worcanna (102 posts) -

Right now, im kinda in japan. So really, its testing everything to find what i like. Lots of spicy foods here. :) i like.

#72 Edited by Napalm (9230 posts) -

@Devil240Z said:

Edit: broke, pseudo adults.

I've been living on my own for a few months now and I feel like I have no idea what to eat. I mean my life is a tornado of poverty. but some times I can blow some decent cash at the grocery store but I never know what to buy.

I like cooking but I don't know much about cooking and when I lived with my dad I just ate like an asshole all the time(fast food, takeout and bad frozen shit) now I'm on my own, with my culinarily inept girlfriend, and I fancy myself to be a foodie. Cooking pleases me. but I don't know what to make. when I'm broke I eat ramen and crappy frozen dinners. and when I've got cash I eat chilli and SPAM. Sometimes I make Bacon, eggs and pancakes for breakfast but thats one of the most in depth things I get to do.

basically I'm wondering if theres some kind of guide for people like me out there who like to eat well but don't have alot of money.

I just want to cook a variety of good things using simple and cheap ingredients.

Fresh chicken breasts/tenders, steaks, fish, plus various kinds of vegetables to use as sides. Broccoli, green beans, spinach, sweet potatoes, mushrooms. Also, buy white Jasmine rice and eat that all of the time. Good way to fill you up without having to go calorie overboard, and it goes with everything (as does everything else I listed). With any of those you can also buy boxed pasta and a creamy sauce of some kind and make an Italian-esque pasta. Also, get some lemon to squeeze into the pan when you're cooking chicken to give it an awesome flavor. Cook the vegetables by steaming them in a sauce pan (fill up half an inch at the bottom with water, bring to boil, turn down to low for five/seven minutes), but something like mushrooms, you can just cook them in a pan on a low setting. The reason why you want to steam the vegetables is they retain most of their nutrients. With all of that stuff, I spend about thirty dollars a week at the grocery store.

Everything I listed is super healthy, cheap and easy as fuck to make.

Also, I've been on my own about a year, so I've picked up tons of tips. If you can, ask your parents/family about good and cheap cooking ideas.

#73 Posted by uniform (1836 posts) -

Uncooked Spaghettios, straight out of the can.

#74 Posted by stryker1121 (1817 posts) -

Make something that will last you a couple of days. Rigatoni w/ your own meat sauce is easy to make and you'll get 3 servings out of it. Maybe a light chicken or beef stir fry over rice. Supplement that during the week w/ turkey sandwiches, low-salt soups, salads and so forth. Tons of things you can do with chicken, too. Make burgers of the meat and turkey variety. Check online for 30-minute recipes as well.

#75 Posted by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -

@Worcanna said:

Right now, im kinda in japan. So really, its testing everything to find what i like. Lots of spicy foods here. :) i like.

Wasabi goes great on everything!

#76 Posted by RandomHero666 (3184 posts) -
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#77 Posted by triviaman09 (816 posts) -

Learn how to make rice, pasta, and potatoes. Buy beans. Beans are cheap and add variety to almost any meal. Start with these things as basics and as you get more and more comfortable making them, add complexity to your meals. For example, once you get good at pasta, try cooking chicken and adding it to the pasta. Take one or two meals a week when you have more time and try a more challenging recipe (the internet is full of great recipes). Learning to cook kind of sucks, but it's worth it.

#78 Posted by mordukai (7830 posts) -

Ramen...lots, and lots of Ramen.

#79 Posted by Nals (98 posts) -

Just to add to this, pretty much anything can cook anything.

If you've only got a frying pan, cool, throw some chicken/potatoes/rice on top, add in a little bit of water, let it steam for a bit, voila. Same with most other vegetables just throw them in a pan of some sort that has water in it, then let them steam for a bit, you don't actually need a designated STEAMER UNIT to steam stuff.

If you want to stay sane, I'd suggest just going for the veggies/cheap meats. You can buy ground meat/chicken in bulk for $8-$12 that'll last you a week +, and a bag of potatoes/broccoli/onions tends to be in the $2-4 range. Constantly keep things fresh by mixing in different things, and you'll both be healthier, and suddenly be spending a lot less on food. If you want to get a bit less healthy, beans and rice are always cheap, and again, you can easily mix them with other vegatables/chicken for cheap easy food.

If this isn't abject poverty we are talking about, and you can afford some seasoning, I'd also recommend that, a little bit of seasoning on chicken goes a long way in allowing you to survive off it for several years, which I learned during my college years. Don't just keep eating plain chicken everyday, as you'll eventually get really tired of it.

Or you know, you could just buy nonstop Ramen.

#80 Posted by Tireyo (6712 posts) -

I can summarize it into one simple word: JUNK!