Author Topic: Cheap Healthy Meals  (Read 6055 times)

Crash87

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Cheap Healthy Meals
« on: January 22, 2013, 05:39:47 PM »
Any Mustachians have some frugal and healthy recipies (especially lower carb ones) they enjoy? I'd love to get those recipies!

I'm also interested in not-so-healthy big meals since I'm part of a group of friends that take turns cooking a meal once a week.
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James

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2013, 07:14:35 PM »
I've been making a lot of Chili lately, now that I think of it it's low carb.  A couple pounds of ground beef (I keep wanting to try and pound of ground pork in there also, I hear that is good), A pound of kidney beans (soak overnight first), A large onion chopped and fried (two is better), a few cloves of garlic added to the onion toward the end of frying, A large can of tomato sauce and a small can of tomato paste, 2 tbsp chili powder, tsp salt, tsp pepper, 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp cocoa powder, 2 tsp dried oregano, cook a few hours on low until beans are soft.  Might need to add more tomato sauce or water if it gets too dry.


I also make homemade corn bread with corn I grind myself, which is perfect with the chili.  :)
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onehappypanda

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2013, 07:33:17 PM »
I don't eat much meat anymore and my meals tend to naturally be higher-carb but when I still ate meat I found that it was all about the cut you used. Fattier cuts tend to be less popular, which means that they are often cheaper. You pay a premium for boneless skinless chicken breast but thighs are cheaper. Pork is another good best. Some meals I've enjoyed in the past and now...

Chicken with white beans:  Chicken thighs in a pan + sliced tomatoes, a can of white beans, olive oil, whatever spices float your boat. Bake at 375 until the chicken is cooked through. Roast whatever veggies are seasonal on the side.

+1 on the chili idea. Chili can be made with anything, is easily adaptable to be vegetarian or meat-itarian, and hides an impressive amount of veggies. I make mine with beans and sometimes crumbled tempeh.

Pulled pork is a crowd-pleaser, cheap and easy to make, maybe good for those group events. I lost my recipe though :(

Lentil veggie soup isn't super low-carb but it's cheap and pretty healthy. Here's a version with turkey: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/smoked-turkey-lentil-soup-10000001895925/

Peasant stew: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/peasant-stew-10000000451343/

Frittatas: no real recipes for this, just chop up a bunch of veggies and cooked meat (baaaacon), scramble it with 8-12 eggs, and bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes until it's cooked through. Top it with avocado if you can find them for a decent price.

Meatloaf, here's one that looks good: http://blog.stuffimakemyhusband.com/2012/02/turkey-meatloaf-with-spinach-feta-and.html
You can obviously change up the type of meat and the stuffings without much effort and it'll be equally tastier / possibly cheaper.

Lentil tacos: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spiced-Lentil-Tacos-351390

Grilled swai and roasted vegetables is another go-to when I need a boost of protein but don't feel like eating a land animal. Again, not really a recipe, but we just take some frozen swai and frozen veggies, toss them in a pan with some olive oil and loads of fresh garlic, usually a Penzey's spice blend like Mural of Flavor on top, and bake it until it's cooked through. Delish. Frozen swai is cheapy cheap around here.

StetsTerhune

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 05:24:59 PM »
I recently found this site and have really enjoyed the things I've made from it:

http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/

Most of the stuff I've looked at definitely doesn't meet your "low carb" requirement though. Most of her stuff seems to be of the theory of keeping costs down by combining high cost/delicious things (eg shrimp) with low cost filling things (eg rice, beans). She's got prices listed for everything on there, which is nice to get a sense of things (though they're not terribly correct, in my experience)

Crash87

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 07:37:10 PM »
This stuff all looks pretty good! I may try to make the Stromboli next time it's my turn to make the group meal.

A recipe of my own: The Omlette
3 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup cut up lean turkey polska kielbasa
garlic salt for taste

I look forward to learning to cook everyone's superior recipes :)
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kt

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2013, 04:00:53 AM »
uk-based but might be useful for ideas:
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=54664793#post54664793
this is looking for super-cheap ideas primarily based on supermarket basics and cheap frozen items.

ground meat based recipes with tons of in-season cheap veg are great (if a little boring after a while): chili, lasagne, bolognaise, shepherds pie, (homemade) meat balls.
i love a sausage casserole, especially when i find sausages on reduced to clear. toad-in-the-hole is a traditional british dish with sausauges which is different and cheap.
also worth looking into vegetarian versions to cut meat costs. i add various beans to a lot of things to pad out meat, although not everyone likes this!
i'm still looking for a good vegetarian curry. anyone got one they like?

tmac

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2013, 06:20:27 AM »
i'm still looking for a good vegetarian curry. anyone got one they like?

Are you looking for a traditional Indian curry or a yellow curry, like we got on fries every night at 3am when we visited Glasgow a few years back? ;)

We had our go-to curry last night, actually. It's kind of thrown together. Whatever veg we've got on hand (potatoes, onions, carrots, peas, etc.) and white beans or chick peas cooked in chicken stock. Then I add coconut milk, if I have it. If not, I pull out a few of the potatoes, blend them down with some stock, and add back as a thickener. Then I toss in as much garam masala (cheap in big packages from the Indian market) as will taste good, along with some salt and pepper. Serve over basmati rice and dust with fresh cilantro if we have any; dried cilantro if we don't.

Sparafusile

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2013, 06:26:04 AM »
Sushi! Probably one of the most healthy things you can eat, tastes good, has a lot of variety, is cheap, and fun to make. Think of it as a cheff salad with rice instead of lettuce. You can make it with raw fish, cooked fish, vegetarian (actually vegan if that's important to you), or even as a desert.

Despite what you may pay at the fancy restaurant, the food that goes into sushi is not that expensive. The reason they charge so much is because it does take some skill to learn to cook and can be time consuming to prepare.
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kt

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2013, 06:43:08 AM »
i'm still looking for a good vegetarian curry. anyone got one they like?

Are you looking for a traditional Indian curry or a yellow curry, like we got on fries every night at 3am when we visited Glasgow a few years back? ;)


yes indian curry, not british for me! garam massala is next on my to-buy spice list, yet to find it anywhere near me unfortunately and i would like as much as pos because i'm sure i'll use a lot once i have it. also don't have cilantro.
but should definitely start keep coconut milk on hand, i love it and will remember your idea about potatoes/stock for thickening if not.
cheers!

tmac

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2013, 06:52:09 AM »
kt, if you don't have an ethnic market nearby, I bet you could find a bulk spice seller online. Here in the US, I order from Penzey's Spices (penzeys.com). You can buy bags of herbs and spice for significantly less than at the regular market, even when adding in the shipping cost. I share an order with a friend, so we can buy larger packages and save more. Our typical order includes black peppercorns, oregano, chili powder, minced/dried garlic, and minced/dried onions. They usually throw in a free small spice mix as well. Then we package everything in our own jars.

rugorak

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2013, 06:55:23 AM »
An easy and cheap one I have been doing lately is ground meat (beef, sausage, whatever), spinach, onion, and some sweet potato. Throw it in a pan, fry it up, add some salt and pepper to taste. It is far from fancy but it tastes good and is pretty good for you. Plus you could experiment easily with it as far as spices go to change it up.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2013, 04:14:42 PM »
1 onion
2 potatoes
6 eggs
2 cloves garlic
spices (hot sauce, pepperflakes, Tony Chacheris, thyme, sage, oregano)
oil

Heat up the oil and saute the onions while you cube the potatoes.  Add potatoes, mince garlic, add that too.  Then put a lid on it and keep it on about medium heat until the mix is SLIGHTLY blackened, and you can pierce the potato cubes with a fork.  Then add the eggs, stir it all up.  I've found that the ratio of 1/2/6 onion/potato/egg is about perfect. 

chenzhaowei

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2013, 04:57:37 PM »
Eggs are the ultimate cheap protein as the most versatile ingredient in the world.  Unfortunately they don't go super well with the cheapest type of meal: soup... unless you made hot and sour soup.  So I guess that would be my frugal idea.  Hot and sour soup + rice. 

BlueBeard

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2013, 06:31:51 PM »
Sushi! Probably one of the most healthy things you can eat, tastes good, has a lot of variety, is cheap, and fun to make. Think of it as a cheff salad with rice instead of lettuce. You can make it with raw fish, cooked fish, vegetarian (actually vegan if that's important to you), or even as a desert.

Despite what you may pay at the fancy restaurant, the food that goes into sushi is not that expensive. The reason they charge so much is because it does take some skill to learn to cook and can be time consuming to prepare.

Can you provide any more details?  I have always wondered where to buy the fish and how long you can keep it.  I love sushi but it always seemed like much more work than it was worth and leftovers would not be possible.

Crash87

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2013, 05:33:36 PM »
I made this for the big group meal:

http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/2013/01/jalapeno-popper-mac-cheese-698-recipe.html

It was quite a success and cost about $14 to make a double batch that fed 6 people.
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crazy jane

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2013, 05:50:56 PM »
One of my go to meals is put some boneless chicken breast, from Costco of course, in a crockpot with some salsa. When it's done, serve over brown rice and top with grated cheese. I'm making it tomorrow in fact.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2013, 06:13:14 PM »
1 onion
2 potatoes
6 eggs
2 cloves garlic
spices (hot sauce, pepperflakes, Tony Chacheris, thyme, sage, oregano)
oil

Heat up the oil and saute the onions while you cube the potatoes.  Add potatoes, mince garlic, add that too.  Then put a lid on it and keep it on about medium heat until the mix is SLIGHTLY blackened, and you can pierce the potato cubes with a fork.  Then add the eggs, stir it all up.  I've found that the ratio of 1/2/6 onion/potato/egg is about perfect.

Add a bell pepper.  MMMMfffgggggscrumptious.

DreamingofFreedom

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2013, 06:25:54 PM »
I'm stuck in a rice and bean rut.  I like them so much that it can be hard to diversify.  On the weekend, I bake a pot of brown rice with a bag of frozen mixed veggies.  You can add spices, garlic, broth/salsa, whatever suits you.  Then I make a pot of beans (or heat up some that I cook in large batches and freeze).  I top it with cheese and it tastes indulgent.

I buy the rice, beans, veggies, and cheese from Costco, so the price per serving is pretty amazing.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2013, 07:21:51 PM »
I am a fan of the ERE favorite... rice and lentils.  Rice, lentils, onion, and some indian spices and it's good to go.

Meadow Lark

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2013, 09:07:36 PM »
Spaghetti sauce with out the spaghetti - a lb of ground beef, an onion,  a jar of tomato sauce.  Good, very fast.  Not gourmet :-).   Throw a couple sweet potatoes in the oven for an hour at 400 if you want some healthy carbs.
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martynthewolf

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2013, 06:29:03 AM »
Chicken Noodle Soup: (My own recipe, makes about 4/5 servings depending on your portion size)

Ingredients:

About 500g chicken (any meat, most mustacian would be leftovers from a roasted chicken I imagine, though thighs are pretty cheap here in the U.K)
Noodles (I just used some that had been in the cupboard for ages)
Cup of Sweet Corn
Cup of Peas
Couple of spring onions
2 Cloves of garlic (I sliced thinly but I suppose you could crush)
About a litre of chicken stock
A couple of mushrooms

  • If the chicken needs cooking, cook that first.
  • Slice garlic, mushrooms and spring onions (I used almost all of the spring onion, just trimmed the top slightly and the root)
  • Pour chicken stock into a decent sized pot add everything but the noodles
  • Boil for about 15 minutes
  • Add the noodles
  • Boil till noodles are soft
  • Serve



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Rural

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2013, 07:12:43 AM »
Homemade Garam Masala (it's a long way to any Indian groceries from here!)

To make 2 tsp:
3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp clove
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Can be scaled up if you want to keep some on hand. It also comes out fine if you're missing either the coriander or cardamom, both hard to find here; just make sure you have one and double it to make up for the missing one.

Sparafusile

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2013, 08:44:32 AM »
Sushi! Probably one of the most healthy things you can eat, tastes good, has a lot of variety, is cheap, and fun to make. Think of it as a cheff salad with rice instead of lettuce. You can make it with raw fish, cooked fish, vegetarian (actually vegan if that's important to you), or even as a desert.

Despite what you may pay at the fancy restaurant, the food that goes into sushi is not that expensive. The reason they charge so much is because it does take some skill to learn to cook and can be time consuming to prepare.

Can you provide any more details?  I have always wondered where to buy the fish and how long you can keep it.  I love sushi but it always seemed like much more work than it was worth and leftovers would not be possible.

When I make my own sushi, I don't use uncooked fish. I guess I find it easier to trust the professionals in a restaurant than to trust myself. I buy smoked salmon that's already sliced thin and I buy imitation crab legs. Both of these things store really well and taste quite good. I also put cream cheese, sliced cucumber, avocado, and black sesame seeds in my sushi. If you're feeling really exotic, you can buy flavored fish roe at an international food mart when you get the nori and rice. Roe stores well in the freezer and is surprisingly cheap.

When I make sushi, I usually make a couple extra rolls for lunch the next day. I wouldn't want to eat it after it's been sitting longer than 24 hours because the rice gets dry and crunchy.
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Meadow Lark

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2013, 03:01:11 PM »
Today's lunch and dinner  is soup.  Sauté an onion and some garlic cloves.  Add some ground beef.  When browned add spices.  Bay leaf, thyme, marjoram, celery salt.  Add stock (today it's home made turkey bone broth).  Add a head of bok choy or spinach or kale, cauliflower, etc.  Taste the broth.  Decide it is boring.  Add curry powder, coconut milk, salt, pepper.  Delish.
  So really it was just onion, garlic, ground beef, greens, spices, broth. 
Another good soup is onions, garlic, chicken, broth, spinach and curry powder.  Add rice if you aren't watching carbs.
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chatsc

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2013, 10:52:01 AM »
breakfast for dinner

(dried) bean taco salad

tomato sauce over roasted squash

madgeylou

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2013, 01:44:40 PM »
roasted cabbage! so cheap and sooo good.

preheat the over to 450.
cut a cabbage into wedges (mine are usually about 1" thick).
lightly oil a baking sheet and put the cabbage on.
now cut up a few slices of bacon (thick cut is better) into lardons, and put 3-5 of them on each wedge of cabbage.
stick it in the oven for 15 minutes.
turn the cabbage wedges over, re-arrange the bacon and cook 10-15 minutes more, until everything has a little color to it and nice crispy edges.

eat and enjoy. we have this as a main dish sometimes, or as a side when we've got some bangers.
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Rachelocity

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2013, 02:07:37 PM »
Unstuffed Cabbage is very forgiving:  Basically, I saute whatever kind of ground meat I have on hand with onions, grated carrots, mounds of shredded cabbage (I buy coleslaw mix on sale and stick bags in the freezer), a small can of diced tomatoes, S&P, garlic powder and a generous handful of raw rice.  The rice cooks in the tomato liquid (add water if need be).  I season it at the end of the cooking time with lemon juice and Splenda, because traditionally cabbage rolls are sweet-and-sour.  Delish, easy to make in big batches, and guaranteed to make you the envy of the gang at work the next day when you bring leftovers!

Dmy0013

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2013, 02:21:30 PM »
Dont buy anything that comes in a box... and if it has ingredients you cant pronounce dont buy it... if it has more then three ingredients dont buy it...

If you can take it out of the freezer and put it into the oven dont buy it...

If it has a shelf life of over a week dont buy it...

If you can microwave it dont buy it...

You want healthy recipes?  Only buy fresh fruits and vegetables and local organic meat...

me and my wife both work well over 40 hours a week, and we have not opened a "boxed meal" in years...  The only exception we have is pasta, and the only reason we have that is my wife is celiac and making gluten free pasta is very very time consuming and extremely expensive so its cheaper just to buy gluten free pasta...

Fruits and Vegetables are expensive i know, I beleive in the USA though they seem to be WAY CHEAPER then here at home in canada...  Your energy your mood your relationships will all improve...

KimAB

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2013, 04:03:14 PM »
Place sausages on the bottom of a roasting pan and cover with chopped root vegetables.  You can also do this with any kind of chicken parts.  I did it with cheap chicken legs for Christmas dinner and it was delicious.  There is always enough for leftovers and you can stretch it to feed more people if you have to.

Also - roasted vegetables are good with any vegetable.  You just use whatever you can get cheap - or get- that week.

Then the next day you use the bones and scraps for soup stock. 

madgeylou

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Re: Cheap Healthy Meals
« Reply #29 on: February 11, 2013, 06:11:20 PM »
Place sausages on the bottom of a roasting pan and cover with chopped root vegetables.  You can also do this with any kind of chicken parts.  I did it with cheap chicken legs for Christmas dinner and it was delicious.  There is always enough for leftovers and you can stretch it to feed more people if you have to.

Also - roasted vegetables are good with any vegetable.  You just use whatever you can get cheap - or get- that week.

Then the next day you use the bones and scraps for soup stock.

We do this, but reverse it so the veg are on the bottom to catch all the delicious juices coming off the meat, and the skin gets brown and crispy. Nommm.
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