Bare bones-back against the wall meal plan for 2011-2012
I'm trying to drastically lower our grocery costs for the upcoming year to pay off credit cards as soon as possible...wondered how others would handle this.
What would be a bare bones with your back against the wall grocery list and meal plan with current prices for a family of four.
Re: Bare bones-back against the wall meal plan for 2011-2012
I would add dry beans (and lentils) to the above list. They take bit of time, but they're not particularly difficult, and they provide a good source of fiber and protein. (And most of the time is hands-off.) You should be able to pick up dry beans for no more than a dollar or so a pound (probably less) and they will provide at least double that in food.
Also, if you eat meat, watch for sales on chicken. A chain in the town my parents live in has had an ongoing 'sale' on leg quarters for 49 cents/lb. That's quite inexpensive, and when the meat's gone, make stock from the bones...soups made with homemade stock are many times tastier, IMO!
We eat pretty frugally, period. We eat lots of 'less-meat' meals and tend to view meat as a floavring ingredients rather than the 'main event.' Just some of the many meals we eat regularly (and make at home) include: pad thai, mu shu, pasta & sauce (sometime w/ meat, sometimes not), ham & potato soup, cowboy stew ( a BBQ ham and bean stew), chili, enchiladas/nachos/burritos, a variety of other soups and stews - especially in winter, curries & stir-frys, frittata/quiche.
Using the $10 list as a backup one week a month or something is a good idea, but if you're going to stick this out for the long haul, you'll probably need more variety than that grocery list/menu offers.
Re: Bare bones-back against the wall meal plan for 2011-2012
i just want to say thank you for posting this list! while we haven't ever had to do bare bones, this is the week we need it. i'll be working from the 10 dollar list as well as getting what i need for the basic recipes and probably trying to do a cook one day thing and then make my week easier thanks again!
Last week, to celebrate CHG’s first blogiversary, I asked readers what subjects they’d like to see tackled more often. Quite a few responded with along the same lines: inexpensive, healthy dishes made with stuff usually found lying around the house.
With this mission in mind, I immediately thought of my own pantry, a three-shelf, 10” deep cabinet currently shared by four people. Due to these space restrictions, I have to be judicious about my supplies, keeping only the most consistently useful on hand. Beyond the usual baking products, they are (in charming alphabetical order):
Armed with a reasonable variety these ten basic ingredients, I can generally whip up a nice selection of main course, side dish, or snacky-time snack-type dealies. Bargains by nature, the food can be kept relatively healthy, too, if close attention is paid to the olive oil.
With this in mind, behold: cut-and-pasted below are 20 dishes made entirely from the aforementioned pantry staples. As always, there are some things to note:
1) I’ve only tried the Roasted Chickpeas and Sara Moulton’s dish, but nearly everything is either highly rated by site reviewers or given the Food Blogger Seal of Approval (meaning a respected culinary web writer’s tried it and liked it enough to post about it).
2) Nutritional calculations are from the original sites or my own math. (Some dishes couldn't be quantified because there were no serving sizes listed.) Please e-mail me if you see mistakes (email@example.com).
3) Substitutions (canned tomatoes instead of fresh, etc.) are given in a number of dishes where it wouldn't affect the taste too much (i.e. they’re not a main ingredient). I know fresh foods will almost always be more flavorsome than canned/dried, but sometimes they can be switched without crazy damage.
Bonus: after the initial 20 dishes, there are nine more that only require one or two extra ingredients. If you have ‘em on hand, give ‘em a shot.
SPREADS AND SNACKS
All Recipes: Roasted Garlic
79 calories and 2.9 g fat per serving
All Recipes: White Bean Spread with Garlic and Rosemary
Use dried rosemary and reduce the quantity by 1/3rd.
48 calories and 1.8 g fat per serving
Cheap Healthy Good: Roasted Chickpeas
135 calories and 4.3 g fat per serving
BEANS AND RICE
A Year of Crockpotting: Crockpot Beans and Rice
All Recipes: American-Style Red Beans and Rice
517 calories and 5.1 g fat per serving
All Recipes: Black Beans and Rice
140 calories and 0.9 g fat per serving
All Recipes: Vegetarian Refried Beans
Sub in diced tomatoes for fresh.
159 calories and 3.1 g fat per serving
Eating Well: Easy Black Beans
117 calories and 1 g fat per serving
Food Network: Refried Beans
166 calories and 3 g fat per serving
SOUPS AND CHILIS
All Recipes: Fantastic Black Bean Chili
Leave out ground turkey and sub in another can of your favorite bean.
All Recipes: Garbanzo Tomato Pasta Soup
323 calories and 6.1 g fat per serving
Boston Globe: Pasta e Ceci
Sub 1/3 teaspoon dried rosemary for fresh.
504 calories and 18.6 g fat per serving
Cook Almost Anything: Roasted Garlic-Onion Soup
Use dried herbs for fresh ones and skip the parsley.
The Peppertree: Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans
What Geeks Eat: Black Bean Soup
Many black bean soups use bacon, ham, carrots, and celery as flavorings. If you have 'em in the fridge, go nuts.
PASTA, RICE AND COUSCOUS
All Recipes: Pasta and Beans
Sub in diced tomatoes for fresh.
284 calories and 6.6 g fat per serving
Cookbook Catchall: Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil (Aglio e Olio)
Much of the olive oil will pool at the bottom of the dish, so the fat and calorie content are estimated a bit high.
587 calories and 19.7 g fat per serving
Epicurious: Curried Couscous
Leave out the mint leaves and raisins.
219 calories and 5 g fat per serving
Epicurious: Curried Rice
224 calories and 5.5 g fat per serving
FatFree.com: Garlic Tomato Couscous
Use 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes instead of fresh.
115 calories and 0.2 g fat per serving
EXTRA SPECIAL BONUS DISHES
Though they require one or two more inexpensive ingredients, these dishes can be just as healthy, fast, and easy as the pure pantry meals listed above. The additional ingredient is listed after each name.
Book of Yum: All Purpose Pasta Sauce
Cooking Light: Cumin Curried Hummus
Needs lemon juice.
82 calories and 2.6 g fat per serving
Food Network: Pasta e Fagioli
Needs carrots and celery.
259 calories and 11.2 g fat per serving
Recipe Zaar: Quick and Easy Garbanzo Bean and Tomato Pasta
Needs sugar and parmesan.
393 calories and 3.9 g fat per serving
Sara Moulton: Orecchiette (er, Macaroni) with Broccoli and Chickpeas
324 calories and 7.8 g fat per serving
Serious Eats: Swiss Chard with Tomatoes and Chickpeas
Needs Swiss chard. Also, lots of leafy greens can be sauteed with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes for a quick and nutritious bargain meal. This is just one suggestion.
276 calories and 13.1 g fat per serving
Simply Recipes: Easy Black Beans and Rice
Needs bell peppers.
249 calories and 3.1 g fat per serving
Smitten Kitchen: Stewed Tomatoes and Lentils
Needs lentils and carrots.
And that just about wraps it up. Readers, if you have any suggestions for easy, healthy pantry meals, I'd love to hear 'em. Thanks!
When an email popped into my inbox the other day with the title ‘What would you cook for $2 a day?’, my curiosity was immediately piqued. I mean $2 can’t even buy you a coffee these days, how could it be enough for food for the whole day. And why $2, anyway?
Delving in deeper, I discovered that the international poverty line is $US1.25 a day which today equates to $2 Australian. And that 1.4 billion people currently live on less than this. An organisation called The Global Poverty Project has started an awareness and fund raising initiative in Australia. ‘Live Below the Line’ invites people to live on $2/day in August to raise money for a program to educate Australian school students about the issues of global poverty.
The aim is to inspire students themselves to become leaders in the movement to end extreme poverty. Funds raised will also be allocated to open three schools in the poorest areas of Cambodia.
To help inspire anyone interested in taking the $2 challenge, on Monday I had a go at feeding myself on less than $2 for the day. While it did take quite a bit of thought and planning, I’m happy to say that I did not go to bed hungry, and better yet, enjoyed and was very thankful for my food that day.
The thing that surprised me the most was just how cheap some food can actually be. I couldn’t believe that the cheapest battery farm eggs were just $2.29 for a dozen or that you can get 250g butter for $1.29.
Unfortunately, this exercise did confirm by comparison how expensive fresh veg can be. I normally wouldn’t think about having an omelette for dinner without a salad or some greens. But with even the cheapest lettuce costing $1.95, it was a no-brainer to fill up on eggs and potatoes instead.
For more details on how you can help end extreme poverty, visit the Live Below the Line website.
$2 day menu
a slice of homemade bread 11c
25g homemade peanut butter 20c
tea with milk 9c
I’d normally serve this with goats cheese, but to be honest it is lovely all on its own. The most surprising thing is just how delicious broccoli can be, without onion, or stock or butter.
The key to this soup is not adding too much water and being generous with the salt and pepper.
1 head broccoli 60c
Bring enough salted water, to just cover the broccoli, to the boil in a medium saucepan.
Cut broccoli into individual little trees and simmer until the broccoli is bright green and tender. You want to be able to cut it easily with a butter knife.
Drain, reserving the cooking water. Pop the hot broccoli in a blender and add a little of the cooking water.
Carefully cover the blender with a tea towel and hold the lid on. Whizz until you have a soupy consistency.
Add a little more water if it seems too dry. Taste and season generously.
Total cost per serve 60c.
The secret to this omelette is to cut the potato into very fine slices and cook the potato through before adding the eggs. I used the easier method of finishing it off under the grill, but you could also use the more dare-devil approach and invert the omelette onto a plate and then slice it back into the pan top side down.
You can serve this hot on its own or if you need to make it stretch further, use the omelette as a sandwich filling.
10g butter 5c
1/2 brown onion, peeled & finely sliced 15c
1 large potato, scrubbed and finely sliced 25c
2 eggs 40c
Melt butter in a small frying pan and add onion. Cook over a medium heat, stirring, until the onion is soft and golden brown. Add potatoes and a few tablespoons of water. Cover and cook stirring occasionally until the potato is soft but not broken up and mushy. If it starts to burn on the bottom add a little water and stir more freequently.
Mix eggs together with a pinch of salt in a small bowl for a few seconds then pour over the potato mixture. Gently stir so the egg gets well distributed under the potato and smooth the top so it looks pretty. Cook for a few minutes until the egg at the sides looks set then pop the whole thing under a hot grill and cook until the top is set all the way through and the omelette looks a little puffy.
Total cost per serve 85c.
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