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Healthy Home Cooking for under a dollar a plate

 
pollinator
Posts: 1871
Location: Massachusetts, 5a, flat 4 acres; 40" year-round fairly even
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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wAPH8D2AL8c

Hello niece and nephew, it's Uncle Joshua.

This niece cooks for 16 dinners for 25 in New York City. Fuiyoh!  So frugal!

But where is permies niece and nephew reaction weejio?

This niece buys such cheap ingredients, but where the foraging? Where the garden?  Where the dumpstering?

Someone want to make a reaction video from a permie angle???
 
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My husband is an avid sourdough baker. We buy organic flour in bulk (50 lb bags), which we have priced at around $2/loaf. He makes the bread 50/50 whole wheat/all purpose flour. So, each slice of bread is about 15-20 cents.
Our standard breakfast is two fried eggs from our hens with hot sauce, and 1-2 slices of toast with butter and usually some homemade jam from our own fruit or fruit we harvested for free. Expenses come from the olive oil for frying the eggs, store bought hot sauce, butter, and I suppose the sugar and pectin that went into the jam. We’ve never actually priced our eggs, but throw in the cup of coffee and I’m gussing this is a 1-2$ breakfast.

A delicious cheap dinner: pumpkin soup made with homegrown pumpkins and stock from our own chicken bones. Expenses come from the bought vegetables used to make the stock, salt, and seasoning (usually curry powder). Buttered sourdough on the side (I like to throw the bread under the broiler so the butter browns) makes this a complete meal in my book. This one is probably cheaper per plate/bowl than the breakfast!
 
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Some good options here! It's hard to get any meals for under $1 where I live, but we supplement with dumpster diving and growing most of our own produce 1/2 the year.

A few of my favourite cheap meals: chickpea curry with rice. Sometimes with a can of coconut milk if we're feeling flush. A good recipe to dump a lot of carrot tops in! Or spinach, collards, etc.

What we affectionately call 'sticky tofu broccoli'. Shallow fried tofu that has been coated in corn starch to get it crispy. Remove from the pan and lightly fry your broccoli (or Bok choy, tat soi, cabbage etc). Pour over the sauce (soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil and seeds, grated ginger and garlic, corn starch) and watch it bubble. Turn off the heat and stir in the tofu, eat over rice with scallions.

Pasta e fagioli- essentially a pasta and bean stew. Sautee your aromatics (usually onion, garlic, carrot, and lovage), then add stock & pureed tomato. Add soaked beans (I think chickpeas are traditional but I used my scarlet runner beans and they worked great). Once beans are cooked, remove a couple cups of the stew to the blender and give it a whirl. Then return to the pot and add your pasta. Once that's cooked your good to go. I add a few ripped leaves of basil at the end, or thyme at the beginning, or both! Will usually get a pile of greens in it towards the end of cooking as well.

Honestly, my favourite lunches are almost always a slice of sourdough with a salad in the warm months and soup in the cool months. Cheap and easy. And breakfast is usually oats with fresh fruit in summer and either a spoonful of jam or applesauce in the winter. All meals made more delicious with a handful of nuts.
 
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Canning helps a lot. One year I found chicken breast on sale for $1.49. I cubed it and canned it. Two weeks later I found pork loin for the same price. I put up 50 pounds of each. I also put up 100 pounds of potatoes. That was in 2013 and we are just finishing it off. I also can ground version, I fry it with onions and peppers 🌶 then can it with a bullion cube (that's basically free because the boys hunt the deer).  And every thing we get from the garden is almost free. Our family of 4 spends less than $100 on food from the store
 
pollinator
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Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
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I batch cook pretty much everything, then freeze in 100-250 gram portions.  Then mix and match for meals.  

This allows me to purchase in bulk when stuff is on sale or even better, marked down as they are at or near their expiry date: meat, baked goods, dairy and fresh produce, often as much as 50% off, but always 20-30%.

Not in the "under a buck a plate" challenge, but recently snagged a single rib eye, reg $20, 1/2 price - broiled naked, served with mashed potatoes, gravy, onion/mushroom jam and frozen sweet corn, under $5 for a decadent dinner.

ONION/MUSHROOM JAM:  2-3 large onions (sweet don't make you cry), 1-3 large (cored) peppers, 1 lb of mushrooms, seasoned to taste and a dash of worcestershire sauce.

Saute onions in large frypan, over low to med heat (I use bacon fat).

Add peppers when there is room, continue to saute until there is room for some mushrooms, taste and season mildly.  Slowly add mushrooms, as there is room, until all are simmering away.

Now turn to low, cook gently until all liquid evaporates.  As this concentrates the flavors, go light on seasoning until this point,  taste, add what your taste buds ask for, and serve or freeze.

Great on meats, toast or toasted sandwiches, burgers, pizza even rice, pasta, mashed or baked potatoes.  No idea as to cost, but cheap, and turns a dull snack or meal into WoW.

*I can't have garlic, it could be a nice addition,  but also overpowering; Mrs. Dash is the seasoning per my spouses preference.

 
gardener
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Location: Somewhere about 100 miles north east of Redding California
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Sourdough whole wheat pasta, with pesto from the garden last summer, and cheese from the goat milk made, aged, frozen during former seasons of plenty…. the wheat costs ~1.00 dollar a pound organic whole kernel ground at home.  One serving maybe 4 ounces… so 25 cents.

A loaf of bread from the same wheat, about 1.25 per 24 oz loaf.  I can get kamut for double the price, still pretty cheap, spread with chèvre , add garden greens

Eggs with garlic onions garden greens… I pay the neighbor $3/ dozen.

A beautiful soup: 2cups onion, chopped and sautéed with a few cloves of minced or crushed garlic in olive oil until onions done.

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoon cumin  , 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 cups water or broth or tomato juice,  bring to simmer, add cubed winter squash if more than 5 cups squash, increase the liquid. Get the squash almost tender before adding:

I used frozen tomatoes , but use what you have, canned or fresh approximately 2 cups.  
2 cups any combination chilies or sweet peppers,
2 cups whole kernel corn fresh, frozen, canned

It makes about 3 quarts.

I buy the olive oil, Redmond Utah “real salt”,  and the cinnamon, but the other ingredients come out of the garden.

Garnish with: grated cheese or sour cream , chopped parsley, or chopped chives or kale as you like.  They also come from my goat dairy and garden 😊
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Rice and beans. Rice and beans and cooked eggs. Rice and eggs. Add vegetables.  Fried potatoes, with any thing you want into the pan. Add vegetables.    Pasta with homemade pesto.  Bone broth, chopped chives, and stir in beaten eggs. Add vegetables.   Homemade bread to every meal.  chop and mix leftover bits of any meat ,stir fry with vegetables , season with whatever you have.  Don't waste anything. Make and preserve soup stocks with bones, ends of vegetables.  Add potatoes to anything for calories and bulk.
Make custard , bake pumpkin pie mix without pie crust,  rice pudding made with  reconstituted dry milk.  Stewed fruits.  
Frugal starts with growing your own vegetables and fruits,  raising chickens, hunting deer, etc. and fishing.   Saving fats.  Growing herbs.   Cooking meals at home, not eating out.
I wouldn't count calories and portion control just to be frugal  because homesteading/farming is real work.  You need the calories and nutrition.  
 
Saralee Couchoud
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A kind of game my husband and I play, at dinner I figure up what I spend on the meal divide by how many plates it makes, and then discuss things to change next time. I think it really helps you to think of food prices by cost per portion instead of just the total cost
 
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