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5.00$ meals???

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    5.00$ meals???

    Hey I'm trying to cut my food budget by as much as possible so that I can get rid of my depts as soon as possible. Anyone care to share their cheapest recipes? Thanks a bunch in advance.

    Is that supposed to be $5 per person or per meal. If it is per person, I have some recipe's that are about $2 per person and some you can make ahead so they are quick easy and healthy helping you avoid fast food on busy nights. PM me your email so I can send them to you. They are an attachment and too big to cut and paste.


      $5/meal for how many people?

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        I saw on another thread that you have three people to feed, so I'm guessing you mean $5 for three people.

        There are several other threads here about inexpensive meals, so you'll want to visit those.

        I don't have any recipes at the ready. I tend not to cook by recipes anyway. I just finished for breakfast a dish that was pretty cheap, but certainly not a breakfast most USAer eat. It is sort of an ersatz eggplant parmesian, but simplified as I did not salt and drain the eggplant, nor fry it dipped in egg the way I was taught to do. Here's how I do it:

        Slice my $0.94 eggplant and thickly sliced it. Drizzle some olive oil into a casserole dish and added the slices. Microwave to pre-cook the eggplant.

        Make a sauce using two cans tomato paste, a couple sauteed onions, as much garlic, basil, and fennel as you like, and enough water to be able to simmer these together for a while to start blending the flavors. I love to use fennel in it. Sometimes I grate a carrot or two into the sauce. Today I added I handful of very finely chopped mustard greens to the sauce, though I would not serve it to just any company that way. I also had a ladded a lot of green onions to it as those are fresh from the garden right now. My basil and fennel were from the garden, though dried, not fresh. I crush the fennel to release the flavors better and thereby using less. You really can slip in most any vegetable you want, especially if you mince it.

        Once the sauce is done, added it to the cooked eggplant and top with a heavy sprinkle of grated cheese. Actually I used pecorino Romano.

        If this is your main dish and you feel it is not hearty enough as is, you can added ground beef, and/or more olive oil, and/or more cheese, especially between layers eggplant.

        Cook in regular oven until sauce is much reduced at oh, maybe 350.

        Mine made about 6 servings.
        This serves up best if you let it cool for 15 or twenty minutes. I also love it cold out of the fridge.
        "There is some ontological doubt as to whether it may even be possible in principle to nail down these things in the universe we're given to study." --text msg from my kid

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          Cooking anything from scratch will save you big time. Right now at Aldi I can get a 20 lb bag of potatoes for $3.99. That will cover a lot of meals of mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, french fries, baked potatoes, potatoe soup. Any meals with dried beans or rice will do the same.

          Bread is high (at least around here), my local store wants around $4 a loaf, but I can make it from scratch or if time is an issue, but frozen bread dough loaves, are $3.68 for a package of 5 loaves. (You just put in a bread pan let thaw, rise and bake at 325 for 20 minutes). You can also use the dough for making garlic bread or rolls.

          My family loves home made bread and potato soup. In my potato soup I add diced potatoes, any left over cheese, bits of onion, carrots, bacon, some salt and pepper.

          Bake a potato and add some veggies to the top. Its filling. I use our frozen garden veggies, but you can do the same with a bag of store bought frozen veggies. Just use what you need and put the bag back in the freezer.

          Make and drink tea or water with your meals. A lot of people raise the price of their meals by adding soda or koolaide or juice as their beverage.

          Ham and beans soup is very inexpensive. Plus, the bags of beans store well and contain enough beans to make several meals. This one makes soup for 6, so you may want to cut it in half.
          Cook Time: 2 hours
          8 cups water
          1 pound Great Northern beans or navy beans
          2 cups cubed ham
          1 ham bone or ham hock, optional
          1/2 cup chopped onion
          1/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste
          1 bay leaf
          1 carrot, chopped
          1 rib celery, chopped or sliced thinly
          1/2 teaspoon salt
          1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
          Bring water and beans to a boil; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour.
          Stir in ham, ham bone or hock, pepper, bay leaf, carrot and celery. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until beans are tender (skim foam from top), about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If soup is too thick, add a little water.
          Remove ham bone or ham hock (if used) and trim meat from bone. Return meat to soup with tomato sauce and salt; simmer for about 15 minutes longer. Remove bay leaf.
          Ham and bean soup serves 6.


            $5 Dinners

            Great Question!

            I could probably fill up your hard drive with a combination of recipes and/or meal ideas for your family but since I don't know your likes, dislikes, and current inventory it will be hard to pinpoint things for you; however, a few things coming to mind are:

            Bacon, Eggs, and Toast
            Hunts canned pasta sauce with a pound of pasta (add mushrooms or meat)
            3 Wendy's burgers and 2 side salads ($1 menu) or chili and salads
            Grilled chicken w/ rice side dish and veggies
            Homemade soups (so many options) & grilled cheese sandwiches
            Tuna salad sandwiches (or egg salad) or tuna casserole
            On Cor frozen entrees ($3 on sale) with side dishes
            Cereal or oatmeal (lay off the sugar)

            In the old days that would have been a twelve pack of beer which I found quite filling.


              We like to have as many meatless meals as possible. My husband likes Macaroni and cheese made from scratch but I occassionally will use the Kraft boxed kind when in a hurry. I'll cook a green vegetable with it , corn bread and salad and that't under $5. It's one of our favorite meals.

              Along with one of the posters above when making eggplant parmigiana, I use a can of Hunts Spaghetti Sauce with seasonings of garlic and onion and it saves alot of time. I broil my eggplant for 3 minutes per side, and later on add the cheese and put in the oven. I also use this same recipe with boneless chicken breast beaten down until thin. Only I cook it in the skillet.
              My friend does a chicken recipe using 2 cans of cream of chicken, and 2 cups of broth. She adds mortons natural seasoning, salt and pepper. Heat and serve over noodles. I have added peas or any vegetable that you like and small bits of extra chicken. My husband loves this dish.
              Last edited by YISave; 03-14-2010, 12:41 PM.


                I feed 7 people on next to nothing you just have to watch what you're doing. Plan every meal, buy and cook in bulk and freeze leftovers.


                  Another addition to this is portion control. My husband and I used to eat an unhealthy amount of food, and it was definitely costing us. We made the choice to avoid seconds and keep the rest for leftovers. What used to be 1 meal is now 2-3.

                  One thing I can add is to check out the bagged spices instead of the McCormick or other brand spices. Our markets in CA usually have a Hispanic foods area where they sell spices in bags. I bought 2 bottles worth of Basil for $1-2. I have reusable spice containers at home. Then cook with purchased spices not sauces. Homemade white sauces are really awesome.


                    I agree with snshijuptr. I save alot of money by buying the smaller packages of herbs and spices. They are in the Hispanic section and I buy the Badia brand. You definitely will not throw away old and unused herbs. I also have found Walmart to have really reasonable spices as well.

                    My husband and I will sometimes share a meal. We are watching portion control as well. When we have leftovers, we freeze them for another time or my husband can take the leftover to work the next day.


                      I concur with most at home. Check the grocery ads and if you have an Aldi nearby, buy what you can there. Aldi's fruits and vegetables, milk and eggs are far cheaper than the grocery stores and even Wal-Mart. I also buy smaller packages of herb and spices...we have them in the produce section.

                      If you have room, start a small garden this spring for those items you can grow and will eat. 5 tomato plants last spring (3 of one kind and 2 grape) saved us a small fortune on tomatoes since we like them and they are very healthy. Do you have a bread store near you? If you don't want to bake, buying bread that is considered "second day" is more reasonable and you can do more with bread than make sandwiches...make croutons, use bread to make scalloped tomatoes, or even an egg casserole dish.


                        I had a brainstorm this week to make an impossible pie. Do you remember the impossible pies from the 80's? I made lasagna impossible. We really enjoyed it. One can use the basic format and use any available ingredients. Just google or bing "impossible pie recipes"


                          I keep a freezer bag in my freezer and when I have left-over vegetables, I open the bag and throw them in. Alot of times some people throw smaller amounts away or refrigerate them hoping they will be eaten. These vegeables make a great vegetable and beef soup. I have even thrown small pieces of leftover beef in its own baggie as well. All you need is to add any favorite noodle, pasta, or macaroni. Comes out very low cost.


                            Here's one of my favorites Pasta Fazul (Pasta and Beans) | My Money Mess.

                            If you pay regular price for all the ingredients you can feed a family of four with the meatless version for about $7. If you buy everything on sale and use coupons you can easily get it down to $5. If you add meat you're looking at the $7-$10 range.

                            You can eat for less than this but then you start sacrificing taste. Something I'm usually unwilling to do.


                              One of our favorites is to scramble eggs (add in cheese if you want, and onion and mushroom). Drain well, and place on a soft flour or wheat tortilla. Add some salsa, roll up and eat. Can add bacon too if you want.

                              For our family that is dirt cheap. We grow our own eggs, bacon and onions. I buy the flour in 50 lb bags and make our own tortillas. Sometimes,we make and can our own salsa. So, often this cost us around 10 cents or less per person. But, to buy it all, would probably be around $1 each.

                              Also, it is healthy. Egg is a perfect meal except for the vitamin C. So, to have the perfect meal, eat and egg with orange juice to start your day off.