Cheap meals are easy when you know how and cost very little to do especially when you are cooking for 1.
Picture shows meals from last year with little to no prep.
Recipes for these photos are at https://barbsrecipestocreateblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/26/best-of-barbs-lite-meals/
Here are some tips I have discovered over the years and more recently when cooking for 1.
- Check the use by dates on jars/Packaged items especially at the start of the year. Some may have expired and are not worth the risk of getting sick.
- Reject discount stores sell each of these items such as pasta sauce, lasagne béchamel sauces, sweet n sour sauce, teriyaki marinade for $1.15 each compared to supermarket $3-4 for exactly the same item and soup tins for 70 cents. they also sell lots of other pantry items cheaper, along with cleaning supplies, laundry liquid, shampoo, toothpaste, soaps, toilet paper, deodorant, perfume, cling wrap, foil, zip lock bags
- buying meat in a tray that serves 2+ eg 4 steaks can be large and I can usually get double qty for cost of 1 tray by cutting up in portion sizes using zip lock bags
- same with packets of frozen vegetables. I get 5-7 serves from 1x 500g bag by measuring out 1/2 cup/serve.
- I sometimes buy 5kg bag chicken breast(not organic but are fresh from a farm in Nowra delivered weekly to the store) when on special for $3.99/kg I pay $20 which lasts a month and out of each breast piece I get 2-3 meals as they have tenderloins as well. they also sell tenderloins, drumsticks, wings and Maryland pieces in bulk bags really cheap. from country grocer which sells fruit and veg cheap as well.
- last week I got all my fresh veg from foodworks for $30 which filled a large crisper drawer.
- the week before I got all organic vegetables and fruit on special at Woolworths. if you shop around you can grab bargain
- a previous week Aldi were even better with meat prices.
- sometimes whole uncooked chicken free range i have picked up for $5 and cooked it in slow cooker. i can get a cooked one for $7-8. so it just depends if you want to cook it yourself to save $2-3. I usually get 4-5 meals from a whole chook.
- with rice I get 90sec microwave packets of rice which i divide up into 1/3 cup per serve does 3-4 meals.
- I don’t buy lots if pasta but I usually get a pack for under $1
- 2minute noodles and toss the seasoning sachet in bin as it’s loaded with nasty’s. sprinkle your own spices and use fresh homemade stock.
- fresh natural juices with nothing artificial in them eg nourish brand can be on special for a few days shelf life left
- tomatoes in tins are cheap under $1 and can go in a lot of dishes when the fresh are more expensive
- some condiments are cheap when you get 2 for price of 1 and last the whole year
- Fruit and vegetables are dearest when they are out of season. So use seasonal vegetables as it can save a fair bit.
- Frozen vegetables are straight from the farm to freezer bags so have just as good nutritional value as fresh but last longer.
cheap eating out meals
- cheap Chinese at food court just before close time you can pick up 2-3 dishes with rice for $5. I usually get 2 serves from 1 container
- if eating at café or restaurant and you know serve is for 2 so ask them for takeaway container for putting 1/2 serve away for another meal. containers are 50 cents
- McDonalds have $2 English muffin blt at breakfast.
- hungry jacks have toasted sandwiches for $3.
- subway if you get 6 inch and they tear bun when wrapping offer it for 50%off the price.
- fresh spring rolls or satay skewers are from $3.50-6 but you get a full container
more homemade meals
- wraps you can buy the pack of wraps and make your own. adding meat, seafood, fish, deli meat, chicken or salad or eggs or cut the wrap add spices to make chips in oven to dip into sauces/dips/salsa
- homemade soup easy to make with carrot celery onion leek potato pumpkin zucchini tomato just to name a few. chicken soup with herbs also cheap
- tray of baked vegetables cost very little and you can season with herbs and spices
- salad bowls also good cheap options
- eggs make different meals
- make sauces from scratch tons of recipes online
- meatless meals once a week
- beans in cans go a long way add your own spice combination.
- toasted sandwiches/jaffles/breville