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Cooking decent, healthy and cheaply..

MasterBates

Well-Known Member
AW Foodies:

I come to you for help. I can't stand eating Hamburger Helper, and the current cost of battling the insurgency (read soon-to-be-ex-wife) makes eating out every night a no-go proposition.

I want to try to eat well, without breaking the bank.

Barbeque, I can do well (See thread "Master's Massive BBQ") but it is currently in occupied territory, and I don't have the fundage/space for a proper BBQ where I am now.

Looking for ideas for stuff that I can cook in my kitchen here.

Anything that is not too hard to make. Think bachelor kitchen with the NEX $70 kitchen in a box. Willing to try new and odd foods.

Thanks for your help..
 

Rasczak

Marine
slim and trim to how much you want to eat...
I have a whole bunch of recipes saved. PM me your email addy and I'll send them to you in a zip file.
Peanut Noodles

(serves 4)

* 7 oz (200 g) soba noodles (like yaki soba)
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 2 garlic cloves, crushed
* 1 large onion,
roughly chopped
* 1 red pepper, seeded/chopped
* 1 yellow pepper,
seeded/chopped
* 12 oz zucchini, roughly chopped
* 5 oz (150 g)(3/4 cup)
roasted unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped

for dressing:
* 1/4
cup olive oil
* juice of 1 lemon
* 1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely
chopped
* 3 tbsp snipped fresh chives
* 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
* salt & freshly ground black pepper
* snipped fresh chives
(garnish)

1) Cook noodles according to the package instructions and drain
well.
2) Meanwhile, heat the oil in a very large frying pan or wok and cook
the garlic and onion for 3 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the
peppers and zucchini and cook for a further 15 mins over a medium heat until
beginning to soften and brown. Add the peanuts and cook for a further 1
minute.
3) Whisk together the olive oil and 3 tbsp of lemon juice, the chili,
chives, and balsamic vinegar to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
4) Toss
the noodles into the vegetables and stir-fry to heat through. Add the dressing,
stir to coat and serve immediately, garnished with fresh chives.
 

Annalisa

Semper Fidelis Tyrannosaurus
I can't claim that this is healthy, but it sure as hell qualifies as cheap and easy. Probably any true Texan chili connoisseurs would be scandalized, too, but I don't care because it's quick, tastes good, and costs next to nothing.

Chili From Some Cans
  • 1 can of "chili style" canned tomatoes
  • 1 can of "Italian style" (basil, garlic, oregano) canned tomatoes
  • 1 can of condensed tomato soup
  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 1 onion (optional)
  • Any combination you like of cumin, cayenne pepper, chipotle pepper, whatever
Brown the meat in a big skillet. Add the onion, if using, and sauté until it's good and aromatic. Add all three cans and spices to taste, stir it up, and simmer until it's good and thick. Leftovers are great over spaghetti the next day.

Variation: Replace the condensed tomato soup with the beer of your choice and a double handful of crushed corn or tortilla chips. Make sure it's a beer you really like, since that flavor's going to get concentrated.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
None
Get a rice cooker, buy white rice in bulk and learn to cook Fried Rice.

Also learn to cook good Pasta's. A typical pasta I will make for home include the following:

Sausage Pepper Restica - 1 kilbasa sliced, 2 peppers (red and yellow), 1 can sause, 1.5 boxes Farfalla. Cook and mix with cheese to taste. It'll make enough food for 2 dinners and a couple lunches.

Spahetti al Carbonara is a great one, but you gotta know if anybodys allergic to egg cause its pretty much the main ingredient.

Also Crock pot/Stew cooking is a great way to stretch a lot of food a good long way.

Ill shoot you a PM of a few recipe's Ive perfected for low cost high yeild cooking.
 

Raptor2216

Registered User
Well, have I got a one good recipe for you! I almost never cooked a damn thing when I was in college but that was mostly because I couldn't pay $80 at a time for 5 days worth of groceries. I'm changing all that since I have the money for it now.

The one thing I have learned is that is that bell peppers, onions, cheese, potatoes, eggs and your choice of either steak or chicken combine to make some easy to cook, good tasting food.You should also buy yourself some seasoning shaker things. I'm a big fan of garlic and onion seasoning, steakhouse seasoning and I prefer black pepper on everything.

For breakfast, I make the following:

-2 potatoes
-half an onion
-1/2 red bell pepper
-1/2 green bell pepper
-3 mushrooms

Dice everything up, cutting the potatoes into small cubes. Put it all into a skillet with olive oil(I only use olive oil), put your choice of seasoning, cover it up and let it cool. I keep it at med high heat and make sure you stir or stuff will burn. Its done when the potatoes are soft and at that point you can add cheese to the pan or whatever else you like.

I cook the eggs in a separate pan and I only use egg whites(in keeping with the healthy mindset). I'm sure you know how to cook eggs so I won't go into that. As for the meat, I use either ground turkey, steak or chicken. I prefer the turkey because it is the healthiest to eat. You can cook the steak how to like but when I use it, I just cut it into chunks...fajitas style.

Once it all done, mix it up or keep it separate and you can eat it as is or get some pita bread and make it into a pita thing(I couldn't come up with a better name).

Anyway, that is what I do for breakfast. For dinner, I often use the same basic foods but you just cut it differently or cook it differently. Just mix things up. If you like salads, then there are plenty of good recipes out there for that. I prefer something simple...spinach, avocados, tomatoes, carrots with honey mustard dressing. Just keep in mind, this is all very healthy stuff so if you want to use ranch of whatever, you can but it won't be as healthy.

I'll post up some other stuff later...enjoy.
 

Rasczak

Marine
Fried Rice
Make white rice(short grain rice is the best)
Put in fridge overnight
Prepare pan, throw in random frozen veggies(peas,carrots and such) some onions, jalapenos if you dig that, and some bean sprouts, sautee them, just not too much, throw in the rice, add a little butter, let it cook a bit, then do about a 4-7 count on the soy (to your preference actually) and your good to go. If you want Japo recipes, I'll give you some. I work as a cook in a japanese restaurant for 3 years.
 

Sly1978

Living the Dream
pilot
Here you go. Quick, easy, tastes great, and you can keep the leftovers in your fridge for about 2 weeks and they'll taste just as good reheated.

Ingredients:
1 cup rice (for this particular recipe I strongly recomend Uncle Ben's converted. NOT instant!
2 cans Campbell's beef consume soup
4 Tablespoons butter (or margerine, if you must) (that's 1/2 stick)
Onion powder (or 1/2 onion, chopped if you want to go through the hassle) (optional)

Directions:

Melt the butter in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the rice and onions. Stir around (sautee) until some of the rice starts to turn brown and puff slightly.
Add both cans of consume, bring to a slight boil, reduce heat to medium low (maybe lower, but I doubt it at the BOQ) and cover.
Let simmer for about 30 minutes until most of the liquid is gone.

Enjoy! You can even add pieces of cooked stew meat for a more hearty meal.
 

joboy_2.0

professional undergraduate
Contributor
Well "healthy" is really a relative term. You can eat healthy for an average person, a weight lifter, endurance athlete etc. Basically in general terms, healthy you want to to eat more fruits and veggies and less of the breads pastas and potatoes. Think "good" carbohydrates instead of "bad" ones.

With this mindset, I usually eat a form of lean protein at every meal (chicken, lean beef, fish etc) and some vegetable concoction. A lot of times you can buy pre-mixed vegetables in the store and these are a godsend. Often time I'll buy a pre-mixed stir fry mix that you add meat too and these are quite good too. You need to be eating a considerable amount of dietary fat as well. Mostly mono or polyunsaturated fats but some saturated fats and fish oils.

Now if you add weight-training into the equation, you need to mix things up a bit. After getting back from the gym you actually want to eat "bad" carbohydrates (best is pure glucose or dextrose but can be white bread/pasta/potatoes) and a good source of lean protein. This is to spike the insulin to store glycogen into the muscles.

Bottom line is that your shopping list should consist of the following:

lean protein
fruits
veggies
whole wheat breads
nuts/oils (for fat)

There are plenty of dishes you can make with veggies and lean meats. Get creative. Some good books with a lot of info about fitness and plenty of recipes with these guidelines include:

The Metabolism Advantage
Scrawny to Brawny
New Rules of Lifting

Cheers
 

awesomes

Kick ass, take names, ask questions later
Get a crockpot. It comes with a recipe book and everything. I love mine and it hardly takes any prep or cleanup time. You throw stuff in, turn it on, and walk away. Come back hours later and voila! instant chow.

Another favorite of mine is your basic chicken. Get those boneless, skinless breast tenders from the market and marinate them in olive oil and your standard chicken spice that is available. Cook those and add some jasmine rice (not plain rice) with veggies on the side. Remember with rice it's always double the water to the amount of cooked rice. Cook till boiling with lid off then simmer on low with lid on until water is gone. I give the directions because people so often screw up rice. Seriously people it's not that hard. PM me if you want any other chow recipes I have tons.
 

Rasczak

Marine
Get a crockpot. It comes with a recipe book and everything. I love mine and it hardly takes any prep or cleanup time. You throw stuff in, turn it on, and walk away. Come back hours later and voila! instant chow.

Another favorite of mine is your basic chicken. Get those boneless, skinless breast tenders from the market and marinate them in olive oil and your standard chicken spice that is available. Cook those and add some jasmine rice (not plain rice) with veggies on the side. Remember with rice it's always double the water to the amount of cooked rice. Cook till boiling with lid off then simmer on low with lid on until water is gone. I give the directions because people so often screw up rice. Seriously people it's not that hard. PM me if you want any other chow recipes I have tons.
It depends heavily on the type of rice and how you've prepared it before you cook it.
For example, short grain rice, you generally use 2 cups of water to ever 1.5 cups of rice. Jasmine rice is more or less the same.
 

BigRed389

Registered User
None
Rice cookers make rice cooking a ridiculously simple process.

And rice cooked in rice pressure cookers are probably the cheapest quality staple food. I'm saying this b/c you can buy high quality rice in bulk, and it's still practical to do so b/c it keeps for months with no special storage other than a good large sealed container to keep the bugs out. And the work involved in whipping up a batch can literally takes less than a minute.
 

larbear

FOSx1000
pilot
Cooking cheap is my life.

Breakfast:
Blueberry Muffins- 1 box blueberry muffin mix, 1-2 cups water or milk. Mix ingredients and enjoy.

Lunch/Supper:
Hot Dog Puree- 3-4 hot dogs, 4 slices white bread, ketchup and mustard to taste. Pour ingredients in blender and run on high for 45 seconds. Heat in microwave if desired.
 

Sly1978

Living the Dream
pilot
Cooking cheap is my life.

Breakfast:
Blueberry Muffins- 1 box blueberry muffin mix, 1-2 cups water or milk. Mix ingredients and enjoy.

Lunch/Supper:
Hot Dog Puree- 3-4 hot dogs, 4 slices white bread, ketchup and mustard to taste. Pour ingredients in blender and run on high for 45 seconds. Heat in microwave if desired.
I think that might be considered a step down from his current staple of Hamburger Helper but we'll keep it in mind if we ever break our jaws and have to have all our meals through a straw.
 

pat

Member
Bags of frozen stirfry vegetables. I keep tons of them in my freezer. If it's just me eating for a few days, I'll cook 4 chicken breasts, and put them in a tub in the fridge. For dinner, a small bag (buy bigger ones and portion) and a chicken breast are great. You can cut up the chicken and make it a stirfry, or serve on tortillas, whatever. No sodium, and you can toss in flaxseed for more fiber/omegas.

For breakfast I cook about six eggs, fit to a slice of bread. Then take a slice or two of lean deli turkey and lean swiss. Put all this between two slices of nature's own all wheat bread, and freeze. You can nuke it for 30 seconds and they're yummy.

The trick is making one cooking session last multiple meals without getting burnt out. Pick a staple that you like (for me, chicken and veggies, and breakfast sandwiches) and make enough for days.
 
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