Vanilla Forums has been nominated for a second time in the CMS Critic "Critic's Choice" awards, and we need your vote! Read more here, and then do the thing (please).
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

stretching food money

ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get alongRegistered User regular
edited January 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm house-sitting until the 27th. The truth is this place has tons of food. Especially in the deep freeze. But I want to give myself an interesting challenge. I've had to stretch food money before but while I'm working on this I felt like you guys probably would have some good suggestions.

I have a $50 gift card for kroger. I want to use it in one fell swoop and that food be enough to last me until the 27th. If you're wondering what I have at my disposal I have more seasonings than I know what to do with, flour, tons of canned/frozen vegetables, and lots of chicken/beef stock.

I clipped a couple coupons but there wasn't much in my sunday paper. Kroger's adverts that I think are useful are pasta and canned crushed tomatoes 10/10. Chicken breast $2/lb and 2/$5 breakfast sausage. Not a whole lot. A lot of their stuff that is advertised on sale is frozen food like hungry-mans and shit. That stuff is dog food for humans and I don't eat it so that's out. I cook 90% of my food so I'd like real suggestions.

Teach me tasty frugality H/A!

Shogun on

Posts

  • That_Spoony_BardThat_Spoony_Bard Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Depending on how much of a foodie you are, you have several options. Pick and choose as you see fit.

    Beans, potatoes, meat (check what's in the section where they discount meat), vegetables that are in season (if any, winter tends to be a bitch). You mentioned you have a lot of stock and seasoning? You can make some pretty filling soups with beans and meat. Too much ground beef? One night make soup with ground beef, another night have pasta with meat sauce!

    Eggs tend to give a lot of protein and can be used in several dishes.

    Don't forget about rice. Rice, veggies, and a little bit of soy sauce and you have a quick dinner.

    10 days isn't too bad to do if you already have spices, stock, and veggies. It's mostly about finding some protein and fillers.

  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    ^ pretty much this.

    Or, if you're feeling rather thin and would like to pack on the pounds/cholesterol... just buy a bunch of frozen food and you'll be good to go. I mean, it's 10 days.

    parabol
    nin_new2.gif
  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Yeah I should've had this idea when it was 15 days. $50 for 10 days is like really not that hard. And I love spaghetti.

    I'm still open to ideas but this can probably just be locked its whatevs.

  • That_Spoony_BardThat_Spoony_Bard Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Well, if you want to make it a real challenge, you could always try $25 dollars. Or not.

  • Rhesus PositiveRhesus Positive Damn these electric sex pants! Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Buy the cheapest beans or pulses you can. They'll probably be cheaper if you buy them dried rather than in cans.

    Soak a handful overnight, then throw them into some rice which you cook in stock.

    It's tasty, has protein and carbs, and is incredibly cheap. I lived off variations of this for a few months after university.

    Also check if tomato soup is cheaper than tomatoes. It is where I live, so I used soup as a basis for pasta sauces. Fry up some onions and maybe some cheap meat, add the soup, heat, and add cooked pasta.

    When it comes to meat, see if they do cooking bacon. It's just chunks of bacon that doesn't fit into any one category.

    Another successful post, thanks to the power of Spacestar Ordering™!
  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I should have noted the only food I do not eat is beans. Texture makes me nauseous. Do not eat beans in any form except for green beans I guess.

  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Knorr makes bagged pasta and rice sides. $1, solid meal for one person. Most of them only need water, some need milk. Most of them work like a cheaper hamburger helper if you throw some lean ground meat in them (I say lean because with some of them the grease doesn't play nicely with even a little grease).

    Honestly you could last well over 10 days on $50 without even resorting to cooking your own food. As a bachelor eating 80% microwaved boxed crap my food budget was reliably under $100 a month just with some aggressive bargain hunting and a lot of rice.

  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Hevach wrote: »
    Knorr makes bagged pasta and rice sides. $1, solid meal for one person. Most of them only need water, some need milk. Most of them work like a cheaper hamburger helper if you throw some lean ground meat in them (I say lean because with some of them the grease doesn't play nicely with even a little grease).

    Honestly you could last well over 10 days on $50 without even resorting to cooking your own food. As a bachelor eating 80% microwaved boxed crap my food budget was reliably under $100 a month just with some aggressive bargain hunting and a lot of rice.

    where can I find these in the grocer?

  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Usually in the pasta aisle. Wal Mart usually puts the rice ones in the rice or ethnic food aisles and the pasta ones near the hamburger helper and stuff like that. Most other stores around here have them all with the pasta.

  • EntriechEntriech Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    You may find some of these links inspiring, as they relate to exactly the task of stretching food dollars over a period of time.

    http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com/2010/03/25-food-project-finale-recipes.html
    http://thirtyaweek.wordpress.com/

    Realistically avoid most things from the center of the grocery store. Packaged food is typically expensive for the quality/quantity you get. Why pay 1$ for 2 cups of pasta in a cheap sauce? Pay 1$ for an entire bag of dried pasta, and make your own sauces/toppings. Butter and spices, a bit of olive oil and some sauteed garlic and onion, can of crushed tomatoes and some seasoning.

    With few exceptions, the less processed the food is, the cheaper you can get it, and the better it is for you.

    Gamecenter/Gamertag/Steam ID/PSN: Entriech
    Guild Wars 2: Entriech.3507 | Scythe Gearsnap, Phlork, Irenic
  • DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2011
    Chicken thighs are generally going to be the best value in animal protein as well as being very versatile. Rice is very inexpensive if you buy it bulk instead of buying boxes of instant rice. Chicken and rice together are cheap and pretty versatile and nutritious. Add in fresh vegetables and fruit as you like, but don't avoid them just because you're not getting as many calories for your buck. Food isn't just about calories, you need other nutrients as well so don't be that guy that just looks at what gives you the most calories for the dollar.

    belruelotterav-1.jpg
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Hevach wrote: »
    Knorr makes bagged pasta and rice sides. $1, solid meal for one person. Most of them only need water, some need milk. Most of them work like a cheaper hamburger helper if you throw some lean ground meat in them (I say lean because with some of them the grease doesn't play nicely with even a little grease).

    Echoing Entriech, stay away from something like this if your goal is to save money (although Hevac is 100% correct that for 10 days at $50 these will work well). For $5, you can buy a box of pasta or a bag of rice and enough vegetables to make way more than 5 of these pre-packaged meals. Buy whatever tasty vegetables are on sale, cook the pasta or rice, and either boil, blanch, steam, sauté, or roast the vegetables, and then add them. If you fill out your spice rack with the usuals, you'll have enough spices to last you for forever and you can add a dash or two of them to make it all taste better. If you want to add meat, buy a big old pack of ground beef or whatever.

  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    or just breew up a huge batch of soup/stew/sauce and eat that for like 7 days straight

    camo_sig.png
  • ShanadeusShanadeus Registered User
    edited January 2011
    You could always consider buying some cheap protein powder.

  • DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2011
    yeah, stay away from the packaged meals as much as possible

    the seemingly cheap pasta meals like Hevach mentions or stuff like Hamburger Helper isn't really saving you money compared to buying rice/pasta on its own and actually cooking something yourself that's not loaded with sodium and will have better nutrition if you eat a reasonably varied diet

    those packaged pasta/rice dishes are pretty nutritionally empty aside from the calories and also usually have much more sodium to try and give them the flavor you can get from actually cooking good food with good ingredients

    belruelotterav-1.jpg
  • .. Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2011
    Shanadeus wrote: »
    You could always consider buying some cheap protein powder.
    Why when you can make incredibly delicious food for cheap? Or did I miss something where he's lifting weights/wanting to gain weight?

    And seriously, do not buy those pre-packaged rice/pasta meals. They are absolutely full of sodium. However, in that section, they have boxes of couscous that would help stretch a meal. And I mean the plain couscous, not the flavored ones. They are full of sodium, too.
    Then again, I've made meals of a bowl of rice with a side of raw vegetables. I am easy to feed.

    If you do want faster food cooking with vegetables, you can get wicked cheap frozen vegetables.
    Rice, pasta/couscous, canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables, chicken/vegetable stock (try Kitchen Basics), chicken thighs. I see you don't like beans which is too bad. Anyway, combine any of the above and you will probably have a good meal. I guess you can find cheap hamburger meat, but I don't like the stuff so I am not sure.

    I can't even imagine using canned tomato soup instead of tomatoes. I would honestly prepare something else first. To each their own, I guess.

    Gimme stuff. Please. And I don't just mean my Secret Satan.
  • John MatrixJohn Matrix Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Buy a big thing of Quaker oats. Half a cup of oats and one cup of milk makes great porridge (oatmeal) that will keep you nice and full past lunch. I think I paid $3.50 for the biggest tube of Quaker oats and I've barely put a dent in it after a week of porridge for breakfast.

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    No matter what type of food you end up cooking, if you want to make your money/food last, you need to plan out your meals. A couple of years ago I wanted to live off of x dollars per week for food, and it was easy because I planned out what I wanted to eat each day and made sure I bought only the ingredients I needed to make those meals.

    Stuff like shepherd's pie, chicken and rice, etc. Once you have your "menu" for the week, check the flyers to see what is cheapest where and make a couple of stops. In your case, it will be a bit different because your only choice is Kroger's, but planning is still key.

    daniant wrote:
    Alright, looks like I'm giving up golden showers for Lent.
    XBL : Figment3 · SteamID : Figment · Website : www.nathanswyers.com
  • shadydentistshadydentist Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Steam & GT
    Spoiler:
  • DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2011

    it's like you didn't even read the OP considering what you linked to relies heavily on beans to stretch the food budget
    edit: correction-he actually explains he doesn't like beans in his 3rd post, my bad

    belruelotterav-1.jpg
  • SilverEternitySilverEternity Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    This website is an interesting read. He used coupons to eat on $1/day for a month. However, it's much more of a pain than most people I know would like to deal with.

    $50 actually doesn't seem like that much of a challenge for 10 days. Just make sure you are using the money on store-brand staple foods like rice, eggs, bread, etc. and getting cuts of meat that are on sale and you should be able to create a number of creative meals for about $5/day.

    Two of the cheapest recipes I make are:

    Chili - two or three cans diced tomatoes (~$2.00), one pound ground beef (~4.00), one can of beans (~0.80) (if you enjoy beans), seasoning packet or just season to taste with chili powder, cumin, etc. You get four or five servings (about $1.50/serving) and the leftovers keep well for lunch or chili-dogs, etc.

    Pasta (any kind of pasta with either pre-mixed sauce or make your own sauce with canned tomatoes, wine, etc.). You can usually get pasta and a can of sauce for between $2.00 or $3.00 that creates enough for at least six servings.

  • John MatrixJohn Matrix Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Chili's a great idea, plus it always tastes better the next day than it did the day before. I think corn bread is easy/cheap to make too, and I can't eat chilli without it now.

  • MercedCGMercedCG Registered User
    edited January 2011
    One of the staple foods I make is my own cheap ass version of Migas.

    Basically, buy eggs ($1-2 for a pack of 12), green and red peppers +onions ($2-3 per pound, pick up 1/2 lb of each), jalapenos ($.50 for 2), your favorite cheese ($2-3 for a block that lasts 2 weeks), and some spanish rice. With those amounts you can make Migas 4 times for breakfast or lunch. Dice all of the peppers, cook the rice 3/4 of the way, throw it all in a hot skillet, once the onions are translucent throw in eggs and scramble, serve while eggs are still a little runny. Enjoy.

    Check out my video game related articles here and here...with more to come soon!
  • shadydentistshadydentist Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Druhim wrote: »

    it's like you didn't even read the OP considering what you linked to relies heavily on beans to stretch the food budget
    edit: correction-he actually explains he doesn't like beans in his 3rd post, my bad

    I did read that, actually, but there's also some non-bean stuff in there.

    Steam & GT
    Spoiler:
Sign In or Register to comment.