Hope its ok to bump this one
I did a search for "budget meals" - for the obvious reason! - and quite few threads came up. I was going to post links to them, they are all very good reading, but it kind of clogged up the screen (some of the links were three lines long?), so anyone interested could just do the same search I've done (sorry!).
Relocating and loing my income is starting to hit us hard, and I am going to have to spend more to refine my Italian in order to be able to work. Not working is not all negative. For example, I am going to be able to be more regular about stock making and I don't expect a stockworthy ingrediant to find itsself going in the bin with a regretful shrug of the shoulders and look at the watch!
I have been reading through the threads and although many of the ideas aren't so relevant to me, outside USA, a lot of them are equally applicable whereever we are.
The thing that really struck me was the advice Michael in Ft Worth gave about shopping lists and planning ahead. At one point he mentioned he would like to see a thread on meals under $5 for a month. I am going to write such a thing out for myself because it struck me what a good idea this is. I am a list shopper...but the meals get juggled around an awful lot, and I am not good enough with left overs. On the occasionas I bank on the lefftovers I find my husband clears them as seconds.
The other situation that I, and I am sure many other people on a budget, find is that I am in rented...there is a decent (small by US standard though) fridge with a small freezer compartment. I'll pack it well, but I certainly won't be able to put too much in there, so this is where the list becomes more important than the bargain shopping!
What we have done for the past couple of years is list shop for six days of the week and then allow a day for eating out, having take out/whatever. I want to take that a stage further and eat our meals in an order that means I am using the left overs the very next day and cooking the amount needed per day (eg, not cooking a batch of soup, but expecting to make a soup or what ever daily, so it cannot all be scoffed!)
What I really liked about Michaels 30 day idea is that I think budget cooking it is easier than ever to fall into a rut. Something cheap, easy and you know is going to be liked becomes favoured over novelty: in the long term that makes the whole thing harder to stick to.
Having looked at all of that, we have a budget meal that I might have posted before
can't remember. Its unappetisingly called cat sick in our house, but it tastes a lot better than that. Its a light meal on its own, or adds warmth to an otherwise unwinter friendly bowl of green salad and substance to a thin bowl of soup when served as a side.
1 can sardines, grated cheddar or cheddar type cheese, splash of Worcester sauce and a good squirt of ketchup. Combine, spred over bread/crumpets/muffins..any bready thing!...and grill. It is trashy but oh, so satisfying. I buy sardines in bulk and we eat a lot of this toward the end of the pay month!