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Old 01-14-2008, 01:54 PM   #1
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Student wanting to accrue recipe suggestions using LIMITED resources (vegetarian)

I'm a student and can only afford certain things. Below is a list of ingredients that I buy because they are fairly cheap at my current locale. I don't appreciate recipes that call for ingredients beyond my limited range (I earn practically no money - it just trickles out of my account for rent, food and health insurance (mandatory in the Netherlands)). In my experience, most people are quite insensitive to the concept of my limited resources - what is cheap to you, is probably not cheap to me; please don't suggest chicken - I can't afford it!

Meat, at least where I live, is quite expensive compared to vegetables, per unit weight, so the only meat product that I tend to buy is 'leverwurst' (liver-sausage) which contains a large proportion of vegetable anyway.

I prefer to avoid things which I believe are devoid of nutritional value (cucumber - I prefer fibre sources to also provide vitamins/minerals). I've noticed that sprouts, yukky as they are, are quite cheap, and would like to place special emphasis on their use (although any other combination also appreciated).

The kitchen equipment that I have available is pretty basic.

My pantry can consist of (classified as best I can; it's likely that I've forgotten a couple of things, but not much):


Cheese (cheapest; somewhat softer and less flavourful than Cheddar)




Onions (white)
Brussels sprouts
Baked beans
Tinned tomatoes
Strained tomatoes
Split peas (yellow and green)


Bread (brown but not wholemeal) [Flour comes from grains and bread comes from flour...]
Rice (brown and white)

Herbs and spices:

Fresh parsley
Fresh chives
Thyme (dried)
Garlic powder
Ginger powder
Dill (dried)


Monosodium glutamate
Sugar (white and brown/unrefined?)


Macaroni (made from durum wheat)
Mustard (French as well as 'seedy')
Peanut butter (smooth)
Oil (sunflower, peanut and olive)
Chicken and beef stock cubes
Baking powder

Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any serious suggestions. :)


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Old 01-14-2008, 02:10 PM   #2
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Can you obtain dried beans? Much more variety than plain old canned "baked beans", cheaper, & easier to diversify into different recipes.

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Old 01-14-2008, 02:12 PM   #3
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Hi, any chance you can buy lentils? Lentils would be very versatile and would give you more protein. You can cook them in water or those stock cubes you have for more flavor. Add some chopped veggies and eat warm or cold over salad. Lentils are not expensive in the UK or US, so don't be annoyed I ask!

And how about oats, can you get those cheap there? Good hearty breakfast thats good for you, add some chopped banana or apples with it.

I see you have baked beans there but can you also buy other types of beans?
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:32 PM   #4
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I've got a friend whose mum is supposed to know all the cheapest resources so if I can source them cheaply, I'll add them (beans, lentils and [crumby] oats) to my list. If anyone makes any other such suggestions, I will try to do the same with those.

I actually had a dream a few months ago, that ASDA had a grand opening of their first store in the Netherlands! How I miss "pocketing the difference"...
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Old 01-14-2008, 03:46 PM   #5
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Hi Sean,

Here is what I do for a nice soup:

Cut one onion, and fry it in 3 tablespoons oil until it is transluscent, then add 1/2 cup of flour and stir that together. Cut up your vegetables of choice and add them to the mixture and then add about 6 cups of water and a stock cube. After your vegetables are tender (usually about 20 minutes of cooking until they are done) process the soup with your hand blender. If you have any rosemary and thyme they are good in this soup. As well, yogurt (plain or greek style) [if you have it] and milk added to it make it a nice creamy soup. I have made this soup with broccoli, carrots, and have used the same process with potatoes, turnip and carrots mixed together.

My suggestion is to baby-step your way to a full spice cupboard. Each month buy one new dried herb or spice (or as you can afford to). As well, if you have a birthday coming up, maybe your friends in the UK (you mentioned ASDA) could send you some nice and tasty herbs, spices and pulses as a 'care packet'.

I'll look through my books for ideas for you and see what I can find.
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Old 01-14-2008, 04:07 PM   #6
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A couple of ideas I had are
baked stuffed tomatoes
Cooks.com - Recipe - Baked Stuffed Tomatoes
here's a microwave recipe
Stuffed Tomatoes. Microwave stuffed tomatoes, serves 4 people.
also stuffed bell peppers, if they are easily available. This recipe calls for ground beef but when my mom made them, she didn't use ground beef. You could probably add a small amount of sausage for more flavor, if you like.
Microwave Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe - BakeSpace's Global Cookbook
Good luck on this and welcome to DC!
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Old 01-14-2008, 04:21 PM   #7
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While I don't want to violate any of your recipe rules or budget, is there any other meat product that you could buy (besides liver sausage) that might provide more meals? For instance, I know you said "don't mention chicken", but one cooked chicken can literally provide a week's worth of different & tasty meals for one person (I know this for a fact - lol!). When you divide the price of that chicken by 7 days, you might find it looking more economical.

Again - I apologize if this isn't the truth where you live. Obviously I don't know the exact prices/situation. Just a thought.
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Old 01-14-2008, 05:22 PM   #8
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A few things you might want to look into adding that are cheap and could alot of good to your recipies

Barley - great as is cooked with just some chicken or veggie stock. great to add to stuffed peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. and its about 1.50 for a 12 oz bag

Chicken Thighs
- boneless skinsless chicken thighs are usually extremely cheap. maybe 2.89 lbs at your grocer and 89 cents a pound at a local butcher/meat market. More flavor then chicken breast at about half the cost. its great pan seared or grilled with some veggies on the side

Butternut/Winter squash -
a medium/large squash goes for about a dollar. baked in the over for an hour, puree it in a blend, add some salt and you've got a great tasting side in no time.

some basic recipies i'd use would be to stuff mushroom caps or cherry tomatoes with barley and onions and wild rice(boiled first in veggie or chicken stock)

Plain old grilled veggies, or veggies sauteed in oil along with some grilled thighs. another easy topping for chicken thighs would be to puree tomatoes onions and maybe some green chillies with some olive oil and top the thigh with the puree.

Potatoes can be done a bunch of ways. a quick easy recipe would be to cut them into wedges and season them with salt, pepper, chilli powder, and oregano. toss in a plastic bag with some olive oil and heat in that toaster oven until done.

With those eggs you could make a quick and easy frittata. Sautte 3 or 4 of your favorite veggies in some olive oil (asparagus, peppers, onions, mushrooms, whatever) drain and let sit for 10 minutes. beat 4 or 5 eggs and add to a well greased frying pan on a medium/low flame. add in the veggies and spread shredded cheese generousloy on top. once the egg sets on the sides season with salt and pepper. once the egg sets a bit more flip it until done and cut into wedges.

rice w/ a thick white cheese sauce also makes a great side. make the rice as directed, or even some short pasta shape like orzo. in a small pot over a VERY low flame add 1/4 cup of cream and 1 tablespoon of grated cheese(romano or parmasean works best for this recipe). once it combines and is smooth add another tablespoon and continue to stir constantly until smooth. do this with 6 more teaspoons of cheese. add more cream if neccessary. season with some black pepper. pour over the rice/pasta and stir in. top wit some fresh parsley or oregano.
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Old 01-14-2008, 05:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
Jerseyjay14 - the OP is in the Netherlands, so prices are WAY
ah.... my bad,.... sorry
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Old 01-14-2008, 05:34 PM   #10
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Jerseyjay14 - the OP is in the Netherlands, so prices are WAY different. That's why he nixed chicken in his original post (even tho I still think a whole chicken might be a good value since it can make so many different meals for one person). A package of chicken thighs would probably be exhorbitantly expensive, if available at all, & would probably provide 2 meals at best for a single person.

However, I notice that the OP doesn't mention pasta as an option. One can make a lot of very nutritious & varied meals from different pastas. Certainly pasta isn't exhorbitant in the Netherlands?

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