Originally Posted by EatLoveMove
Anything cheap for two!
Good thick, chunky, tasty soup made with vegetables (onions, carrots, garlic, a bell pepper and any veg in season and therefore cheap) a tin of tomatoes, stock from a cube or can, dried or fresh herbs, salt and pepper, a tin of chick peas or cannelini beans or dried red lentils. If you have a blender or processor pulse it to a chunky puree or mash some of the veg with a fork or potato masher. Serve with good bread and cheese. (the cheese can be grated and scattered on the soup if you like) Follow up with fruit in season - apples go well with cheese - and you have more than your 5-a-day portions of furit and veg and all of your important food groups.
Pasta's good and cheap. It's filling and takes up the flavours of whatever sauce you put on it. Homemade tomato sauce is tastier and cheaper than the yucky stuff in jars (and better for you as well) and if made in bulk you can stash it away in the freezer in portion sizes. And what about good old mac and cheese?
Invest in a supply of dried herbs and a few basic spices. Nutmeg is good for both sweet and savoury recipes, especially with spinach and cheese sauces but buy whole nutmegs as ready grated goes off quickly. Others are ginger, rosemary, sage, thyme, etc., Strong cheddar cheese is more economical than mild as you can use less of it to get a good cheese-y flavour in sauces.
Make a list when you go shopping and stick to it - no little treats. Don't shop on an empty stomach - if you are hungry you are more likely to fall for things you don't really need. A butcher once advised me to buy expensive cuts of meat in the more down-market end of town and cheap cuts and offal in the more up-market areas as in both cases the butcher will be discounting the cuts he can't sell in his area. Take advantage of BOGOFs and "twofers" on canned goods, rice, pasta, etc., but only if you know you will use them within a reasonable amount of time (but check the "use by" dates).