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Old 02-11-2005, 01:27 AM   #1
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Post $5.00 meals that you have actually cooked

I intended this thread to be for meals that you actually cooked - not just suggestions. So....once you cook your meal and it falls into this category please post your recipe and your tips for making it an inexpensive meal.

I realize some of you have larger families and there's no way $5.00 will do it. Whoever wants to participate can. Post your recipes that you can prepare as inexpensively as possible and still be considered a meal.

Tonight I made chipped beef from scratch - made my own roux versus a cream of soup. I can't remember how much the chipped beef was but it wasn't that much - 6 TBS of flour, 6 TBS of butter don't amount to much - and I add frozen peas like my mother did - served on white toast. I used some whipping cream and some beef bullion melted in water and then I wanted more cream so I used some fat free half and half. Salt and pepper.

We are a water-drinking family so that's never an issue.



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Old 02-11-2005, 01:43 AM   #2
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I think your chip beef is something like what I had growing up.....called SOS (xxxx on the shingle...........thing of bird droppings ). I love this stuff..........well minus the name of it. Sometimes I make this for dinner but growing up mom would make it for breakfast. If memory serves me right mom did sometimes substitute beef.........those packets of really thin slices.....they sell them in varieties of ham, chicken, beef. The hamburger is my favorite. I've heards others who make SOS using sausage but thats just sausage gravy to me whole different taste.

Take a pound of hamburger and brown it. Once browned sprinkle in some flour.......I'd say about 2 tablespoons and cook long enough to get rid of the flour taste....about a minute or two then add your milk.......how much if I had to guess I'd say 3 cups maybe 4. The amount of flour and milk kind of depends on how many you are feeding cause you could stretch it out if you wanted the ration of gravy to meat favoring the gravy more so. Anyway add S & P to taste.........I tend to go heavy on these and end up adding more to mine once I dish it up. I serve it on buttered toaste broken into bite size pieces.

Very cheap, good and so filling! Your usually only out the price of the hamburger cause most have the other supplies on hand.

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Old 02-11-2005, 10:17 PM   #3
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My mom's favorite el-cheapo meal was what was then simpy called spaghetti, but really, plain old red sauce on spagetti noodles with a simple iceberg lettuce salad on the side. It's hard to price it out now, but suspect you can still do it for $5. You obviously aren't going to make it with parmesiano regiano, or a bag of mixed baby greens, or extra virgin olive oil (which, I might add, Mom couldn't have bought if she'd have wanted to, most of the places we lived in the years we lived there. I doubt Reno Nevada had a bottled of "EVOO" in the entire city in 1965). I suspect if you bought the cheapest canned tomatoes, etc, you could still do it. It's hard to price things, though, because how do you price a half an onion, and a dash of garlic salt, a pinch of oregano?

Another would be spagetti carbonaro. A package of pasta, an egg or two, a slice or two of bacon (preferably leftover) or shave of ham (ditto).

Bubble and Squeak or Colcannon. Cabbage and starch, fried.

Boy, can I do peasant food!!!
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Old 02-12-2005, 12:43 AM   #4
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Make some rough breadcrumbs from stale bread. Fry in olive oil with garlic and thyme until golden brown.

Cook pasta.

Cook some more garlic with some anchovy fillets in oil until they melt. Add drained pasta. Put into bowls, sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Don't forget the cream for pasta carbonara as described above.
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Old 02-12-2005, 01:48 AM   #5
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I guess my carbonara is so cheap because I only use cream if it happens to be in the fridge at the time!!!! It comes out a little more "scrambled eggy" without the cream, but comes in cheaper, and we like it as well, just different! (We like those little scrambled eggs clinging to the spaghetti, as opposed to the more creamy coating you get with ... well, cream) As I said, I also use what cured pork product I have on hand, not go out and buy it. Sometimes two or three strips of bacon, sometimes ham, sometimes even proscuitto. But it is always something I bought for some other dish, and it is always delicious. I've even used (gasp!) egg beaters, if that was what was there. Of course it's best if you use the best of ingredients. But the point is the best use of the buck. Oh, yes, if I do have some cheese, any hard kind (yes, even if it is the ... Oh, unmentionable), I beat some into the egg mixture, which helps to make it cling to the pasta and make a bit of a thicker 'coating' (for lack of a better word). If you find yourself so broke you're using that stuff in a can for this recipe, put it in the egg, and let it soak for awhile. It'll be quite tasty, honestly.

By the way, I love the bread crumbs on pasta, too, and you don't get more inexpensive than that. I'm glad you brought it up, because I haven't made it in ages. It's on my future list!!
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Old 02-12-2005, 03:23 PM   #6
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I intended this thread to be for meals that you actually cooked - not just suggestions. So....once you cook your meal and it falls into this category please post your recipe and your tips for making it an inexpensive meal. Thanks.

"Count yourself...you ain't so many" - quote from Buck's Daddy
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Old 02-12-2005, 05:54 PM   #7
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I've made the following:

1 lb. lean hamburger, cooked
1 14-16 ounce can whole tomatoes or a can of chopped tomatoes ( I crush the whole tomatoes)
1 medium onion, chopped, sauted
1 lb elbow macaroni, boiled, drained.
Add any seasonings you like and have on hand, I've used sage or oregano, salt and pepper

Approx. cost 5-6 dollars depending on the cost of the lean hamburger, but it makes a large pot, plenty for four or more people.

Chicken legs, baked
French fries, or mashed potatoes

Approx. cost 5-6 dollars depending on the size package of legs

Vegetarian chili....I use:

1 red pepper, chopped, sauted
1 green pepper, chopped, sauted
1 or two fresh jalapenos ( I put them in whole)
1 14-16 ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed
Chili powder
onions, chopped, sauted

combine all and cook for at least 1 hour to blend flavors. I bake potatoes and pour the chili over it for my husband, and sometimes make biscuits. I also add cheddar cheese on top of the bowls of chili.

Approx. cost without cheese and store bought biscuits, 5 dollars, but if you have a few extra dollars definately buy the cheese and buy or make your own biscuits.

Grilled cheese sandwiches

appprox. cost 5 dollars or less

Spinach and mushroom lasagna

1 box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, press out water(or use a bag of fresh but it's $2 per bag in my store)

I package of fresh mushrooms, or buy in bulk if you can and only buy what you need, slice, saute

1 8 ounce container ricotta cheese
1 2 cup package mozzarella
1 14-16 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 6 ounce can tomatoe paste
1 package of lasagna noodles (or make your own)
1 onion, chopped, sauted
any seasonings you like and have on hand, I use dried basil, salt, pepper, and sugar, parmesan cheese

Approx. cost 10 dollars. I make a 13x9 inch glass pan.

Mashed potatoes

Approx. cost 8 dollars

I can probably think of many more ideas, but here are a few for now. I like this thread, it will help many of us save alot of money at the grocery store. Most of what I've posted is somewhat healthy, especially if you substitute ground turkey for the hamburger. Other things to consider as far as cost is things most have on hand or maybe not, such as salt and pepper and other seasonings, oil for sauteing, etc. , so these estimated costs for meals do not consider the expense for seasonings.
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:28 AM   #8
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I know where you were going with this elf - but maybe we need to talk about "Home Economics 101"? And "meal extenders"?

For cheap meals - rice, pasta, and beans can really add bulk to a meal to extent the belly ... these have been used for a bunch of years by various cultures. Asians, Italians, and Greeks, don't use that much meat - but they "extend" the meal with vegetables or a starch.

Examples (that I have made) include gumbos, pasta and tomato sauce with or without meat, beans and rice, etc. And don't forget the bread or cornbread. And, you can't forget the stir-fry with a little meat, 4-10 times as many veges, and a bunch of rice. The best egg-drop soup I ever had was from a can of creamed corn, 3 cans of water, a couple of eggs, and a tablespoon of corn starch, with a chopped up scallion.

First, you have to know how, and where, to shop. Those weekly flyers that come in the mail are worth looking over before you consign them to the dumpster. And, knowing the prices at your local store helps, too.

For example - I have a dish I learned to make back in my college days ... chicken with long grain and wild rice (and if I was lucky and got a little overtime that week - button mushrooms). By looking at the grocery ads in the paper for this week ... all shopping at stores within 3 miles of home (no Wal-Mart, Costco, etc.) - the same meal for 4-6 could cost from $3.40 to $8.74!

IMHO - to make a $5 meal on a regular basis you kinda have to plan ahead a little, and learn how to shop.

SOS ... and I love it ... but the little 2.4 oz jar of Armour dried beef is a little on the pricey side (about $1.79 the last time I looked). Over in the lunchmeat section I can get little 2.5 oz packets of various thin sliced meats (usually 10 slices to a pkt.). And, they are usually about 2/$1 .... sometimes they are on sale for 3/$1 or 4/$1 ... time to stock up and toss them in the freezer. The "Beef" taste just about the same.

For a family of 4 - 2-4 pkts ($1-$2), a couple of tablespoons of very finely diced onion, butter and flour for the roux ... but instead of cream use plain whole milk and add 1-tsp butter per cup of milk (or more if you want).

I've got a rather "fixed" budget - so it's nothing to "Rob Peter to pay Paul".
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:48 AM   #9
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I got a pound of bottom round swiss steak for about $1.50. I slices it into strips and marinated in fajita seasonings along with some sliced onions. That stayed in the fridge for about 4 hours. When it was time to eat, I cooked the meat and onions in a cast iron pan then set aside. I then took a non stick pan and put a tortilla in with some shredded cheese. The meat and onions went on top and then another tortilla. Once the first side was browned I flipped and browned the second side. I took it out of the pan and sliced into wedges. Yummy quesadilla for dinner for under $5.
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Old 02-18-2005, 09:24 AM   #10
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Sounds yummy. How did I miss this thread?

OK heres mine.

3 chicken thighs ($1.50) 2 chicken breasts ($2.00)
1 can tomato soup - $.59
1/2 cup salsa (homemade so can't calculate the price)
some oregano
grated mozzarella ($1.00)
handful of brown sugar

Place the chicken in your casserole dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Mix together the soup, salsa and oregano. Spoon over the chicken. Sprinkle the cheese over all, cover and bake for 45 minutes or so. Serve over pasta. Yummy chicken cacciatore.

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