As I was eating lunch yesterday and marveling at how damn tasty it was, even though it was the third day in a row of leftovers (and I’ll be having it for lunch the rest of the week), I decided to write a post about what and how I feed myself. Cooking at home is a large part of a frugal lifestyle and I’m always interested in what people are eating so I can get new ideas.
Usually frugal cooking posts will mention what it is people are eating but not give actual recipes, which is sometimes frustrating. It’s all well and good that blogger X is eating thing Y, but tell me how to make it! Although maybe that’s just me. After three years of cooking for myself, I still feel like I don’t know enough to experiment and need to follow recipes exactly. So below is a link to some recipes I’ve really been enjoying lately. I’m not the first person to recommend Budget Bytes and you’ll find multiple things from there.
A note on my grocery shopping/cooking:
I do a fair amount of shopping at Costco, and staples include almonds, quinoa, chia seeds, eggs, oatmeal, ridiculously large and cheap bags of spinach (I freeze a bunch of it for smoothies), carrots, frozen berries, and frozen pizza. I also buy the big frozen bag of chicken tenderloins, mostly because I hardly eat meat and also hate dealing with raw meat, so this makes it easy to buy chicken fairly cheaply but not have to use it up at once. It doesn’t take that much longer to heat up in the skillet than non-frozen chicken does.
Oh and gas. The gas savings alone around here are worth the price of admission.
If I’m splurging I might buy turkey bacon, potstickers, and fresh mozzarella. As a single person (who is also splitting the fridge/freezer/pantry space with a roommate), there’s only so much I can buy at Costco, and I certainly don’t buy everything every time. But I’ve been surprised at how much it does make sense for me to buy at Costco, so I’m here to say it’s not just for families!
I’m certainly not hardcore about slashing my grocery budget. I’m sure cooking by the recipe leads to some waste where I don’t make substitutions for things that would be cheaper than the exact ingredients. I realize there is probably a lot of waste in my grocery spending I could cut out (ahem, like the occasional tubs of frosting that somehow make their way into my cart when I have particularly low blood sugar or a particularly strong craving for junk. I know, it’s revolting. In my defense it doesn’t happen that often), but being hardcore with that isn’t a current priority. However, in preparation for a new roommate, I should eat down my pantry and freezer in the next few weeks, both to save money and get a handle on what I have. My food has kinda spilled over onto a freezer shelf that’s not technically mine…
Alright, on to the food!
As someone with a lifetime supply of both oatmeal and craisins from Costco, this is an excellent way to use up both of those ingredients while expending zero effort on breakfast in the morning.
Smoothies are my go-to for snacks (usually pre- or post-barre class) or dinner on days I’m not feeling particularly hungry. I could get more creative with these, but this one’s so good I don’t feel the need to change it up just yet! I hardly even bother to measure things out anymore, especially the chia seeds and peanut butter. I just grab a spoon and scoop some into my blender.
– chia seeds
– peanut butter
– half a banana
– approximately 1 cup of frozen berries
– approximately 1 cup of milk
Lunch and/or dinner:
These recipes make enough for me to eat for lunch or dinner all week.
Greek turkey and rice skillet
– I do not care if white rice is any cheaper; the only time I make that is for sushi. And I actually don’t know why I don’t just make sushi with brown rice.
– On that note, cooking rice in a skillet really didn’t work the first time I tried this. Now I just cook the rice in broth in my rice maker and throw it in to the skillet after.
– I’ve also found that I can just throw an entire packet of chopped frozen spinach in and just up the olives/tomatoes/feta without it throwing off the proportions (I also certainly don’t mind less meat in each serving). More spinach is never a bad thing anyway.
– I also throw a pinch of a secret ingredient in every Turkish/Greek dish I make, but I can’t tell you what it is because it’s a secret (but it’s definitely not cinnamon. Not at all).
Spicy quinoa and black beans
It’s simple and it’s tasty. I just throw some shredded cheese and Greek yogurt on top and call it a day.
Spinach and white bean enchiladas
I’m not making this one very often now that it’s too damn hot to turn my oven on, but this was on rotation for a while. This might also be a sign I have a cheese problem (mmmmmmmmm) but I really don’t care.
I have a ridiculous sweet tooth. I also don’t know how I possibly made it through college without learning about the wonder that is mug brownies. Given how often I find myself making this, I suppose I’m just making up for lost time now.
I’m sure I’ll be sharing more of these in the future. Does anyone have a good recipe they’ve been making lately?
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