Author Topic: Rice, beans, etc  (Read 3396 times)

Offline bluefoxicy

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Rice, beans, etc
« on: April 03, 2011, 02:45:55 PM »
I'm trying to shrink my food budget to under $100/mo, without giving up good food.  Think about that:  eating (garbage) at the cafeteria at work or fast food places, buying tons of sodas, etc.  Cut that out.  Now what you have is expensive meat, excess cooking, pre-packaged crap that costs too much, etc.

For breakfast I can have pancakes, french toast, or a bagel with two eggs and sausage or bacon or ham for around $1-$1.50 depending on what I cook.  Lunch is about $1.45-$1.75 worth of sushi:



You'd be surprised how far 3.5oz in volume of dry rice goes (and about $2 worth of fish):



Dinner can be had for 2 nights with a $1.75 box of Stovetop, a $4 cornish hen (with some spices), and a $5 bag of Spinach sauteed in a tablespoon or two of expensive ($18/lb) high-quality farm-fresh butter.  Though that bag of spinach lasts a week, so the nigthly load is about $3.50.



So that's what, $6.50-ish a day to eat?  $195/mo, in theory; somehow the numbers are always off and I can get away with that stuff in like $150-ish.

I've been thinking of adding dry beans to my diet--I have Great Northern, Navy, Red Kidney, Pinto, Garbanzo/Chickpeas, Black Turtle, and Black Eyed Peas.  These are way cheap and I'm sure I can make plenty, but my first attempt at black bean soup was fail.

I want to cut down on the time too, so maybe batch things up?  Stews, soups, things I can store for a week or so.  I'm not against rolling lunch meat sandwiches into lunch from time to time, too; and I'm always for good Japanese dishes like やきとり (yaki-tori ... fried chicken).  I've been known to go Scandanavian and make a lunch of 3-4 types of cheese and bread as well, but that's actually pretty costly.

Any thoughts?

Offline punatic

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 03:06:50 PM »
Depending on where you live, you can grow much of what you eat or get locally grown produce.  When produce is in season it is cheap - you can get a lot of that cheap produce and can (mason jars) and freeze it.  Rice is an inexpensive starch.  Beans and rice can be combined to make a meatless complete protein. Flour is cheap.  Make your own bread.  Soda substitutes can be made by force-carbonating water and juices.  Bulk popcorn is cheap...

Being frugal is good, but not at the expense of nutrition.
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Offline maxieboy

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2011, 03:17:46 PM »
I'm with ya. Not on the simple carbs though. I cut the soda and fast food years ago, ain't real food. I do monster batches of bean soups, stews, and chilis. Portion them out and freeze. Simple. Lotsa whole grains, legumes, veggies, and lean meats. Eat close to the ground, no processed crap. I try to make my only simple carbs beer. $100 a month? IDK. Slash your food budget and eat a lot healthier, absolutely.
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Offline bluefoxicy

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2011, 03:19:19 PM »
Beans and rice can be combined to make a meatless complete protein. Flour is cheap.  Make your own bread.

Ehhh, I tend not to mix beans and rice (or get rice on burritos etc) ... the vomit-like texture is not appreciated.  I've made rice pudding with glutinous sushi rice (glue-like sticky white stuff came out, which I liked).

Hmm I have basmati rice, I should make rice pudding right.

Baking your own bread/biscuits/etc is good, especially when you mix lard and butter for texture and flavor :D

I do monster batches of bean soups, stews, and chilis. Portion them out and freeze. Simple. Lotsa whole grains, legumes, veggies, and lean meats. Eat close to the ground, no processed crap.

Sounds good to me, though I don't do much "lean meats" (I mean I mix lard with stuff, come on).  Not much point in trimming out the non-excessive fat... just don't eat too much good high-test sausage.  Bludwurst is great, Jimmy Dean italian sausage is ... okay in moderation (it's like 70% fat, where the hell is the actual meat?), but not really good.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 03:23:02 PM by bluefoxicy »

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2011, 03:32:06 PM »
Do you have any community supported agriculture (CSA) outfits in your area?  They are a good source of veggies for a decent price.  They usually deliver a fixed sized box of stuff every week for a fixed price.  We get a whole crate for $27 a week.  That's enough for 3-4 people eating veggies pretty much every meal.

Buy inexpensive cuts of meat on sale.  They often will need to be braised or stewed, but you can make quite a bit ahead.  Buy whole cuts.  The more butchering they do, the more expensive they are.

Buy in bulk where it makes sense.  You have to be able to store it, and also use it before it goes bad.  Same goes for fresh food.  It's not a good deal if you have to throw it out.  Buy only what you need.

Stop buying pre-packaged anything.  The more processed it is, the more expensive it is.  Bread, veggies and spices are cheaper than stovetop stuffing.

Soups are cheap.  If you are buying whole chickens and meat with bones, you can start with making your own stock.

Cook ahead.  Make larger batches where feasible, and freeze portions for use later.  Lunches are often just leftovers from dinner.

Watch sales, clip coupons.  When something is on sale, stock up.  Join the store club so you get the discounted prices.  These sounds lame, but you can easily cut your costs by 20% or more this way.  Don't go shopping when you're hungry or sleepy; it will keep you from making impulse purchases.

Store brands at larger chains are usually fairly reasonable quality, but at lower cost.

Basically, the more you can start with raw ingredients and do the more work yourself, the better you'll be.  Other things cost more because you're paying them to make it for you.  To really save money, you have to do that yourself.  It requires an investment in time, and also in picking up the basics of cooking if you don't have those skills.

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2011, 03:54:23 PM »
Buy bulk spices to refill your empty spice jars.  Learn how to make your own blends and grind fresh when possible.  It will take a little extra money at first to get a good diversity of spices, but it will make meals more interesting in the long run.  When you're eating a lot of the same foods it's helpful if you can easily put a different spin on your rice or beans for example without much effort.  And the bulk spices are WAY less expensive than the jars.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline euge

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2011, 04:09:47 PM »
I eat lots and lots and lots of beans. They all go well with pasta, couscous- just about any grain based food. Vomit-like texture? With beans and rice? Oh my favorite combo won't be the same after that mental picture! :P

I'm with Gordon. In college I ate extremely well by buying cheap fatty cuts of meat like pork butt for under a dollar a pound. Made my own bread. Staples can be bought in bulk for much less. I limited an evening out to once a week (Friday) with friends.

While I spend more now the frugal lessons learned have stayed with me. A look in the fridge or pantry reveals pretty much the same food. Except, I won't shy away from a nice steak, piece of salmon, rack of ribs or whole brisket. All that stuff can be stretched out by vac-sealing and freezing cooked portions. I eat a soup-based meal at least once a day.

Despite being a homebrewer I still manage to spend a lot on beer when the brew runs low. Oh it's horrible I tell ya! ;D
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Offline tumarkin

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2011, 05:23:52 PM »
You said your first attempt at black bean soup was a fail..... hmmm, here's a really easy one that's yummy.


Spicy Black Bean Soup

 
1 pound dry black beans, soaked overnight
2 medium chopped onions
1 tablespoon green chili powder (or I've used dried chipotle powder)
4 garlic cloves – diced
1 jalapeno pepper – seeded & diced (can use more, or other peppers, as desired)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 cups chicken (or other) broth
andouille or other smokey sausage, or dry salami -  amount as desired
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons cilantro
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, salt to taste

at serving -
1/2 teaspoon chipotle Tabasco pepper sauce – as needed for preferred heat
low fat sour cream & yogurt
lime - zest & juice
 
Preparation
Soak beans overnight. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, green chili powder, garlic, jalapeño, and cumin. Sauté until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add beans, broth, sausage and bay leaf. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves & puree 3 cups soup in batches in blender and return puree to pot. I use a stick blender right in the pot, acey easy. Mix in 3 tablespoons cilantro. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Add chipotle Tabasco sauce to taste.

Can be made ahead of time & refrigerated if desired. If so, heat soup on medium-low heat before serving. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with dollop of sour cream/yogurt sauce with lime juice & zest. Dress bowls with lime slices, and sprinkle with a little chopped cilantro or whole cilantro leaves.
 
We've been eating a lot of this recently. I have to make it less spicy than I'd prefer in order to please SWMBO, but it's easy to hot it up with a little chipotle tabasco or other hot sauce.
 
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline punatic

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2011, 05:24:28 PM »
I eat lots and lots and lots of beans. They all go well with pasta, couscous- just about any grain based food. Vomit-like texture? With beans and rice? Oh my favorite combo won't be the same after that mental picture! :P


I used to love okra.  I make some really tasty pickled okra.  I offered some to my dad once.  He said, "I don't like okra.  It's too slimey."

Do you know, up to that point I never noticed that okra is slimey.  Now I can hardly stand it any more.  Thanks Dad!
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2011, 06:55:08 PM »
I go to a local farmer's market for all of my produce "out of season"...really good quality produce at very reasonable prices. In season, I grow vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, green beans, don't forget the hops, squash, zuchini and plenty of herbs.

I have a freezer so I can stock up on meats and such. I frequent Sam's Club for this task. They sell 25lb bags of flour, big bags of rice, etc.. for discounted prices. I have a pantry in my kitchen for bulk storage. This is a way to save but for one person it may be overkill. Just keep in mind that buying in bulk saves.

Harvest time is a busy time. I can tomatoes, peppers, pickles and other assorted vegetables to get us through the winter. It can be alot of work but it's worth it to me to be able to have fresh canned tomatoes and the like.

Soups and stews are a regular thing in our house during the cold weather months whereas fresh salads and grilling fish and smoking pork shoulders and the like are prime in warmer months.

There are plenty of ways to save money and have great quality meals all year long. Taking some time to plan and come up with great ideas and ways to save but yet have healthy and tasty meals is well worth it.

Ron Price

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2011, 08:30:29 PM »
Yep, rice and beans! You can make a million variations - red beans and rice, mex style, turkish style, etc.  I usually have a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream to round out the meal.  blue, it looks like you have it figured out, might have to throw in a little variation every now and then.  Here's a general tip, check out jamie oliver's magazine (just flip through, don't buy it, that would more than double your weekly food expenditure) but he features a nice rotation of cheap healthy-ish meals.

Offline uthristy

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2011, 04:02:55 AM »
I used to love okra.  I make some really tasty pickled okra.  I offered some to my dad once.  He said, "I don't like okra.  It's too slimey."

Do you know, up to that point I never noticed that okra is slimey.  Now I can hardly stand it any more.  Thanks Dad!

LOL, many years ago while eatting buckets of oysters a buddy asked if I knew what was inside the oysters ???
So we did a dissection at the bar only to find the nasty greenish/blackish stuff inside each oyster, ughhh :o

Never ate another oyster since that day ;)

Offline phillamb168

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2011, 04:14:19 AM »
I used to love okra.  I make some really tasty pickled okra.  I offered some to my dad once.  He said, "I don't like okra.  It's too slimey."

Do you know, up to that point I never noticed that okra is slimey.  Now I can hardly stand it any more.  Thanks Dad!

LOL, many years ago while eatting buckets of oysters a buddy asked if I knew what was inside the oysters ???
So we did a dissection at the bar only to find the nasty greenish/blackish stuff inside each oyster, ughhh :o

Never ate another oyster since that day ;)

This is why, for Escargot, most reputable vendors will starve the snails for several days before putting them out of their misery. No poopy when you no eaty!
I'm on twitter: phillamb168
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Offline tumarkin

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2011, 06:59:37 AM »
I used to love okra.  I make some really tasty pickled okra.  I offered some to my dad once.  He said, "I don't like okra.  It's too slimey."

Do you know, up to that point I never noticed that okra is slimey.  Now I can hardly stand it any more.  Thanks Dad!

LOL, many years ago while eatting buckets of oysters a buddy asked if I knew what was inside the oysters ???
So we did a dissection at the bar only to find the nasty greenish/blackish stuff inside each oyster, ughhh :o

Never ate another oyster since that day ;)

This is why, for Escargot, most reputable vendors will starve the snails for several days before putting them out of their misery. No poopy when you no eaty!

I remember a party on one of the San Juan islands, years ago when I lived in the PNW. We dug clams on the beach, put them into a bucket of salt water, put in some corn meal. They ate the corn meal,pooped it out.... breading themselves from the inside out. Then just put them on the stone hearth near the fire. When the popped open, they were ready. Good time, good memory.

Still like to eat oysters, though I rarely eat them raw any more.
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline phillamb168

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Re: Rice, beans, etc
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2011, 07:40:39 AM »
I used to love okra.  I make some really tasty pickled okra.  I offered some to my dad once.  He said, "I don't like okra.  It's too slimey."

Do you know, up to that point I never noticed that okra is slimey.  Now I can hardly stand it any more.  Thanks Dad!

LOL, many years ago while eatting buckets of oysters a buddy asked if I knew what was inside the oysters ???
So we did a dissection at the bar only to find the nasty greenish/blackish stuff inside each oyster, ughhh :o

Never ate another oyster since that day ;)

This is why, for Escargot, most reputable vendors will starve the snails for several days before putting them out of their misery. No poopy when you no eaty!

I remember a party on one of the San Juan islands, years ago when I lived in the PNW. We dug clams on the beach, put them into a bucket of salt water, put in some corn meal. They ate the corn meal,pooped it out.... breading themselves from the inside out. Then just put them on the stone hearth near the fire. When the popped open, they were ready. Good time, good memory.

Still like to eat oysters, though I rarely eat them raw any more.

Brilliant! Now if only we could get the oysters to eat Bacon, we would have the ultimate angels on horseback.
I'm on twitter: phillamb168
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morticaixavier for governing committee!