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Cheapest meal you regularly prepare for yourself

cptjeff

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In the spirit of the cheapest/most expensive restaurant bill threads, what are the cheapest complete meals you regularly prepare for yourself in terms of the cost of ingredients?

For example, I often have a bowl of black beans and rice as a quick and easy lunch or dinner. Simple, but filling, and it costs around 60 cents a bowl- half a can of black beans and half a cup of enriched rice. I could do it a lot more cheaply if I was willing to take the effort to rehydrate and cook dry beans myself, probably bringing it to around 15-20 cents, but the canned beans are much easier.

Oh, and if you post 'ramen', post something else. That's too easy.

So what's worth eating?
 

ErnestoG.

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2 eggs scrambled in olive oil, salt, peber, tater tots.
 

pebblegrain

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What is cheaper, rice or pasta?

I can eat pasta with about an ounce of sauce. Or even without sauce, just olive oil, garlic, and a sprinkle of cheese or salt.

Has to be less than 25 cents...
 

lemmywinks

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Some form of fried egg or scrambled egg with toasted sliced bread. The egg is nice and moist and warm and the slices of bread make it more filling.

Also peanut butter noodles. For me I boil some noodles and on the side mix a bit of crunchy peanut butter, soy sauce, and a little bit of hot water and then pour it over the noodles and mix it. Top it off with a bit of copped green onions if I am bothered that's another meal that I like.

I second plain pasta with some pretty tasty olive oil with some salt/pepper, sometimes parmesan cheese.
 

impolyt_one

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aglio e olio - always have olive oil, peperoncino intero, and garlic on hand. If you're ballin you can throw in some thin strips of ham and a fried egg on top.
 

impolyt_one

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tamago kaki gohan, for breakfast
 

Milpool

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I can get a 1 lb bag of beans for 1 dollar. Same with a 1 lb bag of rice. Both are actually cheaper in bulk though, so I usually get the bigger bags. But for now, this makes the math easier.

Each bag claims somewhere around 10 to 12 servings. I usually just do 8 servings from each.

So roughly 12.5 cents per serving of rice and beans. 25 cents total.

I often cook the beans in homemade stock. The stock is made from chicken carcasses from when I roast a whole chicken (or buy whole fryers and cut up for other types of meals), plus the trimmings from onions, carrots and celery from making other meals. So the stock is nearly free as it just comes from scraps.

I also grow many of my own herbs (sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme). Seeds are usually 99 cents or 1.99 for a package, and I get more herbs than I can use, so cost per serving is minimal. We'll say 1 cent.

I don't grow Bay leaves, cumin, peppercorns, etc myself though, nor do I have a source of salt other than the grocery store. So that probably adds significant cost. I get the big containers of spice from Mexican or Indian grocers for relatively cheap, but it still isn't free.

I bet each serving of rice and beans is pretty close to 30 cents or so unless I start adding sauces to it (sofrito or something).
 

Bang Dat-Ho

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My breakfast every day: Oatmeal with banana. A 20-serving container of Quaker oats costs $2.49 on sale. So 1 serving comes out to 13 cents. Slice in a small, quarter-pound banana at 39 cents per pound and it soars to $0.23. Add in Twinings green tea at $0.12 a bag and the price blows up to $0.35.
 

L.R.

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Well, I'm not sure how cheap this is actually. But alot of the food I eat I've grown or raised myself. So technically I've had 0$ meals.
 

impolyt_one

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Originally Posted by Milpool
I can get a 1 lb bag of beans for 1 dollar. Same with a 1 lb bag of rice. Both are actually cheaper in bulk though, so I usually get the bigger bags. But for now, this makes the math easier.

Each bag claims somewhere around 10 to 12 servings. I usually just do 8 servings from each.

So roughly 12.5 cents per serving of rice and beans. 25 cents total.

I often cook the beans in homemade stock. The stock is made from chicken carcasses from when I roast a whole chicken (or buy whole fryers and cut up for other types of meals), plus the trimmings from onions, carrots and celery from making other meals. So the stock is nearly free as it just comes from scraps.

I also grow many of my own herbs (sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme). Seeds are usually 99 cents or 1.99 for a package, and I get more herbs than I can use, so cost per serving is minimal. We'll say 1 cent.

I don't grow Bay leaves, cumin, peppercorns, etc myself though, nor do I have a source of salt other than the grocery store. So that probably adds significant cost. I get the big containers of spice from Mexican or Indian grocers for relatively cheap, but it still isn't free.

I bet each serving of rice and beans is pretty close to 30 cents or so unless I start adding sauces to it (sofrito or something).


The spices from the Indian store are clutch as fuck, though - my local is about $2USD for boxes of stuff, about 6 or 8 glass conventional sized bottles of stuff for that price. That is when you start cumin and chili'ing the fuck out of rice and beans.
 

impolyt_one

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Another pro tip for the gutter patrol: hit up the Chinese grocery, they usually have baby bok choy and chinese broccoli for like $1/$2 for sizable bags, among other stuff like bean sprouts, etc. Both can adapt to other styles of cookery as well, so good buy there. If you adapt to an Asian cooking philosophy, you shouldnt be spending more than $2/head for any meal anyway, the beans and rice patrol have never eaten so well. Over $2/head in Asia and you might as well go to a restaurant, and considering that food prices in America are the cheapest in the world, it only makes sense.
 

Nil

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^^^^^^^^

Yup. Some type of leafy green vegetable, ramen (sub $1) and then 1/3 a package of tofu ($1ish for the package) and I have a damn good meal. I can substitute the tofu for various dried mushrooms I picked up for a pittance from the Chinese grocery also. Not quite rice and beans cheap, but not much more than a $1.25 to $1.50 for a meal.
 

lemmywinks

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Another appetizer-y thing that I like to make is to get a package of soft tofu and pour liberal amounts of soy sauce over it and put some Asian inspired topping on it. I usually use umeboshi or green onions
 

eglbc

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Some good shit in here. Keep it coming. My idea of cheap involves more protein / a couple days worth of lunches vs rice n beans ect... so its good to see some alternatives.
 

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