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Tips and recipes for cooking for one or two people from our ThriftyFun community.
For the past few months, we have been sharing a plate daily with our single next door neighbor. He can barely afford to eat, so it's been a thrill for him and us sharing our food with him. In return, he helps us with our yardwork. I know this may not sound too frugal to some people but it sure works for us.
Only problem now is he just moved away and now we need to find someone else to share with. Surely there's a single person, or struggling single mom, or elderly person in your area you could share with.
Do you have any more tips for cooking for one or two? Post them below.
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I really need help. I'm not creative at all, and I'd like to know some recipes to make meals for two.
I only have $118 a month to spend. I'm not picky, and will eat any foods. Any ideas are welcome.
By alphabetlife from Oklahoma City, OK
Search for-Frugal Cooking Recipes-lot of recipes there, good luck.
Dh and I love dried beans. They are cheap, and if you cook them in a crock pot, easy to prepare. I made Black Eyed Peas for New Years. I put 6 cups water, a 1 pound package of dried black eyed peas, chopped up an onion and added it, along with a little chopped bell pepper, salt, and pepper.
I'm so glad you asked this. I also am looking for cheap recipes for two people, and live on a fixed income. A friend of mine and I try to make our own things up and have come up with some pretty good stuff, but dried beans are a great start and you can dress them up. Also a can of drained tuna, cooked flat noodles, 1 can cream chicken soup and 1 can mushroom soup all mixed up with a little milk tossed in a pan and warmed up. Then smash up some potato chips and mix them in, very good and very filling, and frugal. Tastes even great warmed up.
I also have a tight budget but it is the way that I shop that helps me the most. I have changed the way I shop and have saved a bundle. I also have learned to cook more at home from scratch or semi scratch like those 50s women.
I have 3 growing kids that are very opinionated on the food that gets prepared. Which does not help because they do not do the shopping, hauling and toting (I have no car - bus it all the way) or the cooking of the food so I shop on really good sale days.
Other people will tell you coupons,coupons,coupons but I have found out that unless the thing I am buying is of name brand labeling I buy store brand. It is usually cheaper so I do not carry wads of coupons with me
instead I go for the rainchecks. I go on the days that I know the shelf will be empty and get the store to write you a raincheck so that the sale price will be available to you when you really need to get that product and it is not on sale [target stores will hand you however many quantity rainchecks you ask for; Safeway only one}. Target stores had a good sale this past thanksgiving and I used my rainchecks in Nov, Dec and J. On one trip I was able to walk out of the store with over $50 worth of food, and pay less than $25 the cashier was impressed!
1 - I save my big shopping times for the holidays during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year sales. During these times I get lots of canned veggies, protein (turkeys), baking supplies. These last me through the year I then shop in my cabinets for these items and save my money for other things.
2 - the next thing to shopping well is storage.
I live in a 1 bedroom apt with my 3 kids and I have a very small kitchen (1 fridge/freezer, 1 closet pantry, 3-4 small food cabinets, and 1 mini freezer), but I store the extra food that does not fit into these areas in other places :: in storage boxes under my sink, storage shelves I made under my counter and on top of my fridge.
During the Thanksgiving season I have been known to buy 10-12 turkeys. I cut up, cook, stew bones and freeze everything in my little freezer except for the bones and this makes up over 1/2 my protein shopping for the next 12 months.
3 - The last thing I suggest you do is subscribe to several newsletters about cooking and when you read your email you will get ideas for certain recipes and toss out the ones you do not like. Watching some of the cooking shows on TV when you are bored gives you ideas too (Rachel Ray gave me a recipe on brussel sprouts that used only sprouts, butter, garlic, bacon and Parmesan cheese and gave it to my kids. Whom hate green veggies, and I never have any leftovers to save.
I freeze my leftovers to have for a later meal. One of my favorites is Salmon Cakes.
1 can Salmon 14.75oz. ( I use Royal Pink brand)
Saltine crackers crumbled. About 3/4 of sleeve from box of Zesta crackers.
With a fork, mix egg with Salmon and add enough crackers until you can make patties out of the salmon.
Fry in hot Crisco shortening until brown and crisp on both sides.
Take left overs and wrap each cake in saran wrap. Store in zip lock bag and freeze. When you want Salmon cakes again, place frozen patties in cold oven and set oven temperature at 400 degrees. Heat patties until sizzling hot (about 15 minutes). They taste like fresh cooked.
I do baked corn bread the same way and usually have the two together with slaw and boiled potatoes.
A small toaster oven works great for cooking for two.
Buy oatmeal for breakfast. It is a great, healthy breakfast alternative. I buy a large container of generic brand for about $1.40. This will last you a few weeks for two people.
Eggs are a great inexpensive protein. I make egg salad for my husband's lunch. I also use the eggs in oven omletts for dinner. I just use leftover pasta or potatoes in the base and anyother leftover vegetables or meat. Look online for ideas.
Beans, beans, beans! They are great for soups, casseroles and side dishes. I have a local restaraunt who sells their leftover ham bones for $1.00. I just add some dried beans, onions, carrots and celery, some seasonings and I have a great soup. The last time I bought the ham bone, I made a great split pea soup that we all loved!
Only buy meat when it is on sale. I only buy chicken when it is under $.99 per pound. I buy turkeys and hams when they go on sale. Yesterday, I stopped at my local supermarket for some bread. I ended up buying a $6.00 ham. It was $.49/pound. Can't beat that. My family of four will have many meals from that ham. I will cook the ham and we will eat it that night for dinner. I will then cut off the meat and we will have sandwiches, casseroles, soups, omlettes from the leftovers. Many, many meals.
When I roast a whole chicken, (usually $.69/pound), We will eat it for dinner with roasted potatoes, carrots and onions. I will take some of the leftovers and make chickent pot pie the next night. The pie will normally last us two nights. The the bones and the leftover meat will make a soup.
I buy ground turkey instead of ground beef. I pay about $1.49/pound for the ground turkey. I use it in pasta sauce, meatballs, chili, etc.
Buy vegetables and fruit in season. Right now I am buying apples and oranges. Cabbage, carrots, potatoes are the vegetables we eat. I also buy canned green beans and corn (my family only likes canned green beans). I also buy frozen bags of spinach and broccoli.
Buy staples like flour and sugar around the holidays. That is when they are on sale. I bought five 5 pound bags of sugar a Target for $1.25 each! The guy who was behind me in line said, "Are they giving it away?" I said "Practically!" I bake any of our snacks. Cookies, cakes, quick breads from fruit that is past prime.
I feed my family of four on about $60 per month. you can feed your family of two for $118/month. Don't throw away any food, use it up!
Lots of good ideas and advice given here :-)
I live alone and have $72.00 a month (works out to about $17.00 per week) for food but without the local food banks help it would be impossible for me to eat healthy and well balanced foods. I visit the food bank once a month for dry staples such as pasta, rice, flour, sugar, canned items, etc. and use the money for fresh fruits, fresh veggies, milk, eggs, cheese, etc. It's just a thought for you to consider.
If you like the flavor of orange and cinnamon you might like this recipe. It was my Greek grampa's recipe and is inexpensive per serving and especially if you get the chicken on sale:
In a very large pot on stove top:
3 each 28 oz cans tomato sauce
3 large tomatoes, sliced
1 small stalk celery, sliced
3 small onions, chopped
5 lbs chicken parts (personal taste)
2 heaping tsp cinnamon
2 heaping tbls grated orange rind
salt and pepper to taste
Bring to boil, cover and simmer one hour and fifteen minutes on low heat.
Serve over pasta or rice.
Serves an army or lots of freezable leftovers and, of course, you can reduce the recipe for a smaller batch ;-)
I like this recipe for stew a lot. I change it up a little by adding a can of diced tomatoes, a small can of mushrooms, and 1 or 2 cans of pureed black beans. You could add virtually whatever vegetables you like and maybe noodles or rice to extend it some. The beans help to thicken it some while also adding nutrition. I know you can use corn starch or flour for this, but that adds no nutrition.