Life: Food

Here is a list of grocery items that won’t totally break the bank:

  1. Ramen packets (why would you buy the cups? you get less than you pay for)
  2. Eggs aren’t that expensive, and are very versatile.
  3. Potatoes, 5lb bag will last weeks, and many uses
  4. Carrots(2lb goes for $3-$4)
  5. 2-4 Apples
  6. Bundle of Bananas
  7. Dry beans, easy to cook, easy to prep.
  8. Rice, 10lb bags cost about $5 and can last a month.
  9. Oatmeal
  10. Pasta (one or all of the listed)
    1. Elbow macaroni
    2. Rotoni
    3. Spaghetti
  11. Peanut butter (not crunchy)
  12. Fruit Jam
  13. Loaf of bread
  14. 1 pack of cheese slices
  15. 5lb bag of sugar
  16. Spice for life, these are basic spices to give flavor to bland food:
    1. onion powder
    2. garlic powder
    3. chili powder
    4. cayenne pepper(for the spicy kick)
    5. oregano
    6. salt & pepper
  17. Cooking oil spray, saves money for small cooking tasks such as baking/frying
  18. Butter
  19. Condiments:
    1. ketchup
    2. mayonnaise
    3. pickles
  20. Milk (up to you on type and size)
  21. Trade in soda for coffee and tea.
    1. One can of coffee can last at least a month, and costs $7-$15 compared to $5-$6 for a 12 pack of soda.
    2. 100ct tea box costs about $4-$5, less if on sale.

With these it is possible to live for a month or 2. Anything else is extra.

Now, I’m assuming you have an oven with elements on it, if not, all you need then is a microwave and a hot plate. If you don’t have a fridge, then you can cross off the eggs, milk, cheese, and butter. There is such thing as mayonnaise you don’t have to refrigerate, but I wouldn’t trust it. 1 coffee maker, size up to you, I would not recommend getting a keurig coffee maker, even with refillable cups.

Here are some basic things to help you make meals:

  1. 8 inch frying pan
  2. 2- 2 quart sauce pans
  3. 4 quart mixing bowl
  4. baking sheet(if you have an oven)
  5. 1 shredder
  6. cooking spoons
    1. 1 with slits/holes
    2. 1 w/out slits/holes
  7. ladle
  8. spatula
  9. whisk
  10. 1 sharp cooking knife, not serrated.
  11. One of each per person
    1. Bowl
    2. Plate
    3. spoon
    4. fork
    5. knife (steak&butter)
    6. cup with handle (multi-purpose you know)

Now, I will teach you a few recipes with nothing but he above mentioned ingredients.

Potato salad:
2 potatoes
2 Eggs
pickle (1 whole, or a few slices)

Peel the potatoes. Boil the potatoes and eggs(separately mind you), drain the water and cool them off once done. peel the eggs. Dice up the Potatoes, eggs, and pickles, mix them together with the mayonnaise. Done. It should not be hot.

Rice ‘n Beans

Sort through about 1/2 cup of beans, rocks and debris can be missed through packaging. Soak them overnight. you can either slow cook them all day, or cook them on medium-high heat. You can season the beans with onion/chili/cayenne powder as they cook. once they start getting soft cook about 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water. You can add a dash of onion powder to the cooking rice, it gives it some flavor. tada, rice and beans for dinner. You can also use potatoes instead of rice.

Macaroni salad is the same as potato salad, except you cook macaroni instead of potatoes.

Fried egg sandwich
whisk the 2 eggs in a bowl with your optional seasoning (salt,pepper, cayenne). have your frying pan on medium heat, spray with cooking oil before adding eggs. try to keep the egg mix in a squarish pattern for the bread. flip as needed for hopefully even cooking. once done, add a slice of cheese if you wish to the top of the egg then put between 2 slices of bread. tada, egg sandwich.

Egg Salad Sandwich
Boil 2-4 eggs, cool them off, peel them, then mash them with a fork, add in mayonnaise, salt/pepper(as needed). put between 2 slices of bread, tada. Nom Nom.

You can fry carrots, potatoes, as you wish. Trust me its better than steaming/boiling the veggies.

Cook the pasta as needed, drain the pasta and set aside. while still heated put the pan back on the element. add 3-4 cheese slices, milk as needed to make creamy cheese sauce. too much milk and you’ll have to add more cheese. add in pasta while cheese sauce is still hot. mix. eat. Yum.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Warm up frying pan on medium heat, put 1-2 slices of cheese between 2 slices of bread, lightly spray pan with cooking oil, put sandwich on it, fry until golden brown on both sides. take off and eat.

Fried Rice
1 cup rice
1-2 eggs
1 carrot (optional)
Cook the rice and set aside. Scramble some eggs, fry them. shred a carrot in with the egg. add in the rice and fry up for a bit. spray with oil as needed.
Surprisingly enough you can also do this with ramen noodles too.

Mashed Potatoes
peel, slice, and boil the potatoes until done, drain the water. add in some butter, mix in some milk while mashing/stirring the mix. Should make mashed potatoes. You can even add garlic powder to the water as its cooking for flavor.

Do I really need to explain how to make PB&J? Well you could bake it, or grill it, no idea how the grilling thing would taste though.

That’s about 9 dishes right there. I’m pretty sure I’ve left out many more, but that is where you the reader can fill in. You don’t have to cook all of these things, or buy every item on the list, this is just a reference. Also, this does not account for meats/poultry and so on. These meals can be doubled as needed.

Also, dollar store is not a good place to get too much groceries, I could get 5-6 cans of tuna fish compared to the 4-5 cans for $5. I could also get 1 dozen eggs compared to the 3 packs of 4 for less at a grocery store. Remember, sales are all only good when you check the unit price. It is usually the little white/yellow square next to the price. You could also buy microwave food. I’d recommend egg rolls, burritos, and/or pizza pockets.

Also, if you have a freezer, you could buy a roast for like $18, slice it up into thick slices, cook later as steak, or slice it thin for stir-fry, dice it up for simple stew. buying chicken tenders is also an option, thaw a tender out, dice it up for stir-fry, chicken soup, or bread it up and deep fry it for chicken strips. Pork chops seem to be reasonably priced, can be used for many things, or just plain baked/fried.

Here’s another tip, to reheat pizza you can fry it in the pan, yeah, just turn on the pan, put the frying pan on it to medium heat, put the pizza slice(s) on it bread down, and cover. It is more effective than microwaving it.

So, simple foods, bought as needed, cooked as needed if you wish to add your own money saving dish please do so. -Kenneth


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