Eating well on nearly nothing - a cookbook

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sheddi
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Re: Eating well on nearly nothing - a cookbook

Post by sheddi » Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:01 pm

I know I've previously priced Stercutus' grocery list, but this thread has diversified nicely into comparing local variations on budget foods. Here's my contribution from southern England.

At current exchange rates $28 is around £21 (the pound has dropped recently due to politics) so that's going to be my budget for feeding a single adult (ie. me) for a week. I'll provide links to my supermarket-of-choice; they're mid-market and Aldi, Lidl etc. could well be cheaper (but don't deliver to me). Apologies for where use metric units but that's how things work here! I'm also going to assume that I have use of a fridge & freezer; some of my purchases will need to be kept cold if they are to last the week.

Breakfast
Despite the appeal of the full English breakfast it's hardly a budget option, and all that preparation doesn't apppeal on a working day either. More usually I eat cereal with milk for breakfast, accompanied by a glass of orange juice. In practice 250ml milk - half a pint - is too much for a bowl of cereal and some of it will instead be used in tea and/or coffee, see below.

Honey nut cornflakes, 750g box £1.79
Whole milk, 4 pints £1.00
Orange juice, 1 litre x2 £1.30

With that I can have 100g of honey nut corn flakes (a generous bowlful) and 250ml of milk, plus a 250ml glass of orange juice, for breakfast every day for a total of £4.09.

Lunch
I generally take a packed lunch to work; sandwiches, a bag of potato crisps (chips), a piece of fruit and a chocolate biscuit. For this example I'll assume cheese sandwiches; ham is a little more expensive, peanut butter would be cheaper.
Thick-sliced wholemeal bread, 800g loaf, x2 £1.00 (This gives me 36 slices; I'll use 28 making sandwiches, leaving 8 for other purposes)
Mature cheddar, 450g £2.50
Raspberry jam, 454g £0.75 (because sometimes you've had enough of cheese sandwiches)
Butter, 250g £0.85
Potato crisps 6x32g bags £0.85
Bananas x 7 £0.84
Caramel wafer biscuit, 8 pack £0.89

So that's lunch catered for the week, for a total of £7.68, & a running total of £11.77; just over half my budget.

Dinner is slightly more challlenging, as I'm not sure I could face the same thing every day.
Day 1. Cheesy beans on toast. 4 slices of bread plus a little grated cheese (from the "lunch" leftovers) plus a can of baked beans.
Baked beans, 420g £0.24

Day 2. Sheddi's poor British chilli (with apologies to anyone who likes Mexican food). 250g of minced beef, fried with a chopped onion, then simmered with one (drained) can of kidney beans, one can of chopped tomatoes, and optionally herbs & spices to taste. Serve with rice. Makes two portions so refrigerate or freeze half of it.
Minced beef, 300g £1.80
Onion, loose £0.14
Kidney beans, 400g £0.30
Tomatoes, chopped, 400g £0.31
Long grain rice, 1kg £0.45 (enough for ten servings)

Day 3. Fish and chips (fries) with peas and sweetcorn.
White fish, battered, 400g £0.85 (four servings)
Frozen chips, 1.5kg £0.75 (seven servings)
Frozen peas, 900g £0.69 (nine servings)
Frozen sweetcorn, 907g £0.99 (nine servings)

Day 4. Curry night! Chicken jalfrezi with rice. I like the jalfrezi but there are a range of recipes available.
Chicken jalfrezi, 400g £1.29
Serve with rice (purchased for day 2)

Day 5. Scrambled eggs on toast, using butter and milk from "lunch" budget.
Eggs, box of 6 £0.70 (I'm unlikely to scramble all six!)
Plus my last four slices of bread.

Day 6. Reheat the second portion of chilli from Day 2. Serve with rice.

Day 7. Fish and chips again, just like Day 3.

Dinner is catered for the week for £8.51, and I have useful surpluses of rice and a freezer part-full of fish, vegetables and chips. My running total is now £20.28, so I can add ...

Beverages and sundries
Teabags, 40 £0.20 (these are quite poor quality but they're better than *no* tea ... )
Ketchup, 550g £0.42 (this is enough to last a month or more)

... for a grand total of £20.90.

For week 2 I wouldn't need to buy everything again, and so the money I don't spend on fish, rice, ketchup and frozen veggies could usefully be spent on spices (to make my chilli more chilli-like) and possibly something sweet for after-dinner dessert. Ice cream, perhaps, or individual cakes or pies.

I think I've comfortably exceeded 2000 calories/day but I'm conscious that I haven't looked at fat/carbs/protein ratios or vitamin content. I know this menu is short of fruit & veg and suspect it's also high in fat; if I was living on a tight budget again (it's very much like my student diet :lol: ) I'd look for in-store deals on seasonal produce to help me balance this.
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Re: Eating well on nearly nothing - a cookbook

Post by MPMalloy » Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:42 pm

Sheddi:

Thank you very much for a detailed view from across the pond.

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sheddi
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Re: Eating well on nearly nothing - a cookbook

Post by sheddi » Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:55 pm

MPMalloy wrote:Thank you very much for a detailed view from across the pond.
Glad you liked it; once I got into the swing of what I was doing, it was sort-of fun!
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Re: Eating well on nearly nothing - a cookbook

Post by aikorob » Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:39 pm

I took along a pen and paper when we visited the store this morning.
Prices are from Kroger---we are considered in ATL metro area--all prices Kroger brand unless noted otherwise

(1) gallon milk on sale $1.99--whole milk -- regular price $2.79 Mayfield Dairies $4.99
(2) dozen eggs $1.99 XL $1.59 L
(2) loaves of bread on sale 10/$10 wheat & white
(1) pound sliced cheese Kraft singles $4.49
(7) cans baked beans Van Camps 15oz $1.29
(7) cans vegetables (Corn, green beans, peas etc) $.69 -- Del Monte & Green Giant on sale 10/$10
(1) pound of butter Land o' Lakes $4.49
(1) pound of rice 24oz. $1.99
(1) 28oz jar PB $3.29 -- JIF $4.69

after I started reading this thread---I got to thinking................in a 15 mile radius; there are:
3 Kroger----2 large, full service
3 Publix-----1 large, full service
2 WalMart
1 small Aldi
1 Food Lion
I BJ's Club
1 Sam's Club
2 Food Depot
1 Oriental Market
at least 2 Mexican groceries
1 bent can/off date store
at least 2 Mom & Pop stores

and they put up zoning signs recently----there is a Lidl being built withing 1/4 mile
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Re: Eating well on nearly nothing - a cookbook

Post by 00dlez » Fri Aug 19, 2016 3:23 pm

I went shopping for some pantry restocks and thought I'd play along. Mine is a two-week buy and comes in at $43.30, with local tax it'd be $45-46, lets round it to $46.

Prices listed are without tax.

3 lbs of white rice in 1 lb. bags - $2.58, 4800 calories
17 x 15oz cans of veggies - $11.56, 2507 calories
26 oz Can of Beef Stir Fry - $3.48, 240 calories
40 oz. Peanut Butter - $4.98, 6650 calories
4 x 25 oz Canned Chicken - $7.08, 1080 calories
2 x 20 oz Dry 15-Bean Soup - $4.68, 3840 calories
2 Gallons Whole Milk - $5.30, 1648 calories
18 pack of eggs - $1.48, 1404 calories
12 pack of Ramen - $2.16, 4320 calories

With the extra $10, I'd add:
2 lbs of fresh bananas - $1.50, 404 calories
60 count Corn Tortillas - $2.28, 2000 calories
12 oz. Honey - $3.10, 960 calories
With the few dollars left, one could add more fruit, cheese, or some spices/seasoning

So right at $56 for 2 weeks, right about 30,000 calories. Not the most efficient (I bought that beef stir fry thing to try it, almost a whole days allotment on 240 calories... Could swap it out for a jar of jelly and probably be a lot happier.
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