I am assuming that you are in the States (please correct me if I'm wrong!).
If at all possible, save up and get a 4-6 quart slow cooker. It doesn't need to be one of the fancy ones, a basic one works just as well in my opinion.
Slow cookers can turn some of the toughest cuts of meat into morsels that will fall apart, you can cook dry beans in them (very cheap and great protein source), and you can make soups and stews. I'm rediscovering soups myself at the moment. Very filling with minimal calories and I can put what I want into them instead of what some manufacturer wants in them!
For our breakfasts, some days we have eggs, toast, yoghurt (or milk and fruit), and either a sausage or a bit of bacon. Other days we just have a bowl of cereal or oatmeal.
For example, this week: We had a small beef roast (1 kg size brisket) with some carrots, potatoes and an onion yesterday for dinner.
Today my husband is having a roast beef and cheese sandwich and a yoghurt for lunch. I had rice and a portion of homemade veggie soup.
For dinner tonight I have beef stew cooking in the slow cooker. I had 3 small potatoes, a handful of fresh mushrooms, carrots, an onion, chicken stock from the roast chicken from last week and the leftover beef from last night.
I trimmed all of the fat off of the beef to make beef stock with. I'll make the stock with meat and veggie scraps, refrigerate it overnight, then scrape the fat off of the top.
Tomorrow we will both have beef stew for lunch and probably for dinner as well.
Wednesday we will probably have chicken noodle soup (homemade) with vegetables and I'll make chicken "shepherds" pie from leftover chicken (from the wings since no one eats them here!) and veggies for dinner. I'll also put some dried beans on to soak Wednesday.
Thursday for lunch we will each have a serving of shepherds pie for lunch and I'll make rice and beans for dinner.
Friday for lunch, again leftovers: rice and beans. Dinner on Fridays here is always special, since we have homemade pizza. If I'm feeling up to it, I'll make pizza dough shortly after lunch. If not, a slice or two of whole wheat bread works just as well. You could also use a flour or corn tortilla, bought or homemade, I'm just going off what we have on hand. Making the pizza at home means that we can choose what and how much goes onto and into them! I'll probably have a small amount of pasta sauce with mushrooms, a very few pieces of sweet bell pepper and a light dusting of cheese. My husband can put whatever he wants onto his.
Saturday we sleep late (well, usually) so we only have lunch and dinner. Lunch will be a scrambled egg, a bit of bacon off cuts (cooked and drained well), mushrooms, a piece of toast and a cup of either juice or milk to drink.
Dinner Saturday will be vegetable curry (one of my favourite recipes and because it really makes a lot it lasts for a few days worth of lunches for me).
Next Sunday will probably be cereal for lunch (again with the sleeping in) and either a roast chicken or a small roast pork joint with vegetables.
I make out menus based on what I have to start with, then branching out into those recipes I can make with just a few added ingredients. Also, if you have a freezer, use it! If you cook a batch of something that makes 8 servings and don't feel like eating it for days on end, portion some out into baggies or small containers and freeze them. Thaw them overnight in the fridge or just straight up microwave or heat them on the stove.
Even our trash collector has commented on how little food waste we have (we have a separate food waste container for pick up here). Make sure to use every scrap that you can so that less is wasted. I'm not saying that you waste food, but it is unfortunately a very easy thing to do.
If you don't mind me asking, what is your food budget and is it for a week, two weeks, or a month?
Sorry that this post is a bit rambling, but making wonderful and healthy meals on a very tight budget is something I enjoy doing. If you'd like some help and/or recipe/meal ideas, feel free to send me a message or reply here. That goes for anyone, not just the original poster!
This reminds me that I really do need to start blogging again...
Hope this helps,
PS - Just one example of price difference, the beef stew that I'm making tonight makes 8 servings. The ingredients for it have costed me £2.53, or £0.32 per serving, whereas buying the same amount already premade would have costed £14, or £1.75 per serving.
| Pounds lost: 24.0