EAT for LESS -- Easy to do Tips
2 Meals for the Price of One
Two meals for the price of one? Easy. When I eat at restaurants, there is usually too much food for one meal. Eat all the cooked vegetables, especially greens, some of the main dish at the restaurant and take home the rest. The next day add greens and you have a new meal.
Of course, not all meal are organized with vegetables and a main dish.
Here's an example for a Thai restaurant. Order medium size coconut milk soup and Pad Thai or pineapple fried rice at a Thai restaurant, cost about $17-20. I can only eat about 1/3 of each, so often have 3 meals. I add a side dish of greens at home for the second day. I can't make this type of food at home, so I get something special this way. Extend the Pad Thai or rice with more protein: chicken, sea food, egg or tofu.
I keep chicken breasts in the freezer. One minute in the microwave to thaw is needed. Chop as you like and brown on the stove. Mix left over Pad Thai in the same pan, and add chopped Swiss Chard or green cabbage. I love broccoli, but find it too strong for this dish. Chinese broccoli is milder in taste, but not usually available where I live and more expensive.
Buy several pounds of cheaper cuts of beef on sale. Look for lean meat. Cheaper cuts of beef are usually tougher than more expensive cuts, often saved for restaurants, so they will need to be cooked slowly in liquid. Cut the beef into cube, about 1 inch. It's not necessary to be exact. You just want the pieces to cook at the same time. Brown the meat with a bit of oil and onions; them slow cook covered with twice as much liquid as meat. Cheap wine, canned beef broth, water with a bit of salt or soy sauce,d and a combination of some or all, will all do. Let simmer, cook slowly, for at least a hour or until the beef falls apart with the pressure of a fork. If you have a pressure cooker, even better. Let cool. When warm, not hot any more, separate in to resealable bags or plastic containers, selecting the portions you will need in the future. Freeze. Use to make meals by adding fresh vegetables, potatoes, serve over rice, add canned soups and fresh or frozen vegetables. An examples: 1. add frozen peas and carrots and fresh zucchini and serve over rice. 2. add tomato sauce or paste, spices, bell pepper and beans and serve over rice or with frozen corn. for chunky chill. 3. microwave for 2-4 minutes depending on quantity so as to unfreeze, add pieces of broccoli and red bell pepper, a teaspoon of sugar for each 2 servings, soy sauce to taste and sprinkle with unsweetened, shredded coconut ( about a tablespoon per person). Sugar? Yes, add sugar to tomato and Asian dishes. A little sweetness goes a long way.
Use your freezer for savings. Freeze expensive items when you can buy them on sale or buy then already frozen, especially out of season fruit like blueberries. Buy a good quality item. Test by buying small quantities.
I don't mind eating the same thing 2 days in a row. We are incredibly privileged in the USA to have such variety and abundance. When you know that many people eat a starch like rice, with a few additions, every day, you can just let go of being picky about food.
Another way to save eating out is to eat dinner at lunch time. The lunch menu prices are usually less than dinner. If you need a lot of food because your work is physically demanding, try one of the Chinese all-you-can eat places. They are always full in my area. You can take out from them, but in some the food price is by weight.