Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Frugality wins!

Here I am in Ann Arbor.  And, it is officially Fall!  Cool weather and beautiful sights.  Autumn is my absolute favorite season.  I think part of the reason I love this time of year so much is that it is full of great REAL food.

I have made few REAL meals since I've been here, but today is cooking day!  In order to keep myself well fed on a tight budget I have to keep my list of ingredients short.  In order to do that I am making a lot of a few single dishes.  Then, I will eat these dishes throughout the rest of this month.

So, what can you make cheaply, that actually tastes good, and that I won't get sick of?

When trying to find dishes like this, it is important to look at inexpensive sources of protein.   Here are three of my favorites:

 1. Chicken
 2. Beans
 3. Ground beef

These proteins are all used in a wide range of dishes which makes choosing what to make with them fun but difficult.  When considering what dishes I wanted to make with these ingredients, I chose based on what would feed me for weeks.

Chicken was an easy choice.  Chicken is vastly versatile and extremely easy to cook.  Chicken is cheapest when you buy it whole.  So, I purchased a whole chicken and put it in the crock pot with just a bit of seasonings and some crushed garlic.  With little effort I will be able to turn this chicken into two separate meals that will easily feed me multiple times.

(Tune in next week to see my plans for this deliciously diverse bird).

My next dish choice fell in my lap like the leaves falling off trees. Other than some simple spices it only requires both Beans and Ground Beef. It will surely feed myself (and others) more times than I can even guess.

Yes, it's CHILI!
Chili is not only easy to make, inexpensive to make, and delicious.  It happens to be one of my favorite cool weather comfort foods.  And as a bonus it pairs well with any beverage of choice (wine, beer, soda, mixed drinks, water, etc.)

Chili is also one of those things that can easily be used in a variety of ways. It can simply be eaten on its own, placed atop a baked potato, or used for taco salad. (All of which are ways that I happen to enjoy eating it).  Finally, chili also keeps for an extremely long time.

I think this should be enough to feed me for quite a while. As such, I should be able to keep on budget.

What are your favorite inexpensive meals?

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