- frozen chicken (5 pieces) ~ $1.50
- smoked sausage, from Dad
- 3 bell peppers, $1.92
- 1 onion, $0.88
- 5 cloves garlic, $0.25???
- 1 can stewed tomatoes, $0.69
- chili powder + cayenne pepper, ~$0
- 1 tsp worchestershire, $0.25???
- 5 bay leaves, $0.50???
- tomato paste, $0.70???
- white rice, $0.50
total: $7.19, ($0.89 per serving)
Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I've found that my average is $1 or less per meal, which makes it sound like I live entirely off of mac 'n cheese, but I actually think I eat quite well. For the most part, my groceries are all ingredients. I buy very little prepackaged food, so what I make is more healthy than most alternatives (even when occasionally it is fried chicken...mmmm).
Now, I'm a huge believer in wasting as little food as possible. The jambalaya recipe called for me to boil the chicken and sausage together and use the broth to cook the rice. When I was done with the recipe, I still had a gallon of broth that didn't end up in the final jambalaya. Why throw out that yummy, smoky chicken broth when I could use it as a base for chicken soup? So earlier this week, I busted out the broth and made some chicken soup, which went great with my crackling fire for the cold weather. Here's another example of a tasty, cheap meal.
|Smokey chicken broth = money in the bank!|
- free broth from jambalaya
- 1/2 onion ($0.43)
- 3 stalks celery ($0.25?)
- 3 carrots ($0.44)
- 2 chicken thighs ($1.33)
- 3 boullion cubes ($0.36)
- 1/3 bag macaroni ($0.30)
- spices (salt, pepper, sage), ~$0.10
Total = $3.21, or $0.40 per serving
This experiment of keeping track of my eating expenses has really reinforced my reluctance to eat out. How can I really justify spending $10+ on a single meal, when that could feed me for 3.3 days? Not to mention that I definitely eat more healthy food when I eat at home. Moral of the story? Cook more, from raw ingredients = healthier, happier, thriftier!