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Making very cheap foods taste very good???

Last post Wed, Mar 27 2013 5:49 PM by Derevyanni. 17 replies.
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  • Tue, Jan 29 2013 10:25 AM

    Making very cheap foods taste very good???

    We have done endless posts on cheap and filling foods. We've touched on frugal meal ideas using these foods and how to make some of them healthier and better balanced. We have focused a lot on dry beans, rice and pasta. I'd like to focus here on a few other foods that fit the frugal bill as well.

    Okay so food is food, healthy or not when you are hungry or have a family to feed any food is a blessing. I have learned this well from Stretcher members. Let's face it though, enjoyment in what you are eating and how it tastes is part of the happy eating package. Food that is too bland, plain or doesn't appeal to your taste buds can be discouraging to eating and even cause appetite loss. Ever ate something and thought to yourself how you wish you could make it taste better but weren't sure how? Sometimes "add a can of tomatoes to dry pasta" is just not enough to make the meal tastier. Well, this is where this post comes in. Our focus is not listing a bunch of frugal food staples or even how to make the choices below healthier but how to make the choices below taste better within average frugal budget/realms.

    I have picked these three foods because they can all be found very cheap (generally speaking) and often call for some kind of jazzing up to make them more appealing. You will see the foods listed below on a plethora of websites that discuss "starving student staples" but are also stock ups for those on tight budgets. Maybe you have some of these foods on hand, maybe you have lived off some of these foods at times or currently are but whatever the case may be if it's what you have to work with then at least make it enjoyable right? Tasty food is going to make the eating experience a lot more enjoyable.

    How can you make these foods below taste better and more enjoyable to consume while still keeping your meal ideas frugal??? What other frugal foods or seasonings could you add to them with an actual tasty outcome???

    - Ramen noodles (the cheap packs that come with seasoning as an optional add in - think Top Ramen)

    - Russet baking potatoes (earthy in flavor with skins - not everyone enjoys a PLAIN potato but a lot of people enjoy the price of bulk bags of baking potatoes and use them as a frugal staple)

    - The common and popular famous frozen mixed veggie bag that contains the basic blend of frozen peas, carrots, green beans and corn (Sure it's great to have a blend but eating this over and over or as is can get boring after awhile so adding other things *like YOUR suggestions* can help jazz things up)

     

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Tue, Jan 29 2013 1:28 PM In reply to

    • MamaJ
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Nov 5 2009
    • Posts 963

    Re: Making very cheap foods taste very good???

    BargainBinge:
    Russet baking potatoes (earthy in flavor with skins - not everyone enjoys a PLAIN potato but a lot of people enjoy the price of bulk bags of baking potatoes and use them as a frugal staple)
     

    Baked potatoes are always better with fixins. Steamed broccoli (fresh or frozen), bacon, cheese sauce (easy to make w/ flour and margarine and a little cheese), scallions or green onions. Some folks like salsa and/or sour cream.

    Don't forget other ways to prepare the potatoes. Oven fries, mashed potatoes, hash browns, potato skins. Put them in an omelet, frittata, or quiche. 

    BargainBinge:
    The common and popular famous frozen mixed veggie bag that contains the basic blend of frozen peas, carrots, green beans and corn

    This is one that I've never bought or eaten straight-up. If I get something along these lines, it's to throw into soup. Barley soup comes to mind -- beef stock or buillion, barley, 1/2 pound of ground beef, carrots, celery, onion, and throw in a bag of frozen veggies like this. 

    I'm no help on the Ramen. I always ate it straight-up... 

     

  • Tue, Jan 29 2013 2:43 PM In reply to

    Re: Making very cheap foods taste very good???

    Thanks Mama J, it will be nice to see how different folks use or have used these foods and what they find tasty.

    I have found eggs work well with ramen. Making ramen how you would make fried rice can make a tasty dish. I have also dropped egg into the boiling water to boil with the ramen for either boiled egg in ramen with absorbed water OR more so in wet ramen for egg drop/ramen style soup. Skipping the flavor packet but using homemade chicken broth helps increase flavor.

    Mixed veggies I have succesfully used in soups and pot pies. I have also used them in ramen, smile, or veggie-rice dishes.

    Potatoes I could get lost in with butter, garlic salt and pepper lol I can really enjoy a plain potato though but that's just me.

    Potato soup or stew is always welcome in my tummy too. Smile.

    More later, must leave for an appointment now...

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Tue, Jan 29 2013 6:48 PM In reply to

    Re: Making very cheap foods taste very good???


    Cindy ---
  • Tue, Jan 29 2013 7:56 PM In reply to

    Re: Making very cheap foods taste very good???

    Cindy, did you read the post or just the subject line?

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Tue, Jan 29 2013 8:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Making very cheap foods taste very good???

    A little spice or herbs can perk up those veggies ... a bit of oregano or italian seasoning  with some salt and pepper and a dab of butter. 

    We like buttered parsley potatoes:   Chunk up the potatoes and cook them as you would for mashed potatoes.  But when they get soft, toss in enough butter and dried parsley (and a bit of salt) to coat.

    Oven fries are good, too ... 

    www.dodgeandweave.blogspot.com
  • Tue, Jan 29 2013 9:59 PM In reply to

    Re: Making very cheap foods taste very good???

    Grew up in a home where white sauce was frequently used to disguise vegetables. While that is not my usual approach, I would use it for those frozen mixed veggies that didn't make it into the soup pot. AM
  • Tue, Jan 29 2013 9:59 PM In reply to

    • mechanika
    • Top 200 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Tue, Sep 25 2012
    • Oregon, USA
    • Posts 258

    Re: Making very cheap foods taste very good???

    I had this "Ramen Noodle Salad" when someone brought it to a work party one time , and it was SO GOOD. I don't know if this is the actual recipe she used, but there are a lot of them online. It uses bagged coleslaw mix and some nuts, but shouldn't be too expensive to prepare: http://www.mattfischer.com/ramen/?p=405.

    Bonus: That is a whole site about ramen! The recipe categories are listed on the right-hand side of the page, and I got a kick reading through some of them just now.

    You can call me Anika. :)
  • Wed, Jan 30 2013 8:05 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: Making very cheap foods taste very good???

    Those cheap potatoes are what I buy most often. I use them in dishes that call for potatoes like with roast chicken, they can be pot or oven fried, cut into chunks and roasted, made into baked potatoes with just a little margarine and salt.

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • Wed, Jan 30 2013 8:08 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: Making very cheap foods taste very good???

    MamaJ:
    This is one that I've never bought or eaten straight-up.

    I don't often buy the blends either except for soup. I can spend the same amount on the bags of one veggie and do more with them.

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



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