First Round of Cheap Eats

Greetings, fellow foodies.  If you’ve read our last post then you will know that we gave ourselves a challenge for this month: can we feed ourselves (well) on as little as one hundred dollars per person?  We stocked up on some staples and started thinking of some recipes to make the best of what we had.

Since we moved to Toronto, our standard breakfast has taken the form of a bowl of steel cut oats mixed with banana, flax seed, a little bit of homemade milk (more on that later), and some cacao powder.  The great thing about this meal is that it is loaded with calories and nutrition, and costs almost nothing to make.  The cacao powder is a bit of a splurge, but it can be replaced with cocoa powder for a cheaper version.

For our first supper, we decided to make something familiar and comforting.  We had masa flour and a few fixings on hand, so we made tortillas and lentil taco “meat”.  The meat was made from boiled green lentils mixed with chili powder, cumin, oregano, and a few other seasonings.  We topped our tacos with some lightly cooked sweet and sour cabbage, a little diced tomato, and some avocado left over from the previous week.  Avocados are soon to be a rare treat, so we enjoyed our small indulgence.

Last night we enjoyed another great meal.  Our list of cheap fresh vegetables is mostly limited to cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and onions, plus a healthy amount of garlic and ginger.  We chose to mix these up into a few separate dishes.  The first was an Ethiopian-style cabbage and carrot dish made with loads of turmeric.  We have made a similar dish before, and this one worked out just as well.  Alongside that, we enjoyed a red lentil dal created with a little help from lots of spices: coriander, cumin, cardamom, garlic, ginger, and mustard seed.  Our third dish was a simple mixture of brown rice, chopped parsley, and lemon juice.  The whole plate was tied together with an ad-hoc apple chutney (not pictured).

All in all, I think we had a pretty good start to our frugal month.  We’ve been keeping a close eye on the grocery flyers and plan to pick up a few heavily-discounted treats for the weeks to come.  Hope your October is going as well as ours!

  • janet @ the taste space

    That all looks great, if you ask me. :-). Do you have a car? My favourite store for cheap produce was Sunny's near the science centre.

  • janet @ the taste space
  • Joey

    Doesn't look half bad, whether you're being frugal or not! I guess red lentils (and lentils in general) are going to be figuring a lot for this month – tasty, cheap, what more can you ask for?!

  • Kari

    Definitely a good start! You're eating better than many people spending much more, I suspect 🙂


    Thanks for sharing your first round of affordable and hearty meals! All look tasty regardless of how cheap they are! I love masa flour and making corn tortillas = you can make loads of them and steam them later – perfect frugal meal. I love how you use lentils as "taco meat", I have dried lentils sitting in the jar and I have yet use it.

    We have been making a lot of meals here in Buenos Aires – it's just not ideal to eat out during a long stay. My favorite so far is the Tuscan white bean stew (so cheap and quick to make, everything costs less than $10, plus another day of leftover) here is the recipe:

  • foodfeud

    I love the idea of this challenge. It's always really important to be vigilant of how much we spend on food and how lucky we are to be able too. $100 for one person for a month is pretty intense! Good luck! Hope you can keep eating like this and not like the peanut butter sandwiches I always make when on a budget.

  • Jolene – EverydayFoodie

    I'm impressed! You two are creative!!

  • Maggie Muggins

    You're meals look tasty and healthy, maybe I should be eating frugal too. I'm already digging your posts, I'm in serious need of some new ideas that aren't just, sandwich related.