Steve1826
4
Oct 16, 2017
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What are good cheap and easy meals for a graduate student?
Oct 16, 2017
AngryAccountant
271
Oct 18, 2017
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Cheapest way to get actually good food is batch cooking up a week or two's servings at once and freezing for the future. Easiest way of batch cooking is definitely a crock pot.
Give this a try: Starting with a core of basically any grain or pasta you get from the bulk section of the grocer, shred or cube some value pack of chicken separately, mix it in with frozen stir fried vegetables and dump it into the crockpot, add a fat such as cream to balance it out and hold it together, spice as you'd like (start with salt & pepper, move along from there) and set it to cook while you go to class on low for like 6 hours (make sure the chicken gets to at least 165 degrees farenheit for safety reasons)
You can likely get 6-10 healthy balanced meals for under $15.
Variation can be created by switching between pastas and grains (Qinoa, Farro, Spelt, Kasha, etc), changing up the blend of vegetables used, putting some fried eggs in, swapping out for a different meat such as pork or splurge on some frozen fully peeled/deveined shrimp, or just pouring different sauces on it.
Think 1 hour of cooking for a weeks worth of dinners basically. Pack it up into portion sized containers, freeze anything you won't eat in 2 days, and don't forget to experiment with microwave settings such as power levels/times, adding moisture, etc.
Oct 18, 2017
warriorscot
317
Oct 18, 2017
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I've done poor grad student when I was doing my masters, and rich when I was doing my doctorate, I honestly think I ate healthier when I had less money.
For saving money frozen is best, if it's veg or ground meat buying frozen is cheaper and gets you better quality and easier prep. My two favourites were chilli and soup(usually chicken). Chilli is an obvious easy and cheap one with frozen ground meat and tinned tomatoes, after that you can experiment with the spices, beans and vegetables you want and can get. There is no one recipe, but do some reading and pick and mix from ones you find based on your likes and dislikes. You can also make it last longer with rice and pasta and using it for making burritos.
For soup a good standard chicken soup/broth is great, very hearty and traditional with basically any veg you have going. Only thing I'm consistent with is LOTS of carrots, grated carrots are the miracle addition to most traditional soups that call for them and basically when every you think you have too many, add an extra couple of carrots to it.
When I was looking for just something quick, warming with a hit of protein, a basic hot and sour egg drop soup is dead easy with just chicken stock, hot sauce and an egg. Throw in some garlic(crushed fresh or just jarred "lazy" garlic and some seasoning and it comes pretty excellent and with some noodles added is a really great ramen base.
Oct 18, 2017
Snarge
39
Oct 18, 2017
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I have always been extremely lazy when it comes to meals for myself, but the exact opposite when it comes to cooking for friends and family. I like to do two pot meals. One pot is usually a rice cooker(they are a life saver. Measure rice, measure water, flip switch, wait, fluff, serve. That simple. I keep two or three kinds on hand. Jasmine basmati, Japanese short grain, and wild rice(it's my treat-yo-self rice). Then whatever I cook is usually veggies and meat in the same sauce in the same pan. I'm a sucker for the Campbell's curry chicken skillet meal things. I add peas and green beans, and a couple sprigs of basil to brighten it up. I also have three potato recipes that I have down pat-do-it-in-my-sleep, for when rice isn't fluffing it for me. Au gratin, baked red skins, and a fast and dirty mashed. My secrets are sharp cheeses, not too much, with some shittake that got fried in the spices of whatever else is cooking for the first, olive oil with rosemary already infused into the oil for the second, and miracle whip or mayo for the last. I prefer the MW because it has extra flavors.
But definitely prep your meals ahead whenever you can. Batch cooking is your friend. This is just my alternative. I can do like five carb sides(all rice counts as one) and like four main courses without much thought, and it's good variety without any guesswork or extra thought. Cooking has been somewhat meditative for me.
Oct 18, 2017
Steve1826
4
Oct 19, 2017
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Thank you! I'm going to try this week.
Oct 19, 2017
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