I don’t like gourmet cooking or “this” cooking or “that” cooking. I like good cooking.
Can you enjoy frugal meals that are incredibly delicious and worthy of Michelin 3 star restaurants around the world. What’s so important about Michelin stars. Nothing really, at least as far as we here at One Plate One Bowl are concerned.
I use frugal meals and Michelin 3 stars somewhat tongue in cheek.
Any system used to create division and hierarchies is in essence pushing people apart and not brining them together. That sort of ideology doesn’t fit well with OPOB and our belief of living simply, abundantly and frugally.
A Michelin 3 star restaurant is going to charge you a fortune because they can. You’ll likely pay $100 and up per person for a simple meal that won’t even fill you up 😉
Anyway, I digress a bit. This is about frugal meals and ideas to help you get started thinking of frugality in the kitchen. I’ll give you some general tips about how to start thinking and cooking frugally and then move on to some actual ideas of frugal meals that I actually enjoy and which aren’t very expensive. You might like them too. They’re easy, cheap frugal recipes.
Go plant strong
The great thing about choosing plants especially for frugal family meals is that you’ll save money generally.
Plants are very cheap, cheap as borscht. Borscht is a delicious plant based soup that is cheap, ‘cos it’s made mostly with plants. The more you choose plant based meals as a rule the more you will save money.
Base your meals around comforting starches. Starches have kept humans satiated and alive for millennia and despite what you might have heard are very necessary for staying healthy. Starches are not fattening, it is what you put on them that is fattening. Additionally, they are cheap, full of fiber and filling.
To everything there is a season
If you can eat as much as possible from foods that are in season, the more money you will be able to save for your frugal healthy meals.
This is doubly true when choosing and making frugal meals for large families. In North America we are blessed with an abundance of foods all year round and most of the time much of that food is not in season and travels many thousands of miles to get to us.
Save money by buying Esau’s birthright
If you’re not familiar with the story of Esau and Jacob it is worth a read. You can find it at Genesis 25:29-34. Basically, Esau was famished and so for a little taste of lentil stew he sold his birthright to Jacob.
Lentils and other legumes are super cheap and will make a delicious frugal meal. In fact, a tasty homemade lentil soup with a hunk of bread is one of my favourite frugal vegan meals. Beans and lentils are easy to store dry and with lentils can be cooked without soaking first for a variety of delicious frugal vegetarian meals.
Keep it simple for frugality’s sake
The fewer ingredients you use the better it is for you in keeping your meals frugal.
In fact, I find that the fewer ingredients I use the more the flavours are able to showcase themselves and meld better for a really tasty, enjoyable meal.
With just onions and garlic and a little bit of salt and pepper you can make a plethora of different meals from different recipes that taste absolutely amazing. Using few herbs and spices rather than more allows the different veggies used in the recipe to really shine. Try it.
There are many good books out there that are chockablock full of frugal recipes that you can try while saving hundreds of dollars on your grocery bills.
Some ideas for frugal meals
One of my absolute favourite meals that is so tasty is beans on toast, but not just any old beans on toast.
My recipe is to take half a can of beans, heat them in the microwave and put them on 2 slice of warm, hearty toasted bread. I like a multigrain myself. But before you put the beans on the toast, I like to slather it with a bit of margarine and then add a bit of marmite – for marmite lovers – then a couple of slices of tomato and then the beans. Ground pepper on top and it is a satisfying, healthy frugal meal that is high in protein and fiber.
Another favourite as I mentioned earlier is my vegan lentil soup. An absolutely delicious and and easy and also relatively quick frugal recipe.
In a large pot fry up some onions. Then add some garlic and fry for a minute more. Throw in a cup of your favourite lentils and 6 cups of water along with a single vegetable bouillon cube. Then chop up a couple of carrots and a couple of stalks of celery and throw those in too. I also like to add a bit of marjoram, thyme and oregano and let it simmer for an hour or so.
Delicious with a chunk of fresh homemade bread or dinner rolls. Bon appetit. You are now the frugal chef extraordinaire!