Sunday, May 4, 2008

Some of my favorite cheap meals

I love to cook at home and we've found lots of excellent meals that cost very little to make. Here are two of our favorites:


Friends of ours had a quesadilla maker that they absolutely adore. We got to try it one night when we were over for dinner. It creates six "pockets" that can easily be cut apart. They hold heat like crazy. One day when I was pregnant and determined I drove to seven stores and called three more looking for it. We ended up getting it through (See below.)

It only takes the larger tortillas, I think 10". One pack of those has 10 tortillas which is enough for 5 quesadillas. We usually have a salad and split a quesadilla. It ends up being more than enough for the two of us. One quesadilla (no salad) is enough for a meal and "sticks" for 4-5 hours.

The best part is that you can customize every single one and that each uses very few ingredients. A large pack of cheese (about $7 at Publix for 2 lbs) lasts for a long time.

Our two favorite recipes:

Mexican - Use blended mexican cheese and whatever additives you'd like. We've found that chives, onions, olives, red peppers, and tomatoes are all really good. (I'd say 1-2 inside ingredients max.) Serve with sour cream and salsa. Yum!

Italian - Put about three spoonfuls of your favorite tomato sauce (a big jar will last you for weeks; freeze what you don't use the first two days into a day's worth of sauce), mozzarella or mixed Italian cheese, some herbs, and pepperoni. Yum! Other ingredients are great as well. This easily substitutes for pizza when we have a craving for it.


We love sushi and we've spent a lot of money on sushi in the past. This is a "quick fix" that is very cheap, nutritious, and that will soothe those evil cravings.

Make tuna fish salad however you like it. We do canned tuna, chopped onions, and a little bit of miracle whip. Roll this up with your sushi rice and nori. Serve with soy sauce. (There are numerous and excellent websites that have step-by-step directions.)

Vegetable sushi can be made with any ingredients you like. Avocado, cucumber, carrot, onion... the list goes on and on.

Make sure you buy both your sushi rice and nori in bulk at a chinese grocery store to save the most. Richard's (a local health food store) sold 7 sheets of nori for $4.99. We bought 40 sheets for $5.99 at the Chinese grocery. Richard's had one pound of sushi rice for almost five dollars. We bought 5 lbs. at the grocery for under six dollars.


  1. I was gonna call you out on purchasing a unitasker like a quesadilla maker, but then I saw that it only cost around $13. And god knows I have enough stupid unitaskers in my kitchen - like a milkshake maker (in my defense, that was a wedding gift) or a ginger grater.

    I LOVE the idea of using tuna salad for ghetto sushi! I'll have to try that sometime.

  2. Are you an AB fan? I love Good Eats. He's both entertaining and extremely educational. (My mom on the other hand thinks he's annoying!) It takes up very little space as well since it stores vertically. We have this awkward little "wasted" corner in our kitchen and it has a perfect home there.

  3. I AM an Alton Brown fan! (Hence the choice of the word "unitasker"). Though we disagree on some things, such as the presence of beans in chili...