Inspiration for cheap dinners please?

(119 Posts)
MrsKoala Sun 28-Jul-13 20:48:56

I have recently moved somewhere eye wateringly expensive (think $4 for a tin of kidney beans shock ) so am searching for some nice cheap dinner ideas.

There are no cheap things here so veggies, meat, pasta, bread (oh god the bread! $4 for a cheap sliced loaf) flour, everything is extortionate and i can't bulk out with 'filler' as the filler costs just as much as everything else!

Out of meat, mince beef is cheapest (so i am living off chilli/bolognese. A whole small chicken is $28 so not able to roast and stretch out either. I have actually cried in the supermarket blush

Cheers.

JenaiMorris Tue 30-Jul-13 19:07:20

A quick Google reveals that $40 is just over £25.

£25 for the cheapest bottle of wine!!!! shock <faints>

MrsKoala Tue 30-Jul-13 19:11:46

takeaway - there is a market called Sunrise which apparently has slightly on the turn produce near the chinatown district. So one morning i roped DH in and we got the bus there (with the buggy) and while lookin gat the map on the bus a woman interrupted us and said 'you aren't going there are you' horrified. Then proceeded to tell us it was a really rough area and we were unlikely to leave with our jewellery/wallets. We thanked her but dismissed her a bit and when she got off the bus we said to each other 'how bad can it be...' HA! the bus turned on the road it was on and. Oh. EMM. Geee. Seriously i have only seen this kind of place on TV. It was awful skid row, prossies, people laying all over the streets, half clothed drunk people just pissing in a puddle where they lay. The bus filled with the locals and they circled us. I looked at DH and clutched the buggy and said, i'm staying on the bus to the depot, and he nodded vigorously.

So while there may be somewhere cheaper. Sadly it is not a risk i'm willing to take!

MrsKoala Tue 30-Jul-13 19:13:05

No sorry Jenai - it was $40 for beer AND wine. Wine was about $12. I wouldn't live here if i couldn't have wine!

lucamom Tue 30-Jul-13 19:18:54

Oil+garlic+ chilli flakes/or parsley/or basil heated gently for few mins, stirred through hot pasta.

Oil+ garlic heated gently. Add dried herbs and tin toms. Another cheap pasta sauce.

MrsKoala Tue 30-Jul-13 19:24:27

Cheers luca. I'd eat that but there's no way DH would. Maybe for lunch (with a roll) but not for dinner.

I'm just going to spend what it costs and that's that. I reckon i could just about do it for $10 each a day.

takeaway2 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:07:23

Erm their immigrant population are pretty well to do. Surely there are other Asian supermarkets not located in the dodgy area???

MrsKoala Tue 30-Jul-13 20:16:12

yes but then they are just as expensive. we live in a very asian area and the shops are all the same.

look MrsK, I think that while you are on a very tight budget, you both need to bite the bullet and live on what you can afford. It can be healthy and delicious even if its cheap. Your dh needs to understand the consequences of his life decisions, and accept them, if only in the short term.

You need to woman up and just tell him how it is.

You have a real baby to feed. No need to pander to an adult one. he needs to respect that there is only so much you can do. He needs to understand that until he and you are raking it in, its cheap cuts, cheats and pasta all the way.

I would just tell him its no meat until the paychecks start rolling in.

takeaway2 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:37:14

In which case I agree with the previous poster and say he will have to man up and eat within his means. No need to pander to his bacon and eggs habit. When he was in the uk did he really eat that every day? His cholesterol must have been sky high!!

If he was so insistent on moving to Vancouver even though you said it would be expensive then really he needs to do the shopping or compromise on foods.

In the meantime set up a food plan and stick to it. Dh used to be snobby about Heinz beans until I bought some own brand ones and he was fine with it. We now do lots of shopping at aldi and it's been great.

JenaiMorris Tue 30-Jul-13 20:54:43

Oh and what MadameDefarge said wink

MrsKoala Tue 30-Jul-13 21:09:11

Thanks guys. i do tell him that, but if dinner was not what he wanted i suspect he would just go out to a restaurant and buy food that he did like. And that would cost more than just cooking more expensive meals. We discuss it, he makes all the right noises then the next day asks where the bacon and eggs are confused

In which I case I am sorry to say that, however much you love him, you have a slightly bigger problem than just trying to cheap cheap meals to eat.

with all respect. If my partner indulged themselves so wilfully at the expense of myself, and more importantly, my child, I would be asking myself why he disrespected his family so much.
Sorry.

MrsKoala Tue 30-Jul-13 21:25:45

Well it's not really at our expense, we would never go without. We could eat the same as him, i have access to the same money. It's just impulse control really.

ok. well, we can't magic steaks out of beans for you is the base line.

AdoraBell Wed 31-Jul-13 00:01:34

Can't see if this has been said, but for chickpeas try searching for Garbanzo beans on the web sites.

AdoraBell Wed 31-Jul-13 00:15:40

Didn't see the latter posts, oops. Yes, the problem you face is bigger than the cost of living IMO, sorry.

MrsKoala Wed 31-Jul-13 01:44:45

Cheaper recipes are fine, things with mince and sausages etc. I don't want steak and neither does he. But i think we may revise the whole thing and move home if we had to live on pasta and oil for dinner grin It has to be something edible/nice. We aren't quite starving yet!

I appreciate the advice thanks all. Will defo go down the veggie route a couple of nights a week. i think veggie mexican/beans type things work best.

i think the bread is most shocking so will see about making my own . Am going to lay on the line the parameters of our budget again and just say these are thw meals i can cook on $200 per week and that's it. I'm also telling him bacon and eggs are just for weekends and there is weetabix or toast for brekkie.

MrsKoala Wed 31-Jul-13 01:54:04

And i went into a butchers to look at cheap cuts and it was bizarrely more expensive than other better cuts in the supermarket. I think it's because all independent butchers are organic artisan types so they just charge loads for everything. They had a tongue in there for $25. I thought you wouldn't be able to give tongue away!

I suppose i just wanted some ideas and to rant a bit. Going to do the bacon, potato and egg bake mentioned upthread for dinner tomo.

howcomes Wed 31-Jul-13 02:12:24

Hi, I lived in vancouver back in 2006 and found food shopping hellishly expensive! I was up at ubc campus with only public transport.
I got a members clubcard at Safeway to take advantage of offers, bought pork mince, turkey tenders, and the occasional free range whole chicken at the butcher in kitsilano as meat there was really good quality and not any dearer than supermarket. I sliced cheese with a potato peeler to eek it out, cooked with eggs a lot, bought bread from cobbs bakery as it tasted most like bloomer bread from uk, and finally shopped for basics liked tinned tomatoes at shoppers drugmart or London drugs as they often had better deals. I'll try to find out the name of the butcher and fishmonger I used as they were decently priced for Vancouver and we were on a very limited budget.

I'm in Toronto now and it is definitely cheaper than out west. Glad you have a no frills, that is the best place to pick up big sacks of rice for 8 bucks or large bags of flour. Check if you have a local farmers Market as sweetcorn should be coming in to season and that is delicious and not too dear.
Will post again as I remember other places we used. There is an English butcher over in north van but it is quite a hike, they sell uk baked beans and proper bacon.

heraqueenofheaven Wed 31-Jul-13 02:18:47

Doesn't Toronto have a very large Chinese and Indian community. I would check out if there are markets that cater for them. In my experience they often source things themselves and have much lower prices. Also in my experience of shopping in markets like this, the products are much higher quality. I find that western supermarkets are great at having lovely aisles and colourful promotions whereas markets just shove it on the shelves. Western shops make their food look more appealing, whereas the markets just put the products on the shelves as quickly as possible and sell it cheaper without pomp.

MrsKoala Wed 31-Jul-13 02:33:31

howcomes - That would be great thanks. We are in South Kits quite near UBC too. our rent alone (on 2 bed basement apt) is $2k shock

BUT it is lovely here. Been to the beach this avo smile and everyone is sooooo nice. i've already met some nice friends. And DH's work seems to be taking off too so fingers crossed we can stay and not go without too much.

MrsKoala Wed 31-Jul-13 02:39:04

Thanks heraqueen, i'm in Vancouver, but the best markets are over on Commercial Drive - which is 2 buses away. I do go there but all the stuff needs to be eaten within a day or 2. I try to batch cook and freeze some but it's hard with fruit.

Anyway, just spelled it out to DH in no uncertain terms and he is in total agreement (for once) so it's my dinners and NO complaints!

Another good thing is i spoke to my friend here who told me where a nearer No Frills is. So only 1 bus away! Hurrah.

heraqueenofheaven Wed 31-Jul-13 02:46:08

If they have hawker centres (Chinese) that sell fresh meat talk to some of the sellers. They may deliver to you if you buy in bulk and you can freeze the chicken etc. if fresh.

AdoraBell Wed 31-Jul-13 02:49:33

Glad you've discovered a closer no frills, that should make it easier.

HansieMom Wed 31-Jul-13 02:52:44

I was going to suggest Costco in Washington but you have already addressed that. But now I truly understand why there are so many Canadian cars in shopping areas in WA. I used to live there but down at southern border of state.

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