Work With What You’ve Got

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Budget.  Cost efficient.  Be resourceful. Use up ingredients on hand.

These are things that are very relevant around here.  Especially since I didn’t have a steady source of income this summer, I really have to be careful with my food budget – if I wanted to, I could spend a ton of money on good ingredients.  Mostly because I like so many flavors and cuisines, and love to experiment in the kitchen if I can.

But these days, meals have been a lot of “see what you can make with the few things you have on hand”.  I think I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

Case 1

fridge items: tempeh, carrots. pantry items: cha soba, nori, sesame, seasonings/oils/vinegars.

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meal: sesame soba with stir fried tempeh cubes

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verdict? delicious. not the most produce-heavy, but still reasonably healthy and definitely delicious

Case 2

fridge items: egg whites. pantry items: protein powder, almond flour, spices and things

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meal: simple protein pancake

verdict? I’m not a big pancake person, but it was a filling and tasty breakfast.

Case 3

fridge items: avocado, hummus, random veggies. pantry items: bread, mustard, spices

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meal: toast with smoky hummus/avocado mash and mustard, veggie munchies on the side.

verdict? I should have eaten slower!  I was thoroughly impressed with this lunch.

Case 4

pantry items: things you win/get for free at HLS!

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Wild Harvest popcorn. I want more.

Case 5

Convince your roommate to order Indian food!  (well, it didn’t really take much convincing)

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Mmm tandoori.  I had a chicken craving, and ran with it.  It was so worth it, but I have discovered that I don’t love the way chicken makes me feel. So this probably won’t be a regular occurrence (veggie = lighter), but it was darn tasty.

Then, you go grocery shopping, and have a huge mixing bowl salad with a roasted local eggplant that cost 50 cents at the local coop.  Life is always better with veggies

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You work with what you’ve got.

Do you have any favorite creative budget meals? Links welcome!

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10 thoughts on “Work With What You’ve Got

  1. Eleanor@Eatinglikeahorse

    Life is always better with vegetables! This is such a great post though; I’ve been guilty in the past of buying expensive ingredients and not getting my money’s worth when I’ve got plenty at home – and everything you’ve made looks delicious :-)
    Eleanor@Eatinglikeahorse recently posted..Green-fingeredMy Profile

    1. Rachel Post author

      Yes, Eleanor! Thanks – I love sharing the message that healthy eating really doesn’t need very many special ingredients, just a bit of creativity.


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