Eating is an unavoidable aspect of living in a body, and it can be expensive. Here we have rounded up our favourite ways to cook, eat and even drink more cheaply, not a toasted cheese and vegemite sandwich in sight (though those are quite good).
Photo: Claire Lower
We’ve got meaty mains, easy side dishes and (of course) a couple of ways to upgrade your instant noodles. Check out all the links below and if the spirit moves you, share your favourite ways to enjoy food frugally in the comments.
Meals and Mains
- Make a chuck roast taste like prime rib: Sous vide helps us tell a convincing prime fib.
- Beat your local cafe at its own game with sous-vide egg bites: They’re just eggs and cottage cheese (and whatever add-ins you like).
- Make a four-ingredient creamy pasta dish without any cream: Semolina flour is the key.
- Maximise the number of meals you get out of a chicken: Poaching is vastly underrated.
- Three ways to make a sweet potato into a meal: You can eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Make cheap stew meat taste great: It’s all in how you treat it.
- Save money at the drive through by making your own freezer-friendly breakfasts: Get two weeks’ worth of breakfast sandwiches and burritos from a single pan of eggs.
- Jazz up your instant noodles: Poach an egg right in there or add a little coconut milk.
Sides and Snacks
- The best potatoes au gratin don’t contain any cheese: It’s just Russets and cream all the way down.
- This fancy cheese spread is made from literal scraps: It’s French and therefor very sophisticated.
- Chicken livers are cheap and you should make them into mousse: It’s the cheapest charcuterie.
- Carrot tops (and other green scraps) make surprisingly good pesto: Put it on grilled fish or just eat it with crackers.
- Haystacks are the cheapest confection you’ll ever make: They’re shockingly good.
Photo: Claire Lower
- Make colourful, flavorful salts out of bell pepper peels and tomato skins: There’s a lot of taste in those scraps.
- Shio koji will makes every food taste better: The rice is a slight investment — about eight bucks — but you get a ton of shio koji out of it and the flavour pay off is huge. Smear the funky condiment on a whole chicken before roasting for the richest flavour and crazy golden skin.
- Simple, cheap marinades make meat sing: Some of these involve soft drink. Yes, we are very proud of ourselves.
- As does cheap beer: Save the wine for drinking.
- Don’t toss the noodle seasoning packet: Use it to flavour popcorn, eggs and anything else that needs an umami boost.
- Flavour gin with pineapple peels: You can also use vodka, if you must.
- Render poultry scraps to gain excellent cooking fat: Seriously, chicken fat is liquid cooking gold.
- Clean out your fridge with this two-ingredient dish: All you need is eggs and rice.
- Use up any odds and ends by baking them into bread: Don’t worry; it’s very easy bread.
If we missed on of your favourite ways to cheaply chow down, use food scraps, or upgrade instant noodles, please leave it in the comments below so that we all may benefit.
This story has been updated since its original publication.