The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 01, 2015 09:38PM
Anyone up for another Cheap Eats challenge?

Rules/Guidelines reminder

A dinner meal for four people, costing under $10.00 Must be a proper meal ie not a bowl of weetbix or hot chips. If only for two people, you have leftovers or the cost is $7 and under.

Try and cost it out the best you can, let us know if you are using garden or foraged produce.

The point is to share some cheap nutritious and tasty meals.......

Here is the other threads for further information......

Cheap Eats

[www.foodlovers.co.nz]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/01/2015 09:39PM by IngridO.
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 06, 2015 03:42AM
I got an absolute bargain at Pak n Save
Premium beef mine 500g for $1.30 so I decided to made homemade burgers - I went slightly over the $10, but I figured it was still pretty good value considering they tasted better than gourmet burgers from the takeaway shop.....the only problem is I'm a greedy guts and they tasted so good, I wanted 2!!!

COST $14.69 (4 - 5 hamburgers)
Hamburger patties
2 tsp smoked paprika
500g beef mince ($1.30)
splash of Worcestershire sauce
splash of soy sauce
splash of tomato sauce
2 tsp chilli, fresh
salt and pepper to taste
½ onion (finely chopped)
splash of red wine vinegar
olive oil

Beetroot Relish
tin of beetroot (sliced or whole) ($1.25 ea.homebrand)
3 tbsp capers ($2.25, only used half tin = $1.12)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Olive oil
bunch of coriander (From the garden)

How to make

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, roll into balls, slightly smaller than your buns. Cover with cling film and chill in fridge 30 mins before cooking. Add oil to bbq or pan and squash balls into patties with a spatula.

Helpful tip: Don’t move them around the pan too much, they will taste better without too much handling.

Beetroot Relish
Blend all ingredients roughly in a food processer.

Assembly: Between toasted sesame seed buns ($2), add lettuce (0.62c) , beef pattie, beetroot relish, sliced tomato $1) and cheese ($1).



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/07/2015 11:48AM by IngridO.
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 06, 2015 10:38PM
Don`t know if everyone would class this as a meal but we had rice paper rolls and marinated chick drumsticks this week which family loved.

the rice paper rolls for whole pack were $2 but used only a very small portion so say 50C
in the rolls we had
1/2 pepper finely sliced 75C
1 avo sliced $1
1 carrot finely shredded 20c
1/4 cucumber 50C
2 sp onions 30c
corinader from the garden
Dipping sauce
soy, mirin, garlic ginger sesame oil, home made chilli sauce. $3.
Corinader from the garden

Chicken drums were $10 a kilo so use left over $$ value, used the ingredients same as dipping sauce to marinate.
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 07, 2015 02:49AM
This week I made Stuffed Capsicums. Usually I stuff them with Pork Mince, Rice and Onion - and then cover with Passata (watered down) and boil that. I decided to change the recipe and as the following is 2 meals for us (half have gone in the freezer), when the costing is halved it actually would have costed under $10 each meal.

3 Capsicums - on special at 3 for $5
approx. 250g Pork Mince $2.50
1 cup Orzo (on special @ $2.99 a packet), so say 1/3rd = $1
Bulgarian Feta (usually around $5 a pack but used 1/4 but for costing let's price it at $2.50

So $11.00 for one meal, which is just over, but I am being very loose with my costings

I boiled the Orzo, and when cooled (but not entirely cold) stirred in 1 tbspn oil, mixed that into my Pork Mince and crumbled the feta through and stirred. I took the tops off the Capsicum, deseeded and put the stuffing in.

Placed into an oven proof greased dish, covered with foil and put in the oven @ 180C for one hour. They were extremely tasty. And of course you do not have to use Pork Mince, and use Orzo and Feta as a Vegetarian option
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 16, 2015 03:29AM
This is from J1 who is having issues trying to post this so all credit to her not me! Helen

I wondered how cheap a recipe would be if you substituted the meat for lentils/chickpeas/beans/rice? I tried this on a few of my standard recipes. Some turned out well, others not so good. Each recipe serves 4 adults.

I costed them using my normal, preferred ingredients (e.g. NZ evoo rather than canola oil). Then I costed everything again at cheap prices (based on Countdown online in many cases, which we know isn’t the cheapest), which I’ve used here. I saw that if I shopped for cheap ingredients rather than my preferred ingredients, I’d save a further $2-$4 per recipe.

When costing the meat, I used whatever price the supermarket had at the time - I didn’t seek specials. Some of the recipes here using meat would be significantly cheaper if I had.

Although I get a lot of vegetables and herbs from my garden, I costed everything as though purchased.

“cpg” stands for cents per gram and “cpml” stands for cents per ml.


Dominion Loaf (serves 4 adults)
Dominion Lentil Loaf (1)
1 onion (130g) @$1.60 per kg (0.0016cpg) =$0.20
1 small carrot (80g) @ $2.60 for 1.5kg bag (0.0017cpg) =$0.13
1 tart apple (entire apple = 180g) @ $3 for 2.5kg (0.0012cpg) = $0.21
2 cloves garlic (8g) @ $20 per kg (0.02cpg) = $0.16
1 egg @$3 per doz (25c per egg) =$0.25
½ cup (125ml) milk @ $2.95 for 2 litres (0.00147cpml) = $0.18
1 tbspn (15ml) soy sauce @ $2.99 for 550ml (0.0054cpml) = $0.08
1-2 tspns (2-4g) curry powder @ $3 for 100g (0.03cpg) =$0.12
1 tspn (3g) sugar @ $2.30 for 1.5kg (0.0015cpg) = negligible cost
½ tspn (2.5g) salt @ $1.20 per kg (0.0012cpg) = negligible cost
2 sprigs parsley @own garden =$-
500g cooked brown lentils (= 200g uncooked) @$2.69 for 500g (0.0053cpg) = $1.06
1 cup (90g) rolled oats @$2 for 750g (0.00266cpg) =$0.24
Total cost for lentil loaf = $2.63
Add vegetable accompaniments:
Potato (Agria) for 4 adults (200g each = 800g total) @$1.70 per kg (0.0017cpg) =$1.36
Peas (frozen) for 4 adults (½ cup (65g) each = 260g total) @$2.29 per kg (0.00229cpg) =$0.59
Carrot for 4 adults (100g each = 400g total) @$2.60 for 1.5kg bag (0.0017cpg) =$0.68
Total for veg = $2.63
TOTAL COST OF MEAL = $5.26
Cost per adult = $1.31

Cost of Dominion Loaf if using original meat:
500g beef mince (normal, not premium) @ $14.50 per kg (0.0145cpg) =$7.25
Total cost for meat loaf = $8.82
Add vegetable accompaniments as per above (total $2.63)
TOTAL COST OF MEAL (using mince) = $11.45
Cost per adult = $2.86

Instructions for making Dominion Loaf:
Cut onion, carrot and apple into quarters and place in food processor. Add garlic, egg, milk, soy sauce, curry powder, sugar, salt and parsley and process all until finely and evenly chopped. Remove and place in a bowl. Add mince (or cooked lentils) and rolled oats and stir to combine. Press mixture into a loaf tin and bake at 180°C for one hour.

Dominion Loaf verdict: The lentil loaf I made was just as tasty and delicious as the meat version. It was also visually appealing and had no problems. Like most loaves, it tastes even better the next day. Suitable for any meal of the day, including snacks. I think the lentils could be substituted with chickpeas or beans or rice.


Spicy Caribbean-Style Stew (serves 4 adults)
Spicy Caribbean-Style Lentil Stew (1)
1 tbspn (15ml) oil @ $5 for 2 litres (0.0025cpml) = $0.03
1kg cooked brown lentils (= 400g uncooked) @$2.69 for 500g (0.0053cpg) = $2.12
2 tspns (4g) ground allspice @ $2 for 40g (0.05cpg) = $0.20
1 tspn (2g) ground cinnamon @ $2 for 30g (0.066cpg) = $0.13
pinch ground nutmeg = negligible cost
1 tbspn finely chopped fresh thyme @own garden = $-
2 medium onions (260g) @ $1.60 per kg (0.0016cpg) = $0.41
2 cloves garlic (8g) @ $20 per kg (0.02cpg) = $0.16
4cm (20g) fresh ginger root @ $8 per kg (0.008cpg) = $0.16
1 medium-sized red chilli (see note 1) (est. use 2g of pkt dried chilli) @ $4.99 for 10g pkt (0.499cpg) = $1.00
400g can tomatoes @ 80c for 400g = $0.80
2 tbspns (20g) brown sugar @ $2.30 per 1kg (0.0023cpg) =$0.04
2 tspns finely grated orange rind (1 typical orange weighs 185g) @ $3.50 for 1.5kg bag (0.0023cpg) = $0.42
2 tbspns (30ml) soy sauce @ $2.99 for 550ml (0.0054cpml) = $0.16
1 medium kumara (280g) @ $3 per kg (0.003cpg) = $0.84
1 cup (135g) corn kernels @ $3.98 for 1kg (0.00398cpg) = $0.53
1 carrot (130g) @ $2.60 for 1.5kg bag (0.0017cpg) = $0.22
125g spinach @ $3.29 for 1 bag (120g) = $3.29
Total cost for Spicy Caribbean-Style Stew $10.51
Cost per adult = $2.62

Cost of Spicy Caribbean-Style Stew if using original meat:
700g chicken meat (thigh) @ $18.40 per kg (0.0184cpg) =$12.88
Total cost for chicken stew = $21.27
Cost per adult = $5.31

Note 1. Fresh green/red chillies. I've never had to buy these as we have a permanent supply from our home garden. When trying to price them for this exercise, I found I couldn't buy any fresh. The next best thing was a packet of semi-dried "Gourmet Garden" Australian chillies (3 to a packet) 10g for $4.99 so I used this for the pricing.

Instructions for making Spicy Caribbean-Style Stew:
Toss chicken in combined spices and thyme. In oil in large frypan, brown chicken. Add onion, garlic, ginger and chilli; cook for a few minutes until onion is soft. Add tomatoes, sugar, rind, soy sauce, kumara, corn, carrot and spinach; cook, covered, for approx. 15 minutes or until chicken and vegs are tender.
If using lentils, toss lentils in combined spices and thyme. In oil in large frypan, add lentils, onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and proceed as above.

Spicy Caribbean-Style Stew verdict: The lentil version looked a bit messy to start with but I was happier with it as things progressed. Brown lentils in this dish aren’t the best visually but it tasted just as it should and I’d be happy to substitute the meat out again anytime. Fine for any meal of the day. I think chickpeas might be the supreme substitution for this one, but beans or rice should also be fine.


Pad Thai (serves 4 adults)
Pad Thai (1)
1kg cooked French-style lentils (= 400g uncooked) @ $4 for 375g (0.0106cpg) =$4.24
1 onion (130g) @ $1.60 per kg (0.0016cpg) = $0.20
1 tbspn (15ml) oil @ $5 for 2L (0.0025cpml) = $0.03
3 tbspns (45g) Thai green curry paste @ $2.80 for 160g (0.0175cpg) = $0.79
600g stir-fry vegs:
carrot 200g @ $2.60 for 1.5kg bag (0.0017cpg) =$0.34
broccoli 150g @ $2 for 1 head (note 2) 235g (0.0085cpg) = $1.28
cauliflower 170g @ $5 for 1 head (note 3) 800g (0.0062cpg) = $1.06
corn kernels 80g @ $3.98 for 1kg (0.00398cpg) = $0.32
200g pkt wide rice noodles @ $2 for 200g = $2.00
2 tbspns (30ml) fish sauce @ $2 for 200ml (0.01cpg) = $0.30
1 cup (250ml) coconut cream $1.29 for 400ml (0.0032cpg) = $0.80
Total cost for lentil pad thai $11.36
Cost per adult = $2.84

Cost of Pad Thai if using original meat:
600g chicken meat (thigh) @ $18.40 per kg (0.0184cpg) =$11.04
Total cost for chicken pad thai = $18.16
Cost per adult = $4.54

Note 2. A typical head of broccoli weighs 300g and the edible portion weighs 235g. The price is calculated using the edible part weight.
Note 3. The edible part of a typical cauliflower weighs 800g. The price is calculated using the edible part weight.

Instructions for making Pad Thai:
In a large pot, heat water for cooking the noodles. In frypan, stirfry chicken (or cooked lentils) and onion for 2-3 minutes in oil. Add vegs and curry paste and stirfy until vegs are almost cooked and simultaneously cook the noodles for 6 minutes (in the pot of water). Then add the cooked noodles, fish sauce and coconut cream to the frypan and heat through (about 2 minutes), adding a little extra water as needed (noodle water can be used).

Pad Thai verdict: This exceeded my expectations and I’d happily eat it any day. It looked good visually and tasted great, with good texture contrasts. Suitable for any meal of the day, including snacks.

I have a few other recipes I might try making with lentils instead of meat and if they’re successful, I might post them here.


Substitutes for the recipes and their cost (based on 500g cooked) (double it for 1kg cooked):
$0.37 – white rice 220g raw to yield 500g cooked. You can get white rice 5kg $8.49 (0.001698cpg).
$0.43 – brown rice 220g raw to yield 500g cooked. You can get brown rice 5kg $9.99 (0.001998cpg).
$1.06 – lentils 200g raw to yield 500g cooked.
$2.30 – lentils canned 500g. To use canned lentils will cost more. One 420g can of cooked brown lentils is 60% lentils, so the yield from one can is 252g cooked lentils. A 420g can of budget (e.g. Select) brown lentils costs $1.15 and you’ll need two cans to yield 500g.
$1.32 - chickpeas 220g raw to yield 500g cooked. You can get dried chickpeas 500g pkt $3 (0.006cpg).
$3.00 – chickpeas canned 500g. To use canned chickpeas will cost more. One 425g can of cooked chickpeas is 60% chickpeas, so the yield from one can is 255g cooked chickpeas. A 425g can of budget (e.g. Maco) chickpeas costs $1.50 and you’ll need two cans to yield 500g.
$1.73 – beans 250g raw to yield 500g cooked. You can get, e.g., Sun Valley raw red kidney beans 500g pkt $3.47.
$2.30 – beans canned 500g. To use canned beans will cost more. One 400g can of cooked red kidney beans is 60% beans, so the yield from one can is 240g cooked beans. A 400g can of budget (e.g. Homebrand) red kidney beans costs $1.15 and you’ll need two cans to yield 480g.

As an extra, here’s the approx. calorie difference for 500g (cooked weight):
1125 calories - beef mince (normal, not lean) (500g raw weight) (2.25cpg)
779 calories - chickpeas (1.2cpg)
730 calories - Beef mince (premium, 95% lean) (500g raw weight) (1.46cpg)
700 calories - beans haricot/navy (1.4cpg)
650 calories - beans black (1.3cpg)
650 calories - rice white (1.3cpg)
575 calories - beans lima/butter (1.15cpg)
555 calories - rice brown (1.11cpg)
510 calories - beans red kidney (1.02cpg)
460 calories - beans cannellini (0.92cpg)
450 calories - lentils (0.9cpg)
This is being posted by me on behalf of J1 who is finding an issue with posting this.

I found if I ate lentils for lunch, it’d kill my appetite for the rest of the day so if you want to lose weight, eat lentils! J

Lentils - brown lentils have a slightly earthy flavour and whole green lentils are similar. Split lentils (e.g. red) taste fine but don’t hold their shape well, which is fine for some recipes but not so good for others. My favourite lentil (looks, taste, texture, etc) is the French-style one but this is also the most expensive.

Depending on the recipe, sometimes mashed beans or chickpeas might work better than whole ones.

Of course, some of the other recipe ingredients could easily be substituted, omitted, etc to make things even cheaper.

Spices add significant cost to a recipe.

And, finally, it’s nice to be able to say:
NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THESE RECIPES!! J
(Well, almost. There’s the little matter of things like fish sauce…)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/16/2015 03:30AM by helen.
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 16, 2015 04:26AM
Smart thinking, J1! We are big fans of subbing in veggies and legumes for meat, since many Kiwis, us included, eat way more meat than we ought. In some dishes we've found a combo of red lentils and either green or brown lentils reigns - the red ones make sauces thicker and the other ones provide texture. We also use them with meat to make meat dishes go further - my husband recently made a delicious stew stretch an extra meal by adding lentils and extra veg.

(sorry no recipe)

__________________________________________________________

Visit Mrs Cake's blog at [www.mrscake.co.nz]
J1
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 16, 2015 09:43AM
Oh, that's great Helen, thanks for posting that. I kept getting "database error" when trying to post it. I think others have occasionally found that issue. Helen's going to look into it.

There are some photos that are supposed to accompany it so I'll go in and edit the post now and attach them to the bottom (that should work! smiling smiley - otherwise Helen was going to post the photos as soon as she gets a chance.

Thanks! And thanks for your comments Mrs Cake.


Oh, well, of course, I've just realised I can't edit the post to add the photos because Helen's posted the post and I can't edit her posts, only mine. So I'll leave it to Helen - sorry for creating work for her.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/16/2015 09:46AM by J1.
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 16, 2015 11:36AM
But J1 you could add them into a new post and refer to your post above, or (better still) repeat your recipes by copying and posting them and adding the photos into a new post and they would come up at the most recent post. Otherwise/maybe, a lot of us may not go back to the original post Helen put up for you? Just a thought!

Great recipes and I am looking forward to viewing your photos.
Regards,
Dawn.
J1
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 16, 2015 10:46PM
I wondered how cheap a recipe would be if you substituted the meat for lentils/chickpeas/beans/rice? I tried this on a few of my standard recipes. Some turned out well, others not so good. Each recipe serves 4 adults.

I costed them using my normal, preferred ingredients (e.g. NZ evoo rather than canola oil). Then I costed everything again at cheap prices (based on Countdown online in many cases, which we know isn’t the cheapest), which I’ve used here. I saw that if I shopped for cheap ingredients rather than my preferred ingredients, I’d save a further $2-$4 per recipe.

When costing the meat, I used whatever price the supermarket had at the time - I didn’t seek specials. Some of the recipes here using meat would be significantly cheaper if I had.

Although I get a lot of vegetables and herbs from my garden, I costed everything as though purchased.

“cpg” stands for cents per gram and “cpml” stands for cents per ml.


Dominion Loaf (serves 4 adults)
See photo at bottom of this post
1 onion (130g) @$1.60 per kg (0.0016cpg) =$0.20
1 small carrot (80g) @ $2.60 for 1.5kg bag (0.0017cpg) =$0.13
1 tart apple (entire apple = 180g) @ $3 for 2.5kg (0.0012cpg) = $0.21
2 cloves garlic (8g) @ $20 per kg (0.02cpg) = $0.16
1 egg @$3 per doz (25c per egg) =$0.25
½ cup (125ml) milk @ $2.95 for 2 litres (0.00147cpml) = $0.18
1 tbspn (15ml) soy sauce @ $2.99 for 550ml (0.0054cpml) = $0.08
1-2 tspns (2-4g) curry powder @ $3 for 100g (0.03cpg) =$0.12
1 tspn (3g) sugar @ $2.30 for 1.5kg (0.0015cpg) = negligible cost
½ tspn (2.5g) salt @ $1.20 per kg (0.0012cpg) = negligible cost
2 sprigs parsley @own garden =$-
500g cooked brown lentils (= 200g uncooked) @$2.69 for 500g (0.0053cpg) = $1.06
1 cup (90g) rolled oats @$2 for 750g (0.00266cpg) =$0.24
Total cost for lentil loaf = $2.63
Add vegetable accompaniments:

Potato (Agria) for 4 adults (200g each = 800g total) @$1.70 per kg (0.0017cpg) =$1.36
Peas (frozen) for 4 adults (½ cup (65g) each = 260g total) @$2.29 per kg (0.00229cpg) =$0.59
Carrot for 4 adults (100g each = 400g total) @$2.60 for 1.5kg bag (0.0017cpg) =$0.68
Total for veg = $2.63
TOTAL COST OF MEAL = $5.26
Cost per adult = $1.31


Cost of Dominion Loaf if using original meat:
500g beef mince (normal, not premium) @ $14.50 per kg (0.0145cpg) =$7.25
Total cost for meat loaf = $8.82
Add vegetable accompaniments as per above (total $2.63)
TOTAL COST OF MEAL (using mince) = $11.45
Cost per adult = $2.86


Instructions for making Dominion Loaf:
Cut onion, carrot and apple into quarters and place in food processor. Add garlic, egg, milk, soy sauce, curry powder, sugar, salt and parsley and process all until finely and evenly chopped. Remove and place in a bowl. Add mince (or cooked lentils) and rolled oats and stir to combine. Press mixture into a loaf tin and bake at 180°C for one hour.

Dominion Loaf verdict: The lentil loaf I made was just as tasty and delicious as the meat version. It was also visually appealing and had no problems. Like most loaves, it tastes even better the next day. Suitable for any meal of the day, including snacks. I think the lentils could be substituted with chickpeas or beans or rice.


Spicy Caribbean-Style Stew (serves 4 adults)
See photo at bottom of this post
1 tbspn (15ml) oil @ $5 for 2 litres (0.0025cpml) = $0.03
1kg cooked brown lentils (= 400g uncooked) @$2.69 for 500g (0.0053cpg) = $2.12
2 tspns (4g) ground allspice @ $2 for 40g (0.05cpg) = $0.20
1 tspn (2g) ground cinnamon @ $2 for 30g (0.066cpg) = $0.13
pinch ground nutmeg = negligible cost
1 tbspn finely chopped fresh thyme @own garden = $-
2 medium onions (260g) @ $1.60 per kg (0.0016cpg) = $0.41
2 cloves garlic (8g) @ $20 per kg (0.02cpg) = $0.16
4cm (20g) fresh ginger root @ $8 per kg (0.008cpg) = $0.16
1 medium-sized red chilli (see note 1) (est. use 2g of pkt dried chilli) @ $4.99 for 10g pkt (0.499cpg) = $1.00
400g can tomatoes @ 80c for 400g = $0.80
2 tbspns (20g) brown sugar @ $2.30 per 1kg (0.0023cpg) =$0.04
2 tspns finely grated orange rind (1 typical orange weighs 185g) @ $3.50 for 1.5kg bag (0.0023cpg) = $0.42
2 tbspns (30ml) soy sauce @ $2.99 for 550ml (0.0054cpml) = $0.16
1 medium kumara (280g) @ $3 per kg (0.003cpg) = $0.84
1 cup (135g) corn kernels @ $3.98 for 1kg (0.00398cpg) = $0.53
1 carrot (130g) @ $2.60 for 1.5kg bag (0.0017cpg) = $0.22
125g spinach @ $3.29 for 1 bag (120g) = $3.29
Total cost for Spicy Caribbean-Style Stew $10.51
Cost per adult = $2.62


Cost of Spicy Caribbean-Style Stew if using original meat:
700g chicken meat (thigh) @ $18.40 per kg (0.0184cpg) =$12.88
Total cost for chicken stew = $21.27
Cost per adult = $5.31


Note 1. Fresh green/red chillies. I've never had to buy these as we have a permanent supply from our home garden. When trying to price them for this exercise, I found I couldn't buy any fresh. The next best thing was a packet of semi-dried "Gourmet Garden" Australian chillies (3 to a packet) 10g for $4.99 so I used this for the pricing.

Instructions for making Spicy Caribbean-Style Stew:
Toss chicken in combined spices and thyme. In oil in large frypan, brown chicken. Add onion, garlic, ginger and chilli; cook for a few minutes until onion is soft. Add tomatoes, sugar, rind, soy sauce, kumara, corn, carrot and spinach; cook, covered, for approx. 15 minutes or until chicken and vegs are tender.
If using lentils, toss lentils in combined spices and thyme. In oil in large frypan, add lentils, onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and proceed as above.

Spicy Caribbean-Style Stew verdict: The lentil version looked a bit messy to start with but I was happier with it as things progressed. Brown lentils in this dish aren’t the best visually but it tasted just as it should and I’d be happy to substitute the meat out again anytime. Fine for any meal of the day. I think chickpeas might be the supreme substitution for this one, but beans or rice should also be fine.


Pad Thai (serves 4 adults)
See photo at bottom of this post
1kg cooked French-style lentils (= 400g uncooked) @ $4 for 375g (0.0106cpg) =$4.24
1 onion (130g) @ $1.60 per kg (0.0016cpg) = $0.20
1 tbspn (15ml) oil @ $5 for 2L (0.0025cpml) = $0.03
3 tbspns (45g) Thai green curry paste @ $2.80 for 160g (0.0175cpg) = $0.79
600g stir-fry vegs:
carrot 200g @ $2.60 for 1.5kg bag (0.0017cpg) =$0.34
broccoli 150g @ $2 for 1 head (note 2) 235g (0.0085cpg) = $1.28
cauliflower 170g @ $5 for 1 head (note 3) 800g (0.0062cpg) = $1.06
corn kernels 80g @ $3.98 for 1kg (0.00398cpg) = $0.32
200g pkt wide rice noodles @ $2 for 200g = $2.00
2 tbspns (30ml) fish sauce @ $2 for 200ml (0.01cpg) = $0.30
1 cup (250ml) coconut cream $1.29 for 400ml (0.0032cpg) = $0.80
Total cost for lentil pad thai $11.36
Cost per adult = $2.84


Cost of Pad Thai if using original meat:
600g chicken meat (thigh) @ $18.40 per kg (0.0184cpg) =$11.04
Total cost for chicken pad thai = $18.16
Cost per adult = $4.54


Note 2. A typical head of broccoli weighs 300g and the edible portion weighs 235g. The price is calculated using the edible part weight.
Note 3. The edible part of a typical cauliflower weighs 800g. The price is calculated using the edible part weight.

Instructions for making Pad Thai:
In a large pot, heat water for cooking the noodles. In frypan, stirfry chicken (or cooked lentils) and onion for 2-3 minutes in oil. Add vegs and curry paste and stirfy until vegs are almost cooked and simultaneously cook the noodles for 6 minutes (in the pot of water). Then add the cooked noodles, fish sauce and coconut cream to the frypan and heat through (about 2 minutes), adding a little extra water as needed (noodle water can be used).

Pad Thai verdict: This exceeded my expectations and I’d happily eat it any day. It looked good visually and tasted great, with good texture contrasts. Suitable for any meal of the day, including snacks.

I have a few other recipes I might try making with lentils instead of meat and if they’re successful, I might post them here.


Substitutes for the recipes and their cost (based on 500g cooked) (double it for 1kg cooked):
$0.37 – white rice 220g raw to yield 500g cooked. You can get white rice 5kg $8.49 (0.001698cpg).
$0.43 – brown rice 220g raw to yield 500g cooked. You can get brown rice 5kg $9.99 (0.001998cpg).
$1.06 – lentils 200g raw to yield 500g cooked.
$2.30 – lentils canned 500g. To use canned lentils will cost more. One 420g can of cooked brown lentils is 60% lentils, so the yield from one can is 252g cooked lentils. A 420g can of budget (e.g. Select) brown lentils costs $1.15 and you’ll need two cans to yield 500g.
$1.32 - chickpeas 220g raw to yield 500g cooked. You can get dried chickpeas 500g pkt $3 (0.006cpg).
$3.00 – chickpeas canned 500g. To use canned chickpeas will cost more. One 425g can of cooked chickpeas is 60% chickpeas, so the yield from one can is 255g cooked chickpeas. A 425g can of budget (e.g. Maco) chickpeas costs $1.50 and you’ll need two cans to yield 500g.
$1.73 – beans 250g raw to yield 500g cooked. You can get, e.g., Sun Valley raw red kidney beans 500g pkt $3.47.
$2.30 – beans canned 500g. To use canned beans will cost more. One 400g can of cooked red kidney beans is 60% beans, so the yield from one can is 240g cooked beans. A 400g can of budget (e.g. Homebrand) red kidney beans costs $1.15 and you’ll need two cans to yield 480g.

As an extra, here’s the approx. calorie difference for 500g (cooked weight):
1125 calories - beef mince (normal, not lean) (500g raw weight) (2.25cpg)
779 calories - chickpeas (1.2cpg)
730 calories - Beef mince (premium, 95% lean) (500g raw weight) (1.46cpg)
700 calories - beans haricot/navy (1.4cpg)
650 calories - beans black (1.3cpg)
650 calories - rice white (1.3cpg)
575 calories - beans lima/butter (1.15cpg)
555 calories - rice brown (1.11cpg)
510 calories - beans red kidney (1.02cpg)
460 calories - beans cannellini (0.92cpg)
450 calories - lentils (0.9cpg)
I found if I ate lentils for lunch, it’d kill my appetite for the rest of the day so if you want to lose weight, eat lentils! smiling smiley

Lentils - brown lentils have a slightly earthy flavour and whole green lentils are similar. Split lentils (e.g. red) taste fine but don’t hold their shape well, which is fine for some recipes but not so good for others. My favourite lentil (looks, taste, texture, etc) is the French-style one but this is also the most expensive.

Depending on the recipe, sometimes mashed beans or chickpeas might work better than whole ones.

Of course, some of the other recipe ingredients could easily be substituted, omitted, etc to make things even cheaper.

Spices add significant cost to a recipe.

And, finally, it’s nice to be able to say:
NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THESE RECIPES!! smiling smiley
(Well, almost. There’s the little matter of things like fish sauce…)

Thanks Dawn! I'd assumed that if I copied the post and tried to post it, I'd get the same database errors but you're right, it works. Below are the three recipe photos.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 10/16/2015 11:03PM by J1.
Attachments:
open | download - Dominion Lentil Loaf (1).JPG (1.96 MB)
open | download - Pad Thai (1).JPG (824.4 KB)
open | download - Spicy Caribbean-Style Lentil Stew (1).JPG (1.96 MB)
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 16, 2015 10:49PM
I make a veggie shepherds pie with green lentils, everyone loves it and friends ask how do you get so much flavour into it! I will cost it out later and see if it fits into under $10.( or close enough with a tweak or two)
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 17, 2015 12:51AM
Mmmmm thanks J1. Those recipes look so nice, you would almost expect there to be meat in them, judging from your photos, especially the Dominion Lentil Loaf and Spicy Caribbean Lentil Stew! I reckon I could fool my husband into thinking he's eating meat!smiling smiley
Regards,
Dawn.
J1
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 17, 2015 08:39AM
Thanks Dawn. I'm thinking you could always put half/quarter the meat in (and the rest as lentils) so if anybody asks you can truthfully respond "Yes, it's got meat in it!". winking smiley
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 19, 2015 12:10AM
Wow, what a lot of time and effort J1. Thank you so much.
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 19, 2015 01:34AM
I second Stephanies comment : Well done J1 ( I feel their is a cookbook just waiting to come out?)

Helen: I wonder if any of these recipes could be used somehow - an online cookbook, attached to Foodlovers?
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 19, 2015 07:10AM
Congratulations J1. You've put in a lot of effort. I have copied and pasted the recipes and will definitely try them.
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 20, 2015 02:43AM
The Lentil loaf looks delicious, I'll be making that in the near future. We eat quite a few lentil dishes and I am always looking for more.
J1
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 22, 2015 02:37AM
I just want to say thanks for your comments.
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 22, 2015 10:24AM
Hi J1 - thank you! I made the Dominion Loaf last night and found it quite tasty, although it fell apart as I sliced it. I followed the recipe, but I wonder if the apple and onion I used were too big, so too much 'juice', or maybe I didn't push it down in the loaf pan enough When I saw how wet the raw mixture was, I added another egg. It has firmed up in the fridge today though. Good recipe for meatless days, and I can imagine changing it to add plenty of fresh herbs and some chopped walnuts, leaving out the curry powder, or perhaps adding cumin, capsicum and say dried apricots, or even a little orange rind, to give a bit of a Middle Eastern flavour. Love versatile, easy recipes J1 smiling bouncing smiley
J1
Re: The return of the Cheap Eats Challenge
October 22, 2015 09:28PM
It's good to have the report back Heather, thanks. I've noticed the type of oven dish used can sometimes make a difference to how dry or wet a loaf, casserole, etc is too. I cook my loaves in a glass loaf dish, which maybe dries them out a bit more than some other type of dish. The meat version is very moist too.

Something you can do with the Dominion Loaf is to spread a layer of tomato sauce on the top in the last 15 minutes of cooking, and sprinkle grated cheese over it. This will increase the cost though.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2015 01:56AM by J1.
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