I was making a stocking up list and it got me thinking about how to fix things on the cheap. This isn’t taking into account different foods from other countries. Yes it’s sad but some places still don’t have “Kraft Mac & Cheese.”
Please feel free to add your own secret food flair here too.
Boxed Mac & Cheese
We like to amp up the tangy factor with a couple of spoonfuls of mustard, and a pinch of nutmeg if there's some on hand. Crumble some crackers or breadcrumbs over top and call it a "macaroni gratin." And if you're caught short on milk, don't fret. Sub in half the quantity of milk with water, or just use extra butter.
Pasta Cheese Sauce
Doll up your pasta with this easy cheese sauce. Just melt one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over low heat and gradually whisk in one tablespoon of flour and a small pinch of salt. Stir this paste together for 2-3 minutes, and slowly pour in cup of milk, stirring constantly until it's thickened. Then stir in two grated tablespoons of your favorite cheese. Or skip the cheese and whisk in handful of chopped herbs, a sprinkle of nutmeg, seasoned salt, sautéed garlic, or even chunks of fresh tomato to make it a "pink" sauce. You can also skip sauce entirely and go with a drizzle of butter or olive oil, a pinch of kosher salt and a pinch of snipped herbs.
Bring a bit of pizzazz to plain white rice by subbing in fruit juice or broth for some or all of the water. Or, add a little texture to the mix with basmati, jasmine, Arborio or different mixes of wild rice. You don't have commit to a mega-sized sack of it. Just head over to your local health or international food store; they usually sells grains in bulk, so you can mix, match, and buy as much or as little as you'd like, often for just pennies.
Tuna is packed with lean protein and omega-3, and all that goodness doesn't have to be undone by a tidal wave of mayo. Opt for the water-packed variety, and toss it with tomatoes, a vinaigrette dressing and wild rice or over lettuce for a fresh, flavored-packed salad. Mix it with a dash of olive oil, olive slices and hard boiled eggs for a nicoise-like sandwich filling, or sub it in for the beef or other meats in pot pies and pasta recipes.
Bulk up canned soup with a handful of quick-cooking rice, or pre-cooked pasta. Veggies may cost a pretty penny at the grocery store, so seek out your local farmers market or food co-op and pick a few sweet peppers, local tomatoes, squash or eggplant, ECT… and roast or grill them sliced with a little bit of olive oil in your oven. They'll make even plain old tomato soup taste like a million bucks.
Break out of your culinary shell and learn to make quiche or a savory tortilla espanola. They're simple to make, filling, and elegant at any meal. And while you're at it, expand your repertoire of egg techniques. Have you ever coddled, shirred or pickled eggs?
Is there anything these tubers can't do? We love 'em whipped, mashed, baked and boiled, but we're especially fond of rosti potatoes, the aforementioned tortilla espanola, and most of all a big, bubbling pot of potato soup. Bring on the cold weather!
Dried or canned, beans are a simple source of protein. Beans and rice are an inexpensive and delicious staple dish in cultures the world over. They're a great way to stretch a soup, stew or chili, and a great addition to almost any cold salad.
In a curry, stew, soup or pilaf, lentils add a nutty note and bring along a bounty of healthy benefits. Unlike beans, their legume cousins, they don't require soaking, and most varieties cook quite quickly. Sub them for meat in Indian and Asian dishes, toss into salads, or mash 'em into a delicious dip. For maximum value, trying buying them in bulk at a health food store or co-op.
Who says cinnamon and sugar are the only ways to go with oatmeal? We like to start the day in a savory way, adding a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a dash of hot sauce. Or, if we're feeling a tad sweet, we'll go with grapes, or a swirl of peanut butter. It's a cheap, filling, and satisfying way to start the day.
Learn how to cut up a whole bird, and you'll never shell out big bucks for chicken breasts again. This includes from the bird running around the yard to the pot, or grill. Use the bones to make a rich, delicious chicken stock to use as a base for soups and stews. It tastes much better than the canned stuff.
Well you are on a boat so learn how to fish, catch, clean, & cook them.