frozen bag of boneless skinless chicken breast can be prepared any number of ways.
Thaw chicken, crack an egg and dip the chicken in it, then roll in Italian bread crumbs or crushed corn flakes (my preferred). Make some rice, or a potato or something. Eat for like 2.50
Take chicken breast, put a couple in a oven safe container. Pour BBQ sauce, or a marinade over it. Put some veggies in a microwave safe container, spash of water and some cling wrap. Puncture once and cook for 30sec - 1min. Steamed veggies and chicken.
Buy frozen talapia (white fish, that cost like $10 for a bag of it), thaw a couple pieces. Put in oven container with Hawaiian marinade. Buy and cook Uncle Bens fried rice (less then $1). Have some fish over rice.
Buy a croc pot, throw random meat and veggies in it in the morning. Come home to hearty meal that will last a few days. (I made pork chops, chicken, roast, stew, etc etc etc). Croc parts are great for throwing anything in, adding some beef or chicken flavor and coming home to hot food.
Stoffers frozen meals when they are like 1.50 each. When I was working out a lot I would eat two for dinner. $3 dinner, sweet.
Lean pockets, french bread pizza, cold cuts, Super Pretzel with some melted Kraft cheese, etc.
I could go on all night, you have endless options. There is no reason why you cannot have a nice hearty home cooked meal for less then $5. Plus the ladies like when you can cook a little something.
I have a few things I do when I need a cheap meal....
1: Get a Jambalaya mix from Zatterans (rice mix) and get some kind of smoked sausage and cut it up and make that...takes 30 minutes (most of that is waiting) and is pretty cheap. Great meal and it fills you up and can last a few days
2: Lasagna....its a bit of work but if you buy the stuff to make it...it will feed you for a while. Dont forget you can freeze half of it or more for later :biggrin:
3: A whole chicken is pretty cheap....cover that in olive oil and herbs and spices and cook it in the oven. Get some cheap sides and you have a nice meal for a few days :thumbsup:
for fast food, one of the healthier places to eat while at a good price is El Pollo Loco. Right now, they have a sale for 7 pc leg/thigh for $5.99. Ask them for 5 packs of tortilla (each pack as 2) for $1, so that's $7, and that should fill up 2-4 people, depending on how much you eat.
I didnt feel like reading everyone else's tips so if I double up tips just ignore it.
Ramen (of course) - I keep 5 or 6 of those big packs (with like 6 individual packs in it) in the house for each month for in-between meal snacks and quick lunches
Rice and pasta based dishes - I have a few recipes if you want, but go to the supermarket and look at things like the Zataran's brand dirty rice mix... one lb of ground beef, and that rice mix will feed one person at least 3 times and it only costs 1.79 plus the meat...
Campbell's soup - they have easy recipes on most of the soup cans that can be made pretty cheap and feed a single person 4x... just go read the labels (there is usually one on the outside of the label and 2 or 3 inside the label) until you find something that sounds appealing to you and make it.
Find a friend with a costco, BJ's, Sam's club card and shop for things you will use a ton of in bulk... we bought like 40lbs of rice for $12 and it has already fed us for 3 months on less than half that bag
Last but certainly not least: cut out anything and everything you cant live without... we dont keep cookies, cakes, snack foods, etc in the house anymore cuz they are superfluous and cost A TON
My wife and I went from spending ~$650 per month with shopping and eating out to $180 last month just cooking every day, and I am willing to bet that we ate MORE food and food that was better for us every day.
Don't hate on left overs... since my wife and I have started doing the budget food thing I will eat anything and everything we have whenever I am hungry. Meaning, if it is 9 am and I am starving but we dont have breakfast foods I eat chicken and rice, or hotdogs and macaroni and cheese, etc.... It was weird to get used to but once I did i can eat anything anytime now
pasta + jar of sauce(alfredo or tomato)
rice, we always have rice in the rice cooker since my moms asian =D
sandwiches of different assortments
hot dogs, can get a pack for less than $1
2 liters of soda if you like soda, gallons of water, store brand tea, ect
This is all of the food I can think of right now. I'm not in college, but I do shop for my self.
Frozen Pizza : I like market basket brand, its a Digorno and only costs $3.50, if not walmart has awesome prices
Mac n' Cheese w/ chopped up hot dogs: I'd reccomend 2-3 hotdogs per box of mac n cheese, if you have someone else eating add more dogs or another box of mac. $3 maybe
Hotdogs, buns, beans : again, super cheap and straight forward
Chicken Kiev/chicken and stuffing, chicken cordon bleu : they come frozen in 2 packs for like 2.50, super tasty and you just add like the lipton easy rice/noodles and a frozen veggie, your dinner again is under $4
Ramen is good but high in sodium, I personally pour out the water after cooking to reduce some of the sodium in the meal.
buy lots of store brand bread, milk, meat etc.. you save the premium price and usually they are the same.
Shop at a price chopper, sav-a-lot, Market basket etc. in my town grocery store prices can vary as much as 40% on some items.. $7 pizza at one place may be $5 at another.. shop around.. find out where is best in your area.. I usually only eat dinner at home but with a package of bagels and peanut butter for breakfast and dinners for the week I only spend $50 for myself and my GF this past sunday at the grocery store. we were bugeting $60 combined a week and we ended up stockpiling so much food after 2 months that we took 2 weeks off to use up what we built up.