Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Poverty Meals

I'm sure we have all had days like this. Payday is a day or two away, but it feels like a year away. You're down to your last few dollars and you have to figure out how you're going to eat for the rest of the week.

I'm having that kind of week right now.

I'm eating the dregs of my kitchen. I'm using up some of that excess stuff I have in the cabinets, but not all of it makes for a good meal. I've been trying to get around actually having to make dinner these past few nights. Thank goodness we had leftovers from our anniversary dinner. Lunch has been peanut butter and jelly on bread that has spent a little too much time in the freezer.

I was planning to tell Kevin I was too busy to make dinner tonight and that he would have to get his own dinner. That way I could snarf down another PBJ or some scramble eggs before he came home tonight. While I ate lunch today I began to reconsider.

I thought, "Why not buy a box of pasta and some canned tomatoes? It's cheap and will get you through lunch and dinner until payday." It was very true, but after I made that lovely fresh tomato sauce last week, I can't seem to bring myself to make tomato sauce from a can for a while.

"Why not buy some spaghetti and just spread on a little butter and parmesan? That wouldn't cost anything but the cost of the pasta," I told myself. It seemed like a decent idea, but as much as I defend the nutritional value of pasta, buttered spaghetti seemed a little low in the nutrient department.

I continued to munch my PBJ and considered what I might put on top of some nice cheap pasta. Suddenly the peanut butter hit my taste buds. "I HAVE PEANUT BUTTER AT HOME," said a giant neon sign in my brain. I also know I happen to have some red curry paste. I know a wonderful recipe for red curry noodles and all I would need to buy was a box of whole wheat spaghetti and a few veggies.

I went to the store and bought carrots, cilantro, pasta, and lime.

I also bought this instead of mung beans. Why? LOOK AT THIS PEPPER! How could I resist. It was on sale too. I like peppers better than bean sprouts anyway.

I also bought a couple of these really beautiful oranges. My total bill was less than $10.

A really great tip for poverty-stricken shoppers: Shop in markets where they give out a lot of free samples. You can get a decent lunch that way. Stew Leonards is particularly good for this.

I should follow Michelle's lead and do something like her Cheap-Ass Monday. It wouldn't be a Monday though. Monday is the one day a week I'm likely to be home for long stretches of time without much else to do or anyplace else to go. Monday is when I pull out all of the stops and cook up a show. Thursdays and Fridays are good for that sort of thing.

Payday will be here soon though. I'm thinking pork chops!


Bellini Valli said...

I have so many differnet type of pastas I could eat frugally for some time to come:D

Sue said...

I LOVE cleaning out my refrigerator to make dinner and not buying anything.It usually starts with sauteeing onions and carrots. If I have boneless chicken thighs (WITH the bone are even cheaper) in the freezer, the sky is the limit. Using curry type spices, dinner is Indian with rice. Canned tomatoes and oregano, it's Italian, which I'll serve with polenta (the cornmeal is in the freezer). Lucky for my jammed pantry and a crammed freezer.

Adam said...

Sooo much better than regular pasta! Awesome sweet idea Rach :) And to think you can totally coast into paycheck day now. You're a crafty one, my dear :)

Darius T. Williams said...

Poverty - not looks sooo good. I'd love to have at this.


noble pig said...

This is a meal for royalty...sounds beautiful!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said... guys are all so sweet. The good news is I have been paid, and yet I can still save a few bucks on one more meal with this.

Sue and Val - I'm not nearly as well stocked as you guys sound. I suppose I should get in the habit of buying extra chicken and pasta for emergencies like this.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I allways say imagination makes better meals than money! Lovely!

Emiline said...

Pork chops and applesauce?

I love your thought process on coming up with this dish. It sounds great!

Yep, you betcha.