Economical Dinner?

I can't seem to find the saved threads, and I know there used to be a good one back there on this topic but I don't remember it.

Money is really tight at my house, and my mom is really busy finishing school and at work. Does anyone have any good economical meals for dinner which is mainly a protein meal with some carbs (around 75% protein, 25% carbs.)

I do not like Tuna (although I wish I did) though

Any Ideas would be great


hi nick,

i usually buy a lot of chicken quarters, which can be had for just cents on the pound... very good for cooking in bulk and freezing (i also really like dark meat, so all the better)

i also get a big bag of rice from an asian supermarket... something huge like a 20 lb bag. extremely cheap!

you can also find some packages of air-dried ramen which is low in fat (i like myojo brand)... usually less than 50 cents a package.

on top of that, i buy canned/frozen vegetables to add to the meal... chicken broth... and a bottle of frank's red hot.

Lipton makes several really good rice and pasta side dishes which only require water and a microwave to make. 13 minutues to cook the rice/pasta while your doing chicken on the stove top is cheap and fast.

Oatmeal is dirt cheap. The Savealot brand is really cheap. I like to mix it with applesauce, really good carb source.

Good topic.

Ramen noodles and a protein shake (CFM or Whey Isolate from the ProteinFactory) thats a cheap meal.

The cheapest meal would probably be any sort of MRP, since they average around 2 dollars per meal or less (MET-rx and so on). If you want a more filling option, try getting Military MRE's (C-rations). I pay about 2 dollars for mine and all the meals are high in protein (perhaps not 75%, but the meals are small so you can add other stuff). Some places sell them for 99 cents each so they are definately a good value. They taste good too, imo.

Ramen noodles, 15 cents

A hotdog, 20 cents

Together, a mightly fine meal

Thanks guys, keep em comming

IMO some of the best brands of dried/fried ramen are the korean brands such as Nong Shim. Usually about $0.79 a pack at the local asian supermarket.

Believe it or not, your best bet is to buy larger amounts of food, make dinner one day of the week and stretch it out all week. For instance, say I make meatballs and sauce on sunday. The meat probably costs 3 dollars and the sauce 3 dollars plus one pound of pasta costs one dollar. Add to it all the miscellaneous herbs and onions/garlic, breadcrumbs, cheese and etc which I only have to buy once in a while that I put in there, which adds an extra 6 or 7 dollars, and that totals up to about 13 dollars. 13 dollars divided by 6 nights puts you at about $2.20 per meal.

A great, inexpensive recipe to get online is a meal of pasta with garlic and oil, fish and some greens, maybe some steamed broccoli or something. You can substitute chicken for fish, either way you just sautee' whatever meat you have in some garlic and a little lemon juice. Add a dash of salt, etc. Anyway. if you want more tips you've got my e-mail.


Curry is a cheap meal too. You can make two weeks worth for $5

Are MRE's really that cheap?

Anyway, a cheapo dinner alternative would be spaghetti bolognese - boil pasta and serve with browned ground beef mixed with some canned tomatoes.

MRE's are like 6000Kcal

Believe it or not, your best bet is to buy larger amounts of food, make dinner one day of the week and stretch it out all week.You can save by buying in bulk as well... join a warehouse discount club place like Sams, Costco or BJ'sand buy stuff in the industrial sized packages... you spend a little more upfront, but you can save big on per-item cost if you shop carefully...(do comparison shop though, if you do this... don't just naively assume that everything in those places is a bargain).

what are Ramen noodles (instant) like nutrition wise? I always thought that they did nothing for you...

Instant ramen noodles are bad, nutrition wise.

MRE's aren't going to come as close cost wise as bulk recipies.


I haven't checked the back of the ramen pack in a while but I seem to remember them being not very nutritious at all.

It's basically something that's filling but that's about it.

Whenever my mom made it, she would add pieces of shredded egg, beef, use beef broth instead of water, the end, it was nutritious but because of what she added, not because ramen by itself is nutritious.

Where do you buy MRE's?

Anywhere, I grab mine online or at nutrition stores.