The city that never sleeps is currently taking a nap. Stores are closed, events are canceled, and there is an eerie hushed aura filling the bare streets.
Figuring out what to do with indefinite free time and a nonexistent budget? Consider getting fancy in the kitchen!
Here are five meals for under $5 a serving
A Sunday Roast
The Sunday roast is a British tradition dating back to the 15th century under King Henry VII’s reign, and it involves roasted meat, potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding, stuffing, gravy, and mint sauce. To kick off quarantine, we had a roast using cheap meat, potatoes, and veggies from the Food Bizarre.
This beautiful looking feast elicited quite a few “What’s the recipe?!?” responses on Instagram.
Chef Hales’ response: “Slather the meat in garlic and herbs, cook it at some temperature for some amount of time, then roast off the veggies.”
That isn’t wildly helpful, but the main feature of the diner was the price point:
With 4 servings, that’s $3.45/serving!
The best part about the meal wasn’t the food, but the experience. We shut off our phones, poured a glass of wine, and actually took time to sit at the table.
Quarantine Tip 1:
Spend time with the people you are stuck with. I don’t mean watching a movie, binging a TV show, or sitting next to each other on the couch while scrolling through Instagram, but rather spending quality time with good conversation and no distractions.
While it may not have been fit for a queen, it was perfectly acceptable for the residents of apartment 3B.
Thai Chicken Curry
Trader Joe’s is a lifesaver. The groceries are cheap, the workers are friendly, and the products are fantastic. To continue our quarantine cooking adventures, we decided on a chicken curry.
The process was simple. We cooked some chicken, threw in peppers, broccoli, and onion, then let it simmer in Thai Style Red Curry Sauce while cooking up brown rice. Boom! A delicious curry to eat while we unashamedly finished watching the latest season of the Bachelor.
Quarantine Tip 2:
Now is your chance to dive into a trashy relative TV show you secretly love but are embarrassed to admit. There’s nothing like wrapping yourself in someone else’s problems to help forget your own! Turn off the news and turn on something mindless to help save your sanity.
While watching The Bachelor was a highlight (obviously..) The best part was that the meal came out to $3.50 a serving!
Here’s the breakdown.
Veggies and rice: $3ish.
=$14 and 4 servings.
Breakfast Bagel Sandwich
Few things beat a beautifully doughy bagel stuffed with eggs, crispy bacon, melted cheese, and a splash of hot sauce. I love a good breakfast bagel sandwich to start the day, but it’s hard to justify a $8 creation when unemployed. So why not make one at home? It’s an easy meal that anyone can make.
Jeremy is the breakfast bagel master, and he makes it for under $3!
3 eggs: $0.40
Quarantine Tip 3:
Cooking is fun and bagel sandwiches are great, but don’t forget to keep your body moving so you don’t walk back into society looking and feeling like a bag of potatoes. Talking periodic walks breaks up the day, and doing one of the at home workouts from Dancers Who Lift is a perfect boost for your body and mind.
With the looming travel restrictions in Australia, it looked like there was only one option: Jeremy would have to fly home. The past two months have been the ultimate valley, and this was the TNT filled cherry on top that bought everything tumbling down.
Upset is an understatement.
For one final meal, we ordered pizza from Toney Baloneys, a Jersey City shop that became Instagram famous for its taco pizza, which is exactly what it sounds like: a massive pie loaded up with tacos. We got a “Jersey Fist Pump” pizza in the Sicilian style which came surprisingly fast. The delectable smell was wafting through the apartment as we set the massive box on the kitchen table. We excitedly opened it up to find a round, less than average looking pizza. I called to inform them our order was wrong just to get 25% off, which meant we still payed a whopping $40! They caught me at a low point and I certainly informed my 3,500 followers on Instagram. I’m sure about 2 people cared, but pretending I had some sort of weight felt good in the moment.
Quarantine Tip 4:
Things suck in the world right now. Plain and simple. Allow yourself to be upset and discouraged, and use the emotions to fuel productivity and drive you forward instead of into the ground. Remember that this just temporary, and things WILL get better.
Long story short, Jeremy did not go to Australia. Crisis averted.
With everything shut down, no work on the horizon, and a never-ending hunger for pizza, we decided to take the dough into our own hands.
Pre-made balls of pizza dough can be found in the refrigerated section at Trader Joes for $1.19…. how can you afford to not buy that?!
Our process was beyond easy:
- Let the dough sit out for 20 minutes while preheating the oven to 425.
- Flour the counter and roll that bad boy out.
- Go to town on the toppings
- Bake it until the curst is brown and cheese is bubbling.
The crust was a bit underdone and didn’t have the texture and flavor that come with a wood burning oven like at Razza Pizza Artigianale, but it was still tasty!
Pizza Dough: $1.19
Cheese: used $2.50 worth
Pepperoni: used $1.00 Worth
Sauce: a few spoonfills….
Total: $4.69…… that’s $2.35 a person!
Chicken and Vegetables…what we usually eat…..
Scrolling through The Frugal Foodies Instagram and perusing the blog, you will see decadent deserts and lavish meals, but that’s only what we eat 10% of the time. For the other 90% we stick to simple, easy, fresh meals.
This is a standard dinner consumed by the frugal foodies: chicken, steamed broccoli, and roasted sweet potatoes. It’s simple, tasty, and covers all your food groups you need. Plus, it’s cheap!
Frozen broccoli: $1.49
Sweet potatoes: $.80
= $7.29 which is $3.65 per person.
Instead of blowing through your savings ordering take-out and food delivery, get busy in the kitchen! You’ll save money, kill time, and who knows…. Maybe you’ll discover that you are the next Bobby Flay!