My sister, Hannah, just moved to Brooklyn to live in her first grown-up apartment. She used to come over for dinner all the time but now she is too far away :(. Since she now has to cook her meals on her own, she is looking for a little advice on how to keep meals cheap and healthy. Every Thursday, I will add a new ‘Thrifty Thursdays’ meal in which I try to keep ingredient costs to a minimum. Being thrifty in the kitchen is definitely a skill. It helps to have a stocked pantry to start. I will do a more in-depth look at a fully stocked pantry in another post but for now, here is my list of necessary pantry items:
Spices- Thyme, Cumin, Chili Powder, Cayenne, Salt and Pepper is a good place to start…you can build as you get more confident with your cooking
Whole Wheat Pasta
Some type of vinegar (whatever you like)
Peanut butter (just in case it doesn’t work out on the stove 😉 )
A hard cheese like parmasan or peccorino (stays good for a LOOOONG time in the fridge)
NOTE: A great way to eat cheaply is to eat LOCALLY. Shop your farmer’s markets for local, seasonal vegetables and buy just what you need for the next few days. Living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan, there are a lot of options for fresh food and farmer’s markets…take advantage of them! Also, definitely shop Trader Joe’s…they are my favorite for budget friendly meals. I will have to do a separate post about my love for Joe.
Here is what I made tonight. I will have to approximate the cost since a few things came from my CSA but this is a general guideline. This meal feeds 4 (or 3 very hungry people)
1 lb of Organic Whole Wheat Spaghetti- <$1.50
3 cloves of Garlic- $.50
1 bunch of arugula- $3
1 tomato- (in season) $1
1/4 cup of goat cheese- $3.50
Can of white beans- $.89
**I used goat cheese ricotta that I got from the farmer’s market and it was $7. I didn’t use the whole thing so I will be able to use it for another meal later in the week. You can leave this out, or sub for something else. Trader Joe’s has great cheese prices and you can find 4oz of goat cheese for 2.99.
This brings the grand total to just over $10, or less than $3.00 a person.
Cook pasta according to directions (boil water, etc)
Start by heating oil in your pan. Throw in diced garlic and your chopped tomato.
Be careful not to burn your garlic.
Drain (no need to rinse) your can of white beans and toss into the pan.
Season with Salt and Pepper
Toss roughly chopped arugula in the pan and turn the heat off. The arugula will wilt from the heat of the pasta
Drain your pasta and add directly to your sauce pan
Toss in the goat cheese, stir, and serve.
Sweet P loves any combo of cheese and pasta (who doesn’t!?) so she gave this a 5/5
Frugally yours, SW and Sweet P