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CarolinaKip

Does Anyone Have Some Really Inexpensive Lunch Or Meal Ideas?

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I've had a paycut this year at work and during part of the month I'm really scrapping by. Which is this coming week.

I need cheap lunch ideas for me gluten-free of course, soy free, nut free, tomato free. I'm thinking canned tuna and chicken. I eat a lot of boiled eggs for my protien as well. I don't do a lot of dairy either. I can handle some hard cheese.

I feed myself and three teens dinner and I always cook gluten-free. I'm running out of ideas. I've done tacos, beans and fried potato, hotdogs, fried hotdogs with kraut and breakfast. Of course sandwich night for them. They make thier own.

Does your mind ever draw a blank at what to eat? Any suggestions are welcomed!

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My mind always draws a blank when it is time to fix a meal,lol

Ham and bean soup is a favorite of mine. Using dried beans and just enough ham for flavor and a little carrot and onion, it makes a very inexpensive meal (filling too)

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chili made with beans or Turkey (old el paso chili mix is safe I believe)

chicken taco soup in the crock pot there are many recipes online

Home made Lentil soup very filling and healthy

lazy man lasagna bake. corn pasta, cottage cheese or ricotta and cheese with Jarred sauce= easy peasy

Kelbasa as an inexpensive protein

oops just saw no tomato

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Rice with some veggie and meat mixed together.

Hamburgers with fries.

Also do breakfast foods for a dinner like eggs and bacon.

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I just thought of another one.

Chicken fried rice:

stir-fry veggies

rice

egg

and you control how much or how little chicken you put in it. Great if you just have a small amount of chicken for a group of people

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One of the meals I use is pancakes (homemade pancake mix) and fried eggs and maybe some little sausages (read the sausage label)...I use natural applesauce on top of the pancakes......better read the label on the tuna....the only canned tuna I find around here has soy in it....

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My mind is usually blank when it's time to make a meal. :lol:

I love breakfast for dinner once in awhile, which could be a breakfast casserole or pancakes/waffles.

How about pasta and chicken with an Alfredo sauce (don't know if you can do dairy)? Both Classico red and white sauces are gluten-free and they have a bunch of recipes on their website. http://www.classico.com/recipes/

What do you have in your pantry or freezer that you absolutely need to use up? I say that because I need to make some "clean-out-the-pantry" and freezer meals. :P

Crustless quiche, which can mean you toss in just about anything.

Lots of recipes here, too: http://www.glutenfreely.com/recipes

Edit: Canned salmon is also pretty economical...I get hungry for salmon patties once in awhile (or you could make salmon loaf)

Edited by sa1937

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One of the meals I use is pancakes (homemade pancake mix) and fried eggs and maybe some little sausages (read the sausage label)...I use natural applesauce on top of the pancakes......better read the label on the tuna....the only canned tuna I find around here has soy in it....

StarKist Selects tuna is soy-free. It's in the can with the gold label and my local Wal-Mart has it.

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StarKist Selects tuna is soy-free. It's in the can with the gold label and my local Wal-Mart has it.

This is also the canned tuna I buy , StarKist selects low sodium chunk light tuna in water, no soy :)

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delimex taquitos & dip in cheese sauce or sprinkle with shredded cheese

stirfry

mashed potatoes

oreida fries

meatloaf

chicken noodle or rice soup (rice noodles of course) Rice noodles at an asian store are as cheap as a box of spaghetti

Are you in a state where you can use dbl coupons? Regardless of where you live use as many coupons as you can & of course buy on sale

try to save as much as you can on other products like paper goods, household cleaners, self care products, etc to free up a little more $ for food.

Since your income as taken a significant hit, you might qualify for food stamps.

Good luck!

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Baked potatoes about 1,000 ways! Just roast and stuff with all sorts of things included veg, onion, cheese, sour cream, chives, bacon or top with tuna salad, herbed butter or even baked beans as is done in the UK (jacket potatoes). Very easy to make in advance and freeze and reheat.

I know you already do lots of eggs but how about Eggs Benedict or omelettes or deviled eggs?

For something very cheap and different, how about crepes stuffed with chicken salad or whatever you like?

Do you like vermicelli noodles? Just boil some water, pour over and soak a few minutes until done. Just steam some veg and make yourself an easy soy-free Thai sauce and toss. Vermicelli noodles are so cheap they are practically free and you can get many widths and kinds.

If you can find kale, make kale chips in the oven or make yourself some hummus to eat with homemade sweet potato fries (dead easy).

Carrot and/or zucchini "pasta" is easy - just peel carrots and zucchini into thin strips, blanch and toss in a light lemon and olive oil dressing and maybe sprinkle with some poppyseeds.

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Thanks everyone! Thanks for the name of a safe tuna! I'll try some of these ideas this week as well. I think my kids would love the ham and bean soup. I don't keep alot in my freezer or fridge. I'm in an apartment and my fridge is an older smaller model. It's freezer is about the size of a small cooler.

I appreciate all the suggestions! If you can think of others, let me know.

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You might always want to use that Google search thingie at the top right of your screen and search for "cheap meals" or "budget meals". I do recall some threads for those in the not-too-distant past.

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chili made with beans or Turkey (old el paso chili mix is safe I believe)

chicken taco soup in the crock pot there are many recipes online

Home made Lentil soup very filling and healthy

lazy man lasagna bake. corn pasta, cottage cheese or ricotta and cheese with Jarred sauce= easy peasy

Kelbasa as an inexpensive protein

oops just saw no tomato

Dollar Tree has Progresso Lentil gluten-free soup right now for a dollar a can. Can't beat that!!!!Lentil soup and grilled cheese anyone?

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rice crust quiche or whatever you want to fill it with

mix 3 cups cooked and warm long grain white rice with 1 egg and 2 tbl parmesan cheese and press into a pie pan bake at 350 for 15 min until brown. Remove and fill with what you want, cook until done. I have made this twice and next will try brown rice. filling possibilities are endless.

eggs and cheese, ham

eggs and hamburg with chse

taco meat topped with cheese

very thick white sauce or cheese sauce with chicken/ham etc...

layer veggies and meat

etc...

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rice crust quiche or whatever you want to fill it with

mix 3 cups cooked and warm long grain white rice with 1 egg and 2 tbl parmesan cheese and press into a pie pan bake at 350 for 15 min until brown. Remove and fill with what you want, cook until done. I have made this twice and next will try brown rice. filling possibilities are endless.

eggs and cheese, ham

eggs and hamburg with chse

taco meat topped with cheese

very thick white sauce or cheese sauce with chicken/ham etc...

layer veggies and meat

etc...

Do you add any milk or cream to the egg mixture? We love quiche, but the cost of a gluten-free crust is $$ This would be great.

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Dollar Tree has Progresso Lentil gluten-free soup right now for a dollar a can. Can't beat that!!!!Lentil soup and grilled cheese anyone?

thanks, I'll have to check if it has soy in it. I know some soups do.

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Quick & simple....

Hamburger Gravy over gluten-free noodles, potatoes or rice..

1# lean burger

1onion chopped, fine

2-3 garlic cloves minced

salt & pepper

parsley

cook fully until juice is mostly gone from meat, add 2 cans Progresso gluten-free Mushroom soup & slow simmer until hot..

Serve over 1of the above ideas.

Side of beans or peas...

heap, good & simple....

Zucchini lasagne:

Several zucchini's sliced about1 inch thick

1# hamburger

onions& garlic chopped fine (as much as you like)I use 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves

Salt& pepper.

oregano, basil, parsley .( as much as you like)

a quick dash ot hot pepper seeds.

Aged swiss cheese.

Cook burger, onions, garlic & spices until fully cooked.

9X13 pan put a bit ofsauce on bottom of pan. Add a layer of zucchini, then burger mix then swiss, then some sauce. Reapeat for a second layer.Bake at 375 until zucchin is soft.

Side salad......garlic bread...

Bulk buying when things are on sale .. I know you may think you can't afford to stock up on 1 item but it will save you in the long haul......

I'm sorry you lost your job..

For all of us this is another reason to have a gluten-free food stash to carry us over when things like this happens...

I hope things turn around quickly for you....

mamaw

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Shepherd's pie - brown meat and onions, add frozen veg., make a sauce with flour and stock. Put in a pie dish and add a layer of mashed potato or parsnip and bake in the oven and serve without the traditional ketchup.- whatever will make them eat it :rolleyes:

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There are so many great ideas here. Just wanted to mention that vegetarian food is often cheaper to make, especially when you avoid cheese. I'm not talking about pre-made stuff here, but cooking from scratch. You may want to spend some time in the vegetarian section of sites. I'd think "All Recipes" would be a good place to start: http://allrecipes.com/recipes/everyday-cooking/vegetarian/

I noticed someone already mentioned lentil soup. Lentil soup per serving is about the cheapest thing you can make. The only thing cheaper per serving is Indian dhal, also made from lentils. There are so many filling soups based on beans: split pea, black bean and tortilla, tomato rice, vegetarian chili etc... I always make my own stock which is super easy and so much cheaper. I also will serve soup over rice, again super cheap (and traditional with Indian dhal). Adding in some spinach greens at the last minute ups the nutrition factor and interest, as well.

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Costco (Kirkland brand) tuna is also soy free.

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We like hummus. Very cheap if you make it. We use raw veggies to dip in it.

Another cheap meal is a bit of breakfast type sausage cooked through, then add finely cubed potatoes and some bits of red and green bell pepper and onion. Cook until the potatoes are done.

Farmer's omlet. Cut a few pieces of bacon into small pieces and cook through. Remove from pan. Drain any excess grease leaving just a little in the pan. Add sliced or cubed potatoes, onions and any other veggies you have. When the potatoes are crisp add some beaten eggs. Put the bacon back in and cook through. Add cheese if you want.

Popcorn! That's what we always ate when times were lean. Popcorn is very filling. Add some soup and you've got a meal. Pan pop the corn to save money.

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Do you add any milk or cream to the egg mixture? We love quiche, but the cost of a gluten-free crust is $$ This would be great.

Remember the old Bisquick Impossible Pies that made their own crust? I know the gluten-free Bisquick box says it *may* contain soy although it's not listed in the ingredients. I think you could make this using a gluten-free flour and thereby eliminate the need to buy an expensive crust. I made some mini spinach quiches on Christmas Eve that turned out fantastic but I didn't really follow a recipe. I did use half-and-half and Swiss cheese since I am now able to tolerate dairy.

Jules Shepard has a quiche recipe on her blog that might be a starting point: http://blog.julesglu...2010/08/quiche/

Also do you have a Save-A-Lot or Aldi's store near you? They seems to have some great prices for a lot of things.

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We do bean patties a lot. I go ahead and do northern beans from scratch but even canned (rinsed and drained) is inexpensive. Mash and add some gluten-free bread crumbs, a beaten egg, some spices (I usually do Italian seasoning), form into patties and fry on both sides in a bit of olive oil. Also vegetarian chili is super cheap, makes a lot, and freezes well. Sometimes you can get a whole chicken fairly cheap and you can roast it.

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There are those "Taste of Thai" soup packages that you can get at Big Lots for about $1 (or sometimes less - I've found some for $0.60 before and stocked up.) They aren't the best tasting stuff and are full of sodium, but I always keep a couple at work in case I forget my lunch, etc.

Also, deli meat wraps. Like, just use the meat as the "wrap" and put something else inside. I've used rice before and it was good. You can pre-cook the rice and it keeps (and re-heats) well.

I also eat a lot of dinner leftovers for lunch. I always try to make a little extra at dinner so I have some for the next day. Even if it's only sides from the night before, it's easier than fixing something else.

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