I have loads of recipes, since I have to cook most of my meals myself due to health reasons. Generally speaking, it's cheaper to cook your own food than to get it pre-made from somewhere. For example, making your own pizza is pretty simple and affordable (if you're like me and have a lot of toppings in the cupboard already, like olives, tomato sauce, etc). A lot of pizza places are cool with selling people plain pizza dough for pretty cheap; I know I can get some already rolled out from Papa Murphey's (a take and bake place) for $3, and I can add whatever I want to it. Super cheap, super easy, as healthy as you want to make it.
Pasta's also pretty easy, quick, and cheap, even if you make your own sauce.
! Alfredo sauce is so easy it's almost a crime, and homemade tastes a LOT better than the stuff out of a can.
! 1/2 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
noodles or fettuccine, cooked
! Cook noodles or fettuccine according to package directions. Heat butter and cream in saucepan until butter is melted. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper; stir until sauce is blended and fairly smooth. Add to drained noodles and toss until they are well coated. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Variation: Add cooked shrimp, chicken or mushrooms.
! The hardest thing about that is making sure you keep the heat on low, since it's really easy to scorch milk or cream and ruin the sauce, but just keeping it on low, keeping an eye on it, and being patient will give you a really good sauce.
! Marinara sauce is really simple, too, especially if you get canned tomatoes instead of fresh. I don't really notice a difference in the taste between using fresh or canned and canned takes a lot less time and effort.
! 2 cans tomatoes (crushed or diced, depending on how chuncky you like your sauce)
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/3 c finely chopped onion
4 TB finely chopped fresh parsley
6 TB olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
! In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onions until translucent (not golden) in olive oil. Add garlic, cook for just a minute to combine the flavors, then add tomatoes, paste, oregano, and parsley and stir together. Cook for a half hour, stirring occasionally.
! You can also add meat of your choice to it, just cook it beforehand and add it to the sauce to re-heat while it cooks. Also, for a finer sauce, you can put the tomatoes, paste, oregano, parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper to a food processor and blend it until the consistency you want, but I never go to that much trouble.
Macaroni and Cheese
! Macaroni and cheese from scratch is so simple it's a crime to use the stuff in a box, as far as I'm concerned. (This will probably be fine without the breadcrumbs or the baking in the oven if you want to simplify it even more.)
! 1 c milk
3 TB butter
1 1/2 TB flour
1/2 lb (8 oz) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 lb macaroni elbows
2 pieces of bread or 1/4 c plain breadcrumbs
! Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease 2-qt casserole dish.
Heat milk in small pan until warm (be sure to keep the heat low so you don't scorch it). Melt 2 TB butter in small skillit until foamy. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Cook over low heat until sauce thickens to the consistency of cream, about 5 minutes. Add cheese, salt to taste. Stir until cheese melts. Cover and keep sauce warm.
Cook and drain macaroni. Mix with hot cheese sauce in caserole dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over top (or tear up bread pieces and place on top), dot with remaining butter. Bake until cheese bubbles, 25-30 minutes.
(For a side, dish, I reccomend broccoli, but you can have any veggie you like with this, it's pretty versitile.)
Just for some variety, though buying the spices for this can be a little expensive (try checking the bulk food section of your supermarket, or the health food store to avoid buying an entire bottle of them), but it's really good and super easy– Tandoori Chicken and Raita.
! I got the reipe for this from a magazine I subscribe to and I couldn't get over how easy it was. It's not true tandoori chicken, it's the quick and dirty version, but it still tastes really good, and though I was skeptical of the raita at first, it wound up being my favorite part.
1 c low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 c finely chopped, seeded cucumber
1/2 c chopped, seeded tomato
1/4 c minced red onion
2 TB chopped fresh mint
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
! Combine in a bowl, mix well, cover and place in the fridge for a half hour to cool.
! Tandoori Chicken:
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
pinch of nutmeg
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 lb)
1 TB canola oil
! Preheat grill to m-high. Combine spices in plastic sealable bag. Flatten chicken to 1/4-inch thick (cover the chicken with sturdy plastic wrap and pound thin with a meat mallet or a large can if you have one– you could also just cut the chicken into smaller pieces, though it'll affect the cooking time, so watch them). Brush with oil and put into spice bag. Seal and turn the bag to coat. Oil grill rack (get oil on paper towel and use tongs to apply to grill rack-- do NOT use cooking spray on a hot grill), and grill chicken until cooked, 3-4 minutes each side. Serve warm with raita, grilled veggies, and basmati rice (you can usually find this out of a box in the store, just prepare according to directions before starting the chicken).
! If you don't have a grill or don't want to use one, you can probably broil or bake the chicken just as well, though if the chicken is in such thin pieces, you'll really need to watch it so it doesn't burn.
I should stop there, but I have a ton of stuff like this and I always like sharing recipes. Soups are always a good bet for fast, good, and easy (not to mention cheap, since soup fixings are almost always basic).