ERE Cooking for beginners

What skills to learn, what tools to get
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TheRedHare
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ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby TheRedHare » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:36 pm

Hi, I'm in need of some recipes, books, or any other bits of information on cooking cheap, healthy meals. I'm trying to keep my cooking costs as low as possible. I'm mostly looking for foods that are good, not so much in taste, but mostly in nutrition so I can keep going all day without crashing.

Also, thoughts on coffee? As of right now I drink a cup each morning which curbs my appetite and I don't start to get hungry till around 3:30-4

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FBeyer
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby FBeyer » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:56 pm

Budgetbytes.com

We've also got a cooking topic on here on cooking. Currently it's mostly Italian food.
Check out the Lifestyle section for what people consider healthy eating. It's probably a more hotly contested topic here than religion is in many other places on the net...

Well not really, but there are definite disagreements. :)

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daylen
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby daylen » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:24 pm

The ERE book talks about a strategy to reduce cooking cost. The basic principle is to go from ingredients to recipe as opposed to buying ingredients for a recipe. Try to buy mainly unprocessed foods, and buy staples such as rice, beans, lentils, and pasta in bulk. If you cannot live without meat, try to make it only a fraction of the overall meal. Consider getting a pressure cooker to save time and energy. Aim for low glycemic index foods to avoid crashes, and if you are feeling adventurous, look into intermediate fasting diets for the sake of simplicity.

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Seppia
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby Seppia » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:29 pm

Generally speaking

Omelettes are easy, fast to prepare, cheap and provide lots of energy. Start from there.
Beans are also a favorite (including lentils, chickpeas, etc). Same as above (even cheaper), but not as fast (require some planning).

Underrated: buy some Italian rice for risotto (arborio, carnaroli, Roma varieties) and just boil it.
Amazing with a bit of olive oil. Healthy, cheap, reasonably fast.
The ratios are
1 gallon of water with 2oz of salt for maximum 1 lb of rice (ideally less)

I have to add to the cooking topic now that I think of it.

Lucky C
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby Lucky C » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:42 pm

My standard 5 minute dish: Wrap a potato in a wet paper towel and stick it in the microwave on high for 3 minutes. Start 3 eggs frying. After the 3 minutes, flip the potato over in the microwave, then set the microwave for another minute for a small potato, 2 minutes for a big potato, or 3 minutes for a huge potato. Then flip the eggs, which should be done in another minute or so. Season the eggs as you're cooking, and cut up and season the potato after you nuke it. These foods work well with nearly any spices and herbs so don't just limit yourself to salt and pepper. Currently I'm using up some old dill weed.

As an alternative to coffee I take a Jet Alert 100 mg pill (equivalent to 1 coffee) in the morning. 5 cents per day, no prep or cleanup required, and then I can drink milk with breakfast instead. I also like plain black tea, which is 3 cents per teabag if you get the big 100 count packs, but the caffeine level is lower than coffee. Some people say they can't drink tea without sugar or milk but you get used to it and I think it's a lot better than plain black coffee.

EdithKeeler
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby EdithKeeler » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:36 pm

Hi, I'm in need of some recipes, books, or any other bits of information on cooking cheap, healthy meals. I'm trying to keep my cooking costs as low as possible. I'm mostly looking for foods that are good, not so much in taste, but mostly in nutrition so I can keep going all day without crashing.


One suggestion is to look at traditional "peasant" or "staple" foods. Potatoes, for example, are cheap and actually very nutritious. Nothing easier than a baked potato, and there are infinite ways of topping it. (cheese, veggies, chili, etc.). Polenta, or "corn meal mush" as my country grandma called it, can be a base for your favorite pasta sauce, a vegetable stew, you name it. Let it set up and chill and then slice it and fry it and top it with butter and syrup for breakfast (I used to beg my grandmother to make this for me!). Corn meal is super cheap and you can make a ton of polenta for mere pennies. Oatmeal--filling and cheap. Cabbage--super cheap and good for you.

Dave Ramsay is always talking about "beans and rice, rice and beans" and there are infinite ways to prepare. One of my favorite things is a hoppin' john-ish dish--cook rice, cook beans (I cook them separately), and then add your favorite diced veggies--onion, green pepper and tomato is my personal favorite. Add some vinegarette--I can eat tons of that stuff. And beans and rice is a "perfect protein" and an adequate substitute for meat.

Soups are easy and forgiving--tonight I diced up carrots, celery, onion, added 2 cans of chickpeas and a can of tomato. Added some spices and served with rice. Total cost was maybe $4 for a really big pot--I'll eat it for several meals.

If you have an Aldi nearby, I highly suggest shopping there. Eggs are often very cheap (last week: 49 cents a dozen). I bought a package of whole wheat tortillas for about $1.50--add leftover chili, chickpea stew, leftover meat, whatever, for an easy lunch. If you're a meat eater, their meat prices I've found aren't any cheaper than our local grocery stores', but they often have really nice markdowns. Look for economical cuts of meat--big hunks are often cheaper, so consider buying and cutting into smaller chunks for the freezer.

Food can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be, as fancy or as simple as you like. I'm a big fan of the one-pot meal. A big way to save money on food is to use up all your leftovers--don't waste food. Bread got stale, but not moldy? Make french toast. Make large pots of stuff and freeze in smaller portions for easy lunches and dinners. Invest in some spices--they will add taste and variety, and keep you from getting bored.

ffj
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby ffj » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:48 pm

Here's my go to recipe for both low cost, ease, and filling. I'm not sure how nutritious it is but you won't go hungry and I think it tastes really good.

Large pot with some vegetable oil and a can of beans:

Image

Add some Haitian epis:

Image

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Cook that mixture for a bit and then add two cups of rice and and three cups of water:

Image

Let simmer until almost all of the water has been absorbed and then cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Time to eat:

Image

The epis is really easy to make and it can be easily modified to your taste. I normally blend garlic, parsley, onion, cayenne pepper, some oil, some lime juice, green and red pepper, and some Maggie bouillon. One pot could easily feed 4 people and for a 59 cent can of beans and maybe 50 cents worth of rice and that's a pretty good deal. Making the epis will run a few dollars but it lasts a good while for multiple cookings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAIWfFJspKM

KevinW
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby KevinW » Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:57 am

Strategy:
http://earlyretirementextreme.com/wiki/ ... _and_sales

I think you'll find the kinds of recipes you want in the "More-With-Less Cookbook."

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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby jacob » Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:55 pm


wood
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby wood » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:52 am

Resourceful thread.

Pressure cookers:
jacob recommends the Duromatic brand, are there other brands anyone would recommend? I'm searching for a used one, and there are all kinds of variants out there. How about the tupperware ones, are they any good? What to look for/avoid?

Food processor/blender or not?
What solutions exist for blending/mixing stuff? E.g. for making smoothie, eggnog...? I noticed many minimalist kitchens don't have a blender/kitchen machine or other eletronic solutions for this, so is hand mixing the way to go, or do you just avoid foods/drinks that require this type of preparation?

7Wannabe5
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby 7Wannabe5 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:38 pm

A manual egg beater is a neat little tool. Fork/Egg-beater/Vitamix and/or Kitchen Aid would be kind of like Shoe-leather/Bicycle/Car. The efficiency achieved if used fairly frequently would beat out the cost/storage. Of course, a blender also has the power to crush and chop, so this skill might also be necessary for frosty drink preparation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQWMOi1W6Xs

Obviously, the manual methods also offer exercise benefits. For simplest instance, you can choose to chew a bowl of salad with your teeth rather than drinking green smoothies.

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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby tylerrr » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:53 pm

daylen wrote:The ERE book talks about a strategy to reduce cooking cost. The basic principle is to go from ingredients to recipe as opposed to buying ingredients for a recipe. Try to buy mainly unprocessed foods, and buy staples such as rice, beans, lentils, and pasta in bulk. If you cannot live without meat, try to make it only a fraction of the overall meal. Consider getting a pressure cooker to save time and energy. Aim for low glycemic index foods to avoid crashes, and if you are feeling adventurous, look into intermediate fasting diets for the sake of simplicity.


Great advice here!


I make a great batch of Beans and Rice(onion, garlic, carrots) with my Pressure Cooker. It is SO GOOD with some cayenne pepper. I freeze part of it in glass bowls with sealable lids.

Eggs are also cheap. Banannas are cheap.

Just those ingredients right there should get you started with some meals.

I bought the Rikon pressure cooker recommended by Jacob and I'm very happy.

KevinW
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby KevinW » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:05 pm

My first pressure cooker was a small Presto from a thrift store that looked at least 30 years old. It worked fine but the size was limiting and it was difficult to clean. Then I splurged on a Kuhn-Rikon, which you could say is the Mercedes of pressure cookers, because it's probably overpriced, but is a joy to use, looks good, and is eminently repairable. So far I've replaced the seal and tightened the handle once each, and it's been satisfying to be able to maintain it in tip-top shape instead of dealing with a disposable item.

For several years I had no electric prep appliances. You blend/mix things with a mixing spoon or whisk, like they did before the 1950s. It works fine for most cooking recipes and simple baking. You either just do without recipes that require pureeing (hummus) or intense whipping (whipped cream, meringue), or buy them ready-made (canned pureed tomato, premade hummus, ready-whip, premade meringue cookies). Eventually we got a stand mixer, and then a food processor, which open up a few doors and speed some things up, but aren't essential.

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TheRedHare
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby TheRedHare » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:16 pm

Pressure Cooker


I don't have a pressure cooker, but I did manage to get a crock pot. Would that work?

KevinW
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby KevinW » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:41 pm

Pressure cookers and slow cookers are different, but both are potentially useful. A slow cooker can braise a big batch of food (like pulled pork or a big stew) for hours. It's particularly useful because it can be left unattended, so it can cook overnight or while you're away at work.

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TheRedHare
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby TheRedHare » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:01 pm

KevinW wrote:Pressure cookers and slow cookers are different, but both are potentially useful. A slow cooker can braise a big batch of food (like pulled pork or a big stew) for hours. It's particularly useful because it can be left unattended, so it can cook overnight or while you're away at work.

Ah okay, I actually tried slow cooking my first stew the other day. I went terribly wrong and when I got back home from work my stew was burnt to a crisp. Although I did enjoy the nice smell that it gave off haha. So is a pressure cooking more a version of a microwave?

James_0011
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby James_0011 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:46 pm

I just eat basic foods that I don't need to prepare like milk, fruit, etc...

Having been doing this for years.

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TheRedHare
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby TheRedHare » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:54 pm

James_0011 wrote:I just eat basic foods that I don't need to prepare like milk, fruit, etc...

Having been doing this for years.


Interesting, what other foods do you eat? Also, wouldn't think it would be more cost beneficial to have commodities like rice and beans which can be purchased super cheap in large quantities, stored for long periods, and taste...moderately okay (not the biggest fan of the diet).

KevinW
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby KevinW » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:32 pm

If your slow cooker dried out, it probably didn't have enough liquid. Usually liquid needs to cover all the dry ingredients. Prepared recipes should get that right.

Pressure cookers and microwaves operate on different principles. A pressure cooker increases pressure which, as you might remember from chemistry, increases the boiling point, above 100 celsius in the case of water, so food cooks faster.

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distracted_at_work
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby distracted_at_work » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:24 am

My favorites right now are slow cooker turkey chili and pulled pork.

The chili ingredients change based on what is on sale. For example, I was in Safeway yesterday and the only fresh ingredients that were reasonably priced were carrots (boo!) so I made up the difference using canned chick peas, mushrooms, corn, kidney beans, black beans etc. Got a ton of air miles and a good workout carrying it all home too. The turkey, onions and seasonings (ketchup, cayenne, chili, garlic, chicken broth) always come from Costco, I calculated the per meal cost to be a conservative $3.25 CAD.

The pulled pork goes more by the timing of my Costco runs. The recipe combines pork, chicken broth, salt, vinegar, ketchup, garlic, onions (from here season to taste). The result lasts a week and combines into tacos, salads, rice/bean dishes, really anything.

JamesR
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Re: ERE Cooking for beginners

Postby JamesR » Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:19 pm

ERE Cooking for beginners:

1) Acquire used pressure cooker from craigslist/second hand store/free giveaways
2) Get big bags of rice & dry lentils.
3) Get some spaghetti sauce or seasoning or whatever
4) Throw stuff in pressure cooker & Cook.
5) Eat. Weep tears of frugality.


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