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Frugal Food – Lunch

November 27, 2011

I wanted to follow up on cheap breakfast with my routine for cheap lunch. First of all, you all know it is cheaper to bring your lunch to work than to eat out. I’m not even going to bother talking about all the reasons its wrong to eat fast food in the middle of the day.  Maybe you buy frozen heat-serve meals which sometimes go on sale for as ridiculously low prices like a dollar but on average they probably cost about $2.75.  You know those are often loaded with sodium right? Still if it’s once in a while it is a cheap and easy alternative. I don’t advocate those meals but I will use them as a comparison for take to work lunch as they are quite common.  There is no comparison in time.  Frozen convenience food is fast, probably takes you 30 seconds to grab it from the freezer section and another 5 seconds to put it in your freezer but my chill out routine for almost every Sunday is to make ‘Clean out the Fridge soup’.

Everyone has their own recipe for basic soup and good for you.  I give you mine because I’ve worked out the exact cost, not because it is the best recipe. I went to a green grocer to buy the exact portion of most of these items. Garlic and Onions I buy in bulk so pricing below is approximate. The value in the recipe below is not just the cost but the health value.  Every week my soup has the basics, and then I clean out my fridge of any bits of vegetables, fresh herbs or other leftovers that might work in the soup. This week I had a turnip and half a head of green cabbage. The week before was cauliflower and red pepper.  It is very versatile and you save money by not throwing food out.

2 Tbsp Oil – I like Olive or Grape seed          .14

1 Onion chopped                                            .20

Garlic 1 clove  – minced                                 .20

1 stalk Celery -diced                                       .10

1 Carrot           – diced                                     .31

Turnip  – cubed                                               .29

Cabbage – sliced fine                                      .33

½ cup dried lentils                                          .30

1 Tbsp Herbs deProvence                              .05

1 bouillon cube                                                .40

6 cups of water

Salt and Pepper to taste

Total cost of soup:                                          $2.32 for 5 servings or .46 cents each

It really doesn’t take very long.

Heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onion, garlic, celery carrots and any other vegetables.  Add the spices. Stir to coat.  Add the lentils, water, and bouillon.  Bring to a boil. Simmer for half an hour or until lentils and vegetables are cooked.

I will usually eat this with a piece of toast and hummus or a few crackers so add another .50 cents to my daily costs but I think I’ve still got one of the cheapest healthy lunches going.

Slow down on Sunday. Make soup, save money, be healthy.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2011 11:10 pm

    You’re an inspiration, Kim!

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