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talljasperman's avatar

Can one save time and money by making or buying pub grub and college food?

Asked by talljasperman (18152 points ) December 25th, 2013

Top ramen , pizza, burgers, Froot Loops , chicken wings, milk, pop, tap water, ect. Feel free to add any cheap or easy to make foods.
I also like microwaved potatoes.

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42 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, you can save time, and money, but it is not heathy to eat more than once in a while. Everything you’ve listed is either heavy in salt, sugar, or fats.

Knowing you as we do @talljasperman, you should not eat that stuff, but get yourself on to eating healthy food. That stuff is not food, it is slowly poisoning you.

talljasperman's avatar

@zenvelo What are some examples of healthy food… Like fruits and vegetables?

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, fruits and vegetables, lean meats, eggs, whole grain breads in moderation. Stay away from anything processed. A minimal amount of dairy. Drink water, coffee, tea.

ETpro's avatar

It takes a lifetime to assess what diet saves money. One that is cheap but leaves you so decrepit you can’t work at 25 and dead before you make it to 55 leaves you far behind the people who spend a bit more to eat a healthy diet and can work till they feel like retiring. I’m about to hit 70, and I have NO desire to retire. I love what I do, and will keep at it as long as my body and mind let me.

What’s a good diet? One based on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and low-fat meats or no meats. Avoid ALL factory food. It is poison in a convenient plastic wrapper to help pollute landfills for 35,000 years after it brings you to an untimely end.

downtide's avatar

If you like microwaved potatoes, try them with baked beans (try to get a low-salt version) and cheese. Filling and cheap. I ate that a lot when I was a student.

Fresh fruit and veg is the healthiest, along with lean chicken (no skin) and white fish. Eggs in moderation – they’re high in cholesterol.

If you shop daily at the end of the day (around 5–6pm) you’ll find a lot of stores mark down the fresh produce that they need to get rid of, so buy what you need for the next day and eat it as soon as you can.

If you must use ramen, throw away the flavour sachets that come in the packet. Season with herbs and spices of your choice instead. Plain rice is a good cheap alternative.

It is also cheaper to buy and cook more than you need for one meal, then freeze what’s left for another day.

If you qualify, and if there is one near you, you may also want to look into using a food bank.

dabbler's avatar

Get a rice cooker and a crock pot.
Using a rice cooker is no more complex than boiling water.

You can have a stew going in the crock pot continuously, grab a bowlful once or twice a day and add new ingredients at the same rate.
Into the crock pot, put all the lovely stuff people have recommended above (except the fruit), vegetables, lean meats, beans and grains.
A big scoop of a good stew on a heap of rice can be satisfying and have none of the excess salt and foul chemicals that are in fast foods.

ibstubro's avatar

Yes, rice is cheap and filling. @dabbler has an excellent suggestion.

Flour tortillas are something else that’s cheap, versatile and filling. Cheese quesadillas are a snap and you can add anything from mushrooms to veggies to tinned fish or meat. I use flour tortillas for nearly any kind of sandwich.

Ragu sauce in a jar is cheap and versatile and I use the hell out of the white and orange king. You can put it on pasta, sure, but it also make veggies delicious and you can pour a jar over frozen fish or boneless chicken and have a tasty meal (add some tinned mushrooms, etc. to the meat before the sauce) to serve with rice in about 45 minutes.

Pour a box of stuffing mix in a 9×13 glass pan. Add the other ingredients to make stuffing. Stir well and mound across the middle of the pan, put 2–3 boneless pork chops or boneless skinless chicken breast on each end. Pour a can of gravy over the chops. (You can put a bit of crushed crackers, Italian breadcrumbs or crushed chips on top of the gravy.) Bake at about 360 for 40–45 minutes and you’ll have good ‘homecooked’ food for days.

The convenience foods have gotten good enough that you can assemble a meal that brings raves for a few $ in a very few minutes.

Those steam-in-the-bag veggies are great, too.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I discovered super easy late night(or whenever) munchies that are kinda healthy recently. Take baby bella mushrooms and remove the stems and arrange them on a plate so the open end of the cap is facing up and the mushrooms are nicely spaced out. Drizzle a little olive oil over all of them and put a little minced garlic in each cap and finally top with a little mozzarella. Pop the plate in the microwave for ~45–60 seconds and viola. Delicious stuffed mushrooms that only took a couple minutes to make.

@ibstubro do you refer to things that come in a can as tinned?

ibstubro's avatar

@uberbatman It depends on my mood. ‘Tinned’ seems to be the more popular and descriptive term on Fluther. It’s also slowly creeping into my everyday usage. I like words. I grew up on ”sodie or sodie-pop yet now say “pop” exclusively.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

This should be an “After the Holidays” trim up guide for all of us you over indulgers out there.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@ibstubro interesting, never heard the term before myself.

ibstubro's avatar

@uberbatman I think it’s more popular in Europe/Britain. I find it more descriptive than ‘canned’, and more specific. I’m rural, close to the Earth, and ‘canned’ usually brings to my mind glass jars and boiling water. ‘Tinned’ is store boughten in a metal can.

Buttonstc's avatar

I think you would really enjoy a little book written by Roger Ebert (yes, the Pulitzer Prize winning movie critic) called “The Pot And How To Use It”

The pot he speaks of is a simple 3 cup rice cooker but he uses it for SO MUCH MORE than just rice.

I recently bought a used copy from Amazon and the postage cost more than the book.

But it might be right up your alley since he used to take it with him everywhere he travelled and was able to use it even in hotel rooms to fix delicious (and healthy) meals with very little trouble at all.

It’s a much better option for college students than even a microwave because its so much more versatile (and portable).

He’s a terrific writer and its a wonderful guide for someone who’s not really used to cooking for himself. I think you’d enjoy it and it might give you some great ideas for meals which can be made with ease and surprisingly little effort. And because its small and nonstick, its simple to quickly wash it out in a small sink. I think it might be perfect for your situation.

And its just a fun book to read.

.
.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Pot-How-Use-It/dp/0740791427

Adagio's avatar

@uberbatman I second and use “tinned” : ^)

@ibstubro your canning has always been referred to as “bottling” or “preserving” in my neck of the woods. I could never understand why it was referred to as canning in the US because the food is preserved in glass jars not cans…?

talljasperman's avatar

@Buttonstc The link doesn’t work… you mean a crock-pot… My mom used to make short ribs and stews with a crock pot.

ibstubro's avatar

@Adagio Yes, the food is put up in ‘canning jars’. Go figure.

Kardamom's avatar

@ibstubro and @Adagio I always wondered about that terminology too, canning. I’m guessing that way back in the olden days, before they started packing food in metal cans (like in the grocery store) they were probably “cooking” food in glass jars, and the jars were probably the first receptacles that were called cans,later to be called jars, because they were canning or cooking the food, which is the same thing, canning means cooking in this instance.

Then later, probably not until the end of the 19th century and early 20th century did factories start to “cook” food in metal cans, which would have been easier to store than glass cans. I’m guessing that the word can probably originally meant a sealed container in which food is “cooked” for preservation, but the early cans were made of glass, then when food production went into the industrialized world and metal containers were used more extensively the term “can” was used for both metal and glass containers, but the word “canning” which started out with glass “cans” ended up being used as a term for cooking food in both glass or metal cans, but most canning that you think of, being done at home, is done with glass cans.

The cans of veggies and fruits that you buy in the store today (tinned or in metal cans) is still cooked and the term canning still applies, you just don’t hear it in that regard.

In other words the word canning is more about the cooking process. The receptacle might be a metal can or a glass “can” or jar. Does that seem feasible?

ibstubro's avatar

I have to complicate that theory, @Kardamom, by saying that stoneware jugs predated glass, and at one time a home canning (tinning) system was available and (at least somewhat) popular.

Cold pack canning is probably a more modern invention. Originally I think the hot food was poured in a vessel and topped with hot wax (paraffin).

Can we hijack this general question?

talljasperman's avatar

@ibstubro I will ask to be put in social .. being house bound I ordered carrots from pizza 73 and milk from the local burger joint.

ibstubro's avatar

Very good, @talljasperman. As long as we’re not ticking you off!
I’m interested in the topic, but I don’t think it would ‘hold it’s own’.

augustlan's avatar

Question has been moved to social. Enjoy!

dabbler's avatar

According to this History of Canning the original discovery (by a French fellow) of the preservative qualities of canning involved sealed glass jars in the late 1790’s. Two decades later seal-able metal cans were invented.

ibstubro's avatar

Neat trick linking back to the OP, @dabbler. lol

Kardamom's avatar

@ibstubro I forgot about stoneware.

ibstubro's avatar

Yeah, the really old ‘canning jars’ are stoneware with threaded tops or a flange for wax.

ibstubro's avatar

LOL!

Neat trick linking back to the OP, @dabbler. lol

Again!

dabbler's avatar

what the??? Here’s what I posted, let’s see if this remains intact : http://www.cannedfood.org/files/library/pdfs/History-can.pdf

ETpro's avatar

@dabbler Success this time. Took ages to load, but it’s a very interesting PDF. Thanks for the efforts.

talljasperman's avatar

I found out that my pizza joint serves mini carrots… $0.30 each $1.50 for a pack of four I bought $21.00 worth.

Buttonstc's avatar

No, I DON’T mean a crockpot. I can’t believe I’m quoting my own damn self but THIS is what I wrote in The second paragraph of my response:
————————————————————

The pot he speaks of is a simple 3 cup rice cooker but he uses it for SO MUCH MORE than just rice.
————————————————————

A rice cooker is VERY VERY different from a crockpot because you can cook something healthy and delicious in around 30 mins. or so.

The link most likely is designed for a mobile interface but since I gave the title its simple enough to place it in the SEARCH bar over at Amazon.

Or don’t.

———————————————————-

$1.50 for only FOUR MINI carrots. That is beyond ripoff. You can buy an entire two pound bag of Mini carrots for $2–3 dollars at any supermarket ( certainly not $21)

That Pizza guy has no conscience at all.

Don’t you have any supermarkets in your town ?

Even if not within walking distance, a cab ride would be a whole lot cheaper than paying ripoff prices like that.

Even paying a friend or neighbor to give you a ride is a better alternative than paying the outrageously inflated price to that pizza guy. Good grief.

dabbler's avatar

@Buttonstc is right, you can cook your whole meal in a rice cooker.

ETpro's avatar

And rice cookers are a whole lot cheaper than crock pots. So it budget is a concern…

We have one of each, and use the rice cooker almost every day and rarely employ the crock pot.

Buttonstc's avatar

@ET

Have you read Ebert’s book about his favorite pot? I think you’d enjoy it.

I sure did, and its obvious why he won a Pulitzer for his writing (on movies, of course).

ibstubro's avatar

Crock pots are a lot cheaper than rice cookers, 2nd hand, because crock pots are a lot more plentiful/popular.

ETpro's avatar

@ibstubro Not here. Just the opposite. That may be due to the size of Chinatown, J’town and K’town here in Boston.

ibstubro's avatar

I can buy 5 crock pots (8 blenders!) for every 1 rice cooker here in the Midwest, @ETpro.

ETpro's avatar

@ibstubro Well, that may be a crock, but in that case, I’d go for the crock pot as well. The primary difference is a rice cooker makes a pretty good crock pot, but a crock pot is a terrible rice cooker.

ibstubro's avatar

Actually, there’s rumored to be a rice cooker in my house, @ETpro, and yall have almost convinced me to seek it out. Crockpots are great at blending and melding flavors, but I can see where a rice cooker would give lighter, more vibrant foods.

On the other hand, I don’t hardly think that rice can be too sticky.

ETpro's avatar

@ibstubro I like my rice fluffy for some dishes and sticky for others. Even Thai rice soup kao tom gai is doable in a rice cooker. Just add enough water for the initial cook, and some more while on hold warm.

ibstubro's avatar

Rice soup is another matter. On a cold day I like to mix a cup of rice with a cup of Chix broth and a squeeze of lemon.

For eating, I like my rice just this side of cutting-off-a-chunk sticky. Basmati. YUM.

I saw a recipe yesterday for Roasted Shrimp and White Bean Chili that is haunting me!

ETpro's avatar

@ibstubro Maybe it’s just me, but my Thai wife makes kao tom gai to die for.

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