My friend, Ben, just moved to Brooklyn and is experiencing NYC sticker shock at the price of groceries. Ben is cooking for two “vegetarian-types” on a budget. Not only does he need to find cheap sources for quality food, he needs some recipes for the daily come-home-from-work-and-make-supper-every-day grind. He’s asked about what kind of staples (like beans) can be made easily from scratch to avoid the higher price of canned convenience.
I’ve been working on this post for a while now, and it’s started to get too unwieldy. I’m just going to toss it out there as a starting point for Ben, because at this point, he needs the information more than he needs it to be perfectly presented.
The key to eating cheaply is menu planning. Sorry,Ben, but there you have it. I resist menu planning because I feel like it dulls my creativity, but whenever I do it consistently, I save about 30% on my grocery bill. Ugh. So, I have a post about menu planning here.
I think there is nothing more delightful than coming home from a long day and having supper ready and waiting for you. Some people hire a personal chef; the rest of us have crock pots. Here are some large collections of crock pot recipes that can help you diverge from soups and stews.
AllRecipe.com’s Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes
Lots of people have the same problems you do, Ben, and many have blogged about it. Some of it is old data, but probably still fairly relevant.
- Foodlover’s guide to the Best of Brooklyn. Not cheap, but fun!
- The Bushwick Supermarket Sweep - lots of comparison pricing.
Sometimes buying your produce straight from the source can be cheaper. Here are some local CSAs and co-ops to check out.
- The Walk-in Cookbook - this looks so incredibly fun. Probably not cheap, but a cool concept!
Recipes and Inspiration
- This girl is Not Eating Out in New York - many vegetarian recipes because quality meat is not cheap.
- I have a post about Eating Healthy on the Cheap, which has a lot of my recipes linked in.
- Fresh veggies, hard boiled eggs, and The Best Peanut Sauce, Ever (which freezes beautifully, if you make a big huge batch) make a wonderful, inexpensive meal.
So, there you have it, Ben. A good start to your culinary cheapery. Good luck!