I'm OVER spending 15$ a day on lunches at work, what are some cheap and easy lunches I can take that won't weigh me down?

Now I've been REALLY stretching the budget (buying chicken, mincing it, making meatballs because I can bulk it up with cheap bread and eggs and spices, stretching every buck as much as I can) and here are my favorite ways to get the most benefit out of a meal.

  1. Burrito.

Just. It's too easy. And you can prep it in advance, so why not.

My fave is to use chicken mince/grilled chicken + homemade quick beans dip+quick scrambled eggs to preferred doneness+onions+tomato in a tortilla or over rice (making it a burrito bowl) some good additions can be butter saute corn, capsicum, pickles, cheese, cooking spinach into the eggs, chopped up broccoli cooked into eggs is a great way to add fibrous nutrition. Beans are fairy awesome with protein fiber and carbs.

2.homemade quick beans dip (butter+cumin+onion+beans+water+mash them together),

  1. Cheese sauce thru a roux. Served with baked homemade nachos or buy baked nachos, refried Bean dip, onion, tomato, and if i want, some minced chicken and some eggs. It sounds odd but it works in its own way.

The cheese sauce :

Cheese is expensive, even cheap cheese costs more than milk. So by cooking a roux (butter+flour whisked together on heat) then adding milk, then adding the cheese of your preference (i use the processed for the same reason, like yeah fresh is GREAT but I'd rather have more of this than a rare taste of the expensive stuff.) I love to add pepper salt chilli powder and garam masala, with some turmeric powder (that's for color and a slight taste)

  1. Stir fries.

In my experience stir fries are a great way to add a lot of nutrition to your diet.

I've come to realise that chicken (or any meat) mince again is a great thing to cook for stir fries that you may eat at room temp (or even cold sometimes). Some mince, some onions, peppers, peas or green beans, and either a szechuan sauce or some other homemade chilli paste cook well really great.

  1. Keema masala. (love it over rice)

God damn it, I love this dish. It's my top dish to cook when I've got no time and lots of mouths to feed. Something that stores super well, something that packs flavour bombs. Can be as easy or as complex as you want.

I cook by frying a bayleaf, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon stick, clove, fresh chilli, garlic, ginger, and then onions. Then add mince. Then add some chilli powder, some tomato paste or puree (you've to cook down the puree. I prefer this as i love to cook mince for long.), some turmeric powder, grated Nutmeg (you can also use cinnamon powder here instead of cinnamon stick at the start), salt, pepper (optional), garam masala, and just have some wonderful and ready in a pinch, keema masala.

Definitely add some frozen pees near the end just to warm up. Or you can cook them along with the rest, I like peas to have a bite to them. Also helps me adjust salt if I've added too much.

You can really get away with anything. I've done salt pepper garlic ginger tomato paste and chilli powder and garam masala and have good results. More spices more flavour. Everything but salt and chilli and Onions and garlic can be skipped in this dish. And you can make this in bulk and store it. Goes very well with baked nachos+cheese dip/sour cream or homemade roti, or really any way you want it. Goes well in a burrito or eaten in bites of a tortilla.

  1. Shepherd's pie is great. Really easy. And can fit any palet or cuisine if you want.

I use chicken mince and peas and tandoori spices and tomato paste or diced tomatoes and carrots and Onions, and top it with light mashed potatoes. Bake it. And serve now or refrigerate and heat and eat. Great source of all macros and easily adjusted. You can eat this at room temp too.

I also did this once with meatballs under cooked pasta, baked to crisp edges. I added alfredo pasta over chicken meatballs and baked them. Some cheese on top. And it actually did come out good. I added some boiled then pureed cauliflower into the white sauce as it adds nutrition and surprisingly makes the sauce taste lighter yet creamier. Fun.

  1. Egg rolls/chicken rolls/any meat rolls.

Same as burritos, but different in assembly and principle.

You marinate meat, you cook meat, you cook roti, you put mayo on roti, you put chicken on top. Maybe you add some scrambled eggs on top. And some onions, and some lemon juice. And a good tomato-ey chilli sauce. Or ketchup and hot sauce. You roll it up, you don't fold the sides like a burrito. You add literally anything to it.

You could just cook roti, then throw one whisked egg on a nonstick, then put a cooked roti on the egg, right after the egg is in the pan, and let it cook.

Add onions and sauces you like and you've got an egg roll.

Try paneer for vegetarian flavours. Go nuts.

  1. Baked taquitos. Healthy and it works with chicken mince. I love my chicken mince.

Others can be chicken and vegetables. Chickens and potatoes. Pastas. Rice bowls. Burrito bowls. Taco bowls.

Just mix and match and you'll always end up with a decent meal.

You should definitely definitely have salt, pepper, onions, potatoes, garam masala, and chilli powder at hand.

Buying bayleaf, cinnamon (powder works nearly as well and sticks), Nutmeg, and cumin is a small investment for mega flavour points.

I barely get to use herbs because they're too expensive sometimes. But i do have mint and coriander available for free. I grow it. But dried mint works great with red meat. And coriander powder is a wonderful addition to every meat dish you want to make tandoori.

Once you understand basics you can extend your budget by a lot. Mixing and matching cuisines is not something one should shy away from. You're cooking for yourself, not for a chef.

/r/EatCheapAndHealthy Thread