Foods to fill you up without breaking the bank
Shopping around for food doesn’t have to be expensive. Finding ingredients that are easy to use in several dishes and cheap enough to keep money in your wallet is easier than you might think.
Remember that the more protein your food has the more filling it will be and therefore it’ll be a bigger bang for your buck. Also, any kind of food you can keep in the cupboard for a long time is a great addition to a student kitchen that’s less than well stocked.
If you’re a meat-eater, ground meat is easy to come by and can be bought for incredibly cheap prices at one of Ottawa’s many butcher shops. Saslove’s in the ByWard Market and the Glebe Meat Market are two such butchers. You can buy half a pound of ground meat (beef, pork, and lamb) for $5–8, or cheaper if you keep an eye out for sales. Pork works well when simmered with spices—like chilli powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper—and tofu. Lamb mixes well with curries and beef can be spiced and mixed with rice and eggs for a heavy, filling, and inexpensive dish.
Quinoa often has a reputation for catering only to health nuts and hardcore foodies, but it doesn’t have to. For $10–
15, you can get a large bag of quinoa that will easily last several months, considering a cup of dry quinoa seeds will make nearly three cups of cooked quinoa.
Treating quinoa like rice works just fine. Replace the water with chicken stock and add garlic to spice it up. Once cooked,quinoa resembles small grains of brown rice and has a flavour that pairs incredibly well with lemon juice. Some say quinoa tastes bitter, but rinsing or washing the quinoa before cooking it can easily remove this bitterness. Chickpea and lentil curry is a cheap dish that makes good use of quinoa, and if you’ve got time, braising tougher cuts of meat pairs nicely with quinoa as well.
Tofu is one of the most versatile items you can have on hand, and at $2–4 a carton, it makes for both a cheap and filling meal addition. You’ll want to buy tofu that isn’t pre-dried. Remove the tofu from the package and soak up the excess water by pressing on the tofu brick with paper towels. After draining it, you can cover it in panko bread crumbs and pan-fry it to pair with mushrooms. Pop it into a veggie stir-fry or a plethora of cheap and easy Chinese dishes you can find on Google. Stick to firm tofu if you intend to cook it on high heat.