alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai posting in [community profile] batchlunch
I am moving out of my parents' place in about two months, I hope, and consequently will be spending entirely my own food budget rather than raiding the parental pantry. I think a reasonable price per meal-sized portion of basically anything (bar special treats) I eat after I move is $1.00–$1.50. (USD.) What I figure I will do is make family-sized meals on the weekends and batch-lunch those for the week (that way meals at and right after work are stick in microwave et voila). I am trying to plan two months' worth of that, with the second month gluten-free for reasons.

I have also just read The Happiness Diet, by Tyler Graham and Drew Ramsey, MD. Gist of the book is, there are a dozen key nutrients linked to mood, energy, and cognitive function, and the modern American diet scants its consumers on all of them. The book's also a paean to low-carbohydrate diets consisting of not-highly-processed organic food. I am not sure I buy that low-carb is better than high-carb, but I'm thoroughly sick of low-mood low-energy low-cognitive-function and I'm willing to [attempt to] cut carbs way down and see if that helps. (No, that's not why I plan to go gluten-free for a month.)

Now, the problem: The authors of The Happiness Diet do not seem to think their audience contains people on a fairly limited food budget. I direct your attention to the recipe in THD for Mexican Squid. Yeah, my knee-jerk reaction was "ew" too, but that's not my point. My point is, Google tells me we're talking $6+ a pound, and the recipe tells me a half a pound of squid plus assorted other ingredients is a single meal-sized portion, and never mind the other ingredients, the squid alone blows my budget.

So. Below the cut are two lists: one is the foods THD highlights as containing large quantities of the nutrient that heads each section of the list, and the other is the foods THD highlights as foods to focus on. My question for y'all is: Do you happen to have handy any batch-lunch recipes that star at least one food somewhere on either list and that you figure cost at most $10 the sixish-meal batch? Bonus points if the recipe is either inherently gluten-free or can be easily made so by (for instance) swapping a tablespoon of wheat all-purpose flour for a tablespoon of GF all-purpose flour. (I do not want to play the "Ewww this isn't real pasta/bread/whatnot" game with GF pasta/bread/whatnot, though. So if the way to make a dish GF is for example to swap in GF macaroni, no thank you.)


THD-Highlighted Nutrients

* Vitamin B12
** Shellfish
** Fish
** Liver
** Beef
** Eggs

* Iodine
** Seaweed
** Seafood (fish, clams, shrimp, sardines—apparently sardines aren't fish?)
** Grass-fed meat and milk
** Potato skin

* Magnesium
** Green leaves
** Whole grains
** Salmon
** Beans
** Sunflower seeds
** Blackstrap molasses

* Cholesterol (no really)
** Eggs
** Salmon
** Meat
** Milk
** Cheese
** Lard from sustainably raised pigs

* Vitamin D
** Sunlight (yes, I know, not food)
** Fatty fish
** Butter and lard from pasture-raised animals
** Mushrooms (must be exposed to the sun)

* Calcium
** Sardines
** Milk
** Yogurt
** Cheese
** Kale
** Cabbage
** Collard/mustard/turnip greens
** Spinach
** Almonds/pecans/walnuts

* Fiber
** Green leafy vegetables
** Cauliflower/broccoli/cruciferous vegetables
** Beans
** Fruit

* Folate
** Spinach
** Kale
** Black beans
** Black-eyed peas
** Lentils

* Vitamin A
** Liver
** Egg yolks
** Shellfish
** Butter
** Whole milk

* Omega-3s
** Fatty fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon, etc)
** Free-range eggs
** Grass-fed meat

* Vitamin E
** Almonds
** Olives
** Beet/turnip/collard greens
** Swiss chard

* Iron
** Shellfish
** Grass-fed beef
** Duck
** Chicken (dark meat)
** Liver

THD Focus Foods

Grass-fed beef
Brussels sprouts
Mesclun (which is apparently a salad mix)
Red beans
Blue- or red-skinned small potatoes
Wild salmon
Cherry tomatoes

Date: 2015-07-26 03:43 am (UTC)
cereta: (tomato)
From: [personal profile] cereta
Hrm. I do an egg scramble into which you can basically throw anything - we usually do cheese, onion, tomatoes, and possibly ham, but you could use spinach, salmon (although it would almost certainly have to be canned to keep in your budget, and I don't know what that does to the nutrients). Keeping it under 10$ would be difficult, though. My guess is that your best option is going to be something with beans, which I don't really know much about. Others?

Date: 2015-07-26 04:45 pm (UTC)
kyrielle: A photo of kyrielle, in profile, turned slightly toward the viewer (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyrielle
This or frittatas. Potatoes work well in them. I'd suggest tuna instead of salmon - salmon is better for you, but tuna isn't bad and would bring the price down again.

Also, you can scramble eggs (not cooking them, just stirring them up) and pour into a muffin tin, adding other ingredients, and bake. End result is muffin-shaped, can be frozen, and reheats in the microwave. (Warning: I usually find it takes two, or something else on the side, to make a meal.)

Beef is a lost cause unless you find it on sale, and grass-fed beef doubly so.

Date: 2015-07-26 04:06 am (UTC)
harpers_child: i gave in and ate five rotten applecores from the tree of knowledge  (five rotten applecores)
From: [personal profile] harpers_child
Myself and several friends like the budget bites website ( The gluten free tag is under misc.

Date: 2015-07-26 04:34 am (UTC)
angel_negra: Aiba's checking his notes. (Aiba_Read)
From: [personal profile] angel_negra
It's not one specific recipe, but maybe check out The Big Cook book? The meals are supposed to be 10-12 dollars each, but the concept is to make large batches all at once and freeze everything to be cooked when you're ready to eat.

Date: 2015-07-26 02:10 pm (UTC)
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] ellen_fremedon
Pasta dish, so it won't be much use for month two, but my favorite thing to do with sardines is pasta con sarde.

Put six servings' worth of pasta (penne, farfalle-- anything big and chunky) on to boil. While it's cooking, thinly slice one big bulb of fennel and one onion (or a couple cloves of garlic, or two shallots. Saute them in the oil from your sardines (adding olive oil if you need to to prevent sticking) with a handful-- about 1/2 cup-- of dark or golden raisins or currants. You may also add 2-4 threads of saffron bloomed in water if money is no object; if it is, you can do without, or add a little turmeric for color. Saffron is nice in this dish but the other flavors are so strong that it's not at all necessary.

When the pasta's almost done, add your sardines to the fennel mixture-- 1 tin if you just want it mildly fishy, 2 tins if you want fishier, or 1 tin of sardines and one of tuna if you want more protein with less oil/milder flavor. Add first the zest, then the juice, of one lemon. Finally, drain your pasta (reserving a cup or so of its water) and add it to the pan, and toss to coat well in the sardine-fennel mixture. You can add back a little pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, to help the sauce stick.

Just before serving, grate a little bit of hard strong cheese, such as parmesan or peccorino, over the top. (If you need to avoid dairy, a handful of capers adds the same salty-umami note.) Save the wispy fronds from the top of the fennel bulb for a garnish; they're pretty and they also add a fresh, herbal note back to the dish.

Price per serving depends on the price of fennel, but it's a fall vegetable so in two months you should be able to find it pretty cheap.

Date: 2015-07-26 02:14 pm (UTC)
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] ellen_fremedon
Ooh, and I saw beets on your list! One of my favorite things to do with beets is a slaw which also involves fennel: grate or julienne 2 big red beets and one medium-to-large bulb of fennel; finely dice one small or half a large red onion; chiffonade one bunch of mint; toss together and coat with a basic vinaigrette (cider or white wine vinegar, olive oil, pinch of salt, tiny dab of prepared mustard). This is is one of the few salads that I bother to prepare in big batches-- it keeps for a week and just gets better every day.

Date: 2015-07-26 02:23 pm (UTC)
green_grrl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] green_grrl
Every ingredient in frittata uses something on your list except onions, but onions are full of polyphenols, so there you go!

You will need a 10 inch cast iron skillet--not a pan with teflon or other coating.

1 small to medium onion, sliced
8 Tbsp olive oil or olive oil/butter
2 c spinach or other mild greens
8 eggs
1/2 c grated medium sharp cheese
1/2 c grated hard cheese (Parmesan, Romano, etc.)
salt and pepper to taste (with the cheese, you don't need much salt)

Sauté onion in half the oil/butter until soft. Add greens and sauté 2-3 minutes. Beat the eggs well in a bowl, and add the cooked vegetables, cheeses, and seasoning. Re-oil the pan on low heat. Cook the egg mixture, covered, for 10 minutes. Then put pan in the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top.

Slice the frittata into six pieces, and you have one for now, five for lunches.


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