Inspiration for cheap dinners please?

(119 Posts)
MrsKoala Sun 28-Jul-13 20:48:56

I have recently moved somewhere eye wateringly expensive (think $4 for a tin of kidney beans shock ) so am searching for some nice cheap dinner ideas.

There are no cheap things here so veggies, meat, pasta, bread (oh god the bread! $4 for a cheap sliced loaf) flour, everything is extortionate and i can't bulk out with 'filler' as the filler costs just as much as everything else!

Out of meat, mince beef is cheapest (so i am living off chilli/bolognese. A whole small chicken is $28 so not able to roast and stretch out either. I have actually cried in the supermarket blush

Cheers.

BodminPill Fri 02-Aug-13 19:30:34

Hi Mrs Koala

I'm originally from the UK and have lived here in Vancouver for 10 years. I agree the cost of living here is extortionate - in fact it's making us reconsider living here TBH (sorry, don't mean to rain on your parade!).

Unfortunately you live in one of the more geographically isolated and expensive parts of the city, so food shopping options are limited without a car. There used to be a few more cheap veggie shops etc a few tears ago in Kits, but they have long since been replaced with yuppie shops.

Please stay away from Safeway - they are the most expensive by far of the supermarkets. No Frills is good and if you can get there in the car with DH, Real Canadian Superstore is also fab (and have some cheaper No Name own branded stuff).

Please PM me and maybe I can offer some other suggestions without outing myself too much on here.

Good luck!

JenaiMorris Thu 01-Aug-13 08:38:38

Fishcakes and beans grin

Actually it's quite a good recipe - I think you could adapt it easily enough.

MrsKoala Thu 01-Aug-13 05:06:12

Well dinner was lovely smile But there was way too much. So in future half a tin of tomato/garlic/herb and one tin of clams would be fine. Which would make it even cheaper.

They also do tinned mussels and squid for $1.50 each, which i thought i could make a paella with and I'll see what frozen prawns are like in the supermarket to add to it.

pollywollydoodle Thu 01-Aug-13 00:28:42

grin

MrsKoala Wed 31-Jul-13 22:55:37

Fishcakes and...beans?

pollywollydoodle Wed 31-Jul-13 22:39:58

perfect, we have that regularly

MrsKoala Wed 31-Jul-13 22:38:03

oh and tinned salmon for $1 - is that okay for fishcakes?

pollywollydoodle Wed 31-Jul-13 22:24:04

step away from the windy koala house grin

MrsKoala Wed 31-Jul-13 21:47:17

Also 3 tins of beans for $1 <i'm irrationally happy about this. i think jacket potato, cheese and beans, quiche and beans, sausage, mash and beans are also on the menu. smile

BEANS WITH EVERYTHING!

I've just been eating Dragon Noodles, a recipe for a spicy noodle sauce from a blog/website called Budget Bytes. Strapline - my belly is full and so is my wallet. The food value came just from the noodles and an egg, but I enjoyed them.

AdoraBell Wed 31-Jul-13 21:39:39

Glad you've found some bargains todaygrin

JenaiMorris Wed 31-Jul-13 21:35:27

Yay! smile

MrsKoala Wed 31-Jul-13 21:26:27

BARGAIN! went into the dollarama and got a 450g pack of Spaghettini for 69c, some tinned toms with herbs for $1.25 and 2 tins of baby clams for $1.50 each. Also got a large artisan loaf from Safeway for 99c (and some deli ham 100g for $1.99 - which will do sangers with the left over bread for lunch tomo). So Spaghetti Vongole and naice bread for dinner smile

MrsKoala Wed 31-Jul-13 05:06:31

That was the first place we ate when we arrived smile It works out about $30 with tip to eat there. So still cheaper to eat at home.

When we got to Wreck a bloke walked straight over to me (with my DH and DS) and asked if i was taking part in the Bare Buns Fun Run the coming Sunday. I said no and he tried to persuade me i really should and it was 'just good fun'. He then walked off after not even acknowledging DH confused and DH said to me 'funny how he didn't ask me if i was taking part grin

howcomes Wed 31-Jul-13 04:56:33

Btw often cheaper to eat out, have you tried brunch at sophies cosmic cafe yet? It's pretty tasty smile

howcomes Wed 31-Jul-13 04:55:08

Damn about the butchers sad
Re wreck beach, that happened to us too! Dh and I went to explore only to stumble across a dozen naked guys watching a hovercraft rescue exercise. Cue one of them rushing over to tell us not to worry it was just a drill, funnily enough it wasn't the hovercraft which had shocked us, we didn't know where to look!
Much preferred kits beach!

MrsKoala Wed 31-Jul-13 03:13:02

Oh HA! howcomes, that was the butchers i went into today with the $25 tongue!

I have been down to wreck beach and didn't realise it was clothing optional and sat behind a very old man doing naked yoga. I tell you downward facing dog has whole new meaning for me <bluerch>

AngryBeaver Wed 31-Jul-13 02:59:58

I'll be reading this with interest later - jotting down some recipes!
We live in Nz on an island in the Hauraki gulf, closest city is Auckland ...blardy hell, it's spensive.
Cucumber = $6!!!

howcomes Wed 31-Jul-13 02:55:37

Just remembered it was Market meats on west 4th ave and vine. The fishmonger was next door but I can't remember it's name. It might be worth checking out the shops on ubc campus as they cater for students so produce is fresh and competitively priced. I used to buy my fruit and veg there where possible, the shops are right by the bus stops too.
I hope things pick up for you and you can get round to enjoying the beauty of Vancouver, it is a lovely city despite all the rain come October!

HansieMom Wed 31-Jul-13 02:52:44

I was going to suggest Costco in Washington but you have already addressed that. But now I truly understand why there are so many Canadian cars in shopping areas in WA. I used to live there but down at southern border of state.

AdoraBell Wed 31-Jul-13 02:49:33

Glad you've discovered a closer no frills, that should make it easier.

heraqueenofheaven Wed 31-Jul-13 02:46:08

If they have hawker centres (Chinese) that sell fresh meat talk to some of the sellers. They may deliver to you if you buy in bulk and you can freeze the chicken etc. if fresh.

MrsKoala Wed 31-Jul-13 02:39:04

Thanks heraqueen, i'm in Vancouver, but the best markets are over on Commercial Drive - which is 2 buses away. I do go there but all the stuff needs to be eaten within a day or 2. I try to batch cook and freeze some but it's hard with fruit.

Anyway, just spelled it out to DH in no uncertain terms and he is in total agreement (for once) so it's my dinners and NO complaints!

Another good thing is i spoke to my friend here who told me where a nearer No Frills is. So only 1 bus away! Hurrah.

MrsKoala Wed 31-Jul-13 02:33:31

howcomes - That would be great thanks. We are in South Kits quite near UBC too. our rent alone (on 2 bed basement apt) is $2k shock

BUT it is lovely here. Been to the beach this avo smile and everyone is sooooo nice. i've already met some nice friends. And DH's work seems to be taking off too so fingers crossed we can stay and not go without too much.

heraqueenofheaven Wed 31-Jul-13 02:18:47

Doesn't Toronto have a very large Chinese and Indian community. I would check out if there are markets that cater for them. In my experience they often source things themselves and have much lower prices. Also in my experience of shopping in markets like this, the products are much higher quality. I find that western supermarkets are great at having lovely aisles and colourful promotions whereas markets just shove it on the shelves. Western shops make their food look more appealing, whereas the markets just put the products on the shelves as quickly as possible and sell it cheaper without pomp.

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