Eat for $1.50 per day – Layoffs, Coronavirus Quarantine, Food Shortages



Based on preliminary data from Food Per Dollar 2020, I have been asked to urgently provide recipes on how to eat for $1.50/day.

The recipes are below, but I will begin with the rationale. As a note, our Eating for 3$/day Cookbook can be found here. These are more similar to common cooking and often require less prep, and have more meats.

Foods

These recipes will be based on Potatoes, Milk, Flour, Eggs, and Kale. (Honorable mention to Pinto Beans and Carrots)

Using our Nutrient Per Dollar study, USDA recommendations, and linear algebra we solved for the lowest cost foods that hit all nutritional requirements. If you are allergic, keto, picky, or vegan, I can calculate a specialized list for you. Please contact me at michaelkirk@efficiencyiseverything.com

Note- Some recipes have additional foods (IE- oils, sugars, spices) that can be added for flavor. It may be best to consider spending 1-2$/week on ‘flavor’.

$1.50 Per Day Recipes

Potato Soup

This recipe is for 2 people, but we double it for leftovers.

Ingredients-

Roux-

  • 3 Tablespoons oil (or for non frugal people- butter)
  • 3 Tablespoons flour

Soup-

  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock (aka- 2 cups water, 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 3-4 Potatoes, cubed (skins on for laziness and nutrition)
  • 1 Teaspoon salt (I add more, but Mandy says I over salt)
  • Half Teaspoon black pepper

For the roux, add the Roux ingredients to a pan and cook over low-medium heat for ~5 minutes, stirring often. Don’t let it burn, it’s easy to do. Add the rest of the soup ingredients to the pan, heat until boiling and cook for ~20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Crepes

These are so good, you will forget these are part of the $1.50/day budget. They taste luxury.

Makes 4 Crepes. Recommended flavors- Peanut Butter and Jelly(my favorite), Chocolate(melt kisses in the microwave), Nutella(so expensive, chocolate is cheaper).

Ingredients-

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (optional, or add more than 1 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions-

Mix well, stand mixers help. Other people say to let it sit 30+ minutes, but its not necessary.

Turn a medium size pan on low heat, when its warm, add 1/4 of the mixture, approx the size of a ladle. Rotate the pan to coat the bottom of the pan. After ~2 minutes it should look cooked. Using a spatula, lift the sides of the crepe before flipping. Flip and let it cook for less than 1 minute, all done. Stuff and fold.

Avoid crisping(unless you like that) on higher temps. Your second crepe will look professional.

Homemade Noodles with Spaghetti sauce/Soup/Alfredo

Pick your flavor options, salt and oil is basically free-

(protip- stand mixer and noodle maker makes it easy and delicious)

Ingredients, 2 servings-

In a pot-

  • Mix 4 cups water (and 4 chicken bouillon cubes), get this to a boil

In a mixing bowl-

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1.5 cups flour

Directions-

Mix eggs, salt, milk, and flour until fully combined. It should be sticky enough to combine into one lump. If its runny, add additional flour.

Lightly flour a cutting board, place the lump on the board and begin flattening the lump into a thin surface. Most people like thin noodles, so its recommended to use a rolling pin, adding flour as needed. At this point either use a noodle maker, or cut into thin strips. When all the noodles have been cut, put into boiling water for ~2 minutes. Keep an eye on the timer, after 2 minutes, remove from heat. Serve.

Mashed Potatoes

Pretty basic, but since Efficiency Is Everything, I’ll provide the laziest way. Serves 4-6 people.

Ingredients-

  • 4-6 potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of milk. Add more or less depending on your style
  • 1+ tsp salt
  • Pepper

Directions-

You could skin the potatoes, I don’t.

Boil the potatoes. You can use a slow cooker or hit boiling water for ~30 minutes. Poke a fork through to see if its soft. (You could cut them if you needed it faster)

Put this into a mixing bowl, add milk, add salt and begin mashing. We use an immersion blender, but any mashing will work.

Serve! If it doesnt taste good, add more salt and add pepper.

Pierogis

Use some of that mashed potatoes and stuff them into this dumpling.

Dough Ingredients-

  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup milk

Directions-

Start water and get to a boil.

Mix dough ingredients in a mixer. Flour a cutting board and rolling pin. Roll out the dough flat as possible. For ease, it may be best to break it up into a few balls before rolling out. Once flat, use a small bowl to cut circles. We used a Tupperware container.

Fill with mashed potatoes. Close Pierogi, use a fork to seal shut.

When ready, put Pierogis into boiling water for ~3 minutes. Get a different pan hot with oil (medium to high heat). Take boiled pierogis out of the boiling water and into the pan. Brown 1-2 minutes on each side.

Gnocchi

This one takes some labor, I recommend putting on a podcast/audiobook and making them in bulk. Freezing for later.

Ingredients-

  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 Egg
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions-

Boil and mash potatoes. Add flour, eggs, pepper, and salt and mix together. We used a stand mixer.

Flour a cutting board, and flour your palms of your hand. Put a small lump of the potato/flour mixture on the cutting board, and roll this until you get a ~1cm diameter(tootsie roll size) log. Take a knife a cut every inch. After cutting, roll these into gnocchi shapes. You could use a fork, but they are going to taste pretty similar either way. Now you are ready to either freeze on a baking sheet, or throw into boiling water for ~2 minutes. They will float to the surface of the water when ready.

Serve with spaghetti sauce for best results. See page 49 of the free (eating for 3$/day) Efficiency is Everything Cookbook.

If you freeze, after an hour, take off the pan and put into tupperware or a freezer bag.

Egg Drop Soup

This is basically eating eggs, but with flavor. Makes 4 cups of soup.

Ingredients-

  • 4 cup chicken broth (4 chicken bouillon cubes, 4 cups water)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Directions-

Get water/chicken broth boiling. Add soy sauce and sesame oil.

Whisk eggs in a separate container. When the water is boiling, add the whisked eggs slowly. After a minute the eggs will be cooked and the soup is ready to eat!

Flat Bread

This has the benefit of not needing yeast. Although pretty much any bread you make will be Efficient.

Ingredients-

  • 2 Cups flour
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 1/2 Tsp salt

Directions-

Mix ingredients, we like using a stand mixer.

Start a pan on low-medium heat. Add enough of the dough mix to coat the pan. The more you add, the longer the cooking time. This usually makes 2-4 flat breads deepening on the size of the pan. After ~2 minutes, you can flip.

You can google other bread recipes, we got a bread maker from the thrift shop for 6$ and have been making loafs of bread since.

Cooked Kale

Kale is really hard to eat raw, but cooking it with salt and oil makes it as good as McDonald’s Fries.

Directions-

Tear kale off the stem, put in a pan on medium heat, add a little bit of water (~2 Tablespoons) and cover with a lid. Let cook for 3 minutes.

Once done, take off the lid, add some oil and salt. Cook for another 1 minute and serve.

Vegetable Pot Pie

Since eating for $1.50/day, we found you can substitute chicken out for potatoes surprisingly well. The texture is similar enough.

Ingredients-

Roux-

  • 5 tbsp oil or better
  • 5 tbsp flour

Filling-

  • 3 or 4 large potatoes or 6 small. Cut into bite sized pieces.
  • 2 cups of mixed veggies (ours was frozen, but fresh is cheaper)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (2 cups water, 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I added more after serving)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (I added more after serving)

Pie Crust-

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Directions-

Make a roux, add the Roux ingredients to a pan and cook over low-medium heat for ~5 minutes, stirring often. Don’t let it burn, it’s easy to do.

Add the rest of the filling ingredients to the pan, cook until potatoes are soft. If you are looking for some pro advice, Dr. Mandy Kirk says to add the potatoes 5 minutes ahead of the vegetables. Once the liquid starts to thicken, you are ready to fill the pie. More protips- Feel free to add more liquid, milk or water, if the filling is starting to look dry.

For the pie crust, mix ingredients, flour a cutting board and rolling pin. Roll out flat. Do your best to cut the shape of the pie pan. Place dough in the pie pan. Add filling. Using the rest of the dough, roll out as before, cut the shape of the top of the pie pan. Place on top as best as you can.

It doesn’t need to be perfect, it will taste great either way. I added extra salt and fresh grounded pepper upon serving.

Wish you the best

Wish you the best during these unprecedented times. The study will be released at a later date, showing where we got these main ingredients from. This situation is too urgent to delay any longer.

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