End of the month meals does not have to be bad and disgusting. It is all about planning and getting the right nutrition.
Let’s start from scratch, if your budget is tight, a key imperative is to focus on the bare minimum. My general approach tends to focus on sales, proteins, and carbs.
Sales are always your friend – but you already know that
As the title suggests – most of the supermarkets, at the entrance have their sales catalog. Give them a quick scan. Sales should focus on whatever protein is on sale and makes sense. In regards to the veggies and fruits, usually, season produce tends to be fairly cheap and on sale.
Unless you live nearby a farmers market, Aldi, Rewe, Penny, or Lidl have crazy fruit prices that you might wanna stay away from. Having said that, sometimes you can find some weird sales.
Get some sort of hot sauce. The hot sauce brings life to all your weird end of month recipes. It makes the end of the month meals so much better! I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have eaten rice with fried zucchini’s in some sort of hot sauce
As always you will need onions and potatoes. In the winter get a head of cabbage as well.
Proteins that you will need
Leaving out the obvious on meat on sale, aim for minced meat. The pure minces (only veal, only pork, only beef) have the tendency to be on the more expensive side. Aim for mixes – not only they taste better, but the different fat content of the meat will make that chili so much better! We will talk about chili later.
Another protein that you will need comes from plants. Beans and lentils are always your friends. They are packed with protein and are so healthy for you! A pack of 500gr of lentils can be made 5 times.
Caned protein is also great – Tuna is your key choice. Normally, when you have money, you buy the water tuna. Now that we are broke, we will get the oil tuna.
Obviously, there are plenty of protein sources that you can search and identify – but let’s focus on the ones that you can actually buy.
Carbs: the end of the month meals filler
Again – pointing out the obvious, but a big bad of rice is so cheap that I can’t even begin to think about it. This can be a great addition to almost everything. It will fill you up, and no matter what you can do, you can get the cheapest and least expensive type of rice that you can think of.
Pasta is also good and the normal pasta that everyone gets is ridiculously expensive. Get the store brand. It’s literally the same thing.
Please do not forget the raw oatmeal which is like 1 euro for 1 kg. Put your fruits in it and have it with water if you do not even have money for milk. You will be fine and it’s delicious. If you happen to have some jam or honey or whatever sweet stuff laying around – add it there too!
Canned tomatoes and canned beans should always be your choice. You can extend to other canned goods as well – but when we will be cooking them – always think of canned items that you can put with a stew or go very well with rice. Whenever money comes in, I always get some canned goods. They almost never expire and your future self will thank you for it.
What to cook
For the end of the month meals, always think of meat + veggies + tomatoes + liquid with a side of carbs. Dont bother with other things – it just takes too much time and ingredients. The taste profile can change so much from all the different things that you can cook!
Other than that, use oats to fill you up in the morning! Here is a list of recipes that you could potentially make:
- Baked pasta
- Chili con carne (or without)
- Tuna tomato pasta
- Easy lentil soup
- Chicken with peppers
- Chicken risotto
- Red cabbage salad
- Roasted beans
- Chicken Pasta