Groceries are expensive. Americans spent a record amount of money at the grocery store last year. In fact, an average American spends $151 on groceries each week. Higher income Americans spend even more: $180. That’s serious money!
Every American, from lower income to higher income, can benefit from reducing that amount. By foregoing traditional purchases and instead relying on the following incredibly inexpensive food staples, you too can reduce the amount of money you drop at the grocery store each week.
People around the world have already discovered that rice is an incredibly cheap source of delicious calories. In addition, rice is incredibly easy to cook, with either a simple sauce pan filled with water, or a rice cooker. Unfortunately, white rice lacks essential proteins and fibers needed for a complete diet. Therefore, purchase brown rice instead. Its taste may take some time to get used to, but in short time you will crave the nuttier flavor that can be had in each bite. A pound of brown rice can be purchased for as little as 79 cents to a dollar a pound. Buy in bulk since rice has a long shelf life.
Masa has been a staple of indigenous Native American populations for centuries. The delicious ground corn meal is packed with carbs, protein, and fiber. It is also incredibly inexpensive, often at less than a dollar a pound. Mix masa with warm water, add salt, mold into a thin pancake, and place on a skillet. In short order, you will have a delicious hand made tortilla. Search the internet for sope and huarache recipes as well. Both concoctions take masa and transform it into a gourmet creation.
Not all inexpensive food staples are grains and starches. Chicken quarters, meaning the piece of the bird where the thigh is connected to the drumstick, are often on sale for as little as 40 cents a pound. This delicious dark meal part of the bird can be stewed, grilled, or sauteed. Many culinary traditions actually prefer the dark meat to its white counterpart for its richer, meatier flavor. In America, however, the price stays cheap since chickens are predominantly grown for the breast meat and wing meat. The quarters are then sold off at bargain basement prices.
Pasta is incredibly inexpensive. For just a few dollar a day, an entire family can eat a meal that an Italian restaurant would easily sell for as much as $20. For example, take some penne pasta at around $1 a pound (or less when on sale), add some canned pasta sauce (canned often tastes as good or better than jarred at a fraction of the price), add some half and half that you have in your fridge already, and top it off with a shot of vodka to bring out the alcohol soluble flavors of the tomato. You just made a homemade penne with vodka sauce that you would have had to spend a fortune for at a restaurant. Top it off with some grated parmesan and enjoy!