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 Post subject: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:52 pm 


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CMoon wrote:

Seriously, this forum needs the lonely videogamer's guide to cheap (and healthy) cooking.


This is an alternate to the thread for chefs. A number of posters echoed my own thoughts that cooking at home is cheaper and better (often) than eating out. Time to actually share some of that wisdom, and for those of us who do cook regularly it would be great to exchange some notes. Seriously, my whole reason for posting this is that I want your cheap-ass recipes.

Or, let this thread die and just go back to talking about ponies. :oops:

---------------------------

Anyway, a few thoughts for the hungry bachelor:

1) Slow cookers are the lonely videogamers' friend. Not only are they affordable, they turn huge piles of the cheapest vegetables and the poorest cuts of meat into tender stews.

2) Use your fucking freezer. It's easy to complain that cooking takes too long, but if you cook in quantity and freeze the bulk you will quickly find yourself with tons of readily available food. More money to buy anime body pillows???

3) Don't get intimidated by fancy food. Many great dishes have short cuts (see my example below) that turn what could be a complicated dish into fuckin' hamburger helper.

4) If you have the cash, buy a goddamn food processor. Single best kitchen gadget since humans invented fire.

---------------------------

Getting on with this, I love curries and have been trying to teach myself Indian and Thai cooking. I'd been making everything from scratch, which is fine, but the lonely videogamer might find that too intimidating. A friend of mine pointed out that curry paste could be purchased from the local Asian market for cheap ($3), saving me probably 20-30 minutes prep time (what do I do with my spice rack now?)

Hence: "Starving Shmupper/College student Red Curry" (prep time ~ 15 min, cook time ~ 1hr+, servings 5-6 (use that freezer, bitches)

Stir fry 2 diced onions until golden in 2-4 tbs of light cooking oil in a wok.
Add Mae Ploy Red Curry paste (I added 120 grams, but shmuppers without scales can just use a 3rd of the container) and 1 can coconut milk; simmer.
Add 2 lbs chicken; simmer
Add 3 carrots, 4 potatoes, 1 lb green beans (all chopped); add another can of coconut milk. I wanted to add bean sprouts and bamboo shoots, but literally ran out of room in my wok.
Continue simmering for about an hour or until edible. You can even play video games while its simmering. I watched a movie while I was making this.

That's right, I made a weeks worth of food for under $16 (<$2 paste, $4 coconut milk, <$4 vegetables, $4 chicken, <$1 oil, <$1 for the rice I'm gonna serve it on.) If you can't do this too, what the hell is wrong with you?

In my next post I will be explaining good hygiene habits and why you shouldn't sit so close to the TV.

Love,
Mom
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:11 pm 


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Epic post

I laughed, I cried, I ate some tasty food for cheap.

Indian recipes are fantastic for making super tasty saucy dishes. And making it yourself is both cheaper and healthier than takeout, and you can tailor the flavours and spice to your liking. And they lend themselves very well to vegitarian/vegan diets.

Seriously though, I think I will make this when my fianceé goes away at the end of the month. I love red curry.
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:16 pm 


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Location: uoıʇɐɹnƃıɟuoɔ ɯǝʇsʎs
FUCKIN RICE microwave RECIPE:

1.) select your battle bowl carefully
2.) sprinkle an amount of rice in to more than cover the bottom (don't have an exact measure for this, you should be able to judge it), but it should not be very deep no matter how big the bowl. The rice will puff up.
3.) Cover the rice in water.
4.) Microwave on high for 20 minutes (possibly more or less will be sufficient)

EAT and enjoy YOUR FUCKIN RICE without making a mess for others to clean up!!!

Rice is a good base for lots of things so not knowing how to cook it would be like not knowing how to throw a hadouken. Fuckin unacceptable. You will be punished.

Pasta is also very easy. Pasta is easier but requires a stovetop. Just throw that stuff in a covered pot, cook until boiling*, you might want to stir occasionally, avoid water bubbling out of the pot, wait until done. 2X 'recipe' multiplier unlocked!!

But that is enough to prevent starvation in extreme circumstances. Just remember that rice does not have the same long-term energy output duration as pasta, so choose your battle carefully.

* Some suggest boiling the water first, but fuck them and their energy and time wasting ways. They will come to regret the day they saw the open flame of heavenly cooking retribution!

BONUS ROUND: TOTALLY TRUE STORY (do not read if you are going to eat right away, and if you have a weak stomach. Gods of cooking will appreciate this, however.)

So you like bananas eh? Well they don't like you. Or rather, maggots inside them. When there are maggots (or baby fruit fly casings, whatever) inside a banana, it will taste tangy. I know this. How do I know this? I'd tell you but then I would have to bodyslam you through fifty stacks of drywall lasagna and then bury you.

If you don't want to suffer a disgusting fate, here is the guide to revering bananas properly:

Bananas often have brown discolored spots inside them. Usually, it is not necessary to remove these. However, these spots might also foretell of alien infestation, so look carefully for any movement. Shoot to kill. Infested bananas, in my experience, are very rare, and I have observed many bananas turning into sweet banana bread makings without any problems. But, as we all ought to know by now, aliens want to invade your mouth when you least expect it. Keep your eyes peeled while you open that banana!


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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:49 pm 


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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
YES.

I live for cheap. I eat shit every fuckin day, and that shit is full of protein. I eat cheap so I can afford overinflated video games and figurines. My favorite shitty meal that I eat almost every day. *Note, you have to "get used" to eating shit, otherwise you'll hate your life.

LINTILS AND BROWN RICE (AKA get fuckin' huge for under a dollar)

Lintils are these weird little beans that kinda look like half peas. They have a weird sort of pepper taste. Some losers eat them in soup. Other hardasses (me) eat them solid because each serving of the little bastards has like 10g of protein.

RICE COOKER your brown rice. Takes awhile, but it's easy. I hate cleaning mine, though. So you should probably find someone to clean yours if you are lazy. Add some egg whites for EXTRA PROTEIN.

Boil some water for your lintils. Boil a huge fuckin' pot of water. Then simmer than shit and pour like 2 cups of lintils in there. Be sure to wash your lintils first, otherwise they have this soapy residue that is kinda weird. Anyhow, turn down your heat and simmer those critters for like 20 minutes. Then drain those.

NOW, take your rice and combine it with some lintils. Now you have SUPER PROTEIN. Combine with some shitty cheap wal-mart salsa and possibly throw in some sriracha so it doesn't taste like a complete bland mess. It's pretty fuckin' bland. You have been warned. This concoction will last you for like a week.
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:04 pm 


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Regarding rice, I use a rice steamer, but if your doing this on the cheap, you don't need one. Also, you can easily make any number of fried rice dishes without steaming the rice at all. Just soak it for 30 minutes, strain, then add it into your stir fry whenever you add the vegetables.

I haven't really experimented with the whole fried rice thing, but to clarify, it would looks something like this:
-Soak rice
-Fry a couple diced onions in a couple tbs of cooking oil
-Turn heat to low / temper with various spices
-Start adding veggies, rice, meats of your choices. Sequence requires experimentation or reading.
-Room for a second round of spices.
-Cover and continue cooking until done.

One other trick if you are cooking indian food. If you are reheating a dish you can completely revitalize it by frying it in just a bit of oil and some garam marsala. Totally comes back to life.
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:14 pm 


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drauch wrote:
get fuckin' huge for under a dollar


ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Oh Drauch, if you can afford it, spice that shit up with some cumin seeds, tumeric and dried hot chiles. I'm stealing this right from Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian cooking (Red Lentils Tarka)....

Prepare your lentils as you usually do but add some tumeric. In a separate pan heat some oil, toss in some cumin seeds (my recipe calls for 1 teaspoon WHOLE seeds)--wait for them to sizzle, add some dried hot chiles (I like to break them up); as soon as they turn dark, toss this mixture in with your lentils and cover it. Continue heating the lentils until delicious.

Edit: More advice from Mom--never buy spices at the goddamn grocery store. Asian markets (particularly Indian markets) sell that shit by the lb. I have giant tubs of corriander, cumin, tumeric, clove, cardmom pods, hot chile, cayanne pepper, etc. Each of these cost me $3-$4 at the Indian market. Cheaper if you use your own air-tight containers. If I was a complete pro I'd put all of these in the freezer, but my freezer is filled with hops.
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Last edited by CMoon on Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:18 pm 


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drauch wrote:
wal-mart salsa


Homemade salsa:

Ingredients:

1 Fuckin' Tomato
1 or more fuckin' peppers. Jalapeno will do.

Steps:

Put that shit in a blender. Push a button. You're fuckin' done.

Optional:

Roasting the tomato before blending.
Salt, pepper, sugar.
Cilantro, onion.
Weird stuff like mushrooms and chicken fat, if you're a weirdo.

Storage:

An inside out tomato is a sex party for E. Coli. When you go to a restaurant, it's your best shot at getting an infection.

This is why you can't buy salsa at a store. All that's available is chunky not-quite-as-inside-out vinegar heavy stuff. If you want to keep your shit for more than a couple days, vinegar is necessary.

Cost:

Produce is fuckin' expensive. But it can help you shovel down those heaps of bleached ground wheat you eat to get hyooge.
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:20 pm 



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Cubed butternut squash, 1 chopped onion, madras paste, chopped toms, punch of sugar, punch of salt*, spinach leaves. Method: will check with lady-partner as I never made it myself. Have eaten it loads though and it's fookin loovely.

*pinch/punch, what fucking difference does it make?


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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:30 pm 


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Roasted vegetable chili (since roasted vegetables came up):

*pro-tip: there is so much flavor in roasted vegetables. Like beer, roasted vegetables are proof that god loves us.

1) Buy a shit-ton of tomatoes and onions. A couple hot peppers (doesn't have to be jalepeno though--if you go with milder chiles you can increase the amount. You can add other earthy vegetables too. I've added potatoes because they are cheaper than dirt. Experiment.

2) Cut veggies into sizes that are manageable for your food processor and roast. I do my veggies in waves with the onions and other tougher veggies going first. Temperature and duration create different flavors. Once again, experiment.

3) Food process everything and add to slow cooker. Make sure and add all the brown caramelized goo that comes from the roasted veggies. That's where some of the best flavor comes from.

4) I cook up some cheap meat here and add it to the slow cooker--lately I've been using pork chorizo.

5) Beans? I just use canned, but you can go with dry beans and boil/soak it the night before. More money for figurines.

6) Spices? Believe it or not, the flavor of the vegetables may be enough. I've added canned chipotle peppers and chili powder before, but this recipe almost doesn't need it.

7) Slow cook for 6 hours on low or boil it in a large kettle. I've even done this in a pressure cooker before.

Conclusion: Roasted vegetables rock!
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:48 pm 



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Definitely trying that one! Love me roasted veg. Would it work with 'snips, d'you reckon?


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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:00 pm 


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RGC wrote:
Definitely trying that one! Love me roasted veg. Would it work with 'snips, d'you reckon?


Probably; I think there's tons of room for variation. Mostly just stuck to the classic tomatoes + onions + chiles; but if you find something else that works well, post it here.
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:01 pm 


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RGC wrote:
Definitely trying that one! Love me roasted veg. Would it work with 'snips, d'you reckon?


Parsnips are the sex. Add some cauliflower, carrot and sweet potatoes while you're at it, and absolutely chili powder and cumin too YA HEARD
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:17 pm 



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shmuppyLove wrote:
Parsnips are the sex.


Aye, you're not wrong there.

Also if cheap is your goal, whatever you're making (with the possible exception of curries; I'm thinking pasta-type meals here), add cheese for flavour. Cheap-ass cheddar makes any dish palatable. Oh, and black pepper. :)


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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:33 pm 


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I'd never thought about sweet potatoes and cauliflower in a chili, but I'll give it a shot.
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:51 pm 


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Joined: 30 Oct 2008
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
CMoon wrote:
drauch wrote:
get fuckin' huge for under a dollar


ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Oh Drauch, if you can afford it, spice that shit up with some cumin seeds, tumeric and dried hot chiles. I'm stealing this right from Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian cooking (Red Lentils Tarka)....

Prepare your lentils as you usually do but add some tumeric. In a separate pan heat some oil, toss in some cumin seeds (my recipe calls for 1 teaspoon WHOLE seeds)--wait for them to sizzle, add some dried hot chiles (I like to break them up); as soon as they turn dark, toss this mixture in with your lentils and cover it. Continue heating the lentils until delicious.

Edit: More advice from Mom--never buy spices at the goddamn grocery store. Asian markets (particularly Indian markets) sell that shit by the lb. I have giant tubs of corriander, cumin, tumeric, clove, cardmom pods, hot chile, cayanne pepper, etc. Each of these cost me $3-$4 at the Indian market. Cheaper if you use your own air-tight containers. If I was a complete pro I'd put all of these in the freezer, but my freezer is filled with hops.


Shall do!!! Thanks for the pro-tip, mom!
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:03 pm 



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If you like to eat a mean plate of spaghetti like I do, here's a mighty tasty pesto sauce recipe:

1.) Take a single bunch of basil leaves & throughly wash it in running water with a salad spinner. Give it a good drying spin to get out all that excessive water/moisture. Set aside.

2.) Measure a single cup of extra virgin olive oil & put it into a blender or food processor.

3.) Add a handful of shelled walnuts or pine nuts to the olive oil.

4.) Add a few pieces of garlic to the oil/walnuts/pine nuts conoction.

5.) Fire up the ol' blender until everthing is a nice & smooth blended white mixture.

6.) Add the rinsed out basil leaves and blend until throughly processed.

7.) Measure a bowl of 2 1/2 cups of finely shredded parmesian cheese and pour the blended pesto puree into the cheese and stir it up properly.

8.) Add a bit of lime or lemon juice to the finished pesto sauce for a bit of added kick to it if desired. The juice is a natural preservative and will make the pesto sauce last longer.

9.) You can also add a thin layer of olive oil to the finished pesto sauce so it doesn't dry up if stored in the refrigerator.

10.) Place pesto sauce into small storage containers for safekeeping. Pesto freezes well and is quite easy to defrost in the microwave at 20%-30% power level for about two to three minutes for some quick 'n' easy pesto to add to a heaping plate of spaghetti.

11.) You can use a few DIY ice cube trays & fill up each space with prepared pesto to freeze as well.

Easy as pie.

This pesto recipe is a favorite in the family & is worlds better than the store bought pesto sauces.

PC Engine Fan X! ^_~


Last edited by PC Engine Fan X! on Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:37 pm 


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PC Engine Fan X! wrote:
3.) Add a handful of shelled walnuts or pine nuts to the olive oil.


Might I suggest toasting those tasty little fuckers (pine nuts) first? NEXT LEVEL
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:41 pm 



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Yep, toasting 'em pine nuts will surely give the pesto sauce it's signature full-bodied flavor that it's known for, indeed. Thanks for the 411 on that handy tip, shmuppyLove.

FYI: If walnuts are used in lieu of roasted pine nuts, make sure each walnut doesn't have any bit of shell, otherwise it's not fun to bite into tiny bits of walnut shell.

PC Engine Fan X! ^_~


Last edited by PC Engine Fan X! on Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:52 pm 


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Another vote for the pressure cooker + freezing.

I half-stirfry chicken in a pan, then transfer to a pressure cooker to finish getting it ready, in addition to some more non-fried chicken. Put in containers with the broth, freeze. Pull them out the night before to thaw, and drain depending on the dish you're going to make.

Works great for curry or chicken salads.

My contribution:

Get one of those frozen stir-fry mixes from Walmart. Using little oil and high heat, stir-fry it, but don't use the sauce. Add chopped onion, celery and chicken prepared in the manner described prior. Add curry powder (Available from your asian food store) and salt to taste. Put a little soy or Yakisoba sauce if you want to strengthen the taste a little more. Serve over rice or noodles.
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:59 pm 


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Oh hell yeah; now we're moving on to pressure cookers. I'd dodged this since most lonely videogamers probably don't have one, but yes, you can cut down your cooking time tremendously with one of these guys.

Actually I'd go so far as to say anything you can do in a slow cooker in 6 hours or so, you can do in a pressure cooker in about 30 minutes.
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:08 pm 


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Pick up the phone and TADA! Food at your door.

I have more cash than patience to cook (not that I have that much cash.)
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:15 pm 



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Plus the fact you gotta tip the food delivery guy/gal. Tip 'em well & they'll remember you next time they come to your door. It's all part of the convienence though in the end.

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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:49 pm 



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UnscathedFlyingObject wrote:
Pick up the phone and TADA! Food at your door.

Or get in the car and drive.


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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:59 pm 


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Op Intensify wrote:
UnscathedFlyingObject wrote:
Pick up the phone and TADA! Food at your door.

Or get in the car and drive.


OR walk! Let's be honest. Shmup-os just don't get enough sun.
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:24 pm 


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CMoon wrote:
Roasted vegetable chili (since roasted vegetables came up):


I could use a food processor right about now
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:30 pm 


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Interesting thread, even if you're not a lonely videogamer :P


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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:46 pm 



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In no particular order:

Pro-tip: the lone bachelor gamer should have a rice cooker, and tons of tuna and legumes (lentils, chick peas, etc.), with fresh tomatoes and Mangoes. When lazyness strikes, a bowl of rice and tuna/legumes with some tomatoes, and fruit for added vitamins, is a 2-minutes meal that gives all one needs, nutrition-wise. Note: buy a small asian style bowl (e.g. those for Miso), which can contain at most 50 grams of rice and roughly 20 of tuna. It makes the counting of calorie consumption very easy.

That's a type of diet that produces next to no garbage (tuna cans aside), should cost peebles (learn to buy the 20kg sacks of rice), and will make you look like Kenshiro in no time.

Pro-tip: have lentils and brown rice for breakfast, for added proteins (I also eat chick peas, or add some hummous). Make this your snack whenever you're hungry. A bowl of rice and lentils is much better than a plum-cake or a big mac. With the right set-up (see above), it takes you 30 secs to prepare this.

Pro-pro-pro-tip: the brown goo coming out from steamed veggies is gravy, *always* eat it, otherwise you'll lose up to 40% of the nutritive components in veggies!

For fat (yes, we need those), use UNCOOKED extra virgin olive oil, or hard cheeses, like Parmesan, and nuts (!). Avoid animal fat, period. For those who can, game meat is always better, if one can stand it.
My favourites are Kangaroo, Elk and Boar.

Pesto variant: step 7., use pecorino cheese instead of parmesan, for a less refined but more intense flavour.

Recipes coming soon!

EDIT: food processor? I can cut 2 kgs of zucchini to tiny pieces in 5 minutes, so no thanks. Cutting veggies is actually a good stress-releasing activity, objectively better than wanking off to lolis or ponies.
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:51 pm 


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Cooking is great. It's having to wash dishes that sucks. Back when I had more cash it was all about pizza delivery. Now that I have a job that pays shitty. So my usual day consists of Eggs and Toast for breakfast. A Bologna Sandwich for lunch. Potatoes, canned vegetables, and Cube steak (or ground beef if it's on sale) for dinner. I also now get the store brands on everything and buy at the store that is the cheapest. For instance the smaller grocery stores usually have cheaper canned goods than Walmart.


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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:06 am 


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MOSQUITO FIGHTER wrote:
It's having to wash dishes that sucks


Protip: live alone. Immediately after a dish is dirty, rinse it off and just fuckin' wipe it. You don't give a shit, do you? Squirt some soap on that shit. Yeah, polish it off nice like..
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 Post subject: Re: The lonely videogamer's guide to cheap cooking
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:24 am 


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Joined: 30 Oct 2008
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
BryanM wrote:
MOSQUITO FIGHTER wrote:
It's having to wash dishes that sucks


Protip: live alone. Immediately after a dish is dirty, rinse it off and just fuckin' wipe it. You don't give a shit, do you? Squirt some soap on that shit. Yeah, polish it off nice like..


You know what's up! Everyone would be happier if they followed this routine.
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