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Tasty and cheap backpacker meals for under $2!
It can be hard to eat well whilst on a budget. It can be even harder when also travelling around. So I thought it would be useful to list my favourite cheap dinners for when you want something tasty to eat without breaking the bank account.
In all of these recipes, I used Coles home brand products for pricing, or the cheapest alternative. You should be able to get pretty similar from any of the main supermarkets.
This is such an easy and fast meal. Puttanesca translates to slut or prostitute, so this spaghetti dish was developed as a simple and cheap alternative dinner by the working girls.
- 200g Spaghetti (20 cents)
- 2 cloves garlic (10 cents)
- 1 can diced tomatoes (60 cents)
- 95g tuna in lemon and pepper (80 cents)
- Teaspoon of dried italian herbs (10 cents - yes the container costs more, but you can easily keep and reuse it for so many recipes)
- Half a handful of black olives (20 cent worth and optional, but can get a 450g jar for about $2 and will last)
- Tablespoon capers (20 cent worth and also options, can get 110g jar for about $2)
Total cost $1.80 (or $2.20 with options)!
Cook pasta in boiling water. Simmer garlic in oil until golden, add tomatoes and herbs and cook for about 5 minutes until slightly reduced. Add tuna, olives and capers then stir through pasta to serve.
Mi Goreng with chicken and vegetable
Mi Goring noodles are a staple among those looking for a cheap eat. Add some vegetables and chicken and you have a fantastic, easy and filling meal. I usually like to add a little more soy sauce, and even a tablespoon of peanut butter works a treat to give more of a satay taste!
- 1 pack of Mi Goreng noodles (65 cents)
- 250g of frozen mixed vegetables (40 cents - using a quarter of a 1kg bag)
- 1 small chicken thigh (80 cents)
Total cost $1.85
Dice chicken to desired size and cook through until tender. Boil or steam vegetables and cook noodles per packet instructions. Combine all cooked ingredients and serve.
Mini muffin pizzas
This was one of my favourite recipes growing up, and I still love it now. Like a pizza, you can pretty much put any ingredients on top. Italian herbs, salt, pepper and tabasco all add great flavour to make them even tastier.
- 2 english muffins halved (67 cents)
- 50g ham shredded (50 cents)
- 50g tomato paste (25 cents - from 170g tin costing 80 cents)
- 4 slices cheese (50 cents - from 24 pack for $3.00)
Total cost $1.92
Preheat oven to 200C. Spread tomato paste on to muffins. Tear the ham up and spread across the tomato paste, then layer a slice of cheese on each muffin. Cook for 5 minutes or until cheese melted and muffins are slightly crispy.
There are so many ways to make delicious meals on a budget. Personally I always have italian herbs on hand to make anything italian more flavoursome. Similarly for asian food, I always have some soy sauce. Otherwise generally always check out the food near to its use by date in supermarkets, where you can often find some great discounts for dinner that night. Happy cooking and bon appetit!