Broke in Bozeman: Locals Share Their Favorite $5 Meals
Our 'Broke in Bozeman' series kicks off with something uber practical: What is your favorite go-to, super cheap meal to make for about $5? We got a ton of great responses from listeners which we'll share with you. It's basically a list of Bozeman's favorite cheap comfort food.
If you need to tighten the belt for a while, eating at home is one of the quickest ways to save money. Eating out is great, but when you just don't have the money...we've all been there. We asked a wide variety of folks in downtown Bozeman what their favorite cheap meal is.
Many of these suggestions are American standards. Absolute classics in the repertoire, and basically people's lazy, guilty culinary pleasures. Many aren't all that healthy and definitely qualify as comfort food. However, some are super healthy inexpensive meals. FYI: There's a lot of cheese...
Kraft macaroni & cheese (with or without some canned tuna added): A staple of kids and adults alike. Although there are some haters, most people enjoy (or can at least tolerate) the occasional bowl of KM&C. I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm in the 'add some tuna' camp on this one.
Pancakes and scrambled eggs: There is always a box of pancake mix in my pantry. Literally 'just add water' and you've got a super filling meal. Scrambled eggs with whatever you have lying around tossed in and you've got yourself a decent dinner.
Cheese enchiladas: Too broke for meat? Sometimes it happens. No need. Roll yourself some cheese enchiladas. Heck, the sauce will probably be the most expensive ingredient. Cover them with whatever sauce you've got or toss on some salsa.
Fancy Ramen: Tons of people dress up their ramen. Smart! It's super cheap, but you can add just about anything to it. Veggies, meat, tofu, etc. Where would we be without it?
Cereal and milk: Obvious, but hear me out. When you check grocery store sales, you can score boxes of higher-end, healthier cereals for a bargain. Grab a couple boxes when you spot the sales. There's no need to have sugary kids garbage cereal
Garlic toast pizza: Tons of people had 'toast pizza' suggestions. As long as you've got some sort of bread, some sauce and some cheese you've got what you need. Fancy it up however you want with extra ingredients.
QUESADILLAS! Duh. The ultimate inexpensive meal. Dozens of people piped up with quesadillas, unsurprisingly. Anybody who doesn't keep tortillas and cheese in their fridge at all times is a fool in my book. Plain cheese is fine but adding whatever you like is the best part. Hands down the most versatile of the cheap eats.
Soup Bake: This one was new to me but makes pretty good sense: a can of soup of your choice—chicken and rice, steak and vegetable, beef barley...whatever, as long as it's hearty. Cook some pasta or rice to thicken. Bake with breadcrumbs or cheese.
Chicken patty sandwiches: I've done this trick. The actual bag of decent chicken patties will cost you a lot more than $5, but per serving this trick works. You definitely don't have to settle for super unhealthy kids meal chicken either. Frozen chicken options have come a LONG way.
Salads, salads, salads: We heard suggestions for all kinds of salads. As long as you have some greens and some sort of dressing, you can add almost ANYTHING to a salad. Fruit, veggies, meats, fish...whatever you've got.