Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More Frugal Lunches

I recall people enjoying the last post I did with a couple of frugal recipes, so I thought I'd post the recipe I've been enjoying for lunches this week. I really like this lunch because of the intensity of its flavors: there's a certain luxury to big, bright flavors that's often difficult to achieve in low-cost recipes.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad
Couscous, you may have noticed, is really cheap. Especially if you buy it in bulk. Which I do. So, you start with about two cups of couscous, which you prepare in the normal way (that is, boil the same amount of water as you have couscous, pour couscous in, cover and remove from heat, fluff periodically). Say this costs a dollar.
Chop up a big red onion and a tomato or two. You can also add some cucumber. (This part cost me less than $2, but I skipped the cucumber this time.)
If you like these things, crumble in some feta cheese (I bought a block for less than $2) and some pitted olives (I like Kalamata, and am willing to lay out the ~$3-4 for them).
Also optional: tossing in some chunks of grilled chicken. (Say, $4 worth.)

You toss all of the extras into the couscous, dollop with olive oil & vinegar (wine vinegar is best), add salt and pepper to taste, and put it in the fridge. It's really, really easy, in addition to being cheap. And in addition to both of those things, it's also tasty.

So far, I've gotten two meals out of this, and expect to get two or three more. If the super-deluxe version (with cheese, olives, and chicken) costs $13 to prepare (the full batch), that's about $3 per meal. Keep in mind, too, that you basically don't need anything else to go with this (though an apple makes a nice side dish): it's a full meal in and of itself, which makes it really easy and convenient.