If I don't use too many different veggies, I can get them all peeled, chopped, and cooked while the rice is cooking away in its' little cooker. Yesterday, of course, I used about twice as many veggies as any sane person. You can use as few or as many as you want, even mushrooms if you'd like.
Yesterday I used:
- 1 small beet
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 4/5 of a large-ish onion
- 1 small turnip
- 1 large carrot
- ~8 oz green cabbage
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1C frozen green peas
- 1 (heaping) Tablespoon pickled ginger
so as you can, I'm sure, imagine it took a while to get everything chopped. You can reduce cooking time (a little) by nuking the (chopped) hard veggies while you chop the onion, cabbage, and garlic. I never bother, 'cause I'm silly, but I bet it would speed things up a lot. Nothing quite as texturally off-putting as biting into something yummy crispy/squishy and having it go crunch half way through.
With 6 cups of cooked rice (about a pound raw), 2-ish T oil, a splash of vinegar and all the soy sauce you care to use the fried rice is about 2400 to 2800 calories. Guestimating from fitday, so I can't be exact. That's basically dinner for 4. Veggies could always add diced, saute'd tofu, egg eaters could add an egg (check elsewhere for how that works), and meat-eating types could add about a pound of 49 cent chicken "quarter" either in the rice or on the side. That drives the cost up a bit, of course.
The way I cooked it yesterday, it was about $2.25 for the veggies (ginger, garlic, and peas had the highest package cost), 50 cents for the rice (3lbs @ $1.49), and about another 30 cents for oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and whatnot.
So growing your own veggies this would * definitely* be an under $1 dish. Buying veggies, though (and going a bit crazy with using them...) it was $3.05. So my meal-sized serving cost was about $0.76, and side-dish sized serving cost (enough to fill half a plate) is about 38 cents. Using fewer veggies or leaving out the spendier ones would (obviously) drop the price a bit- enough that you could make up the rest of the day's calories with bread and beans and still stay under $1 per person per day.
Is it just me, or does this whole cheap diet thing work better when there are more people to split the costs with?
Starting to think I should have braved the wilds of the back yard and planted some forking veggies last year....