Make your own stock with beef bones or chicken pieces. Lots cheaper. And I use a discounted pkg of beef. If you use it right away when you get home, esp. if your boiling it to make stock, there's no problem with the fact that it's a day overdue. If you can't use it right away, toss it in the freezer until you can (BTW freezing does not kill bacteria, but it does stop the growth - boiling it long enough to make a stock will kill bacteria).
Baked wild salmon with rice/potatoes and veggies? How does that come out to under $8?? The CHEAPEST wild salmon we can buy here (and I wouldn't settle for it, it's definitely not fresh) is $14/lb and we usually buy half a pound.
My homemade pasta sauce takes 3-4 vine-ripe tomatoes (about $1.5), squash/zucchini, basil, mushrooms, one brown onion, garlic, and maybe various other veggies + pasta. All of it still comes out to over 8 dollars and has only one serving leftover.
For the veggie soup I use this recipe: http://www.elise.com/recipes/archives/000091vegetable_soup_with_sweet_basil.php
, I guess the ingredients don't really add up to $30, more like $20 including two cartons of stock. If we take out the stock, it will be more like $10. EDIT: Nah.. it will still be around $15 I think.
Good tip on the saving veggies for stock, I heard it before but I keep forgetting to do it! You even save the onion and garlic skins? Interesting. Aren't ends of things usually dirty? Do you wash them thoroughly before you freeze them?
We used to have a growbed and grew our own herbs, but our new place doesn't have a yard so we can't grow anything
We will try growing basil in pots until winter though.