As the cost of food rises, feeding a family on a budget becomes more challenging, but there are fast, easy, and cheap meals that can be prepared with little fuss and effort. The following article features 10 meal ideas that are easy and ring in under $10.
Chili is about as simple as dinner can get without ordering out, and it costs a fraction of the amount. Brown a pound of ground beef or turkey, drain the fat, and add a can of tomato sauce, a drained can of kidney beans, and an envelope of chili seasoning mix. Stir and allow the mixture to cook for 15 minutes before serving. Toppings for the chili can be found in any kitchen. Use shredded cheese, sour cream, or crushed corn chips. This meal will cost under $8 in total.
This is a simple dish that can vary in price depending on the ingredients being used. A frittata can be vegetarian, or contain bacon, ham, or chicken. This recipe affords the cook the opportunity to add whatever they like. A classic interpretation involves beating 6-8 eggs, adding a touch of milk or cream and pouring the mixture into a pie plate. Then add chopped ham, shredded mozzarella, seasonings, and pop the frittata in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-20 depending on the size of the frittata.
Alfredo dishes are usually associated with a pricey restaurant, but this dish can be made at home for under $10. Grill, bake, or sauté seasoned chicken breasts until cooked through and then slice the meat. Boil fettuccine in salted water according to the package instructions and drain the water when done. Warm a jar of Alfredo sauce and toss everything together.
Jazzed Up Ramen
Often dismissed as a college student’s go-to meal, Ramen has far more potential and it’s cheap! Crack a brick of dried ramen into fourths and place each in a bowl fashioned from aluminum foil. Add a piece of fish, a few shrimp, or a combination of the two before pouring in 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth. Season using Asian flavors, close the foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
A pound of ground beef, an egg, 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of spaghetti sauce and some salt and pepper can make a meatloaf a treat. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until done and serve with a vegetable and rolls.
Roasted Chicken and Veggies
A whole chicken can usually be found for $5-6 at most supermarkets. Throw in a couple of peeled, quartered potatoes, a handful of baby carrots, and a few cut-up stalks of celery and a complete meal has been created. Bake the chicken and veggies at 350 degrees for 15-20 per pound.
Soup can made from nearly anything found in the produce section of the grocery store. A hearty soup can consist of potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, celery, carrots, green pepper, zucchini, or any other veggies. If there is room in the budget, add a sliced cut of steak that can withstand boiling, or add it last minute to avoid toughness.
A can of tuna, a box of elbow macaroni, and 1/2 bag of frozen peas are the traditional ingredients for this casserole. To add extra zing, use a jar of Alfredo or spaghetti sauce in place of the white sauce. Combine the ingredients, crush a handful of potato chips over the top, and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. All told, the price should top out at about $7.
A twist on the traditional hamburger, all that is needed is a pound of ground turkey, lettuce, tomato, mayo, pickles and hamburger buns. Grill or pan fry the burgers and pile on the extras!
A simple yeast packet and the basics of flour, water, and salt can make a dirt cheap pizza crust. The cost will come from the toppings, and, for $10, you can pick and choose what you like.