As food prices rise and more families encounter sticker shock every time they look at price tags at the grocery store, the idea of feeding your entire family a meal that costs less than ten dollars can seem absurd. In fact, it’s entirely possible to pull together great-tasting meals without breaking the bank or resorting to a drive-through dollar menu. These ten dinners can be quickly thrown together, taste great and are inexpensive enough to stay within the bounds of a small budget.
- Quesadillas – With some cheese, meat and flour tortillas, you can put together a filling and kid-friendly meal in no time. Even if you decide to splurge on some salsa and sour cream to jazz things up a bit, you’ll still come in well below ten dollars for the entire meal if you choose your items carefully.
- Roasted Chicken and Veggies – Opting for a whole chicken is cheaper than buying one that’s pre-cut and you’re able to roast it with root vegetables for a delicious, well-rounded meal. The vegetable choices are up to you; find things that your family likes, but that won’t break the bank. Sprinkle them with seasonings you already have on-hand for a great meal that seems fancy, but costs next-to-nothing.
- Spaghetti – If you’re really in a pinch, a cheap jar of pre-made spaghetti sauce can go a long way. Browning some ground beef to add to your sauce can thicken up a cheap brand, adding flavor and protein to the dish.
- Burritos – Filling flour tortillas with refried beans and cheese is quick, easy and great-tasting. As an added bonus, it’s also incredibly cheap. If you have a bit of room in your budget, you may want to add some meat to the mixture. Burritos are just as delicious without the meat, though, and the beans are high in protein, helping you stay fuller, longer.
- Breakfast for Dinner – A dozen eggs, a small package of bacon and a can of pre-made biscuits make a great breakfast-for-dinner menu and are cheap enough to come in under ten dollars at the checkout counter. The bacon is likely to be the most expensive item on the list, so make sure that you shop wisely when you choose your brand.
- Dinner Salad – A big salad with plenty of veggies and your choice of protein can go a long way without giving your wallet a workout. Making this meal economical will require you to chop and rinse your own lettuce and vegetables, however. Opting for the pre-chopped bags of salad mix is much more expensive in the long run, and you get much less product sold at a higher price. Sacrificing the convenience of pre-washed and chopped veggies for a little extra time in the kitchen will save you dollars at the register.
- Chili and Cornbread – A package of chili seasoning mix, one can of beans, one can of tomatoes and a pound of ground beef will make enough chili to feed five people. Adding some warm, crumbly cornbread to the menu makes a great-tasting, inexpensive meal that’s particularly good for those cold, winter evenings.
- Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches – Comfort food classics like tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich pair perfectly together and are among the least expensive meals you can make. To give the meal a bit more flair, spring for some crusty French bread or sourdough, rather than standard sandwich slices.
- Beef Stroganoff – While traditional stroganoff calls for a higher-quality cut of meat, it’s still delicious when cheaper ground beef is used as a substitution. Cream of mushroom condensed soup, sour cream, milk and some egg noodles are all you need to crank out this delicious dish on a dime.
- Tacos – Crunchy tacos are a kid favorite that can be pulled together very inexpensively if you skip optional toppings like olives and peppers. Corn tortillas tend to be a bit cheaper than their flour cousins and contain less sodium to boot, giving you a delicious meal for a low price.
For further savings at the market, it’s smart to start clipping and saving coupons. There are several websites and smartphone apps out there to help you find valuable coupons, allowing you to save money on your grocery bill. Keep in mind, however, that a coupon isn’t a bargain if it causes you to buy something simply because it’s a deal; if your family won’t eat it or you wouldn’t ordinarily purchase it, you aren’t actually saving money.