On a budget? Here are 10 great meal ideas–each for about $10!
Splurge on a few ingredients; penny-pinch on others. Striking that balance makes it easy to be creative while feeding a family of four.
Roast Chicken Feast
The meal: Roast chicken makes the perfect special occasion meal. Use smaller broiler/fryers and roast potatoes along with the bird to save money. Carrots gussied up with butter and dill make an inexpensive side. Cost: about $7.
The splurge: A Tin Roof Sundae bar for dessert. Buy a pint of generic vanilla ice cream, a jar of fudge sauce, and snack-pack peanuts. Cost: about $6.
The meal: Less costly than spaghetti and meatballs, Spaghetti Carbonara calls for eggs, bacon, and Parmesan to flavor noodles. Serve with chopped iceberg salad. Cost: about $9.
The splurge: Garlic Bread. Cost: about $3.
Chili for Four
The meal: One-pot meals are crowd pleasers, not to mention easy on the cook. Elevate this bare bones recipe with the garnishes below and a side of baked cornbread. Cost: about $8.
The splurge: Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped scallions, cilantro, and sour cream. Cost: about $5.
Mac & Cheese Comfort
The meal: The ultimate in comfort food can be a little pricey with four cheeses and cream, so buy bulk dairy products to keep cost down. Serve with steamed broccoli. Cost: about $10.
The splurge: Chocolate Pudding. Cost: about $4.
Made in China
The meal: A veggie-rich stir-fry is so easy on the budget you’ll have money left over to add a few extras. Start the meal with Egg Drop Soup and finish with fresh fruit. Cost: about $9.
The splurge: Fresh pineapple. Cost: about $4.
Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese
The meal: Tomato soup goes gourmet with the addition of roasted bell peppers and cream. Try different cheeses and breads to send your usual grilled cheese upscale. Cost: about $10.
The splurge: Fresh basil to stir in soup. Cost: about $2.
The meal: A store-bought piecrust keeps this broccoli and cheese quiche simple. Serve with a side of mixed salad greens. Cost: about $9.
The splurge: In-season fresh berries. Cost: about $5.
The meal: Switching to hamburger instead of beef tips cuts down the price of Stroganoff without sacrificing flavor. Serve with steamed zucchini. Cost: about $10.
The splurge: Fresh parsley to garnish Stroganoff and zucchini. Cost: about $1.
The Ultimate Tuna Noodle
The meal: What budget meal repertoire would be complete without Tuna Noodle Casserole, particularly one with a crunchy potato chip topping? Serve with steamed broccoli florets. Cost: about $9.
The splurge: Homemade butterscotch brownies. $4.
The meal: This well-loved enchilada recipe is made to serve eight, so cut it in half, or make the full recipe and freeze leftovers. Cost: about $10.
The splurge: Sliced avocado to serve on the side. Cost: about $2.
We have recently revised our price estimates for these meals. (In the upward direction, we’re sorry to report.) However, we are aware that food prices continue to rise and might not reflect the estimates we’ve given here.