Cheap Dinner Recipes for $1 or Less Per Serving
BBQ Chicken Tenders
These crispy chicken “wings,” made with boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, stay crispy with only a light coating of oil--no deep-frying needed. Serve as an appetizer or try them for dinner with crunchy vegetables and dip on the side.
Corn & Broccoli Calzones
These calzones are stuffed with a summery combination of corn and broccoli, but you can use whatever you have in your fridge. Part-skim ricotta and mozzarella make our pizza pockets lower in saturated fat. Plus a whole-wheat crust adds a nutty flavor and extra fiber. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.
The EatingWell Taco
Building the perfect taco is a very personal task--cheese under meat, cheese on top, no cheese at all? This is just our recommendation.
This luxurious potato-artichoke soup is simple enough to be served with a salad for dinner, yet turns into an elegant first course when you top it with a slice of garlic-rubbed crostini smeared with olive tapenade.
Alfredo di Lello, the Roman restaurateur who created his signature sauce in the 1920s, might be startled to find this streamlined version that still tastes rich enough to satisfy those deep creamy-pasta cravings. The addition of zucchini boosts the nutritional profile. And when cut into thin strands, it can be twirled gracefully on a fork
Southwestern Three-Bean & Barley Soup
Serve this zesty bean and barley soup garnished with chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime, if desired.
Turn leftover risotto into crispy risotto cakes with this easy recipe. Serve with marinara sauce and a big salad for a fast dinner or with poached eggs on top for brunch.
Here we add a little cooked spinach to traditional potato gnocchi for a zip of color. They're delicious tossed with a pesto or your favorite marinara sauce.
Lentil & Almond Burgers
These vegetarian burgers are just the thing for a summery picnic, on buns or on their own with sliced tomatoes and relish. Or try them with roasted potatoes and roasted broccoli. Use a wide spatula to flip the delicate patties.
Moroccan Chicken Salad
Leftover chicken and rice come together in this flavorful main dish salad. Serve over fresh greens.
Sweet Potato, Red Onion & Fontina Tart
Try this roasted-vegetable free-form tart as an appetizer or side dish for a special dinner or as a vegetarian main dish. The pastry dough is very forgiving and quite easy to roll out on parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. The walnut-studded crust is crisper served warm, but you can enjoy the tart at room temperature or cold too.
Golden Turmeric Latkes with Applesauce
These crispy-on-the-outside-and-tender-on-the-inside latkes are delicious paired with a subtly spicy clove-scented applesauce.
Ranch Chiles Rellenos with Ancho Chile Salsa
Poblano chiles are the traditional choice for chiles rellenos. They have great flavor, but may be too spicy for some tastes. Anaheim chiles are reliably mild substitutes. For a larger crowd, the recipe can be doubled. Serve the chiles rellenos with beans and rice. Adapted from Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta: Recipes from the World-Famous Spa (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2008) by Deborah Szekely and Deborah M. Schneider with Chef Jesús González, Chef of La Cocina Que Canta.
Indian Mango Dal
More than 60 different types of dal (or dhal) are made across India. The basic dish contains lentils or other legumes flavored with aromatics and spices. Here, yellow lentils (toor dal) and mango are cooked in a more traditionally Southern India style--more souplike. Both ripe and underripe mango will work: less-ripe mango imparts a tart flavor and holds its shape, while riper mango breaks down more during cooking and gives the dish a sweeter taste. Serve over basmati rice or with roasted chicken.
Our version of this enchilada-style chilaquiles casserole is packed with nutritious beans and vegetables. Canned prepared enchilada sauce has great flavor and keeps the prep time quick. It can vary in heat level so find one that suits your taste. If you want to eliminate the heat altogether, try a green enchilada sauce (which is often milder than red) or substitute two 8-ounce cans of plain tomato sauce.
Jamaican Beef Patties
Patties are Jamaican fast food, a golden-yellow crust encasing a spicy beef, shrimp, chicken or vegetable filling. Traditional versions use butter, shortening, lard--or a combination of the three--to make the flaky crust. A blend of butter and canola oil cuts saturated fat with equally delicious results. The patties keep very well, so consider making a double batch to freeze for your own “fast-food” lunches.
Spicy Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
These succulent meatballs can be served on little plates with plenty of bread for sopping up the rich tomato sauce or simply with toothpicks (and a napkin!). They are best served warm.
Claire's Mixed Green Salad with Feta Vinaigrette
This salad was inspired by one served during the peak of summer at Claire's Restaurant & Bar in Hardwick. Chef Steven Obranovich of Claire's likes the soft crumbly sheep's-milk feta for this recipe. He cautions that the subtle briny notes of feta can sometimes be overpowered by too much lemon or an olive oil that's too fruity. Saltiness varies from feta to feta too. Add the ingredients a little at a time and taste as you go.
Golden Summer Squash & Corn Soup
Pureed summer squash makes a delicious base for this summery squash and corn soup. Start your meal with the soup or enjoy it as a light lunch. Fresh thyme and briny feta cheese give it fabulous flavor. For a variation, try the soup with any herb you have on hand or goat cheese in place of feta.
Traditional meatloaf is made with ground beef, pork and veal; here we replace the veal with ground turkey for a tender, flavorful and leaner version of the classic. Baking individual portions in muffin tins speeds cooking, standardizes serving size and produces a moist, delicious main dish.
Pocket Eggs with Soy-Sesame Sauce
In Wuhan, this is a common way of cooking eggs, which were hard to come by during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, when food was tightly rationed. Serve warm over rice or noodles.
Tangy, mildly spicy and tender, this chicken is delicious with black beans and salsa. It makes a great option for a taco party.
Turkish Chicken Thighs
The acidity of the yogurt helps tenderize the chicken and keep it moist. If you can't find hot paprika, substitute 2 teaspoons sweet paprika and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne.
Kohlrabi & Ham Gratin
If you haven't tried kohlrabi, which tastes like a mild, sweet turnip, this gratin is an excellent place to start--after all, what doesn't taste good with cheese sauce on it? Kohlrabi that are less than 3 inches in diameter will give you the most tender results.
Potato & Sweet Potato Torte
Layers of potatoes and sweet potatoes meld into an impressive vegetable “cake” that forms a golden crust during baking. Serve as a vegetarian centerpiece or with roast poultry or pork.