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Cheap Eats & More Budget Meals

Featured Recipes

Paprika Shrimp & Green Bean Saute

Green beans add snap and color to the garlicky shrimp and butter beans in this Spanish-inspired sauté. Slightly pricier prepeeled shrimp are worth it, given the amount of time they save on a harried weeknight. Serve with quinoa or brown rice.

» Paprika Shrimp & Green Bean Saute

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter

For this recipe, convenient store-bought potato gnocchi are tossed with delicate ribbons of zucchini, shallots and cherry tomatoes that have all been sautéed in nutty browned butter.

» Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter

Sweet & Sour Chicken with Brown Rice

In about the time it takes to order and pick up Chinese takeout, you can make this much healthier version of sweet & sour chicken. Our version loses all the saturated fat that comes from deep-frying, along with the extra sugar and salt. If you prefer, use tofu instead of chicken, and use your favorite vegetables; just be sure to cut them into similar-size pieces so they all cook at about the same rate.

» Sweet & Sour Chicken with Brown Rice

Beef & Bean Chile Verde

Chile Verde, usually a slow-cooked stew of pork, jalapeños and tomatillos, becomes an easy weeknight meal with quick-cooking ground beef and store-bought green salsa. Make it a Meal: Serve with fresh cilantro, red onion and Monterey Jack. Add your favorite hot sauce.

» Beef & Bean Chile Verde

Tijuana Torta

A Mexican-style torta is just like a burrito, except the “wrapper” is a hollowed-out roll instead of a tortilla. Here it's filled with mashed spiced black beans and a quick guacamole. Take this vegetarian version to another level (and add calcium) by melting Monterey Jack cheese onto the bean side of the sandwich. Serve with: Grilled corn on the cob or Spanish rice.

» Tijuana Torta

Huevos Rancheros Verdes

Huevos rancheros or “ranch eggs” is a classic Mexican dish that is great for a quick dinner. Traditionally, it's made with a red tomato-based sauce. Here we use tart and tangy green salsa instead. Serve with: brown rice and slices of avocado.

» Huevos Rancheros Verdes

Lime-Honey Glazed Chicken

The sweet and tangy lime-honey marinade is simmered on the stovetop and then used as a sauce to baste and glaze the chicken. Don't let the chicken marinate any longer than 2 hours; overmarinating in soy sauce and lime juice can make the texture of the meat spongy.

» Lime-Honey Glazed Chicken


Forget take-out. Here are 100+ easy recipes for budget-friendly meals to make home.

It’s hard to escape the biggest news in the country: the economy’s struggling. At a personal level, the nation’s financial woes may have you figuring out where you can cut costs. Cooking at home instead of eating out is an easy way to save money, particularly if you focus your meals around cheap ingredients.

We’ve pulled together more than 100 recipes that utilize some inexpensive, but nutritious, items from the grocery store. Browse these cheap dinner suggestions for budget-friendly recipes to help you save money and make an easy cheap dinner tonight.

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Buy the book now, EatingWell on a Budget.

COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

Eating cheap........for country club members. I'm just trying to improve of my top ramen and hamburger helper man! Nobody got money for shrimp on a budget! Kiss my broke ass

Anonymous

01/07/2014 - 3:43pm

IS NOT CHEAP AT ALL

Anonymous

08/23/2013 - 4:04pm

I asked Google for recipes with inexpensive ingredients. your article saying so (with 100 recipes no less!) came up immediately. Since WHEN is shrimp a "cheap" ingredient? Even when I lived three miles from a shrimping boats' dock off the Gulf of Mexico, shrimp was not "cheap". And then....zucchini? brown rice? honey?....please note my voice iss going higher and higher with incredulity. I might do some of these recipes for a special occassion-- when I have saved up my money for to buy the not-normally-purchased-items called for--but you all need to get a grip on what is "cheap" for most of the United States. As someone said ahead of me in the comments: you all have NO IDEAL what a frikkin' budget is.

Lisa_2166

04/16/2013 - 5:47pm

Useless article. What family on a budget can afford shrimp? I can barely afford red meat. Next time use recipes that people can actually USE.

Anonymous

09/30/2012 - 1:29pm

I was going to continue to read this... thank goodness I have a habit of reading reviews before trying something! Shrimp CAN be cheap... if you're feeding 2 people, or you barely add shrimp and just put a lot of other stuff with it to make it look good. If you're like me and you're barely affording to put actual meat on the table, there has only been one thing that has helped me. It might seem expensive, but in the long run, you will save in the meat department. Look up to see if you live near any local meat factories (not a butcher but a factory). I have found that I can call them and request in bulk for nearly a 1/4 of the price as what the store is charging.. and it's fresher! Not sure if all of them do this, however, your best bet will probably be a local factory and not some huge giant factory. I have also been saving the seeds from any produce that I buy and planting them in my milk jugs that I have cut the tops off of. This way I can bring the seedlings inside during the harsh winter until they are ready to be planted the following year. Cantaloupe grows surprisingly fast!

Anonymous

09/02/2012 - 1:12am

This article about eating cheap must have been written for those who live on Park Lane, London. Perhaps the article writer should have stayed up in the North West of England - he'd learn how to eat cheap then. All looking at this article has done for me is make me feel even more poor, as i can't afford to cook any of this rubbish. What makes it worse - i've another 10 days to go off next payday. Thankyou for wasting both my time and electric.

Anonymous

06/05/2012 - 2:08pm

I agree with comment #1! I'm having trouble making sure my family gets all food groups and I don't care how the meal looks in a magazine. This may be "budget" for someone who doesn't NEED to budget but it is NOT for REAL people who are struggling. "Cheap Eats" is a LIE

Anonymous

01/15/2012 - 1:37pm

THIS is a TERRIBLE article. You are talking about eating on a budget, and your first dish is SHRIMP? And not just any shrimp, you encourage your readers to splurge on the prepeeled stuff? You must not understand the concept of BUDGET. I'm trying to afford meat at all. This is disappointing.

Anonymous

12/03/2011 - 6:57pm

I second that comment, Especially since I grew up 10 miles from the Mexican border in south Texas!

Anonymous

01/16/2010 - 3:59pm

A Texan shivers at your monstrous misinterpretations of southern and Mexican cuisine.

Anonymous

01/03/2010 - 5:31pm

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