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Healthy Budget-Friendly Recipes

Featured Recipes

Chicken Piccata with Pasta & Mushrooms

Our chicken piccata, served over whole-wheat pasta, has a rich lemon-caper sauce that's made with extra-virgin olive oil and just a touch of butter for flavor. If you like, you can use a mild fish like tilapia or even shrimp instead of chicken breast.

» Chicken Piccata with Pasta & Mushrooms

Hawaiian Ginger-Chicken Stew

This chicken stew has a bold ginger-flavored broth and provides a whole serving of dark leafy greens in each bowl. We tried it with frozen chopped mustard greens (available in large supermarkets) and it was even quicker to prepare and just as delicious. Serve with brown rice.

» Hawaiian Ginger-Chicken Stew

Barbecue Portobello Quesadillas

This smoky mushroom-filled quesadilla is reminiscent of pulled pork. A touch of chipotle chile pepper adds extra heat. Serve with coleslaw and guacamole.

» Barbecue Portobello Quesadillas

Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap

White beans mashed with ripe avocado and blended with sharp Cheddar and onion makes an incredibly rich, flavorful filling for this wrap. The tangy, spicy slaw adds crunch. A pinch (or more) of ground chipotle pepper and an extra dash of cider vinegar can be used in place of the canned chipotles in adobo sauce. Serve with tortilla chips, salsa and Tecate beer.

» Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap

Italian Vegetable Hoagies

This delightfully easy, and somewhat messy, sandwich packs a punch with sweet balsamic vinegar, artichoke hearts, red onion, provolone cheese and zesty pepperoncini. We love it for dinner as well as lunch. If you're packing the hoagies to take along, keep the ingredients separate and assemble right before eating to avoid soggy bread. Serve with tomato and cucumber salad.

» Italian Vegetable Hoagies

Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta

Diced eggplant turns tender and tasty sautéed with garlic and olive oil. Toss with fresh plum tomatoes, green olives and capers and you have a simple light summer sauce. We like it over angel hair pasta, but any type of pasta will work.

» Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta


Enjoy these healthy budget-friendly recipes for under $3 per serving.

An easy way to save money is to eat fewer meals out and make more meals at home. Plus you’ll have greater control to create healthy, delicious meals. Your health and your pocketbook will thank you by making some of our healthy budget-friendly recipes for dinner. Each of these recipes can be made for $3 or less per serving, and we've included a variety of cheap dinner options, including budget-friendly chicken recipes, budget-friendly vegetarian recipes and more easy budget-friendly recipes.

Download a Free Budget Dinner Recipe Cookbook!

COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

What if you don't have much freezer space? I have a roommate for now but normally live alone and would like to eat healthy but on a very slim budget and when you cook for 4 and try to freeze anything it's a pain when your freezer isn't very big. Plus, I used to do Dream Dinners which I really enjoyed especially because it was something my mom and I could do together (it's where you plan out what you want and then bring your cooler and you have 6+ stations set up with all the ingredients and you throw all the ingredients into plastic bags. Then you take them home and stick in the fridge and every morning you just take one out and let it thaw and when you get home from work all you have to do is cook it (or you can prepare some meals there and then all you'd have to do is stick it in the oven). Those dinners weren't very expensive (at least not to me but that was when money wasn't as big of an issue) but my point in the second thought was that my dinners were for 3 and even though you can freeze what you don't eat, to me, it just doesn't taste as good once you've cooked it and then had to freeze it (but yet I can eat frozen dinners, crazy I know lol). I used to eat it for 3 days straight (or let my friend cook it and I'd have one serving and he'd have 2 or I used to give it to a girl friend of mine who was struggling to raise her son). Even though my freezer is pretty narrow (and my friend likes to buy meat on sale and take up space) I may try DD's again &/or some of these recipes and freeze the extra servings and then I could eat them the following week.

Anonymous

05/07/2012 - 6:12pm

Its very hard for people to understand those of us who don't have massive amounts of children and live within a budge....oh and throw in the fact that we might be vegan......the entire websites writing staff has lost the capability to perform.

Anonymous

04/26/2012 - 10:04am

For all of you singles, all you have to do is 1/4 or 1/6 the recipes to make these, and freeze the rest of your canned ingredients, meats, veggies etc. for another time. OR make the whole recipe and freeze the rest in individual size servings for a later time. Most things can be frozen for up to 6 mos!

To the person with $74/mo allowance, it can be done! My mom gets $70/mo and I made her a menu that included all 3 meals a day and a few junk food snacks, that came in around $68. I can feed my family of five, 3 meals a day for $70-75/week and still have leftovers from just about EVERY dinner, that can be frozen for the days I have no time to cook. That's not to say it doesn't take a little time hunting down recipes to keep it exciting, and major planning, but I dedicate one day a week to do this, usually on Sunday when nothing is going on. What I did was choose 7 meals for her for the month, and had her make them all one week, she split each meal into 4 servings and froze them, then the following 3 weeks all she had to do was choose one from the freezer pop it into the microwave and she didnt have to spend everyday in the kitchen cooking, and she only went shopping once a month, which saves tons of time and if you're like me, a huge headache. Also doing it this way it didnt get boring because it wasnt like she was eating the same meal for 4 days in a row then moving on to a new one, she essentially had a new meal each day. Plus, a lot of people will say that sticking with a few favorite meals is better to control weight or lose it than eating something new every day of the month! Hope some of these tips can help!

Anonymous

10/06/2010 - 2:17am

I agree that $3 per serving is a little steep, considering that the recipes make 4-6 servings--that's almost $20 a meal in some cases--and they're not really meals, but just entrees! I also cook from scratch and in bulk for just ol' single me, and most of my recipes turn out cheaper than this. However, the recipes look like a very nice option for special occasions when I want to watch my budget.

I'm all for the sentiment of cheap, healthy food! I have an ancient book called "The Staying Thin Cookbook," by Perkins, and most of the recipes in there are healthy and have a *few* simple ingredients, so they end up being pretty cheap, too. And easy to prepare, for the most part.

Anonymous

07/21/2010 - 8:36pm

I agree with one of the previous commenters.
More recipe's that work around $1.50-2.00 or less per serving.

Anonymous

07/15/2010 - 4:08pm

I'm single and I always cook enough to have leftovers. Then I can bring lunch to work that's more interesting than sandwiches.

Anonymous

05/21/2010 - 2:42pm

I'm not sure why cooking for one or two people seems to be so difficult. If you have leftovers, freeze them and eat some over the next few days. I make huge amounts of food for just my husband and myself, and we somehow manage to eat the leftovers at some point.

Anonymous

05/20/2010 - 7:58pm

never buy cheap meat!

Anonymous

05/17/2010 - 8:12am

at last someone else feels like i do, like to see some budget healthy recipes for single people.

Anonymous

10/26/2009 - 9:43pm

Re "cheap and single" buy cheap meat with (or without) bones, dredge in flour and panfry in a bit of oil. Add water, onion, carrot and simmer an hour or two. Remove the meat, cool the broth and then skim off fat. Mash any remaining veggies into the broth. When meat is cool, discard bones, gristle, fat and cut meat into bitesize pieces. Divide the broth into single servings and divide the meat up between them. Freeze the single servings. For soup for one, thaw a serving, add chopped raw veggies of your choice, a bit of salt (or bouillion cube so then nix the salt). Add a 1/4 can of beans in tomato sauce for variety or extra flavor. Freeze the other 3/4 can (again in single servings). Buy little ziplok bags for such storage - buy at the dollar store, even better!
Another hint - to thicken without flour, use mashed potatoes - yum!
Another cheap... buy navy beans or lentils. Beans should be soaked in water overnight, but not necessary with lentils. Cook in water, or broth, or tomato sauce, or any combination of these. Add bits of ham or other meat if desired, also any veggies which appeal.
Even cheap hamburger makes an appetizing soup.

The key is not to worry that you are making more than one serving... use the little freezer in the top of your fridge. There are 2 of us, and I have managed for years, making these basics and freezing them for quick and easy meals. Lots of things freeze very well - eg. salmon loaf (can use canned tuna if its cheaper), meatloaf, even cooked chicken livers! I hope this encourages some of you to cook soup from scratch. It really is easy and you shouldn't even have to measure. good luck!
Carol, Vancouver Canada

Anonymous

10/24/2009 - 1:56am

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