Tag: budget friendly

In Defense of Bean Night: Save Big and Eat Well (Plus 6 Ways to Get Started)

by in Family, Food Network Chef, February 20th, 2014

Pasta with Salsa CrudaEvery budget shopper knows that dried beans are downright cheap. So when I’m thinking about inexpensive, but healthful, meals to feed my family (and let’s face it, I spend a lot of time thinking about just that), it’s impossible not to place this versatile little nutritional gem front and center on the menu. Thus, I created “Bean Night.”

It started 10 years ago when Philippe went back to graduate school and we transitioned from having two steady incomes to having suddenly none (plus a very expensive tuition bill and a baby on the way). I watched every penny, so I created a handful of uber-cheap dinners that I could feel good about eating — meals that cost about $5 to make. My plan was to rotate these extra-cheap meals into our weekly menu plan to save money.

It worked.

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Meals to Make With Your Wallet in Mind

by in Family, Recipes, April 27th, 2013

Beef and Black Bean SlidersWhether you’re grocery shopping to feed just yourself or an entire family of 10, it’s easy for your total bill at the checkout counter to reach an uncomfortably high price, even if you’re stocking up on essentials alone. But you shouldn’t have to sacrifice nutrition for the sake of your wallet, and indeed eating well on a budget is easy to do. The key to making wholesome meals without breaking the bank is knowing which products to buy — and knowing how to best put them to use to get the most out of them in dishes that your family will enjoy. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite money-saving tips below, plus get can-do, kid-friendly recipes that are easy to prepare on a budget.

Make Each Ingredient Go Further
To stretch the value a somewhat pricey ingredient, like meat, mix it with far more inexpensive products that won’t distract from the overall taste or texture of the dish. The next time you make tacos, burritos or burgers, try swapping out a portion of the beef or chicken for mashed beans or rice; the supper won’t suffer, and you’ll use less meat to feed more people. In her recipe for Beef and Black Bean Sliders (pictured above), Ten Dollar Dinners host Melissa d’Arabian combines ground beef with cooked black beans to create moist, flavorful burgers on a budget. She forms the mixture into traditional patties, grills them and serves them on toasted buns with tangy coleslaw for a fuss-free 10-minute meal.

Keep reading for more tips and recipes

Waste Not, Want Not — New Ideas for Leftovers

by in Family, Recipes, February 28th, 2013

New Ideas for LeftoversEating on a budget can be challenging, especially when trying to feed your family the best-quality food possible. Planning your grocery list wisely isn’t just about searching for sales or clipping coupons. Think about the hidden dollars and food that gets wasted — sometimes without us even realizing it. I’m talking about leftovers from recipes that once enjoyed front and center stage, only to be cast in the back of the fridge to be forgotten.

Those leftovers needn’t go to waste, even smaller portions. A few leftover meatballs may not make a complete meal for a family of four, but they’re a necessary ingredient for my Shortcut Bolognese Sauce. The sauce comes together quickly — in about the same time it takes for the water to boil and pasta to cook. Mash the meatballs and saute them with some chopped onions and olive oil in a deep skillet. Once the onions are golden, stir in some marinara sauce and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, so the meat can soak up the flavors in the sauce. With minimal effort, you’ve transformed a humble meal into a hearty one by using a few meatballs to bulk up a simple tomato sauce.

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10 Kitchen Tools Under $10 — The Product Puree

by in Family, February 27th, 2013

10 Kitchen Tools Under $10Do you want to get serious about cooking, but you don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing the right tools, especially when you’re on a budget? Setting up a well-rounded kitchen can be a daunting, not to mention expensive, task. Whether you’re a college student, newlywed or budding cook, these 10 cooking tools under $10 are a great start to upping your game in the kitchen.

1. Whisk: A whisk will come in handy when mixing batters or whisking eggs for breakfast.

2. Fine Grater and Zester: Zest adds instant flavor and color to any recipe. This tool does double-duty by grating hard cheeses like Parmesan too.

3. Swivel Peeler: Peel potatoes to be mashed, remove the tough outer skin of butternut squash and prepare carrots for your favorite chicken noodle soup recipe with this gadget.

Get 7 more kitchen tools under $10

How to Holiday Shop on a Budget: Clever Gifts for $20 and $50

by in Holidays, December 7th, 2012

It’s no surprise that between shopping for dinner parties, holiday open houses, tree trimmings, decorations and, of course, presents, it can be easy to rack up a hefty spending bill as you celebrate the season of giving. This year, as you shop for close family members, distant relatives and relative strangers alike, let Food Network’s holiday gift guides rescue your wallet from the seasonal pinch. You’ve heard it before: It’s not the amount of money you spend on a gift but the thought you put into it that counts. Food Network’s collection of both quirky and classic items makes it easy to find presents that are both inexpensive and full of heart for everyone on your list. Check out a few of our favorite gifts below, then browse our entire collection of goodies in our gift guides, organized into two price increments: those less than $20 and those less than $50. Tell us in the comments below: What’s the best, most inexpensive gift you’ve ever given?

More clever gifts

5 Dollar (or Less) Dinners

by in View All Posts, March 18th, 2009

I’m not sure exactly how much money I spend on groceries every week/month/year, but I do know I’d like to spend less. As I worked on our Good Food For Less feature, I focused on obviously “low cost” recipes – vegetarian, tuna casserole, leftover transformations – but I decided to try a few for myself, curious to see how the groceries would add up.

For me, under $10 per person would be a savings compared to eating out (the cost of a meal at my favorite burger and fries spot). But I decided a truly “budget” meal should ring in at no more than $5 per person. I crossed my fingers, made a grocery list and went shopping.

Aida’s Pan-Roasted Chicken with Oranges and Rosemary
Chicken thighs – $4.95
Chicken drumsticks – $2.12
Orange – $0.50 / 2 = $0.25
Rosemary – on my window sill (although I used a lot less than the recipe suggests, because picking sprigs off my pet plant is somewhat painful)

Total spent = $7.32 / 4 servings = $1.83 per serving

Success!! I was amazed!! I made it a meal with a simple arugula salad and roasted spiced-up potatoes the first night. Then I decided to spruce up leftover night by making the simplest risotto recipe I could find (plus, adding some kale that was hiding in the back of my fridge). It was amazing.

I was hooked! I had to try another.


The Neelys’ Sloppy Joes (recipe halved)
1 pound (90 percent lean) ground beef – $4.00
BBQ sauce – $2.49 / 4 = $0.62
Tomato sauce – $0.32
Tomato paste – $0.50 / 4 = $0.13
Green pepper – $1.37 / 2 = $0.69
Red pepper – $1.32 /2 = $0.66
Buns – $3.19 / 6 = $0.53 x 3 = $1.60

Total spent: $8.02 / 2 = $4.01 per serving

I was surprised that the sloppy joes cost more than twice as much as the chicken, but they were still within my $5 budget, and the halved recipe really made two huge servings (1/2 pound of meat per person!). As a low cost side dish, I cut up some sweet potatoes, tossed them in oil, sprinkled with salt and roasted them to make baked sweet potato fries.

Just adding up a few recipe receipts has made me much more cost-conscious at the grocery store. I think I’m going to keep working my way through this feature. Wish me luck with the slow cooker recipes and Rachael’s tuna casserole!

- Kirsten, Web Editor