If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that delicious food doesn’t have to break the bank. A good meal is one of life’s simplest pleasures, and I believe having a budget doesn’t have to be incompatible with eating well. These economical dishes from our recipe search offers canned foods, pantry essentials, seasonal produce and cost-effective protein sources to reduce grocery bills.
Cajun Chicken and Rice in One Pot, above. Not only is this meal economical, but it also only requires one pot. The dish is spiced up with Cajun or Creole seasoning, but cooking the rice with milk softens the flavors. Garnish with green onions for a little extra shine.
Pair chicken and rice in recipes for tahdig, soup, meatballs and more
Fried Tofu Hoisin With Peanut Noodles. Tofu can be intimidating to those who’ve never cooked with it, but it’s a versatile and inexpensive component to many satisfying meals. Here, it is marinated and then fried, which gives it a good crispiness. Drizzled with hoisin sauce and served with warm peanut noodles, it’s a savory delight.
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Spanish eggs and potatoes. This version of the Spanish tortilla is a solution for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Mainly composed of onion, potatoes and eggs, the ingredients are economical and few in number. Serve hot with a little herb mayonnaise or enjoy leftovers at room temperature.
Simplest Lentil Curry. Lentils are a great, low-cost source of protein, and they’re the star of this simple curry. Canned tomatoes and frozen peas also help pinch the pennies here. Serve with brown or white rice for a healthy dinner.
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Pan-fried mushrooms, white beans and rice. This creamy, umami-rich main course tastes like a luxurious treat but costs less than you might think. The recipe uses not one, not two, but three canned foods – mushrooms, white beans and cream of mushroom soup – and is proof that you can save money and boost flavor at the same time.
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Mediterranean panini with tuna. Upgrade your tuna sandwich with ingredients you may already have in your pantry and fridge. Canned tuna, feta cheese, artichokes, red onion, olives, capers and a squeeze of lemon form a bright, briny filling in this Mediterranean-inspired panini.
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Linguine with butternut squash, garlic and olive oil. Aglio e olio is the finest Italian pasta. Along with the traditional olive oil, garlic, and pepper, this version includes grated butternut squash that adds a touch of earthy sweetness to every bite.
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Polenta with Chickpeas and Tomatoes. Corn-based products like polenta and oatmeal turn into ultra-comfortable meals for just pennies per serving. With chickpeas and canned tomatoes, this recipe is a love letter to pantry staples.
A guide to cornmeal, oatmeal and polenta – and how to know when to use them
Cuban beans and rice. Few things go better together than beans and rice. They also happen to be the keys to a hearty and thrifty meal. This Cuban dish includes spices, vegetables, and bacon, but the latter can be omitted to keep this dish vegetarian and cut costs.
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