Recipes - Dinner

All Recipes | Breakfast | Lunch & Light Dishes | Dinner | Dessert
Butternut Squash and Kale Risotto $2.17 per serving

Butternut Squash and Kale Risotto

This classic Italian rice is made with some of our favorite winter vegetables: butternut squash and kale. Roasting the squash in the oven (while the risotto cooks) brings out its sweetness, which complements the rich flavors of the greens, onions, and garlic. We use arborio rice which, yes, requires some stirring, but we find that it can be stirred occasionally while we multi-task (and if we forget to stir it for a few minutes, it still turns out ... read more

Overall Rating: (5.0)

Chicken with Plum Tomato and Prosciutto $2.57 per serving

Chicken with Plum Tomato and Prosciutto

So many of our beloved dishes come to us by way of adaptation from the original. This was especially true of Italian American neighborhoods where everyone, it seems, was busy reinventing old world classics in a new world. Our chicken with plum tomato and prosciutto has its origins in the traditional veal saltimbocca—translation, “jumps in the mouth.” In Italy this would be served as a separate course, following a vegetable or pasta, but feel free ... read more

Overall Rating: (5.0)

Chili with Cinnamon and Cacao $2.14 per serving

Chili with Cinnamon and Cacao

The classic Mexican pairing of chili pepper, tomato, and unsweetened chocolate gives a richness of flavor you have to taste to understand. And once you do, it's unlikely you'll ever turn back. Cook and feast within the hour, or keep the chili over a night or two and the flavor only deepens. It's mild enough for gringo-mouths, but splash it with green and red pepper sauces if you like more fire. Along with scallion, sour cream and avocado, we love ... read more

Overall Rating: (5.0)

Creamy Polenta with Mushrooms $1.77 per serving

Creamy Polenta with Mushrooms

This is quintessential, rustic Italian comfort food. Polenta differs slightly from what we know as cornmeal but nearly any available yellow or white cornmeal will do the job. Remember, "available" and "economical" are our watchwords! It's deliciously creamy, and offers an impressive meal for just pennies. I'll never forget when Carol and I (Hugo) climbed stone steps to a tiny restaurant perched precipitously over Lake Lugano. In the gia ... read more

Overall Rating: (4.5)

Cuban Picadillo $1.90 per serving

Cuban Picadillo

Picadillo is Cuban home cooking at its best. While it appears in many variations across Latin America, we bow to a traditional take on this gratifying recipe: beef or pork, green pepper, raisins, olives, and tomato. Typically, black beans and white rice accompany picadillo for a delightful, easily prepared, and—of course—inexpensive meal.

Overall Rating: (5.0)

Farmhouse Sausage and Vegetable Soup $1.22 per serving

Farmhouse Sausage and Vegetable Soup

Everyone is hungry, we forgot to shop, and of course the fridge is almost bare. This awesome accidental soup—it’s thick, more like stew, and full-flavored—surprised even the cook when it was ready. From the fridge came 4 carrots, 3 sausages, 2 potatoes, 1 carton of chicken broth, some leftover marinara sauce and a takeout box of rice. With a little oil, garlic, and dried herbs, we were enjoying a fantastic supper 30 minutes later. The best thing ... read more

Overall Rating: (5.0)

French Onion Soup $1.62 per serving

French Onion Soup

French onion soup is a classic, originating as a super-inexpensive but warming supper in 18th-century Paris. We especially love this dish on cold winter evenings. The rich flavors of the beef broth are complemented by caramelized onions and melted gruyere (if you can't find an inexpensive one, you can use swiss cheese instead). Onions are cheap, flavorful, and good for you, too—they are packed with vitamin C, flavonoids, and phytochemicals (compo ... read more

Overall Rating: (4.5)

Garlic and Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes $1.90 per serving

Garlic and Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

Fragrant with lemon and garlic, this comfort supper is truly economical. A whole chicken is surprisingly easy to prepare, requires little prep yet is impressive when on the table and makes 6 servings. If you have fewer to feed, you can save some of the chicken for other meals (try our Green Chili and Lime Chicken Stew)-- and use the bones to make chicken soup.Stay tuned for more wonderful meals to make with the rest of the chicken! You can remove ... read more

Overall Rating: (4.8)

Gemelli with Rustic Tuscan Sauce $2.06 per serving

Gemelli with Rustic Tuscan Sauce

The Tuscan approach to food is probably the closest of all to our idealized vision of perfect country cooking: ingredients produced locally, used in season or “put up” for winter, making them affordable, and because they do not travel, they are fresher, better tasting and more healthful. Tuscany happens to be blessed with some of the planet’s most exquisite produce, cheeses, meats and wines. This rustic sauce reflects the very essence of the regi ... read more

Overall Rating: (5.0)

Ginger Curried Lentils 85¢ per serving

Ginger Curried Lentils

Here it is: our most inexpensive dinner ever, and the recipe that started the $5 Foodie experiment. Red lentils, shown here, turn saffron-hued in their brief cooking time, blending with a delicate balance of ginger, onion, garlic, curry, and—surprise—fresh lemon. Fragrant basmati rice complements the Indian flavor profile, though white or brown long-grained rice will be successful too. Lentils, which come in varied hues, are rich in iron and prov ... read more
Green Chile and Lime Chicken Stew $1.95 per serving

Green Chile and Lime Chicken Stew

This green chile chicken stew is one of our quickest dinners to prepare. We love making this on weeknights, since it requires minimal prep and can cook—in just one pot—while you do other things. The flavors of the green chiles are complemented by onion, garlic, lime, and fresh cilantro. You can use that leftover chicken from a previous dinner (if you made our Garlic and Lemon-Roasted Chicken, for example), which brings the cost way down, or you c ... read more

Overall Rating: (5.0)

Lime-Coconut Green Curry with Chicken $1.86 per serving

Lime-Coconut Green Curry with Chicken

Green curry with lime is one of those dishes—when made this way—that leaves guests swooning and demanding the recipe. With tender, bright green vegetables and the fragrance of fresh cilantro, it melds gentle zings of spice and pepper with coconut milk and richly flavored chicken broth to create a tasty curried soup. Yes, a key to truly memorable green curry is making the broth from scratch, which provides deep flavor. But before you give up in de ... read more

Overall Rating: (1.0)

Marinara with Veggie "Pasta" $1.63 per serving

Marinara with Veggie "Pasta"new

Here's a satisfying way to meet your quota of veggies. Marinara is the most versatile of all tomato sauces—a topping for pizza, a sauce for meat or pasta, and here a sauce for green, yellow and orange vegetables. The fettucine-like shapes can be made with an ordinary vegetable peeler, and zucchini lends itself especially well to this. If you have a spiral vegetable slicer (we love ours!), you can easily create pretty convincing "spaghetti." ... read more
Pan-Fried Noodles with Tofu and Soy-Chili Sauce $1.80 per serving

Pan-Fried Noodles with Tofu and Soy-Chili Sauce

This stir-fried pan noodle dish is a favorite with foodies of all ages--even our 2-year-old can't get enough--and it makes a good, quick weeknight dinner. Onion, zucchini, bean sprouts, and scallion went into the dish here, though many other vegetables will do nicely. For example, broccoli, carrot, bell pepper, celery, spinach, cabbage, snow peas, bok choy and others that you may have in stock (though not red beets). Chinese egg noodles, found at ... read more
Penne with Smoked Gouda, Bell Pepper, and Spinach $1.07 per serving

Penne with Smoked Gouda, Bell Pepper, and Spinach

Here's a quick and tasty pasta—with our Italian roots, we never get enough pasta! The foodie twist is a layer of smoky flavor from the gouda cheese, while the red pepper flakes give a bit of kick. If you can't find an inexpensive smoked gouda, you can substitute regular gouda or smoked mozzarella. We love to make this pasta with lots of veggies (bell pepper and spinach here), though you can utilize most any vegetables you have on hand—eggplant an ... read more

Overall Rating: (5.0)

Potatoes Gratin with Glazed Carrots $2.31 per serving

Potatoes Gratin with Glazed Carrots

The potato is an excellent, inexpensive staple. For centuries it's been known that potatoes contain most of the vitamins and minerals (vitamin C, B6, potassium, magnesium, and iron, to name a few) needed for sustenance, while being incredibly cheap. Here potatoes are dressed up in a classic gratin with onion and cheese. The meal is rounded off with fancy glazed carrots.

Overall Rating: (4.5)

Shepherd's Pie $1.56 per serving

Shepherd's Pie

This is a lighter take on the classic dish, which originated in Britain as a cheap but hearty meal made with lamb and potatoes. Cauliflower is substituted for the potatoes (though potatoes are also inexpensive) and ground turkey for the lamb, but most of us can’t really taste a difference. At just $1.56 per serving it's a foodie favorite, and it's healthful, too.

Overall Rating: (5.0)

Spaghetti alla Carbonara $1.76 per serving

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

The fastest, cheapest, most elegant main dish ever. How and where this fabulous creation originated is disputed. Some say that American soldiers infatuated with pasta brought bacon and eggs to Italy at the end of World War II and asked their Italian friends for a dish that used these ingredients. This pasta has been a family favorite of ours for years. It is so simple but looks and tastes impressive. Great comfort food, and great for entertaining!

Overall Rating: (5.0)

Squash Stuffed with Spicy Beef $2.35 per serving

Squash Stuffed with Spicy Beef

This is a wonderful warming dinner, perfect to make during winter when squash is in season (and on sale at the supermarket). Acorn squash (or other type, such as kabocha) doubles as the serving bowl, providing a pretty—and impressive—presentation. Beef is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove, and a little chili powder gives it some kick. There is lots of vitamin C and A in the squash and protein in the beef, so you won't go hungry afte ... read more
Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Corn Tacos with Creamy Salsa Verde $1.49 per serving

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Corn Tacos with Creamy Salsa Verdenew

Tacos are always a welcome economical dinner, and can be made countless ways. We love this flavorful version with lots of colorful vegetables, hearty black beans, and sweet corn, and it's full of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The incredibly easy, creamy sauce gives this dish zip and the tang of green salsa especially enhances the flavors (we really like Herdez Salsa Verde—it's authentic-tasting and the price is right). At only $1.49 per ... read more

Overall Rating: (5.0)

Veggie Fried Rice $1.07 per serving

Veggie Fried Rice

Foodie fried rice is a healthy and flavorful dish that can be as exotic or simple as you like. You can garnish it with so many optional extras that no two batches end up tasting the same. We like to start with a base of white or brown rice and load it up with caramelized onion, crispy carrot, a bit of garlic, and ginger.

Overall Rating: (5.0)

= quick and easy
= gluten free
= vegetarian
= vegan