Meals to Make for less than 500

In tough economic times, families everywhere are trying to stretch their grocery dollars. Here’s a few of my favorite low cost dinners. (They can be made for less than $5 and serve a family of four!)

1. Burrito bowls

My family loves tacos and burritos, but the costs of the shells ($2-$3) takes the price higher than my budget, so I started making them without the shells.

   You will need: 1 lb of ground beef

                        1 Cup of rice   

                        1 can of re-fried beans

                        2 oz of sharp cheddar block cheese

                        1 Taco Seasoning packet

                        Taco Sauce     

Cook your ground beef with taco seasoning according to your packet instructions. Cook rice. grate cheese, microwave refried beans right before you serve this meal. Layer four cereal bowls with rice, re-fried beans, taco meat, a sprinkle of cheese on top. Serve with taco sauce.

It’s easy, filling, and low cost.

2. Fried pollack

Okay you are supposed to eat fish twice a week, but that can get pretty pricy.  Pollack is a great exception to the rule, and usually only runs $1.50-$2 a pound.

You can bake your fish in butter and lemon, but here is a great deep-fried batter recipe:

Mix well in a large bowl:

1 C. plain flour

1 T. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

1/2 C. cornstarch

1/4 T garlic salt

1 C. of water

Dip fish and deep fry. Serve with canned vegetables for an economic fish dinner.

3. Spicy chicken and rice

This is a great recipe to use up that leftover chicken or turkey!


1 C. chicken broth

1/2 t. Italian seasoning

1/8 t. garlic powder

1/8 t hot sauce

7oz tomato sauce  (Or Ro-tel Sauce if you want it extra spicy)

1 C. rice

1 C. canned corn

1 pound of diced turkey or chicken

Simmer everything together in a deep pan for 15 -20 minutes until it’s your desired consistency. I love this one because it’s a one pan dinner.

4. Leftover Pie

Making homemade pie crust is pretty inexpensive! I have experimented with several different leftover combinations and made great meals. This is my favorite:

Cook and dice 3-4 potatoes

Chop 1 pound of cooked pork, chicken, or turkey (your choice, it’s leftovers)

2 C. of gravy

make your pie crust according to your favorite recipe

Layer bottom crust with diced potatoes, add cooked meat, cover in gravy, add top pie crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 Minutes.

Customize this recipe to include left-overs in the refrigerator, add stuffing, carrots, onions, canned corn, etc.