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Entrees that Cost Less than $1 per Serving

Hello Villagers. We hope that you and your family are staying safe and healthy during this time. One of my biggest struggles during this pandemic has been keeping my grocery budget in check. With the kids home all day, it seems like they never want to stop eating. Over the years, I have learned many tips and tricks to shop healthy on a budget. A majority of the recipes posted here on Village Table are budget-friendly entrees that cost less than $1 per serving.

The cost analysis will vary depending on where you are located and which grocery store you shop at. It also assumes that you already have some generic seasonings on hand.

Here are some of our favorite meals that cost less than $1 per serving:

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

This is one of my favorite one-dish meals. It contains four out of the five food groups, is super easy to assemble, and most of my kiddos will eat it. I typically pair it with a green vegetable (usually beans) and a fruit and dinner is good to go.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

This low cost meal is one of my personal favorites. It is chock full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber thanks to all of the vegetables and legumes. You can easily adjust the spices depending on how well your family handles the heat.

Creamy Bean & Bacon Soup

This soup is creamy like a baked potato soup, but packs more nutrients thanks to it’s base of beans. If you prefer a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Pancakes

These pancakes are not only cost effective, they can be made ahead of time, flash frozen and saved for later. They come in hand on busy Monday mornings as I’m trying to get my crew prepped for the week.

Slow Cooker Creole Kidney Beans

These creole kidney beans only cost $0.30 per serving! Even when I decide to add some smoked sausage to the beans, the meal still costs less than $1 per serving.

Chicken Tortellini Soup

This hearty soup is another great all-in-one dish. I typically pair it with fruit and maybe a breadstick to complete the meal. The broth base keeps it light, while the chicken and cheese-filled tortellini will help keep you full.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Since ground beef is a meat I can regularly find right now, this dish has been a staple at our house. I can’t always find elbow shaped pasta, but any small-medium shaped pasta will do.

Ham and Cheese Mini Quiche

I could eat these yummy little bites all day long, and at $0.78 per serving, I don’t mind doing so! You can add any meat or vegetables that you like to make them your family’s favorite.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

On it’s own, this creamy tomato basil soup is $0.47 per serving. To add a protein and whole grain to the meal, I pair it with a grilled cheese sandwich, bringing the cost to $0.86 per serving.

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

My household prefers the crunchy texture of baked oatmeal to standard oatmeal. This yummy, hearty breakfast is inexpensive and very versatile. You can add any fruit and nuts you have on hand to replace what’s pictured here. I always serve it with vanilla greek yogurt to add in some protein. Plus, it tastes like I’m eating cobbler and ice cream for breakfast!

We hope you and your family stay safe and healthy during this time!

Jessica Barnes, PhD, RDN, LD

Dr. Jessica Barnes received her PhD in nutrition from Texas Woman's University. Her research focused on food preference development and creating materials to help preschoolers become familiar with healthy foods. She has worked with families and communities as a clinical and community Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

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