10 Things to Do With 10 Bucks: $10 and Under Meals

$10 and Under MealsGiven our packed lives, it's no wonder we return again and again to the simple pleasures.

Take, for example, cooking at home.

What may seem like a mundane act actually satisfies us on a lot of levels: It's healthy, fun, creative and nourishing, not to mention a money-saver.

But not all from-scratch meals are cheap to cook up. That's why we've come up with ten dinners under $10 that are low on cost—and big on flavor. (For more fun ideas about how to spend an extra $10 you find in your pocket, check out the rest of our 10 Things to Do With $10 series.)

What Are Your Favorite Cheap Meals?

Share your favorite at-home, budget-friendly recipes with other LearnVesters in the new LV DiscussionsSTART DISCUSSING

From roasted chicken and pot pie to hearty winter soup, these recipes all feed from two to four. While they don't shy away from pricey ingredients altogether, most are based on your favorite inexpensive staples—pasta, rice, tortillas, potatoes, eggs and beans—so the more exotic add-ins become the stars of the meal.

Whether you're craving Indian, Mexican or plain old comfort food, there's a meal here for this evening ... and the next.

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Get More Under-$10 Meals ...

Make grilled chicken with roasted corn, onions and smoky black beans with this delicious recipe.
Our take on risotto tastes luxurious but is surprisingly budget-friendly.
Don't waste money on greasy Chinese takeout: Make a healthy, Asian-inspired cabbage dish instead.

  • I’m not sure where you are doing your grocery shopping but most of the ingredients for these recipes would cost more than $10.  I know here in NJ (heck…even at my house in Kentucky) I couldn’t get a whole chicken for this price.  as well, most of the recipes before for 2 makes the article very misleading . LV, please stop being so misleading and have appropriate titles!

    • Sheila

       I agree.  Most of these recipes would cost me over $10 to make.

      Also, it would be nice to be able to print the recipes, but I couldn’t see an easy way to do that.

    • brightstarr82

      I live in DC and I can generally find a full chicken for about $8 at Trader Joe’s.  However, I do agree that all of the additional ingredients would be impossible to include and keep the recipes under $10/each.  However, I’ve found that I can reuse ingredients in various dishes throughout the week and spend about $70/week on groceries.

      • Yeah, Trader Joes is sometimes good about that :)  I was just doing the math in my head and was in shock.  I miss being able to spend less than $100 a week on groceries for 2.  Everything in the NJ/NY area is terrible.   

  • Fashionkitten13

    This is a bit misleading.  For the entree’s that had side, I did not see a recipe for the side.  This leads me to believe it is not calculated in the cost, making this really $10 entree’s…. not meals.  I also feel this article is geared towards people that don’t cook at home that much, so the list of spices (if you didn’t have a good spice rack) on each dish would quickly add up.  I know none of the spices are out of the ordinary, but I know many people that don’t know what thyme is and wouldn’t have it on hand.

    Regardless, I do think the recipes look impressive and are relatively economical.  Would be fun to double a few quantities on them and have a dinner party.

  • Kelly

    Where is the chicken on the chicken pot pie recipe and how do I cook it?

    • Anonymous

      Hi Kelly,

      Thank you for pointing this out. It was supposed to be called “Chickpea Vegetable Pot Pie.” It’s still very tasty (even without chicken), so we hope you try it!

  • Schaf23

    Looking at the ingredients for the pork burgers, I find that 3.5lbs. of ground pork would cost
    well over the $7 stated for the entire meal. Also, many of the recipes call for fresh fennel bulb. In my area, the fennel alone would cost about $3. My husband and I could put out meals for $10 or less, but, a lot of these recipes are misleading. Many would cost well over the stated costs.

  • Cliomuseaz

    Gruyere is usually between 16-20 dollars a pound.  Jarlsberg is at least 8-12 dollars a pound.  What planet did yours come from to bring the price down to $5 for the whole recipe?  Get real.

  • Katie Hutchinson

    I tried the split pea soup recipe, and it did not turn out well.  I am no chef, but it did not seem like there was enough liquid to the recipe.  The peas did not cook in the 20 minutes suggested, they were still hard, so I let them go 25 minutes, but it kept just boiling away the liquid, and not cooking the peas.  I ended up adding almost twice as much water and oil, and still did not turn out soup-like.  Taste was good though, but not of soup consistacy no matter how hard I tried.

    • Robin

      I make split pea soup all the time and I’ve got some ideas about why yours may not have turned out:  
      1.  The peas might have been too old.
      2.  You added the vinegar while the peas were cooking.  Acid stops beans from softening.  I don’t know why, but it’s true.  Salt can do the same, so I’d suggest adding the salt when the peas are just about done.
      3.  Did you puree it?  To cook split peas to a really soupy consistency, they need a lot of time– like an hour.  This may be why the recipe has you puree them.  Be sure to keep the pot covered too, so you lose less liquid.

      And honestly, I think you’re right about the water and cooking time.  I’ve never gotten split peas to cook in less that 40 mins, and they really suck up water. You probably will need to add more throughout the cooking time.  Adding more oil shouldn’t make a difference, unless you really like a fatty tasting soup.

  • Katie Hutchinson

    Anyone have an ideas where to get crocks that are nice-looking for cheap?  I do not have any but have wanted them because I love French Onion Soup so much!

  • Britt

    I agree with most of the comments below – these are wonderful recipes and I’m definitely going to try some but there is no way I can get a whole organic chicken for under $10. Even if I could, the veggies plus spices – which we all know are expensive – would definitely cost AT LEAST $20. I admit, the 10 meals for $10 is what caught my eye. but I think you can use a disclaimer at the beginning that it doesn’t include the spices. Also, maybe do a how-to-stock-your-spice cabinet page and include general prices. And I don’t really eat dairy, so any time you can include dairy-free substitutes, that would be great!