Cheap and easy recipes and dinner ideas

With food prices rapidly rising, it’s crunch time for family food budgets these days. Ingredients for homemade meatballs To help lessen the pressure on your purse, here are 10 suggestions for lunch or dinner entrees you can make for about $5 apiece. How to make homemade meatballs easy The following cheap meal ideas and recipes will show you just what $5 can get you if you invest a little prep time.

If your supermarket is having a sale, you can sometimes get a dozen eggs for as little as $1! That’s an awesome deal, considering that eggs are a great protein source.


Best homemade meatballs for spaghetti Each egg white contains 6 grams of protein. How long to bake homemade meatballs If you blend six whole eggs with six egg whites, you can make a lower-fat egg-based dish serving four people. Homemade italian meatballs in oven Each serving will contain 18 grams of quality protein — comparable to the amount in a serving of T-bone steak.

Frittata is one flexible and quick cheap meal option. Quick homemade meatballs A dozen eggs will make about four servings (if you use four large eggs and eight egg whites), and you can keep the cost down by using whatever cheese, veggies, and herbs you have handy in your refrigerator. Best way to cook homemade meatballs You know how there’s always half a tomato or a quarter of an onion wrapped in foil or a little shredded cheese in the bottom of bag waiting to be rescued from the refrigerator? This is your chance to use it up (see the recipe for Fridge Leftover Frittata below).

Buying tuna on sale and making sure you get the water-packed kind is the key for this healthy $5 entree. How to cook homemade meatballs in the oven You can sometimes find 6-ounce cans of solid white tuna canned in water for 88 cents on sale. How to bake homemade meatballs With each can, you can make a tuna casserole for four, or you can make two servings of quick tuna patties (see recipe for Tuna Patties below).

Top round, London broil, top sirloin or petite sirloin steaks can often be found for about $2.47 to $3.47 a pound. Make homemade spaghetti meatballs A pound of steak makes about four sensible 3-ounce servings (cooked), or three 4-ounce servings. How long to cook homemade meatballs in oven You can improve the taste and texture of lean steaks by marinating them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. How do u make homemade meatballs If you don’t want to make marinade from scratch, using half of a bottle of light balsamic vinaigrette or bottled steak marinade adds about $1.44 to the total cost (a bottle of dressing or marinade can cost around $2.89). Best homemade spaghetti and meatballs recipe For $5, you’ll get about 1.5 pounds of a lean steak (at $2.47 per pound) plus the marinade (either homemade or half a bottle).

If you can get a couple of key ingredients on sale, you can make six servings of this popular American entree for about $5. Best homemade spaghetti and meatballs Start with a 12-ounce box of multigrain pasta for about $1.25 on sale. How long do you cook homemade meatballs in the oven You can either make meat sauce (1 pound of lean ground beef at $2.49, a 29-ounce can of tomato sauce at 99 cents, plus seasonings from your pantry) or a mushroom sauce (10-ounce package of sliced mushrooms at $1.99, a 29-ounce can of tomato sauce at 99 cents, and seasonings from your pantry). Homemade bread crumbs for meatballs The total cost will be about $4.73 for about 6 servings!

Meatloaf is a great way to extend a small amount of meat into many more servings by blending it with ingredients that add flavor and bulk. How long do you cook homemade meatballs In the Prize-Winning Meat Loaf recipe below, 1.5 pounds of ground beef becomes a 6-serving of meatloaf with the addition of oats, tomato juice, egg, onions, and seasonings. Spaghetti and meatballs homemade If you can get lean ground beef for $2.49 a pound, that’s $3.73 for 1.5 pounds of meat. Homemade italian meatballs for spaghetti The additional ingredients add up to about 75 cents per serving.

This cold pasta salad is perfect because it uses higher-fiber, higher-nutrient multigrain pasta along with whatever veggies, herbs, and dressing you have in your refrigerator. Homemade italian meatballs and sauce Start with a 12-ounce box of multigrain pasta, bought on sale for $1.25. Homemade meatballs cooked in sauce If you have some olives, roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, or pickled peppers, add them to taste. Simple homemade meatball recipe If you have a 3-ounce block of mozzarella cheese in the cheese drawer, grate some and add that, too. Simple homemade meatballs for spaghetti If you have a couple of ripe tomatoes, dice them up, and add along with some fresh basil from your garden. The best homemade meatball recipe Dress it all up with half a bottle of a good bottled vinaigrette (such as raspberry walnut or red wine vinaigrette). How to make homemade meatballs for subs A bottle of dressing costs around $3, even for some of the fancy ones.

At about 24 cents apiece (from a 5-pound bag costing $2.39), a baked potato can be a great start for an entree. How to make homemade meatballs and gravy Try topping them with shredded cheese, fat-free sour cream, and chopped green onions or chives. How to make homemade meatballs in crock pot If five potatoes cost about $1.20, a cup of shredded cheese about $1, 1/2 cup of fat-free sour cream about 55 cents, and green onions about 50 cents, your grand total will be about $3.25 for five! At that price, you can afford to sprinkle some shredded chicken, turkey, pork, or beef, along with some beans or other vegetables, over the top.

Often, buying chicken with the bone and skin on and then skinning it yourself is the best deal. How to make homemade meatballs and sauce At $1.79 a pound, four bone-in chicken breasts will cost you around $3.58 (that’s 2 pounds). Easy homemade spaghetti and meatballs You can make a grilling or slow cooker sauce using ingredients on hand, or use half a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce. Homemade spaghetti and meatballs A bottle of barbecue sauce costs around $3, so half a bottle will bring this entree to a cool $5. Homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs recipe Just coat the chicken breasts with your sauce and cook on the grill or in the slow cooker until done.

Everyone likes a good potato casserole every now and again. Recipe for homemade meatballs for spaghetti Armed with a few key items on sale, including 2 pounds of O’Brien potatoes for $2, the O’Brien Potato Casserole below is a real budget helper. How to make homemade spaghetti meatballs To make it seem more like a main dish, you can add some extra protein from beans or lean meat: Just stir in two cups cooked fava beans or edamame, or three cups roasted or grilled diced lean meat (like skinless/boneless turkey or chicken breast, pork tenderloin, or extra lean ham) before you spread the mixture in the pan. Homemade meatballs and sauce in crock pot It costs about $7.50 to make the original O’Brien Casserole (serving 16 as a side dish); stirring in beans or meat adds about $2.50 to the total. Homemade pasta sauce and meatballs If you assume the dish makes eight larger portions as a main dish, that’s $10 — or $5 for four servings.

Chili is a popular entree at any time of year. Homemade pasta and meatballs For the Last-Minute Chile recipe below, you’ll buy a pound of braised beef tips for $2 to $2.50 per pound, plus some Mexican-style stewed tomatoes and kidney beans for $1 or less a can. Spaghetti and homemade meatballs recipe The rest of the ingredients are mostly items you have in your spice cabinet and liquor cabinet. Homemade meatballs for spaghetti recipe That’s right, I said “liquor” cabinet — I like to use a couple tablespoons of whiskey or brandy. Homemade italian spaghetti and meatballs But if you don’t have that on hand, just leave it out. Quick and easy homemade meatballs Even if you have to buy an onion, a batch of this chili will cost you right around $5, and it serves six.

2 cups chopped vegetables (use whatever you have on hand: onions, bell pepper, mushroom slices, tomato, broccoli, asparagus, etc.)

• In a large, nonstick skillet, cook the vegetables (except tomato, if using) in 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat, stirring often, until veggies are tender (about 3 minutes). Meatballs homemade recipe Stir in chopped tomato if you’re adding it (it doesn’t need to be cooked like the other veggies). Homemade sauce for meatballs Add salt and pepper, if desired. Homemade meatballs with sauce Set aside.

• In mixing bowl, beat or whisk together the eggs and egg whites until blended. Homemade meatball sauce recipe Stir in the shredded cheese and the sauteed veggie mixture.

• Begin heating the large, nonstick skillet again over medium heat until hot. Homemade meatball sauce Coat the pan generously with cooking spray and quickly pour in the egg mixture, distributing the veggies evenly in the bottom of the skillet. Homemade italian meatball recipe While it begins to cook, sprinkle the herb blend over the top. Best homemade meatball recipe Cover the skillet and cook, without stirring, for about 6 minutes (the frittata should be set and the bottom nicely brown).

• If desired, brown the top of the frittata in a preheated broiler, about 4 inches from the heat, for 1-2 minutes. Easy homemade meatball recipe Slide frittata onto a large serving plate and cut into 4 wedges.

Nutritional Information: Per serving: 231 calories, 21 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 12.8 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 5.5 g monounsaturated fat, 2 g polyunsaturated fat, 210 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 365 mg sodium. Easy recipe for homemade meatballs Calories from fat: 50%. Recipe for homemade spaghetti and meatballs Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.5 gram, Omega-6 fatty acids: 1.5 gram.

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as: 2 eggs without added fat + 1 cup vegetables without added fat.

2 teaspoons canola oil or olive oil (canola cooking spray can be substituted)

• In medium bowl, combine tuna, onion, egg white, relish, Italian salad dressing, and panko crumbs.

• Shape into 4 patties. Homemade spaghetti and meatball recipe Begin heating nonstick skillet over medium heat. Authentic homemade italian meatballs Coat surface with oil or cooking spray. Homemade baked meatballs for spaghetti Add patties and fry on both sides until lightly browned. Homemade barbecue sauce for meatballs Serve with salad, soup, or whole-grain bread.

Nutrition Information: Per serving : 297 calories, 44 g protein, 12 g carbohydrate, 7.5 g fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 3.2 g monounsaturated fat, 2 g polyunsaturated fat, 47 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 697 mg sodium. Calories in homemade meatballs with sauce Calories from fat: 23%. Easy homemade meatball sauce Omega-3 fatty acids: 1 gram, Omega-6 fatty acid: 1 gram.

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as: 1 serving “lean fish with 1 tsp fat maximum” + 1 slice bread OR 1 portion ” frozen dinner light”

1 teaspoon minced or chopped garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Homemade swedish meatball sauce Generously coat an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with canola cooking spray.

• In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the ground beef and mix well with your hands. Homemade bbq meatball recipe Add the ground beef and mix thoroughly.

• Shape into a loaf in the prepared pan. Homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs Bake for 1 hour. Homemade spaghetti and meatballs from scratch Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Nutritional Information: Per serving : 195 calories, 25 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 6.4 g fat, 2.2 g saturated fat, 2 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 190 mg sodium. Homemade spaghetti and meatballs sauce Calories from fat: 30%. Homemade meatballs with italian sausage Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.2 gram, Omega-6 fatty acids: 0.4 gram

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as: 1 serving lean meat without added fat + 1/2 cup vegetables without added fat.

10 3/4 ounces-can Healthy Request condensed cream of mushroom soup (or similar)

2 ounces reduced-fat Ruffles potato chips, crushed (optional)

1. Homemade meatball recipe with grape jelly Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Homemade meatball recipe for spaghetti Coat a 13-x-9-inch baking pan with canola cooking spray.

2. Homemade meatballs and spaghetti recipe Thaw potatoes and combine with all ingredients except the potato chips. Calories in homemade spaghetti and meatballs Spread into prepared pan and top with crushed chips if desired. Recipe for spaghetti and meatballs homemade Bake for about 30 minutes

Nutrition Information: Per side-dish serving: 115 calories, 7 g protein, 14.5 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 1 g fiber, 10 mg cholesterol, 308 mg sodium. Homemade meatballs and spaghetti sauce Calories from fat: 26%

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as: 1/2 cup starchy foods and legumes without added fat

1 1/2 teaspoons minced or chopped garlic (or 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder)

2 cups cubed vegetables (whatever you have on hand: eggplant, zucchini, etc.)

24 ounce can stewed Mexican-style tomatoes (or 2 14.5-ounce cans)

• In large, nonstick skillet or saucepan, heat oil and garlic over medium-high heat. Homemade spaghetti sauce with meatballs Add beef cubes and saute for a minute, stirring constantly. Best recipe for homemade meatballs Add whiskey, brandy, or water and stir.

• Stir onions and vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, etc.) into beef mixture and simmer about a minute. Recipe for homemade meatballs baked Stir in spices and reduce heat to medium-low. Best ever homemade meatballs Stir in tomatoes with juice, tomato paste (if desired), and beans.

• Cover skillet and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition Information: Per serving : 246 calories, 22.5 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat, 2.2 g saturated fat, 3 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 41 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 538 mg sodium. Easy homemade meatball subs Calories from fat: 25%. How to make homemade meatballs without eggs Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.2 gram, Omega-6 fatty acids: 0.4 gram.

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as: 1 cup “hearty stews, chili, bean soup” + 1/2 cup “vegetables without added fat”

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the “Recipe Doctor” for WebMD and the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. How to make homemade meatballs without breadcrumbs Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

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