Dinner Recipes for Under $1 Per Serving

Serve Nutritional and Tasty Main Dishes for as Little as $1.00 Per Serving

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Getty / William Mahar

 A difficult thing to do is break bad eating habits that cost us a lot of money. This includes bad habits like ordering out instead of cooking at home, buying expensive prepared foods that could easily be prepared by following a simple recipe and worst of all, regularly letting food spoil.

For many of us, bad eating habits developed while we were in college or when we had a demanding job that used up the majority of our productive time.

Shocking Numbers

I ended up pretty much shocking myself into breaking my costly eating habits. It was during a time when I was determined to pay off some lingering debt. A friend suggested that I do a worksheet to see where, as a family, our money was going.

On it was a section to put the amount being spent each week on food. When the final tally was in, I did not believe that the figure that I was looking at was correct. It was a real moment of self discovery.

I  always thought of myself as a tightwad and secretly gave myself pats on the back for being so frugal and in control. Delusional, I know, because obviously if I really was "all that" then I would have known how much we were spending on food.

After doing the worksheet things changed. I was determined to spend as little as possible on food, yet still enjoy tasty meals.

What You Put in the Kitchen is What You Will Eat

I firmly believe that most of us are going to eat what is in our kitchen.

If there are bags of chips and cookies in there, that is what we will chow down on. If all that is in the refrigerator is a bag of carrots, then what gets eaten is the bag of carrots.

I wanted the kitchen with the carrots and although it took some time to get there, I eventually did it by carefully planning meals and sticking to my shopping list at the grocery store.

A Great Free Tool

I set goals for what I wanted the average cost to be for each of our meals. I decided that one dollar per serving was a reasonable amount for the main dinner course. Next, I began looking online for recipes, and came across the USD website that features a section called "What's Cooking." There I was able to browse recipes that were inexpensive to prepare, yet still nutritional.

Along with providing recipes, the website also shows the nutrition information and the cost per serving for each recipe. It was by using this website that I was able to break my bad eating habits and finally pay off that the debt.

Dinner Recipes for Around a $1 Per Serving

Here is a list of favorite recipes that I found on the USD website.Please note, that over the years the cost of food has gone up and now most of the recipes cost a few cents over a dollar. To see the complete recipe and/or to visit the What's Cooking website, click on the "View Recipe" links below.

Baked Chicken with Vegetables

Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
Yield: Six servings
Cost:
Per Recipe: $6.45
Per Serving: $1.07
View Recipe

Chicken Cacciatore

Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
Yield: Four servings
Cost:
Per Recipe: $ 3.59
Per Serving: $ 0.90
View Recipe

Herb Broiled Beef

Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
Yield: Four servings
Cost:
Per Recipe: $4.41
Per Serving: $1.10
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Italian Broccoli and Pasta

Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups
Yield: Four servings
Cost:
Per Recipe: $ 3.70
Per Serving: $ 0.93
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Manly Muffin Meat Loaf

Serving Size: Two muffins
Yield: Six servings
Cost:
Per Recipe: $ 4.57
Per Serving: $ 0.76
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Pasta Primavera

Serving Size: 1/3 of recipe
Yield: Three servings
Cost:
Per Recipe: $ 1.42
Per Serving: $ 0.47
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Quick Skillet Lasagna

Serving Size: One cup
Yield: Seven servings
Cost:
Per Recipe: $4.77
Per Serving: $ 0.54
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Sensational Six-Layer Dinner

Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
Yield: Six servings
Cost:
Per Recipe: $6.17
Per Serving: $1.03
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Spinach and Meat Cakes

Serving Size: Two meat cakes
Yield: Six servings
Cost:
Per Recipe: $6.05
Per Serving: $1.01
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Tortilla Pizzas

Serving Size: One pizza
Yield: Six servings
Cost:
Per Recipe: $4.45
Per Serving: $ 0.74
View Recipe