Test Kitchen Challenge: Dinner for Just $10 Dollars

All home cooks face the same challenges of wanting to get a delicious dinner on the table fast -- without spending a lot. So we asked our test kitchen team to come up with recipes that are fast, cheap and inspiring. Want to make a great meal for just $10? Here's how test kitchen director Diana Sturgis did it.
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BUDGET RECIPES

Diana dressed up cost-kind ingredients like potatoes and pasta, and used them in their entirety to cut down on food waste.

double decker shepherds pie

DOUBLE-DECKER SHEPHERD'S PIE

Cutting costs shouldn't come at the expense of taste. Use the pricier ingredients in this dish like chiles and scallions with a light touch -- a little goes a long way.

 
bowtie spicy brocolirabe

BOWTIES AND SPICY BROCCOLI RABE WITH CRUNCHY CRUMBS

Playing with texture is an inexpensive way to keep dishes from tasting boring and flat. Adding breadcrumbs or nuts to this recipe will help enrich plain pasta and give it extra depth.

 
STRETCH YOUR DOLLAR

Pick up these 99-cent grocery buys and use them in plenty of priceless ways.

parsley

Parsley
Add whole leaves of parsley to a salad or use sprigs in soups and stews to enrich the flavor. Make:

 
canned beans

Canned Beans
Puree canned beans and use them to thicken soups or sauces. Fry them in extra-virgin olive oil with garlic for a savory spread. Make:

 
lemons

Lemons
Roast or grill thinly sliced lemons and use them as a condiment with meat and poultry. Brighten heavy stews or sauces with their juice. Make:

 
evaporated milk

Evaporated Milk
Whisk evaporated milk into pan drippings for an instant sauce. Use it in soups to replace regular milk for extra creaminess. Make:

 
tomato paste

Tomato Paste
Thin tomato paste with water or stock and whisk into soups or stews. Mix it with butter and brush onto roasted meats. Make:

 
MAKE OVER LEFTOVERS

Follow Diana's tips to make the most of your meal.

Finely chop meats and vegetables and use in a frittata or omelet.
Turn salad into soup by adding to stock and bringing to a simmer.
Moisten casseroles by pouring in a little soup.
Reduce soups until thickened and saucy; serve over pasta.
Enrich soups and stews with leftover bones.

MORE TEST KITCHEN CHALLENGES

Still looking to solve your dinner dilemmas? See what else the test kitchen team's been up to.

 

 

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