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30 Dinners for Around $5 Each!

If you have been following my blog or my Instagram page then you know how much I love meal planning because of the money savings it can bring if done correctly. Well in an effort to save even more money on food I wanted to come up with a bunch of meals that were around $5 each. Yes, you read that right $5 each! 

Now these meals are meant to feed about 4 people. We are a household of 2 adults and 2 little kids so some of these meals you may need to adjust to better suit your family's needs. Some of these meals cost closer to $6 and some cost under $5 but none of them go over the $6 mark. The ingredients are mostly priced for Walmart and some from my local grocery store that I frequently go to which is a Kroger affiliate. If you have a Walmart near your local grocery store then I highly recommend checking the ad for the grocery store when making your grocery list. Walmart's prices are typically the same but local grocery stores will often have big sales on some of the things you need. Being willing to go to 2 different stores can save you a lot of money. Another way to save is buying in bulk so to speak. For example, if you're making a two week meal plan using some of the meals below try to use several meals that call for chicken breast so you can buy it in bulk and get the $1.99 per pound price.

Also, as many of you know, my son has a severe gluten intolerance. A majority of these recipes are gluten free except you'll see some that call for hamburger buns. Whatever we eat that requires hamburger buns my son usually just eats it without the bread or sometimes I will put it on some of his gluten free bread. If your entire household eats gluten free then you'll need to do some adjusting either with lettuce wraps, thick slices of tomatoes or gluten free bread as your alternative. Making the swap for lettuce or tomato will be a lot cheaper than the gluten free bread in most instances. It's healthier too but seriously who doesn't love carbs? 

I will provide links to the website of the original recipe poster if the recipe is not my own or if I have adapted the recipe to my liking. You'll be able to find the full instructions on their sites. 


30 Dinners for Around $5 Each

1. Red Beans and Rice 
(see recipe with instructions at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen)
Ingredients:
*1 lb bag small red beans $1.18
*3 bay leaves $0.18
*1 green bell pepper $0.58
*4 celery ribs $0.68
*4 cloves garlic $0.12
*1 large onion $0.70
*1 tsp oregano $0.08
*2 tsp thyme $0.16
*1/2 tbsp hot sauce $0.03
*2 cups dry white rice $0.80
*4 cups water $0.00
*1/2 tsp ground black pepper $0.09
*1 tsp liquid smoke $0.05
*1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes $0.02
*1 tsp salt $0.01
Total: $4.68

2. Turkey Cheddar Burgers with Fries
(see recipe and instructions over at Pinspired Home)
Ingredients:
*1 lb ground turkey $2.58
*1/4 onion, grated $0.17
*1 tsp ketchup $0.01
*1 clove garlic, grated $0.03
*1/2 cup shredded cheddar $0.55
*salt and pepper to taste
*4 hamburger buns $0.44 (sliced tomato for gluten free)
*16 oz frozen fries $0.84
Total: $4.62

3. Spaghetti with Homemade Sauce
Ingredients:
*12 oz gluten free spaghetti noodles $1.98
*14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes $0.74
*15 oz can tomato sauce $0.74
*1/2 tbsp tomato paste $0.03
*4 cloves garlic, grated $0.12
*1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced $0.13
*1 tbsp red cooking wine $0.09
*1 tbsp packed brown sugar $0.05
*3/4 tsp Italian seasoning $0.06
*1/2 tsp dried basil $0.04
*1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.04
*1/4 tsp paprika $0.02
*salt and pepper to taste
Total: $4.04

Instructions:
Add all ingredients to pot and simmer for 1-2 hours. 

4. Roasted Chicken Thighs, Potatoes and Carrots
(see my original recipe with instructions here)
Ingredients:
*2.5 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs $2.97
*2 large russet potatoes $0.96
*16 oz bag baby carrots $0.98
*2 tbsp olive oil, divided $0.12
*1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.04
*3/4 tsp paprika $0.06
*salt and pepper to taste
Total: $5.13

5. BBQ Chicken Thighs with Baked Beans and Corn on the Cob
Ingredients:
*2.5 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs $2.97
*1/2 cup BBQ sauce $0.25
*28 oz can baked beans $1.42
*4 ears of corn, cooked $1.00
*salt and pepper to taste
Total: $5.64

Instructions:
Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Cook on grill or smoker until thighs are cooked through completely. Top with BBQ sauce and allow to remain on grill for a couple more minutes. Remove from grill and serve with baked beans and corn on the cob.

6. Korean Beef Bowls 
(see recipe and instructions at The Recipe Critic)
Ingredients:
*1 lb ground beef $3.48
*1 cup dry white rice $0.40
*2 cups water $0.00
*1 cucumber, thinly sliced $0.48
*2 large carrots, shredded $0.40
*3 cloves garlic, grated $0.09
*1/4 cup packed brown sugar $0.20
*1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce $0.24
*2 tsp sesame oil $0.12
*1/4 tsp ground ginger $0.10
*1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes $0.02
*1/4 tsp ground black pepper $0.02
Total: $5.55

7. Turkey Bacon "BLT" with Fries
Ingredients: 
*12 oz turkey bacon, cooked $1.92
*4 Roma tomatoes, sliced $1.16
*1 avocado, sliced $0.98
*4 hamburger buns $0.44 or use large lettuce leaves for gluten free
*mayo, salt and pepper to taste
*16 oz frozen french fries, cooked according to pkg instructions $0.84
Total: $5.34

8. Grilled Chicken Salad 
Ingredients: 
*1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, grilled $1.99
*salt and pepper to taste
*1 head lettuce $1.00
*1 cucumber, peeled & sliced $0.48
*2 large carrots, shredded $0.40
*3 Roma tomatoes, diced $0.87
*3 hard boiled eggs, chopped $0.24
*1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese $0.55
*dressing of choice 
Total: $5.53

9. Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken with Rice
Ingredients:
*1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast $1.99
*1 bunch cilantro, stems removed $0.88
*juice of 2 limes + zest of 1 lime $0.76
*1/4 cup orange juice $0.11
*1/4 cup olive oil $0.24
*2 tsp cumin $0.16
*2 garlic cloves $0.06
*salt and pepper to taste 
*1 box Zatarains cilantro lime rice $1.18
Total: $5.38

Instructions:
Using a food processor, blend the cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, orange juice, olive oil, cumin, garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Pour marinade over chicken breast. Allow to marinade for several hours. This marinade is also freezer friendly! Grill chicken until cooked through and serve with rice. 

10. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Fries & Corn on the Cob
(see original recipe and instructions at Family Fresh Meals)
Ingredients:
*1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast $1.99
*1/2 cup BBQ sauce $0.25
*1.5 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.02
*2 tbsp brown sugar $0.10
*2 tbsp Italian dressing $0.10
*salt and pepper to taste
*4 hamburger buns $0.44 (omit for gluten free)
*16 oz frozen french fries $0.84
*4 ears of corn $1.00
Total: $4.74

11. Grilled Teriyaki Chicken with Rice and Broccoli 
Ingredients:
*1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast $1.99
*1/2 cup gluten free soy sauce $0.48
*3 cloves garlic, grated $0.09
*1/4 cup cold water $0.00
*2 tbsp cornstarch $0.14
*2 tbsp rice vinegar $0.16
*1/4 cup brown sugar $0.20
*1/8 tsp ground black pepper $0.04
*3 cups cooked white rice $0.40
*16 oz frozen broccoli florets $1.31
Total: $4.80

Instructions:
Grill chicken until cooked through completely. While chicken is grilling add soy sauce, garlic, water, cornstarch, rice vinegar, brown sugar and black pepper to a small sauce pan and heat until thickened. Remove cooked chicken from grill and slice. Toss sliced chicken and teriyaki sauce. Serve with steamed rice and broccoli florets. 

12. Cheesy Spinach Grits with Fried Eggs
(see original recipe and instructions at The Baker Chick)
Ingredients:
*2 cups whole milk $0.24
*2 cups water $0.00
*1 tsp salt $0.01
*1/2 tsp ground black pepper $0.04
*1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.04
*1/2 tsp onion powder $0.04
*1 cup grits $0.72
*4 tbsp unsalted butter $0.36
*4 oz white cheddar cheese $1.58
*5 oz baby spinach $0.99
*8 large eggs $0.64
Total: $4.66

13. Vegetarian Chili 
(see original recipe and instructions at Skinnytaste)
Ingredients:
*1 small onion, finely diced $0.27
*28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained $1.24
*16 oz can tomato sauce $0.74
*15 oz can red beans, drained & rinsed $0.72
*15 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed $0.72
*15 oz can pinto beans, drained & rinsed $0.72
*4 oz can chopped green chiles $0.72
*2 tbsp chili powder $0.48
*1 tsp cumin $0.08
*1 tsp salt $0.01
*1/2 tsp ground black pepper $0.04
Total: $5.74

14. Potato Soup
(see original recipe and instructions at Happy Money Saver)
Ingredients:
*32 oz frozen southern style diced hash browns $1.78
*1 cup shredded carrots $0.62
*1 large onion, finely diced $0.70
*8 tsp chicken bouillon $0.20 (my bouillon is 2 tsp per 1 cup water, verify your qty)
*4 cups water $0.00
*3 tsp minced garlic (about 6 cloves) $0.18
*1/4 cup butter, sliced $0.36
*1.5 tsp salt $0.02
*1 tsp celery salt $0.18
*1/2 tsp ground black pepper $0.04
*1 cup half and half $0.74
*1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese $0.55
Total: $5.37

15. Vegetarian Fried Rice
Ingredients:
*4 cups day old white rice $0.55
*12 oz frozen peas and carrots $0.84
*7 oz shelled edamame $0.99
*1 large onion, finely diced $0.70
*1/2 cup butter, melted $0.72
*1/2 cup gluten free soy sauce $0.48
*2 tsp garlic powder $0.16
*1/2 tsp ground black pepper $0.04
*4 eggs $0.32
*1 tbsp sesame oil $0.18
*1 tbsp canola oil $0.01
Total: $4.99

Instructions: 
Add sesame oil and canola oil to a wok and heat over medium-high heat. Crack all 4 eggs into a bowl then carefully pour into the heated oil. Fry the eggs breaking them into pieces as they cook. Once eggs have cooked add the edamame, onions, peas and carrots. Cook until veggies are tender and onions are translucent. While veggies are cooking combine melted butter, soy sauce and garlic powder in a small bowl. Add the cold rice to the wok with the veggies and stir to combine. Pour the sauce mixture over the rice and veggies then toss to coat. 

16. Sausage Gumbo with Rice 
(see recipe over at Happy Money Saver)
Ingredients:
*13 oz smoked turkey sausage, sliced $1.94
*12 oz frozen cut okra $1.00
*1 yellow onion, diced $0.27
*1 green bell pepper $0.48
*4 cloves garlic, grated $0.12
*28 oz can diced tomatoes with juices $1.24
*1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce $0.03
*1/4 tsp salt $0.01
*1/4 tsp ground black pepper $0.02
*2 dashes of hot sauce $0.01
*3 cups cooked white rice $0.40
Total: $5.52

17. Turkey Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes with Fries
(see original recipe and instructions at The Toasty Kitchen)
Ingredients:
*1 lb ground turkey $2.58
*1/2 tsp salt $0.01
*1/4 tsp ground black pepper $0.02
*2 tbsp unsalted butter $0.18
*1 small yellow onion, finely diced $0.27
*1 green bell pepper, diced $0.48
*1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.04
*1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce $0.03
*1 tsp beef bouillon $0.02
*1/2 cup water $0.00
*1 tbsp cornstarch $0.07
*4 slices white American cheese $0.56
*4 hamburger buns $0.44
*16 oz frozen french fries $0.84
Total: $5.54

18. Gluten Free Mac and Cheese
(see original recipe and instructions at Cake is the Only Thing that Matters)
Ingredients:
*8 oz gluten free elbow noodles $1.52
*2 tbsp butter $0.18
*2 tbsp gluten free all purpose flour $0.18
*1 & 1/3 cups milk $0.30
*8 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded $2.38
*salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
Total: $4.56

19. Vegetarian Burrito Bowls 
(see original recipe and instructions at Turning Clock Back)
Ingredients:
*1 avocado, diced $0.98
*15 oz can black beans $0.72
*4 Roma tomatoes $1.16
*1/4 cup chopped cilantro $0.11
*1 cup corn $0.44
*2 cloves garlic $0.06
*juice of 1 lime $0.38
*1/2 red onion $0.23
*2 cups white rice $0.80
*4 cups water $0.00
*1 tsp chili powder $0.08
*1 tsp cumin $0.08
*1/2 tsp salt $0.01
*2 tbsp olive oil $0.12
*1/2 cup shredded cheese $0.55
Total: $5.72

20. Pepperoni Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Side of Choice 
Ingredients:
*3.5 oz pkg pepperoni slices $2.28
*7 oz pizza sauce $0.57
*8 slices mozzarella cheese $1.44
*8 slices bread $0.32 (use gluten free bread for those who need it)
*4 tbsp spreadable butter $0.36
*garlic powder to taste
*12 oz frozen green beans $0.84
Total: $5.81

Instructions:
Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Lay 4 slices of bread out. Spread some spreadable butter on each slice of bread and sprinkle with garlic powder. Flip bread over and smear some pizza sauce on the non buttered side of each piece of bread. Add 1 slice of cheese on top of each piece of bread. Divide the pepperoni slices evenly between all 4 slices of bread. Top each piece with remaining slices of mozzarella. Smear pizza sauce on one side of remaining slices of bread and place sauce side down onto sandwich. Smear some spreadable butter on the top and sprinkle with garlic powder. Place all 4 sandwiches on heated pan and cook each side until golden brown and cheese has melted. Remove from pan and slice in half. Serve with side of choice. 

21. Turkey Taco Salad 
Ingredients:
*1 lb ground turkey $2.58
*1 tbsp taco seasoning $0.22
*1 head iceburg lettuce, chopped $1.00
*1/2 cup shredded cheese $0.55
*8 tbsp sour cream $0.56
*8 tbsp salsa $0.72
Total: $5.63

Instructions:
Add ground turkey and taco seasoning to a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat. Add chopped lettuce to 4 different bowls or plates. Top with seasoned meat, shredded cheese, salsa and sour cream. 

22. Grilled Salmon with Rice and Veggies
Ingredients:
*4 frozen salmon fillets, thawed (1 lb) $4.00
*1 lemon $0.52
*salt and pepper to taste
*2 tsp olive oil $0.04
*3 cups cooked rice $0.40
*12 oz frozen veggies $0.84
Total: $5.80

Instructions: 
Cover each salmon fillet with 1/2 tsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook on grill until cooked through. Serve with lemon slices, steamed rice and veggies. 

23. Gluten Free Tuna Melts with Fries 
(see original recipe and instructions at Bumblebee)
Ingredients:
*3 (5 oz) cans tuna in water $2.04
*2 large tomatoes, sliced into 6 thick slices $1.00
*3 tbsp chopped green onions $0.32
*2 tbsp mayo $0.18
*1 tbsp Dijon mustard $0.13
*6 slices cheddar cheese $1.11
*salt and pepper to taste
*16 oz frozen french fries $0.84
Total: $5.62

24. Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia with Rice and Veggies 
(see original recipe and instructions over at Whisk Affair)
Ingredients:
*1 lb frozen tilapia (4 fillets) $3.48
*1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes $0.02
*3 cloves garlic, grated $0.09
*1 lemon $0.52
*salt and pepper to taste
*3 tbsp butter $0.27
*3 cups cooked rice $0.40
*12 oz frozen veggies $0.84
Total: $5.62

25. California Sushi Roll Bowls with Sriracha Mayo 
(see original recipe and instructions at With Peanut Butter on Top)
Ingredients:
*8-12 oz imitation crab (see whats on sale) $2.64
*1/4 cup mayo $0.36
*1 tbsp sriracha $0.16
*2 cups white rice $0.80
*4 cups water $0.00
*1/2 tsp salt $0.01
*1 cucumber, sliced $0.48
*2 large carrots, shredded $0.40
*1 avocado, diced $0.98
*optional garnish: sesame seeds and soy sauce
Total: $5.83

26. Chicken and Rice Casserole with Side Salad 
(see original recipe and instructions over at Maebells)
Ingredients:
*1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (1.5-2 cups shredded) $0.99
*1/2 cup white rice $0.20
*1.5 cups water $0.00
*3 tsp chicken bouillon $0.08
*1/2 cup sour cream $0.42 
*1 cup shredded cheddar cheese $1.11
*1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
*1/8 tsp onion powder $0.01
*salt and pepper to taste
*1 tbsp butter $0.09
*1 tbsp gluten free all purpose flour $0.13
*12 oz bagged salad mix $1.68
*salad dressing of choice 
Total: $4.73

27. Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with Fries
(see original recipe and instructions over at Skinnytaste)
Ingredients:
*1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast $1.99
*2 celery stalks $0.34
*1/2 yellow onion $0.13
*12 oz water $0.00
*3 tsp chicken bouillon $0.08
*1/4 cup + 2 tbsp hot sauce $0.43
*2 large carrots, shredded $0.40
*4 tbsp ranch or blue cheese dressing $0.08
*4 hamburger buns $0.44
16 oz frozen fries $0.84
Total: $4.73

28. Ground Orange Chicken Bowls 
(see original recipe and instructions over at Dinner Then Dessert)
Ingredients:
*1 lb ground chicken $3.47
*1 tbsp minced ginger $0.25
*4 cloves garlic, grated $0.12
*1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes $0.02
*1 tbsp white cooking wine $0.08
*3 tbsp water $0.00
*1/2 tsp sesame oil $0.03
*4 tsp soy sauce $0.08
*5 tbsp sugar $0.04
*5 tbsp white vinegar $0.04
*zest of orange $0.34
*1 tbsp cornstarch $0.07
*3 cups cooked white rice $0.40
*12 oz frozen broccoli $0.84
Total: $5.78

29. Sausage, Potato and Green Bean Sheet Pan Dinner 
(see original recipe and instructions at Mary's Whole Life)
Ingredients:
*13 oz smoked turkey sausage $1.94
*2 large russet potatoes $0.96
*1 lb fresh green beans $1.68
*1/2 cup olive oil $0.48
*1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce $0.24
*2 tbsp Dijon mustard $0.26
*1 tbsp hot sauce $0.07
*2 cloves garlic $0.06
*1 tsp onion powder $0.08
*1 tsp salt $0.01 
Total: $5.78

30. Hamburger Steaks with Sauteed Onions, Rice and Corn 
(recipe adapted from Sweet Tea and Cornbread)
Ingredients: 
*1 lb ground beef $3.48
*2 tbsp + 2 tsp gluten free quick oats $0.05
*2 tbsp + 2 tsp milk $0.02
*1 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.01
*1 tsp Montreal steak seasoning $0.06
*1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
*1/4 tsp black pepper $0.02
*1 large egg, whites only $0.08
*1 large onion, thinly sliced $0.70
*2 tbsp butter $0.18 
*1 cup dry white rice $0.40
*2 cups water $0.00
*4 tsp beef bouillon $0.10 
*12 oz frozen corn $0.84 
*salt and pepper to taste
Total: $5.96 

Instructions: 
Combine ground beef, quick oats, milk, Worcestershire sauce, steak seasoning, garlic powder and black pepper. Form into 4 patties and place in greased dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. 
While steaks are cooking, make rice using the beef bouillon, salt and pepper for flavoring. Then heat 2 tbsp butter in a large saute pan and add onions then season with salt and pepper. Cook onions until tender and almost caramelized. 
Serve hamburger steaks with onions on top and rice and corn on the side. 



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