Eating on the Cheap Doesn't Have to Be Sad

Ease up on your wallet with budget-friendly recipes and tips from Food Network that line up with your New Year's spending resolutions.

FNK POT ROAST STIRFRY Food Network Kitchen Food Network Beef Sirloin, Cornstarch, Small Red Bliss Potatoes, LowSodium Beef Broth, Soy Sauce, Vegetable Oil, Cremini Mushrooms, Carrots, Celery, Garlic, Tomato Paste, Unsalted Butter, Parsley, Wide Egg Noodles

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Matt Armendariz, Copyright 2015

FNK POT ROAST STIRFRY Food Network Kitchen Food Network Beef Sirloin, Cornstarch, Small Red Bliss Potatoes, LowSodium Beef Broth, Soy Sauce, Vegetable Oil, Cremini Mushrooms, Carrots, Celery, Garlic, Tomato Paste, Unsalted Butter, Parsley, Wide Egg Noodles

Yes, the yearly effort to make you a better “you” might involve making yourself a little thinner, but you don’t want that same goal to apply to your wallet. For many of us, 2017 is the year we’re finally combating our ever-thinning wallets. With a few of our simple tips on your side, you’ll find that it’s actually easier to eat on the cheap (and to eat well) every day of the week.

Stretch your proteins.

Structuring your meals around a big hunk of meat and a little helping of everything else is a custom that’s falling by the wayside. Instead, use our tips to stretch one protein of protein into four satisfying dinner servings by boosting meat with other ingredients and not making it the focus of the meal. Take this Pot Roast Stir-Fry (pictured above), for example, which gets its heft from eggy noodles, veggies and a hearty sauce.

FISH AND WHITE BEAN TOSTADAS Melissa d’Arabian Ten Dollar Dinners/Hooked Fish Food Network Limes, Garlic, Olive Oil, White Fish Fillets, Vegetable Oil, Corn Tortillas, White Beans, Purple Cabbage, Sour Cream, Yellow Onion, Garlic, Cumin, White Wine, Navy Beans, Oregano, Pineapple Slices, Honey, Jalapeno, Red Onion, Avocado, Cilantro

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

FISH AND WHITE BEAN TOSTADAS Melissa d’Arabian Ten Dollar Dinners/Hooked Fish Food Network Limes, Garlic, Olive Oil, White Fish Fillets, Vegetable Oil, Corn Tortillas, White Beans, Purple Cabbage, Sour Cream, Yellow Onion, Garlic, Cumin, White Wine, Navy Beans, Oregano, Pineapple Slices, Honey, Jalapeno, Red Onion, Avocado, Cilantro

Extend protein with beans.

While the ingredients for a a fish dinner can often rack up your grocery bill, stretching pricey seafood with inexpensive beans can keep a meal satisfying yet sensible. Melissa d’Arabian pairs white fish filets with sauteed white beans for crunchy, fresh Fish and White Bean Tostadas.

Own eating eggs for dinner.

Cracking a few eggs into a pan might sometimes gets the rep of a sad fallback dinner, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Using eggs as an inexpensive source of protein can actually be a bit refined, especially if you’re scrambling a few to make Ina’s 5-star, filling Potato Basil Frittata.

SUCCULENT BRAISED PORK Melissa d’Arabian Ten Dollar Dinners/Beyond Pork and Beans Food Network Pork Shoulder, Olive Oil, Onion, Celery, Carrot, Garlic, Tomato Paste, Allpurpose Flour, Red Wine, Beef Stock or Broth, Parsley, Bay Leaves

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

SUCCULENT BRAISED PORK Melissa d’Arabian Ten Dollar Dinners/Beyond Pork and Beans Food Network Pork Shoulder, Olive Oil, Onion, Celery, Carrot, Garlic, Tomato Paste, Allpurpose Flour, Red Wine, Beef Stock or Broth, Parsley, Bay Leaves

Have a little patience.

Go for a budget cut and cook it low and slow. Though pork shoulder is a notoriously humble, fibrous cut, giving it a lot of love will transform this inexpensive cut of meat into fork-tender, crowd-pleasing Succulent Braised Pork.

ARROZ CON POLLO Melissa d’Arabian Ten Dollar Dinners/Back in Tucson Food Network Garlic Powder, Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, Yellow Onion, Chicken, Vegetable Oil, Green Bell Pepper, Red Bell Pepper, Salt, Longgrain Rice, Garlic, Chicken Stock, Tomato Sauce

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

ARROZ CON POLLO Melissa d’Arabian Ten Dollar Dinners/Back in Tucson Food Network Garlic Powder, Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, Yellow Onion, Chicken, Vegetable Oil, Green Bell Pepper, Red Bell Pepper, Salt, Longgrain Rice, Garlic, Chicken Stock, Tomato Sauce

Be the butcher.

Rather than paying the premium for pre-cut meat at the grocery store, do it yourself. Breaking down a whole chicken at home for one-pot Arroz con Pollo means a lot of chicken for not a lot of money. Watch how to do it here.

105816329

105816329

Open kitchen cupboard

Photo by: Margaret Edwards

Margaret Edwards

Open kitchen cupboard

Make your pantry ready for anything.

Stocking your kitchen on a night-by-night, recipe-by-recipe basis is sure to make your grocery bills soar. Instead, stock up on versatile pantry staples — using these 14 must-haves as your guide — before you need them to prevent any frivolous trips to the store.

Get more ideas for budget-friendly dinners right here.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Would You Eat Ice Cream That Doesn't Melt?

Scientists in the U.K. have come up with an ice cream that does not melt, even when you leave it out in the sun.

Chicago's Best Cheap Eats

Track down Chicago's best food bargains, from breakfast through late-night snacks.

San Francisco's Best Cheap Eats

Check out some of the best under-$10 meals in San Francisco.

No Sabotages Doesn't Mean No Problems — Alton's After-Show

Sabotage-free cooking doesn't always equal successful dishes.

These 5 Vegetarian Recipes Prove Comfort Food Doesn't Need Meat

These recipes are hearty enough to satisfy meat eaters and vegetarians alike.

"If This Doesn't Move, This Isn't That Bad" — Alton's After-Show

Watch Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen: Alton's After-Show hosted by Alton Brown.

The Pitfalls of the Cheap All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

The all-you-can-eat buffet tends to bring out the gourmand in all of us. But recently scientists have shed new light on the psychology of the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Being a Judge Doesn't Keep You Safe from the Chopping Block — Chopped After Hours

Catch an all-new episode of Chopped After Hours, where the judges cook with mystery basket ingredients from the show.

QUIZ: Which of The Kitchen Co-Hosts Is Your BFF (and Doesn't Know It Yet)?

Take this quiz to find out which co-host of The Kitchen is your best-friend-in-waiting.

It Doesn't Get More Authentic Than a Concrete Made in a Cement Mixer — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

Watch Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen culinary team test potential sabotages before they appear on the show.