$1 Meals: Dinner’s for Dudes and Dames (on a budget)


“Rather go to bed with out dinner than to rise in debt”
Benjamin Franklin



This is the last in a series of posts on meals for under one buck. If you’ve missed the other posts in the series you can click here or here.

All of these meals are cheap, nutritious, delicious and I’ve assumed the ingredients were store bought in all of the costings. Of course a simple garden could radically reduce the cost of putting this food on your plate.

Also a word on shopping. Depending on where you live and the season you won’t be able to make all of the meals for just $1. If you are buying everything you’ll need an eye for the buy and a few simple base recipes to pick out mint ingredients that you can combine simply and efficiently all week for classic meals. If you take the lead here the reward is that your food bill would be a paltry $21 for yourself or somewhere between $21-$42 for a couple for an entire week. Even $63 for a family with one kid is ridiculous by modern Western Standards. If you are reading this from rural Africa or India please stop laughing now :).

We know people with two kids that spend >$400 a week on groceries. What a waste of capital and probably not as easy or satisfying as the meals listed on this page.

Let’s leap right in with…

Burritos. Love them. I cook up 1 potato. Steamed, boiled, baked or microwaved. Mash and set aside. Make a gravy stew with whatever vegetables you can find and add some precooked beans (pinto, kidney or black beans work best). Add some soy sauce, nutritional yeast, stock cube (dried) and thicken to a gravy with either whole wheat flour or cornflour. Smear the potato on the tortilla and then add the gravy mixture. Wrap and bake in the oven or eat fresh. Mostly I’d add another fresh herb like basil or coriander, but you could add some dried oregano. Now this might sound like a lot of ingredients for under a buck. It is, but if you’re planning to use these for lunches then you can easily bring it home under budget for your 7 days of yum.

Potatoes. I think I will write another post just on potatoes and sweet potatoes. There are so many recipes and they are all delicious and satisfying. If you think gawd potatoes will make me fat think again. It’s usually the stuff with the potatoes e.g. oil and heavy sauces that are adding to your belly or hips. Remove the offenders and maximise the brilliant impact potatoes can have on your health and on your pocketbook.

Pasta. You can buy a packet of pasta for under $1 and use it for 2, 3 or 4 meals. Assuming only 3 that makes a 30c cost. Add a can of diced tomatoes at say 70c and use half as the sauce with a splash of vinegar and a little sugar. Cook the pasta following the directions combine and eat. Easy and cheap. While you couldn’t live on this forever it is a quick and easy gap filler. To make it a major staple add a handful of cooked lentils or a handful of cooked beans. My favourite pasta is actually a mix of a head of blended broccoli and a splash of homemade BBQ sauce and some lime and salt. Mix it in with the pasta. Now you could live on that and most often you can deliver it for under $1 when Broccoli is in season, homegrown, or available at a discount.

Curry. You can make like 7,000,000 curries for under a buck. See how by clicking here.

Roast Chickpeas. Chickpeas are dirt cheap. Soak them overnight then boil to soften. You can blend them into a fresh hummus, roast them or add them to a burrito or a curry. My favourite recipe is just straight roast chickpeas. Make a marinade of soy sauce, lemon juice and dried oregano. Add a little honey (admittedly you can’t use honey for under a buck unless you cast the cost of the honey across a lot of meals, but honey is immortal so having some in the pantry isn’t stupid since it won’t spoil. To keep it under $1 use sugar instead. Marinade the chickies for at least one hour then add everything to a flat pan and roast. Delicious! I wanted to share this roast chickpea recipe because it is super simple and it rocks. Glorious snack and popular with the kids!

There are millions of other options from Bulgar wheat to rice, to couscous to bean one pots that you can make for a buck. Hopefully some of these ideas sounded good enough to eat and they were all cheap cheap like the Budgie!!

If you missed the breakfast or lunch edition. Click the links here:
Breakfast Bucks
Lunch that’s lite on your wallet

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One thought on “$1 Meals: Dinner’s for Dudes and Dames (on a budget)

  1. A sidebar on costs and spices.

    Some of these delights cannot be built for under $1 if you are buying meal to meal. The real trick is to buy ingredients in bundles that you can make over a few days without needing lots of different things. That said there are healthy home cooked meals that you can go to the store with $1 and come home and cook. I’m talking real food not processed and fluorescent edible food like substances that come out of a box.

    Spices – Once a year buy $50 of spices. This is the best investment you can make. Being sharp on the spices can dramatically enhance what you cook. I costed 4.5 c for spices in all my meals. 4 cents people. Spend it. 🙂

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