Grocery Prices Skyrocketing? Make These Meals Under $10

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January 14, 2023
peanut tofu skillet with veggies
Courtesy of Budget Bytes

Though grocery prices have been rising for a while now, it can still be a shock to show up at your local supermarket and realize that food costs have jumped again. Wasn’t that $5 loaf of bread just $3 last week, and those $7 eggs formerly $4? Sometimes it’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry at the dramatic ratcheting-up of everyday staples (let alone specialty items). At this point, whipping up meals that cost under $10 seems utterly impossible right now.

Depending on your location in the U.S., prices may vary, but one thing’s for sure: inflation has done a number (literally) on American grocery prices in the last couple of years. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food prices were 12% higher in November 2022 than they were in November 2021, and are expected to climb an additional 3.5 to 4.5% in 2023.

These historic levels of inflation don’t exactly make it easy to eat well on a budget. It definitely takes a bit of creativity to feed a family (or even just yourself) for anything like a reasonable price — but we’re here to help. The following meals and dinner ideas serve (believe it!) four people for under $10.

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1. Chickpea Burgers

chickpea burger with sauce

Courtesy of A Couple Cooks

If there’s one mealtime centerpiece that’s still blessedly affordable, it’s beans. In most grocery stores nationwide, you can find legumes like canned chickpeas for under $2. These humble beans are a jumping-off point for all sorts of meals, including plant-based burgers.

This simple burger recipe combines the savory heft of chickpeas with carrots, red onions, and a few spices. Double the batch and save extras for easy, packable lunches throughout the week.

Try the recipe from A Couple Cooks.

2. Baked Salsa Chicken

salsa chicken with cheese in a casserole dish

Shutterstock

Often, the secret to low-cost cooking is limiting the number of ingredients used. That’s why this four-ingredient recipe is a winner of a chicken dinner.

To make salsa chicken, place two large chicken breasts in a baking dish, season with taco seasoning, and top with salsa and a layer of shredded cheddar. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes and voila! A cheap, satisfying dinner is served. Round out the meal with a green salad or brown rice.

3. Peanut Tofu

peanut tofu skillet with veggies

Courtesy of Budget Bytes

When meat prices are through the roof, tofu makes an excellent protein alternative. A 3-ounce serving provides about 9 grams of plant-based protein, usually for a fraction of the price of beef or chicken. In these peanutty bowls, extra-firm tofu crisps up to perfection alongside tender broccoli and a lick-the-bowl sweet-and-savory sauce.

Try the recipe from Budget Bytes.

4. Simplest Spaghetti al Limone

bowl of lemon spaghetti

Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best — as in this spaghetti dinner featuring lemon, parmesan, olive oil, black pepper, and basil. It even comes together in just 15 minutes! For extra protein, add tuna packed in olive oil or a can of cannellini beans.

Try the recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

5. Slow Cooker Taco Lentil Soup

lentil soup

Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

This slow cooker soup may have a rather long list of ingredients, but the good news is, none of them will break the bank! Lentils, black beans, spices, veggies, and broth are all it takes to whip up a Mexican-inspired soup rich in protein and fiber. Pair with tortilla chips for cheap, crunchy scooping.

Try the recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.

6. Potato Fritters with Zucchini

zucchini potato fritters with sour cream topping

Courtesy of Well Plated

Budget-savvy cooks have long turned to potatoes as an inexpensive meal starter. Besides their low price, they’re hearty, high in fiber and potassium, and go with just about everything! Here, spuds join forces with another economical veggie — zucchini — to create crispy fritters perfect for a light vegetarian dinner.

Try the recipe from Well Plated by Erin.

7. Cajun Lemon Tilapia with Dill Sauce

tilapia fillet with lemon slices and side of broccoli

Courtesy of A Love Letter To Food

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating at least 8 ounces of fish per week. Options like salmon and mackerel may boast epic levels of omega-3s, but they cost a pretty penny. When you’re looking for a lower-cost fish meal, consider frozen tilapia. It’s not only lower in cost, but it’s also lower in calories than a number of other fatty fish.

This easy-baked version sprinkles tilapia fillets with Cajun seasoning, then tops them with fresh lemon slices. A creamy lemon-dill sauce adds a hint of richness. Serve with couscous and steamed veggies to complete the inexpensive-yet-elegant dinner.

Try the recipe from A Love Letter to Food.

8. Crock Pot Italian Chicken and Veggies

chicken carrots and potatoes with italian seasoning in a crock pot

Shutterstock

Salad dressing — it’s not just for salad! A zesty Italian dressing adds all the flavor you need in a foolproof slow cooker chicken dish (preventing overspending on loads of extra ingredients).

To make this one-dish meal, place 2 cups of baby carrots, two peeled and diced Russet potatoes, and one diced onion in the bottom of a large slow cooker. Place two or three large chicken breasts on top, then cover all ingredients with a 1/2 cup of your favorite Italian dressing. Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours and finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

9. Ultimate Veggie Pizza

ultimate veggie pizza

Courtesy of Cookie + Kate

You could probably snag a frozen pizza at the grocery store for under $10, but make one yourself and you’ll create a significantly healthier (and probably tastier) finished product. This veggie pizza calls for bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and baby spinach, but feel free to scatter any in-season veggies on your pie. Doing so will save you even more green.

Try the recipe from Cookie and Kate.

10. Easy Shakshuka

shakshuka with eggs in a skillet

Courtesy of Minimalist Baker

Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern dish of poached eggs in a savory tomato sauce. Once you’ve tried it, you won’t forget its stew-like comfort food feel.

Even though egg prices are rather high these days, this dish comes with a low price tag due to its simple list of other ingredients: fresh tomatoes, spices, bell pepper, and onion. Try it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Get the recipe from Minimalist Baker.

Read next: 10 Nifty Tricks to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half, Say Experts

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