Cheap and Delicious Dishes
Farfalle with Yogurt and Zucchini
This recipe calls for quickly boiling shredded zucchini in the same pot as the pasta, then tossing everything together in a sauce made with yogurt instead of cream. Yogurt may seem strange in a pasta sauce, but the result is brilliant.
Black Bean Soup with Crispy Tortillas
This ultrasimple soup requires little more than a couple of cans of black beans, some onion and a bit of cumin. A topping of fried tortillas (or store-bought chips) adds crunch.
Skillet Chicken-and-Mushroom Potpie
Grace Parisi proves that making potpie doesn't have to take a long time with this one-skillet version, prepared with store-bought rotisserie chicken and—her stroke of brilliance—buttered white bread in place of the usual labor-intensive puff pastry crust.
Supersize Meatballs in Marinara Sauce
Hearty without being heavy, this recipe is a family favorite.
Sherried Mushrooms with Fried Eggs on Toast
For a fabulous topping for a fried egg on toast, Cindy Pawlcyn sautées mushrooms and onions with the Spanish dry sherry Oloroso.
Peanut Butter Pound Cake S'mores
In this takeoff on the campfire classic, Grace Parisi replaces crunchy graham crackers with buttery store-bought pound cake, sandwiched with marshmallow fluff and peanut butter and served alongside a cup of warm melted chocolate for dipping.
Chickpea and Spinach Stew
In Seville, chickpeas and spinach (garbanzos con espinacas) is a popular dish served in both fine restaurants and tapas bars. It's simple but incredibly tasty, with plenty of flavor from tomato, raisins and saffron.
New York chef Alex Raij loves to serve these Spanish sandwiches.
Lemon Pudding Cakes
"When you overwhelm dry ingredients with wet ones, an amazing texture separation happens," Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan says. These pillowy, vitamin C-packed cakelets are rich without being too heavy.
Roasted Chicken Legs with Potatoes and Kale
For this one-pan dish, Grace Parisi roasts chicken legs—cheaper than chicken breasts—on a bed of potatoes and kale so the meaty juices keep the vegetables moist.
Spicy Pork Po'Boys
In Louisiana, a po'boy is a soft baguette filled with either fried seafood or meat. Melissa Rubel makes her po'boys with juicy grilled pork patties, topped with lettuce, tomato and a crunchy-creamy pickle-and-shallot mayonnaise.
Tortilla española exists in almost every corner of Spain: as a tapa in fancy city restaurants; as a filling for bocadillos (sandwiches) at gas-station cafés; as a main course served on worn metal plates in home kitchens. Mario Batali's version is baked until golden brown and offers an especially high ratio of potatoes to eggs.
Indian-Spiced Chickpea Salad with Yogurt and Herbs
Chef Jerry Traunfeld, who traveled through India last year, flavors this creamy chickpea salad with aromatic herbs and Indian spices, among them mustard, cumin and fennel seeds.
Chicken Meatball-and-Orzo Soup
Melissa Rubel Jacobson cleverly uses chicken sausage here: removing the casings, shaping the meat into balls, browning them and simmering them in chicken broth. If you have leftover cooked rice on hand, feel free to substitute it for the orzo.
Chicken With Carrots and Olives
Middle Eastern cooks often stew chicken slowly in clay pots. Parisi's intensely flavorful recipe here borrows ingredients common in Tunisian tagines (cumin, cinnamon, lemon, garlic and olives) for a fast, fragrant sauté.
$4 Spaghetti That’s Almost as Good as $24 Spaghetti
"The $24 spaghetti from Scott Conant's Scarpetta in NYC is so delicious," says Roy Choi of L.A.'s Kogi empire. "My $4 version tastes almost as good." Roy's trick: flavoring tomato sauce with a quick mushroom broth and slow-cooked garlic.
Yucatán Pork Stew with Ancho Chiles and Lime Juice
Butcher-chef Tia Harrison finds making stew a versatile way to use cuts like pork shoulder, shanks and belly. Here she cooks the stew with pleasantly bitter ancho chiles.
The gooey filling for these juicy burgers was inspired by the Mexican dip chile con queso, made with melted cheese and roasted chiles. And at less than $4 per serving, they're a steal.
Roast Chicken with Ratatouille
Family meal night across America just got easier, and so did entertaining on a budget. Don't wait for August to make ratatouille; paired with roast chicken pieces, it's a classic combination that even your kids will devour. If you care to, this dish works equally well with turkey quarters on the grill: Use the same marinade, but roast using indirect heat over wood coal for about 80 to 90 minutes for dark quarters, and 70 minutes for turkey breast. --Andrew Zimmern
Lemony Chickpea Salad
Serve Tom Colicchio’s fresh-tasting chickpea salad with warm, soft pita bread to soak up the olive oil dressing.
Garlicky Herb-Rubbed Hanger Steaks
Chef Shea Gallante of Cru in New York City based this recipe on a classic Florentine dish called bistecca alla fiorentina--a thick T-bone grilled rare over hot coals. Here, Gallante substitutes cheaper but equally flavorful hanger steak--which he thinks is an underrated cut--and rubs the meat with dried herbs, garlic and paprika before cooking it.
Moroccan Chicken with Minty Date Couscous
Make a simple, delicious rub for chicken with just a few ingredients, including mint and ginger, and serve with super-inexpensive couscous.