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Cheap and Easy Recipes and Dinner Ideas

10 entrees you can make for $5 or less.
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8. Chicken Breast Entrees

Often, buying chicken with the bone and skin on and then skinning it yourself is the best deal. At $1.79 a pound, four bone-in chicken breasts will cost you around $3.58 (that's 2 pounds). You can make a grilling or slow cooker sauce using ingredients on hand, or use half a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce. A bottle of barbecue sauce costs around $3, so half a bottle will bring this entree to a cool $5. Just coat the chicken breasts with your sauce and cook on the grill or in the slow cooker until done.

9. O-Brien Casserole

Everyone likes a good potato casserole every now and again. Armed with a few key items on sale, including 2 pounds of O'Brien potatoes for $2, the O'Brien Potato Casserole below is a real budget helper. To make it seem more like a main dish, you can add some extra protein from beans or lean meat: Just stir in two cups cooked fava beans or edamame, or three cups roasted or grilled diced lean meat (like skinless/boneless turkey or chicken breast, pork tenderloin, or extra lean ham) before you spread the mixture in the pan. It costs about $7.50 to make the original O'Brien Casserole (serving 16 as a side dish); stirring in beans or meat adds about $2.50 to the total. If you assume the dish makes eight larger portions as a main dish, that's $10 -- or $5 for four servings.

10. Last-Minute Chili

Chili is a popular entree at any time of year. For the Last-Minute Chile recipe below, you'll buy a pound of braised beef tips for $2 to $2.50 per pound, plus some Mexican-style stewed tomatoes and kidney beans for $1 or less a can. The rest of the ingredients are mostly items you have in your spice cabinet and liquor cabinet. That's right, I said "liquor" cabinet -- I like to use a couple tablespoons of whiskey or brandy. But if you don't have that on hand, just leave it out. Even if you have to buy an onion, a batch of this chili will cost you right around $5, and it serves six.

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