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Dinners Under $2.50 - not per Serving!

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I was reading through some older posts in the dinners under $2.50 section of the forums and when I created that forum, I didn't mean that the dinners were under $2.50 per Serving, I meant that the entire meal (for the entire family!) was under $2.50 !
It's fairly easy to make a decent dinner for $10 ($2.50 per Serving), but sometimes it's a little more difficult to keep the meals dirt cheap.

I thought I'd revisit this old topic and see if I can add a few dirt cheap dinners here and there. Click image for larger version. 

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New England Chop Suey

1 Box Elbow Macaroni .76
1 Can Diced Tomatoes .69 (generic is fine)
1 lb Ground Turkey- Italian $1.09 (walmart frozen section)
2 tsp minced garlic .04
1/2 finely chopped onion .15
$2.73 serves 4-6

Boil the macaroni until tender, in the meantime, brown the ground turkey, add the onions, cooking until the translucent. Add 1 can diced tomatoes (un-drained), minced garlic and a sprinkle of garlic salt, italian seasoning, chopped fresh basil (basically whatever you have on hand that you like).

Drain macaroni, add the seasoned burger/tomato mix. Stir, and serve hot. Without using coupons I can make this meal for under $2.75 . Using coupons (for the macaroni and canned tomatoes, I can usually make this meal for about $2.12).

I don't know the origin of the recipe, It's been called goulash, chop suey, etc over the years, but I know that it was a super simple, dirt cheap meal that my mother used to make when I was growing up.

©Canstock Photo fanfo

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  1. SemoLady48's Avatar
    During my growing-up years, my mother often made this one-pot. We called it Goulash. Mom's version was extra "frugal," ingredient-wise, as she didn't add tomatoes to it.
    I occasionally make a batch, as I treat my two home-care clients, to some of my favorites.
    My version does include canned tomatoes, as I can't imagine it without them! And I think mom would like it, as well!
  2. upsideofdown's Avatar
    Like the idea of using less spendy turkey, and more likely to use ground beef - husband doesn't eat turkey, ground or otherwise. Our dog does though Bone soup, ground turkey, rice and dog-safe vegetable.
  3. violetgypsie's Avatar
    Haaa! I grew up on this. "Homemade hamburger helper" we called it. Sometimes a can of vegetable soup was used instead of the canned tomatoes. A busy / broke mother's staple. I make a modified version of this by not using the macaroni and adding more veggies (leftovers, frozen or fresh chopped and a spoonful of brown gravy mix). You can also cook the macaroni right in the pan without having to boil it first, just add enough water to the pan for the macaroni to absorb, put a lid on and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks/burns. Add more water as necessary.