Three Dinners for a Family of Four Under $20

ericcontent Apr 24, 2008 Food
Three dinners for $20? Sounds impossible? I’ve done it and I’ll show you three easy recipes for under $20

Three dinners for $20? Sounds impossible? I've done it and I'll show you three easy recipes for under $20. Providing you have a few items in your kitchen already, (spices, condiments, etc.) you can easily make three homemade dinners for a family of four.


Ingredients you will need:

One Whole chicken (with giblets): $6

One Bag of potatoes: $5

One Bag of carrots: $4

One Onion: $1

One Package of macaroni or similar noodles: $1

1 Can of tomatoes: $1

One Package of Fettuccine noodles: $1


Total: $19 plus tax = about $20


Depending on where you live in the country, some items may cost more or less. I've found that these three meals tend to be on average $20. You may need to shop around to find deals, such as going to a discount scratch and dent can store for the noodles and tomatoes. A fruit and vegetable stand have some good deals also.


Meal one: Baked Chicken


Remove the chicken from its wrapper and separate giblets and neck into a separate dish. Clean and wash the entire chicken and the giblets. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken breast side up into a baking pan. Season giblets to taste and place back inside the chicken. Add a little water and two spoonfuls of butter. Peel and chop part of the onion and place in the baking pan around the chicken. Peel and chop four potatoes and six carrots. Set them around the chicken into the baking pan. Place the chicken into the oven for about an hour and a half or until the chicken is fully cooked. Use a spoon to scoop the melted butter and water over the chicken and vegetables about every 15 minutes. After the meal is done remove any leftover chicken meat from the carcass. Store the chicken in the refrigerator or start the next meal. Store the carcass in the refrigerator until the third meal or start the third meal.


Meal 2: Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

After you cook and eat the first meal, you will need to remove all of the left over meat from the chicken. This usually consists of parts of the breast, wings and some of the giblets. Begin the second meal by boiling the fettuccine noodles in a large pot for about 15 minutes or until they are slightly softened. Reduce to a simmer and cover until the noodles are al dente. Drain the noodles and add the left over chicken parts and Alfredo sauce. Simmer the entire meal for about 8 minutes or until it is hot. Enjoy your chicken fettuccine Alfredo!


Meal 3: Chicken Noodle Soup


Remove the chicken carcass from the refrigerator and boil it in a large pot of water for about 15 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and cover for ½ hour. Drain the water into another pot and remove any bones or unwanted chicken parts from the stock. Bring the stock to a boil and add macaroni noodles. Boil the stock and noodles for 10 minutes. Peel and chop up the rest of your potatoes, onions, and carrots and add to the boiling stock. Boil for 15 minutes then reduce to a simmer and cover. Let the dish sit for 10 minutes before serving.


There you have it! Three meals for under $20! You don't have to eat all three meals in a row either. You can cook all three one day and freeze the rest to be distributed throughout the week! Enjoy!



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Amanda on Aug 26, 2008
The second meal includes Alfredo sauce (a creamy cheese sauce) but Alfredo sauce is not included in the $20 ingredient list. A can of tomatoes is included in the ingredient list but not in any of the recipes.
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  • Last Updated : Apr 24, 2008