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Volume III
October 18, 2013

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Can You Really Cook Healthy and Cheap?

By Whitney Saupan

Yes! One of our reader's brought it to my attention that I don't always write about the healthiest recipes. I'd like thank that person, her comment made me rethink about the way I cook and what I cook. I'm not that experienced in the kitchen yet and for some reason when I think healthy I automatically think expensive. But I looked around a bit and found a lot of different places that offer recipes for healthy, nutritious, and tasty dishes that cost less than $3.00 per serving! I hope these dishes will inspire you, like they have me, to try and incorporate healthy dishes into my daily diet!

Fajita-Style Quesadillas

This vegetable packed dish is great for lunch or dinner, and at only .43 cents per serving it's very economical!

Prep time:
Cook time:

Serving size: 8
Calories per serving: 75

1/2 medium red bell pepper or green sweet pepper, seeded and cut into bite-size strips
1/2 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 fresh serrano pepper, halved, seeded and cut into thin strips*
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 6-inch white corn tortillas
nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (2 ounces)
2 thin sliced tomatoes, halved crosswise
1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro
light dairy sour cream (optional)
cilantro and lime wedges (optional)

In a large skillet cook sweet pepper, onion, and serrano pepper in hot oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Remove from heat.

Lightly coat one side of each tortilla with cooking spray. On the uncoated side of two of the tortillas, divide half of the cheese. Top with onion mixture, tomato slices, the 1 tablespoon cilantro, and the remaining cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, coated sides up.

Heat a very large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Cook quesadillas for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until cheese melts and tortillas are lightly browned. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Serve warm and, if desired, with sour cream, additional cilantro and lime wedges.

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Chicken-Noodle Casserole

Do you love chicken and noodles? This is definitely the recipe for you. At .98 cents a serving both your tummy and your wallet will be happy.

Serving size: 5
Calories per serving: 361

4 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds chicken legs and/or thighs
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 slice bread
1 (12-ounce) package jumbo or extra-large egg noodle
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream dip, cheddar French onion dip, or French onion dip
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a Dutch oven cook two-thirds of the celery and two-thirds of the onion in hot oil over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add chicken, pepper, thyme, and salt; cook for 2 minutes. Add 6 cups of water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.

Meanwhile, for topping, tear bread in small pieces. Finely chop remaining celery and onion. In a small bowl toss together the bread, celery and onion; set aside.

With a slotted spoon transfer chicken to a cutting board to cool slightly. Add noodles to simmering broth; boil gently for 7 to 8 minutes, just until tender, stirring occasionally. With a slotted spoon transfer noodles, celery, and onion to a 3-quart baking dish.

For sauce, in a bowl whisk together sour cream dip and flour. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of the hot broth until smooth. Add sauce to broth in Dutch oven; cook and stir until boiling.

Meanwhile, discard skin and bones from chicken. Chop chicken, then add to noodles in dish. Gently stir in sauce. Sprinkle with topping, then lightly coat with cooking spray.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes until casserole is heated through and topping begins to brown. Top with parsley just before serving.

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Five-Spice Pork Kabobs

Just because you're trying to eat healthy and save money doesn't mean you have to skimp on flavor. These amazing kabobs only cost $1.96 a serving and are delicious!

Serving size: 4
Calories per serving: 268

2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
8 bamboo skewers or metal skewers (soak bamboo skewers in water to prevent scorching)
1/4 cup peanuts
1/4 cup cilantro sprigs
lime wedges (optional)

For sauce, in a small bowl combine ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, and five-spice powder. For kabobs, trim tenderloin, slice thinly, and thread slices onto skewers. Brush skewered meat with some of the sauce.

Grill kabobs on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium-hot coals for 3 to 4 minutes. Brush with remaining sauce. Turn kabobs; grill 3 to 4 minutes more or until fully cooked. To serve, sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro. If desired, serve lime wedges alongside.

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Sunday Dinner Stew

Do you miss mom's Sunday dinner? Don't worry this easy, tasty and cheap recipe will taste just like hers! Total cost per serving $2.14.

Serving size: 4
Calories per serving: 43

1 pound small new potatoes
3 large carrots, halved lengthwise and cut up
1 (17-ounce) package refrigerated cooked beef tips with gravy
1 1/4 cups water
1 bunch green onions, chopped
fresh or dried thyme

Rinse potatoes. Halve or quarter large potatoes for fairly uniform size. Place potatoes in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 5 minutes. Add carrots; cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, just until potatoes and carrots are tender.

In a Dutch oven combine potatoes and carrots, beef tips in gravy, and the water. Cook over medium-high heat just until bubbly around edges. Add green onions. Cover and cook for 5 minutes more or until heated through. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with thyme.

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Lemon-Dill Shrimp & Pasta

This budget friendly recipe, only $2.45 a serving, combines pasta, shrimp, and spinach for a tasty combination.

Serving size: 4
Calories per serving: 291

12 ounces frozen peeled and deveined medium shrimp, thawed
1 lemon
8 ounces dried fettuccini pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 - 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6 cups baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed
salt and ground black pepper
fresh dill (optional)

Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels. Finely shred 1 tsp. peel from the lemon; set aside peel. Juice the lemon over a bowl; set aside juice. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook garlic in hot oil for 1 minutes. Add shrimp; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, turning frequently until shrimp are opaque. Add spinach and drained pasta; toss just until spinach begins to wilt. Stir in Italian seasoning, lemon peel, and 2 Tbsp. of the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with fresh dill. Serve at once.

CHANGE-UP:Substitute bite-size pieces of deli-roasted chicken for the shrimp. For peppery bite, replace half the spinach with arugula.

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Whitney Saupan
Weekly Newsletter Contributer since 2013

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