If you're like most American chefs looking for a good option for dinner, you're likely going to be searching for cheap, healthy meals to serve to your family. Keeping the cost of a meal down often seems like it forces you to sacrifice the quality of the food, while providing your family with a solid, well-balanced meal full of healthy and nutritious food sometimes seems to break the bank.
Fortunately, there are a number of potential meals that you can prepare for a low cost and with excellent health benefits. What's more, many of these meals are easy to prepare and to reheat for leftovers, if you wish to make more than you'll plan to eat at one sitting. This can extend your healthy meal options throughout the week and further reduce the total amount of money that you'll spend on your food budget.
1. Baked Eggplant in Tomato Sauce
A recipe for baked eggplant in tomato sauce is a great choice because it provides a wide variety of vegetable options (eggplant, tomato, mushrooms and other vegetables that you might wish to include in the sauce). These vegetables can often be purchased for much less than a meat source would cost. Try adding in pasta for a starch with the meal, and you can include beans in the sauce to give much needed protein to help balance out the meal in terms of nutrition.
2. Sauteed Beans and Greens
A versatile, tasty and simple dish that can be combined with any number of different types of staple foods, sauteed beans and greens will provide a healthy mixture of protein (beans) and vegetable nutrients (greens like spinach, kale, broccoli and more). Simply saute the beans and the greens in a light olive oil mixture, seasoned to your taste with salt, paprika, basil and other spices that you enjoy. Serve over rice, pasta, or alongside rolls or other starch sources.
3. Turkey and Vegetable Chili
Ground turkey is sometimes a bit more expensive than other types of meats, but the low fat content and delicious flavor help to recommend it for this dish. A relatively small amount of turkey can be augmented with vegetables of various types in a tomato base and with certain spices (chili powder, cumin, turmeric) to create a chili that will easily make several servings. Chili keeps very well for leftovers for several days after you've made it. Serve over rice or pasta.
4. Roasted Chicken with Squash
Buy chicken breasts and squash vegetables like cucumber, pumpkin, zucchini and related vegetables. Roast the chicken in whichever light spices that you'd like, and include the cut up veggies in the roasting process. Alternatively, you can saute the vegetables in light olive oil or a very small amount of butter for a different flavor and texture. This meal is filling and hearty and available for a low cost.