Talk about quick and cheap eats! This meal features mini meatloaves full of flavor as well as a made-from-scratch mac and cheese. Filling comfort food that won’t disappoint, all for less than $10.
Creating a dinner for four under $10 is not rocket science. Anyone who shops the sales and coupons can probably pull it off easily. However, creating a fully-homemade-from-scratch dinner for less than ten bucks can be a little more challenging.
In our efforts to get away from chemicals, GMO’s, and processed foods, I’m trying to feed my family more natural food — and still stay under budget.
This meal is that and more. Savory meatloaves are made miniature so that they cook quickly. Old fashioned macaroni and cheese cooks on the stovetop in about the same time it takes you to prepare that blue box. Serve steamed broccoli on the side and you’ve got a tasty, whole foods meal that really isn’t more work than opening a few cans and boxes.
In the old days I might have made meatloaf with canned bread crumbs and a packet of dried onion soup mix. Today I used the heels of a loaf of bread. Practically free since who wants to eat the heels anyway? You’ll be amazed at the great flavor this has with just a few spices from your cupboard.
Recipe: Mini Meatloaves
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 slices bread, ground into crumbs, about 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 °.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients gently. Don’t overmix.
- Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions. Form each one into a small loaf or patty. Place in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 25 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
The mac would have come from a box back in the old days. Instead a little butter, flour, milk, and cheese melted together “just so” far surpasses the boxed variety. Did you ever stop to think that you’re already adding butter and milk to the boxed packet? This is so much better for you and just as easy. Really.
This meal is a step up from the blue plate special of yore, but it’s still very budget friendly. And it’s good for you. My kids gobbled it down. I was so pleased that I could recreate those comfort foods of the good old days — from scratch!
Here’s how the numbers crunched:
ground beef – $2.99
bread – free
spices – $0.25
onion – $0.25
macaroni – $0.88
cheese (1/4 pound) – $1.00
milk – $0.25
butter – $0.38
flour – $0.25
broccoli – $0.99
soy sauce – $0.10
Total for this meal to feed 4 to 8, depending on ages and appetites: $7.34
Recipe: Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces macaroni, shells or elbows
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the macaroni, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In the same pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and stir until well mixed, hot, and bubbly.
- Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring until smooth.
- Add the cheese a handful at a time, whisking until smooth.
- Stir in the cooked and drained macaroni and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
This was a hugely filling meal for a bargain price!
Remember: Each week at Ultimate Recipe Swap, there is a posted theme. You are welcome to share any recipe that fits the theme and contains a link back to Life as MOM. If you’re curious about the upcoming themes, I have a calendar here. This week’s theme is Dinner Under $10.
If you have a recipe that fits the theme, please link it. However, things like Beef Strogonaff will be deleted from Chicken week because it doesn’t contain chicken. Please keep this meme as helpful to others as we can.
And don’t make me the bad guy!
What’s a favorite Dinner Under $10 at your house?