By Lynn Andriani
These meals -- which can feed up to four people -- are so tasty, you'd make them even if you were a millionaire with all the time in the world.
The wondrous chickpea becomes the foundation for a delicious supper in this simple recipe from Sophie Wright's Cook on a Shoestring: Easy, Inspiring Recipes on a Budget
. You just blend the chickpeas (or swap in kidney beans) with garlic, spices, herbs and flour in a blender; roll them in flour, egg and bread crumbs; and quickly pan-fry the patties. They're excellent over salad or tucked into pita pockets.
Get the recipe: Chickpea Cakes (Falafel)
When you've got a pile of fresh bell peppers and sliced mushrooms and a rich sauce made with red curry paste and coconut milk, you don't need much protein to round out the meal. Jaden Hair, who writes the blog Steamy Kitchen
, uses just a half-pound of shrimp in this stir-fry (which will run you about $4). Served on top of jasmine rice -- which cooks in the microwave -- it's a hearty dinner.
Get the recipe: Thai Shrimp Curry and Rice
Banish the thought of pouring boiling water over a styrofoam cup full of powdered ingredients: homemade ramen noodles are so much tastier, better for you, surprisingly easy -- and still economical. You can adapt this recipe, from Cook on a Shoestring
, based on whatever leftovers you have on hand, whether that's chicken, pork or beef (using chicken will keep your meal under $10).
Get the recipe: Chili Beef Ramen
We admit this dish could take 12 minutes if you like your pasta a little softer, but al dente lovers will come in just under the wire -- and those extra two minutes of cooking time (if you need them) are well worth it. It's a classic Italian-American spaghetti standby, with just a few basic ingredients -- garlic, grated Parmesan, black pepper and chopped parsley -- coming together for a satisfying meal in which anyone can take comfort.
Get the recipe: Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil
This recipe had us at its wonderfully brief instructions ("Toss all ingredients together until fully coated with olive oil and lemon juice. Serve on a bed of romaine lettuce."). It combines chicken breast (or tofu), red onion, celery, sunflower seeds and ginger in a refreshing salad you can feel great about eating.
Get the recipe: Ginger Chicken or Tofu Salad
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