Meals for Under $1

Meals for Under $1

Do you ever wish you had a list of meals for under 1 dollar per serving? Well, let’s make one here! Here are some of my favorite meals for under 1 dollar per person served. Let us know your favorites (or link to them!) in the comments section!

Cheap and Easy Meals for under 1 Dollar Per Serving

Sour Cream Enchiladas

Spaghetti Squash

Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

Easy Refried Beans

Homemade Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Hot Dogs (make these buns into hot dog shaped buns!)

Chicken and Rice or Cheeseburger Soup

Mac & Cheese


Cheesy Potato Casserole

Fresh BBQ Drumsticks

Eggs and Pancakes


Stretching a Buck Lasagna

Homemade Vegetable Soup (or Garbage Soup!)

I also asked you a few weeks ago on the Little House Living Facebook page and here are some of your ideas!

I boil a box of rotini noodles. Then I brown up a pound of ground beef. Once its browned I add a can of Italian seasoned diced tomatoes. Once its all cooked through I add it to the rotini noodles and serve. Its AWESOME!! Its my kids’ favorite recipe ever. ~ Tanya

Small pasta, leSuer Peas….a lil garlic….YUM ~ Alison

Eggs served on a bed of sauteed spinach ~ Holly

Ground beef browned with some onion,add some peas,make a milk gravy & serve over toast or boiled potatoes.IE S.O.S ~ Jackie

Ratatouille ~ Joy

Omelets and quiche….. and homemade soups and stews – always πŸ™‚ ~ Marci

Pinto beans, cheese muffins, and hashbrown casserole or beef tips and rice ~ Faith

Pasta, breakfast for dinner, beans and cornbread, hamburger helper, nachos ~ Elizabeth

Orrichette pasta, broccoli, garlic, red pepper flakes and real parmesan. A little pasta water makes it all come together. My favorite breakfast (I freeze them in big batches) is ww tortillas w/SW spiced, diced and roasted sweet potato, whole black beans, shredded cheddar and verde salsa. Since i make everything from scratch (except the cheese!) it’s super cheap and utterly delicious. ~ Sandy

Soup or Burgers 1 lb. Gr. beef cooked and 1 can Β vegetable soup. Mix all together put on hamburger buns. Really good!! ~ Susan

Macaroni and cheese with diced browned spam. ~ Cliff

We have our own hens, so a cheap meal on the fly for our family is breakfast for dinner. Pancakes from scratch, served with eggs on the side. ~ Charity

Dumplings with bacon and sauerkraut. ~ Georgette

Angel hair pasta with their vodka sauce served with buttered peas on the side. ~ Sally

Homemade pizza on a tortillas . Use pizza sauce, cheese, crumbled hamburger, shredded cheese, and veggies of choice ~ Rachel

Pinto beans and cornbread. Add some fresh diced onion, tomato and cilantro on top if you have it. YUM!!! ~ Becky

Looking for other tips and ideas on saving money?

Share your favorite cheap and easy meals for under 1 dollar per serving below in the comments!

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  1. We call them Maid Rite sandwiches, but they are a bit different from the restaurants’ loose-meat sandwiches. I buy reduced $ buns (french or any harder bread) from the grocery store. Then I brown a pound or two of hamburger and mince it up really well and drain. Then I add a jar of my homemade chicken broth (any broth/stock if you have it), You could add some dried mushrooms too if you wanted… and I season with a good 1/2 – full TABLESPOON of black pepper and some salt if needed. I just add whatever I want to taste. I simmer until the broth is evaporated. It comes out with a real deep flavor, and is yummy. – I freeze the leftovers for another night. Not sure how it comes out for price, you could certainly mix in veggies or even beans to stretch it further. Kids like cheese and ketchup on the buns too.

  2. I also make Ramen stir fry. I buy the oriental ramen noodles and a bag of stir-fry veggies. I cook the noodles in the skillet, reserving some dried sections for crunches on top, then stir fry the veggies. The price really varies with how many veggies you add. Usually the 16 oz. stir fry veggie bag costs around $1.50 here and I’ll cook a full bag and 3 packs of Ramen for the family of 4, but you easily could get by with less or different veggies. I also add cooked chicken or even turkey to this if I have it around. Just a few pieces makes a big difference.

    I have the specific “recipe” posted here (from several years ago):

  3. My kids favorite is “hashbrown casserol”.

    1 lb browned ground meat (we usually use venison)
    6-8 shredded potatoes
    1 lg shredded onion
    and any veggies that need to be used up (shredded carrots, peas, green beans, corn)

    Brown the potatoes, add the meat and veggies and cover till heated
    Top with sour cream, cheese, homemade salsa or eat plain!!

    Feeds 4 adults and 2 kids….sometimes theres even leftovers;)

    1. this sounds fantastic! ill have to try it. unfortunately I don’t hunt so no venison but I’m sure I could use another meat!!

  4. Oh, these are fantastic ideas!!! Thank you πŸ™‚ Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather πŸ™‚

  5. Italian Black Beans and Rice—saute 1/2 c chopped onion in 1T oil until tender. Add 2 tsp minced garlic, 1 can black beans, not drained, 1/2 c chopped ham, 5 drops hot pepper sauce, simmer 5-10 minutes and serve over 2 c hot cooked rice. Serves 3. Serve with sliced tomatoes and cornbread. Don’t skip the hot pepper sauce! It does not make it hot just flavorful. If you have Aldi black beans are 59 cents a can there. This is one of our favorite meals. I often make this when I have leftover bits of ham from baking a ham and those little bits and ends are the ones no one wants on a sandwich etc. You can also leave out the ham.

  6. Stock up on turkey breast lunchmeat ends, or freeze any leftovers. Mix with gravy, put on toast.

  7. cream peas and turkey – one of our favorite leftover meals, but one that’s easy enough to make using fresh poultry, also. Simply add diced (cooked) turkey or chicken and green peas (drain if using canned) to a basic white sauce. season with salt and pepper (and garlic, if you like it). Heat through and serve over toast. Sounds odd, but tastes so good.

  8. I love reading your blog pages, but I have Type 2 Diabetes, so many of the noodle recipes have too many carbohydrates for me. We have substituted brown rice and Quinoa for all other types of pasta. We eat meats with 2 vegetables for dinner, often add a salad too. I eat lots of almonds and cashews too especially for snacks. Fortunately we live near a Costco and can buy Quinoa in a 5 pound bag. There is a Farmer’s market in our neighborhood on Tuesday’s too, so fresh food is available.. We are growing our own tomatoes, lots of dill, and Swiss Chard ( a staple vegetable at our home) along with green beans and yellow squash..
    Yes, I am a believer of butter over any substitutes.. I am a believer of real foods as much as possible. No Cool Whip has touched my lips.. Keep on blogging and feeding your family with real food..
    I really enjoy reading your blogs..

  9. We love stir fried rice for a quick and cheap meal- add leftover chicken or diced ham and frozen mixed vegetables with the usual green onion and egg and you have a satisfying one dish meal.

  10. My parents divorced when I was 14 and I had to learn to cook to avoid spending huge amounts of money eating out.

    My mom and I did fine until my mom went to some religious extremist church sect and went batshit insane quoting scriptures every moment of the day. That cost her her job and naturally the income fell to zero when the douche of my elder brother decided to abandon my mom and I to our fates.

    I used a lot of wartime inspiration to get by those dark days. I made my own garbage stews by dumping whatever was in the kitchen into a pot and stir frying the mess with plain white rice. It was awesome Chinese-style “wok” cooking… without the wok!

    Some of these wierd recipes like sardines and fried rice were super because the tomato sauce in a single small can of sardines could cover a huge serving of rice. Same for Chinese fried fish which were inexpensive; some had black beans and salted, others had vegetables in oil. The oil was great at flavouring rice and I could use the excess for cooking other things too. I love these multi-purpose cheap $1 canned food from China no one usually cared about.

    When the stove broke down I used a 30+ year old Japanese rice cooker for frying and it worked perfectly fine! They don’t make rice cookers as good as that antique anymore.

    When food ran out or there was no money to buy -anything- we got by with lentils and plain rice with a little bit of soy sauce and pepper for taste. How about when the lentils ran out? Oh, no problems, Vietnamese soldiers could survive forever on boiled rice alone, and so could we.

    Till today I still stock up my pantry like it’s a bomb shelter (I even call the canned food “C-rations”, and corned beef “WW1 food”) and know how to get the most bang for my buck out of the supermarket. I also learned to be a responsible and resourceful individual who is loyal to the end… unlike certain other persons I grew up with πŸ™‚

    1. Oops, I read and replied to your uplifting story before It dawned on me that Les may be a fellas name ! Regardless You are an inspiration and have some good dollar stretching ideas ^^

    2. I want you to know I read through your entire comment. Maybe you vented your life story so that someone (like me) would reach out and tell you what I am about to say. Please realize this is coming from the heart.

      Everyone makes choices in life. I realize it is probably hard to forgive your brother, but I hope there is a spot somewhere inside of yourself that recognizes he had to save himself. As much as we all wish everyone would suffer and sacrifice their own sacrifice to help us, sometimes people really can only do as much as they can do and then they try to find a better, less painful life for themselves.

      I am not a religious nutjob (trust me on this!), but might I suggest you find some forgiveness in your heart? There must be a lot of bitterness inside of you for you to still be spouting about it to complete strangers this many years later.

      We’ve all had rough times in our lives. It really is part of what makes us who we are, and with any luck we take our diversity of our lives and transform it into something better. None of us are experts at forgiveness or finding peace, but after reading your post I couldn’t help but feel inspired to write this reply to you.

      Maybe you will never read this reply…and maybe it is meant for someone else to read and possibly realize that a) there are people in the world who care and b) whatever the situation is, anger and blame can only serve you for so long, and then it is time to move forward.

      May you find peace in your heart, and enjoyment of your hard-earned food lessons.

  11. Found this post from your best of 2012! Great ideas. I am going to share it on my facebook page tomorrow! Thanks for coming up with such a good list!

  12. My favorite $1.00 meal would have to be split pea soup with cornbread! The package of peas were 50 cents & the cornbread was $1.00 from the Dollar Tree. This would feed 6 people for $1.50! Not a buck per person! πŸ™‚

  13. Tomato Basil soup (from garden produce) served with rice. I simply cook an onion & some garlic in a little butter or olive oil. I add a bowl of chopped tomatoes & some chicken broth. Cook until tomatoes are tender. I add chopped basil & parsley. Add a spoonful of brown sugar & salt to taste. Puree with a hand blender or cool slightly & blend in blender or food processor. Stir in a bit of milk or cream to make. A creamy soup. Go lightly. Very little milk is needed. We serve in soup bowls with a scoop of rice. Our children enjoy a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top. Homemade bread helps fill my teenagers endless pit stomachs.

  14. I buy Hamburger Helper when it’s on sale AND I have a coupon…THEN I add HALF the amount of burger, add 1 extra cup pasta and 1/2 cup H2O. My family likes it with less burger and it makes it go so far that my hubby has plenty for lunch the next day.

  15. For a quick lunch I like to fix a box of kraft mac n cheese, I usually get it for .75 a box, and a can of tuna or shredded chicken served with sliced apples:) It’s yummy!

  16. My Mother-in-law had 13 kids to feed, and showed me 2 of her recipes.

    Poor mans meal, brown ground beef and onion,brown hashbrowns or diced potatoes separately. Then mix together! Thats it, and very yummy!

    Turkey legs and noodles , Boil 1 turkey leg, remove, mix flour w/eggs for homemade noodles, debone turkey leg,add meat to noodles boiling in the turkey broth, this was a every Sumday meal, yummy! And more flavor than chicken and noodles.

  17. My family’s favorite is so simple it is ridiculous. It came from my mother who is 80 when unexpected guests arrived. Back then it was expected that you have them for dinner. They were fairly poor at the time so my mom used what she had. It is call Hot Dog Casserole. Basically you prepare potatoes as if you were going to make mashed potatoes. Cut a package of regular hot dogs into 1 inch sections and just before the potatoes are done add the hot dogs to the potatoes to cook. Once the hot dogs are cooked remove the hot dogs and drain the potatoes. Make your mashed potatoes as normal, fold in the cooked hot dogs. Spoon the potato/hot dog mixture into a buttered casserole dish. Top with cheddar cheese and bake in the oven until cheese is melted. So simple and so good.

  18. I make homemade broccoli soup or potato soup (sometimes with cheese), homemade noodles in chicken broth and any dehydrated veggies or frozen veggies I had, dry pinto beans with tomato sauce with lots of spices and any veggies I havel thrown in the crock pot overnight for lunch the next day, I use 1/2 lb of meat in all our spaghetti and lasagna, goulash that way the meat goes twice as far πŸ™‚ Baked potatoes with s.cream, cheese and butter, and make a few extra for fried potatoes, omelets, or breakfast burritos the next day. Use chicken broth and a package of ww spaghetti noodles for “ramen” noodles without msg. Quiche made with leftover brown rice as the crust, make homemade bread and have sandwiches or slice bread lengthwise and make french bread pizzas Or use a loaf and have french toast for dinner/breakfast or lunch.
    I feed our family of 6 for $200-$250 a month (with Alaska prices), so I get very creative when making meals and making things stretch..

  19. My mom cooked cheap and delicious and now I copy her as much for taste as cost. A family favourite was vegetarian shepherd’s pie. Cook a bunch of green lentils . Add browned onions and what ever seasoning you like. Make mashed potatoes. Place lentils in a backing dish, cover with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with cheese. Back until desired melting and browning has occurred. Kids love it with ketchup. This recipe can be played around with as far as the base goes by adding favourite veggies, etc.


    -2 cups dried macaroni cooked in boiling water as directed on pkg
    -1# ground meat drained
    -1 can tomato soup

    Brown meat, drain fat and add macaroni and can of tomato soup and stir together & heat through.

    Serves 4. Season as you like. Great with parmesan, a side salad, and bread. Easy to double recipe.

  21. I am Puerto Rican we have a few meals in our country that make things easier on the pocket. 1. yellow Spanish rice with Vienna sausages by itself is cheaper but we sometimes make it with a can of white beans in sauce. 2. white rice with a can of corned beef seasoned with Spanish seasoning 1 can tomato sauce and a can of corn or you can make a hash with fresh fried potatoes and add it to the beef mix. 3. Any time we make a huge pot of our favorite yellow rice, like rice with pigeon peas or even white rice with our favorite beans in sauce. We can the next day instead of making more chicken we just fry eggs and eat them over the top of the rice. 4. Picadillo is a sauteed beef with a can of tomato sauce and Spanish seasoning that we put in our empanadas and other recipes. sometimes we make it just with white rice or mac and cheese to make our very own hamburger macaroni. If you care to google any of these recipes here are their Spanish names 1. arroz con salchichas 2. Puerto rican corned beef and rice IDK what it’s called in Spanish. 3. Spanish yellow rice [arroz amarillo] is the same no matter what you add to it whether you put beans, corn, pigeon peas, even chicken it is the same recipe every time. Daisy cooks a chef on TV makes a good one. 4. Picadillo [sauteed beef] I find many recipes on youtube and by just doing searches. But be sure to type in Puerto Rican style or it will be something very different in flavor.

  22. This recipe is easy and delicious! Tuna, rice and peas stove top casserole.
    You make a basic white sauce(butter, flour and milk) stir in a can of peas and pour over rice!

  23. My son was here from college and I was looking at your site (as I often do). I said “oh look, meals for under a dollar per serving” … He begged me to email him he link….keep it up!! One of my favorite cheap meals is saffron yellow rice (mahatma usually 2 for 89 cents), canned sweet peas (cheap!) and smoked sausage (I do splurge on hillshire farms because it’s my favorite, but someones you can get it buy one get one free). I cook the the rice according to package, heat the peas and steam the sausage in a pan. When its all done I put the rice in a casserole dish, mix in the peas and slice the sausage on top. My son loved this growing up. Being a single parent, I was always on a tight budget and usually kept meals under $8 and that would include me having enough for the next days lunch πŸ™‚

  24. Breakfast for Supper: it used to be ww pancakes from scratch with fried eggs on top or scrambled eggs on the side. Now, I make crepes from scratch, and skip the eggs b/c there are lots in the recipe. They’re so easy and make a much better balanced meal. (I prefer the taste, too!)

    Homemade “Tuna Helper”: mix two cans of chunk tuna with two cans of cream of mushroom soup, in a small-medium saucepan, heat on low while cooking rice or noodles.

  25. My MIL used to stretch her fried potato side dish by stirring up a few eggs [from her own hens] and adding small torn pieces of bread heels or stale bread she saved in a freezer bag. When the potatoes were almost done, she poured the egg mix over them and stirred them in until cooked. She could stretch almost anything to feed their fast growing farm boys.

  26. I love porridge. You can make it with nearly any grains, though a basic rice porridge will do in a pinch! I like to add barley, millet, kasha, you name it.

    I boil the leftover bones from baked chicken to get a stock, but you can use a bullion cube for each 2 cups of water.

    Cook rice using 50% more water/broth than called for — stirring it from time to time instead of leaving the lid on the whole time. In short, overcook the rice until you have a thick porridge. You might need to add water during the process.

    I add chopped up meat, veggies, mushrooms (leftovers work fine) and seasonings about 10 minutes before it’s finished.

    The best part comes last though. Make too much and put the leftovers in the fridge. The next day mix in some egg and fry the porridge. Stir it around in the pan occasionally until the eggs are mostly cooked, then mash it down and cook it like a patty of polenta. You want a nice brown crust. Yum!

  27. My favorite cheap meal is red potatoes, onions, & smoked sausage cooked in olive oil. πŸ™‚ Kids love it too!

  28. SPANISH RICE is one of my favorite one pot meals….brown 1/2 pound( is plenty) of Hamburger. set aside. I saute in water chopped onion,bell pepper,chopped green chili until soft.(about 20 min.)add 1/2 tsp.garlic. one can of tomato sauce or stewed tomatoes.15oz can.salt and pepper to taste add browned Hamburger..bring to a boil and add about 3/4 of cup of minute rice…or until it is still a little juicey. it will absorb into rice.cover .let sit at least 5 minutes. I serve with beans or mexican corn is yummy.

  29. Layer potatoes, onion, cheese and any leftover meat such as ham or ground beef and bake. You can also add any leftover veggies (peas or broccoli are favs at our house). Great for kids and picky husbands.

  30. Goulash! Brown 1 lb. ground beef with diced onions. Cook macaroni noodles. Drain each. Add ground beef mixture to macaroni and add ketchup and heat together until creamy and hot. Serve! This sounds so simple and like it would be really boring, but it is so good! You can reduce the amount of ground beef if needed since it is becoming quite expensive right now during the pandemic. But this is cheap and very good!