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I know cooking at home is supposed to be less expensive than eating out, but sometimes when I get my total at the checkout line, a three-figure cost makes my eyes bulge a little. But not every meal needs Parmigiano-Reggiano, $15 almond butter, or Madagascar vanilla beans you’ll use once a blue moon. In fact, some of the most delicious meals I’ve made feature humble pantry staples like chickpeas, peanut butter, or eggs.
Maybe you’ve spent the summer adventuring in mountains and funds are low. Or perhaps you’re trying to squeeze one more beach trip in before Labor Day. You could simply just want to save a few bucks. Whatever your reason, here are 40 budget-friendly meals, sides, and desserts that just make sense.