$5 Dinner Inspiration

September  8, 2011

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • CathyB
  • marisab67
  • LynnCooks
  • issybee
  • beckymusician
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


CathyB September 13, 2011
Thanks Food 52 for highlighting Slow Food USA's $5 Dinner. I just wanted to point out that the average cook doesn't have to bend over backwards to reach this challenge. We'll be having 5 for dinner this Saturday. That means I've got a budget of $25 for dinner. That's not too hard. We're having spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, green beans and lemon pudding cakes for dessert (it's not dinner at my house unless we have dessert.) The point of this challenge is to underscore how practical it can be to cook and eat this way.
marisab67 September 12, 2011
$5 per person???? You can make my falafel for $5 for 4 people. I'm TOO cheap and easy:) Make twice as much then and take some to a friend!
LynnCooks September 12, 2011
Back in May I was lucky enough to be invited to a 5 course dinner for 8 produced at a cost of $5.03 per person. The courses were as follows:

1. Carrot and Red Capsicum Soup with Parmesan Cheese Puffs

2. Cuttlefish with Mushrooms and Cauliflower

3. Vegetarian Pot-sticker Dumplings

4. Roasted Porkneck with Potatoes and Broccoli

5. Lemon Posset

It was absolutely amazing. Needless to say that Sandra Lim, our host, is an accomplished cook, who sets herself these sort of challenges for fun.
issybee September 12, 2011
With the farmer's market being so trendy, the prices keep going up and it's harder to make the argument that eating whole healthy foods is not considerably more expensive than processed foods. I don't feed my family of four processed foods, but I certainly have a hard time feeding them tasty balanced filling and varied meals for $5 a head especially when I have a full time job. That said, it is pretty great to get inspiring new and creative recipes to add to the repertoire so thanks for that.
beckymusician September 11, 2011
Remember the $5 Challenge is to spend $5 per person, so if the spaghetti costs $3 total to make and you are serving 4 people, you have $17 more dollars to spend on vegetables, dessert, wine...
dshush September 9, 2011
Just made the sardine fennel pasta (again!) 2 nights ago - can't get enough of it and as long as I grab a fennel bulb, I've made sure to keep the rest of the ingredients in the pantry (and frozen bread crumbs in the freezer). So delish!
bstovermot September 9, 2011
These are great. We also eat local and organic foods. Just last night I made cheese stuffed (three cheese) manicotti in a basil tomato sauce with sausage, bread and salad for $15.00. This was a great meal and could feed 8 people or be frozen for a second meal for 4 people.
bstovermot September 9, 2011
Thanks for these. We eat local and organic food as well. Five dollars does go a long way when slow cooking. Last night I made cheese stuffed manicotti in a tomatoe sauce with sausage, bread and salad for $15.00....enough to feed 8 people! or freeze for a second meal for 4!
Fairmount_market September 8, 2011
Thanks for assembling these. What a great group of recipes for dinner inspirations.
raspberryeggplant September 8, 2011
A great collection of recipes, and I applaud your effort to highlight recipes that can be made for under $5, but some of these are not really good meals. How is a beet salad or carrot soup a satisfying dinner? And while I do love pasta with a fried egg on top, the complete lack of greens or any substantial amount produce is glaring. Same goes for the meatloaf and roast chicken. At a time when so many Americans aren't getting enough fruits and vegetables, suggesting that a slice of meatloaf alone as dinner is not really the greatest recommendation.
lastnightsdinner September 9, 2011
In defense of the beet salad, it actually does make a satisfying meal when served with the suggested Bucheron cheese and crusty bread on the side. I wouldn't have believed it, but my husband, a dedicated carnivore, wouldn't lie :)
Rhonda35 September 11, 2011
My Spaghetti with Fried Eggs and Pangritata probably costs about $3 to make, leaving $2 for some steamed broccoli on the side. ;-)
raspberryeggplant - it is common practice for magazines, food product public relations firms, cooking shows, etc. to focus on the main dish cost and call it a "meal." I've worked in the culinary industry for years and many of the assignments I get are to develop recipes using (x) amount of ingredients, spending (x) amount of money and cooking it all in (x) amount of time. Every time I have one of these jobs, they call the dishes "meals" when they go to print.
Shelly P. September 8, 2011
I think my husband will lose his mind if I make the French "peasant" beats. I can't stop looking at the photo -- they're absolutely going on tomorrow's dinner menu!
spiralgal September 8, 2011
Most people believe that eating whole, healthy foods is more expensive than processed foods. This post proves that you can not only eat healthfully and creatively, but inexpensively. Beautiful presentation as well. Thanks!
Erin J. September 8, 2011
This is so true. I have a very low food budget. I go to a market that sells local/organic foods and I buy all the food I need for a week for $35 or less. Way less if I go to the farmer's market - what steals! Thanks Food52 for continuing to bring this to light!