Food

5 Cheap And Delicious Dinners To Make This Week

Each recipe serves two hungry people with too much self-respect to survive on ramen and Easy Mac.

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Use the grocery list below to make the five dinner recipes in this post over the course of a week in whatever order you like.

Your safest bet is to make them all within a week of grocery shopping to ensure that the ingredients stay fresh. It's not the biggest deal if you do it over the course of 10 days or so, but know that your cilantro probably won't last that long — though if you store it with the stems in water (like flowers) in the fridge, it might). Keep your meat in the freezer whether you cook this over a week or 10 days, but put it in the fridge two days before you plan to use it.

Also, though the recipes call for lots of the same ingredients, no recipe calls for leftovers from another. So, you can cook them in any order.

PRODUCE

Gala apple, $.89

Green Cabbage, $1.99

Carrots, 1 pound, $.99

Fennel, $2.49

Ginger root, 1/4 pound, $.89

Cilantro, 1 bunch, $.99

Lemon, $.69

Limes, 2, $.66

Onions, 3 pound bag, $1.99

Jalapeno pepper, $.19

Russet potatoes, 5 pound bag, $3.49

MEAT

Bacon, 16 ounce package, $4.49

Chicken thighs, 4 (1 1/2 pounds), $3.43

Pork stew meat, 1 pound, $4.99

DAIRY

Eggs, dozen, $1.69

BEVERAGES

Apple Juice, 15.2 ounce bottle, $1.49

PANTRY STAPLES

Soba noodles, 12 ounces, $2.79

Black beans, 15.5 ounce can, $1.09

Sliced almonds, 2.25 ounce bag, $2.49

Sesame seed oil, 5 ounces, $5.99

Honey, 12 ounces, $3.99

Soy Sauce, 10 ounces, $2.49 (not pictured)

GROCERY TOTAL: $50.19 (based on Indianapolis, IN prices at peapod.com)

Certain key steps are photographed below each recipe to help make sure you're on the right track.

Sometimes, it can be frustrating when a recipe tells you to cook the onions until they're soft, or toast almonds until slightly browned and fragrant. Because, really, what does that mean? The pictures are included below to help you out with those slightly confusing steps, but they are not meant as an in-depth, step-by-step guide to the entire recipe.

Jalapeño Chicken Thighs with Black Beans and Honey-Lime Glazed Carrots

Serves 2

Recipe by Teri Tsang Barrett

INGREDIENTS

Extra-virgin olive oil

5 tablespoons honey, divided

1/4 cup lime juice (from 2 limes), divided

1 jalapeño, roughly chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3/4 pound)

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, divided

2 medium carrots (about 8 ounces), peeled and sliced on the diagonal 1/3-inch thick

PREPARATION

Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons lime juice, the

jalapeño and 1 teaspoon salt in a small food processor* (if you don't have one, see below) and puree until smooth. Pour into a quart-size resealable plastic bag, then add the chicken. Massage the bag to coat the chicken with the marinade, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small saucepan over

medium heat until hot. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the beans, 3/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1/2 tablespoon cilantro

and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans break down,

mashing as desired, about 20 minutes. Cover to keep warm; if needed, reheat

over low heat before serving and thin with a spoonful or two of water.

While the beans are cooking, set a rack on top of a baking sheet. Remove the chicken from the marinade, arrange on the rack and season with salt. Roast in the oven until charred in spots and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then serve with the carrots and black beans.

While the chicken is in the oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12-inch skillet

over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, season with salt and cook, stirring

occasionally, until al dente (they should be just tender on the outside), about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, the remaining 2 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon

lime juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are fork-tender and the

liquid has cooked off, about 20 minutes. Toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon

cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

*If you don't have a food processor just chop the jalapeño as small as possible and whisk the oil, honey, lime juice, jalapeño, salt and pepper together by hand.

Braised Pork with Fennel and Apple

Serves 2

Recipe by Teri Tsang Barrett

INGREDIENTS

1 bulb fennel, trimmed, halved lengthwise and cored, plus chopped leafy fronds

for sprinkling

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound pork stew meat or boneless pork shoulder/butt, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 onion, diced

1 apple — peeled, cored and cut into 10 to 12 wedges

1 cup apple juice

1 pound small russet potatoes (about 3)

PREPARATION

Position the fennel halves, cut-side down, on a cutting board. Thinly slice the

bulbs lengthwise 1/4-inch thick (see photos below for what this should look like); do not separate the segments if attached at the core. Set aside.

Coat the bottom of a dutch oven with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons for a 5-

quart pot) and place over high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Once

the oil is hot (a drop of water will cause the oil to spit and sizzle when it's ready),

add the pork in an even layer without overcrowding the pan (do this in batches, if

needed) and cook until browned in spots on all sides, about 12 minutes; transfer

to a bowl.

Immediately add the onion and fennel to the pan, season with salt and cook,

stirring, until the pan is dry with lots of browned bits collected on the pan, 2 to 3

minutes. Deglaze the pan by adding about 1/4 cup water and scraping up all the

browned bits from the bottom. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has

softened and the liquid has cooked off, about 5 minutes. Return the pork and

any juices to the pan along with the apple wedges, apple juice and about 3/4 cup water; submerge the pork in the liquid so that the tops are barely showing, adding more water if needed. Taste the liquid and season to taste with more salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook,

stirring every 30 minutes or so and re-submerging the meat, until the pork easily

falls apart when pierced with a fork, 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours.

About 20 minutes before the pork is done, peel and cut the potatoes into 1-

inch cubes. Place in a saucepan with 1 teaspoon salt and cover with water by

1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook

until easily pierced with a fork, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, then return the potatoes

to the same saucepan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and about 1/4 cup of the liquid from the pork stew. Put the saucepan over low heat, and use a potato masher or fork to mash, over low heat, to desired consistency.

Divide the mashed potatoes between two shallow bowls or pasta plates, then

top with the pork mixture. Sprinkle with the fennel fronds.

When you add the pork, apples, and juice, add just enough water to cover most, not all of the pork.

The pot will be covered as it cooks, so un-submerged pork won't get dry. Plus, you'll be stirring every half hour.

Add enough olive oil and braising liquid to the potatoes so that they mash easily, but don't worry that they're still a little dry.

You're going to douse them in delicious stew; drier potatoes just means they'll better absorb all of the great pork flavor.

Asian Chicken Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

Serves 2

Recipe by Teri Tsang Barrett

INGREDIENTS

1 2-inch knob of ginger

Extra-virgin olive oil

2 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided

3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided

2 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3/4 pound)

2/3 cup sliced almonds

1/2 head green cabbage, cored and sliced very thin

2 carrots sliced very thin or grated on a grater with large holes (about 1 cup)

3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon), divided

2 teaspoons honey, divided

2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro leaves

PREPARATION

Peel the ginger: Hold the knob in one hand, then hold a spoon in the other

hand and use the edge of the spoon to scrape off the ginger peel. Finely grate the ginger; you will need about 3 teaspoons.

Scrape 1 teaspoon of grated ginger into a resealable plastic bag (set the rest aside), then add 1 tablespoon each of the olive oil, the sesame oil and the soy sauce. Add the chicken and squish up the bag to coat the chicken with the marinade. Refrigerate the bag, turning occasionally, for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet and arrange the chicken on top. Roast until crisp and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes.

While the chicken is roasting, heat a medium or large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the almonds and toast, shaking the pan frequently to move the almonds around, until fragrant and the nuts are beginning to color, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Put the cabbage and carrots in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, make the

dressing: Whisk together the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce

and 2 teaspoons grated ginger, and the honey; gradually whisk in 2 tablespoons

olive oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil. When the chicken is done and resting,

pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss well, then season with salt. Add

the almonds and cilantro and toss again.

Remove the bone from each thigh, then slice as desired.

Divide the cabbage mixture between two serving plates, then top each plate

with one sliced chicken thigh.

Bacon and Wilted Cabbage on Roasted Potato Wedges

Serves 2

Recipe by Teri Tsang Barrett

INGREDIENTS

8 ounces bacon, sliced crosswise 1/2-inch-thick

1 onion, finely diced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 head green cabbage — halved, cored and coarsely chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 pound small russet potatoes (about 3 potatoes)

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes.

Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon, leaving

the bacon drippings in the pan. Stir in the onion, season with salt and

pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the

cabbage, season with salt and pepper, then cook, stirring occasionally, until just

beginning to wilt, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has softened and is tender though the cabbage will have some bite left in the center, about 15 minutes.

While the cabbage is cooking, cut the potatoes lengthwise into 6 to 8 wedges. Transfer wedges to a large mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Transfer to a large baking sheet with a rack, arranging in an even layer. Roast in the hot oven, flipping the wedges halfway through, until crisp, browned and easily pierced with a fork or knife, 25 to 30 minutes.

Stir the bacon into the cabbage mixture. Divide the potatoes between two plates, then top with some of the cabbage mixture. Serve immediately.

Because, as the fat renders out, it will fry the bacon and cause it to crisp.

It's not essential that the bacon be touching the bottom of the pan, since it's the fat, not the direct heat from the pan, that cooks it.

Soba Noodles with Sweet Onions and Fried Egg

Serves 2

Recipe by Teri Tsang Barrett

INGREDIENTS

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 1-inch knob of ginger

2 onions, thinly sliced

6 ounces soba noodles

1/4 cup sesame oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce, plus more for drizzling

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey

Cilantro leaves, for sprinkling

PREPARATION

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until hot.

Add the sliced onion, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and starting to brown, 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the ginger: Hold the knob in one hand, then hold a spoon in

the other hand and use the edge to scrape off the ginger peel. Finely grate the

ginger; you will need about 2 teaspoons. Set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the soba noodles and cook until tender

according to package directions. Drain, then rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking; transfer to a medium or large mixing bowl.

Heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan over high heat until hot, about 1 minute; flick a small drop of water into the pan — it should spit and sizzle immediately once ready. Add the grated ginger, remove from the heat and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Immediately stir in the soy sauce and honey until combined. Pour ginger soy mixture over the soba noodles and toss. Add onions to the noodle mixture and toss again. Divide between two serving bowls.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, crack the eggs into the skillet. After 30 seconds, turn the heat to low and fry until the edges are crisp and browned and the yolk is warm to the touch but still loose (the yolk should be runny), about 2 minutes. Top each bowl of noodles immediately with an egg, then drizzle with soy sauce and sprinkle with cilantro.

Cook the onions until they're super soft and starting to brown.

These aren't caramelized onions; those take at least 45 minutes. But, because you're using sweet onions, these quick-cooked onions will still be delicious.

When you take the sesame oil off the heat and add the ginger, it'll start to bubble. Make sure to add the soy sauce and honey before the ginger gets too brown.

If the ginger browns too much, it'll get bitter. Adding soy sauce and honey will cool the mixture down.

Cooking your eggs over medium-low heat will allow you to cook them long enough to completely set the whites without burning them. The edges should be crispy, but not blackened.

1. Medium sauce pan with lid (8 - 12 inch diameter)

2. 12-inch skillet

3. Colander (or strainer)

4. Food processor (optional)

5. Large rimmed baking sheet

6. Cast-iron skillet (at least 8-inch diameter)

7. Large cutting board

8. Parchment paper (optional, in lieu of a baking rack)

9. Vegetable peeler

10. Wooden spoon

11. Chef's knife

12. Microplane

13. Medium whisk

14. Slotted spoon

15. Can opener

16. Potato masher (optional)

17. Citrus juicer (optional

18. Fork

19. Spoon

20. Measuring cups

21. Measuring spoons

22. 2 Ziploc bags (quart-sized or larger)

23. Rack for baking sheet (optional, you can substitute parchment paper)

24. Large mixing bowl

25. Small mixing bowl

26. Dutch oven (at least 5 quart volume)