How To Make 5 Easy And Healthy Dinners For $10 Each

Your budget-friendly plan to stop feeling gross after the holidays. Five recipes, one grocery list, and step-by-step photos.

Emily Fleischaker

3. Day 1: Brown Rice Bowl with Ginger-Lime Chicken and Bok Choy

recipe by Teri Tsang Barrett


½ cup brown rice
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (basically the juice of 1 lime)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces (2-3 thighs)
2 heads baby bok choy
4 scallions, thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger (about ½-inch piece)

1. Prepare the rice according to package directions, or just bring 1 cup water, the rice and ½ teaspoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir once, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 50 minutes.

2. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the lime juice and 3 tablespoons olive oil with a large pinch of salt. Add the chicken, seal the bag, then massage the bag to coat the chicken. Refrigerate, massaging the bag once more halfway through, 20 minutes.

3. Lay the bok choy on a work surface. Thinly slice it crosswise ½-inch-thick. You should have about 3 cups. Rinse and drain.

4. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the bag, shaking the spoon and letting the excess marinade drip back into the bag, and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving the marinade in the bag; pat the chicken dry.

5. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the chicken, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, 7 to 9 minutes. You’ll know the chicken is done when you poke at it with your finger and it’s just firm. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

This chicken is ready to come out of the pan — no pink and it’s just firm and springy when you poke it with a finger. Dont’ overcook it because you’ll be adding it back in later.

6. Set aside a generous pinch of scallion greens for a final topping, then add the remaining scallions, the garlic and ginger to the skillet and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat for 1 minute.

How to slice the scallions.

Divide this pile — take some of the darker green on the left and save it for the topping.

The scallion bottoms in the bowl on the right have a little more strength and flavor and can go in a saute pan. Scallion tops (at left) are more delicate and best for finishing a dish.

7. Pour the marinade into the skillet and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium, then add the bok choy, season with salt and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and heat through.

8. Divide the rice among 2 bowls, then spoon the chicken mixture on top. Sprinkle with the reserved scallion greens just before serving.

19. Day 2: Seared Cod with Romesco and Roasted Peppers Salad

Emily Fleischaker


recipe by Teri Tsang Barrett


3 bell peppers, preferably a mix of colors
¼ cup sliced almonds
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (you’ll need ½ lemon)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup feta cheese crumbles
About ¼ cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
Two 6-ounce cod fillets (about 3/4 pound total)
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 big handfuls of arugula

1. Place the bell peppers directly over a gas flame or under a broiler and roast, turning frequently using tongs, until charred allover, 10 to 12 minutes.

(The more charred you let them get the easier the next step will be —don’t worry that they look like they are burning.)

2. Transfer to a plastic or paper bag, seal and let cool 15 minutes. Rub off the charred skin using a paper towel, then remove and discard the stems and seeds. Reserve 1 bell pepper (preferably a red one), then slice the remaining 2 peppers into ¼-inch-wide strips and set aside.

3. In a small skillet, toast the nuts over high heat, shaking the pan often, until they are fragrant and begin to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. In a blender or small food processor, puree the reserved (red) bell pepper, garlic and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Add the nuts (reserving 8 to 10 toasted almond slivers for topping), then blend to combine. With the machine on, gradually add ½ cup olive oil until a creamy sauce forms. Season the romesco sauce with salt to taste.

4. In a medium bowl, toss the thinly sliced roasted bell peppers with the feta and remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice; season with salt and pepper and toss again. Sprinkle with the parsley.

5. Before you cook the fish, check to see if it has pin bones — which are small and usually stick out from the seam of the fish. You can run your finger along the seam to feel for them.

Remove pin bones with a clean pair of needle nose pliers, sturdy tweezers, or fish tweezers if you have them. To do it, firmly grab each little bone and pull straight out. This takes a strong yank and some determination to feel for all the little bones, but will make the fish much easier to eat.

6. Put the flour on a plate. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and almost smoking. (Getting the pan really hot is what will keep the fish from sticking to the pan.) Season the cod with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour on both sides, pressing so the flour adheres. Add to the pan and cook, turning once halfway through, until golden-brown, 10 to 12 minutes (center-cut pieces are thicker and will need longer to cook than tail-end pieces).

7. Spoon some romesco onto 2 serving plates. Top with the fish fillets, then spoon some more romesco on top; scatter the reserved almonds on top. Mix the roasted bell pepper salad with a handful of arugula then divide the salad between the two plates. Serve immediately with more romesco on the side.

35. Day 3: Chicken and Brown Rice Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash

recipe by Teri Tsang Barrett


1 acorn squash, halved lengthwise (meaning, pole to pole), scraped of seeds, then sliced lengthwise into wedges
3 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
¾ pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat (2 or 3 thighs)
½ onion, diced
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 cup cooked brown rice (see Day 1 recipe for instructions)
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚. Place wedges on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt, then roast until tender and brown, about 20 minutes.

Here is the acorn squash before roasting.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and cook, turning once halfway through, until browned and cooked through, 7 to 9 minutes per side. You’ll know it’s done when it’s just firm and springy when you poke it with a finger. Transfer to a plate to rest for 10 minutes.

3. Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Don’t worry if there’s chicken bits left in the skillet — if they are sticking add a splash of water (or stock or wine or even some beer) to the hot skillet and loosen them with a spoon.

4. Coarsely chop the cooked chicken. Add the cranberries to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then stir in the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just beginning to crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and all but a generous pinch of the parsley, then remove from the heat.

5. Toss the rice with the arugula and divide between plates. Top with roasted butternut squash.

39. Day 4: Swiss Chard and Feta-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

recipe by Teri Tsang Barrett


2 large sweet potatoes (about 1¼ pounds)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 small bunch swiss chard (about 8 ounces), leaves chopped, stems trimmed, peeled of tough fibrous parts and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup dried cranberries
Juice of ½ lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1/3 cup feta crumbles (2 to 3 ounces)

Isn’t the rainbow chard pretty!

To chop it without making a mess, set yourself up a little station — a butcher block and knife and four containers: 1. For the leaves once you’ve separated them from the stem. 2. For the stems separated from the leaves. 3. For the chopped leaves. 4. For the chopped stems.

To easily chop the leaves, stack them and roll them up then slice them. In fancy French culinary terminology this is called a chiffonade.

1. Preheat the oven to 375˚. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until soft, about 1 hour.

2. In a dutch oven (ie, a pot with straight sides) heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and golden, about 1 minute. Add the chard stems, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the chard leaves, cranberries and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until the leaves are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool slightly, then stir in the feta.

3. Let the sweet potatoes cool for about 10 minutes, then slit the top open without cutting all the way through. Spread open each sweet potato and scrape the flesh with a fork to make it fluffy. Arrange the sweet potatoes on separate plates, then fill each with half of the chard mixture.

49. Day 5: Hot and Sour Mushroom and Barley Soup

recipe by Teri Tsang Barrett

SERVES 2 to 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
One 8- to 10-ounce package mushrooms, quartered
½ cup pearl barley
One 14-ounce can beef broth
2 or 3 heads of baby bok choy, sliced crosswise ½-inch-thick
Juice of 1 lime
½ cup cilantro leaves

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and plenty of pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally and adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if the mushrooms begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, until their liquid is released, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the barley and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute, then stir in the beef broth and 2 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until the barley is tender, 30 to 40 minutes; add the bok choy for the last 10 minutes of cooking—it should be crisp-tender. Season with the lime juice to taste, 1 tablespoon at a time. Ladle into bowls and top with the cilantro.

51. The Grocery List

Arugula, 5 oz., $3.99
Baby bok choy, 1 lb (5-8 heads), $2.29
Rainbow swiss chard, 1 bunch, $2.49
Garlic, 1 head, $.79
Ginger root, ¼ pound, $.89
Cilantro, 1 bunch, $.99
Lemon, 1, $.59
Limes, 2, $.66
White Mushrooms, 8 ounces, $1.99
Scallions, 1 bunch, $.89
Onions, 3 pound bag, $1.00
Flat-leaf parsley, 1 bunch, $.99
Bell peppers, 4-count bag, $1.49
Acorn squash, 1, $1.79
Sweet potatoes, 2 pounds, $1.00

Meat & Seafood
Cod, 2 fillets, $8.18
Skinless, boneless chicken thighs, 1 ½ pounds, $5.24

Crumbled Feta cheese, 4-ounce tub, $3.99

Dried cranberries, 5-ounce bag, $2.99
Brown rice, 16-ounce bag, $1.09
Pearl barley, 16-ounce box, $2.19
Soups & Canned Goods
Beef broth, 14.5-ounce can, $1.09

Baking Goods
Sliced almonds, 2.25-ounce bag, $2.49
All-purpose flour, 2-pound bag, $2.19

Pssst: We’re assuming you have:
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Olive oil

TOTAL: $51.29*
*based on Indianapolis, IN prices at

52. TIPS!

1. Cook all the brown rice on Day 1 and use it throughout the week.

2. Store the second half of your onion in a plastic baggy in the fridge so it stays fresh.

3. If you want to save a little money, skip the cilantro — it isn’t totally essential but it’s nice with the soup. You might use it to buy an extra thing of beef broth in case you want to stretch the soup.

4. Add sliced almonds to the sweet potato if you have more left over.

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