'Cheap' on Serious Eats

Eat for Eight Bucks: Lemon Shrimp with Mustard-Herb Roasted Onions

This method for shrimp is inspired by Mark Bittman: cooking the shrimp fast in a hot oven. The flavor is inspired by Amanda Hesser, who zests citrus to flavor the quick-cooking shrimp. The onions are all mine: they're the cheapest accompaniment I could think of, and by flavoring them with pantry basics (mustard, dried herbs, and red pepper), you roast them into the perfect foil for the juicy, lemony shrimp. More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Roasted Tomato Quesadillas with Cilantro Cream

Cheese is the obvious answer to what goes inside a quesadilla. Freshly roasted tomatoes are a little more counterintuitive, when we're talking cheap and when the season is winter. But pints of cherry tomatoes are relatively flavorful, even in January, and roasting them brings out all their sweet fruity tones—so much so that a bite into one of these quesadillas could almost transport you to summertime. A dollop of herbed sour cream on top brings all the flavors together and makes the presentation plenty attractive to serve to a guest. More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Sardine Linguine with Sundried Tomatoes and Olives

Sardines seem to be having a moment in the sun. They're not just an easy-to-prepare bachelor food, they're also apparently a health food—just see Alton Brown. But I'm in it for the flavor. Gather a mess of Mediterranean ingredients and go to town. Chop up some pitted black olives, sweet and tangy sundried tomatoes, and fennel to complement the pungent fish. More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Easy Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos with Red Cabbage Crunch and Avocado

I love soft tacos, at home and at restaurants. Since a taco's filling is infinitely variable, the choice lies in your hands to make them cheap or expensive. You could buy fresh fish, for example, but that would up the price a bit. You could also consider a wide range of potential garnishes, everything from salsa to shredded cheese to cilantro to black beans. On the other hand, if you're looking to save money, the trick is to minimize. Use a filling that's hearty but cheap, and practice rigid discipline with respect to your garnishes. More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Farro and Cauliflower Salad with Currants

When I'm trying to pinch pennies, I often turn to random grains from the bulk bin of my grocery store. One cup goes a long way, and you're hard pressed to find any accoutrements that push a grain dish into the land of the lavish. But humble as grains may be, there's still something a little surprising about serving barley in place of rice, or bulgur instead of standard pasta. More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Mexican Eggs

Mexican eggs. [Photograph: Robin Bellinger] Shopping List 7 eggs (pro-rated): $1.40 5 tortillas (pro-rated): $0.90 Cilantro (pro-rated): $0.50 1 small onion: $0.25 3 ounces Monterey jack: $0.75 1 cup instant refried beans: $0.25 1 pound potatoes: $1.00 Pantry items: Oil,... More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Lentil Soup

[Photograph: Robin Bellinger] Shopping List 1 onion: $0.50 3 carrots: $0.75 Lentils: $1.25 Baguette: $2.00 Pantry items: Olive oil, garlic, dried thyme, tomato paste, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar. Total cost (for 4 portions): $4.50 After last week's simple buttery... More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Cold Noodles

For as long as there have been noodles, the Chinese have been warding off heat stroke by chilling and serving them, with a smattering of slivered goodies, in pools of sesame and chili oils. Admittedly, this version is not strictly faithful to that history—but it doesn't clump, either. More

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