The 25 Best Laughably Cheap Recipes at Casual Kitchen

With the economy still struggling, families all over the world are looking for creative ways to stretch their food budgets further than ever.

If food costs are getting you down, or if you're just looking for a few easy and cost-effective recipes, take heart: Casual Kitchen has you covered. What follows is an extensive list of the best and least expensive recipes ever posted on this site. The recipes below range from inexpensive to downright laughably cheap. Best of all, every single one of them is easy to make. Enjoy!
Easy Sopa de Lima
A delicious, scalable soup recipe that costs just over $1.00 per serving.

Red Lentils and Rice
At a laughable cost of only $2-3 in total, this recipe will serve four as a main dish.

Pasta Puttanesca
Don't let a couple anchovies scare you away from one of the most interesting pasta sauces out there. This sauce is extremely inexpensive and it can be made in less than half an hour.

Black Beans and Rice
At 65-70c per serving, this is one of the easiest and least expensive recipes in this entire blog.

Pasta with Tuna, Olives and Roasted Red Peppers
This contains a fully balanced meal, with protein, veggies and carbs, and it can be made for about $1.75 per serving.

Easy Lentil Soup
This recipe is easy to make and it costs a hysterically cheap 60c per serving.

Easy Split Pea Soup
The first part of this post is a curmudgeonly diatribe against salt (you can skip that). But the second part is an easy split pea soup recipe that can feed you for days for only $3-4.

Navy Bean and Kielbasa Soup
A rich and delicious soup that can be made for under $1.00 per serving!

Smoky Brazilian Black Bean Soup
A spicy, delicious and easy to make soup that costs just over $1.50 per serving.

Sauteed Penne with Broccoli and Chickpeas
An unusual and original pasta salad that costs about $1.75 per serving.

Collards with Rice and Kielbasa
It will cost you just $4.00 and 25 minutes of your time to feed four with this easy dish.

Pasta Arrabiata
A simple and delicious pasta dish you can whip up in minutes. Cost: 75c per serving.

Garden Gumbo
A healthy and delicious soup recipe that involves a bit of chopping, but you'll love the price tag of under $1.00 per serving.

Chickpeas, Pasta and Tomato Salad
A balanced and mild pasta salad that costs less than $1.50 per serving.

Thai Pasta Salad
This refreshing pasta dish can be made for around $1.50-$1.75 per serving

Homemade Burritos
One of these burritos can make a light meal; two will make a heavy meal. If you scale this recipe up, you can make these for about $1.00 each.

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
A house favorite here at Casual Kitchen--a delicious and original pasta sauce with a per-serving cost of around $1.50.

Casbah Curried Chicken
Scroll down past the article about never using cooking wine, and you'll find a healthy and delicious recipe that costs about $1.50-$1.75 per serving.

Chicken Mole
A house favorite, and the recipe that gets by far the most search traffic here at Casual Kitchen. Cost per serving: just $1.25-$1.50.

This flexible and fancy-sounding dish is really quite easy. If you stick to basic ingredients, you can make this dish for under $1.00 a serving.

Viennese Potato Soup
Yet another filling and delicious soup that can be made for about $1.00 per serving.

Fresh Corn and Tomato Soup
High in fiber, low in fat and easy on your wallet. This dish costs around $5-$6 to make and it will serve 4-5.

Wintry Tomato Vegetable Soup
A hearty, cool-weather dish that can be made in 45 minutes from start to finish, and costs a little over $1 per serving.

Groundnut Stew
This exotic vegetarian stew is made from easy to find ingredients, and it feeds 7-8 for less than $10 in total. A top favorite recipe here in our home.

Fried Rice
An old warhorse recipe that I've been making for nearly 20 years. You can whip this up in minutes at a cost of less than $1.00 per serving.

Finally, readers, if you have a laughably cheap recipe that you'd like to offer, please share it in the comments below!

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Melissa said...

Sending this to my sister for sure. She's on a tight budget, always, and also eats a lot of meatless meals. She'll love this list. I really also happen to need good cheap delicious ideas right now. Thanks for gathering these together.

Anonymous said...

Melissa is right. I'm always on a tight budget, we do eat a lot of meatless meals and I do LOVE this list. Can't wait to try some of these and add them to my normal rotation. Thanks for taking the time to compile the list.

Charmian from Christie's Corner said...

What a great list. Love the variety and that you included the costs.

I've no idea what my meals cost, but there's no way I'm making steak or even chicken for less than $1 a serving.

Daniel said...

Hi Melissa, thanks for reading and for the positive vibes, and I'm so glad you got value out of this post!

Jewels, thank you for stopping by and I look forward to hearing how your meals come out when you make these!

Hi Charmian, thanks for your comment. And agreed, you won't find steak in any of these recipes, and chicken appears in just a few of them. Most of the lowest cost recipes here at Casual Kitchen are low-meat or no-meat--and low-meat cuisine has the added advantage of being generally quite healthy too.


farmkat said...

I'm fairly new to your site, so I love all the links in this post. Always looking for meals on the cheap, though hubby demands meat! I've been doing a lot of soups lately...

Daniel said...

Hi Farmkat, thanks for stopping by. I'd encourage you to take a look at my "best of" page, which you can find on Casual Kitchen's right hand margin. And good luck cooking up some inexpensive meals!


Marcia said...

I find this post to be extremely exciting...I am looking forward to trying some new recipes. I may have given up on my "budget" for the year, but I still want to eat cheap!

Daniel said...

Glad to hear it Marcia!! Let me know which recipes you made and liked the best!


Anonymous said...

I found this link for the 25 laughably cheap recipies a week or so ago and I can tell you that I have already made two of them. The burrito recipe was a HUGE hit in my house and I've had lunch all week! But I've got to say - the Viennese Potato Soup was absolutely WONDERFUL! Just about one of the best soups I've ever made. It was quick, cheap, satisfying and just about perfect! I substituted oregano for the majoram since I didn't have any - and it was still incredibly satisfying! Bravo to you!

Daniel said...

Anon, I'm so happy to hear this. This is exactly why I write Casual Kitchen. Thank you for the feedback!


Maria said...

Great post. Good, healthy, tasty food doesn't have to be pricey!

Tree Huggin Momma said...

Just found this blog through a link. I was a vegetarian for many many years. I recently have returned to eating less meat. My youngest is with me, she have never cared for meat, but my oldest and my DH love meat. I have found Lentils to be a great "meat substitute" when the meat is Ground Beef, and I sometimes stretch my GB using lentils. When I do add meat to a dish, I simply dish up DH and DD's first with the meat in it, and the DD and I get the meatless portion. Works out well for all involved.
I am looking forward to adding some of these to my menu

Sally said...

I found a great laughably cheap recipe: Minestra di Risi e Patate (Rice and Potato Soup).

I think most of us have the ingredients on hand all the time. It's great as is, but I've also added lentils in place of some of the rice or leftover meat if I have it.

I had one Italian sausage and I browned it for the last batch I made, removed it from the pan and browned the potatoes, and returned the sausage to the pot when I added the rice. Delicious!

Daniel said...

Sally, thank you for sharing. Looks delicious!!


Nicole Redman said...

I may be late to the party, but this recipe is in HEAVY rotation at my house and is laughably cheap and can serve four, or, if you're pigs like us, two with leftover sauce:

Especially if you make your own bread:

And especially if you have good friends who bring you fresh, flavorful organic eggs from their backyard!

Tammy said...

Your coconut curry didn't make the list? Boo! But I must try that chicken mole. Sounds divine and I have yet to be disappointed by Casual Kitchen.