One Pot Meals

Recently, TUM and I have decided to go Paleo (a diet which focuses on meats and leafy greens) and ditch a lot of the carbs in our diet. I was asked how I can feed the both of us and save money. The answer? One pot meals!

One pot meals are not only tasty, but they give the best bang for the buck. It’s easy to get 12 servings from a soup and break the cost down to under a dollar per serving. My goal has always been to get my meals under $5 a serving, but I believe that that particular goal is too easy to reach. Consistently getting under a dollar per serving is amazing.

Chili PeppersChili
Let’s look at your average beanless chili recipe:

2 pounds ground beef @ 2.98 per pound = $5.96
4 cans diced tomatoes @ .69 per can = $2.76
paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, hot sauce to taste.

Total Expenditure: $8.72 for staples, spices bring it up to around $9.50.

With this recipe, you can easily get between 4 and 8 servings. That’s without adding the beans or any other filler material.

With most of the meals that I prepare, I can get at least four servings out of the deal. I am a believer in the one pot meal that has the fewest ingredients possible.

Chicken Soup with NoodlesChicken Soup
One of my favorites is chicken soup:
4 pounds chicken @ $1.20 per pound = $4.80
2 bags baby carrots @ $.99 = $1.98
4 stalks celery @ $.25 = $1.00
1 container mushrooms @ $1.98 = $1.98
garlic, salt, pepper

Total Expenditure: $9.76 for staples, spices bring it up to around $10.50

Break it down and you can get around 8 servings from this. Chances are, depending on how much water you add, you can get up to 10 servings.

Last week, we had a one pan meal of chicken and greens. Essentially, we paid for around 12 drumsticks, and a bag of collard greens to put underneath.

A single pot Chicken One Pot
We make this one quite often, because it gets our greens in, as well as our protein. I know that I’m not including a bread product with this, but we’re working under the assumption that the carbs will happen with the leafy greens.

2 pounds chicken @ $1.20 per pound = $2.40
1 bag collards @ $2.50 each = $2.50
garlic, salt, pepper

Total Expenditure: $4.90 for staples, spices bring it to $5.40

You can get four servings from this one, making the price just a little over a dollar per serving.

Anything can be used in one pot meals. The key is to have as few ingredients as possible. The more ingredients that you add into the mix, the more expensive the meal becomes. If you’re opening a can of this or a can of that, the sodium not only gets you, but the price of the cans starts to become unwieldy (have you noticed the 20% jump in canned goods, too?). Simplicity is always the way to go.

Of the one pot meals that I’ve had, the consistent thing about them is that the total cost runs around (or less than) $10 for all of the ingredients. I usually get between 4 and 6 servings, which brings my total cost per serving below $2.50 each per meal. In many cases, as you can see, I usually get more than 4 servings.

Simple one pot meals always make the day at our house. We’ve stayed away from seafood and paid more attention to chicken, and eaten some great meals.

What are some of your family’s cheap go-to meals? The cheaper, the better.