Spicy Tapatio Pasta


We love to be the bearer of good news, because DFM is on a Cinco De Mayo count down. Mexican-inspired dishes will be among the most frequent additions to the site up until the 5th.

Enjoy it. We most certainly will.

Spicy Tapatio Pasta

1/2 pound pasta of your choice - $0.50
1 tablespoons vegetable oil - $0.15
1/2 onion, diced - $0.25
2 cloves garlic, minced - $0.02
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped - $1.99
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes - $0.79
1.5 cup cooked black beans - $0.63
1/4 cup salsa - $0.42
1 tbsp chili powder - $0.05
1 tsp ground cumin - $0.05
2 tbsp Tapatio, or to taste - $0.05


  • Prepare pasta according to package instructions.
  • While cooking pasta, in a large saucepan heat oil over medium-high heat and cook onions until translucent. Add garlic, chili powder, ground cumin and cook just until fragrant.
  • Add diced tomatoes, hot sauce, and salsa and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes.
  • Finally, mix in kale, black beans, and pasta and cook just until kale has wilted. Serve with sour cream and cheese or eat as is for a vegan main course!

Makes approximately five servings.
Total Cost: $4.90
Cost Per Serving: $0.98

Nutritional Information:

(Source: dollarfriendlymeals.com)


Mexican Enchilada Pizza

It’s getting warm outside. When it’s warm outside, we at DFM want nothing more than to chow down on some Mexican-inspired fare. The problem? We were lacking time and lacking tortillas. So here is our pizza version of a Mexican classic: meat enchiladas with red sauce.

Afraid of making your own dough? Don’t be. This dough is easy and happily rests while you’re working on the toppings. Aside from baking time, this recipe took me the entirety of 30 minutes. Very doable, indeed.

Homemade Mexican Pizza


1.5 cups all purpose flour - $0.15
1.25 tsp active dry yeast - $0.32
1 tsp vegetable oil - $0.01
2 tsp sugar - $0.01
.5 tsp salt - $0.01
1 cup warm water - free


1 cup cooked black beans -$0.42
1 large, red bell pepper, diced - $1.25
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes - $0.79
1/2 pound ground turkey - $1.80
1 tsp vegetable oil - $0.01
1 tbsp chili powder - $0.05
1 tbsp ground cumin - $0.05
1 tbsp hot sauce (I used Tapatio) - $0.05
1 cup shredded Mexican style cheese - $0.90


For the dough:

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together all dry ingredients.
  • Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast and let sit until foamy.
  • When yeast mixture is ready, add to flour mixture with oil and knead until elastic.
  • Cover, and let rest while preparing pizza toppings.
  • Once toppings are prepared, roll out to fit 14 inch pizza pan.

For the toppings:

  • In a large saute pan, cook ground turkey in vegetable oil until just half-way cooked.
  • Add cumin, chili powder, hot sauce, and diced tomatoes. Continue cooking until liquid has reduced by half.
  • To assemble the pizza, spoon tomato/turkey mixture on the base of the pizza. Top with black beans, cheese, and diced bell peppers.

Total Cost: $5.82
Cost Per Serving: $0.97
Nutritional Information:

(Source: dollarfriendlymeals.com)


Peanut Butter Protein Bars

I introduce to you your new favorite protein bar. I’m so glad the two of you are now formally acquainted, because a long, happy future spent together will certainly be the result. With a measly five minutes of preparation, 89 cents, and 23.8 grams of protein it’s no wonder you’re already in love.

The nice thing is we don’t mind sharing, and also, these protein bars taste better than anything that your local supermarket can offer.

Peanut Butter Protein Bars

1/2 cup skim milk - $0.08
cup creamy peanut butter - $1.74
1 1/4 cups of vanilla whey protein powder - $4.56
cups rolled oats - $0.76 


  • Heat peanut butter and milk in a medium-large stockpot, just heating until warm and thoroughly mixed together.
  • Remove from heat, and add protein powder and rolled oats.
  • Press into a 9” x 13” pan (it may help to use plastic wrap to press mixture down). Cover, and freeze for fifteen minutes, then cut into eight pieces.

Makes approximately 8 servings.
Total Cost: $7.15
Cost Per Serving: $0.89

Nutritional Information:

(Source: dollarfriendlymeals.com)


Dollar-Friendly Fare: Produce and Pricing

As a follow-up to this previous post, today we’ll show some easily accessible ways to introduce fruits and vegetables into your budget-friendly diet:

Fresh Vs. Frozen

Though notoriously deemed as being less nutritious and overall “fresh” than the alternative, frozen fruits and vegetables are often actually more nutritious than their “fresher” counterparts. The reason? Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak, then flash-frozen to preserve nutrients. When you buy “fresh” produce at your grocery store, you must remember the time it takes for the product to actually get to your kitchen. If you’re looking at produce which is certifiably local, then we’d absolutely recommend buying the fresh option. Otherwise, frozen might actually be best.

Another nice thing about buying frozen is you don’t have to worry about using the fruit or vegetable immediately. We’re all busy and have lives outside of saving and living healthily; risking even more nutrients lost while not consuming your fresh produce is the equivalent of throwing away money. Additional bonus: most produce is already cut to bite-sized pieces. Less prep time, more nutrition, and cheaper cost. Damn.

Cost Analysis (according to Seattle area Safeway grocery store):

Pantry Essentials Frozen Broccoli Cuts: $1.32/pound
Fresh Broccoli: $1.69/pound

Safeway Whole Frozen Strawberries: $2.64/pound
Fresh Packaged Strawberries:$4.39/pound

Seasonal Shopping

Seasonal grocery shopping may seem obvious to some, but the benefits of shopping by season may be more imperative than it may seem. Since not every dish can be made with frozen vegetables (e.g. fresh salads), it’s a good idea to routinely check your local grocery store for any weekly produce sales. Often, there will be a surplus of a specific product, depending on the time of year. If the prices overwhelm you, here is a really helpful chart of peak-season produce according to where you live in the U.S. While frozen often is a better alternative to fresh, when a product is in season, the fresh, seasonal prices often surpass those of the frozen varieties.

For instance, cauliflower is currently in season in the state of Washington:

Fresh Cauliflower: $1.49/pound
Frozen Safeway Cauliflower: $1.84/pound

Accessible Produce Consumption

As we all know, it’s not always easy to fit in our daily requirements of produce. Harvard School of Public Health suggests 4½ cups of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, which can be a rather tricky feat for the busy individual. What kinds of vegetables? Well, Harvard recommends a diet rich in, “Dark leafy greens, cooked tomatoes, and anything that’s a rich yellow, orange, or red color.” Sounds expensive, right? Oh, don’t be such a Debby Downer.

Before we continue, we’d like to introduce you to V-8 Low Sodium Vegetable Juice:

In this 11.5 ounce can alone, there are two servings of vegetables. With a rich red color and pasteurized (cooked) benefit of tomato juice, you get an incredibly fast and accessible health boost for - wait for it - only 50 cents per can. That’s about 25 cents per serving, which is pretty good by us. Just the ease of use alone is worth any (very small) higher price.

To conclude, we’ll end on a seemingly extreme notion: the idea that you can consume all of your daily recommended vegetables spending a dollar or less. Yes, it is possible.

Here’s a sample day:

($0.50) One 11.5 ounce can of V-8 Low Sodium Vegetable Juice: Two servings.
($0.20) Two Cups Raw Spinach: Two servings.
($0.25) One Cup Raw Carrots: One serving.

Total Cost: $0.95
Total Servings of Vegetables: Five


For Those New to DFM:

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  • While we’re on the subject of social networking, we happen to have a twitter as well.