Advertising
Advertising

20 Delicious and Cheap Dinners For Two

20 Delicious and Cheap Dinners For Two

Eating well doesn’t have to break the bank: here are 20 dinners for two that are inexpensive, but delicious.

1. Mujadarah

Mujadara

    Hearty and unbelievably tasty, this dish costs just a few cents per serving. Sautee thinly-sliced onions in oil with some cumin, salt, and pepper until they’re well-browned and caramelized. Combine equal amounts of cooked rice and cooked lentils, and then blend in the onions. Adjust seasonings, add a dollop of yoghurt if you like, and enjoy.

    2. “Bean Thing”

    sauteed veggies

      A term coined by my husband and I, this is a simple dish that’s made with stuff that’s usually on hand. Chopped onions and sweet potatoes are sauteed in olive oil, and to that is added a can of un-drained black beans, some tomato paste (or drained canned tomatoes), along with whatever spiced we have at hand—normally just chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and a dash of chipotle. This is simmered until everything’s mushy and delicious, and then it’s either served with tortilla chips, bread, cornbread, leftover rice, or whatever other carbs are on hand.

      3. Colcannon

      colcannon

        An Irish dish made with potatoes, onions, and either cabbage or kale, this is a hearty, filling dish that’s quick to prepare, and is inexpensive comfort food. To make it, just boil several potatoes and then mash them well—feel free to leave the skins on them if you like the taste and texture. Add in minced green onions or chives, and finely shredded cabbage or kale while the pot’s still on the stove so the greens will wild. Mix in salt, pepper, and butter to taste.

        If you have any colcannon left over, you can fry it into boxty for breakfast.

        4. Arros Rojo

        Advertising

        rojo

          Mexican-style red rice: sautee onions and garlic in oil until they soften, and then add rice and toast until it’s slightly translucent and golden. Add stock, chopped tomatoes, and herbs/spices (like cilantro, parsley, salt, pepper, chili powder) cover, and simmer until the rice is fork-tender. Take off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes or so before serving.

          If you’d like other vegetables such as celery, peppers, peas, etc. in this dish, add them with the tomatoes and stock.

          5. Stuffed Peppers

          stuffed-peppers

            Slice the tops off yellow, red, or green peppers, hollow out the insides, and stuff the with a pre-cooked mixture of whatever you have on hand: rice, tofu, vegetables, pasta, beans… the sky’s the limit. Then pop the tops back on and bake for half an hour or so until the peppers are fork-tender.

            6. Fried Rice

            fried rice

              A perfect way to use leftover rice, this is a Chinese-inspired version of “fridge supper”: you take whatever veg and protein you may have in the fridge, and fry it up to mix with the rice. Start by frying ginger, garlic, and green onion in some oil in your skillet or wok, and add in chopped veg, meat or tofu, and a hearty slog of soy sauce. Once the vegetables have softened, add in the rice. Blend in a beaten egg and toss it all together until the egg bits and rice have browned a little, adjust seasonings to taste, and devour.

              7. Frittata

              Frittata

                Just about anything can go into a frittata. If zucchini’s on special when you go shopping, excellent! Shred it finely, chop some onions, and sautee them in a pan with butter or oil until they soften. Beat a few eggs with a spoonful of flour, add salt and pepper and a pinch of baking powder, then add that mixture to the vegetables. Stir to combine, and either cover it and turn down the heat to let it cook through, or pop it in the oven at 350F until it’s golden brown.

                8. Beef and Barley Soup

                Advertising

                Beef and Barley Soup

                  Stewing beef is basically a very cheap cut of meat that can be put to excellent use in soups such as this one. Sautee 1 cup each of onion, celery and carrot in a soup pot until they’ve softened, then 2 cups of chopped meat to sear it. Deglaze your pot with a splash of wine or beer, add in about 6 cups of beef or vegetable stock and 4 cups of water, along with the contents of a large can of diced tomatoes. Add in 1 1/2 cups dry pearl barley, and simmer for about 45 minutes until the barley is tender. Adjust liquid and add salt and pepper as needed.

                  9. Shakshuka

                  Shakshuka

                    This is a simple, comforting Israeli dish of eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce. To make it, I sautee onions, garlic, and peppers in olive oil with cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper, ’til softened, and then add a large can of whole plum tomatoes (undrained). This is simmered for a while, and then eggs are cracked in to poach in it. This can be served with crumbled feta and chopped parsley on top, or just as it is, with toast or pita bread on the side.

                    10. Black Bean Fritters

                    Black Bean Fritters

                      Basically just a savoury pancake, drained and rinsed black beans are combined with flour, milk, a beaten egg, finely-chopped onions and peppers, and seasonings like cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder. Fry until golden-brown on both sides, and serve with sour cream.

                      11. BLT Wraps

                      BLT-wrap

                        Simple, but scrumptious: fry bacon, drain it, fold it into wraps with shredded lettuce and chopped tomato, then toast the wrap slightly. You can add scrambled egg, avocado, mayo; whatever makes you happy. Any way you make these, they’re good.

                        12. Pasta Primavera

                        Pasta Primavera

                          Sautee onions and mushrooms in olive oil with a bit of Italian seasoning, or fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, and thyme if you have them. Once softened a bit, add in pureed tomatoes, a bit of tomato paste, a splash of wine, salt, and pepper, and let simmer until it’s thickened. Turn the heat down very low as you cook your pasta. Just as the noodles are approaching al dente, add some finely-chopped spinach to the sauce, stir briefly, and turn the heat off. Ladle the sauce over drained pasta, and serve. (You can garnish with a tiny bit of cheese, if you have it on hand.)

                          Advertising

                          13. “Brinner”

                          brinner

                            Breakfast for dinner: pancakes, eggs (however you like them), fried potatoes, and either a bit of fruit, or a small salad. Easy to make, inexpensive, and so good.

                            14. Split Pea Soup with Sausage

                            Split Pea Soup with Sausage

                              This pea soup is cheap and easy to make—it just takes time to simmer, so be sure to start it early. Onion, carrot, garlic, and celery are sauteed in oil until soft, not browned. Add in your split peas and toss them around with the other ingredients, then add your stock and let simmer for an hour or so until it’s a delicious, sludgy consistency. You may have to add more stock as the peas can thicken things up a lot. You can either cut the sausage into 1/2-inch slices and drop them into the pot to cook in the soup, or you can fry the slices separately and add them to each dish before serving.

                              15. Quesadillas

                              Quesadillas

                                Amazingly simple, and so good. Sprinkle shredded cheese such as cheddar or pepper Jack on tortillas, along with chopped green onions and mashed beans (if desired). Toast until the tortillas are golden-brown and the cheese is melty, and serve with salsa and sliced avocado.

                                16. Chicken, Leek, and Lemon Pie

                                Chicken, Leek, and Lemon Pie

                                  Assemble a pie crust and bake the lower portion for 10 min, or until firm. In a skillet, sautee onions, thinly-sliced leeks (white and light green portions only), and sliced chicken (breast, thighs… whatever you have on hand) until the chicken is cooked through and the leeks soften. Add a tiny bit of chicken stock, the juice and rind of 1 small lemon, and a generous handful of peas. Mix well, and add a tablespoon or so of heavy cream. Pour that mixture into the pie shell, top with the other crust, and bake until golden-brown.

                                  17. Potato and Corn Chowder

                                  Advertising

                                  Potato and Corn Chowder

                                    Sautee onion and garlic, add vegetable or chicken stock, diced potatoes, whole-kernel corn, some parsley, salt, pepper, and a splash of liquid smoke. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, puree 1/3 of it to thicken, add a bit of cream (if desired), and serve hot, garnished with cracked black pepper and chopped green onions. Cornbread makes a great side dish.

                                    18. Chili

                                    chili

                                      Simple, cheap, and filling, this can be made with whichever beans you have around. Just sautee onions, garlic, and peppers until softened, add in a couple of cans of diced tomatoes, a couple of cans of your favourite beans, some beer, cumin, chili powder, molasses or brown sugar, salt, and pepper, and simmer for an hour or so until all the flavours have blended. For chili con carne, sautee ground beef with your onions and garlic.

                                      19. Cheesy Pasta

                                      Cheesy Pasta

                                        Unlike lasagna, which takes a fair bit of prep work and a million ingredients, cheesy pasta is more like a casserole than anything else. Cook your pasta of choice (seriously, anything from macaroni or penne to farfalle or spaghetti) until it’s al dente, then drain it and pour it into a greased casserole dish. Follow it with an undrained can of diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, spices of your choosing, and grated cheese. Mix together, top with more grated cheese and some breadcrumbs, and bake until bubbly.

                                        20. Pancakes

                                        pancakes

                                          Who doesn’t love pancakes? These can be made with whatever you have on hand: bananas, blueberries, apples, an almost-expired pack of M&Ms…  anything you like. Sometimes it’s fun to be a kid for an hour or two and spend dinnertime as a sticky mess while watching cartoons.

                                          More by this author

                                          Catherine Winter

                                          Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

                                          10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of 20 Online Resources for Free E-Books 10 Books to Help You Polish Your English & Writing Skills 10 Things That Even You Can Do to Change the World

                                          Trending in Health

                                          1 Why Am I So Tired Even After Rest? 2 Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Fatigue Symptom (& How to Boost Energy) 3 10 Simple Ways To Increase Metabolism Without Working Out 4 Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Weight Loss? 5 15 Brain Foods to Eat Regularly for a Sharper Brain

                                          Read Next

                                          Advertising
                                          Advertising
                                          Advertising

                                          Last Updated on October 15, 2019

                                          How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                          How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                          What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

                                          To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

                                          All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

                                          There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

                                          With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

                                          What follows is a list of thirteen of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these 13 tips are essential:

                                          1. Think Big

                                            From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                                            “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                                            There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                                            Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                                            Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                                            Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                                            Instead be ambitious.

                                            2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It

                                              From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                                              “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                                              This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                                              Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                                              If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                                              Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                                              Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                                              Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                                              3. Learn How to Balance Life

                                              Advertising

                                                From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                                                “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                                                All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                                                If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                                                However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                                                If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                                                In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                                                To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                                                4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

                                                  From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                                                  “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                                                  There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                                                  Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                                                  His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                                                  He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                                                  Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                                                  Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                                                  If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

                                                  5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

                                                    From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                                                    “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                                                    This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                                                    It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

                                                    Advertising

                                                    If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                                                    Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                                                    6. Be a Person of Action

                                                      From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                                                      “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                                                      Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                                                      Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                                                      When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                                                      You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                                                      All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                                                      Applying this to you?

                                                      Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                                                      7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                                                        From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                                                        The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                                                        The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                                                        People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                                                        This is key to good leadership.

                                                        It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                                                        But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                                                        What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                                                        As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                                                        8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

                                                        Advertising

                                                          From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                                                          “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                                                          It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                                                          Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                                                          If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                                                          9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                                                            From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                                            “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                                            Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                                            It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                                            Keep dreaming!

                                                            10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                                                              From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                                              “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                                              Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                                              Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                                              If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                                              However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                                              11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                                                                From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                                                “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                                                It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                                                When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

                                                                Advertising

                                                                Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                                                If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                                                This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                                                                12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                                                                  From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                                                  “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                                                  You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                                                  Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                                                  True success comes from work.

                                                                  You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                                                  Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                                                  13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                                                                    From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                                                    “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                                                    In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                                                    If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                                                    It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                                                    Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                                                    Final Thoughts

                                                                    What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                                                    Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                                                    More to Help You Succeed in Life

                                                                    Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

                                                                    Read Next