Crispy Fish and Peppers-Under $3


1 pound fresh or frozen (thawed) small fish fillets (such as grouper, catfish, or tilapia)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup sliced and/or chopped miniature sweet peppers
1 lemon, cut up

  1. Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. In a shallow dish, whisk together buttermilk, egg, and Cajun seasoning. Place flour in another shallow dish. Dip fish in buttermilk and flour. Repeat to coat fish twice.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully add fish to hot oil (working in batches, if necessary). Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden. Add more oil, if needed. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Drain oil from skillet; wipe clean with paper towel. Add peppers to skillet and cook 2 minutes or until crisp tender.
  5. Serve fish with peppers and lemon. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition Facts (Crispy Fish and Peppers)

    Per serving: 

  • 251 kcal cal., 
  • 13 g fat
  • (2 g sat. fat, 
  • 3 g polyunsaturated fat,
  • 7 g monounsatured fat), 
  • 97 mg chol., 
  • 188 mg sodium, 
  • 8 g carb., 
  • 2 g fiber,
  • 4 g sugar, 
  • 26 g pro.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Beef and Black Bean Chili- Under $3


12 ounces ground beef
cloves garlic, minced
2 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons hot chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Sliced green onions (optional)

  1. In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion, sweet pepper, and garlic over medium heat until browned. Drain fat. Transfer meat mixture to a 3 1/2 to 4-quart slow cooker. Add beans, tomatoes, beans, broth, cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, and paprika.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Top with baguette slices and green onions, if desired.
Nutrition Facts (Beef and Black Bean Chili)

    Per serving: 

  • 236 kcal cal., 
  • 10 g fat
  • (3 g sat. fat, 
  • 0 g polyunsaturated fat,
  • 4 g monounsatured fat), 
  • 30 mg chol., 
  • 695 mg sodium, 
  • 23 g carb., 
  • 8 g fiber, 
  • 5 g sugar, 
  • 14 g pro.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Fajita-Style Quesadillas- Under $3


1/2 medium red or green sweet pepper, seeded and cut into bite-size strips
1/2 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 fresh serrano pepper, halved, seeded, and cut into thin strips*
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 6-inch white corn tortillas
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (2 ounces)
2 thin slices tomato, halved crosswise
1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro
 Light dairy sour cream (optional)
 Cilantro and lime wedges (optional)

  1. In a large skillet cook sweet pepper, onion, and serrano pepper in hot oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Remove from heat.
  2. Lightly coat one side of each tortilla with cooking spray. On the uncoated side of two of the tortillas, divide half of the cheese. Top with onion mixture, tomato slices, the 1 tablespoon cilantro, and the remaining cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, coated sides up.
  3. Heat a very large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Cook quesadillas for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until cheese melts and tortillas are lightly browned. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Serve warm and, if desired, with sour cream, additional cilantro and lime wedges.
From the Test Kitchen

*Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with soap and warm water.

Nutrition analysis per 2 servings: 263 calories, 10 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 15 g total fat (6 g sat. fat), 25 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 3 g total sugar, 30% Vitamin A, 75% Vitamin C, 161 mg sodium, 24% calcium, 6% iron


Add cooked beans, chicken, shrimp, or your other favorite protein to these quesadillas for a heartier meal.

Nutrition Facts (Fajita-Style Quesadillas)

  • Per serving:
  • 61 kcal cal.,
  • 4 g fat
  • (1 g sat. fat, 
  • 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 
  • 1g monounsatured fat), 
  • 6 mg chol., 
  • 41 mg sodium, 
  • 5 g carb., 
  • 1 g fiber, 
  • 1 g sugar, 
  • 2 g pro.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet


Fish Skewers with Basil Chimichurri -Under $10

Yield: 4 servings

Total Time: 47min

1/4 cup chopped white onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 ounces firm white fish, such as cod, haddock or halibut,cut into 16 pieces (about 1 inch each)
3 small zucchini and/or yellow squash (about 1 1/4 pounds),cut into 1-inch pieces
Basil Chimichurri:
1 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped sweet onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 cherry tomatoes

For the marinade: In a medium glass bowl, mix together the onions, garlic, oil, vinegar, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Add the fish and squash and marinate at room temperature, about 15 minutes.

For the chimichurri: Combine the basil, parsley, onions, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor bowl, and pulse until the ingredients are just combined and chunky.

Preheat the grill on high. Oil the grates well.

For the fish skewers: Thread the marinated fish and squash onto the soaked skewers, 2 pieces of fish per skewer. Place 1 cherry tomato on the end of each skewer. Place on the grill and cook until lightly charred on the outside and the fish is just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

While the fish is still warm, drizzle with a little basil chimichurri and serve more on the side for dipping.


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Turkey Pad Thai -Under $10

Yield: 4 servings

Total Time: 15min

1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 limes, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges for serving
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded or cubed cooked turkey
8 ounces linguini, broken in half
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 large carrot, grated
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups bean sprouts
3 scallions, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

To make the sauce: In a bowl, pour the boiling water over the brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha and stir. Place the leftover turkey in the pad Thai sauce and let it absorb the flavors while prepping the rest of the dish. Next, prepare the pasta: cook the linguine one minute less than the manufacturer’s directions. Drain, and set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or large saute pan over high heat until very hot, almost smoking. Add the onions and stir fry 1 minute. Add the garlic and stir. Then add the eggs and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the linguini and turkey with sauce and cook, stirring for a few minutes. Remove from heat and toss in grated carrot, peanuts, cilantro, bean sprouts and scallion. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.


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Pineapple and Avocado Salsa- Under $10

Yield: 1.25 cups

Total Time: 25min

1 (14-ounce) can sliced pineapple in juice, drained and juices reserved
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 medium avocado, halved, pitted and flesh cubed
2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves

In a medium bowl, make the dressing by mixing 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice with the lime juice, honey, oil and jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the pineapple and onion. Gently fold in the avocado and cilantro. Let the flavors blend for at least 15 minutes before serving.


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Israeli Couscous Tabouli- Under $10

Yield: 4 servings 

Total Time: 28min

1 cup Israeli couscous
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 scallions, chopped

Bring a medium-size saucepan of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the couscous and cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain the couscous and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and zest with the olive oil to make a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


In a large serving bowl, mix together the couscous, parsley, cilantro, mint, tomatoes, and scallions. Toss with the vinaigrette and season to taste. Allow it to sit for at least a half hour so the flavors can marry.



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