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The Cookstr Weekly: Ten Dinners Under Ten Dollars

September 8, 2014

If I’m going to splurge, it’s likely not going to be on this-season designer jeans or a shiny new gadget. It’ll probably be on a set of dry-aged rib eyes, or some really spectacular chocolate, or a must-have cheese. My splurges are usually edible, and I enjoy them for all they’re worth. But most nights, I’m just trying to get a delicious, inventive, and inexpensive dinner on the table.

These recipes will help. At under ten dollars a plate, they’re not just plain old spaghetti, but they certainly won’t break the bank. So you can save up for those fall fashions…or, if you’re like me, maybe some truffle oil. 

Warmest regards,


Kara Rota
Editorial Director


  Swiss Chard, Rotini, and Cannellini Beans in Parmesan Broth
  by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord

 All too often, people toss away the rinds from their Parmesan, not realizing what flavorful bounty they are. Just like the greens from leeks or the bones of a chicken, these scraps have tons of flavor if you know how to coax it out. Stuff a chicken with Parmesan rinds before roasting; toast them under a broiler and use them as Parmesan “croutons”; or pop them into a pot and simmer them to make a hypnotic Parmesan broth. This aromatic brew is sure to lure anyone nearby into the kitchen. The flavor is salty, nutty, and unmistakably cheesy. Fortified with a bit of pasta, hearty Swiss chard, and cannellini beans, it results in a soup that is satisfying, inexpensive, and easy to make.

– Stephanie Stiavetti & Garrett McCord

Eggplant Lasagne by Mary Ann Esposito


 Parmesan Chicken by Ruth Reichl

Italian Sausages with Lentils by Nigella Lawson

Jan’s Tuscan Meatloaf with Roasted Red Potatoes

by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann 




 I’ve talked about how Thursday nights were pasta nights in our house when I was growing up. Otherwise known as: the nights I would starve. I was such a little jerk. For a few years, I’d have a breakdown on Thursdays because I just really did not like tomato sauce and did not want to eat pasta. Then I learned to eat cereal, and soon enough, learned to coat my noodles in tons of melted butter, garlic salt, and Parmesan cheese. That was a good day. All was right in the world.

But because of this, lasagna wasn’t something I went after. There isn’t one ounce of Italian blood in my family (all right, maybe there is SOMEWHERE way way back), so that should at least explain this whole not-liking-sauce mess.

I’ve always loved the idea of lasagna, though: the layers, the noodles, the cheese upon cheese upon cheese. If only it could be something other than red-sauced and meaty.

So now it is.” 


– Jessica Merchant, Seriously Delish

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