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Back to school dinner recipes for less

Molly Cerreta Smith has enjoyed a career in the publishing industry for more than 10 years. As an editor of several regional magazines, she has had the opportunity throughout her career to meet many local celebrities, businesspeople, ent...

Dirt cheap dinners

To help ease your budget for back to school dinners, we've come up with easy and inexpensive recipes for less. Check out these easy and yummy dinner ideas .

Grilled mushroom burger

Feed a family of four for less than $8

Chicken is generally less expensive than red meat and if you purchase a large "bulk" pack, you can save even more. When you get home from the market, trim each breast and divide them in packets that are appropriate for your family (or the recipe you'll be needing the chicken for). If you're not going to be using the chicken for a few days or until later in the month, go ahead and freeze the additional parceled out chicken packages. Be sure to use freezer bags to ensure longer shelf life in the freezer sans freezer burn. With a few simple swap-outs, you can make Beef and Broccoli a Chicken and Broccoli Ramen dish instead!

Click here for the chicken and broccoli ramen recipe >>

Save $7… and the planet

Skipping out on meat for just one night a week not only saves money, it could save the planet, too. Scientists at the University of Chicago say that if every person in the US had just one meat-free night a week, it would mean the energy equivalent of 12 billion fewer gallons of gasoline each year. Every 2.2 pounds of beef not consumed can remove as much carbon dioxide from the air as not driving a car 155 miles. If you think you can't go just one night without a steak, try a grilled Portobello mushroom instead. You'll get the meaty flavor of a steak without the hit to your wallet or the world. Since a New York strip can run about $10 at the market and a two-pack of Portobello mushroom caps is just about $3, you'll save $7!

Click here for our Portobello mushroom burger with mozzarella and roasted red pepper recipe >>

Quick tip: Before you go grocery shopping, prepare your list, then decide what dinners/lunches you'll be making in a specific order. This way, if there are certain fruits and veggies that you won't be able to use until later in the week, you can buy the frozen version instead of the fresh and risk having it go bad (and go to waste!) before you get a chance to eat it.

Chicken noodle salad for $2.50 a serving

The rotisserie chickens are one of the yummiest deals in the market. With a little creativity, you can use the rotisserie chicken in countless ways. For a quick and delicious dirt cheap dinner, all you have to do is pick up a rotisserie chicken and combine a few healthy ingredients. Voila! Cheap and easy. Can it get any better? Oh yea, it's healthy too.

Click here for our easy chicken noodle salad recipe >>

Use your leftovers and save

Now that you have half a rotisserie chicken in your fridge leftover from last night's chicken noodle salad, you can put that to use for a second back-to-school dinner on the cheap. You can make a totally new dinner for four using some of the same ingredients you did in last night's dinner. When you are doing your grocery shopping for the week, try to plan out your meals using similar ingredients presented in new ways to make the most out of your groceries and save money. This recipe uses some of the ingredients in last night's dinner in a whole new way.

Click here for chicken mozzarella pita pockets >>

More back-to-school food ideas

7 After-school snack recipes with veggies
Top 10 Microwaveable after-school snacks
Back to school food dos and don'ts

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