Best main dishes that feed four for four dollars

Try these versatile main dishes which are ready to eat in about 30 minutes and are a good buy for your nutrition dollar.

Give me four dollars and I’ll give you a healthy and easy to make entrée to feed four people. Yes, that would be one dollar or less per serving. It would be cheaper than a fast food burger and better for your heart and soul. Do you really want all of that fat and sodium from fast food? Who doesn’t feel a sense of accomplishment when feeding their family well? These are versatile main dishes that are ready to eat in about 30 minutes and are a good buy for your nutrition dollar.

Quiche
Try quiche either with or without a crust.  Change it up – vegetable, meat, just cheese, or use up tiny bits of left overs – quiche is never boring because you never have to make it the same way twice. Good for breakfast lunch and dinner. Quiche can be high in vitamin A, calcium and protein. Add lots of vegetables and go crustless for a low-fat version.  Many people can find these staple ingredients in their refrigerator and will spend only a dollar or two for the whole pie. Serve with fruit for a meal.Store leftovers properly and reheat to 165 degrees to avoid foodborne illness.

Minestrone Soup
This hearty soup is so heart healthy and loved by many. For the cost of one of those premium canned or boxed soups you can make enough to serve six with a fraction of the sodium and with your favorite vegetables in the proportion that your family prefers. This recipe is basic, add whatever else you like. I always throw in a little garlic, maybe you would like to spice it up with red pepper flakes. Serve leftovers on top of a baked potato for lunch. With just the basic recipe your family will get a third of the fiber they need in a day, only 1.5 grams of fat, and a good shot of lycopene for heart health and cancer prevention. Have an egg salad whole wheat wrap with your soup to boost your protein.

Quesadillas
With easy to find whole grain and high-fiber tortillas (use the extras from the meal above), good low-fat cheese options, and a perfect opportunity to use up leftovers, you are only a few minutes away from a tasty main dish. These are kid friendly – start with the cheese and let everyone add what they like. Canned or leftover chicken is put to good use in this recipe, but veggies, beans, and mushrooms can all be used. Get up to a third of your calcium for the day, between 25 and 50 percent of the daily requirement for fiber, and if you use black beans you will have a healthy dose of potassium and magnesium as well. No fast food burger can top this.

Healthy and inexpensive meals are possible, but having a well-stocked pantry can be the difference between stopping at the burger joint or having the time and energy to prepare a meal with your family. Stock your pantry, learn to make versatile recipes, and hear your wallet and waistline sigh with relief.

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