$5 Dinners for Four PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Palacios   
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 17:55

$5 Dinners for Four
Don't sacrifice health in your cost-cutting grocery list. One Ohio mom shares her secrets into how to keep your meals nutritious and delicious without breaking the bank.

One summer, a stay-at-home mom realized that something had to give. Her family's budget was pinched, and they didn't have any more "extras" to cut out of their lives. They didn't have cable. They had only the basic cell phone plan. But gas prices were skyrocketing and the bills kept coming.


And that's when Erin Chase came up with the idea to challenge herself to spend $5 or less on every dinner for her family of four — without sacrificing nutrition and health. With her experiences and creativity in-hand, Chase tackled her dilemma and blogged about it every step of the way with After succeeding in her goal and appearing on "Rachel Ray" to tell viewers that eating healthy doesn't have to mean eating expensively, Chase recently released The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook.


Filled with 200 recipes, "Frugal Facts" and advice for how you can become a $5-dinner convert, this book is bound to save you more than the 15 bucks (max) you'll spend to buy it. Each recipe provides a dollar amount you should aim to spend for the particular ingredient, and the frugal facts help tell you how to make that happen. For example, Chase's personal favorite recipe, "Grammy's Pasta Salad" (page 54), advises, "Produce coupons are rare, so when you see them, be sure to put them to good use!"



Among her bits of advice are Chase's four top tips she offers Cincy Chic readers:


1. "Only buy produce that's on sale, and if it's something you don't like or something you've never tried before, experiment. … See what kind of fun meals you can come up with, and encourage your family to try something new."


2. "Keep your eye out for the reduced-price stickers." Also, ask each department where and when are the best places and times to find the reduced-price products.


3. "Incorporate the meats that are on sale into your meal plan for that week. … Protein, unless it's a vegetarian type of protein, it's typically the most expensive part of your meal, so to get it at the lowest sale price or get it marked down is the way that I'm going to be able to work it into a $5 meal for our family." If it doesn't fit into your week's meals, go ahead and put it in the freezer to use in the future.


4. "Use cash. It forces you to stay within your budget and not go over. You have to be in control of what you're buying. You have to have a grocery list." Stick to your list and give yourself a couple dollars leeway, but using cash is the trial-tested best way to stay on budget.


For more information, head to To purchase Chase's book, go to, Barnes & Noble, Borders or


Photographer: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Model: Erin Chase
Location: The McAlpin

Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

More articles by this author

Hairapist in TrainingHairapist in Training
Hairapist in Training As your hair is cut, sculpted and shaped,...
Picking Herself up, Aiming HighPicking Herself up, Aiming High
Picking Herself up, Aiming High After 20 years in business, this...
Last Updated on Monday, 25 January 2010 05:42



We have 311 guests online