BROOKE’S BARGAINS: Low-cost meals that will leave your family begging for more

Brooke's Bargains - Dinner for dollars

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The average American family spends four thousand dollars a year on groceries - and guess what - Consumer Reports says 15-hundred of that is *wasted! So Brooke’s Bargains looked into dinners for dollars that’ll have your family - and asking for seconds.

We started with Abby Rosen from Caridad Community Kitchen in Tucson. She’s learned from Food Bank clients who know how to stretch a dollar. One of their key ingredients is beans. They help your stretch dishes and use less meat, lowering your grocery bill.

“The beans are really nutrient dense, so when you eat them, you’re not just getting filler,” Rosen said. “You feed your body in different ways.”

She recommends letting the beans cook on low in a crock pot all day.

“While you’re organizing the family, throw on a pot of water, drop in the pasta and your tomato sauce and mixed vegetables, top it on your pasta and serve with a slice of bread,” Rosen said.

We found secrets to stretching your dollar even more:

Many foods are cheaper at night - like a $3 rotisserie chicken that can then be used in three meals! Or, do BFD - breakfast for dinner one night, go meatless another.

Always keep sauce on hand - you can top it with cheese and toast it up on English muffins or tortillas for a cheap and easy main dish.

Like beans, eggs are another versatile source of protein. And, smart shoppers know, always buy whatever produce is in season to keep your meals healthy, delicious, and budget friendly.

Brooke’s favorite money-saving meal is ravioli lasagna. The cost for the meal is about $6 when the ingredients are on sale.

Here’s the recipe:


  • 1 jar spaghetti or your choice tomato sauce
  • 1 package frozen ravioli with your choice of filling (thawed)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice


  • Preheat oven to 400ºF
  • Pour enough pasta sauce to cover bottom of a 9x9 baking dish
  • Add 1/3 of the raviolis in an even layer and top with more sauce and cheese
  • Repeat the layers two more times, ending with the cheese
  • Cover and place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes
  • Remove the foil and allow to cook uncovered 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown
  • Remove from oven, let stand for 10 minutes
  • Serve warm

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