5 easy weeknight recipes for $50 from dietitian Maya Feller

March 15, 2024

Nutritionist and registered dietitian joined “Good Morning America” on Thursday to share a handful of easy dinner ideas that won’t break the bank.

PHOTO: Registered dietitian Maya Feller shares her shopping list and recipes for healthy meals under $50.

Registered dietitian Maya Feller shares her shopping list and recipes for healthy meals under $50.

ABC News

“It was really hard to get down to five meals for $50. I leaned into the center of the grocery store — [that] has those shelf stable goods for good cost savings,” Feller said. “The other thing is shop on sale and home process, so if there’s greens on sale then you bag them at your home and freeze them yourself.”

Feller shared a full grocery list, along with the basic pantry staples every home cook will need to have on hand, to make her five delicious and healthy recipes for under $50.

Maya’s Master Grocery List: $49.59 total
1 1/2 lbs bone-in pork loin (rib cut) – $5.00
1 package low sodium vegetable bullion – $1.39
1 stalk celery bunch – $1.99 (price per bunch)
1 Candy Crisp Apple – $0.56 each
1 bag of Vidalia onions – $2.85
1 bag collard greens – $2.29
1 1/2 lb cod – $10.99
1 red bell pepper – $1.05
3 garlic bulbs – $1.89
1 (16-ounce) package of whole-wheat macaroni – $1.19
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables – $2.99
1 bag of broccoli & carrot slaw – $2.99
8 chicken drumsticks – $3.22 ($5.65 for a pack of 14)
8 oz pack cheddar cheese – $2.65
32 oz low-fat buttermilk – $2.49
2 large eggs – $0.83 ($2.49 per half dozen)
2 scallions – $1.00 (price per bunch)
2 13.5 fl oz can full-fat coconut milk – $0.99
1 16oz bag split peas – $1.32 (price for 16 oz)
2 Roma tomatoes – $0.54

Master pantry staples list
Apple cider vinegar
Olive oil
Baking powder
Baking soda
Whole-wheat all-purpose flour
Yellow cornmeal

Master spice list
Black pepper
Ground cinnamon
Ground nutmeg
Garlic powder
Red pepper flakes
Dried thyme
Dried bay leaf

Dutch oven pork chops and seasoned white rice

PHOTO: A plate of pork over rice topped with apples.

A plate of pork over rice topped with apples.

ABC News

1 1/2 lbs bone-in pork loin, trimmed
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 stalks of celery, cut into matchsticks
1 Candy Crisp apple
1 Vidalia onion thinly sliced
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup white rice
1/2 cube low sodium vegetable bullion

Place the pork chops on a rimmed baking sheet. Season both sides with vinegar, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg.
In a Dutch oven, bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat.
Add the pork chops and cook for 3 minutes or until the exterior is browned. Transfer to a plate.
Add celery, apple, and onion to the pot, making a bed.
Place the pork chops on top and cover. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, taking care not to overcook.
Serve each pork chop with generous spoonfuls of apple, celery, and onion on the side.
Cook rice according to package directions with bullion and water

White fish with collards, red peppers and seasoned white rice

PHOTO: White fish with collards, red peppers and seasoned white rice.

White fish with collards, red peppers and seasoned white rice.

ABC News

1 1/2 lbs of cod
1 scallion, thinly sliced greens and whites
1/2 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic minced
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
1 bunch of collard greens cut into thin ribbons
Salt & black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Season fish on both sides with salt and black pepper top with scallions.
Arrange fish on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 min until the flesh is opaque.
For the greens: Over a medium flame in a heavy-bottomed pan add oil, onion, garlic and peppers and saute for 3-5 min.
Add collards and cook for an additional 15 minutes until the leaves become soft, adding water or bullion as needed. Remove from heat and set aside.
Plate, one piece of fish, a portion of collards and rice

Veggie mac and cheese with broccoli stalk slaw

For the mac and cheese
1 (16-ounce) package of whole-wheat macaroni
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup reduced-fat milk
2 cups grated reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 bag frozen mixed veggies
1 bag of broccoli and carrot slaw
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil

For the slaw
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper

For the slaw: Combine ingredients, mix well and set aside.
For the mac and cheese: Cook macaroni according to package instructions.
Drain the macaroni, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water for the cheese sauce. Rinse under cold running water, and transfer to a large bowl.
In a large cast iron skillet, warm the pasta water over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and frozen veggies. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
Stir in the milk and cheese until a thick liquid is formed. It should be about the consistency of a smoothie. Add the pasta to the cheese mixture and mix thoroughly so the ingredients are evenly dispersed.
Cover the skillet tightly with aluminum foil, transfer to the oven, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is well melted. Uncover and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown.

Savory skillet cornbread and baked chicken

PHOTO: Savory skillet cornbread and baked chicken.

Savory skillet cornbread and baked chicken.

ABC News

For the cornbread
1 cup whole-wheat all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large zucchini, grated
1 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 bunch scallions, finely chopped
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons olive oil

For the Baked Chicken
1/8 tsp Paprika
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 finely chopped vidalia onion
8 chicken drumsticks
1/4 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

For the cornbread: Preheat the oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil cast iron skillet with olive oil.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
In a large bowl, gently whisk the zucchini, cheese, scallions, buttermilk, eggs, and oil together.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir until just combined, taking care not to overmix, and pour into the prepared skillet.
Transfer the skillet to the oven, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

For the chicken: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine paprika, garlic, thyme, Vidalia onion, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add chicken and set aside for 30-60 minutes.
Place the marinated chicken in an ovenproof dish and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the internal temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit has been reached. At this point, rotate the chicken.
Remove from oven and finish with dried parsley (optional), serve with a slice of cornbread.

Ital stew

PHOTO: A bowl of Maya Feller's Ital Stew.

A bowl of Maya Feller’s Ital Stew.

ABC News

1 Vidalia onion, diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced greens and whites
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
4 bay leaves
1 (15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1 cube low-sodium vegetable bouillon
5 cups water
2 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup split peas

In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, place the onion, scallions, garlic, and oil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and taking care not to burn the garlic.
Add 1 cup of water and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add the thyme, bay leaves, coconut milk, broth, and split peas, and cook uncovered over medium-high heat for 8 minutes.
Next, add the tomatoes, salt, and cook for 30 to 45 minutes.
To serve, spoon the stew into a bowl and garnish with a wedge of lime and fresh cilantro (optional).

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