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5 Restaurant-Worthy Meals Your Family (And Wallet) Will Love

Going out to eat is one of my family’s favorite pastimes. I love the joy of eating a delicious meal together paired with laughter and good conversation (and of course the luxury of not having to cook or clean up afterwards makes it that much better). Then the bill comes – and we remember why this is a special treat that we can’t afford to do all the time!

The average American household spends about $3,500 per year on dining out – that’s nearly $300 per month. By preparing some of your favorite dishes at home, you could be saving more for the things you and your family really want and need.

Here are 5 meals you can dish up at home for a fraction of the cost.

teriyaki stir fry

1. Chicken Teriyaki with Stir Fried Vegetables

Adapted from Fed by SAB

  • PREP TIME: 10 minutes 
  • COOK TIME: 20 minutes 
  • TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes 
  • SERVINGS: 6

INGREDIENTS: CHICKEN MARINADE

  • 4 chicken breast, boneless skinless
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or grated (approx. 1 tablespoon)
  • ½ tablespoon ginger, fresh grated (or ¼ tsp dry ginger powder)
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

INGREDIENTS: VEGETABLES

  • ½ medium cabbage, sliced into strips
  • 2 medium onions, sliced into strips
  • 2 medium carrots, very thinly sliced into rings
  • 2 cups bean sprouts, approx. half a bag
  • 2 green onion
  • 1 tablespoon oil, for cooking

INGREDIENTS: TERIYAKI SAUCE – 1.5 cups teriyaki sauce, store bought or homemade (I like this recipe by Cookie and Kate)

ACCOMPANIMENTS: Cooked rice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Thinly slice chicken breast. Place in large bowl and add all marinade ingredients. Marinate for at least 10 minutes.
  2. If using homemade teriyaki sauce prepare teriyaki sauce according to recipe. If using store bought teriyaki sauce skip this step.
  3. Heat a large nonstick frying pan and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add marinated chicken to frying pan and spread chicken out into a thin layer. Press the chicken pieces flat down against the frying pan to sear.
  4. Cook chicken for 3-4 minutes, and then flip and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce over chicken and toss to coat. Remove chicken from pan and cover if desired to keep warm.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the frying pan. Add the onion and carrots to frying pan and cook 5-10 minutes until fully cooked, until tender crisp. 
  6. Stir in the bean sprouts and remaining teriyaki sauce. Simmer 2-3 minutes until beansprouts are cooked. 
  7. Plate vegetables and top with the chicken. Serve with rice.
homemade pizza

2. Easy Homemade Pizza

Adapted from a Food Network recipe.

  • PREP TIME: 20 min
  • COOK TIME: 30 min
  • TOTAL TIME: 40 min 
  • SERVINGS: 2 12-inch pizzas

INGREDIENTS: PIZZA DOUGH

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F.)
  • 2 ½-3 cups flour plus more if necessary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

INGREDIENTS: PIZZA SAUCE

  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 TBS dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp crushed red peppers (optional)
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste

INGREDIENTS: TOPPINGS – Top with your favorite vegetables, meats, herbs, and cheeses

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PIZZA DOUGH

  1. In a large bowl, combine yeast with water, olive oil, salt and stir well. Let stand for 5 min. 
  2. After 5 minutes, add half of the flour and mix well to thoroughly incorporate. Add all remaining flour except 1/2 cup and mix well with your hands. 
  3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead dough for 5-7 minutes, adding enough additional flour as necessary to form a smooth and elastic dough (dough should not be sticky).
  4. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. 
  5. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes
  6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
  7. Divide dough in half and form into two balls. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. 
  8. Let rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface, shape as desired and roll out (using a floured rolling pin or glass bottle) to a thickness of 1/4-inch. 
  9. Transfer dough to a pizza pan or cookie sheet and top with toppings of choice. 
  10. Bake until crispy and golden brown, usually 12 to 18 minutes (depending on the toppings).
  11. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PIZZA SAUCE

  1. Mix all ingredients, let stand for 15-30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. 
salmon and veggies

3. Sheet Pan Garlic Butter-Roasted Salmon with Roasted Potatoes and Vegetables

Adapted from eatingwell.com recipe by Carolyn Casner

  • PREP TIME: 15 min
  • COOK TIME: 30 min
  • TOTAL TIME: 45 min 
  • SERVINGS: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound baby Yukon Gold or Red potatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
  • ½ teaspoon other seasonings as desired (parsley, dill, oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, dried onion or garlic, herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning are good options)
  • 12 ounces asparagus, trimmed (or can use any other vegetables you like – try zucchini, onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, etc)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ¼ pounds salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 4 portions
  • Chopped parsley and/or scallions/green onions for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 
  2. Toss potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper together in a medium bowl. Add other seasonings as desired.
  3. Spread in an even layer on a large-rimmed baking sheet. Roast until starting to soften and brown, about 15 minutes.
  4. Toss asparagus with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt (omit if limiting sodium) and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in the medium bowl. 
  5. Combine butter, lemon juice, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if limiting sodium) and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.
  6. Sprinkle salmon with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt (omit if limiting sodium). Move the potatoes to one side of the pan. Place the salmon in the center of the pan; drizzle with the butter mixture. Spread the asparagus and/or other vegetables on the empty side of the pan. 
  7. Roast until the salmon is just cooked through and the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. 
  8. Garnish with fresh parsley and/or scallions/green onions.
tacos el pastor

4. Tacos Al Pastor 

Adapted from muydelish.com

  • PREP TIME: 25 min (+4 hr marinating time)
  • COOK TIME: 30 min
  • TOTAL TIME: 55 min 
  • SERVINGS: 4

INGREDIENTS: FOR THE MEAT

  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (pork sirloin or thin boneless pork chops may be used too) sliced thinly – about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tsp Kosher or sea salt (omit if limiting sodium)
  • 2 cups Al Pastor Adobo Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil or more if needed
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced

GARNISHES

  • ½ fresh pineapple or 1 can of pineapple, diced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed and chopped
  • Your favorite salsa
  • Fresh lime wedges

ACCOMPANIMENTS: Served with warmed corn tortillas

INSTRUCTIONS 

  1. Trim the pork shoulder or loin off any excess fat. Cut the meat into thin slices, about ¼ inch thick.
  2. Season the pork with salt on both sides (if using). 
  3. Place the meat slices in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over them, ensuring that each slice is coated evenly. Cover and let the meat marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.
  4. Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet to medium-high heat and add two tablespoons of oil. Cook the meat slices until they are nicely browned and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  5. Cook in separate batches so that you don’t overcrowd the skillet. Note: Clean the skillet  as needed between batches to remove the burnt marinade. Add a little more oil between each batch of meat. Transfer the meat to a dish as it cooks.
  6. When the meat is all cooked, cut into thin small strips and return to the dish. Set aside.
  7. In same skillet, add a tablespoon of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and saute until soft. Add the sliced meat back in the skillet and combine with the onions.
  8. Assemble the tacos
  9. Warm up your corn tortillas by lightly charring them on a hot skillet or directly over a flame. Alternatively you can wrap a stack of corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30-60 seconds. 
  10. Assemble the tacos – Fill each tortilla with a generous amount of the cooked meat, and top it off with diced pineapple, chopped cilantro, finely chopped onions, salsa and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
  11. Serve with extra lime wedges on the side
red thai curry

5. Thai Red Curry with Chicken

Adapted from the Woks of Life recipe.

  • PREP TIME: 20 min
  • COOK TIME: 10 min
  • TOTAL TIME: 30 min 
  • SERVINGS: 4

INGREDIENTS: FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs
  • (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable, canola, or peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce (substitute tamari or fish sauce to make gluten-free)

INGREDIENTS: FOR THE REST OF THE DISH:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable, canola, or peanut oil oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced or grated, ~1-2 TBS)
  • 1 small piece of fresh ginger (minced or grated, ~1-2 TBS)
  • 2-4 ounces Thai red curry paste (depending on preference for spice level)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (or palm sugar)
  • 1 small onion (cut into small wedges)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 4 ounces green beans (ends trimmed, and cut in half)
  • 1 5-ounce can bamboo shoots (drained)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk 
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
  • Fresh cilantro and/or chopped green onions (for garnish, optional)

ACCOMPANIMENTS: Serve with cooked rice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine the sliced chicken with the water, cornstarch, oil, and oyster sauce. Mix well to combine, and set aside for 15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients for the dish.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, heat a wok or cast iron/carbon steel skillet until it just starts to smoke. Add 1 tablespoon oil, and spread it around to coat. Add the chicken, and stir-fry until the chicken is mostly cooked and lightly browned. Turn off the heat, remove the chicken to a bowl, and set aside.
  3. Over medium-low heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, along with the garlic and ginger, and fry for 1 minute until fragrant. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the curry paste, and fry for another minute. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Add the onion, bell pepper, green beans, bamboo shoots, and fish sauce, and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until the onions begin to wilt.
  5. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. (Avoid boiling it too high)
  6. Stir in the chicken, and simmer for 1 more minute. Stir in the Thai basil. 
  7. Garnish with cilantro and/or chopped green onions if desired and serve with rice. 

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Happy cooking!

Shannon Hertzog

Shannon Hertzog

Shannon Hertzog is a Registered Dietitian and Certified in Diabetes Care and Education working in community health. She is passionate about helping others reach their health and wellness goals, even while on a budget. She loves the opportunity to share her expertise with the Birch community and give back to an organization that has been so helpful to her and her family.