Today's pick is stir fry. Nowadays, you can buy frozen meals that you just throw in the skillet and 20 minutes later, they are done. That's great. It is super convenient, but they are typically pricey and typically packed with sodium.
A bag like this (24 oz.) will run you anywhere from $4-$7.
If you're willing to do a tad bit more work, you can do the same thing with fresh ingredients and it's not that hard or costly.
Using these ingredients, I can make about the same portion (actually bigger) for around $2.
I used .75 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I got these on discount for .99 cents a pound because the expiration date was the same day. I just threw them in the freezer. So .75 cent for the chicken. You do not need a whole pound of chicken to feed a family of four. 1/2 lbs - 3/4 lbs is plenty.
I used 1 14.5 oz. bag of Birds Eye vegetables. This cost me $1 at Stop & Shop. You can use generic stir-fry bags (i.e. Stop & Shop brand) or find coupons for these too. I try to buy these bags at $1 - $1.25 each. I also buy frozen vegetables at BJ's. I got 6 lbs of corn there yesterday for $5.29. I love frozen vegetables.
I buy rice in 10 lbs. bag and store it. I cook a cup for us (makes 2 cooked). So I guess a cup would cost about 15 cents?
Needed a splash of olive oil and seasoned with soy sauce. You're talking pennies here for those.
All you do is cut up the chicken in bite sized pieces. Saute it up with some olive oil. When it's pretty much done, you add the bag of frozen vegetables and some soy sauce. Cover and let it simmer on low like the kits. On another burner, you can have your rice cooking. I just throw 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water in a pot and cover on low. Stir on occasion and turn off when there seems to be no water left and let it sit, covered for a while. There is really no reason to invest in a rice cooker or anything like that. You have pots. Use them.
A nice, big portion of chicken stir-fry for pretty cheap.