Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Thrifty Meals Around $5 Or Less - Taco Salad

You can make a taco salad as thrifty or as elaborate as you like.  I've even made them with the tortilla bowls, which are inexpensive to make and quite delicious.  Here is a thrifty version we enjoyed one evening that was more than satisfying.

For the base of the salad I wanted a nice assortment of greens.  I chopped up a third of a head of Romaine lettuce, added a healthy handful of baby spinach leaves and a fourth of a bag of shredded cabbage mix.  I use this as the base for a lot of my salads, actually.

I browned and drained a pound of ground beef with half a diced onion.  Then I added half a packet of taco seasoning with 1/3 of a cup of water.  I stirred it around until the water had cooked off and was left with a lovely pan of seasoned taco meat.

For toppings I served it with half a can of black olives we sliced, a cup of shredded cheddar cheese and a small bowl of tortilla chips to crumble on top.  I also set out a jar of salsa a friend had given us (because she doesn't like the spicy stuff) and some homemade Buffalo Ranch dressing.

Here is the breakdown:

1# lean ground beef - $1.89
Lettuce - $.43
Spinach - $.40
Cabbage - $.24
Onion - $.15
Cheese - $.50
Olives - $.50
Tortilla chips - $.25

Grand Total = $4.36

Everything I used was purchased on sale which helps curb the cost quite a bit.  There was more than enough here for four people or in our case a mom and her two ravenous teenage girls.  In fact everyone had seconds.  I could have added taco bowls and probably still come in under $5.

Good, healthy food doesn't really have to cost a lot.

In some cases costs are approximated.  Groceries prices vary depending on where you live.  I don't include condiments, oils, herbs and spices when I figure the cost of a meal as it would be incredibly tedious to do so.  Plus condiments are subjective as each person uses more or less.


  1. do you mind sharing the recipe for the buffalo ranch dressing? Thanks!

    1. Literally I add Franks RedHot sauce to homemade dressing. Super simple!

      You can make this creamy Italian dressing and add the hot sauce to it. We use this recipe a lot:

  2. Isn't is amazing how much food a teenager can eat? Where does it all go? Why are they hungry one hour after eating?
    Nevermind trying to answer. It was rhetorical. I was just wondering out loud...something I do every time I open the refrigerator. Where did all the (fill in the blank) go?

    1. Exactly! I've had that conversation with myself many times. They are just bottomless pits. :)


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