$10 buck dinners!

Well balanced meals for a family of 4. $10 or less!

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Blackeyed Peas with Shank and Bayou Style Dirty Rice

I usually do my blackeyed peas with bacon, but sometimes I find one meat cheaper than the other. On this occasion, bacon ends were sold out and beef shank was on special for $1.99 per lb. Decision made. Same recipe, different meat. But, not only did I find a great deal on beef shank, the Manager’s special was spicy sausage for $.59 per lb. That just screamed, dirty rice!

Now, before you hammer me. I’ve done dirty rice the traditional way and my way and our family has decided on ‘my’ way. I’ve had people tell me that ‘my’ way is Bayou style, but I don’t know. I just know I was in a hurry and I wanted it more like a jambalaya. Moist, flavorful. I just know we love it. Hope you do too!

Oh, and like I said before! Traditionally, blackeyed peas are served on New Years and are said to bring good luck. Good food that brings good luck. What are you waiting for? Add it to the menu!

Black-Eyed Peas:

1 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and cleaned – $.98
1 lb Beef Shank – $2.00
1 Tbsp garlic, minced – pantry
1 Tbsp olive oil or butter – pantry
1 medium yellow onion, diced – $.45
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper – pantry
2 bay leaves – pantry
1 Tbsp Soul Season or Cajun Spice – pantry
1-2 quarts chicken stock, or water (I add 1 Tbsp bouillon to water, it’s cheaper) – pantry

COST: $3.43

In a large pot, sear beef shank till brown on each side. When seared, add onion to shank and saute for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Next, add butter and garlic and cook for just a minute or so. Add beans and fill pot with water, at least 2 inches above peas. Add soul seasoning, pepper, bay leaves and bouillon powder. Stir, cover and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Make sure to watch that liquid doesn’t run down.

At the end of 1 1/2 hours, remove lid and bring to rapid simmer. Cook for another 30 mins or until liquid cooks down and peas are nice and tender.

Dirty Rice:

1 lb spicy sausage (I used Italian) – $2.15
1 medium yellow onion, chopped – $.45
1 Large green bell pepper, chopped – $.77
1/2 cup diced celery – $.20
1 cup uncooked white, long grain rice – $.25
1 Tbsp Soul or Cajun seasoning – pantry
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper – pantry
2 bay leaves – pantry
1 tsp lard or canola oil – pantry
1 tsp fresh thyme (or dried) – pantry
1 tsp fresh minced garlic – pantry
1/4 – 1/2 tsp dried oregano – pantry
2 cups chicken stock, or water (if you use water, add some bouillon for flavor) – pantry

COST: $3.82
Place a large heavy pot over medium heat, and cook sausage until slightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Remove sausage from pan and set aside.

In same pan, add lard or oil, onion, celery, bell peppers, and garlic to the pot. Saute over low heat for 3-5 minutes. Add sausage back, the salt, pepper, soul seasoning, thyme and oregano.

Last, stir in rice and cook 5 more minutes. Now, add stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to slow simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 more minutes before serving. Great with beans, peas, greens. You name it!

Side Salad:

1/2 head Iceberg lettuce and large handful of mixed greens – $.70
1 Large Roma Tomato, sliced or diced – $.15
1 orange Pepper, sliced – $.50
Salt and Pepper to taste – pantry

COST: $1.35

Corn Muffins:

1 cup yellow corn meal – .25
1 cup flour – .25
1/3 cup sugar – .20
1 egg – .13
1 cup milk – .25
3 tablespoons melted butter – .20
1 tsp salt – pantry
2 1/2 tsp baking powder – pantry

COST: $1.28

Preheat oven to 400.  Combine corn meal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt until well mixed.

Beat egg, add milk. Pour milk and egg mixture into dry ingredients, stirring until mixed. Add melted butter and mix again, briefly.

Bake for 15-20 mins in a greased shallow pan or muffin tins. Serve hot with butter! Yummmm.


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Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

My father is law is the master at gumbo, so I’m in no way trying to compete. But my kiddo asked for gumbo over jambalaya the other day and I figured, why not? Chicken and Andouille gumbo has got to taste delicious, even if it’s not the authentic version. And boy was I right! Great flavor, pretty healthy and perfect for the crockpot or dutch oven meal that no one has to watch. That’s exactly what I did. Prepared it and left. A few hours later, we came back to a house smelling oh so yummy. Perfect!

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo:

1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts (they’ve been on sale lately) – $3.97
1/2 to 1 lb Andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces – $1.59 (Mgrs special. Make sure and check for those)
2-3 Tbsp lard or Olive oil (your preference) – pantry
1 medium onion, diced – $.35
1 cup largely diced zucchini (or substitute with Okra. You could even add both!) – $.60
2-3 stalks celery, diced – $.40
1/4 cup chopped green onions – $.30
1 can diced tomato (14oz) – $.69
1 small can tomato sauce (8oz) – $.29
1/4 cup flour – pantry
4 cups chicken stock (I add chicken bouillon to water, it’s cheaper) – pantry
2 tsp Salt – pantry
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper – pantry
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce – pantry
2 tsp crushed garlic – pantry
2 bay leaves – pantry
1/2 tsp fresh thyme – pantry
1 tsp cayenne and a few dashes of Louisiana Hot sause (hot sauce optional)- pantry
1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice – $.30

COST: $8.19

In a large pot or dutch oven, brown Andouille over medium heat. Once cooked, remove the sausage, but leave the fat. Add additional lard or oil to the fat. My butcher makes their own sausage and I buy them on Manager special. They are very lean. If I use packaged, I notice it renders a lot more fat. So, for lean meat, I add 3 Tbsps oil and for fattier meats, only 2 Tbsps additional oil.

Next, heat the fat and oil up to medium/medium high heat and add flour, stirring constantly and until flour becomes brown in color. Once brown, turn heat down to low and add zucchini, onion, garlic, celery and okra.

Give a quick stir and slowly pour in chicken stock. Once stock is in the pot, give a nice, good stir to make sure the roux is incorporated with the liquid. Now add the tomatoes and tomato sauce, green onions, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt, Cayenne, black and hot sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Cut chicken into large chunks and add to boiling mixture. Give a good stir, then add back the browned Andouille and reduce gumbo to slow simmer. Cover and cook for 2 1/2 hours.

After cooking is complete, you can remove chicken from gumbo and shred, then return to pot or just use the back of your ladle to break apart the chicken while it’s in the gumbo. Continue simmering while you prepare your rice and don’t forget to adjust the seasoning if necessary.


Pour rice into pot. Make sure your pot has a good lid. Add water to pot until it’s above the rice, precisely to your first finger tip knuckle line. Cover and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to slow simmer. Cook 20 mins and leave covered. DO NOT LIFT LID BEFORE 20 MINS!

GRAND TOTAL: $8.19 (I also made some quick corn bread muffins to accompany the meal. You could add a salad or french bread. It’s your choice! Add $1.53 if you do corn bread.

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