It’s finally the weekend, and I am sure many of us are ready to relax and take a break from the crazyness of the week. Yet I can’t help but anticipate those inevitable words from the hubby, “What’s for Dinner Tonight?”

So instead of think of this as another opportunity to stress, let’s have a little fun with this, and I’m going to give you some great budget-friendly ideas that will have you humming and singing in the kitchen. These recipes were taken from various websites, and feel free to click on the link below each recipe to get the full play-by-play.

 #1 Super-Easy Chicken Manicotti           Price Per Serving: $1.50


1      jar (25.5 oz) Muir Glen® organic pasta sauce (any variety)

3/4   cup water

1      teaspoon garlic salt

1 1/2     lb uncooked chicken breast tenders (not breaded)

14       uncooked manicotti shells (8 oz)

2        cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)

Chopped fresh basil leaves, if desired


Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, mix pasta sauce and water. Spread about 1/3 of the pasta sauce mixture in ungreased 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish.

Sprinkle garlic salt on chicken. Insert chicken into uncooked manicotti shells, stuffing from each end of shell to fill if necessary. Place shells on pasta sauce in baking dish. Pour remaining pasta sauce evenly over shells, covering completely. Cover with foil.

Bake about 1 hour or until chicken is no longer pink in center and shells are tender. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with basil.

From: Betty Crocker Recipes

# 2 Broccoli Rabe Melts                Price Per Serving: $1.87


1-1 1/2 pounds rabe (1 large bunch)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

A few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes (about 1/4 teaspoon)

Coarse salt, to taste

1 loaf garlic bread, homemade or store-bought

8 ounces smoked mozzarella or provolone cheese, thinly sliced


Heat a medium size pot with 2-3 quarts water to boiling. Chop the broccoli rabe tops into 1-inch pieces, discarding stems and any discolored leaves. Place the tops into the water and boil, 5 minutes. Drain well.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the EVOO, two turns around the pan, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. When the garlic speaks by sizzling in the EVOO, add the broccoli rabe and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with a little salt, to taste.

Lightly brown the garlic bread under the broiler on a cookie sheet. Pile the greens across one half of the entire loaf. Top with cheese and place under the broiler to melt the cheese. Remove and replace the top half of the loaf. Cut the entire loaf into two big wedges.

From: RachaelRay

# 3 Parmesan Breaded Pork Chops          Price Per Serving: $1.38


1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg

2 Tbs. 2% milk

1 cup crushed butter-flavored crackers

3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1/4 cup butter, melted

6 boneless pork loin chops


Place flour in a shallow bowl. In a seperate shallow bowl, whisk egg and milk. In a third shallow bowl, combine the crackers, cheese, salt and pepper. Dip pork in flour, in egg mixture, and then in cracker mixture.

Place butter in a 13-in. x 9-in baking dish; add pork chops. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a thermometer reads 145. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

From: Taste of Home

#4 Broiled Hot Pepper Wings            Price Per Serving: $1.50


2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for oiling rack

5 pounds chicken wings, split, wing tips cut off and discarded

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 cup hot pepper jelly (recommended: Stonewall Kitchens)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 cup hot sauce (recommended: Frank’s)


Preheat the broiler. Line a sheet pan with foil, place a rack on top of the pan and oil the rack.

Toss the wings with the 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the wings on the rack in 1 layer. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat, turning over once, until barely cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan over moderate heat, whisk the hot pepper jelly, lime juice and hot sauce until smooth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer 1 to 2 minutes. Brush 1/4 cup sauce on the cooked wings and broil 1 to 2 minutes. Brush the wings with 1/4 cup sauce again, and then turn the wings over and brush with another 1/4 cup sauce. Broil until crispy about, 2 to 3 minutes. Brush with the remaining sauce before serving.

From: 5 Ingredient Fix

#5 Tilapia Milanese                  Price Per Serving: $2.10


4 6-ounce tilapia fillets

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 large eggs

6 slices white sandwich bread, torn into pieces

1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves

Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving

5 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 cups baby arugula


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Soak the fish in a bowl with the milk and 2 cups ice, 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the flour with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Lightly beat the eggs in another dish. Pulse the bread, parsley, lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until crumbs form, then transfer to a third dish.

One at a time, remove the fillets from the milk and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip in the eggs, then coat with the breadcrumbs, gently pressing to coat both sides. Transfer to a large plate.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Heat 2 tablespoons each olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 fillets and cook until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 2 fillets, adding 2 more tablespoons each olive oil and butter. Transfer the fish to the oven and bake until cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Toss the arugula with the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve the fish with the salad and lemon wedges.

From: Food Network

Enjoy these recipes!

By: Erika Pizzo

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