Welcome to the third edition of my Dollar Tree Meals series! If you’re unfamiliar, each month I make 3 new meals from Dollar Tree that cost 5 dollars or less to give you ideas on how to eat on a budget. Be sure to check out the other two posts in my series:
Why Dollar Tree Meals?
Sometime 2019, I discovered that there were a lot of people who only had a dollar store nearby, within walking distance, to buy food/groceries. And I feel like God put it on my heart to show others that while it may not be ideal, you CAN eat somewhat healthy using just Dollar Tree food. In fact, I did it for a full week as an experiment.
When I look for meal ideas, I use the following criteria:
- Each meal has to feed at least 3-4 people
- The meal has to cost 5 dollars or less
- The food has to be reasonably healthy
Most of the time, I’m able to hit that mark. I’ve had a few weird creations, but each one has been edible, at least!
The Shopping Trip
Here’s what I picked up for this month’s meals. I was actually somewhat pleased at the selection and knew I could make some decent meals with this! Here’s what’s on the menu:
- Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with french fries and green beans
- Taco soup with black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, and rice, with blueberry muffins
- Waffles topped with berries, sausage links, yogurt
Let’s get started with the meals! To see how I made them, be sure to watch the video below:
3 Dollar Tree dinners
Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
This dinner was super easy to make. I did cheat a little and use butter for the bread, which I didn’t buy at Dollar Tree. Instead of buying the sliced “fake” cheese, I bought a block of actual cheddar and attempted to slice it. It didn’t work so well, but the cheese still melted.
I grilled the sandwiches as usual, and baked the fries in the oven. Actually, I was a bit disappointed in the fries. The picture on the bag showed nice, big steak fries… but when I dumped the bag onto the tray, I just saw bits and pieces. They were still good, but I had to use a fork.
All in all, it was a standard easy meal! The ham only really served 2 (although there were 4 slices and a serving was one slice), but there was enough bread and cheese left over to make grilled cheese and extra fries to eat the next day.
This taco soup had very simple ingredients; all I had to do was dump the cans and simmer the soup. I also added 3-4 cups of water to give the soup more volume. Once again, I cheated and added some seasonings I had at home (Cumin and chili powder); you can buy a taco seasoning packet if you want, but that would have taken me over the 5 dollars.
To give the soup more substance, I also cooked some of the rice in my rice cooker. The great thing about rice is that a bag will last you at least a few meals, so I had some left over to use for later.
And I was hoping my Dollar Tree had cornbread mix, but they didn’t. Instead I bought a bag of Marie Callender’s blueberry muffin mix, which kind of has a cornbread texture. This mix also requires an egg, oil, and milk; so keep that in mind when you buy your ingredients.
I really liked this meal! Even with the spices, I needed to add some salt because the soup didn’t have much flavor. But it made 4 servings and definitely kept me full for awhile!
I hadn’t made a breakfast-for-dinner yet, so I figured it was time! Instead of buying a box of mix, I bought a box of frozen waffles- regular and not chocolate chip, to Allison’s dismay. And I figured I could top the waffles with berries instead of buying syrup. The packages of sausage links only served 2 each, so I had to buy two.
All I had to do was put the waffles in my toaster oven, and then microwave the fruit and sausage. It took maybe 10 minutes to put together; that’s what I call an easy dinner!
The waffles were actually really good. They were nice and crispy, although the juice from the berries made the middle somewhat soggy. The sausage links were Jimmy Dean, so they were just standard sausage; and the yogurt was Dannon. I’d definitely make the waffles again!
I think my favorite meal of the 3 was the grilled ham and cheese. The fries could have been better, but I’m a sucker for sandwiches so those will usually win every time.
Hopefully you’ve gotten a few new ideas on what you can buy at Dollar Tree! It is possible to eat just their food, and eat somewhat healthy for a short period of time. If you have any suggestions on meals or ingredients you want me to use, leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to hear your ideas!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.