Need to make dinner on a budget? Here are 3 more cheap and easy dinners you can make at Dollar Tree this week for $5.00 each!
Back in November I decided to start a Dollar Tree Meal series to showcase different dinners you can make for 5 dollars or less. It all started months earlier when I discovered people had an interest in Dollar Tree due to finances, availability, etc. You can read more about my week of eating Dollar Tree food here.
When I shop for Dollar Tree dinners for these posts, I have 3 different criteria:
- Each meal must cost $5.00 or less
- They need to feed a family of 3-4
- The meals need to be relatively healthy. I know you’re limited by Dollar Tree, but I aim to buy at least one vegetable per meal.
This time I wanted to buy foods I’ve never used before, to get a good variety. And boy, did we get a variety! Here are the meals I have planned:
- Macaroni and cheese with tuna and peas/carrots, soft pretzels
- Gnocchi in spaghetti sauce with veggie meatballs and frozen broccoli, spring rolls
- Tamale bowls with yellow rice, black beans, frozen okra, pepperjack cheese
Some of these items don’t seem to go together; and after eating them, I agree with you. But I wanted to try some new things in case they were good enough to use in other meals, and I did find some gems!
Here are 3 more Dollar Tree meals I made to give you some inspiration:
Dollar Tree Dinners
Macaroni and Cheese with Tuna
- 1 box deluxe shells and cheese
- 2 cans of tuna
- 1 16-oz bag frozen peas and carrots
- Frozen soft pretzels
I started by boiling the water for the shells and cheese, and preheated the oven for the pretzels.
Then I put the pretzels in the oven and cooked the shells for a few minutes, adding the bag of frozen veggies toward the end to heat them up.
After draining the water, I added everything back to the pot and added the cheese sauce and the two cans of tuna. By this time, the pretzels were done!
I think this was my favorite of the three meals. It’s just a standard mac and cheese, and is a meal I actually make from time to time. The pretzels were a random side item and added a lot of carbs, but they were SO good. Some cheese sauce would have made them much better, and I’ll definitely buy them again for other uses.
Gnocchi with Veggie Meatballs
- 1 package gnocchi
- 1 can Hunt’s spaghetti sauce
- 1 box frozen veggie meatballs
- 1 16-oz bag frozen broccoli
- 1 box frozen spring rolls
First, I preheated the oven for the spring rolls and boiled water for the gnocchi. Once the spring rolls were in the oven, I boiled the gnocchi for just a couple minutes, then drained and added the spaghetti sauce.
Then I heated up both the broccoli and the meatballs in the microwave. Once everything was fully cooked, I put the gnocchi on a plate, topped it with some meatballs, and placed the broccoli and spring rolls on the side.
This meal was definitely the strangest. I accidentally created a meal with 3 different nationalities- Italian, Asian, and Indian (I didn’t realize the meatballs had Indian spices). By themselves, I think they’d all be great additions to separate meals.
The spring rolls were crispy and super delicious right out of the oven… but not good for leftovers. They became soggy and greasy. The meatballs, being veggie meatballs, were very soft and mushy but had a strong, spicy flavor.
And the broccoli… well, so far, there are two items I don’t recommend you buy from Dollar Tree. One is their frozen chicken sausages. And now it’s the frozen broccoli and California blends. The broccoli had a really weird taste and some of the stalks were really tough and I had to spit out a lot of it.
All I have to say is- You’re welcome for all of the experimenting I’m doing for you!
- 1 can Hormel tamales
- 1 can black beans
- 1 bag yellow rice
- 1 16-oz bag frozen okra
- 1 block Pepperjack cheese
This meal was inspired by a Youtuber named Cheryl Coyote who also does some Dollar Tree Meals. My friend Heather recommended her to me, and Cheryl used the tamales and yellow rice to make a meal- although she added a can of chili. I decided to put my own twist on it!
First I boiled water in a pot and began cooking the entire bag of rice according to the directions. Instead of heating the okra in the microwave, I decided to roast it because I heard it takes away some of the sliminess.
Then I opened the can of tamales, took off the paper from each one, and cut them into smaller pieces. Once the rice was cooked, I added the tamales and the can of drained and rinsed black beans and stirred it all together.
Meanwhile, I cut the block of Pepperjack cheese into small cubes. Last time I bought this block I grated it, but this time I wanted to try something different.
By this time the okra was done, so I assembled the bowl and sprinkled some of the cheese on top.
This meal actually wasn’t too bad. The rice had a good flavor and the beans added some protein. The tamales didn’t seem to have a lot of flavor, and the okra was still kind of slimy but was just fine mixed in with everything. I’d definitely add some sour cream or salsa to it.
That’s it for this month’s Dollar Tree meals! I’m glad I was able to try some new things, and thankful that I finally discovered that the frozen broccoli will never set foot in this house again. I’ll need to get creative next month, because frozen broccoli is a staple here!
Hopefully now you’ve got some inspiration on your own Dollar Tree dinners. Make anything new recently? Share with us in the comments! Any suggestions on new meals or ingredients you want me to try? Let me know!
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.