Meals to Help My Mommy  

-Meals Under $20  


As I was growing up and learning how to cook…I watched my mom a lot and many of our conversations were in the kitchen while she was cooking.   

One memory and conversation that sticks out to me is when I asked my mom, “How much does the food cost?” She said, “Why? Are you trying to pay for it?” I said, “Maybe, one day I will.” My mother said, “First of All… Do NOT ask a woman he “cost/price” of anything because then she is going to think you are going to pay for it. Because she figures… “Why else are you asking for the cost?”  

 -My mother ALWAYS gave me advice on how to “deal with women” because one day I’m going to have a girlfriend/wife and she is preparing me to be a “gentleman/good boyfriend/great husband” as she would say. I figured out that these “gentleman” lessons my mommy was giving me were also lessons of “manhood” from a women’s perspective especially since when I talk to my uncles their perspectives were different on that topic because they were “living their manhood out” which is different from just having a “perspective” on what manhood is. Anyway, moving on….


My mom continues with, “Secondly, the cost of the dinner just depends on the meal your planning to prepare. For instance, I am making fried chicken tonight. This is what I consider a “$20 meal” which means that as long as I have $20, we will have a good meal to eat.”   

I was amazed! My mom made fried chicken, potato salad, cabbage, and biscuits all for $20. So, I asked, my mom, “what other meals can you make with $20?” And she said, “I can think of at least 5-10 meals that I can make with $20.      

Below is a list of 5 meals that my mom made under $20 and how she did it!   

The first thing I learned about cooking is  to have good food… you need good prices for the food!   

My mother is very particular where she got her groceries from beside Save A Lot for her vegetables, noodles, and seasonings… She only went to two stores to get her meats from which was “Wilson’s Meat Market” and “Cousin’s Supermarket” unless she was making one of her Caribbean meals which is another specialty store she would go to for her meats and seasonings for that meal.   



Here are the 5 family meals we made that can cost under $20 


Meal #1- Fried Chicken Dinner  

Chicken -$5 for 5lbs of Drumsticks (chicken prices changes depending on the section of the chicken you want. I went with drumsticks because they were the best deal and also my brother and I use to act like we were playing the drums with them too! Why else did they call them drumsticks?  

Potato Salad - $8= Bag of Potatoes $2 for 5lb bag or$3 for 10lb bag, Mayo- 1 jar $3, Mustard & other seasonings $3  

Cabbage $1 per head  

Biscuits $1  

Total meal cost: $15 Feeds: 6-8 people   


Meal #2- Spaghetti and Meatballs  

Meatballs-Ground Beef 5lbs for $10 or Ground Turkey 3lbs for $7  

Spaghetti- $2 for 2 boxes  

Spaghetti Sauce $3 for 2 jars of tomato sauce  

Seasonings- $3  

Garlic Bread -$2  

Total meal cost: Ground Beef $20 Ground Turkey $17 Feeds: 6-8 people  



Meal #3- Chicken Noodle Soup (My favorite meal for the Crockpot)  

Skinless chicken thighs- $10 (We like to keep the bones in the chicken thighs because it helps give the broth flavor.)  

Noodles- $2  

Vegetables (potatoes, carrots, and celery)- $4  

Total meal cost: $16 Feeds: 10-12 people  


Meal #4- Baked Salmon, Yellow Rice, and String Beans  

Salmon- $10 bag of 8-10 Salmon Fillets  

Yellow Rice-$2  

String Beans w/ Turkey parts- $5  

Total meal cost: $17 Feeds 6-8 people  



Meal #5- Baked Chicken, Macaroni & Cheese, Collard Greens  

1 Whole Chicken- $5  

Macaroni & Cheese- $10 (This price includes 3 packs of shredded/block cheese, 1 can of evaporated milk, butter, and seasonings)   

Collard Greens- $2 (This item is a “Cousin’s Supermarket ONLY” because they ALWAYS have greens on sale 3lbs for $1. Collard green prices varies everywhere else.)