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Cook Some Fabulous One-Dish Meals That Won’t Break the Bank

Whether you consider yourself a gourmet or a beginner cook, planning for easy and budget-friendly everyday fare is always a daunting task. This week, try giving fried foods, canned goods, and preserved meats a rest and sample these one-dish meals that combine meat and vegetables in easy and light-on-the-wallet recipes. The good news is, they’re quick to do and deliciously creative. Just remember the following time and money saver tips:


Have a handy grocery list. It allows you to plan for a week’s worth of family activities. And it’ll get you in and out of the supermarket without purchasing items you don’t need. 

Buy less expensive cuts of meat. Instead of expensive beef cuts for grilled steaks and roasts, go for cheaper cuts like brisket, oyster blade and chuck rib. They’re perfect for stews, casseroles and slow cooker recipes that can feed a big family. You can also mix in extenders like vegetables, potatoes and noodles. 

Do a double take on supermarket house brands. They’re similar in taste and quality to name brands but are comparatively cheaper. So before buying your favorite ketchup, cooking oil, meats, and other household needs, do a road test with the house brands. The results just might surprise you.


Spicy Tuyo Rice with Chinese Sausage and Green Mango Salsa

It’s a great one-dish meal that packs a punch on the entire food pyramid in one super easy stir-fry! Make a double batch, store in the freezer for up to two weeks, and pop in the microwave oven when you don’t have the time to prepare something for the kids in the morning. Great for BYOB (bring your own baon) days, too! 

Serves 6 to 7

  • 2 Chinese sausages, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 bottle (230 grams) spicy tuyo, drained and flaked
  • 5 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup canned corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper, to taste


1. In a large wok, sauté Chinese sausages in cooking oil over medium heat until cooked. Set aside.

2. In the same hot wok, sauté garlic until lightly browned. Add onion, tuyo, and cooked sausages. Sauté for about 2 minutes. Add cooked rice and stir-fry for another 5 to 7 minutes.  

3. Add corn, peas, and beaten eggs. Toss and mix well over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until egg is cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

4. Scoop about 1 cup rice and arrange in individual rice bowls. Top each with green mango salsa (recipe below).   



  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fine salt
  • 3 firm green mangoes, peeled and cut into 1-2 cm wide strips
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon beer, preferably ale or lager


1. Place vinegar and salt in a large bowl and stir until salt dissolves. Add green mangoes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

2. Fill a medium saucepan with water. Add sugar and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. 

3. Transfer mangoes to a sterilized jar. Pour over sugar syrup and beer. Refrigerate until needed. Pickles will keep in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. 



  • 3 fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons pickled green mangoes (recipe above)
  • 2 tablespoons diced purple onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients well in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. 


Easy Beef Goulash

This European classic is usually made with tender but more expensive cuts of beef like tenderloin, sirloin or brisket. Instead, make it lighter on the pocket without sacrificing taste by swapping with cheaper but flavorful meat cuts like oyster blade or chuck ribs. 

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil, divided
  • 3 strips bacon, chopped
  • 3/4 kilo beef oyster blade (kalitiran), cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 can (400 grams) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

1. Heat a large heavy pot with 1/2 teaspoon cooking oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and fry until crisp and bacon oil has been extracted. Remove bacon from pan and let drain on a paper towel. Set aside. 

2. In the same pot, pour remaining oil and add beef cubes to the pot with bacon fat. Brown evenly on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour over the beef and continue to stir to dissolve any lumps. 

3. Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, paprika, and caraway seeds. Stir for about 2 minutes or until fragrant.

4. Stir in vinegar, tomatoes, and beef broth. Bring to a boil, and then allow to simmer for 1 hour, covered, stirring occasionally.

5. Add potatoes and reserved bacon. Continue to simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

6. Stir sour cream into the goulash just before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley.

7. Serve hot with pasta noodles or toasted crusty bread. 



A longer version of this article first appeared in FOOD Magazine, June-July 2014
Recipes by Aby Nachura
Photography by Paulo Valenzuela
Styling by Tina Concepcion Diaz