Food Network has spawned a boon of celebrity chefs as has PBS. While many of them can make tasty food, often their recipes are full of expensive ingredients. (I am thinking of my favorite chef, Ina Garten, who makes delicious meals such as lobster pot pies . I would love to eat at her house, but I can’t afford to make many of her meals at home.) However, if you search carefully, you will find a few celebrity chefs who not only offer tasty food, but inexpensive food.
Here are a few of my favorite chefs who prepare affordable food:
A U.K. chef, Oliver made a splash over here with his Food Revolution where he went to schools in Huntington, West Virginia and Los Angeles, California and tried to revamp their lunch program to include healthy, filling foods. Oliver’s cookbooks offer affordable food because he focuses on fresh vegetables. Even better, he knows that families are short on time and offers quick cooking recipes. In his cookbook, Meals in Minutes, he gives step-by-step instructions to make the main meal as well as the sides and dessert at the same time, so you can serve food faster. An example of an affordable meal in this book is Tray-Baked Chicken, Squashed Potatoes, Creamed Spinach and Strawberry Slushie.
Another chef who makes affordable meals that are quick to assemble is Robin Miller. Even better, if you have small children, her recipes are appealing to even fussy eaters.
Miller’s premise is that you can prep several meals on the weekend, and then all you have to do is cook them on busy weeknights. A recipe like Tropical Fruit-Glazed Ham with Sweet Onions and Yukon Gold Potatoes has only 8 ingredients and relies on basic ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Another technique she uses to save money and time is to buy one main ingredient such as salmon, and turn the leftover salmon into other meals like Asian Salmon Cakes and Salmon Chowder with Yukon Gold Potatoes.
The quirky chef at Good Eats likes to explain the science behind foods. However, he also has a knack for creating homey, good tasting, inexpensive food. Sure, some of his recipes can be a bit more expensive, but he offers plenty of ways to prepare the likes of beans and cabbage. He also gives you ways to make your own condiments and seasonings  such as homemade mayonnaise and salsa.
She may not be a Food Network or PBS chef, but Erin Chase runs a very popular blog, $5 Dinners , that has lead her to create three cookbooks: $5 Dinners, $5 Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook and the soon to be released One Dish Dinners. In each of her cookbooks, she has the price of each individual item that goes into the recipe. If your budget is very tight, you could simply choose the recipes with the lowest cost such as Egg in a Nest with Avocado Circle Sandwiches for $3.18 for a family of 4. That total is not per person, but for the entire dish!
In addition to the recipes, Chase details how to save at the grocery store and offers frugal tips on most recipes, such as making your own refried beans to save money instead of buying canned. If you do buy canned, she offers a target price (.75 or less) that you should pay.
Last but not least, let’s not forget my favorite YouTube celebrity chef, Clara Cannucciari . This 97 year old grandma and greatgrandma shares her favorite frugal recipes from the Great Depression. We recently tried her eggplant sandwich recipe and loved them. You can’t get more frugal than that!
Other affordable chefs you may want to consider include Melissa D’Arabia, Anne Burrell and Ted Allen (the host of Chopped who has a book, 100 Smart, Simple Recipes).
Who is your favorite, frugal celebrity chef?
(Photo: yurilong )