Great meals you can make on a budget, vol. 3


Chicken Tacos

MMM… you can’t go wrong with tacos for a delicious meal. What’s the best way to make tacos? On a budget of course! Here’s a version based on some of my favorite ingredients from Mexican restaurants including cilantro lime rice and smoky chicken! Plus, some of the ingredients like the rice, beans and taco shells are super cheap.

Here’s what to get for 4 serving of 3 tacos each.

1 Package of frozen chicken // 12 oz  //  $5.00

1 Can of Black Beans // $0.84

1 package of white rice // 16 oz // $0.89

1 box of crunchy taco shells // 12 count // $1.50

1 block monterey jack cheese // $2.50

1 container of sour cream // 8 oz // $0.99

1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce // 7.5 oz // $2.29

1 jar of black bean and corn salsa // $2.49

1 small yellow onion // $0.35

1 bunch of cilantro // $0.99

3 juicy limes // $0.39 each

Hope this is under $5.00 per serving! 5.00 + .84 + .89 + 1.50 + 2.50 + .99 + 2.29 + 2.49 + .35 + .99 + (.39 x 3)  = $19.01. Divided by 4 servings, it comes to $19.01 / 4 = $4.75 PER SERVING! Woohoo!


  • Remove chicken from freezer
  • Finely chop the onion & cilantro and set aside in separate bowls
  • Shred the cheese and set aside
  • Purée the chipotle pepper in adobo sauce in a blender
  • In a large bowl combine chicken and puréed peppers (these are spicy so add less for less spicy chicken), stir to coat, cover and set aside


Start the rice first!

  • In a large pot, sauté a handful of chopped onions in oil (I use avocado oil) add salt, pepper and about 1/2 tsp of dried oregano if you have on hand
  • Set aside remaining chopped onion for topping the finished tacos
  • Add the dried rice and water to the pan based on package directions
  • Bring to a boil, stir and cover
  • Simmer on low according to package directions (I start with 15 min, check and adjust based on doneness)

Next, cook the chicken.

  • In a large skillet heat oil over medium high heat (again used avocado oil)
  • Using tongs, grab some chicken from the bowl, tap of extra sauce, and add to heated oil
  • CAUTION! This may splatter, I have a splatter screen ready
  • Cook on medium high heat for 5-6 minutes, stir chicken in pan, cook for another 4-5 minutes
  • Once sides are crispy brown, turn off heat, and cover to keep warm

Finish the rice.

  • Once the rice is cooked, remove from heat, add cilantro,
  • Add the juice of a half a lime + sprinkle of salt at a time and taste as you go using up to 3 limes

Heat up the beans

  • Add salt, pepper and other seasonings to taste (onion powder, chipotle powder, cayenne for heat)
  • Heat up the black beans according to can directions


  • Fill hard shell tacos with rice, beans, and chicken
  • Top with corn salsa and leftover chopped onion
  • Finish with sour cream and cheese
  • Serve with a side of black beans
  • ENJOY!
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Designer by day, DIY addict by night, she’s a lover of creating creative creations. You might also spot Lisa shopping for the best deals, dreaming about her next trip to Disney World, or eating nachos.