The words "celebrity chef" and "cheap" don't usually occupy the same sentence, and it's no wonder why. Even value-priced, celebrity-endorsed restaurants — like the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in Los Angeles — sell steaks for about $40. But as much as Gordon Ramsay likes to include them in his dishes, not every plate needs to feature langoustine, lovage or lemon thyme.
The following are celebrity chef recipes you can make on a budget. Just be sure to have some basics such as olive oil (about $6 to $10 per bottle), salt, sugar, vinegar and pepper on hand before you dig in. So grab your apron, and get ready to impress your foodie friends with these recipes.
Gordon Ramsay’s Grilled Corn on the Cob With Chipotle Chili Butter
Famously abrasive (and often hilarious) British chef Gordon Ramsay makes his corn pop by pan-frying it in olive oil for 5 minutes before cooking it at medium heat for about 8 minutes. The real flavor burst comes from a combo of butter, finely chopped chilies and coriander leaves — what we'd call a bunch of cilantro in the states — which you slather over the cobs before crumbling on some Lancashire cheese and garnishing with a tart lime.
You can substitute your choice of crumbly cheese for the hard-to-find Lancashire and serve four diners for roughly $5.50. If you want to take your meal to the next level, check out Ramsay's recipe for rare fillet of beef.
Emeril Lagasse’s Roast Chicken With Pomegranate Glaze
Whole roast chicken is a perennial mealtime favorite for value-minded cooks, but Emeril's recipe fancies it up a bit. After brining your chicken in a simple combo of water, sugar and salt before brushing it with an equally simple glaze of olive oil, salt and pepper, you roast the bird at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour. The magic comes in when you boil a cup of pomegranate juice and a few tablespoons of molasses until they're reduced, then add the mixture to the chicken as a sweet glaze to set off the savory meat.
Cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temp of about 165 degrees, then reduce its juices with some pomegranate seeds and a cup of chicken broth to make a delectable gravy. All told, you're likely to spend under $9 to feed your family.
Bobby Flay’s Roasted Chickpeas With Cinnamon and Honey
Here's one trick to save money while exploring celebrity chef recipes: Go with super-affordable ingredients such as veggies. Bobby Flay's roasted chickpeas with cinnamon and honey only cost about $1 to make since you're using just spoonfuls of the pricier ingredients, such as honey. They're ideal finger food for your next party or dinner with friends.
Start with a drained can of garbanzo beans, and preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Stir them with olive oil and salt before placing them on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes on each side. Another 8 minutes with a cinnamon and honey glaze makes for sweet, crispy and not-too-unhealthy chickpeas that make a perfect warm-season snack.
Wolfgang Puck’s Cucumber Salad
Speaking of veggie dishes, Wolfgang Puck's cucumber salad doesn't cost much more than the tired iceberg-based side — but it'll get you a whole lot more street cred in the foodie scene. Bonus points: It's super easy to make, too.
Just peel, seed and thinly slice two cukes into half-moons and toss them with a mix of salt, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Puck prefers Japanese cucumbers, but he notes you can substitute the plain-old English variety without any trouble, bringing the total price of this refreshing four-serving creation to about $2.50. Why not add it to the menu for your next dinner party?
Rachael Ray’s Steak With Salsa Verde and Parm Frico Eggs
Because you're working with affordable strip steaks, steak and eggs is one way to serve steak and still have money left for dessert. Rachael Ray's twist on this classic packs a whole lot of flavor for just a bit of dough, starting with four salt-and-peppered strip steaks, pan-fried. To get your parm frico going, coat a nonstick skillet with a thin layer of grated Parmesan cheese and fry your eggs in the melted, gooey goodness.
The flavor explosion comes in with a salsa verde made from shallot, garlic, parsley, basil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper pulsed in a food processor. Serve the steak and eggs drizzled in the verde and pair them with pickled peppers for a spicy, breakfast-for-dinner meal that serves four for only about $16 or $4 per person.
Jamie Oliver’s Boiled Eggs and Asparagus Soldiers
Breakfast is the most important value-priced, celebrity-chef-created meal of the day. You can't get much more budget-friendly than eggs, which cost only about $1.06 a dozen in the American Midwest as of July 2017. Pan-frying pancetta-wrapped asparagus until the greens are soft and the pancetta is crispy makes for a unique blend of textures — but the eggs are the real star here.
To get buttery, runny yolks with fully cooked whites — perfect for serving in those egg cups you bought but never used — first dip the eggs in and out of hot water before boiling them for a little over 5 minutes. Serve with hearty toast and tap the eggs to remove their tops, seasoning them with black pepper. Oliver says, "Think of this as the perfect boiled egg, but stepped up a gear." In this case, breakfast perfection for four costs about $10.
Anthony Bourdain’s Budae Jjigae
Budae jjigae, also known as Korean army stew, has a whole lot of ingredients, but it also fills up your whole family. Chef Anthony Bourdain says it best when he says, "It captures the essence of great cooking over the last few centuries: Improvisational, born of war and hardship, nostalgic, sentimental and transformative." For a bit over $15 all told, you can serve four people the ultimate celebration of cheap food.
It all starts with an anchovy broth made of shiitake mushroom, dried kelp, salt, anchovies and water. In a large pot, get ready to add a whole ton of stuff: Sliced SPAM (yep, SPAM), kimchi, Korean rice cakes, peeled onion, scallions, crushed garlic, thinly sliced hot dogs, soy sauce and a half-pound of ground pork. You might need to hit up a Korean specialty store for gochujang (fermented chili paste), cheongju (rice wine) and gochugaru (ground red pepper). You'll add those to the pot along with your anchovy kelp broth, a few scoops of baked beans and a packet of good old ramen noodles, cooking until the noodles are chewy.
More on Bourdain (and Others): What These 22 Food Network Chefs Did Before They Were Famous
Paula Deen’s Zesty Grilled Tilapia
Paula Deen is known for uber-fattening, uber-delicious comfort food. But in this dish, she keeps it lean in terms of both calorie count and budget. For a dinner that clocks in at about $3 per person, pour a mixture of olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, grated ginger, hot sauce, salt and pepper over a tilapia fillet, then marinate the covered fish in the fridge for about an hour. Brush the fillet with oil before grilling until flaky; serve with rice.
Deen recommends her mango coconut rice, but to keep things even simpler — and even more affordable — mix your remaining orange zest with the rice instead and garnish with orange slices to really nail your dish.
Tom Colicchio’s Brandy-Wine Punch
When it's time to entertain grown-up guests, the drink selection is often the priciest part of your event. Chef Tom Colicchio's brandy-wine punch, made with a selection of refreshingly affordable spirits, is here to change that.
To get the party started, simply stir a cup of lemon juice and a half cup sugar with a quarter-cup ruby port, 1½ cups amontillado sherry, a quarter-cup Cointreau, two bottles of sparkling wine, 1½ cups brandy and a liter of chilly club soda. Garnish with lemon and orange slices, and serve over ice. You'll end up with about 16 cups of high-quality boozy punch for roughly $1.70 per cup — which is way happier than your local happy hour. Need more boozy drink ideas? Check out these delicious sangria recipes.
Giada De Laurentiis’ Short-Cut Churros
Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis calls her churros "short-cut" for a reason — she uses a tube of pre-made biscuit dough, and the prep time is all of 5 minutes. Start with a pound of the dough, rolling and cutting each of the eight pre-shaped biscuits into eight long, tube-like slices. Heat a cup of sugar, 3 cups of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of cinnamon until it reaches about 375 degrees, then fry the rolled dough in batches.
Drain your churros, toss them in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon, and serve all 64 of them — made for just 6 cents per churro — with a side of warm fudge sauce for the ultimate thrifty indulgence.
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Some photos are for illustrative purposes only and might not be of the actual dishes mentioned in the article. For the ingredient prices, the writer used government sources where available, current Wal-Mart prices, and Google Shopping or boutique retailer prices.