A Fancypants Dinner for Two for Under $20?!

You need to eat every night, but payday isn't until Friday. Can you really whip something up from the dollar store? Something that would even impress a guest? I wanted to see for myself.

I picked up all of these ingredients at my local Dollar Tree, so each ingredient cost only one single American dollar. These recipes are also made to be easy, so don't worry if you don't know much about cooking.

Appetizer: Antipasto

"Antipasto" comes from Latin meaning "before the meal," and that's exactly what this course will be.

Image Credit: Rachel Whetstone


2 oz hot pepper cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes

10 slices of pepperoni, halved

1/3 cup green olives

¼ cup red pepper slices

3 tbsp Italian dressing

Directions: It doesn't get much easier than this. Mix all ingredients together. Serves 2.

Image Credit: Rachel Whetstone

Dinner: Shrimp and Spinach Tortellini Alfredo

Throwing a few extras into the pot when the pasta is almost done will instantly make the meal feel more fancy, without much extra work.

Image Credit: Rachel Whetstone


1 6.5 oz package dried tortellini

1 3.5 oz package frozen shrimp

1 cup canned spinach

1 11.8 oz jar alfredo sauce

grated parmesan topping to taste

Directions: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add tortellini, and boil for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, rinse shrimp under cold water. Add shrimp and spinach to the pot, and boil another 2 minutes. Drain, and return everything to the pot. Stir in alfredo sauce until pasta is well coated. Serve in bowls, and top with grated cheese topping. Serves 2.

A bottle of sparkling cider (also at Dollar Tree!) will make the dinner feel just a little more special.

Image Credit: Rachel Whetstone

After Dinner Drinks: Fancy Hot Chocolate

If you want to make it just a little more festive, you can add a shot of booze with the hot chocolate mix.

Image Credit: Rachel Whetstone


1 cup water or milk

1 packet of hot chocolate mix

Whipped dessert topping

Rainbow sprinkles

Directions: Microwave milk or water in a mug for about 2 minutes. Stir in hot chocolate mix. Top with whipped dessert topping, then add rainbow sprinkles. Make one mug per person.

Image Credit: Rachel Whetstone

Total for the whole meal: $15. That's probably less than you'd spend on just one person if you were going out to eat!