Cheap Eatin': Recipes From The 99 Cent Only Store

99 Cent Only Stores

It may be a hangover from my college days, or just the normal instincts of being a man, but I’m not very good at shopping for food. On more than one occasion I’ve come home with the wrong onion: yellow instead of green. Twice so far I bought the wrong milk simply because I mistook the orange cap for 2%, when it’s actually the blue cap. It hasn’t happened this year, but there is also the rare occasion where I’ll use the self-checkout and forget to take my groceries as I walk out of the store. So as one can tell, I’m a train wreck at the grocery store.

It’s a good thing that my wife has none of my above listed traits, otherwise our family would starve.

My wife is the comparison shopper when it comes to food. She knows where the best produce is, and where it’s to find it at the best price. She can look at the price of chicken and know when it’s a good deal. She even will rationalize the price of a 12-pack of beer as more cost-effective and a better buy than a 6-pack. I’m a lucky guy. One with a growing beer gut.

But lately, she has been grocery shopping at a somewhat surprising grocery store. The 99 Cent Only store.

Edible? Really?

If you are like me then you probably thought the same thing at first: Is the food safe? Luckily for our family the answer is “Yes.” The produce is fresh and is on par with what you’d find at a Vons, Ralphs or Albertsons. They sell fresh planted basil, packaged mixed green salads, packaged green and red peppers and good sized shitake mushrooms. All these items at local grocery stores cost well north of 99 cents.

Caesar Salad Recipe

Just the other night, my wife made a wonderful Caesar salad using ingredients she purchased from the 99 Cent Only store.

Grocery List

  • Jumbo Romaine Lettuce – 3 Pack
  • Kraft Light Caesar Salad Dressing
  • Kitchen Fixins Caesar Croutons
  • Freezer Pack - Cooked Chicken


  • Rinse and chop one of the Jumbo Romaine lettuce heads. Save the other two for another day. Leave lettuce leafy by not over-chopping.
  • Add lettuce to a salad bowl, add salad dressing and then toss.
  • Add Croutons and toss one last time, then add thawed cooked chicken to top.

As far as salad goes, you would never know where the food was purchased. The salad was good, filling and at an estimated cost of $4.40, not a bad starter for the two of us.

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Comments 4 comments

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa

This is a great concept for a hub! But we don't have 99 Cent Only stores in the midwest and the dollar stores don't sell produce.

marek504 profile image

marek504 5 years ago from California Author

I thought about this about midway through writing this. I knew at some level I'd be including a smaller demographic. Thanks for your comments DeboraNeyens.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa

To the contrary, you've given me a really good idea. I love a good cooking challenge, so now I'm thinking I should hit the local Dollar General and see if I can whip up a meal with whatever they have.

stessily 5 years ago

marek504: No 99 Cent Only stores that I know of in my area, but sometimes Dollar General here actually has items for $1.00! I've come across great eggs and celery there. This is a great hub that gets you thinking about less expensive, but just as good, resources for that all important activity, eating. Voted up, useful, interesting. Thank you for sharing.

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