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Looking to save a few dollars in the kitchen? These dishes will taste just as good as the originals.

1. Filet mignon

One of the most expensive cuts of steak around, filet mignon is known for being tender and full of flavour. But if you’re on a budget, there’s a neat hack that makes any cut of steak taste like a million dollars. Put your steak in a baking tray and cover the entire surface (yep, all of it) with coarse grained salt. Leave it to marinate for at least an hour, then rinse it thoroughly and pat completely dry with paper towel. Voila! A tender, juicy, salt-aged steak worthy of filet mignon.

2. Indian curries

Meat is generally what nudges the price of a meal up, so going vegetarian could save you plenty. Indian is one cuisine that is almost better when it’s meat-free. Experiment with masala, rogan josh and pilau using just chick peas, lentils and seasonal vegetables. Plus, you can usually just chuck everything in the one pot and let it bubble away, so you’re saving time as well.

3. Lamb cutlets

Lamb cutlets are often eye-wateringly expensive – think upwards of $35 a kilo, which gets even worse when you consider how much of it is bone. Swap them out for lamb forequarter chops, which are usually less than $15 a kilo. You can grill them in much the same way as cutlets, though the meat can be a little tougher so slow cooking or marinating beforehand is a great option.

4. Spaghetti marinara

A spaghetti dish full of seafood is delicious, but can also be pricey to make. But here’s a little secret – if you are cooking seafood (as opposed to serving it fresh) then frozen works just as well. You can pick up frozen marinara mix for much cheaper than the fresh stuff and the taste will be exactly the same. You can also scale your dish down and just go for a prawn pasta, as small frozen shrimp are usually very good value.

What’s your favourite meal to enjoy on the cheap?

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