Frugal Family Feast: Ratatouille

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

14 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security ChecksGrow

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

8 Ways to Take Control of Your Finances — and Be HappierGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

7 Free Sources of Manufacturer Coupons You Can Find OnlineSave

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Fixing Your Credit? Do These 5 Things, Avoid These 3Credit & Debt

In our new cooking series, we team up with chef Lenore Nolan-Ryan to prepare scrumptious ratatouille that will feed a family of four for less than $15.

Even if you’re cost-conscious and regularly cook at home, eating takes a big bite out of your budget. According to the USDA, the average family of four spends up to $1,243 a month on food at home.

Money Talks News is here to help. Our latest feature, Frugal Family Feast, is the answer for fresh, nutritious meals to feed a family of four for less than $15. We’ll regularly serve up recipes for delectable dishes as Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson teams up with talented chefs to show you how to prepare these budget-conscious bites.

On today’s agenda: ratatouille, a traditional French casserole filled with veggies such as eggplant, tomato, zucchini, onion, and bell pepper stewed together and bursting with flavor. You can serve it alone, or as a great side dish. Check out the video below as Stacy Johnson and chef Lenore Nolan-Ryan prepare this scrumptious dish and serve it with roasted chicken. Then read on for the recipe.

Not bad for a total cost of less than $15. While the overall price obviously varies depending on your location and the stockpile of spices and other ingredients you already have at home, there are additional ways to save money. Chef Lenore Nolan-Ryan suggests planning your menus according to grocery store sales and using farmers markets as often as you can for more affordable fresh fruits and vegetables.

Ratatouille – courtesy of Lenore Nolan-Ryan


1 large eggplant

4 medium zucchini cut into 1 inch cubes

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped thyme

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

6 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes

2 bell peppers (1 red and 1 yellow)

4 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 medium onions halved and cut into half moons

½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

Flat leaf parsley


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss together the eggplant zucchini, ½ cup oil, 1 tablespoon thyme, 1 tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper on a large baking sheet. Roast tossing occasionally until vegetables are golden…about 1 hour.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice-water bath and set aside. Cut a small shallow X in the stem end of each tomato, blanch tomatoes until skins begin to loosen about 30 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to the ice-water bath.

Drain tomatoes. Remove the skins, cut tomatoes into quarters discarding seeds.

Place one bell pepper at a time on the trivet of a gas stove burner on high heat, roast turning occasionally with tongs until black all over. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let steam in bowl cool enough to handle about 10 minutes.

Remove skins from peppers. Discard tops and seeds, cut peppers lengthwise into ½ inch thick strips.

When eggplant and zucchini are done roasting, heat remaining 2 tablespoon oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add garlic and onions, cook until soft about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and peppers, cook until tomatoes are soft about 7 minutes.

Add eggplant and zucchini, ¼ cup basil and remaining tablespoon thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low simmer, stirring occasionally until vegetables are very soft about 30 minutes. Stir in parsley and remaining ¼ cup basil. Cook until heated through about 1 minute. Enjoy!

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 5 Easy Ways to Save on Your Cell Phone Bill

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,011 more deals!