Getting back into the swing of a busy work and school routine can make it challenging for families to put together a home-cooked dinner most nights. But Ten Dollar Dinners (Clarkson Potter 2012), the first cookbook by Melissa d’Arabian—Food Network star and busy mom of four young girls—provides a blueprint of 140 recipes and 100 tips for creating fresh meals any night of the week. Each recipe is carefully calculated to serve a family of four for less than $10.

“I see my recipes as part of a bigger story that shows you how to eat well, be a responsible consumer and spend with a purpose,” she writes in the book’s foreward. “Saving money can be incredibly empowering—especially when you know that you’re putting a healthy dinner on the table for your family every night of the week.”

Do you live within commuter distance to New York City? Catch d’Arabian in person at the New York City Wine & Food Festival (Oct. 11–14), where she will share her philosophy that food needn’t be costly or complicated to be good. Learn more about the NYCWFF and Fun & Fit in the City, and find out when she is scheduled to perform:

Also check out the September issue of IDEA Food & Nutrition Tips at to read editor in chief Sandy Todd Webster’s exclusive interview with d’Arabian and to see video demos of her creating recipes from her book.