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Upgrade: We asked chefs for tips on the best meals anyone can make in just 10 minutes and for only $2

Even when you’re strapped for time and money, you can make something yummy. Read More...

Cheapskates, sink your teeth into this.

Four out of five meals that Americans eat are prepared at home, according to research firm The NPD Group — which is up from a decade ago. But at the same time, we’re more time-starved: One in four Americans always feels rushed, while more than half feel that way sometimes, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center.

If you’re in this rushed-but-still-need-to-cook camp, a recent Reddit thread may be of interest, where a Redditor described how for less than $2 and less than 10 minutes of work, he’d created a yummy meal (check out the photo here) — and asked others to name their $2-and-10-minute meals. Responses ranged from black beans and rice to a tuna melt.

But after reading this, we wondered: What would a pro chef do with $2 and 10 minutes? Here’s what five pro chefs told us they would make. Note that this assumes you have some spices and basics like butter, garlic and olive oil in your home already, and the prices are per serving (you can use anything leftover for another meal).

Cacio e Pepe

Executive Chef Eric Lopez of Italian eatery 312 Chicago says this classic Italian dish, which translates to “cheese and pepper” is a “cheap meal that’s still hearty” and uses ingredients you probably already have at home: Spaghetti noodles (¼ of a box costs less than dollar; save the rest for another meal), parmesan (roughly .44 cents an ounce; save the rest for later), butter, salt and black pepper. “For best results, cook the noodles al dente and reserve some of the salted pasta water to mix with melted butter to make the sauce. Then add a little grated parmesan and a crack of black pepper on top. If you want to get fancy, add some chopped parsley, but it’s not necessary,” he says.

See also: All the ways a slow cooker can make your life better, and save you money

Elevated Italian bread

Chef Stuart Reb Donald, author and co-host of the radio show“Sip & Chew with Mike and Stu” in Mobile, Ala., notes that his “go-to, low cost luxury meal in college was very simple but also very satisfying.” Here’s the scoop: “Go to the bakery of most any market and you can find a loaf of fresh baked Italian bread for a dollar or so. Place the entire loaf on the middle rack of an oven then preheat the oven to 350. When the oven gets to temperature the bread is perfectly done.” Serve with butter, extra virgin olive oil, and marinara sauce. “It’s stupid good. Feeds 2 – 4 people,” he says.

Pasta with ham and peas

Claudia Sidioti, the head chef at HelloFresh, says that you can make this with about 2 ounces of deli ham (you can find it for about .30 cents an ounce at Walmart WMT, -0.49%  ), a ½ cup of frozen peas (costs about .15 an ounce), a handful of grated cheese (roughly .44 cents an ounce), as well as a clove of garlic and a knob of butter.

Omelet stuffed with leftovers, over toast

Don’t toss those leftovers, remake them into something else. “I recommend a scrambled omelet over toast using leftovers from your fridge,” says Rich Vellante, the executive chef at the famed Legal Sea Foods in Boston. Eggs can cost less than .25 cents apiece, bread a few cents a slice — and both are an easy way to use up food you might have tossed.

“Eating on a two dollar budget is challenging, but you can do it. I grew up poor in Mexico and if I remember correctly, eggs were our ‘go to’ cheap meal — and they still are,” says Christian Flores, executive chef of Roundabout Grill in Reno. Sidioti says that if you have a little feta and spinach laying around you could make a Greek omelet, or with some extra salsa, cheddar and frozen corn, a Tex Mex omelet.”You can even afford to serve it with a little toast on the side,” she says.

To spice it up, throw on some “Tabasco, sriracha or za’atar. Sriracha is my favorite condiment — it brings heat and flavor — and can make any $2 meal taste like a million dollars,” Vellante adds.

Leftovers turned gourmet quesadilla

Sidioti of HelloFresh says these are a go-to in her home — and a great way to use up leftovers before they get tossed. All you need is tortillas. “I often cook up whatever veggies are still rolling around the produce bin of my fridge, use up the remaining cheese and even add other protein if I happen to have some leftover cooked chicken or steak. A little protein goes a long way and for $2 you will be amazed at how easy it is to build a delicious and satisfying quesadilla for dinner,” she says.

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