Tips on How to Make Dinner Quick, Easy and Cheap! 2

True or False – you will save money if you make it from scratch. The answer may surprise you. Learn my tips on how to make dinner quick, easy and cheap!

Kale Spa Salad

Kale Spa Salad

True. Sort of.

I think back to my days before children, when I could gallivant about the city going to weekly wine tastings and dinners.  I was young, professional and thought I was hot stuff.  Several co-workers and I would leave work on each fine Thursday, drive to the Grotto Wine Bar in San Marco to nosh on appetizers and drink wine; afterwards we would head to Pom’s Bistro (which sadly is no longer there) and I would order the Pad Thai- damn good Pad Thai at that. I can’t say I’ve had better since. But…it was expensive at $18 dollars.  I was sure I could make it at home cheaper.

So I went and bought all the ingredients, many I would most likely not use very often……to the tune of $40!  I spent about two hours getting all the ingredients measured out, cooking it and plating….and for the grand finale….the taste testing.

It was ok at best. Ug!

I learned an important lesson though.  Sometimes it is cheaper and less work to simply buy a smaller portion of a pre-made item and can be just as healthy as from scratch with just a few tweaks.

The key is to read the INGREDIENTS on the pre-made item. If there are 300 ingredients, or you have no idea what the ingredient is, run for the hills.

Kale Spa Salad
Kale Spa Salad

The pad thai experience all came back to me when I returned home armed with groceries from Native Sun including kale, some green onions, red onion and a cup or so of their premade Kombucha Spa Salad.
[edamame, orzo, peaches, strawberries, carrots, yellow peppers, kombucha, olive oil, OJ, scallions, ginger, agave, cider vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic]

Now how much would it have cost me to gather and prep the Kombucha Spa Salad?  Probably a lot for what my needs were. So I simply grabbed the fresh ingredients I had on hand and put those together, added some avocado for additional protein and threw the spa salad right on top – thereby making it a WOW salad that was both cheaper AND much faster!

Though you may not have the Kombucha spa salad available to you – is there a local restaurant in your area that carries anything pre-made like this?  You can purchase that and use it the same way I did here! Native Sun has LOTS of options and coming soon KyV Farm should be adding some pre-made options at next year’s CSA!

Kale Spa Salad
Kale Spa Salad

Kale Spa Salad

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten free (If pre-made salad contains no gluten. This particular one does because of the orzo.)
Printable Recipe


1 bunch kale, destemmed, washed and torn into bite size pieces
1/4 red onion, sliced very thinly
1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette 
1 green onion, sliced
Coarse sea salt & Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 avocado, pit and skin removed and chopped
1 cup Kombucha Spa Salad (or premade salad of choice)


1. Mix the kale and onion in a large bowl, top with dressing; massage dressing into kale to break down the fibers, about 2 minutes. Top with green onion, avocado and pre-made salad. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts (Before adding the pre-made spa salad)
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 215.9
Total Fat 15.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 144.4 mg
Potassium 722.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 20.2 g
Dietary Fiber 7.5 g
Sugars 4.8 g
Protein 5.0 g

Vitamin A 532.5 %
Vitamin B-6 21.8 %
Vitamin C 143.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 11.4 %
Calcium 15.3 %
Copper 20.0 %
Folate 17.7 %
Iron 11.7 %
Magnesium 12.8 %
Manganese 46.3 %
Niacin 9.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 7.7 %
Phosphorus 9.0 %
Riboflavin 12.1 %
Selenium 3.1 %
Thiamin 10.1 %
Zinc 5.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
I hope you enjoy this spa salad made quick, easy and cheap!

Love super-fast recipes? Get a copy of our smoothie book – 30 Days of Smoothies! Click here to learn more.

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2 thoughts on “Tips on How to Make Dinner Quick, Easy and Cheap!

  • janet @ the taste space

    Yes! Sounds delicious, Dawn. We have rethought our pantry and only buy ingredients that we think we will eat in a year, before we need to move again. But yes, we did buy tamarind… because tamarind goes into our homemade pad thai which rivals any resto version. 🙂 Hope all is well 🙂