Easy, low-cost ways to go green from budget pro Erin Chase of $5 Dinners blog

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It can be tough to transition your entire family to a green lifestyle— especially considering money doesn't grow on trees! Buying organic and environmentally friendly products can become costly.

Maggie learns simple tips for going green on a tight budget from $5 Dinner blogger Erin Chase.  A mother of four boys, Chase has become the go-to mom for budgeting tips and smart shopping! She gives actionable advice from green cleaning products to supplying your pantry with organic goods— it's more than extreme coupon cutting!

Plus, a low-costing but flavorful dinner recipe you can make for only $5.

One-Pot Chicken & Spinach Penne Pasta Recipe


  • tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons salt, divided
  • 12 oz HEB vegetable small penne pasta
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded chicken (from pre-cooked whole chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 28 oz crushed tomato, 1 can
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 5 oz organic spinach
  • ½ c. cream
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, extra to garnish (grate yourself to save)


  1. Boil water in a large pot over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to water and add pasta. Cook pasta until almost al dente, or for 1-2 minutes less than the recommended cook time. Drain.
  2. Pull 1 1/2 cups shredded chicken meat from the pre-cooked whole chicken and set aside.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, and red chili flakes into the pot and stir.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, stirring for a few minutes.
  5. Add cream, stirring until incorporated.
  6. Add spinach and stir until the spinach cooks down and incorporates.
  7. Add chicken, pasta, and Parmesan, stirring until pasta is evenly coated.
  8. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese and serve!
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