The Tastemade cooking series Struggle Meals hosted by Emmy winner Chef Frankie Celenza returns to the streaming channel on Thursday, March 30 with a lively lineup of kitchen hacks to help keep costs and dishwashing down.

Although overall inflation is starting to cool, shoppers haven’t seen much relief in terms of grocery prices. Nearly every food group costs more than it did a year ago: grade A eggs are up 138%; margarine is up 43.8%; butter sticks are up 38.5%; all-purpose flour is up 34.5%; and spaghetti and macaroni noodles are up 31.3%, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

Season eight features tips like how to use spring greens when they are in season and prices are at their lowest, no-cook meals for when it’s too hot to use a stove or oven, and summer cookout recipes. It kicks off with a genius one-pot pasta recipe where all the ingredients (including healthy greens) all cook together in one pot (recipe below).

Celenza shared some tips with L.A. Weekly for keeping the costs down in the kitchen: 

  1. Have a plan – This goes for shopping and cooking. No plan means over purchasing which leads to waste. Cooking without a plan may also yield a less-than-delicious result. 
  2. Don’t waste – One-third of American groceries are wasted. Cooking everything is the easiest and one of the best ways to save money. It goes hand in hand with having a plan.
  3. Cook from scratch – The more tasks you can handle, the less you’re paying for someone else to perform those steps for you, which saves money. 
  4. KISS (Keep it simple stupid) – Now that you’re cooking from scratch, don’t overcomplicate your meals with the latest trends. Simple is easy and easy is delicious. 
  5. Don’t get suckered into thinking that you need anything other than a few pans, mixing bowls and a chef’s knife. 
Struggle Meals

Chef Frankie Celenza (Courtesy Tastemade)

Frankie’s One Pot Pasta

Recipe Description: A flavorful one-pot pasta dish that comes together in minutes.


Price per Serving: $2.28

Total Time: 30 minutes

Active Time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: Easy



1 bunch of Swiss chard

1 can diced tomatoes (28 ounces)

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 red onion, thinly sliced

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

12 ounces penne pasta

Parmesan rind

1 red pepper flake packet (1/2 teaspoon)

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons olive oil



Remove the stems from the Swiss chard. Chop the stems into ½ inch pieces. Keep the stems separate from the leaves. Stack the leaves into a pile, roll them into a cylinder and slice them into thin strips.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, onion, broth, pasta, parmesan rind, chard stems, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to a pot. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, cover the pan and continue cooking for 11-13 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the Swiss chard leaves to the pot in the last 3 minutes of cooking. Turn off the heat. 

Stir in the parmesan cheese and basil. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.




















































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