The holidays are upon us and that means house guests, parties, and gifts – which can really put a strain on our wallets! Author of Rustic Joyful Food, Danielle Kartes shares one of her favorite budget-friendly crowd-pleasers below.

Watch her show you how to shop on a budget here and check out the rest of her budget-friendly menu that’ll help you feed holiday houseguests for a WEEK for only $100:

Sweet 'n' Sour Chicken With Chow Mein Noodles

Leftover Shredded Pork Sheet Pan Nachos

Linguine With Country Pork Ragu & Garlicky Asparagus

Braised Country-Style Spare Ribs with Caramelized Mushrooms

Shakshuka in Pork Ragu

Broccoli & Sausage Frittata


  • 3 to 4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce or Tamari
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Pinch crushed red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha or mild garlic chili paste
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup nuts, such as peanuts, sliced almonds or cashews
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 heads iceberg lettuce, halved through the stem
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced
  • Steamed jasmine or white rice, for serving (optional)


Serves: 8 to 10


Chop chicken into tiny cubes, roughly half the size of a traditional bite-sized piece.

In a large skillet with high sides over medium to medium-high heat, brown the chicken in olive oil until no longer pink but not completely cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms, red onion and zucchini, and season with salt and pepper. When the onions are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes later, stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, garlic, chili flakes, Sriracha, sesame seeds and nuts. Cook, stirring, until the sauce becomes dark and slightly sticky, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Peel off lettuce leaves to make “cups.” Fill with the chicken mixture and top with the cucumber, cilantro, and radish. If using, serve with steamed rice.

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