$20 or Less Series – Cheesy Zucchini Stir Fry

It’s time for the second recipe for our personal project of $20 or less meal recipes to try to help people with more limited food budgets during the pandemic (or really just to save money!)! As a reminder, to show cost, I will also putting what I paid for in York, PA for each item via Walmart pricing because I know most people have access to a Walmart and it’s a fairly consistent price gager.  I couldn’t find anything that really gave me the average cost of grocery items in the US or even worldwide, so this is the best I price checker I could find.

So for this recipe, we’re making one of my family favorites! My mom and dad both used to make this for us all year round, though it was a particular favorite when we’re were busting at the seams with zucchini from the garden.  Over the years, I’ve made some of my own adjustments to taste.  This is super duper easy! It’s a great recipe to also get rid of veggies in your fridge or garden.

This recipe can be perfectly flexible to your taste! I find this is best with sharper cheese (parm, aged chedder, asiago, sharp provolone, feta, etc), so you can mix and match with what’s in your fridge or what’s on sale! Also, if you have a bean preference, this is really good with any canned bean.  I prefer black beans and the only bean I wouldn’t recommend for this recipe are chickpeas, they tend to not be as good.  If you have preference with canned diced tomatoes, this is your time to shine! I’ve used the garlic and herb, spicy with peppers, and fire roasted! This is easy to mix and match canned goods with what’s in your cupboard!

But now for the price breakdown before we get to cooking!

  • 1 – 15 to 15.5 oz can of black beans – .58¢
  • 3 – medium sized zucchini – .76¢/each – $2.28 total
  • 2 – large sweet onions (vidalia are best!) – $2.88 for a 3lb bag
  • 1 – 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (petite diced are our fav!) – .72¢
  • 1 – T dried oregano – .98¢ for a whole .87 oz container
  • 1 – T dried basil – .98¢ for a whole .80 oz container
  • 6 – cloves garlic – .45¢ for a whole bulb
  • 1 – 8oz block of asiago (any sharp cheese will work, sharp cheddar is cheapest) – $4.12
  • 6 – eggs – $1.19 for a whole carton
  • 3 – T of butter – 1 lb pack is $2.08 (you’re using approximately .09¢ worth)
  • Garlic salt to taste – .98¢ for a whole 5.7 oz container
  • Don’t price out – Ground black pepper to taste (we used about a T)
  • **Optional: 1 – small spicy chili (I used fresno), can also sub dried red pepper flakes to taste – .42¢ **

Grand Total: including optional chili with leftover/extras in onions, dried oregano, dried basil,  garlic, eggs, butter, and garlic salt – $17.66 for 6 servings – $2.94 a person!

Cheesy Zucchini Stir Fry

Cheesy zucchini stir fry packed with flavor.  Great way to use veggies from the garden or cans in your pantry! Topped with a fried egg, this dish is well under $20 to make and will have the family coming back for seconds!


  • 3 tbsp butter - 2 for veggies and 1 for frying up eggs!
  • 3 medium zucchinis, quartered long ways and then diced
  • 2 large sweet onions, peeled and diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, I pour a little of the liquid off
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed with water until liquid is clear
  • 8 oz asiago cheese, diced into 1/4" cubes
  • 6 eggs pan fried until whites are set and yolk is still a little runny


  • 1 small chili, minced (we used fresno)


  • You want to use the largest skillet you have so the veggies can crisp up nice (instead of steam).  Chop and prepare all veggies.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and then add zucchini, onions, garlic, optional minced chili, and all dried herbs. Cook until onions  begin to become translucent and lightly brown.   
  • Now, add in can of tomatoes, cook until liquid has reduced to almost nothing. Carefully fold/stir in drained and rinsed black beans and diced cheese. Simmer until cheese has melted. Immediately remove from heat.
  • While zucchini mixture is starting to cool and cheese begins to set, heat another pan over medium high heat. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and fry up 6 eggs. To serve, scoop out cheesy zucchini mixture and top each serving with a fried egg. Enjoy!

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