Cooking at home is a great way to save on meal costs. And making some simple swaps or utilizing pantry staples can help alleviate any additional bills when it comes to a weekly food budget.

Highlighting one main ingredient that is cost-effective -- like a bulk pack of chicken thighs -- is the perfect opportunity for recipes that use cooked chicken thighs in three variations to ultimately deliver multiple meals with different flavors and techniques, like this recipe from cookbook author Ali Slagle that feeds four people with chicken thighs and uses other smart money-conscious ingredients like frozen peas.

Recipe creator and food blogger Maxine Dubois of Cilantro Parsley shared one of her favorite money-saving meals with "Good Morning America" that uses a couple pantry staples to create a delicious and easy dish.

"My favorite recipes tend to be the ones I’ve thrown together using whatever I have on hand in my pantry," she said. "That is how this Tuna Pesto Pasta came to be, and it’s one I now make once or twice a month."

Tuna Pesto Pasta

2 cups fresh basil leaves (no stems)
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese or pecorino romano
1 (5 ounce) canned tuna
3 cups fresh bite sized pasta
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice


In a food processor, add the basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic and process until minced. Slowly add the olive oil and cheese and process until smooth. This should yield about one cup of pesto.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions and set aside.

In a large bowl, add the tuna, half cup of pesto, mayonnaise, pasta, and lemon juice.