Recipes that won't break the bank

Hands on: 15 minutes Total time: 2 hours and 15 minutes Serves: 4 to 6

Pick up fresh Georgia peaches and strawberries at your local farmer?s market. Serve with vanilla whipped cream or ice cream of your choice.

For the filling:

2 ripe peaches, stones removed and sliced in wedges

2 pints Georgia strawberries, washed, hulled and halved

1 cup granulated sugar

2 pieces cinnamon stick

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 piece star anise

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup graham crackers crumbs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces at room temperature

To prepare the filing: In a pot, combine peaches, strawberries, sugar, cinnamon sticks, lemon juice and zest, star anise and vanilla and let sit for 1 hour before cooking . Bring ingredients to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, or until mixture is very thick. Remove from heat and transfer to a baking dish. Cool at room temperature and remove the cinnamon sticks and star anise.

To prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, sugar,and butter . Continuously rub the mixture through your hands or fingertips so it breaks down the butter. Once dough is the consistency of ground coffee, sprinkle it over the peach-strawberry mixture. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

Per serving, based on 4: 768 calories (percent of calories from fat, 30), 6 grams protein, 133 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 26 grams fat (15 grams saturated), 62 milligrams cholesterol, 365 milligrams sodium.

Japanese Hamburger Steak

Hands on: 20 minutes Total time: 45 minutes Serves: 4 to 6

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 eggs

3 pounds lean ground beef

2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil until very soft, about 20 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Transfer to a small container and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the beef and panko and stir well to combine. Add the onion mixture and mix thoroughly to combine. Separate the mixture into 4 to 6 portions and using your hands, compact each one, gently pressing the center so it forms a a large flat egg shape about 1-inch thick. In a large skillet over medium heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Cook the meat for 5 minutes per side. Serve with desired sauce.

Per serving based on 4: 1,131 calories (percent of calories from fat, 66), 69 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 81 grams fat (30 grams saturated), 396 milligrams cholesterol, 896 milligrams sodium.

Potato Risotto

Hands on: 15 minutes Total time: 45-55 minutes Serves: 4 to 6

Make sure the potatoes are well washed and evenly diced. For added flavor, blend in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese just before serving.

5 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced 1/4 inch thick

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup water

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 chicken bouillon cubes (or 2 teaspoons bouillon)

1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the potatoes, heavy cream, water, butter, garlic, bouillon, nutmeg, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally so the cream is absorbed by and coats the potatoes. If the cream boils rapidly, lower the heat. Before serving, taste and adjust seasoning.

Per serving (based on 4): 643 calories (percent of calories from fat, 77), 6 grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams dietary fiber, 56 grams fat (35 grams saturated), 197 milligrams cholesterol, 502 milligrams sodium.

Money-saving tips

Try Ritz-Carlton Buckhead chef Andy Litherland's suggestions for saving money on your food bill:

* Look for specials and stick to fruits and vegetables that are in season.

* Add a soup course. It can be a filler that goes further and is less expensive than a baguette.

* Serve steamed rice instead of more expensive potatoes.

* Consider less-expensive cuts of meat. "I think a lot of people are afraid to cook some cuts because they haven't tried it before," Litherland said. "But there are some really great cuts that are cheap and grill well."

He suggests pork tenderloin cutlets; flat steak that can be grilled for one meal and then use leftovers with fried rice; short ribs that can be braised or thinly sliced for the grill; and brisket, braised in red wine and bouillon stock.

* Make your own pizza dough in double batches. Freeze half for a quick meal on a busy night.

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