She is all about celebrating great food at low prices—and Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian has put that into a new book that she signed for fans at Tuesday.
The book, called "Ten Dollar Dinners," was released Tuesday, coinciding with the signing and the start of d'Ariaban's 20-city tour.
"The idea is that you want to celebrate great food at not a lot of money," she said. "It is a whole different spirit than the average budget book."
Several Food Network fans turned out for the event to get their book signed and talk about the different recipes offered.
"The recipes are family-oriented," said Emily Sellar, of Manville, adding that she enjoys cooking a slow cooker tortilla soup, included in the book. "You set it up in the morning, and it's ready at night."
Her mother, Susan Sellar, said she likes how affordable the recipes are.
D'Arabian, who currently lives in San Diego with her husband and four children, said she grew up on a budget with her single mother, and they would cook together, trying to save money as best they could.
"It stayed in my blood," she said. "It was a seamless transition to bring to my real life. That's how I came up with budget cooking."
And d'Arabian has been cooking these kinds of dinners forever, and said she has loved to cook since she was 5 years old, even cooking her way through business school and a trip to France where she learned about ingredient cooking.
"Later, I started talking to local groups about money saving," she said. "One topic was how I was making yogurt in my hot Texas garage."
"I made a video of it and uploaded it to Food Network, and was picked for a show," she added.
After winning "The Food Network Star" in 2009, d'Arabian got her own show on the network, called "Ten Dollar Dinners," which is currently in its seventh season, airing on Sundays at 10 a.m.
From the show, d'Arabian created the book based on the recipes she has introduced, creating delicious meals at low costs.
"Parents have a lot of pull on their time and finances, but so do grad students and everyone," she said, adding that these recipes are a way to learn about buying on a budget while not sacrificing taste and quality.
Gary Alese, of Edison, said he wanted a copy of the book because he understands the value of shopping smarter.
"It's practical," he said. "And it's the quality of the meals."
And with the book, d'Arabian said, she is hoping people learn different ways of making food on a budget, and how to be better shoppers to save money.
"There are tips beyond the recipes," she said. "You will hopefully see a drop in your bills overall because you are saving in other recipes too. You are learning how to shop."
"I hope this can be a companion to household budget management," she added.
Beata Wilczynski, of Warren, said that while working and taking care of her daughter, it is hard to find time for everything.
"This book saves time and money," she said. "The recipes are easy and quick."
In addition, Wilczynski said, she likes the fact that it is an actual book.
"People will try to take recipes from the Internet these days," she said. "It is good to have an actual book you can look at any time. It is quicker to grab."
And Wilczynski's daughter, 9-year-old Julia, said she enjoys the potato dishes and one important factor about the "Ten Dollar Dinners."
"That's money saving," she said with a smile.
For more information about D'Arabian's book, visit her website here.