A Black TikTok creator is garnering millions of views on his food videos where he makes creates home-cooked, budget-friendly meals.
Alanya Williams, known as Thundermane328 on TikTok, is showing his millions of viewers how to take store-bought ingredients and turn them into hearty dinners for only a few dollars.
According to Good Morning America, Williams works as a cook at Southern Califonia assisted living facility and learned his budget-friendly dinner hacks from his grandmother.
Williams said he asked his grandmother for help as a teen after spending $200 on prepackaged food and snacks only to run out of groceries after a couple of days.
"She said, 'You're buying the wrong things -- you don't buy stuff like that, those are little snack things, but [they're] not going to stick to you," Williams told Good Morning America. "You're going to always be hungry and you're going to run through it fast.'"
Williams' grandmother suggested that he instead buy "bags of rice, a bag of potatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, ground beef, mixed vegetables," and other ingredients to make hearty meals like soup, stews, casseroles, and more.
Her advice sparked his 30-year career as a cook and serves as the inspiration for the inexpensive, family-friendly dinners he shares on TikTok.
Williams encourages home cooks on a budget to use staple ingredients like ground beef and chicken that one can "stretch in so many ways."
For example, a half-pound of ground beef can cook in a skillet on low heat until crumbly, Williams said. Add vegetables and "a spoon of flour and mix that in there, put in two cups of water, lightly season with some salt and pepper -- it will make a big skillet of ground beef and gravy -- you can take a scoop and put it over a bed of rice."
For chicken dishes, Williams said he likes to use one chicken breast and add his four favorite seasonings, which include Lawry's seasoning salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper.
"Take a cup of milk, pour it in there with that chicken -- because milk has lactic acid and it will help break it down -- then shred up all the chicken and now you've got a big thing of chicken that you can figure out what you want to make out of it -- enchiladas, pulled chicken, whatever," Williams suggested.
"I just like to use things that can stretch things out," he added.