You're not imagining things; restaurants really have gotten expensive.

"Food away from home," according to the Consumer Price Index, is currently up 4.5% over the past year. That might not sound like a lot, but it adds up — especially when taxes and service charges or tips get added into the mix.

Even fast-food costs are creeping a little too high for comfort. A $24 receipt for a burger, fries and a drink from Five Guys recently ignited social media outrage. There are several reasons for the price hikes on just one burger order: low cattle inventory due to drought and wildfires has seen beef prices skyrocket; diminished grain exports from Ukraine due to the war is pushing up the cost of buns, and increases in the cost of labor for harvesting produce make lettuce and tomatoes more expensive. And that's just at the start of the supply chain; restaurants are also struggling to find and keep employees.

While McDonald's (our audience's favorite benchmark when commenting on local restaurants' prices) isn't the bargain it once was, you can still fill up on a Big Mac Meal for $10.53, according to the current rate on DoorDash.

But fast-food chains aren't the only places to pinch pennies when dining out in the Twin Cities. There is an abundance of satisfying, lip-smacking food at local restaurants — and at the prepared food counters at local grocery stores — that won't cost you more than a value meal.

Here are 15 of our favorite filling and locally made menu items under $10. (Tax and tip might take you over the edge, but it's worth it.)

Sharyn Jackson

Blueberry pancakes at Al's Breakfast

A short stack ($5.50) with an egg over easy ($3.25) and a half order of real Minnesota maple syrup ($1) at this legendary sliver of a diner has to be one of the most iconic Minneapolis breakfasts you can get.

413 14th Av. SE., Mpls.,

Margherita pizza at Punch

It's just $9.25 for a wood-fire pizza that adheres strictly to Neapolitan norms. Toppings will run up your bill, but we strongly believe simplest is best, with just crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, leaves of basil and a glug of olive oil.

Multiple metro locations,

Bagel with cream cheese at ElMar's New York Pizza

When this faithful reproduction of a New York pizzeria (they even filter the water to taste like New York tap) started baking bagels in its pizza ovens, we got right in line for these huge, chewy marvels. Top one with scallion cream cheese for a real-deal New York breakfast for only $5.

15725 37th Av. N., Plymouth,

Bowl of matzo ball soup at Yum Kitchen and Bakery

Really, you can't go wrong with any of Patti Soskin's soups. But her matzo ball soup ($7.95), aka Jewish penicillin, hits the spot when the sniffles set in, making this dish cheaper than a trip to the cold-and-flu aisle. (If you feel like splurging, add a $2.50 chocolate chip cookie for dessert.)

164 N. Snelling Av., St. Paul; 4000 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park; 6001 Shady Oak Road, Minnetonka; 8340 City Centre Dr., Woodbury;

Snack wrap at Toma Mojo Grill

It may have fine-dining pedigree, but this fast-casual Spanish-Portuguese spot has one of the best deals in town. An entire value menu priced at $3 and under means you can mix and match fast-food-familiar chicken tender snack wraps ($2.99), fries ($2.50) and punchy dipping sauces ($1) for a song.

12977 Ridgedale Dr., Minnetonka; 1700 E. 66th St., Richfield;

Stuffed cabbage roll at Kramarczuk's

Ukrainian food is stick-to-your-ribs stuff, and you probably won't find a more filling entrée than a $10 cabbage roll, which stuffs pork, beef and rice inside cabbage leaves and bakes the whole thing in tomato cream sauce. The beef-pork-veal Ukrainian meatball ($9.50) and the beloved brat with a heap of onions and bacony sauerkraut ($8.25) are worthy alternatives.

215 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls.,

Cachapas Venezolanas at Maria's Café

María Hoyos' signature dish for more than two decades, the corn pancake ($5.75, bottom right) is a dinner-plate-sized disk of velvety sweet corn, crisped on the edges, with a bowl of cotija crumbles ($2.25) and pools of salty butter in the middle.

1113 E. Franklin Av., Mpls.,

Meatball sub Mondays at Relish

These sandwiches, made at this sweet neighborhood diner using a mouthwatering meatball recipe from the owner's Italian great-grandmother, are typically $16. But on Mondays, they come half price (add $2 for fries). The meatballs cook all together with sausage in grandma's gravy, and if you're lucky, a hunk of sausage will sneak into the sub, too.

700 Central Av. NE., Mpls.,

Häm & Jäm at Alma Provisions

Alma has been a name synonymous with fine dining for more than 20 years, but it's also attainable at a bargain price; it just requires getting up early and stopping by Alma Provisions, where breakfast sandwiches are a hearty bite for just $10. The Häm and Jäm bundles fluffy eggs, ham from a small family farm, Jack cheese and a sweet/savory onion jam all on a fresh-baked country roll.

812 W. 46th St., Mpls.,

Snuggle Pie at Hold the Wheat

Gluten-free baking is an art and Spencer Justiniano is a master. His small bakery makes sweet cakes and pastries that are delightful treats, but the little Snuggle Pie ($6.50) is a decadent and handy breakfast to-go. The pie crust is layers of buttery, flaky goodness that is wrapped around a little cheese and spicy sausage. It's a satiating bite that just happens to be celiac-safe.

4050 Brookside Av., St. Louis Park,

Double burger at Bebe Zito

Even with rising prices, Bebe Zito has managed to keep their double-stacked burger, which comes dripping in American cheese and their special Bebe sauce, affordable ($9.90). When the ice cream shop started to sell these burgers, they became an instant sensation, prompting lines of burger fans from across the metro. Now, with more locations, it's never been easier to get ahold of this messy, satisfying bite.

704 W. 22nd St., Mpls.; 501 30th Av. SE.; Mpls.; 2819 Nicollet Av., Mpls.; 9000 Hudson Road, Woodbury;

Classic bánh mì at Mi-Sant

The aroma of freshly baked bread beckons when stepping into Mi-Sant, which specializes in an array of bánh mì. Most top out at $11, but grab the classic for just $8.50 with several Vietnamese hams, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs and just a little bit of mayonnaise inside one of those crusty baguettes. It's a sandwich the size of the average adult forearm and almost big enough to share. Almost.

8540 Edinburgh Centre Dr., Brooklyn Park; 1881 Hwy. 36 W., Roseville;

Vegan "egg" salad sandwich at Hard Times

Vegan eats are too often code for expensive. But, the good folks at Hard Times Cafe know that meat-free shouldn't come with a hefty price tag. Served on simple wheat sandwich bread with crisp Romaine lettuce and tomatoes, the star of this sandwich is the mashed chickpea and vegannaise salad ($6.50). The result is tangy, bright and will fill a person up for hours for just a few bucks. Speaking of, bring cash — they don't take cards. Bring a $10 bill and there's enough left for an orange-cardamom cookie.

1821 Riverside Av., Mpls.,

Chicharron con queso pupusas at El Guanaco Bakery y Cafe

The first time we ordered this masa cake stuffed with braised pork and cheese it seemed like the price had to be a mistake. The heartiness of one pupusa, topped with a bright cabbage slaw, was more meal than small snack. It wasn't a misprint; these crispy disks are only $3 each. They're also available with just cheese, just beans or a combination of the two for a quick vegetarian meal. That they are gluten-free is a bonus.

849 E. 7th St., St. Paul; 7837 Portland Av., Bloomington; 501 E. Lake St., Mpls.;

Uncle Franky Dog at Uncle Franky's

The very definition of classic, this all-beef dog ($4.95) is dressed with familiar favorites: bright green relish, onions, mustard and, because this is Minnesota, ketchup. It's as simple a meal as it comes, and cheap enough that you can upgrade to a double and it's still only $6.75. The Uncle Franky's interior is long on humble charm and short on space. Grab a dog to go and enjoy this one-handed dining in the great outdoors.

728 Broadway St. NE., Mpls.,