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For a lot of people today, grocery and food expenses happens to be one of the biggest things we spend money on each month.
And it’s completely understandable, considering the fact that we need food to, you know, survive and all.
But there are times when things may seem a bit rough and belts need to be tightened. At times like this, you don’t need to settle for boring food, all in the name of cutting costs.
As a matter of fact, you can still enjoy delicious foods that are cheap, healthy and satisfying, meaning your wallet, taste buds and belly will still be happy.
Here, you’ll discover 30 amazingly cheap dinner recipes that are healthy and delicious, as well as a few tips to give you the best meals for your buck.
Whether you live alone, or with a family, these tips and recipes are sure to help you out. They’re all made with cheaper and fewer ingredients, without sacrificing the tiniest amount of flavor or deliciousness. And making them couldn’t be any easier too.
Let’s dive in.
How To Eat On A Budget The Right Way
Eating on a budget doesn’t have to include cutting back on meals or eating way smaller portions that will only leave you hungry and feeling worse.
No, not at all.
There’s a few tips you can use to still enjoy yummy and satisfying dinners. One of them is meal prepping.
Meal prepping is a way to plan and make your meals ahead of time. Not only is it a huge time saver, but it can help you eat out less and save more money, and it is also great for portion control.
And if you’re the type looking to lose weight, prepping your meals can help you enjoy healthier foods, while keeping better track of your daily food and caloric intake.
If you’re new to meal prepping or still not sure how best to go about it, check out our complete beginners guide to meal prepping.
Also, tricks like buying in bulk, taking advantage of discounts, or swapping highly priced products for cheaper, but equally high quality alternatives can help as well.
Here’s a post I wrote about following a diet on a budget. The tips and tricks listed there extend far beyond the walls of regular dieting and into our everyday lives and meal planning.
Be sure to check it out too. Now, onto the yummy dinner recipes you can make even when you’re broke.
30 Cheap And Easy Dinner Recipes
1) Homemade Mac and Cheese
Sure, takeout can be tempting. But making your own meals at home is a surefire way to save more bucks. And when it comes to this homemade mac and cheese, there’s no going wrong here.
This recipe requires less than 10 ingredients, and still comes out as creamy, and delicious as you’d expect. Whip it up in about 20 minutes from scratch and enjoy.
2) 20 Minute Skillet Monterey Chicken
Packed with flavor, and loaded with lots of creamy and cheesy goodness, you’d be surprised to find out this Monterey chicken uses just 7 ingredients to get the job done, and yet it’s as amazing as ever.
And even though it uses chicken breasts, you can always substitute with chicken things to make things cheaper if you’d like. At the end of the day, you have a comfort food ready to go in just 20 minutes.
3) Easy Hamburger Casserole
Simple is the name of the game when it comes to this hamburger casserole. But I can assure you, it is anything but boring. Made with just 4 main ingredients, this casserole is sure to satisfy your cravings in the most budget friendly manner possible.
4) Chinese Chicken and Broccoli
Craving some delicious Chinese food? Then try out this homemade chicken and broccoli. It uses chicken thighs and requires less than 10 ingredients as well. And it still comes out super tasty and satisfying.
And unlike your regular takeout, you’ll also be happy to know that this is way healthier, and much lower in calories, without sacrificing any of the tasty goodness.
5) Buffalo Chickpea Wraps
Swapping out meats for legumes is another brilliant way to cut costs. And these chickpea wraps are just the thing to help you do that.
They are loaded with veggies which makes them super nutritious, and thanks to the chickpeas, they are also high in protein and vegan friendly too.
6) 5-Ingredient White Chicken Chili
Keep yourself warm and cozy with this super easy, yet delicious white chicken chili. With just 5 main ingredients and ready in 15 minutes, it will satisfy your cravings, without much stress on you or your wallet. And it’s a sure family favorite.
7) Poor Man’s Burrito Bowls
Don’t let the name fool you. These burrito bowls made with black beans, rice and salsa are packed with flavor and sure to leave you licking your plate. Extra points since its super cheap to make too, and all in under 30 minutes from scratch.
8) Better-Than-Takeout Chicken Fried Rice
Who needs takeout, when you have this delicious chicken fried rice on hand? It’s super easy to make, with ingredients you probably have lying around in your pantry, and is rich in flavor as well.
You can also enjoy this on those busy weeknights, considering it requires 20 minutes or less to make from scratch. And the leftovers are great for lunch the next day too.
9) Sloppy Joe Pasta
For this budget-friendly takeout alternative, all you need is some basic pantry ingredients, and ground beef and voila. It’s super easy to make, easier on the wallet, but still super delicious.
Whip this up in less than 30 minutes, even on those busy weeknights. It’ll become your go-to comfort meal.
10) Vegetable Stir Fry With Noodles
The good thing about noodles, is how versatile they are when it comes to cooking, adapting to a wide variety of interesting flavors.
This cheap and healthy dinner recipe combines ramen noodles with a couple of colorful veggies and a sweet and savory sauce. Not only is this super quick, easy and delicious to whip up, it also costs less than a dollar per serving when you make it at home.
11) One-Pot Vegetarian Spaghetti
Going meatless doesn’t mean your meals have to lack flavor. This vegetarian spaghetti with mushrooms and spinach is easy, healthy and super delicious.
It easily comes together in less than 30 minutes too, and offers less cleanup since it’s a one pot meal.
12) Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry
Super nutritious and quite satisfying, this sweet potato and chickpea curry is sure to be a hit at dinner. It’s flavor-packed, and easily comes to life with just a handful of ingredients too. Serve over some rice and enjoy.
13) Corn and Potato Chowder
A simple, yet satisfying comfort food to hug you from the inside during those cool nights. It uses corn, red potatoes, and chorizo. You can always make it cheaper by swapping the chorizo for some shredded chicken instead.
14) Best Lentil Soup
Lentils are an excellent source of protein. Plus, they appear to be lower in calories, and rich in iron and folate. Oh, and did I mention quite cheap too.
This lentil soup is one you’ll want to keep trying over and over again. It can be made easily with just a few pantry ingredients you already have lying around, and yet it tastes so good. And it’s super nutritious too.
15) Stuffed Zucchini
Zucchinis are also another wonderful low carb, low calorie veggie you can enjoy. And apart from being quite satisfying when used well, they also tend to come pretty cheap during the designated season.
This recipe stuffs the zucchini with other amazing ingredients like Italian sausage, tomatoes and parmesan breadcrumbs. It’s quite simple, and comes together with just a few minutes of prep. And there’s always room for creativity here, so it never gets boring.
16) Easy Pasta Salad
When the summer comes rolling by, pasta salads are an amazing way to enjoy delicious pasta, alongside a range of interesting and nutritious veggies, without much stress or cooking required.
This pasta salad is rich in Mediterranean flavors, and super satisfying too. Whip it up in less than 30 minutes and your taste buds will be happy.
17) Vegetarian Bean and Rice Burrito
Need a quick and easy idea for taco nights? Well these vegetarian bean and rice burritos are just the thing, even when you’re on a budget. They’re super easy to make, filled with tasty ingredients, and come together in just 15 minutes from scratch.
They also pack a decent 22g of protein per serving. It really doesn’t get any easier than this.
18) Teriyaki Pork Stir Fry
Pork, can also serve as a good alternative to beef, if you’re looking for a cheaper option. And it can be just as delicious too.
This yummy teriyaki pork stir fry, uses a simple homemade teriyaki sauce, alongside a couple of tasty veggies, which gives you a healthier, delicious dinner, and all in under 30 minutes from scratch.
19) Chicken fajitas
These chicken fajitas are one of the easiest, ways to satisfy your Mexican cravings. And they’re super yummy too. Make them in just less than 30 minutes, wrap in some tortillas and enjoy.
20) Easy Chicken Pot Pie
When it comes to chicken dinners, there are only so many ways to enjoy them, and it doesn’t have to ever get boring.
This simple chicken pot pie, made with a thick creamy sauce, mixed veggies and delicious chicken is sure to be a comfort meal that leaves everyone smiling. And luckily, it’s also quite inexpensive to make.
21) Easy Bacon Carbonara Pasta
With less than 10 simple ingredients, this creamy and delicious bacon carbonara pasta comes to life. And in less than 30 minutes too. The perfect weeknight dinner to whip up in no time.
22) Baked Tilapia with Lemon Garlic Butter
If you’re still trying to enjoy delicious seafood while cutting costs, tilapia might be just the thing for you. When compared to other seafood like salmon and shrimp, tilapia is actually less expensive, and still tastes amazing when cooked right.
This baked tilapia with garlic lemon butter is a very good example. Rich, creamy and super delicious, you’re sure to love it. Your wallet and taste buds will be equally happier.
23) Easy Shakshuka with Feta
Shakshuka is a popular Mediterranean dish, made with eggs in tomato sauce. It is quite easy to make, versatile in terms of how you can enjoy it, and cheap too, considering it skips out on using meats.
This shakshuka recipe with white beans is super nutritious, high in protein and very easy to throw together. It is quite satisfying, and can serve as a nice brunch, lunch or even dinner.
24) Quick Ramen Noodle Stir Fry
For when you need a fast, super simple and delicious meal to wow everyone at the dinner table, then you can count on this ramen noodle stir fry.
This cheap and healthy dinner uses only a handful of ingredients, and yet still packs a load of flavor. And it’s ready to be devoured in just 30 minutes from scratch.
25) Crispy Skillet Pizza
Don’t call off pizza night just yet. This simple skillet pizza is super easy to make and super yummy too. Feel free to experiment with your favorite pizza toppings as well.
26) Creamy Baked Ziti
Speaking of simple and delicious, this creamy baked ziti is a must try. With just 6 ingredients, it still delivers an amazing taste, and is sure to leave everyone satisfied.
27) Gnocchi, Broccoli and White Bean Bake
Simple may be the name of the game when it comes to this pasta delight, but the result is far from boring. Requiring just 5 ingredients, this gnocchi, broccoli and white bean bake is a healthy, and nutritious dinner to enjoy with the family.
It takes less than 30 minutes to make this from scratch, and is sure to leave you wanting more.
28) Ground Turkey & Potato Skillet
Ground turkey, is another good alternative to ground beef, since it usually tends to be cheaper, plus can taste just as good in most meals.
Combined with juicy and perfectly seasoned potatoes, it gives a delicious and relatively inexpensive dinner that everyone is sure to love, and all in under 30 minutes.
29) Sheet Pan Greek Chicken Meal Prep Bowls
Sheet pan meals are always a good way to enjoy healthy veggies, easily and quite deliciously. These Greek chicken meal prep bowls contain colorful veggies like peppers and zucchini, alongside delicious chicken, topped with cheesy goodness.
It’s really easy to put together with just a handful of ingredients, and yet it is rich in good flavor. And they’re quite satisfying, making them an ideal lunch or dinner, even on a budget.
30) Instant Pot Lazy Lasagna
Filled with all the deliciousness and amazing flavors from the traditional lasagna, this recipe helps you avoid the extra stress by cooking it all in an instant pot.
Not only is it quicker and easier to do, you’ll also find that you end up using less ingredients overall, and it’s still just as satisfying.
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