23 Budget-Friendly Meals to Help You Start the Year Off Right
Categories: Food

23 Budget-Friendly Meals to Help You Start the Year Off Right

We’re all a little worn out after all that holiday shopping, but saving money in the new year can actually start in the kitchen. If your takeout bill is nearing astronomical heights and the drive-thru isn’t the healthy non-salads you want to be eating, cooking budget-friendly meals at home is the way to go. It doesn’t have to be a chore when you have so many fantastic easy-on-the-wallet and 30-minute dinners out there. Keep scrolling for 23 of the best (and tastiest) ones.

1. Shakshuka: This one-pan wonder takes the most basic ingredients — eggs, tomatoes and onions — and transforms them into a hearty meal you’ll crave all day. Top with a delicious garlic Greek yogurt sauce and serve with a loaf of crusty bread and crumbled feta cheese. (via Nourish Atelier)

2. Vegetarian Sloppy Joes: These lentil and chickpea sloppy joes are packed with protein and are a great meatless Monday recipe. Make your own barbecue sauce or grab a bottle of your favorite one from the store. Either way, this is one meal the whole family will go crazy for but won’t break the bank. (via She Likes Food)

3. Butternut Squash and Bacon Pizza: A warm slice of pizza is the ultimate in comfort food. And when you top the pizza with caramelized onions, thin slices of apple, roasted butternut squash, bacon and blue cheese, it’s hard to beat. Perfect for using up the extra produce hanging out in your fridge, this pizza can easily be customized to your liking. Skip the bacon and add crispy roasted chickpeas for a vegetarian twist. (via Half Baked Harvest)

4. Garlic Butter Shrimp and Rice: Stick with this recipe and you’ll be chowing down on tender garlic shrimp and wild rice in just 20 minutes, using just a few simple ingredients. Besides the pot you used to boil water for the rice, the rest of the dish comes together in a single skillet, so you don’t have to worry about doing a ton of dishes after dinner. (via Diethood)

5. Biscuits and Gravy: It may be cold outside, but inside you’re bundled up and getting cozy with this classic breakfast-for-dinner meal. The thick fool-proof sausage gravy acts like a warm blanket on the flaky buttermilk biscuits. You’ll already have most of the ingredients in your pantry, but you can save yourself some time and grab a can of store-bought biscuits to make this a quick and easy weeknight staple. (via Love Grows Wild)

6. Chicken Carnitas With Jalapeño Pineapple Salsa: A rotisserie chicken is an economical shortcut in this recipe. Shred the chicken (skin and all) and broil it for a quick 10 minutes, then pile it in a warm tortilla. Add in your favorite toppings like guacamole, a hint of lemon juice and the unforgettable sweet + spicy pineapple pomegranate salsa. Taco Tuesday will never be the same. (via The Endless Meal)

7. Holiday Leftover Breakfast Hash: Turn your leftovers into something incredible, like a breakfast-style hash with eggs, cherry tomatoes and yesterday’s ham and potatoes. Since the ham and potatoes are already cooked, half the work is done for you. Enjoy with a ton of cracked black pepper and strips of parsley. (via Brit + Co)

8. Whole Roast Chicken: Roasting a whole chicken is not as scary as it seems. Designate a few hours every Sunday afternoon to watching the bird brown in your oven and you’ll never cook chicken another way again. Make sure to let the chicken rest on your counter after baking to give it time to reabsorb all the juices. Use the meat in your salads, quesadillas and sandwiches for the next week. (via The Whimsical Wife)

9. One Pot Mexican Skillet: Another one-pot meal that’s going to change the way you think about weeknight cooking, this recipe is the ideal combination of spicy and savory, and gets most of its flavor from inexpensive spices. Every element of this dish, from the chicken to the whole wheat pasta, is perfectly seasoned, since it all cooks together in the same pan. This is one meal that’ll warm you up on the coldest winter nights. (via The Garlic Diaries)

10. Baked Potato Bar: Make a couple of baked potatoes (do it in your slow cooker to make it even easier) and set out as many toppings as you can find in your refrigerator. From chopped broccoli to last night’s chili — anything goes. Let each person come up with their own creation and you’ll get a delicious meal and a cleaned-out fridge in one fell swoop. (via Jane Can)

11. Black Bean Soup: Sometimes you just don’t feel like fussing with an intricate recipe and would rather have a simple, straight-forward meal to fill your hungry tummy. A food processor makes this soup come together in no time, but it can also be done with an immersion blender. Top the soup the same way you would a taco, with guacamole, sour cream and cilantro. Crush a few tortillas chips and sprinkle over your soup for a crunchy alternative to crackers. (via Something New for Dinner)

12. Pumpkin and Ricotta Stuffed Shells: Seasonal without tasting like a pumpkin spice candle, this twist on traditional stuffed shells will have you hoarding cans of pumpkin puree. Enjoy with a small chopped salad and a good glass of wine and you’ll feel like you’re eating at a five-star restaurant instead of your kitchen table. (via Love and Olive Oil)

13. Kale Pasta With Walnuts and Parmesan: If you’re craving a big bowl of carbs, throw in some kale to balance it out and make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs to power you through the first few days of 2016. The crunchy walnuts and olive oil dressing take this spaghetti to the next level. A sprinkle of parmesan cheese is the bow that ties it all together. (via Well Plated)

14. Chicken Pot Pie: This recipe makes enough to feed a group of your hungriest friends, or you can make it for yourself and have enough left to last you the rest of the week. Using leftover rotisserie chicken and a bag of frozen veggies means you can have a meal that tastes like it took all day to make when really you were done in under 45 minutes. Your secret’s safe with us. (via Spicy Southern Kitchen)

15. Red Pepper Romesco Pasta Bake: Say hello to your new favorite 30-minute meal. From the roasted red pepper sauce (the jarred stuff will work if you’re short on time) to the thick slices of mozzarella cheese, this dish makes simple, budget-friendly ingredients taste like a million bucks. (via Pretty Hungry)

16. Baked Ranch Chicken Tenders and Veggies: This kid-friendly recipe will please the pickiest eaters (and skinniest of wallets!). Coat the chicken in corn flakes to get a super crispy crust without frying. Serve alongside your favorite dipping sauces — honey mustard and peppercorn ranch would be delish! (via Damn Delicious)

17. Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta: This savory pumpkin pasta is just the kind of comforting meal you need after a long day. The creamy sauce completely engulfs whichever type of pasta you use (basically whatever is hanging out in your pantry). Just make sure you use canned pumpkin puree and not spiced pumpkin pie filling. (via Love Grows Wild)

18. Lentil Chili: Hearty, chunky and good ’til the last bite, this lentil chili will have have even the biggest carnivores coming back for a second helping. Transfer three cups of chili to your food processor and blend until smooth, then pour the pureed chili back into the original pot. This helps thicken up your chili without having to add cornstarch or flour, which can sometimes affect the taste. (via Little Broken)

19. Mediterranean Chicken + Pasta Bake: Go with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, as opposed to the breast, for this recipe. Not only is it a cheaper cut of meat, but it also won’t dry out in the oven. Adding a jar of artichoke hearts and chopped kalmata olives to the pasta will make you think you’re dining off the coast of Greece. (via The Clever Carrot)

20. Turkey Noodle Soup: Take leftover turkey and turn it to a steaming pot of comfort food at its finest. This basic recipe is like a magic cure-all elixir and will be one of your go-tos for years to come. There’s nothing a big bowl of turkey noodle soup can’t fix. (via I Heart Naptime)

21. Shepherd’s Pie: The crispy, golden mashed potato crust is the star of this dish. The recipe calls for ground lamb, but can just as easily be replaced with beef or turkey depending on your preference and what’s on sale. No matter what you make it with, you’ll enjoy every second of dinner tonight. (via Brit + Co)

22. Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo: Get in your dose of veggies for the day and enjoy every last bite in the process. This twist on fettuccine Alfredo is lightened up by replacing most of the heavy cream in the sauce with milk — that way you won’t have to worry about ruining your New Year’s resolution before it even starts. (via Damn Delicious)

23. Mexi Macaroni: You’d never believe this recipe can feed four people for under $5, especially when you taste how good it is. This Mexican-inspired macaroni is filled with butter beans, corn, tomatoes and onion, so you won’t be hungry again right after you finish eating. It gives the blue box stuff a serious run for its money. (via Food Opera)

Which recipe are you going to make first? Post your drool-worthy photos and tag us on Instagram!