15 Budget Dinner Recipes That Stretch Your Pennies
These budget dinners prove you can still eat well even if you're trying to save — good news considering that we're a little obsessed with food over here. The following ideas use canned, dried, and frozen ingredients to the best of their abilities. Inexpensive proteins are key to cheap cooking too, and smaller portions of meat that can boost the flavor of your recipe without draining your wallet. Add these dinners to your daily rotation, and you'll start seeing the savings pile up.
Gordon Ramsay's Chicken: You'll feel like you're at a fine-dining establishment when you bust out this recipe. FYI, all the ingredients (root veggies, chicken, and herbs) can be procured at TJ's or any conventional grocery store.
Bacon Fried Rice: Turn your leftover rice into dinner by adding veggies and meat. You just need a couple of slices of bacon to bring on the flavor — save the rest for breakfast on the weekend.
Chicken Zoodle Soup: This simple chicken soup swaps traditional noodles for spiralized zucchini, a dirt-cheap veg in the summer.
Crispy Honey-Lemon Chicken Thighs: Buy inexpensive chicken thighs in bulk, and freeze in batches of four. Thaw what you need overnight, so it's ready to cook when you come home.
Easy Instant Pot Soup: Make a huge batch in your Instant Pot in less than 30 minutes, which means you'll enjoy the leftovers for the rest of the week.
Vegan Sheet Pan Sausage and Veggies: Prep a meatless meal in a jif thanks to your handy sheet pan. Load on your favorite roasting veggies and a package of meat-free sausage, and serve with some mustard for dipping.
Foil Pack Chicken and Broccoli: Ordering out can wreak havoc on your budget. Satisfy your takeout cravings with this foil-pack chicken and broccoli instead.
Easy Homemade Pizza: You just need two ingredients to make this homemade pizza dough: Greek yogurt and self-rising flour. Throw on whatever toppings you have in your fridge for a fun but economical meal.
10-Minute Trader Joe's Stir-Fry Dinner: You can get everything you need for this 10-minute vegan dinner at Trader Joe's. It costs about $5 per serving — not bad!
Lettuce Wrap Mexican-Style Hot Dogs: Cheap and fresh don't have to be mutually exclusive. Some inexpensive veggies dress up these hot dogs, which are wrapped in lettuce instead of buns to keep things low-carb.
Vegan Portuguese Kale Soup: Soup is one of our go-to budget meals, and it's friendly on your wallet even when you make it vegan. Beans and veggies make up the bulk of this recipe, with a few vegan sausage links thrown in for extra oomph.
Vegan Curry: You can make this flavorful meal almost entirely with ingredients from the pantry. Keep some frozen spinach on hand to whip it up any time without having to take a trip to the store.
Paleo Shepherd's Pie: Special diets have a reputation for being pricey, but this inexpensive paleo dish won't break the bank. Best of all, it feeds up to six people, or it can be portioned out so you have an easy dinner option every night of the week.
Veggie Foil Packets: Add whatever veggies you have on hand and some vegan sausage into a foil packet, then bake until everything is cooked through. Pair with your favorite sauce, or just salt and pepper if you feel like something simple.
2. Grilled Fluffernutter: This nostalgic bite has all the stuff you love: mallow fluff, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and butter. It's sort of like dinner and dessert in one.
Follow us on Pinterest for more budget dining ideas.
(Photos via Brit + Co)