20 Budget-Friendly Quick-Fix Meals the Whole Family Will Love

Cast-Iron Chicken Piccata
Photo: Greg Dupree

Everyone in your home will love the taste of these budget recipes—even the kids! Inexpensive and fast—those are magic words for busy cooks who don't want to shortchange flavor just to save a few pennies. Our budget-friendly dinner recipes are low on cost and high on creativity. Feel like Italian? Try Cast-Iron Chicken Piccata or Zucchini-and-Spinach Lasagna. Leaning toward Tex-Mex? Whip up an easy recipe like our Southwest Chicken Rice Bowl or Taco Dinner Mac and Cheese. Please your crowd on a weeknight with our Beef and Brussels Sprouts Stir-Fry or Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets with Broccoli and Parmesan Cream Sauce. We've even got budget-friendly dinner recipes for comfort foods, such as Easy Chicken and Dumplings, and Sloppy Joe Casserole. Need kid-friendly? Done. Budget-friendly Pecan-Crusted Chicken and Tortellini with Herb Butter Sauce or Pizza Pepper Poppers will have the whole soccer team racing to the table—but you won't be racing to the bank to cover your grocery bill.

01 of 20

Southwest Chicken Rice Bowl

Southwest Chicken Rice Bowl
Greg Dupree

Recipe: Southwest Chicken Rice Bowl

Spice up dinner with a Tex-Mex classic at home with this easy, warming Southwest chicken recipe, served on a bowl of flavorful rice and topped with a sprig of cilantro. Lime juice gives it a summery zest while cayenne and jalapeño pepper add a nice kick. Perfect for pairing with margaritas.

02 of 20

Grilled Chicken 'N' Cheese Sandwiches

Grilled Chicken 'N' Cheese Sandwiches
Southern Living

Recipe: Grilled Chicken 'N' Cheese Sandwiches

What if you could make a grilled cheese nutritious? Add a little chicken salad to the mix and you've got yourself a ready-in-20-minutes dinner that everyone will love.

03 of 20

Beef-and-Brussels Sprouts Stir-Fry

Beef-and-Brussels Sprouts Stir-Fry
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Beef-and-Brussels Sprouts Stir-Fry

You can substitute any veggie that your family prefers in this stir-fry that packs just a little bit of heat. The best part is it's ready in just 30 minutes.

04 of 20

Kickin' Orange-Glazed Chicken

Kickin' Orange-Glazed Chicken
Greg Dupree

Recipe: Kickin' Orange-Glazed Chicken

Kick things up a notch with this spicy chicken dish. Red peppers add a nice dose of heat, which the sweet orange marmalade cuts through. But remember to resist the urge to apply the marmalade too early. The sugars in the glaze will burn before the chicken is fully cooked.

05 of 20

Grilled Chicken-and-Veggie Tortellini

Grilled Chicken-and-Veggie Tortellini
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Grilled Chicken-and-Veggie Tortellini

Jazz up store-bought tortellini with tasty grilled chicken, zucchini, pesto, and tomatoes, and your family will think that you picked up dinner from the local Italian restaurant.

06 of 20

Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets with Roasted Broccoli and Parmesan Cream Sauce

Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets with Roasted Broccoli
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets with Roasted Broccoli and Parmesan Cream Sauce

These aren't your ordinary chicken cutlets. We've upped the ante on this recipe by mixing melted butter and Dijon mustard as a flavorful binder before dredging the chicken in cornflakes and panko for extra crunch.

07 of 20

Cast-Iron Chicken Piccata

Cast-Iron Chicken Piccata
Greg Dupree

Recipe: Cast-Iron Chicken Piccata

The best part of this chicken piccata is it only requires one dish to make, and we recommend a cast-iron skillet. It will heat more evenly than a nonstick pan, yielding a delicious cutlet that's tender with crisp skin.

08 of 20

One-Pot Pasta with Tomato-Basil Sauce

One-Pot Pasta with Tomato-Basil Sauce
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Recipe: One-Pot Pasta with Tomato-Basil Sauce

You'll want to make this easy dish every week.

09 of 20

Pecan-Crusted Chicken and Tortellini with Herbed Butter Sauce

Pecan-Crusted Chicken and Tortellini with Herbed Butter Sauce
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Pecan-Crusted Chicken and Tortellini with Herbed Butter Sauce

This is always a winning meal for busy weeknights. Play it safe for the kids with cheesy pasta and crunchy chicken, and impress an adult-palate with a nutty, toasted flavor from pecans mixing into the fragrant herbed butter sauce.

10 of 20

Salmon Burgers with Creamy Tartar Sauce

Salmon Burgers with Creamy Tartar Sauce
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Salmon Burgers with Creamy Tartar Sauce

Form the patties for these delicious salmon burgers right after work and let them chill while you help the kids with homework. Top with your go-to fixings for a simple and no-brainer weeknight meal.

11 of 20

Taco Dinner Mac and Cheese

Taco Dinner Mac and Cheese
Southern Living

Recipe: Taco Dinner Mac and Cheese

If your family loves mac and cheese, try a twist on the traditional by adding ground beef and taco seasoning. The add-in opportunities are endless!

12 of 20

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

Kid-Friendly Chicken: Easy Chicken and Dumplings
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Easy Chicken and Dumplings

Canned biscuits turn into delicious dumplings in this quick-and-easy version of the traditional recipe. Use deli-roasted chicken to save time; one roasted chicken yields about 3 cups, the amount needed for this recipe.

13 of 20

Chicken-Bacon Ranch Casserole

Chicken Bacon and Ranch Casserole
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Chicken-Bacon Ranch Casserole

A short ingredient list, easy prep, ready in under an hour, and three crowd-pleasing ingredients – what's not to love about this casserole?

14 of 20

Zucchini-and-Spinach Lasagna

Zucchini-and-Spinach Lasagna
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Zucchini-and-Spinach Lasagna

Your kids won't even realize they're eating veggies in this creamy lasagna dish.

15 of 20

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Rishon Hanners Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Take your favorite game day dish and turn it into a weeknight staple. Add a salad to the mix and you have a filling, nutritious, and tasty meal.

16 of 20

Grilled Cheeseburger Nachos

Grilled Cheeseburger Nachos image
Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Lucy Barr; Food Styling: Liz Mervosh

Recipe: Grilled Cheeseburger Nachos

Your kid's favorite fast-food meal just got turned into an easy school-night recipe. For easy clean up you can wrap your pan in tinfoil before cooking the nachos.

17 of 20

Sloppy Joe Casserole with Dinner Rolls

Sloppy Joe Casserole with Dinner Rolls
Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Rishon Hanners, Prop Stylist Heather Chadduck

Recipe: Sloppy Joe Casserole with Dinner Rolls

We gave this mom-approved classic a one-dish upgrade. Plus, dinner will be on the table in just 30 minutes.

18 of 20

Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

Your kids won't complain about eating their veggies when they're served with these chicken tenders.

19 of 20

Chicken Parmesan Pizza

Pizza Recipes: Chicken Parmesan Pizza

Recipe: Chicken Parmesan Pizza

A frozen garlic bread loaf and deli fried chicken strips ensure this five-ingredient pizza will be ready for the oven in only 15 minutes. Serve it with a simple romaine lettuce salad tossed with grated Parmesan cheese, croutons, and your favorite bottled Caesar dressing.

Watch: Chicken Parmesan Pizza

20 of 20

Pizza Pepper Poppers

Pizza Pepper Poppers
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Christina Daley

Recipe: Pizza Pepper Poppers

These bite-sized pizzas are ideal for smaller appetites. Serve along freshly cut veggies and dips for a quick weeknight meal.

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