Budget-Friendly Quick-Fix Meals
Everyone in your family will love the taste of these budget recipes—even the kids!
Cheap and quick—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, Speedy Lasagna, or Chicken Parmesan Pizza. Leaning toward Tex-Mex? Whip up a cheap and quick dinner featuring Southwest Chicken Rice Bowl or Taco Dinner Mac and Cheese. Asian cooking is cheap and easy with recipes like Garlicky Beef and Bean Stir-Fry or Crispy Ramen-Crusted Chicken with Asian Salad. We’ve even got budget-friendly dinner recipes for comfort foods, such as Easy Chicken and Dumplings, and Honey-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Homemade Applesauce. Need kid-friendly? Done. Cheap and easy Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders and Extra-Cheesy Grilled Cheese will have the whole soccer team racing to the table—but you won’t be racing to the bank to cover your grocery bill.
Southwest Chicken Rice Bowl
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.
Grilled Chicken and Toasted Couscous Salad with Lemon-Buttermilk Dressing
This hearty dish can take down the biggest of appetites. It begins with tender chicken marinated in olive oil, garlic, and lemon, which is then added to a tasty medley of fresh asparagus, couscous, and red onions. All of that is covered in a rich, lemony buttermilk dressing.
Garlicky Beef-and-Bean Stir-Fry
Recipe: Garlicky Beef-and-Bean Stir-Fry
Cut costs at the supermarket by rethinking how you buy meats. Here, we use a less expensive cut of beef and stretch it by adding colorful fresh veggies to the entrée. Thinly slice the meat and stir-fry it quickly to keep it tender.
Kickin' Orange-Glazed Chicken
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.
Honey-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Homemade Applesauce
Complete this meal with Brussels Sprouts and Sautéed Cabbage.
Chicken Cutlets with Herbed Mushroom Sauce
Cleanup is easy with this one pan dinner (you'll make the sauce in the same pan you used to cook the cutlets). Serve the dish over mashed potatoes or with a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the earthy sauce. To cut costs, purchase fresh herbs labeled "poultry blend." You'll get an assortment of herbs for the price of one package.
Cast-Iron Chicken Piccata
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. Don’t forget to save the sauce to serve over pasta!
One-Pot Pasta with Tomato-Basil Sauce
You'll want to make this easy dish every week.
Crispy Ramen-Crusted Chicken with Asian Salad
Buttermilk battered fried chicken might be a Southern classic (and deservedly so!), but it’s always fun to switch things up. Try this Asian-inspired dish that swaps classic batter for crushed ramen noodle pieces, which give these chicken cutlets a satisfying crunch. Complete the dish by pairing it with a citrusy Asian salad.
Cheesy Bacon-and-Two-Onion Tart
Taco Dinner Mac and Cheese
Easy Chicken and Dumplings
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.
Step-by-Step Video: Our Easiest Chicken and Dumplings
Ham-and-Broccoli Ranch Noodles
Recipe: Ham-and-Broccoli Ranch NoodlesTotal Time: 20 minutes Just stir a few ingredients into cooked noodles for a super-fast, creamy supper. Maximize your time by steaming the broccoli and chopping the cooked ham while the pasta cooks.
Recipe: Speedy Lasagna
Jarred spaghetti sauce and no-cook noodles take the labor out of this hearty traditional lasagna. The microwave speeds up the whole process and gets the dish on the table in an hour.
Baked Smokin' Macaroni and Cheese
$2.25 per serving
Not only is this meal cheap, easy, and delicious, but it's kid-friendly too! You can't beat that combination for weeknight meals.
Extra Cheesy Grilled Cheese
Recipe: Extra Cheesy Grilled Cheese
Online User Comment:
"I made these with sourdough and they were amazingly delicious. Then again, how can you go wrong with butter and cheese :)"
Richard’s Sloppy Joes
Recipe: Richard’s Sloppy Joes
Few things are as delicious—or as decadent—as perfectly flavored, saucy ground beef slathered on a bun: otherwise known as a sloppy joe. This is our recipe for Richard’s Sloppy Joes, and he certainly makes them good enough to make us want to share them with you. Lean ground beef, diced tomatoes, and Worcestershire sauce get blended together with ketchup, barbecue sauce, and jalapeños—plus jalapeño juice. The result is a mouthwatering blend of spicy ground beef that is precisely how it is described: delectable? Sloppy. Make Richard’s recipe and enjoy these tasty treats packed with punch. Our adult taste-testers described this dish as mildly hot. If your family prefers less kick, adjust the amount of pickled jalapeños (and liquid from the jar) to suit their tastes.
Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders
Recipe: Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders
Enjoy fried chicken without the added fat or mess. Dredge the tenders in saltine crackers and pecans to add an extra layer of crispiness and a nutty flavor. Then lightly coat them with cooking spray just before baking to ensure an extra crisp crust every time. Serve this simple weeknight meal of oven-fried yum with your favorite honey mustard or Ranch dressing.
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.
Easy Skillet Cordon Bleu
Recipe: Easy Skillet Cordon Bleu
Easy Skillet Cordon Bleu will be on the table in 20 minutes. If you don't have Swiss cheese or Canadian bacon, don't stress. Substitute with what you have on hand--cheddar or Provolone and ham or turkey deli slices would be delicious. Complete the meal with a microwavable bag of rice and a simple green salad.