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Cheap Dinner Ideas


Tasty dinners don’t need to be expensive to be delicious. Save money by choosing cheaper proteins like chicken, ground beef, tilapia and pair them with budget-friendly side dishes. All you need is the right cooking method with the right amount of seasonings, spices, and herbs to bring out the best flavors. Here are some cheap and easy dinner ideas that will save you time and money during your weeknight dinners.

1. We love anything stuffed in a tortilla. 

This easy baked salsa chicken only requires 3 ingredients. Chicken breast, salsa, and bell peppers. Place it in the oven to bake and let it do all the work. Shred the chicken and serve with your choice of tortillas. 

Quesadillas are pretty effortless. Add cheese, veggies, and protein in between two tortillas. Warm them on a griddle until the cheese is gooey and the tortilla is golden brown. Here is an easy shrimp quesadilla recipe that is relatively inexpensive and easy to make.

2. Casseroles are a great way to get the biggest bang for your buck with cheap ingredients. 

Use cheap protein such as ground beef and add ingredients such as beans and cheap veggies such as corn, onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers to make them stretch. Serve them in a cornbread casserole dish or mix them in with the rice. 

3. There is nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of pasta for dinner. 

This Chicken spaghetti and fajita beef pasta recipe are complete dinners in one pot using mostly pantry staple items perfect for a busy weeknight. 

4. Sheet pan dinners are famous for their convenience, but they are also good for how budget-friendly they can be. 

This cooking method also brings out great flavors through the roasting process. Using seafood as a protein option is a good option because it cooks fast. 

Take any kind of dressing and glaze your salmon and it will take on all the yummy tart and tangy flavors of the vinaigrette which is super easy and inexpensive. Pair it with roasted asparagus and fluffy couscous which are also low cost ingredients.

Use a similar approach and season tilapia with spices and load up with cheap veggies such as zucchini and squash.

5. Quick and Easy Stir fry is a great meal to use diced up cheaper cuts such as boneless chicken thighs and use leftover vegetables or any kind of veggies you have on hand. 

Chop up the veggies and protein in all the same bit size pieces. Start with a hot pan with oil and add your protein. Once the protein is golden brown, add your veggies at the very end just until they are slightly warm, then add your seasonings such as soy sauce, garlic powder, and sesame oil. Serve them over rice or noodles.

Serve them over rice just like in this pineapple chicken stir fry.

You can also serve them over noodles just like in this soba noodle chicken stir fry.

6. Soups always offer an easy and tasty way to stretch a meal budget. 

Any combination of ingredients with the right amount of seasonings can transform into a slurp worthy soup. Simply combine your choice of protein with aromatics such as garlic, onions, and carrots with broth and add your choice of pasta.

Although short ribs may be a bit pricey, the rest of the cheap ingredients offset the overall cost of the meal and make for a cheap and tasty dinner. All you need is lots of garlic, onions, all spice seasonings, and herbs such as cilantro and basil to flavor this dish up.

Convenient soup options such as ramen can also be turned into a higher quality, but still budget friendly soup by combining it with fresh vegetables such as bok choy and bell peppers.

7. Chicken and rice is incredibly simple but can be a feel-good meal. It is also versatile and can take on many twists. 

This baked chicken is flavored with Carribbean spices served with a golden turmeric rice pilaf.

This Cilantro Chicken is easy to prep, packed with flavor, and served with pantry friendly ingredients such as rice and beans.

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