80 Easy and Cheap Dinner Ideas

Michael Lefler
by Michael Lefler
Published: July 8, 2020

Whether you are busy at work or with your loved ones, knowing various easy and cheap dinner ideas can help you come up with fast and delectable dishes for all the meals, you are bound to prepare. From beans to stew and pie for dessert, you can face all meals with these recipes.

Easy and Cheap Dinner Ideas Ready in Just 30 Minutes

Here is a list of 80 convenient, easy, and cheap dinner ideas that you can prepare for your family in just 30 minutes! Moreover, they are don’t require you to spend hundreds on the necessary ingredients which means you can consider these recipes without getting any short-term loans.

As you become an expert in these quick and cheap to prepare dishes at home, you are welcome to try out your version to create other versions that may later be shared with your children and friends.

Consider making these quick and cheap dishes within 30 minutes

1. Easy Taco Salad

You just need a hamburger or substitute ground chicken or ground turkey, cheese, taco seasoning, green onions, salsa, lettuce, crumbled tortilla chips, and lime for garnish. That’s it!

2. Skillet Burritos

Just prepare the chopped onion, ground pork, diced tomatoes (fresh or canned), tortillas, cheese, and kidney beans. Garnish with plain yogurt or sour cream, green onions, olives, avocado, and/or your favorite toppings.

3. Quick & Easy Calzones

It’s similar to a personalized pizza that’s folded up. What you need to prepare it is pizza crust dough marinara or alfredo sauce, pepperoni, Italian seasoning, shredded cheese, some butter, and Parmesan cheese.

4. Black Bean and Avocado Quesadillas

With a twist to the traditional quesadillas, this idea for dinner creates another easy but delicious meal. Simply add onion, taco seasoning, avocados, and onion to the usual cheese and tortillas. This simple dish can be done in 20 minutes or less.

5. Beef Stroganoff

Plus, the fun twist of adding cream cheese and ketchup for a creamier taste. You can add other ingredients such as sliced mushrooms, egg noodles, some flour, sour cream, butter, minced garlic, milk, and to add flavor, add salt, and pepper. It actually makes great comfort food.

6. Vegetable Ramen Pad Thai

This easy recipe needs vegetables, peanut butter, sriracha, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and, most importantly, ramen noodles. For a less spicy serving, lessen or don’t add the red pepper flakes and/or sriracha.

7. Tater Tot Casserole

This is one of the most frugal and healthiest recipes! To the traditional recipe, simply add melty cheese and some veggies if there are fresh ones. If not, one jar of corn should do it.

8. One-Pot Creamy Garlic Chicken with Rice

What you need to make this easy chicken and rice dish include: chicken, garlic, spinach, rice, and some seasonings. You can choose to add heavy cream or whole milk, whichever you fancy adding to make at home this delicious dish.

9. Chicken Gnocchi Skillet

Do you want to add another to your ideas for dinners? This yummy eating is an Italian classic that you can prepare and cook within 20 minutes. With your usual gnocchi package, include ground or chopped chicken, spaghetti sauce, onion, tomato sauce & spaghetti seasoning, oregano, grated Parmesan cheese and salt to taste.

Teryaki chicken with rice for as a budget dinner solution

10. Teriyaki Chicken Thighs and Rice

Another quite easy recipe, and it only requires three ingredients. Just prepare chicken thighs, soy sauce, and brown sugar. If you want some veggies on the side, that is healthy and can also work. Serve with your usual rice.

11. Sour Cream Enchiladas

Do you feel like baking one of the favorite easy dinner recipes tonight? This promises to be another simple but tasty meal for you and your family. The four ingredients you need are shredded cheese, corn tortillas, one can of enchilada sauce, or some substitute can be either some taco seasoning or tomato sauce, and some sour cream.

12. Spaghetti with Bacon

Bacon is always a great ingredient to add taste to your cheap and easy ideas for dinner. Whether you want to use spaghetti or another kind is up to you. Add parsley, garlic, and some olive oil, and you can eat your easy home cooking meal in 30 minutes.

13. Skillet Cheeseburger Macaroni and Cheese

You just need macaroni or any pasta you prefer to substitute, cooking oil, onion, ground beef, tomato sauce, cheese, sugar, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Combine these and you have one of the simple but inexpensive pasta recipes made.

14. One-Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

For this, you just need hamburger, bacon, and 2 kinds of cheese. Mix these together, and you have one easy way to ready dinner. Put some Worcestershire sauce and/or ketchup for an added kick.

15. Chili Macaroni

One cheap dinner is this famous pasta recipe. You’ll need half-pound ground beef, mozzarella, or another kind of cheese, tomato soup, and some seasoning.

16. Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Are you looking for some sweet and sour dinner ideas? This needs a hamburger, onions, an egg, ketchup, cider vinegar, brown sugar, soy, cornstarch, and salt and pepper to taste. All in all, you can get this done within 20 minutes.

17. Asian Orange Beef

Enjoy the tender and juicy chicken with its sweet and spicy salsa. Finish by swooshing some fresh orange for that awesome flavor. Serve on any table with pride!

18. Easy Sesame Chicken

This is another inexpensive but hearty meal. An Asian-inspired recipe that requires boneless and skinless chicken thighs, brown sugar, one large egg, soy, and green onions. Each serving affords you that yummy and full meal.

19. Artichoke Melts and Spinach

Here’s one simple recipe for you! The main ingredients are spinach, artichoke hearts, mozzarella cheese, sourdough bread, and cream cheese. Feta cheese can be added if you like that and some butter. And then some thin slices of chicken breasts, too!

20. Classic Cheese and Bean Burritos

An addition to your Mexican recipes, this tasty food just needs four ingredients: cheese, tortilla, beans, and taco seasoning mix. Just mix and have the serving you feel like eating.

21. Italian Pesto Pizza

Another delicious homemade pasta recipe that just needs these ingredients: pesto pasta, parley, Parmesan cheese, basil, mozzarella cheese, and prosciutto.

22. One-Skillet Smoked Sausage with Rice

This not so expensive recipe has the following ingredients: broccoli, smoked sausage, cheese, and cooked rice. This dish makes way too quick-cooking – just 15 minutes, and you’re ready to eat!

23. Spaghetti With Green Salad Plus Garlic Bread

You just need to have this list and get ready to hit the grocery store with these: 1 pound of ground beef, spaghetti seasoning, cream of mushroom, and some tomato paste.

24. Better Mac and Cheese

This is one close version of the usual mac and cheese, but the more expensive one. To the typical recipe, add carrots, broccoli, hot dogs (optional), hamburger, chicken breasts, or other meat (turkey perhaps). You can also include onions and pepper. For more flavor, add some salsa before eating it.

Replace a usual burger with the better mac and cheese

25. Grilled Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries

Check out this recipe and enjoy your usual poultry animal roasted and served with soup and sweet potatoes. Enjoy contrasting flavors while you dine on every morsel. Enjoy eating!

26. French Bread with Green Salad or Chicken Patty Parmesan and Rolls

This is another cheap dinner you can add to your cheap dinner ideas. So with the cooked spaghetti noodles, mix some tomato sauce and place them in a casserole dish. Top that with four layers of cooked patties, drizzle with the sauce set aside earlier. Serve with garlic, toasted bread, and/or the green salad you love.

27. Stuffed Green Peppers

You’ll need four large green peppers, ground beef, chopped onion, 1 cup cooked rice, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Those add up to one meal on your table!

28. Chicken Fajitas

You’ll need onions, carrots, pepper, salsa, avocados (optional), and other low-cost vegetables you see there. To cook this, just follow this simple recipe, and you will be set.

29. Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

This one-pot dish is another of many recipes that do not cost much money but are still a great meal for any day. Added information: eating this with your fav vegetables makes it a healthy food indeed.

30. Beef and Cheese Goulash

Another simple and quick recipe for your whole family to enjoy! One of the many recipes that can feed a family of 4 or more or people with a hearty serving. Or you can keep the leftovers and save time to prepare your next meal.

31. Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage

Getting the stuffed cabbage rolls prepared takes time, plus it could be a slow cooker. However, this version used butter squash, and you can expect to taste its classic flavor. Plus, you can serve this at the table within 30 minutes!

32. Cheeseburger Cups

No need to run to your grocery as all ingredients for some easy meals are in your kitchen. If you have kids, they’ll love each tiny teenie bite!

33. Beef and Tater Bake

This is for the whole family to enjoy and no less! Meals like this must be eaten as a family close to your kitchen, so it’s easier to clean up and have some sweet dessert after.

34. Wisconsin Butter-Basted Burgers

Check out this butter burger that is so similar to those from famous Wisconsin restaurant kitchens! You’ll thank me later since you got it at a lower price if you make it homemade.

Try this chicken with tomatoes for a tough budget

35. Grilled Basil Chicken with Tomatoes

Here’s some information on how you can have a lazy dinner and an inexpensive but very delectable dish. Just have the chicken breasts properly seasoned then marinate for 60 minutes. Then onto the grill, they go.

36. Roadside Diner Cheeseburger Quiche

This is another main dish that tastes like a burger! Here’s the information on how to cook it and see how close you beat the recommended time it can be brought to the table.

37. Stephanie’s Slow-Cooker Stew

This slow cooker is best started before you go out for that day. So that when you get home, you’ll look forward to this well-seasoned and mouth-watering stew. Enjoy hearty meals when you do!

38. Chicken and Broccoli with Dill Sauce

Meals like these are sweet to remember during family get-togethers. You just need some chicken breasts and broccoli. Served with rice, and that’s a great way to complete the day!

39. Sheet-Pan Chicken Parmesan

Love this chicken recipe that gives you that saucy chicken, tender broccoli, and melty mozzarella. All that goodness in one pan! Yum!

40. Turkey and Broccoli Pastry Braid

Is letting your kids eat broccoli a challenge? This meal is a great way to let them enjoy devouring it! You just need puff pastry, turkey, veggies, and mozzarella. Savor this flaky goodness with your close friends and family anytime.

41. Corn Quesadillas

Save some funds and have this on very easy-to-fix lunch instead. Saves time as well since you only have to spend a few minutes preparing it. Pack salsa for dipping as well.

42. Weeknight Chicken Chop Suey

Dine with this colorful chop suey with a twist. For the twist, serve some chow mein noodles on the side, and you’ll have a great Asian-inspired weeknight dish.

43. Fruit-Glazed Pork Chops

Are you in a rush but want to eat something that doesn’t look rushed? Here’s a quick way to grill your pork chops. Enjoy this in just 30 minutes!

44. Basil Pork Chops

For these tenderloin pork chops to be glazed to your satisfaction, check out these not so expensive basil pork chops. Remember to pair these with some of your fav veggies, too.

Pizza on a stick as one the best cheap dinner ideas

45. Pizza on a Stick

Sounds interesting, right? Using your favorite pizza toppings, create your own pizza on a stick. The best version will be the one that tastes like PIZZA!

46. Crispy Baked Chicken

Mix your mashed potato with some Parmesan, cheddar, or mozzarella on the side and dish up with the crunchy golden brown baked chicken crunchy on the outside but tender and moist on the inside!

47. Pierogi Beef Skillet

Savor this thick beef with potatoes and your favorite veggies. It’s a hearty meal so this can complete your dinner already.

48. Garlic Bread Pizza Sandwiches

You can be more innovative when you are with kids. This garlic bread pizza sandwiches make a yummy snack that tastes like your special pizza. Use frozen garlic bread for a quicker finish.

49. Open-Faced Turkey Sandwich

Prepare these and save time by using your leftover turkey from last night’s party. You’ll love thick toast soaking up the creamy salsa for sure! Don’t have leftovers? You can use ground turkey instead, but it’ll take longer to cook.

50. Chicken Cordon Bleu in Pastry

Did you know that you have to bake chicken breasts in the flaky dough? It makes them turn out moist and delicious goodness? Well, now that you know, start baking at home and serve to loved ones and friends.

More Great Dinner Ideas You Should Try

  • Enchilada Casser-Ole
  • Deconstructed Pear Pork Chops
  • Garlic Lemon Shrimp
  • Pepperoni Roll-Ups
  • Creole Shrimp and Sausage
  • Orange-Spiced Chicken
  • Steak and New Potato Toss
  • Pressure Cooker Rigatoni with Peas and Sausages
  • Spicy Cajun Sausage with Rice Skillet
  • Cheesy Ham and Potato Packet
  • Turkey Posole
  • Citrus-Mustard Roasted Chicken
  • Chicken and Bacon Tart
  • Dad’s Favorite BBQ Meat Loaves
  • Chili Hash
  • Apple-Balsamic Pork Chops
  • Chicken and Spanish Cauliflower Rice
  • Peppered Pork Pitas
  • Crispy Onion Chicken
  • Zesty Calzone
  • Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
  • Creamy Chickpea Soup
  • Baked Lemon Pasta
  • Chickpeas and Pasta
  • Ham, White Beans, and Cornbread
  • Grilled Basil Chicken and Tomatoes
  • Rigatoni with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomato and Pepper Sirloin Steak
  • Chuck Eye Steak
  • Salsa Verde Enchilada Pie

Final Words

In the end, becoming an expert in easy and cheap dinner ideas enable you to provide light breakfast or tasty and hearty lunches and dinner. Also, the more you explore, the more ideas you can have on what to best dish out to your kids, husband, friends, and guests. Isn’t it a joy to see them so happy while dining on the ones you’ve done?

Serve up delicious dishes at an unbelievably low price!


Topics and Questions to Answer

• What to cook for under $10?

All the recipes listed above are under $10 and will help you to save money when grocery shopping. So, feel free to choose randomly until you’ve tried all of those.

• What are some cheap meal ideas?

Some cheap meal ideas include chili mac, easy sesame chicken, and spinach, and artichoke melts.

• What should I make for dinner with no money?

If you have no money, you can check for whatever leftovers you have in your kitchen. Then refer to the recipes above for inspiration on how to cook it.

• What can I make for dinner with 5 dollars?

Some recipes that come to mind include easy taco salad, burritos, black bean, and avocado quesadillas, and beef stroganoff. Check the ideas above to save money on groceries.

Mike Lefler shares his interest in a wide range of different subjects, including his love for finance-related writing. The passion for writing, related exceptional skills and his years of study, along with a Master’s Degree at Southwest Minnesota State University led him to become one of the brilliant authors in the massive finance arena and in the area of Financial Planning and Lending Industry.

At the same time, his ability to identify the main points of various aspects and intention to significantly contribute makes him a great team member and a valuable part of 1FirstCashAdvance.

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