Cooking wholesome delicious meals while on a tight budget can be quite a daunting task, especially if you have a family.
Once in a while, we have to cut down on how much we spend on groceries.
Lately, I have been on quite a tight budget so I have been on the lookout for budget-friendly meals that are delicious and would keep my family happy despite the tight budget.
Eating crappy meals just because I’m trying to spend less money is not my forte.
So far, I can say I’ve almost mastered the skill of spending less but getting the most out of it.
I go for meals that don’t require so many ingredients.
I also buy my staples in bulk in order to save some coins. In addition to that, I try cutting down on my meat intake.
Meat is usually the most expensive item on my grocery list so eating less meat means spending less at the grocery store and saving more.
I have experimented with one-pot meals and they have turned out better than I ever imagined. Finally, I make a smart grocery list and stick to it.
I only buy what I need and I never let any food go to waste. I incorporate my leftovers into my daily meals in order to avoid food spoilage.
Here are 11 dinner recipes that I have in constant rotation when I am on a tight budget.
They have definitely served me well and I hope they do the same for you.
- Grilled Greek Lemon Chicken
This marinated Greek lemon chicken is not only healthy but also full of flavor. It bursts with fresh lemon flavor.
Grilling the chicken breasts only adds to the flavor. It is so easy to make and would definitely be perfect for a weeknight dinner.
My favorite thing about this meal is that you’ll only need six ingredients, all of which are very affordable. You only need to follow four very simple steps and voila, you have your dinner ready.
The chicken should be marinated for 5 hours beforehand.
For you to ensure the chicken cooks evenly on the grill, always pound the thicker parts of the chicken breasts with a mallet.
I highly recommend trying this grilled Greek lemon chicken if you are trying to save money but still enjoy your dinner.
- Chicken Parmesan Casserole
If you love chicken parm, you’ll love this chicken parmesan casserole even more.
I honestly can’t think of anything better than super tender chunks of chicken and pasta in a rich sauce.
The buttery garlic topping and mozzarella cheese on top of the casserole perfects the meal even more. This topping gives your casserole that extra pizazz.
Your mouth will be bursting with flavor with each bite you take. The casserole is in fact very easy to prepare and it would go well with a side of salad and crusty bread.
You can use leftover chicken to make this chicken parmesan casserole.
Only a handful of ingredients are required so having this casserole for dinner won’t put a dent in your pocket.
- Creamy Spinach and Sausage Pasta
This is a one-skillet meal that cooks in only 30 minutes.
I love one-skillet meals because most of the time it means less time to prepare and fewer dishes to clean afterward.
The ingredients required are affordable and readily available at your local grocery store.
This creamy spinach and sausage most likely have everything you want i.e. pasta, meat, vegetables, and cheese.
It is most definitely a winner.
While preparing this dish, the sausage should be used sparingly so that it balances out with the other ingredients that are great because you get to save up the rest and freeze it for future use.
This meal is super creamy and your family will love it for dinner.
- Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie
I absolutely love this meal because I get to enjoy delicious chicken and dumplings with hardly any effort and it can be prepared in such a short time.
You’ll definitely need a crockpot for this recipe. It makes dinner time a breeze thanks to the ease of the slow cooker.
This meal is as easy as cooking the chicken, cream of chicken soup, water, and veggies in the crockpot all day, and then in the last two hours before dinner is served, toss in the cut-up canned biscuits.
Imagine having a yummy dinner that everyone loves with this little effort!
- Meatball Parmesan Casserole
I am a great lover of easy and delicious recipes.
This 5 ingredient meal is one that can be ready in just a few minutes and can feed a crowd for a small amount of cash.
All you need to do is cook your meatballs, pour pasta sauce at the bottom of your casserole dish.
Spread your meatballs on the dish, add more sauce on top, sprinkle with cheese and parmesan plus Italian seasoning, and then bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Just like that and you have your delicious dinner on the table in a few minutes.
This is definitely one of my all-time favorite dinner options.
- Spaghetti Carbonara
Spaghetti has always been one of the must-have staples in my pantry. Spaghetti carbonara is the epitome of satisfying pasta dishes.
I go for the budget-friendly version of spaghetti carbonara that is creamy, delicious but a little bit lighter with ingredients that are easily accessible by everyone.
You only need 7 ingredients including egg yolk and cheese which form a velvety sauce that lightly coats the pasta.
If you opt to cook this meal for your dinner, consider only using a small amount of bacon to keep your prices low and make the meal even lighter.
The spaghetti carbonara leaves a lot of room for personal interpretation so you can experiment a little till you get what suits you best.
- Ground Beef Stroganoff
This ground beef stroganoff consists of tender mushrooms and lean hamburger cooked in a rich sauce.
White mushrooms add a ton of flavor to the entire meal. You can, in fact, prepare this meal in just under 30 minutes, super convenient if you ask me.
It can also feed your entire family with just a shortlist of ingredients.
All you need to do to get this meal ready in a few minutes is to prepare your sauce, brown your beef, onions, and garlic add mushroom, sauce, and seasoning then simmer for a few minutes.
Once done cook your egg noodles, stir in the sour cream and parsley and you are done.
It is that easy!
- Easy Sesame Chicken
Sesame chicken is a great improvement to the normal chicken recipes we are used to.
When served with jasmine rice and broccoli, it is a satisfying healthy meal that is not so expensive.
My favorite thing about it is the balanced flavor and the smooth texture of the finished sauce. You can prepare this sesame chicken in just six simple steps that are very easy to follow.
The ingredients needed are most likely already in your pantry. You also have absolute control over the ingredients so the flavor of the chicken gets to be exactly the way you want.
You can have this meal ready for dinner in approximately 30 minutes.
- Skillet Meatballs and Marinara
Meatballs are great, but I have always been a firm believer that the perfect meatballs need the perfect sauce.
These skillet meatballs are insanely delicious.
The meatballs consist of only four ingredients that come together in just a few minutes.
You can use jarred marinara for your sauce but if you want to save some coins, make your own marinara sauce.
I guarantee that it will taste even better than the ready-made one.
Serving these meatballs with pasta for dinner always has my family asking for more.
- Pepperoni pasta salad
I love pepperoni pasta salad mostly because it is super flexible and I can always add some of my favorite mix-ins.
It is a simple, fun delightful meal that everyone would love, especially for dinner. It is a twist to the classic pasta salad and most importantly, healthier.
You get to enjoy an even better version of pasta salad with fewer calories. The handful of ingredients needed are great even when you are on a tight budget.
This salad is so easy to prepare since all you need to do is cook your pasta then add your salad ingredients and you are good to go.
- Taco salad
We all love tacos, but once I discovered this taco salad I have never looked back. What’s better than enjoying a healthier version of tacos that I get to eat with chips?
Taco salad is a classic dish that we all ought to know how to make. It is easy to prepare and the ultimate weeknight meal.
Its options are endless and you can always experiment with different ingredients to get your preferred taste.
If you are vegetarian or you are trying to eat less meat in order to save money you can leave out the meat and your taco salad will still taste just as yummy.