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25 Easy and Cheap Dinner Ideas (Save Penny and Enjoy!)

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You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a tasty dinner—save money by using cheaper proteins like chicken, ground beef, and tilapia, or go vegetarian with bean-based meals to create a cheap dinner ideas.

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3 Secrets to Ease Your Cooking


Frustrations.

Whatever your cooking style, these delectable meals will satisfy your entire family without breaking the bank. Do you want more quick meals? Try these quick weeknight meals and slow-cooker chicken dinners.

EASY DINNER IDEAS

1. Baked Feta Pasta

Super Easy Baked Feta Pasta
Super Easy Baked Feta Pasta

It’s not that I didn’t think the concept was delicious. It’s just that everything seemed overly simple. Obviously, roasting a block of feta with bursting tomatoes will be delicious. Is it, however, good enough to bring the internet down?

2. One-Pan Creamy Chicken & Gnocchi

One-Pan Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Recipe
One-Pan Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Recipe

Everyone benefits when everything cooks together. The chicken will finish cooking in the sauce, making it the most simple and comforting meal. It’s the stuff that weeknight dinner fantasies are made of!

3. 5-Ingredient Black Bean Tostadas

Black Bean Tostadas
Black Bean Tostadas

With only 5 ingredients, these BLACK BEAN TOSTADAS are the simplest and quickest meal to prepare. These tostadas, made with ingredients you’re likely to have on hand, are a quick and easy meal that you’ll want to make again and again.

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4. Honey Garlic Glazed Salmon

Best Honey Glazed Salmon Recipe
Best Honey Glazed Salmon Recipe

Searing fish may appear intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will become second nature! It is critical that you heat your pan and thoroughly coat the bottom of your pan in oil. Place your filets gently away from you to avoid oil splatter — you should hear a sizzle.

FAMILY DINNER IDEAS

5. Slow Cooker Creamy Beef Stroganoff

Creamy Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff
Creamy Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Slow Cooker Creamy Beef Stroganoff at its best: made with sour cream, steak or stew meat, and — best of all — no cream of soup! A healthier(er), richer, savory, and quick crockpot version of classic beef stroganoff.

6. Sheet Pan Honey Chili Chicken with Veggies

Sheet Pan Honey Chili Chicken with Veggies
Sheet Pan Honey Chili Chicken with Veggies

To glaze the chicken in this recipe, a homemade chili sauce made with only five ingredients is used, but you can use your favorite bottled variety to save time.

7. Lemon Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Lemon Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders
Lemon Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Crispy baked chicken tenders with lemon garlic flavors. The golden parmesan panko crumb coating adds an addictive crunch! There’s no need for flour! Succulent, juicy oven-fried chicken tenders dipped in honey mustard sauce are popular with both children and adults, and they make an excellent finger food.

8. Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas is a quick and easy dinner that takes less than an hour to prepare. Everything is baked on a single sheet pan in the oven. You can also substitute chicken or shrimp for the steak.

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CHEAP DINNER IDEAS FOR TWO

9. Teriyaki Chicken Recipe

Easy Teriyaki Chicken Recipe
Easy Teriyaki Chicken Recipe

Teriyaki is the only way to make a chicken with this much flavor. The umami flavor makes this dish irresistible to most people, and it’s best served on a bed of fried rice. You can make a large batch of this dish and eat it for the rest of the week.

10. Chicken Alfredo

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe
Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe

Chicken Alfredo may be expensive in a restaurant, but it is much less expensive when made at home. It will be much less expensive and just as good. It will only cost you a fraction of what you would spend if you bought it out on the town to put this cheap meal idea on the table.

11. Lasagna For Two

Lasagna For Two
Lasagna For Two

If you’re trying to save money, it stands to reason that you don’t want to waste food. This LASAGNA RECIPE FOR TWO is ideal because it yields two servings rather than one large pan. You’ll have to cook it in the oven, but the lasagna only takes about 45 minutes to prepare before you can eat it.

12. Pad Thai for Two with Shrimp

Shrimp Pad Thai Salad
Shrimp Pad Thai Salad

This is another restaurant-quality dish that can be served at home for half the price of a restaurant meal. PAD THAI is a delicious dish that will leave you wanting more. You can prepare a few servings of this meal, which should be enough to feed the entire family or a couple of hungry diners.

CHEAP DINNER IDEAS FOR FOUR

13. Shrimp & Snow Pea Stir Fry

Best Shrimp & Snow Pea Stir Fry
Best Shrimp & Snow Pea Stir Fry

Allowing the shrimp to marinate adds an extra layer of flavor to really stretch those five ingredients. This SHRIMP AND SNOW PEA STIR FRY dinner is ideal for a hectic weeknight. You only need 5 ingredients and 1 skillet to get started!

14. Slow Cooker Chicken Pozole

Slow Cooker Chicken Posole
Slow Cooker Chicken Posole

This traditional Mexican soup is the epitome of comfort food. The festive dish dates back to pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and is now popular throughout Mexico and New Mexico (where it is known as posole).

15. TikTok Ramen

The Tiktok Ramen Recipe
The Tiktok Ramen Recipe

This brilliant dinner hack transports us back to college. Have fun dressing up the noodles with your favorite vegetables and toppings. In place of the bell pepper and carrot, try frozen peas or halved snow peas.

DINNER IDEAS FOR TONIGHT

16. Cottage Pie

Easy cottage pie
Easy cottage Pie

Cottage pie is an excellent choice for a dinnertime comfort food. The mashed potatoes, green peas, and ground meat are topped with a delicious gravy. In one fell swoop, you’ll have satisfied everyone’s taste buds with this delectable pie. This nutritious dinner combines a little bit of everything into one delectable dish.

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17. Beef Stew

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe
Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe

For good reason, beef stew is a dinnertime staple. With flavorful vegetables and tender meat pieces, a good stew can go a long way. Make this your go-to dish for chilly winter evenings. Imagine how happy your family will be to cuddle up with a bowl of beef stew after a long day of sledding.

18. Chili

The Best Classic Chili
The Best Classic Chili

Chili isn’t just for tailgates! It’s a hearty soup that can be served for supper or as a snack on game day. The perfect comfort food combination is spicy chili beans with simmering bell peppers and ground beef.

EASY DINNER IDEAS FOR FAMILY

19. Baked Spaghetti

Baked Spaghetti Recipe
Baked Spaghetti Recipe

You can make this pasta ahead of time and store it in the fridge until ready to bake. This way, you can get a head start on the week and avoid having to cook as much.

20. One Pan Mini Meatloaf

Mini Meat Loaf Sheet-Pan
Mini Meat Loaf Sheet-Pan

This dinner is spectacular! It’s not only a delicious comfort food, but it’s also a cinch to make. Who knew you could make mashed potatoes on a sheet pan alongside your mini meatloaf and green beans?! Nobody will be able to tell you took a crazy shortcut.

21. Honey and Soy Prawn Noodle Stir-Fry

Honey and Soy Prawn Noodle Stir-Fry
Honey and Soy Prawn Noodle Stir-Fry

Easy prawn noodle stir-fry made with honey and soy sauce. Quick dinner whipped up in one pan for easy clean up, and this prawn noodle recipe only takes 30 minutes to make.

CHEAP DINNER IDEAS FOR FAMILY

22. Turkey Meatball Pad Thai

Turkey Meatball and Noodle stir-fry
Turkey Meatball and Noodle stir-fry

Mix up your Pad Thai dinner with turkey mince meatballs. These meatballs are flavored with Pad Thai sauce and the whole recipe comes together in only 30 minutes.

23. Fast Family Chicken Pie

Fast Family Chicken Pot Pie
Fast Family Chicken Pot Pie

Use leftover roast chicken to make this easy chicken pie recipe. Frozen shortcrust pastry makes this a quick chicken dinner recipe.

24. Indian Curried Sausages

Indian Curried Sausages
Indian Curried Sausages

This easy sausage curry can be made in a flash on the stove or in a slow cooker. The mild curry sauce blended with creamy coconut milk and traditional spices make a dinner that’s suitable for the whole family.

25. Mexican Chicken Tacos

Mexican Chicken Tacos
Mexican Chicken Tacos

Shredded chicken tacos with Mexican cheese are an easy, nourishing meal. Quick to prepare and full of flavor, use a ready roast chicken to save time.

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Easy Chicken TacosIMG 9890

Cheap Dinner Ideas (Mexican Chicken Tacos)


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  • Author: Hazel Roddy
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 tacos 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 small onion, halved – chop one half, leave the other intact
  • 2 cloves garlic, 1 minced, 1 whole
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon pepper (or more to taste)
  • chili powder to taste
  • serrano chili, finely chopped (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • freshly shredded cheese of your choosing (optional)
  • corn tortillas
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • hot sauce or salsas (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the chicken, onion half, a full (peeled) garlic clove, and salt to taste.
  2. Cook the chicken for 45 minutes, or until it is completely cooked.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and sauté the chopped onion until translucent.
  4. Cook until the minced garlic is golden.
  5. Toast the spices briefly, being careful not to burn them.
  6. Cook until the tomato and serrano chili (if using) are tender.
  7. While the chicken is still cooking, set aside the tomato/onion combination.
  8. When the chicken is fully cooked, let it to cool before shredding.
  9. Stir in the chicken and a small ladle of broth to the tomato/onion mixture and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the extra liquid has been absorbed.
  10. Meanwhile, heat the tortillas for approximately a minute per side on a comal or in a nonstick pan over low heat.
  11. When the chicken filling is done, taste it and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  12. Top each tortilla with cheese, then top with chicken filling and garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.
  13. Serve with your preferred hot sauce or salsa to flavor the tacos to your desire.

Notes

The amount of chili powder required will be determined by the quality of the chili powder used as well as your particular tolerance to heat. We used around 12 teaspoon of pretty hot chili powder, which was ample but not overpowering. Some individuals like to serve the tacos with two tortillas. We prefer a single tortilla to filling ratio for each taco, but the double tortilla method does assist keep the tacos together if you over-fill or like your tacos particularly spicy.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: None
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6 servings
  • Calories: 128kcal
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 671mg
  • Fat:
  • Saturated Fat:
  • Trans Fat:
  • Carbohydrates: 11g
  • Fiber:
  • Protein: 7g
  • Cholesterol:

Keywords: Mexican chicken tacos, mexican tacos recipe, easy cheap dinner ideas, cheap dinner, mexican tacos easy recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should a person spend a month on food?

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2019, the average annual spending on food at home for U.S. households is $4,643, or about $386.92 per month.

Can a family of 4 eat 50 a week?

You certainly can. Sure, you can feed your family for £50 per week, and you can limit yourself to 1,200 calories per day if necessary. However, willpower is required, and supermarkets aren’t always the best places to exercise it. Everything – well, almost everything – will have to be planned ahead of time.

Is 300 a month too much for food?

Even in a big city, $300 per month should be doable, unless you insist on ordering takeout every night. Purchase whole foods and prepare your own meals. Stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, less red meat, whole grains, and avoid processed, prepared foods to significantly reduce your weekly grocery bill.

Is Taco Bell or McDonald’s cheaper?

McDonald’s is more expensive, but both Taco Bell and McDonald’s offer menu items for less than $3, making them both very affordable. However, Taco Bell is less expensive when compared to McDonald’s because there are more items on the $1 menu. On the other hand, Taco Bell’s $1 menu has more variety, options, and creativity.

How do you feed a family with $10?

8 Family Dinners Under $10
Quick and Easy Sloppy Joes. 
Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet. 
5-Ingredient Family-Friendly Baked Potato Soup.
French Onion Frittata. 
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala. 
Slow Cooker Chicken Parm Meatballs. 
One-Pot BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowls. 
Tomato Tortellini Soup.

What is the cheapest way to cook food?

The microwave is generally the most efficient way to heat up and cook food – it’s always quicker and its smaller size (as opposed to the oven) means that the heat is more focused on whatever’s being cooked.

What should I eat when nothing sounds appetizing?

If you’re totally impartial to what you eat, like, literally nothing sounds good. I suggest trying to put something together that will give you carb, protein, and fat. So, instead of having a slice of toast, maybe throw a scrambled egg with cheese on it.

Why do I not know what I want to eat?

Hunger is your body’s signal that it needs fuel. Your brain and gut work together to give you that feeling. So if you don’t feel like eating, a number of things could cause that dip in appetite, including certain medications, emotions, and health issues.

What’s the cheapest healthiest way to eat?

Try increasing your use of eggs, beans, seeds, frozen fruits and vegetables, cheaper cuts of meat, and whole grains. These all taste great, are cheap (especially in bulk), and are very nutritious. Incorporating more inexpensive yet nutrient-rich foods into your daily routine will help you save money and eat well.

What are the best cheap meals?

Mango Salad with Peanut Dressing. 
Vegetarian Chili.  
Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup.  
Chicken and Broccoli.  
Easy Fried Rice.  
Slow Cooker Ham. 
Smoked Pork Shoulder.
Ham and Potato Casserole.

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