Dinner on a Dime! 5 Budget-Friendly Family Meals

These 5 weeknight meals taste great and make every penny count! From Roast Chicken to Stuffed Baked Potatoes, we have ideas to fit your budget.

One of my deepest and most steadfast beliefs is you can eat well and spend little. This week I want to celebrate the humble home cooked dinner. Each recipe is budget-friendly, richly satisfying and can be eaten as a complete meal with protein and vegetables.

Beautiful, nourishing, and delicious food can be created from simple, affordable ingredients. Each recipe highlighted below either has elements that can be repurposed for other dishes or focuses on accessible nutrient dense foods like carrots, potatoes, frozen vegetables or poultry and ground beef.

The common chicken alone stores riches beyond its flesh. The bones transform water into liquid gold taking ho-hum broth-based soups and elevating them to restaurant worthy standards.

Remember, you don’t need the fanciest gadget or the most expensive cuts of meat to be a star in your own kitchen.

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Roast Chicken with Carrots

All in one pot! Use the leftover bones and vegetable scraps to make stock and this meal becomes even more budget-friendly.

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Shepherd's Pie

Potatoes, ground beef, and mixed vegetables come together in this hearty and rich dish. To save time and money use frozen vegetables. Add them with the onions toward the end of the cook time.

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Pasta Fagioli ready to serve

Beans, vegetables, and pasta create this broth-based soup. It’s the perfect meal for spring when weather hints at warming up but still has a chill in the air. Use the bones from Roast Chicken with Carrots to make stock for this soup.

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Skillet Chicken and Orzo

Chicken thighs are the unsung hero of the kitchen. They stay tender and juicy even if you overcook them a little bit and they cost far less than boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

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Baked Potatoes with Chickpeas

No dairy? No problem! Special diets can still happen on a budget. This vegan dinner is packed with protein and healthy fat. To take the nutritional value up a notch replace russet potatoes with vitamin-rich sweet potatoes!

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Summer Miller

Summer Miller is the Senior Editor for Simply Recipes based in Nebraska. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Grit, SAVEUR, and Every Day with Rachael Ray, among others. Her first book is New Prairie Kitchen (Agate Publishing, 2015).

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  1. Sonia

    Nice and easy different recipes. Will try it out chickpeas with loaded baked potatoes

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  2. Terry

    This is really cool! I like the options. I am a geographical bachelor. I work for a major airline and am based in one city, my wife is a flight attendant and based in another. We see each other on weekends.
    During the week I cook meals for myself to keep costs down. I love these recipes because they are simple and I can also cook them for my wife when we meet for our weekends.

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  3. Helen

    Thank you! I used to cook big meals when my children were still home and having their
    many friends over. But now that I live alone I freeze some every time so I don’t have to cook a lot of things anymore. Saving me time and money. Thank you for your meal receipts it really means a lot to me.

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  4. Amy

    Love these! Send more please

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