Cheap and Easy Weeknight Dinner
nerudol/istockphoto

Cheap and Easy Ideas for Getting Supper on the Table

View Slideshow
Cheap and Easy Weeknight Dinner
nerudol/istockphoto

Step Up to the Plate

Learning a few easy dinner recipes that work within a budget is key to a lifestyle that is healthy and frugal — especially these days when most of us find ourselves cooking at home more than ever. It's even better to find recipes that are easy and quick, making cooking at home nearly as convenient as ordering takeout. Below you'll find everything from chicken dishes to beef-centric meals to pork, turkey, and vegetarian-friendly recipes here to suit every dietary preference — all arranged by groups.


Kris Scott contributed to this story.


Related: 55 Big-Batch Meals That Will Last for a Week

Raw Chicken in Butchers Paper
LauriPatterson/istockphoto

Chicken Recipes

Perhaps more than any other protein, chicken is a versatile ingredient for making dinner. From a simple roast chicken or casserole to chicken tacos and coq au vin, here are 30ish cheap dinner ideas that offer home cooks a wide range of chicken-centric options. 


Related: 20 Chef Secrets for Crisp, Juicy Fried Chicken

Roast Chicken
Liv friis-larsen/shutterstock

Roast Chicken

Classic roast chicken costs less than $10 to make for a family of four, even with root vegetables such as potatoes and turnips added to the pan for bulk and nutrition. Chicken cooked from room temperature roasts faster and more evenly, and develops a crispier skin.


Recipe: Epicurious

Chicken Tacos
Joshua Resnick/shutterstock

Chicken Tacos

Soft corn tortillas are less expensive than their crunchy cousins and add fun, hearty nutrition to the simplest of fillings, such as quickly sautéed chicken with spices — using thighs rather than breasts for an extra flavorful and cheap mix.


Recipe: How Sweet Eats


Related: 27 Tasty Taco Places

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast
farbled/shutterstock

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast

Stuffed chicken breast is sophisticated enough to serve at a dinner party but still simple and cheap enough to make many servings. Use homemade bread crumbs to shave off some of the overhead cost.


Recipe: Food.com

Chicken Gumbo
LauriPatterson/istockphoto

Chicken Gumbo

A classic peasant dish, gumbo was born out of the need to feed a family on a modest budget. An old-fashioned preparation starts with inexpensive whole chickens and a few common vegetables for authentic and robust flavors.


Recipe: Food.com


Related: Five-Ingredient Soups and Stews for an Easy Meal

Chicken and Mushroom Casserole
Emad Omar Farouk/shutterstock

Chicken and Mushroom Casserole

This one-pot meal combines protein-rich chicken and mushrooms in a creamy and cheesy sauce, all baked with pasta. Making cream sauce from butter, flour, and milk is cheap and nearly as easy as using a canned soup.


Recipe: The Seasoned Mom


Related: Dump-and-Bake Casseroles You Can Make in Minutes

Chicken and Rice
papkin/istockphoto

Chicken and Rice

Cheap cuts of chicken, simple vegetables and flavorings, and rice combine to make a comforting home-style dinner. Keep costs low by using homemade broth made from leftover vegetable scraps and chicken bones, or water and seasonings, rather than store-bought broth or stock.


Recipe: The Seasoned Homemaker

Coq au Vin
PhotoEd/shutterstock
Chicken Risotto
janosmarton/shutterstock

Chicken Risotto

Risotto is indulgent and fancy yet super cheap, especially when using homemade broth or stock. Swapping mushrooms in for chicken is an easy way to turn this dish vegetarian.


Recipe: Sweet C's

Mediterranean Chicken Soup
Sebalos/istockphoto

Mediterranean Chicken Soup

Chickpeas make this twist on classic chicken soup a crave-worthy weeknight meal full of protein and tangy, zesty flavors. Use tasty, inexpensive chicken thighs instead of breast to add flavor to the soup while cutting costs.


Recipe: The Kitchn


Related: 30 Easy Soup Recipes That Last for Days

Greek Chicken Salad
AS Food studio/shutterstock

Greek Chicken Salad

Low-carb, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly, this versatile dish makes a satisfying and healthy dinner, basically no matter what meat and veggies are used.


Recipe: Eating Well

Chicken Avocado Wraps
Timolina/shutterstock

Chicken Avocado Wraps

This deliciously healthy, simple hybrid between sandwich and burrito can use leftover cooked chicken — and calls for larger, bright green avocados rather than small Hass avocados to bring costs down even more.


Recipe: Gimme Delicious Food

Chicken Parmesan
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock
Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken
Joshua Resnick/shutterstock

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

This basic shredded chicken recipe is easy in a slow cooker. Add a favorite homemade sauce to create a flavorful filling for sandwiches, quesadillas, burritos, or tacos for quick, easy, and cheap meals on the fly.


Recipe: The Kitchn

Moroccan Chicken Tagine
travellinglight/istockphoto

Moroccan Chicken Tagine

This traditional sweet and savory meal uses low-cost spices and vegetables to get big flavor out of a whole chicken. The classic combination of almonds and apricots can be switched with a favorite nut and dried fruit with good results.


Recipe: Epicurious 

Chicken Fried Rice
Warren Price Photography/shutterstock

Chicken Fried Rice

This dish has all the flavor and excitement of takeout for a fraction of the price. Use frozen vegetables for extra savings. Get the cost down even further by opting for chicken thighs, rather than pricey breasts, or using leftover roast chicken.


Recipe: The Recipe Critic

Buffalo Chicken Wings
Joshua Resnick/shutterstock
Lemon Caper Chicken
MaraZe/shutterstock

Lemon Caper Chicken

Capers are a cheap ingredient that provides a ton of flavor, which is why they are used all over the Mediterranean. Serve with an inexpensive grain such as pasta or rice for a complete meal.


Recipe: Cooking Light

Chicken Tikka Masala
Foodio/shutterstock
Chicken Kabobs
Tatiana Volgutova/shutterstock

Chicken Kabobs

Authentic kabobs get their flavor from a blend of rich spices and a yogurt marinade. They work well with any cut of chicken.


Recipe: Once Upon a Chef

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry
Alena Haurylik/shutterstock

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry

This quick and easy stir-fry pairs with chewy noodles for a satisfying and balanced dinner. Using frozen vegetables such as broccoli florets helps make this meal even less expensive, and it works well with any cut of meat on hand or on sale.


Recipe: Damn Delicious

Pot Pie
Elena Shashkina/shutterstock

Chicken Pot Pie

This comforting favorite uses humble and cheap veggies and staples such as butter and flour to create a thick and creamy sauce for tender chunks of chicken. Making dough from scratch is easy in a food processor and saves money.


Recipe: Ina Garten

Barbecue Chicken
4kodiak/istockphoto
Jerk Chicken
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Jerk Chicken

The key to authentic and spicy jerk chicken is the complex blend of spices in the marinade. After that, it's just about lighting a grill or baking and finishing under the broiler. This low-cost alternative to steaks is ideal during grilling season.


Recipe: Food & Wine

Chicken Salad
bhofack2/istockphoto
Spicy Asian Chicken Salad
farbled/shutterstock

Spicy Asian Chicken Salad

This piquant and tangy recipe turns leftover chicken into a meal. Or start from whole pieces of chicken, opting for the cheapest cuts — any part of the chicken tastes good in this salad. Cut veggies at home to avoid the high price of precut store versions.


Recipe: Further Food

Chicken and Dumplings
wsmahar/istockphoto
Pick Big Dishes
iko636/istockphoto

Chicken Enchiladas

Use leftover cooked chicken and homemade enchilada sauce to make this fiesta of a dish for a large crowd. Vegetables or another cooked meat can be substituted for the chicken.


Recipe: Gimme Some Oven

Chicken Curry
Ramon grosso dolarea/shutterstock
Fried Chicken
EasyBuy4u/istockphoto

Fried Chicken

Homemade fried chicken might take a few practice rounds but is well worth the effort. Perfect the seasoned flour and frying techniques and you'll never have to spend on marked-up restaurant fried chicken again.


Recipe: Taste of Home

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Legs
Tatiana Volgutova/shutterstock

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Legs

These skinless drumsticks are inexpensive and healthy, yet big on flavor from marinating in a combination of spices before baking. The technique can be used on other cuts of chicken, as well.


Recipe: Mrs. Happy Homemaker

Raw brisket beef cut on a wooden cutting board. Black Angus beef. Black background. Top view
Vladimir Mironov/istockphoto

Beef Recipes

You know the old TV commercial tagline: "Beef. It's what for dinner." If this is true for you tonight, here are 15 beef recipes — using different cuts of meat — that range from stew and shank to spaghetti and shish kebabs to add to your collection of easy weeknight dinner ideas. 


Related: Can't Get Ground Beef? This Meatless Burger Fooled Our Tasters

Beef Stew
Slawomir Fajer/shutterstock
Barbecue Beef Shank
Martin Turzak/shutterstock

Barbecue Beef Shank

Instead of short ribs, use shank, which is similar but costs less and generally comes with the bone in. Separate the bone for a quick and easy recipe and use it later to make a hearty homemade beef stock.


Recipe: Sunny Anderson

Steak Frites
belchonock/istockphoto

Steak Frites

Indulgent steak frites can cost a lot at restaurants, but it's easy to prepare them at home for a fraction of the price, even when opting for a favorite cut of steak for a special occasion.


Recipe: Rachael Ray

Beef Bourguignon
hlphoto/shutterstock

Beef Bourguignon

Inexpensive vegetables bring down the overall cost of this dish, even when making it with a moderately priced cut of beef such as chuck. Use leftover wine — even from various bottles — to avoid one of the bigger expenses in the recipe.


Recipe: Serious Eats


Related: Two-Step Meals You Can Make in a Flash

Hamburgers
Shaiith/shutterstock
Meatloaf
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock
Flap Steak Salad
cobraphotography/shutterstock

Flap Steak Salad

Flap steak is a thin and cheap cut of beef. It can be tough, though. Cooking it medium rare and cutting against the grain helps achieve a tenderness ideal for topping salads.


Recipe: Shockingly Delicious

Chili
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Ground Beef Chili

Most authentic beef chili recipes call for chunks of beef that can add considerable cost. This recipe is based on ground beef, which fits any budget.


Recipe: Food.com


Related: 13 Regional Chili Recipes to Try

Ground Beef Burritos
AnjelikaGr/shutterstock

Ground Beef Burritos

When combined with other cheap fillings, such as beans and vegetables, ground beef goes a long way in this Tex-Mex staple. Consider making a large batch and freezing some for another meal.


Recipe: The Pioneer Woman

Shepherd's Pie
hlphoto/shutterstock
Beef and Broccoli
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Beef and Broccoli

This recipe works well with a tri-tip steak cut, which is considerably less expensive than some other cuts. The tri-tip is also lean, which makes it best enjoyed with some added sauce.


Recipe: Food.com

Spaghetti and Meatballs
svariophoto/shutterstock
Beef Shish Kebab
istetiana/istockphoto

Shish Kebab

Mixing marinated chunks of beef with veggies is a smart and healthy way to maximize portions from one piece of meat — and it can feel as indulgent as an entire steak.


Recipe: The Mediterranean Dish

Skirt Steak With Chimichurri
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock
Beef Tongue Tacos
from_my_point_of_view/istockphoto
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Corned Beef and Cabbage

This stick-to-the-ribs dinner is at least half cheap and healthy vegetables such as potatoes and cabbage. Flavoring the meat with fresh seasonings and herbs creates layers of complexity without relying on expensive store-bought sauce.


Recipe: Food.com

Raw cuts of pork meat on a wooden chopping board
Basilios1/istockphoto

Pork Recipes

When it comes to easy, cheap dinner ideas, pork brings home the bacon. Here are a handful of easy pork recipes that range from savory and juicy ribs to tamale pie, cabbage rolls, and a bacon-laden mac and cheese. 


Related: How to Feed a Crowd 15 Ways With a Cheap Cut of Pork

Oven-Baked Ribs
Foodio/shutterstock

Oven-Baked Pork Ribs

Ribs are a beloved indulgence. Learning how to cook them at home in the oven makes them enjoyable for a reasonable price. Start by buying ribs in large quantities at a wholesale club such as Costco.


Recipe: The Kitchn

Pozole
stacyarturogi/shutterstock

Posole

This classic braised pork stew is Mexican comfort food made from simple and cheap ingredients. Fluffy hominy kernels add substance for just pennies a serving, and pork butt is a low-cost option.


Recipe: Food & Wine


Related: 20 Comfort Food Recipes That Freeze Well

Pork Chops
Milarka/shutterstock

Pork Chops

Pork chops go on sale regularly, freeze well, and can be cooked from frozen for easy dinner preparation. Stock up when they're on sale and freeze in family-size portions.


Recipe: Parenting

Pork Lo Mein
hlphoto/shutterstock

Pork and Vegetable Lo Mein

Easy-to-find, low-cost ingredients such as pork tenderloin and spaghetti re-create a Chinese takeout favorite. Use whatever vegetables are on hand or on sale to keep costs low.


Recipe: Taste of Home


Related: 21 Takeout Meals Made Cheaper at Home

Pork Tamale Pie
ALLEKO/istockphoto

Pork Tamale Pie

This recipe yields all the flavors of moist pork tamales without the hassle of creating individually wrapped tamales. The rich flavors combine to make a stick-to-the-ribs meal from everyday staples such as butter, cornmeal, vegetables, and spices.


Recipe: Country Living


Related: Savory Pies From Around The World

Chicken Eggrolls
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Pork and Cabbage Egg Rolls

Egg roll wrappers and cabbage are cheap ingredients. Mixed with other vegetables, pork, and seasonings, they become a satisfying meal. Use ground pork to keep costs low.


Recipe: Food.com

Roast Pork Loin
Anna Hoychuk/shutterstock

Roast Pork Loin

The simple, clean flavors of this dish let the natural juiciness of pork loin shine. Use leftover wine or substitute a mix of half water, half vinegar to minimize costs. Serve with sautéed vegetables for a chic entree that would be welcome at the fanciest of dinner parties.


Recipe: Bon Appétit


Related: Sheet-Pan Meals That Will Make Dinner Easy

Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
Yulia Grigoryeva/shutterstock
Bacon and Bean Stew
Sea Wave/shutterstock

Bacon and Bean Stew

Use bacon to add richness to beans — ideally starting from dried beans to keep costs as low as possible.


Recipe: The Pioneer Woman

Baked Ham
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Baked Ham

Baked ham is a festive meal that can provide leftovers for days. While the initial cost may seem high, buy a whole ham and use it for many meals — it's cheaper than buying deli meat and smaller cuts of ham a few at a time.


Recipe: Cooking Light


Related: 21 Creative Ways to Spice Up Leftovers

Preparing Turkey for Holiday Dinner
kajakiki/istockphoto

Turkey Recipes

If you're looking for a leaner option than beef, turkey is a great option, and it's just as versatile. Here you'll find turkey meal options encompassing burgers, chili, sandwiches, roast, and meatballs. 


Related: 13 Things You Didn't Know About Turkeys

Turkey Burger
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock
Turkey Chili
Foodio/shutterstock

Turkey Chili

Ground turkey is an inexpensive source of high-quality protein and makes a flavorful chili in a slow cooker. Canned beans can add extra cost; start instead with dried beans prepared before adding to the recipe.


Recipe: Allrecipes

Turkey Club Sandwich
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Turkey Club Sandwiches

This classic American favorite is loaded with hearty turkey, inexpensive vegetables, and bread for bulk that fills up big eaters. Use turkey bacon or simply omit bacon to make the sandwich even cheaper, healthier, and quicker to prepare.


Recipe: Boar's Head


Related: The World's Most Amazing Sandwiches

Roast Turkey Breast
AS Food studio/shutterstock

Roast Turkey Breast

Turkey breast is one of the cheapest cuts of meat, and provides a ton of low-fat protein (it also offers a welcome change from chicken). A roasted turkey breast makes a complete meal when paired with vegetables and grains.


Recipe: Allrecipes

Baked Turkey Meatballs
MaraZe/shutterstock

Baked Turkey Meatballs

Using dark-meat ground turkey costs less and creates a more tender, flavorful meatball. If the grocery store doesn't offer dark ground meat, go to a butcher or see if your stand mixer has a meat grinder attachment.


Recipe: Wishful Chef

Fresh salmon steak with a variety of seafood and herbs.
Olesia Shadrina/istockphoto

Seafood Recipes

Seafood is a delicious and varied choice for dinner. String shrimp on a skewer, mold crab into some savory crab cakes, or use another water-borne protein in a stew, salad, and more. Here are 12 seafood recipes for getting a meal on the table tonight. 


Related: 20 Amazing Seafood Shacks Across America

Spicy Chipotle Shrimp Skewers
MariaKovaleva/shutterstock

Spicy Chipotle Shrimp Skewers

The blend of spices used to flavor these shrimp is less expensive than store-bought sauce and packs more punch. Use frozen shrimp for extra savings, and adjust the cooking time based on the size of the shrimp.


Recipe: Simply Scratch


For more great recipes and meal ideas,
please sign up for our free newsletters.

Baked Bluefish
allstars/shutterstock

Baked Bluefish

Bluefish is among the least expensive seafood and packs a lot of nutrition. Its characteristic strong flavor stands up well to inexpensive yet pungent flavorings such as lemon, herbs, and garlic.


Recipe: Simply Recipes

Baked Stuffed Cod
Ekaterina Kondratova/shutterstock

Baked Stuffed Cod

Cod is inexpensive to begin with, and goes even further when stuffed with a tasty blend of low-cost ingredients such as crackers, homemade bread crumbs, and herbs. (Other inexpensive white flaky fish also works.)


Recipe: Simply Recipes 

Crabcakes
Bochkarev Photography/shutterstock

Crabcakes

Fresh crab can be expensive, depending on season and location. Inexpensive canned crab meat isn't good for everything, but does work well for crab cakes as a cheap way to satisfy a craving.


Recipe: Allrecipes

Curry Fish Stew
hlphoto/shutterstock

Curry Fish Stew

Most of the flavor in this stew comes from the rich, curried broth, so save money by opting for inexpensive fish such as tilapia. Although it won't impart much flavor, it will soak up the other elements of the dish.


Recipe: Sunset

Shrimp Paella
gkrphoto/shutterstock
Shrimp Fried Rice
Hywit Dimyadi/shutterstock

Shrimp Fried Rice

Turn a humble pan of rice and vegetables into a complete, protein-packed meal by adding small, less expensive shrimp, which actually work better in this recipe.


Recipe: Damn Delicious

Tuna Salad Sandwich
Foodio/shutterstock
Salad Nicoise
Ivan Mateev/shutterstock

Salad Nicoise

This loaded salad is full of hearty and cheap vegetables, eggs, and tuna. Opt for high-quality canned tuna and avoid spending on fresh tuna steaks.


Recipe: Simply Recipes

Fish Sticks
Mateusz Gzik/shutterstock

Fish Sticks

This family favorite is often bought already prepared. Making fish sticks from inexpensive fish and bread crumbs is quick and easy, and yields a fresher meal at a lower cost.


Recipe: Taste of Home

Fish and Chips
Pixelbliss/shutterstock

Fish and Chips

This British staple is made from humble ingredients such as low-cost fish and potatoes. The most expensive part is the frying oil. Bake or shallow-fry the potatoes and fish fillets instead.


Recipe: Jamie Oliver

Grilled Bluefish
7th Son Studio/shutterstock
Variety of fresh organic vegetables and fruits in the garden
monticelllo/istockphoto

Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes

Whether due to concerns for health, the planet, or a waistline, more and more people are turning to vegetarian and vegan recipes, even if it's not 100% of the time. Try fitting a few more plant-based recipes into your weekly meal schedule with the options below. 


Related: 20 Dirt-Cheap Vegetarian Meals

Three-Bean Chili
Wiktory/shutterstock

Three-Bean Chili

This simple vegetarian chili uses whole foods and natural ingredients for maximum flavor and health at minimal cost. It's a recipe best started from dried beans; canned beans can cost up to three times as much.


Recipe: Smitten Kitchen

Falafel
HandmadePictures/shutterstock

Falafel

Fresh falafel is one of the tastiest vegetarian meals to prepare, and is made from cheap ingredients such as chickpeas, vegetables, and spices. Serve over salad or in a pita sandwich for a hearty vegan meal.


Recipe: Tori Avey


Related: Where to Find Great Greek Food in Every State

Loaded Baked Potato
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Loaded Baked Potatoes

Fully loaded baked potatoes are cheap, quick, and easily adapted to fit almost any dietary preference. This vegan, gluten-free version is simple and cheap, and easily adapted for paleos and omnivores.


Recipe: Well Vegan

Spinach Lasagna
Francesco83/shutterstock
Vegetable Sushi
withGod/shutterstock

Vegetable Sushi

Sushi is often expensive at restaurants and for takeout but incredibly cheap to make from small amounts of rice, seaweed, and fillings. Stick to vegetable fillings to keep costs low and eliminate health risks.


Recipe: The Green Plate

Squash Risotto
kuvona/shutterstock

Squash Risotto

The combination of risotto and squash is not only delicious; it's also a union of two very inexpensive ingredients. Using a homemade vegetable stock made from leftovers goes a long way toward keeping costs down and heightens the flavor.


Recipe: Cookie + Kate


Related: 30 Vegetable Recipes for People Who Hate Vegetables

Mushroom Ragout and Polenta
sf_foodphoto/istockphoto

Mushroom Ragu and Polenta

Polenta is one of the least expensive grain options, and while this recipe calls for a mix of wild mushrooms, inexpensive button mushrooms work too. For the best price, buy them whole and wash and slice yourself.


Recipe: Emeril Lagasse


Related: Things You Didn’t Know About Mushrooms

Stuffed Manicotti
NC_1/shutterstock

Stuffed Manicotti

This classic combines pasta, cheese, and red sauce in a slightly different package. Homemade tomato sauce is the cheapest, but people who prefer jarred should stock up when it's on sale.


Recipe: Food.com

Grilled Cheese Tomato Soup
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock
Cheese Omelet
Stepanek Photography/shutterstock

Cheese Omelet

An omelet is an inexpensive and tasty meal any time of day. A basic cheese omelet is cheap, thanks to the low cost of eggs, and can take on almost any extra ingredient, from herbs to vegetables to cooked meats.


Recipe: Jamie Oliver

Quiche
Lesya Dolyuk/shutterstock
Pizza
vsl/shutterstock

Pizza

Save on takeout or delivery — pizza is simple. Making dough in a food processor or stand mixer is the easiest and cheapest way to perfect cheap and tasty homemade pizza.


Recipe: Alton Brown

French Onion Soup
joannawnuk/shutterstock
Linguine with Mushrooms
cclickclick/istockphoto

Linguine With Mushroom Sauce

Mushrooms have a lot going for them, including a ton of protein and flavor. Pair with inexpensive pasta for a simple and cheap dish to satisfy vegetarians or omnivores.


Recipe: Bon Appétit

Refried Bean Burritos
Kathy Burns/shutterstock
Broccoli-Cheddar Frittata
Vezzani Photography/shutterstock

Broccoli-Cheddar Frittata

Like omelets and quiches, frittatas are egg-based, which makes them cheap, and they can include leftover or frozen vegetables. A heart-healthy broccoli version takes just a few minutes to prepare and makes a complete meal in itself.


Recipe: Food Network

Veggie Burger
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Veggie Burgers

Made from cheap, healthy ingredients such as rice and beans, veggie burgers are often cheaper than meat burgers but can be just as satisfying. Make a large batch for the freezer and easy preparation for future weeknight meals.


Recipe: Minimalist Baker

Stuffed Eggplant
hlphoto/shutterstock

Stuffed Eggplant

Hearty and flavorful, eggplant stuffed with garden vegetables and spices feels like a complete meal even without meat. In summer, find everything at a local farmers market. At other times, use frozen vegetables to keep costs low.


Recipe: Taste of Home

Eggplant Parmesan
Margoe Edwards/shutterstock

Eggplant Parmesan

This vegetarian crowd-pleaser is an alternative to the equally classic chicken Parmesan. Bake it to cut down on fat and pricey frying oil. Serve with a side of pasta to make a complete meal.


Recipe: Martha Stewart

Tofu Stir-Fry
cobraphotography/shutterstock
wonton skin ravioli
wonton skin ravioli by Jessica and Lon Binder (CC BY-NC-ND)

Wonton Ravioli

Homemade ravioli may sound difficult, but using wonton wrappers makes it as easy as it is cheap. Fill with cooked and mashed squash and top with a basic butter and sage sauce.


Recipe: Cooking Light

Shakshuka
siamionau pavel/shutterstock
Baked Ziti
Aimee M Lee/shutterstock

Baked Ziti

This four-ingredient pasta bake is cheap, quick, and easy to prepare for a crowd. Stock up during sales on boxed dried pasta and jars of pasta sauce to bring costs down even more, or make and freeze sauce at home.


Recipe: Food.com

Chickpea Sweet Potato Curry
Bartosz Luczak/istockphoto

Chickpea Sweet Potato Curry

Dried chickpeas and sweet potatoes are inexpensive alternatives to meat in a curry. This vegan take on the curry lets you get in your veggies, too.  


Recipe: Popsugar

Three Cheese Nachos
Noppawan Laisuan/istockphoto
Kale and Potato Tacos
Elena Veselova/shutterstock

Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos

Tacos are inherently inexpensive, and vegetarian tacos even more so. This savory combination provides protein and a variety of textures to satisfy even meat eaters.


Recipe: Veggies Save the Day

Lentil Soup
aliasemma/shutterstock