Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet
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Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet
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Simple Kitchen Pleasures

Just because a meal is inexpensive and simple to prepare doesn't mean it can't also be satisfying and delicious. No-fuss, one-pot recipes offer a great option for everyone, from retirees to young families with kids and no time, as well as busy couples and singles — especially since many of us are cooking more meals at home these days. These recipes, which are all economical and cooked in one pot, sheet pan, or skillet, prove that you don't have to create a sinkful of dirty dishes in order to serve a dinner you can be proud of.

Related: 30 Cheap and Easy Recipes From Canned Foods

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen
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Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen

Beginning a home-cooked meal with an inexpensive packet of ramen is a welcome shortcut. This plant-based recipe ditches the high sodium seasoning packet in favor of vegetable broth and coconut milk for a creamy, simple soup. Using ramen noodles also makes this recipe easy to scale, whether you're feeding one or a big family.

Recipe: Budget Bytes

Patti Labelle’s Macaroni And Cheese
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3-Ingredient Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Homemade, creamy, one-pot mac and cheese is just as simple and quick as a box of Kraft. All you need is pasta, cheese, and a can of evaporated milk. Cooking the pasta in a small amount of water makes it extra starchy, which is what makes the sauce creamy and smooth with zero effort. (Still want to keep the boxed option on hand just in case? We Tried 13 Kinds of Store-Brand Mac and Cheese and These Are the Best.)

Recipe: Serious Eats

One Pan Roasted Potatoes, Sausage and Peppers
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One Pan Roasted Potatoes, Sausage, and Peppers

Seasoned with rosemary and garlic powder, this is an all-on-one-pan meal. You can mix the vegetables with oil and seasonings in a bowl as the recipe suggests, or just mix everything together right on the sheet pan. Everything gets caramelized in the oven.

Recipe: Skinny Taste

Instant Pot Beef Stew
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Instant Pot Beef Stew

Beef stew is full of inexpensive cuts of meat and root vegetables, but it takes a long time to cook. Make it in an Instant Pot to save time and you can have it completely finished in less than an hour. This is a simple recipe with classic seasonings like thyme and bay leaves, plus tender beef, potatoes and carrots. Add the peas after cooking for freshness.

Recipe: Dinner at the Zoo

Related: 50 Simple, Cheap, and Delicious Instant Pot Recipes

Sheet Pan Baked Tilapia and Roasted Veggies
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Sheet Pan Baked Tilapia and Roasted Veggies

Tilapia is a healthy and economical fish. It's easy to prepare, especially when you roast it on a sheet pan, like this recipe. The fish is seasoned with garlic, lemon and onion powder, and then roasted along with a colorful mixture of broccoli, summer squash and carrots.

Recipe: Garnish & Glaze

One-Pot Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce
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One-Pot Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

If you're a gardener who always has an overabundance of fresh tomatoes at the end of summer, this simple pasta recipe is for you. Spaghetti, chopped tomatoes, basil and seasonings all go in the pot at once, and as the pasta cooks, the sauce forms. If you're using out of season tomatoes, add a little extra tomato paste.

Recipe: Food Network

Easy Ham and Potato Soup
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Easy Ham and Potato Soup

Creamy potato soup is a filling and inexpensive meal, but most include bacon, which requires an extra pan. This slow cooker recipe includes ham instead of bacon so you can just throw all the ingredients into the pot and walk away. This is a great way to use up leftover ham or use thick-sliced deli ham.

Recipe: Spend with Pennies

Cajun Shrimp and Rice Skillet
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Cajun Shrimp and Rice Skillet

To save money making this simple, spicy rice skillet, buy small frozen shrimp, which are less expensive than jumbo shrimp but just as delicious. Though the recipe includes a homemade Cajun seasoning, you can substitute a low-salt, store-bought version.

Recipe: Creme de la Crumb

One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
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One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese

If you prefer noodles with your chili but hate having to use a separate pot to cook them, try this chili mac recipe. It starts with a simple ground beef and bean chili made with extra chicken broth so the elbow noodles can cook thoroughly right in the same pot. A layer of shredded cheddar cheese on top is always welcome.

Recipe: Damn Delicious

Lemon Chicken and Zucchini Foil Packs
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Lemon Chicken and Zucchini Foil Packs

To create zero dirty dishes, cook in foil packs. Chunky zucchini and chicken breasts are seasoned with lemon and thyme and cooked in foil. You can either throw them on the grill in summer, or put them on a sheet pan in the oven instead. Either way, the only cleanup is to throw the foil away.

Recipe: Pillsbury

Ultimate Southwest Scrambled Eggs
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Ultimate Southwest Scrambled Eggs

Eggs are a cheap and filling ingredient, but most people only think of them for breakfast. This scrambled egg skillet is hearty and savory enough for lunch or dinner. Black beans add more protein and fiber, and canned green chiles are a simple way to add Southwest flavor. Serve with tortillas and avocado slices for make-your-own tacos.

Recipe: Budget Bytes

Inside Out Stuffed Cabbage
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Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

Stuffed cabbage rolls are delicious comfort food, but they're also time consuming and make a lot of dirty dishes. Instead, make this weeknight-friendly one-skillet version that has all the same ingredients in a much less complicated form.

Recipe: An Affair From the Heart

One Pot Tuna Casserole
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One Pot Tuna Casserole

To get around the need for an extra pan, this no-fuss tuna casserole recipe mixes everything in the same pot the noodles are cooked in, and skips the step of baking. If you'd prefer to bake it with cheese or something crunchy on top, just use an oven-safe dutch oven and bake or broil.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Chicken Tortilla Soup
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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken tortilla soup is a crowd pleaser. This version strikes a good balance between from-scratch cooking and speed by utilizing fast-cooking boneless chicken breasts. By cooking them in the broth, they lend their flavor to the pot, but it takes a fraction of the time of making stock.

Recipe: A Spicy Perspective

Chicken and Dumplings
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Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

This version of chicken and dumplings is one of the easiest you can find. Just put chicken breasts, cream of chicken soup, diced onion, and water in a crockpot and cook until the chicken is falling apart. Then top it with pieces of refrigerated biscuit dough and cook through. It's hearty and creamy, and if you have any veggies like carrots or celery to use up in the fridge, you can add them, too.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo
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Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

Chicken thighs are a cheap protein source that are easy to cook and stay juicy. They're seasoned with lemon pepper blend in this Greek-inspired skillet meal. Orzo, a small rice-shaped pasta, soaks up the chicken and garlic flavor, and feta cheese adds briny richness.

Recipe: Budget Bytes

Perfect Chicken Alfredo
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Perfect Chicken Alfredo

Alfredo sauce is extremely comforting, but it's so much better when you make it from scratch than from a jar. This version includes cooking chicken in the same pan, which lends lots of flavor to the rich milk, cream, and parmesan sauce.

Recipe: Delish

Sheet Pan Shrimp Scampi
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Sheet Pan Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp are fast and easy to cook, and this recipe puts an entire meal of protein, vegetables, and starch on one pan. A simple garlic butter is used to flavor the shrimp and drizzled on big hunks of French bread for a hot, toasted garlic bread.

Recipe: Food Network

Stuffed Pepper Soup
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Stuffed Pepper Soup

Instead of making time-consuming stuffed peppers, try this one-pot soup instead. It's only got a handful of ingredients, and using packaged, ready-to-eat rice makes it incredibly fast to throw together.

Recipe: Taste of Home

One Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole
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One Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole

Chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole is usually made by mixing in one bowl and baking in another. Remove the extra step (and the extra dirty dishes) by mixing and cooking all in one pan. Adding the broccoli near the end of cooking ensures it stays bright green and tender.

Recipe: Jo Cooks

BBQ Pork Chops with Herb-Butter Corn and Sweet Potatoes
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BBQ Pork Chops with Herb-Butter Corn and Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato wedges and corn on the cob are roasted on a sheet pan with butter and herbs. On the same pan, bone-in pork chops are covered in your favorite barbecue sauce and broiled so the sauce gets sticky and caramelized. Line the pan with aluminum foil or a silicone mat for easy cleanup.

Recipe: Epicurious

Chicken Enchilada Casserole
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Chicken Enchilada Casserole

All the flavors of chicken enchiladas go into this quick casserole. Rice replaces the tortillas as the main starch, so there's no need to roll or layer ingredients. Canned enchilada sauce and salsa give the dish most of its flavor. Use the meat from a rotisserie chicken or any leftover cooked chicken you have.

Recipe: Chew Out Loud

Sheet Pan Breakfast Bake
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Sheet Pan Breakfast Bake

Who knew you could make a whole short-order breakfast on one pan in the oven? This smart recipe cooks shredded hash brown potatoes on a sheet pan, along with sliced bacon and eggs in potato nests. The bacon grease mingles with everything, making it all taste great with little effort.

Recipe: Damn Delicious

Pico de Gallo Black Bean Soup
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Pico de Gallo Black Bean Soup

This black bean soup is vegan and dead simple. Canned black beans make up the bulk of the soup, and are flavored with store-bought or homemade pico de gallo. Simmer them with cumin and vegetable broth, then puree for a silky smooth soup.

Recipe: Taste of Home

BBQ Beef and Cabbage
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BBQ Beef and Cabbage

Cabbage is a healthy way to stretch more expensive ingredients, like in this beef and cabbage skillet. Ground beef and shredded cabbage are cooked in a simple, sloppy joe-like tomato sauce for a one-pan, low-carb meal.

Recipe: Budget Bytes

Pressure Cooked Pasta with Tuna and Capers
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Pressure Cooked Pasta with Tuna and Capers

This Instant Pot-cooked pasta recipe includes two types of canned fish, tuna and anchovies, for a savoriness that permeates the tomato sauce and pasta. Pickled capers add little bites of briny tartness.

Recipe: Hip Cooking

Hearty Italian Meatball Soup
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Hearty Italian Meatball Soup

Homemade meatballs can be messy and time consuming, which is why this recipe uses frozen meatballs. Along with the canned broth, frozen vegetables, and tiny pasta, this meal comes together super fast, even on a weeknight.

Recipe: Allrecipes

One Pot Creamy Beef Stroganoff
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One Pot Creamy Beef Stroganoff

If your family loves Hamburger Helper meals but you'd rather avoid the preservatives, try this creamy stroganoff instead. It's made with ground beef and egg noodles, with lots of sour cream stirred in at the end for tang. With only eight ingredients, it's barely more work than using a box.

Recipe: Pillsbury

Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet
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Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet

Cheesesteaks are great, but they take a lot of effort and the beef can be pricey. Instead of sandwich form, this recipe turns all the goodness of a cheesesteak into a one-skillet pasta. Ground beef is less expensive but just as flavorful as shaved ribeye, and loads of melted cheese on top is always welcome.

Recipe: The Kitchn

Skillet Chipotle Chilaquiles with Eggs
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Skillet Chipotle Chilaquiles with Eggs

Chilaquiles is a simple Mexican dish made by cooking fried corn tortillas with chile salsa. This version uses tortilla chips and jarred salsa to save time. When the chips are getting soft, eggs are cracked into the mixture and baked. It's great for brunch, but can easily be a light dinner.

Recipe: The Kitchn

Instant Pot Lentil Soup
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Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Lentils are healthy and inexpensive, but they can take a while to cook. This lentil soup is made in an Instant Pot to cut the cook time down dramatically. It's vegan if you use vegetable broth, and baby spinach is stirred into the soup at the very end for freshness.

Recipe: Delish

Pot Roast with Potatoes and Carrots
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Pot Roast with Potatoes and Carrots

It's hard not to love a good pot roast when the weather is blustery. This recipe is super simple with the classic flavorings of red wine, thyme, and rosemary. Just brown the beef, saute the onions, and cook everything together low and slow in the oven until tender. Carrots and potatoes make it a full meal in a pot.

Recipe: Cooking Classy

Chili
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5-Ingredient Easy Chili

Chili is a hearty one-pot meal, but it can get complicated with tons of ingredients. In this recipe, chili is stripped down to its bare bones: meat, onions, canned chiles, canned beans, and chili powder. Just those ingredients make a satisfying dish, but feel free to add what you have around and go all out with toppings.

Recipe: Gimme Some Oven

White Chicken Chili
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5-Ingredient White Chicken Chili

This white — really, more of a green — chili is full of flavor with just five ingredients. Jarred salsa verde and ground cumin is what gives this version most of its flavor, and using leftover shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken makes it simple.

Recipe: Gimme Some Oven

Hamburger Soup
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Hamburger Soup

This soup isn't named after the beef patty on a bun, it's called hamburger soup because it includes ground beef, or what some people call hamburger. It's like beef vegetable soup, but faster and cheaper. If you use frozen vegetables, there's barely any chopping.

Recipe: Spend with Pennies

Instant Pot Pasta with Sausage
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Instant Pot Pasta with Sausage

Jarred marinara sauce, sausage, and vegetables all go into an Instant Pot with penne pasta for a quick-cooking meal. Browning the sausage and onions gives it a deep, meaty flavor, and a little bit of shredded mozzarella cheese at the end goes a long way toward adding richness.

Recipe: Kristine's Kitchen

One Pot Teriyaki Chicken Bowls
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One Pot Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

Bottled teriyaki sauce is used as a tasty shortcut in this one-pan meal. All you have to do is brown some chopped chicken, then add rice, vegetables, seasonings, and water then walk away while it cooks. A little extra teriyaki sauce when it's done keeps it moist and gives it a nice glaze.

Recipe: Favorite Family Recipes

Creamy Crockpot Chicken, Stuffing and Green Beans
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Creamy Crockpot Chicken, Stuffing and Green Beans

This slow cooker recipe couldn't be much easier. Chicken breasts, boxed stuffing mix, a cream of chicken soup mixture, and frozen green beans are all layered in a crockpot. You don't even need to stir once everything is in the pot, and it comes out like a hearty all-in-one casserole.

Recipe: Family Fresh Meals

One Pan Coconut Chicken Curry and Rice
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One Pan Coconut Chicken Curry and Rice

An Indian-inspired curry doesn't have to be complicated. This recipe includes chopped chicken and onion cooked with rice in a creamy coconut milk sauce. Curry powder, ground coriander, and ginger give it that curry fragrance and color.

Recipe: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Skillet Turkey and Spinach Lasagna
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Skillet Turkey and Spinach Lasagna

Lasagna from scratch is an all-day event, but everyone loves the final result. For a much easier shortcut version, try making it in a skillet. Egg noodles are a good stand-in for lasagna sheets, and jarred sauce is always a welcome shortcut. Dolloping the ricotta cheese on top replicates a lasagna's layers.

Recipe: Better Homes & Gardens