With most families sticking to a budget and cooking from home more than ever, thanks to COVID-19 and high unemployment rates, many are looking to find budget dinner ideas your family will love and don’t break the bank. Just because you’re sticking to a budget doesn’t mean you have to give up delicious dinners. Skip the expensive takeout options and save on delivery fees by cooking your own meals at home. To help you plan out your next few weeks of dinners, we’ve compiled some of our favorite easy, low-budget dinner recipes for you to try out. Each of these recipes cost less than $3 per serving!
1. Pasta with Sausage Ragu
Not even the pickiest of eaters will feel dissatisfied about this dinner on a budget. This recipe only takes 25 minutes to prepare and is completely homemade. As a bonus, it requires half a cup of wine. It’s a good excuse to unscrew a bottle of your favorite sauvignon blanc while you prepare dinner. The sausage ragu requires one pound of Italian sausage, fresh garlic, diced tomatoes, basil, olive oil, crushed red peppers and dry white wine. While you prepare the sauce, boil 12 ounces of penne to your preference and voila, dinner for four is served.
2. Chipotle Beef Tacos
Never skip a taco Tuesday again! These chipotle beef tacos are one of the best dinner ideas for large families on a budget. These tacos are flavorful, low in calories and practically cook themselves in a slow cooker. All you have to do is put the ingredients together and turn on your slow cooker. Once dinner time rolls around, all the hard work is already done. This taco Tuesday favorite slow cooks chuck beef, chipotle peppers, tomato sauce, onion, garlic and cumin for a flavorful and juicy shredded beef. After preparing the slow cooker ingredients, you will chop up tomatoes, onion and cilantro and combine it with cilantro and salt and pepper to create the Pico de Gallo to garnish your tacos. When you’re ready to eat dinner, heat up corn tortillas and your dinner is ready to go.
3. Ratatouille Salad
If you’re searching for a refreshing meal to eat on a hot summer day, this is the right easy low budget dinner recipe for you. Ratatouille salad puts a twist on your favorite winter dish and turns it into a delicious and refreshing salad topped with fresh mozzarella plated on top of grilled sourdough bread. The salad consists of grilled eggplant, red pepper, zucchini, summer squash and plum tomatoes mixed with vinegar, basil and arugula placed on top of lightly toasted sourdough bread. After putting the salad on top of the bread, sprinkle fresh mozzarella for garnish. The ratatouille salad is meatless, low in calories, budget-friendly and only takes 20 minutes to make.
4. Turkey Burgers with Slaw and Sweet Potato Chips
Nothing screams summer like grilling burgers. Even if you’re looking for budget dinner ideas, you don’t have to cut out burgers from your life. These turkey burgers break away from the traditional burger flavor and, instead, use the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. The recipe uses chili paste, soy sauce, ginger and onion to season the patties. The slaw consists of cabbage, granny smith apple, jalapeno, lime juice, honey, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. After you finish grilling your turkey burgers, top them with a heap of slaw for a perfectly sweet, spicy, crunchy and soft combo. For your side, grab a bag of sweet potato chips and dip them in a homemade dipping sauce consisting of mayo, Sriracha, smoked paprika and lemon juice. The recipe only takes 35 minutes to make and has 58 grams of protein per serving.
5. Smokey Chicken Paired with Charred-Corn Salad
Chipotle is here to stay and we’re not mad about it. If you enjoy Mexican street corn or grilled chicken, you’re going to love this budget meal. Although the recipe instructs you to use a cast-iron skillet, we don’t see why you shouldn’t take advantage of beautiful summer weather and use your grill. Start by brushing corn on the cob with oil and cooking it until it’s charred. Then, season the chicken with chipotle chili powder, salt and chili powder. While the chicken cooks, mix the ingredients for the corn salad, including lime juice, mayo, chili powder, cotija cheese, jalapeno, cilantro and scallions. Squeeze any remaining lime juice over your chicken and serve. This easy 25-minute meal tastes amazing and is low in calories.
6. Grilled Watermelon Salad with Steak and Tomatoes
Don’t bother turning off your grill this summer. If you want dinner on a budget, we’ve got an endless supply of grill-friendly recipes for you to try out. Before you question the recipe: yes, you can eat steak on a budget! This recipe for four only requires one pound of sirloin or strip steak. And yes, you’re going to grill watermelon. To get started making the grilled watermelon salad with steak and tomatoes, you will first season and grill your steak to your desired doneness and let it rest. Next, create your salad by mixing honey, salt and pepper, oil, lemon juice, onions and tomatoes. Then, cut your watermelon into thick half-inch triangles and remove the rind. Lightly brush the slices with oil and grill them until they’re charred. Add parsley and mint to the salad mixture and spoon it on top of your watermelon to enjoy with your steak.
7. Spinach and Artichoke Pizza
Pizza night just got even better! This easy low budget dinner recipe will become your family’s next favorite. Spinach and artichoke pizza tastes just like your favorite dip and makes for the perfect summer pizza flavor. Don’t worry, you don’t have to make the dough from scratch. Instead, you will use frozen dough and only take about 15 minutes to prepare the pizza. After rolling out your dough into a pizza pan, top the pizza with a mixture of parmesan, lemon zest, ricotta, garlic, salt, pepper and, of course, spinach and artichoke hearts. After you spread the mixture evenly on top of the pizza dough, sprinkle it with mozzarella and bake until it’s golden brown and crisp to your liking.
8. Roasted Poblano Potato and Ham Hash
Breakfast for dinner is always a good idea, especially when you’re eating dinner on a budget. This recipe calls for both sweet potato and Yukon gold potato roasted in the oven with onion, poblano and garlic until they’re golden brown and soft. While roasting the veggies, sauté the ham in a pan until it’s golden brown and then add it to the pain with roasted veggies in the oven with kale. Keep the ingredients in the oven until the kale begins to wilt and then take it out. To finish off the dish, cook eggs any style (we recommend over easy) and serve with the hash. This breakfast-for-dinner recipe only takes 30 minutes total to prepare and cook, serves four and is low in calories.
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