15 Cheapest Meals to Get by Till Payday

cheapest meals

Cheapest Meals

If you are looking for the cheapest meals you can eat to get you by till payday, then this is the article for you!

In this article I am going to share 15 quick, easy, and tasty meals for when you are trying to make ends meet. These cheapest meals will help you stretch your money!

 


Tip:
Save the image above to Pinterest so that you can easily find these ideas for the cheapest meals later!

 

Make Your Cheapest Meals Even Cheaper!

One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries so that you can prepare dirt cheap meals is to use money-saving apps! My favorite FREE grocery money-saving app is Ibotta.

I’ve been a member of Ibotta for years, and they are a fun and easy way to save money whenever you shop! With the free Ibotta app, you earn cash back on purchases you make every day from your favorite grocery and other stores such as Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Dollar Tree, Sam’s Club, Amazon, and many, many more!

With the easy-to-use Ibotta app you can get cash back when you shop not only for groceries but also for clothing, home improvement supplies, travel services, and more!

I can even use Ibotta at several of our smaller, local grocery stores, which I love!

Signing up takes just a minute, and then you can start to save money whenever and wherever you shop, at physical stores and online! Sign up for your free Ibotta account here!

15 Cheapest Meals

Below are 15 ideas for some of the easiest and cheapest meals you can make for your family. These simple meals are ready in less than 30 minutes!

Though I list these meals in order of what you would traditionally eat for breakfast, then lunch, and then dinner, you can of course eat pancakes for dinner and broccoli alfredo for breakfast, if you prefer! 🙂

 

1. Pancakes

Pancakes are a favorite cheap breakfast for our family. If desired, you could substitute milk with water if needed. I have heard of families doing that in difficult circumstances. (You could also do that with crepes, which I have done. And you could try it with French toast, which I have not done but which would likely work just fine.) We generally make our pancakes different colors each time we make them. 🙂

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten (if desired)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk, eggs, and oil. Mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Lightly brown on both sides until desired doneness.
  3. Serve warm with butter and syrup, powdered sugar, jam, or other favorite toppings.

 

2. Fried Eggs with Toast

This is another very quick, easy, and cheap breakfast that we love! (We sometimes eat it for lunch or dinner, too!) You can top with salsa to get in more vegetables.

 

3. Oatmeal

This is another great option when looking for cheapest meals! The little prepackaged versions are pretty cheap on their own (but when I eat them, I generally put two together; do you do that, too? One just doesn’t seem like enough of a meal to me!).

But when you make it from scratch, it is even much cheaper than that! We love to add sugar, brown sugar, or cinnamon. If you are counting calories, one tablespoon of sucralose mixed in with one cup of cooked oats works great, too!

For a fun twist on traditional oatmeal, try this super cheap and even easier meal: Just mash a banana with one-half to one cup of rolled oats. This fast and naturally sweet and tasty meal is one of my frequent go-to breakfasts that I eat at work; these days I generally eat it once or twice a week.

 

Check out these related articles:

100+ Cheap and Easy Meals for When Money Is Tight
5 Cheap Slow Cooker Meals for under $5
75 Easy Ways to Save Money on Groceries without Coupons!
7 Simple Steps to Use a Meal Plan to Save Money on Groceries
13 Top Tips to Save Money Eating Out
How to Use a Grocery Item Price Comparison Cheat Sheet to Save a Ton of Money!
Eat Free for Your Birthday!
12 Best Tips to Save Money on Entertainment

 

4. Breakfast Rice

One of my best friends introduced me to this cheap breakfast back in high school. All you need is cooked rice (leftover rice from dinner works great, too, and it is a great way to use it up!), some milk, and sugar and cinnamon to taste! Warm it up, and you have a tasty comfort food perfect for cool mornings!

 

5. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

Good old PB&J is another one of our favorite cheapest meals. Or if you prefer, you can make peanut butter and banana or peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Or peanut butter sandwiches alone are great, too!

 

 

6. Black Bean Quesadillas

This cheapest meal idea is a fun twist on traditional quesadillas. This quick dish is ready in 20 minutes or less.

Ingredients
2 cans (15 oz. each) black beans, drained
1 cup salsa
2 cups shredded cheese
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/3 cup sour cream (optional)

Directions
1. Mash one can of beans. Mix in remaining can of beans and salsa.
2. Spread mixture evenly on 4 tortillas; top with cheese. Cover with remaining 4 tortillas.
3. Heat skillet, and cook quesadillas 2 minutes. Flip, and cook for another minute or two.
4. Cut into wedges, and serve with salsa & sour cream on the side.

 

7. Spaghetti

Spaghetti is one of our favorite cheapest meals! We most often make spaghetti the way my mother did. For the sauce we use a pound of ground beef, a can of tomato sauce with maybe half a can of water, a packet of spaghetti seasoning (though we have made our own, which is cheap and easy!), and a small can of cream of mushroom soup. Sometimes we include mushrooms (fresh or canned) and peppers (most often green peppers, since they are the least expensive), as well.

First brown the hamburger. Add the green pepper if you are going to use it; you could also add chopped onion at this point, too. Then add the tomato sauce and the water. Add the spaghetti seasoning, and stir. Then add the can of cream of mushroom soup, and stir it in. Add the mushrooms at this point, if you are going to include them. Serve over warm spaghetti noodles.

Do you want to stretch your food budget even farther? Make meatless spaghetti! If you have just the spaghetti noodles and a basic meatless sauce like the one I share above, and especially if you omit the vegetables, then spaghetti really can be one of the cheapest meals you can make!

 

8. More Better Mac and Cheese

This is my family’s favorite way to eat good old macaroni and cheese from a box.

To traditional macaroni and cheese we add broccoli and carrots and sometimes cut up polish dogs or hot dogs, chicken, hamburger, or another meat. We also sometimes add onions and green or other colored peppers.

We sometimes add ranch to shake things up a little, and I like to add salsa to mine after it is cooked but before eating it to get even more vegetables. Yum!

 

9. 15-Minute Chicken and Rice Dinner

I love this dish because it is so fast to make! It is one of my quick go-to recipes.

Ingredients

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
tablespoon vegetable oil
can (10 1/2 ounces) cream of chicken (or substitute cream of mushroom) soup
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups uncookeed instant white rice
cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets

Directions

  1. Season the chicken as desired.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken, and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned on both sides.  Remove the chicken from the skillet.
  2. Stir the soup, water, paprika, and pepper in the skillet, and heat to a boil.  Stir in the rice and broccoli.  Reduce the heat to low.  Return the chicken to the skillet.  Sprinkle the chicken with additional paprika.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Season to taste.

 

10. Broccoli Alfredo

This is a simple and tasty dish, ready in 30 minutes. It’s great as a one-pot dinner, or we often eat it with toasted garlic bread. Eat with green salad to get in more veggies.

Ingredients

12 oz. linguine or spaghetti noodles
cup fresh or frozen broccoli florets
tablespoons butter or margarine
can (10 1/2 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Prepare the linguine or spaghetti noodles according to the package directions in a large saucepan. Add the broccoli during the last 4 minutes of the cooking time. Drain the linguine mixture well in a colander.
  2. Heat the butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, and cook until well browned and cooked through, stirring often.
  3. Stir the soup, milk, cheese, pepper, and linguine mixture in the skillet and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling, stirring occasionally.  Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

11. Classic Bean and Cheese Burritos

These easy bean and cheese burritos are another great option when you are looking for the cheapest meals to eat. They have just four ingredients (plus add any other toppings you love, such as salsa). All you need are refried beans, cheese, tortilla shells, and taco seasoning mix. Such an easy and cheap dinner idea!

Ingredients
1 can (16 oz) refried beans
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1 package (1 oz)  taco seasoning mix
8 8-inch flour tortillas
Additional toppings as desired, such as salsa, sour cream, diced tomatoes, and shredded lettuce

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper or foil (or spray with nonstick cooking spray); set aside.
2. In medium bowl, mix the beans, cheese, and taco seasoning mix.
3. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the bean mixture onto each tortilla, just below the center. Fold the bottom edge of each tortilla up and over the filling. Fold sides in, overlapping to enclose filling. Roll up from the bottom of the tortilla.
4. Place the burritos seam-side down on the cookie sheet.
5. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until heated through. Serve with additional toppings listed above, as desired.
6. Remove from heat, and serve.

 

12. Ramen Noodles with Vegetables

I know that ramen noodles are not really healthy, but they are super cheap and they are super easy.

We make eating them healthier by adding our favorite vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, corn, and sometimes peppers.

Cook the vegetables, drain off some of the water if needed, and then add the noodles and cook a few minutes until the noodles are soft. Add the seasoning packet (or omit), and stir to combine.

 

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13. Egg Fried Rice

You can make this simple, cheap dinner in just 15 minutes, so it is perfect for those busy evenings after work and school. There are many variations, but I like this simple recipe.

Ingredients

4 large eggs, divided
2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
1 cup diced red or white onion (about 1 small onion)
1 1/3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
3 green onions, sliced
4 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions

  1. Crack 3 eggs into a small bowl, and beat them together. Beat the last egg in a separate bowl.
  2. Heat a large frying pan or a wok with 1/2 tablespoon of the cooking oil over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the 3 beaten eggs and scramble them for about a minute. Transfer the eggs to a dish, and turn off the heat. Wipe off the pan or wok with a kitchen towel.
  3. Pour the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in the pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and cook them for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the mixed vegetables and green onions, and cook for another minute. Save some of the green onions (the dark green part) for garnish, if desired.
  4. Add the cooked rice into the pan or wok, and cook for a few minutes, until the rice is heated through. If you have large clumps of rice, break them apart with the back of your spatula. Pour the single beaten egg over the rice and stir to coat the rice with the egg. Cook for another minute.
  5. Add the soy sauce, and stir. Add the 3 scrambled eggs, and stir to mix again. Serve immediately.

 

14. Quick Bean and Rice Burritos

Of course I had to include a beans and rice recipe in this article about cheapest meals. 🙂 These burritos are tasty and filling and can be on your table in less than 30 minutes.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups cooked rice
1 medium green pepper, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
8 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
1 cup salsa

Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, saute green pepper and onion in oil until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the chili powder and cumin until combined. Add beans and cooked rice; cook and stir until heated through, about 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Spoon about 1/2 cup of filling off-center on each tortilla; top with 2 tablespoons salsa. Fold sides and ends over filling and roll up.
  3. Serve with cheese and sour cream if desired.

15. Hot Dogs and Fries

Hot dogs and fries are another one of our go-to cheapest meals.

Since I don’t like to have to keep hot dog buns on hand, we generally eat our brats and hot dogs with bread rather than buns. To me they taste just as good, and they are also cheaper that way! (We do the same thing with bread instead of hamburger buns, for the same reasons.)

We cook our fries over the stove instead of frying them in oil to make this (not healthy but tasty!) dish a little bit healthier. To save money, make the fries yourself by cutting up potatoes.

 

Conclusion

These 15 ideas for cheapest meals will let you get super inexpensive food on the table fast to feed your family! All ready in 30 minutes or less, these simple cheapest meals are great for busy families!

 

What do you like to eat for your cheapest meals? Do you have quick and inexpensive go-to meals that you love?

Give these recipes a try and let me know how it goes! And then leave a comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts! 

 

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Cheap and Easy Instant Pot Recipes

cheap and easy Instant Pot recipes

Cheap and Easy Instant Pot Recipes

Your family will love these cheap and easy Instant Pot recipes! Make dinner a breeze with these 15 quick and tasty Instant Pot recipes!

 

Tip: Save the image above to Pinterest so that you can easily refer to these cheap and easy Instant Pot recipes later!

 

Making Cheap and Easy Instant Pot Recipes

One thing I love about the Instant Pot is that you do not have to be a great cook to make great meals with your Instant Pot! With many Instant Pot recipes, you can just set it and forget it.

Another great benefit of the Instant Pot is that they can be a really affordable kitchen appliance, especially if you get them on sale! And with your Instant Pot you can make so many tasty and budget-friendly meals! 

These cheap and easy Instant Pot recipes are perfect for dinner after work and school or for an easy meal on a busy Saturday or Sunday evening!

 

Preparing Cheap and Easy Instant Pot Recipes!

If you want to simplify your meal preparation (and possibly cut down on the number of gadgets you have in your kitchen!), consider getting an Instant Pot if you do not already have one (or look into replacing your old one if you need to).

We just got one of these last year, and they are so convenient! I love ours! Click on the image below to learn more about this budget-friendly Instant Pot!

Make Your Cheap and Easy Instant Pot Meals Even Cheaper!

One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries so that you can prepare inexpensive Instant Pot meals and other meals is to use money-saving apps! My favorite FREE grocery money-saving app is Ibotta.

I’ve been a member of Ibotta for years, and they are a fun and easy way to save money whenever you shop! With the free Ibotta app, you earn cash back on purchases you make every day from your favorite grocery and other stores such as Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Dollar Tree, Sam’s Club, Amazon, and many, many more! With the easy-to-use Ibotta app you can get cash back when you shop not only for groceries but also for clothing, home improvement supplies, travel services, and more!

I can even use Ibotta at several of our smaller, local grocery stores, which I love!

Signing up takes just a minute, and then you can start to save money whenever and wherever you shop, at physical stores and online! Sign up for your free Ibotta account here!

15 Cheap and Easy Instant Pot Recipes for Families

Below are 15 cheap and easy Instant Pot recipes that your whole family will love! Get dinner on the table in no time with these quick and simple Instant Pot recipes!

 

1. Instant Pot Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice

This first cheap and easy Instant Pot recipe is cheesy, pleasy, and delicious. It is a great one-pot comfort food that serves 6, so you will have plenty to feed the family and have some for leftovers for lunch the next day, too! Get this Instant Pot cheesy chicken, broccoli, and rice recipe here.

 

2. Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

This is another cheap, easy and delicious chicken casserole recipe. It has the great flavor of chicken pot pie, but it is quicker and easier. 🙂 You can find directions for how to make this Instant Pot chicken pot pie casserole here.

 

3. Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

These creamy chicken enchiladas are delicious and a cinch to make thanks to the Intant Pot. The chicken and homemade enchilada sauce are prepared in the Instant Pot, and then after assembling the enchiladas they are baked in the oven for just 20 minutes. You can get this Instant Pot chicken enchiladas recipe here.

 

4. Easy Instant Pot Hamburger Stroganoff

Stroganoff is another awesome comfort food, and this simple recipe lets you do it all in your Instant Pot! Because it uses ground beef, this stroganoff is easier and cheaper to make than many other stroganoff recipes that call for steak or stew beef or other types of more expensive beef. Get this easy Instant Pot hamburger noodle stroganoff recipe here.

 

5. Instant Pot Chili

This chili is another super cheap and easy Instant Pot recipe. With this recipe you get a flavorful blend of beans, hamburger, tomatoes, and spices. And all that awesome homemade hearty, flavorful goodness is ready in just over 30 minutes! Find this easy Instant Pot chili recipe here.

6. Instant Pot Barbcue Meatballs

If you love barbecue meatballs, you will love this recipe! Get homemade (from scratch!) barbecue meatballs in your Instant Pot in just over 30 minutes, from initial craving to on your dinner plate! 🙂

Get the Instant Pot barbecue meatballs recipe here.

 

7. Instant Pot Cheesy Potatoes

If you love cheesy potatoes (funeral potatoes), you are going to love making them in your Instant Pot, where you can cut down the prep time to just 25 minutes! This dish is often considered a side dish, but in our family, we add chopped ham to it, change the name to “yummy potatoes” (becuase funeral potatoes is kind of an unfortunate name, right?!), and give it the main-dish love it deserves! Just add the precooked chopped ham when you add the potatoes.

Get this yummy, cheesy, cheap and easy Instant Pot cheesy potatoes recipe here.

 

8. Instant Pot Goulash

This is bound to be a family favorite if you have not tried it already! And because it is ready in less than 15 minutes and is made of virtually all ingredients that are easy to keep on hand, this is a perfect last-minute recipe, as well! Find this cheap and easy Instant Pot goulash recipe here.

 

9. Instant Pot Lazy Lasagna

I love this Instant Pot lazy lasagna recipe from Meal Plan Addict because it is easier (and so much quicker) than traditional lasagna baked in the oven! And it is even much easier than other Instant Pot lasagna recipes. You get all the same tasty lasagna goodness without the work! And even better? This recipe is ready in less than 10 minutes, total prep time! Now that, my friends, is a win! (If you do not have mafalda noodles, no worries! Just use your favorite pasta noodles, or whatever noodles you have on hand, instead!)

Get this Instant Pot lazy lasagna recipe here.

 

10. Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta

I admit that I may have a slight love affair with creamy chicken recipes. 🙂 I love that chicken is both pretty cheap and also good for you (not to mention it makes delicious dishes, of course)! For this Instant Pot creamy chicken pasta recipe, you probably have all of these ingredients on hand, so it is another great quick, last-minute Instant Pot recipe. (If you do not have heavy cream on hand or do not want to spend the money to buy heavy cream, no worries! You can substitute milk, instead, and just let the dish thicken for a little longer.) Find this Instant Pot creamy chicken pasta recipe here.

11. Homemade Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

This is one of my favorite comfort foods! It is so perfect for a cold and wintry day (or any day!). And this recipes also includes 5 awesome variations to the standard mac and cheese (like bacon mac and cheese, pizza mac and cheese, and cheeseburger mac and cheese!).

Get this homemade Instant Pot macaroni and cheese recipe here!

 

12. Instant Pot Pulled Chicken Tacos

Your family will love these tasty chicken tacos! If you prefer to make your dishes a little less spicy (like me!), then you can reduce or omit the crushed red pepper and hot sauce. Find this Instant Pot pulled chicken tacos recipe here.

 

Check out these related articles:

42 Cheap and Easy Budget-Friendly Meals for under $5!
25 Cheap Slow Cooker Meals for under $5
31 Budget-Friendly Cheap and Easy Dinner Recipes
65 Must-Know Tips to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half!
7 Simple Steps to Use a Meal Plan to Save Money on Groceries
19 Top Tips to Save Money Eating Out
How to Use a Grocery Price Comparison Cheat Sheet to Save Money!
Eat Free for Your Birthday!
12 Best Tips to Save Money on Entertainment

 

13. Instant Pot Chicken and Noodles

This is another great cheap and easy Instant Pot recipe! Try this awesome alternative to traditional chicken noodle soup. It is hearty and tasty and perfect on a cold day!

Get this yummy Instant Pot chicken and noodles recipe here.

 

14. Instant Pot Pizza Pasta

If you love pizza (and what family doesn’t?!), then you have to try this cheap and easy Instant Pot recipe! To make this meal even more budget friendly omit the Italian sausage or replace it with regular sausage (that you get on sale :)) or another less expensive meat.

Find this awesome Instant Pot pizza pasta recipe here.

15. Instant Pot Hamburger Stroganoff

This is another tasty Instant Pot hamburger stroganoff recipe. If your  family loves hamburger stroganoff like we do, then you are going to love this easy easy and cheap Instant Pot recipe! This dish is creamy and tasty and takes only 10 minutes to prepare! Triple win!

Find this Instant Pot hamburger stroganoff recipe here!

Conclusion

These 15 cheap and easy Instant Pot recipes will help you to get dinner on the table fast on those crazy busy days! And they will let you make tasty but inexpensive meals while you do it!

Feed your family quick, delicious, inexpensive Instant Pot meals with these simple and budget-friendly Instant Pot recipes!

 

What are your favorite go-to cheap and easy Instant Pot recipes? I would love to hear your ideas! Leave a comment below and let me know!

 

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help others? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being. Thank you!

Join Our Facebook Group!

Join our closed Families for Financial Freedom Facebook group to get support and share ideas for how we can all improve our financial well-being by earning more, spending less, saving more, and investing more and reach our financial goals. You can do this! And we are here to help.

Cheap Foods to Buy When Broke

cheap foods to buy when broke

Cheap Foods to Buy When Broke

In this article I am going to share 41 of the best cheap foods to buy when you’re broke. These are some of the best foods where you get the most bang for your food-buying buck!

**Note: See the end of the article for ideas on super cheap meals you can make so you can eat for as little as $1 per day!**

 

Tip: Save the image above to Pinterest so that you can easily refer to this list of cheap foods to buy when you’re broke later.

 

Make Your Cheap Foods to Buy When Broke Even Cheaper!

One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries in order to buy cheap foods inexpensively when you are broke is to use money-saving apps! My favorite FREE grocery money-saving app is Ibotta.

I’ve been a member of Ibotta for years, and they are a fun and easy way to save money whenever you shop! With the free Ibotta app, you earn cash back on purchases you make every day from your favorite grocery and other stores such as Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Dollar Tree, Sam’s Club, Amazon, and many, many more! With the easy-to-use Ibotta app you can get cash back when you shop not only for groceries but also for clothing, home improvement supplies, travel services, and more!

I can even use Ibotta at several of our smaller, local grocery stores, which I love!

Signing up takes just a minute, and then you can start to save money whenever and wherever you shop, at physical stores and online! Sign up for your free Ibotta account here!

A Huge Benefit of Buying Cheap Foods When You Are Broke

When you are broke or need to save money fast, buying cheap foods to get by for a time can be a great way to stretch your food dollar till payday or to help you save money to reach an important financial goal (like paying a bill, paying off a debt, paying for a large and necessary purchase, saving for something important, and so on).

For another great way to save money on your food budget, see this article for more than 100 cheap recipes that you can make for $5 or less in 30 minutes or less. Your family will love these cheap, easy, quick, tasty kid-friendly meals!

 

Why Buy Cheap Foods When Broke?

When your budget is tight and you’re living paycheck to paycheck, buying cheap foods can help you to avoid going into debt or going into as much debt, which will only make your situation worse and make your budget more strained.

Sometimes you are in a financial situation, as I mention briefly above, where money is very tight. At these times, rather than go into debt and put myself and my family in an even more precarious situation financially, I personally would much rather cut my grocery budget in order to save money.

Buying cheap foods for a time is a great way to save money to make a large purchase with cash, pay for Christmas without going into debt, make a large car repair, pay for a needed home maintenance proect, replace a piece of furniture or appliance, and so on. Again, by eating cheap foods to slash your grocery budget, you can save up the money or a lot of the money so that you can avoid debt altogether or avoid going into as much debt.

When you go into debt you become a slave to the lender, as the Bible says—you give up control of your largest wealth-building tool: your income. The best way to reach financial peace and financial freedom and be able to build financial stability and wealth over time is to get and stay out of debt and then save and invest wisely for the future

Another good reason to buy cheap foods when you are broke is that it can be the catalyst to help you to get your grocery spending under control. This can be huge to help you break old habits!

And finally, you may also want to eat cheap foods as part of a money-saving challenge.

Find more  ideas to slash your grocery budget spending here.

 

How to Buy Cheap Foods When Broke

One of the best ways that you can know which cheap foods to buy when broke is to use a grocery price comparison cheat sheet! With a grocery price comparison cheat sheet, you can know when you go shopping which foods are the best value for your grocery-spending buck!

Sometimes items at the store that are marked as being on sale really aren’t. The best way to know what the truly good prices are for the items that you regularly buy is to record them. And the best way to record them for easy reference is with the grocery price comparison cheat sheet!

Sign up for the awesome cheat sheet below!

 

Where to Buy Cheap Foods When Broke

If you live in a smaller town, the best place to buy cheapish foods when broke may be your local Walmart. However, if you live in a town with several supermarkets, then one of them may be the best price.

One of the best ways to find out where to get great deals is to ask around! Many people love to share the awesome deals that they find! So ask on Facebook or your favorite social media platform, or ask your neighbors at church or school.

In our case, our cheapest grocery store is only a block away, which is awesome! Overall, their prices are definitely better than Walmart, and they are quite a bit better than Smith’s and our higher-end local grocery stores that are around.

Again, be sure to use the grocery price comparison cheat sheet so that you can know what is truly a good price and what is not!

 

Who Should Buy Cheap Food When Broke?

The short answer? Everyone!

The longer answer? Anyone who wants to avoid taking on debt or taking on any more debt than they would have to or who wants to avoid spending money that they cannot really afford to spend/ Also, it is a great idea for anyone who wants to be able to save money on food so that they can use that money for other awesome financial goals. And that should be everyone! 😊

If you have just lost a job, if you are working part-time, if you are a college student without a big income, if you are a one-income family, if you have a lot of debt you are working to pay off, or if you are just trying to cut down on your food budget, then buying cheap foods is a great idea!

40 Cheap Foods to Buy When Broke 

In this list below of cheap foods to buy when broke I include many of my own favorite least-expensive grocery items.

If you are a Dave Ramsey fan, you know that he talks about going on a beans and rice diet when you are trying to get out of debt and get control of your money. And that is because you really can save a ton of money on groceries if you choose to or have to.

In each of the sections below, which are divided by food category, I am going to talk about some of the best cheap foods to buy when broke.

Vegetables

In this section you will find some of the best cheap vegetables to buy when broke.                  

1. Potatoes

Regular russet potatoes are fairly healthy, and they are also super cheap. (Make sure to eat the skins to get the most nutritional value!) At our local grocery store we can often buy them for a dollar for a 10-pound bag.

You can cook several up in the microwave in about 15 to 20 minutes for a quick and very cheap meal. I like to make them a little healthier by topping them with salsa (or salsa mixed with a little bit of ranch) instead of sour cream, ranch, cheese, and other more expensive and more caloric options.

You can also slice up potatoes and season them and fry them up, or make homemade fries or hash browns. A simple creamy potato soup is another super cheap meal option. And of course mashed potatoes are cheap (and delicious :)).

2. Sweet potatoes

Personally, I really like making sweet potatoes as a healthier alternative to baked potatoes. Because they are so naturally sweet, I don’t even think you have to top them with anything (and I generally do not top them with anything). But if you choose to, you can add a little cinnamon and sugar for an even sweeter treat.

 

3. Carrots

Your list of less expensive groceries to buy and keep on hand should include carrots. The cheapest way to buy carrots generally is full sized, in bulk, but if you find baby carrots for a good price, then they are a great option, as well.

 

4. Canned tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes can fluctuate in price pretty wildly throughout the year, so for meals where it makes sense to use them, canned tomatoes can sometimes be a less-expensive alternative.

5. Squash

In the fall when it is in season, you can sometimes buy squash at amazing prices! (If you have neighbors who grow them and give them to you, then that’s an even better deal!)

6. Zucchini

Similar to squash, you can sometimes get amazing deals on zucchini during the fall when it is in season.

 

7. Onions

Onions are another vegetable that you can get for a pretty good price most of the time. And because of the awesome way that it enhances the flavor of many dishes, it is a great staple to keep on hand all the time.

 

8. Broccoli

You can also generally get broccoli for a pretty good price. Often the crowns are more expensive, but occasionally they are the better deal because you are not paying for the stalk. (However, we slice up the stalk and include it in some of our dishes. If you can do that, then that makes the whole broccoli heads even more affordable.)

 

9. Salsa

Salsa is particularly helpful if you are getting low on fresh produce before your next scheduled trip to the grocery store. It is a great item to keep on hand all of the time because it lasts longer (once opened) than most fresh vegetables, too.

 

10. Green salad

You will usually get a better price if you buy the ingredients for an inexpensive salad yourself rather than buying premade salads. However, sometimes the premade salads are on sale for a great price. We generally keep our salads pretty economical by making them ourselves using spinach or romaine lettuce, tomatoes, sliced or chopped carrots, cauliflower (if it can be bought for a good price), and broccoli.

 

11. Spinach

Spinach isn’t generally the cheapest vegetable you can buy, but it is a great way to (relatively) inexpensively increase the nutritional value of other inexpensive dishes such as egg omelets, meat sandwiches, salads, stir fry dishes, pasta dishes, quesadillas, and more.

 

12. Peppers

Green peppers are another good option if you are looking for cheap foods to buy when broke—when they are in season, that is. When they are not in season, look at lettuce, cabbage, and the other vegetables included in this list for cheaper options.

 

13. Frozen vegetables

Frozen vegetables can be an economical option, as well, particularly when other favorite vegetables are not in season. And despite what you may have heard, from what I have read, vegetables lose little if any nutritional value when frozen. Frozen vegetables are great in casseroles, soups and stews, omelets, and more. To know when frozen vegetables are a better deal, do a rough comparison of serving sizes.

 

14. Garlic

Garlic is an awesome flavor enhancer that also has healthful vitamins and minerals. At 50 cents or less per bulb, it is not the cheapest vegetable around, but because it is so packed with flavor, a little goes a long way. 🙂 In addition to having various vitamins and minerals, I have read that garlic can help fight the common cold and other illnesses and also help reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.

 

15. Canned pumpkin

Pumpkin doesn’t have to be reserved just for the fall. 🙂 You can buy canned pumpkin year round to enjoy in soups, muffins, and curries. The antioxidants in pumpkin make it a healthy choice,  and at less than a dollar for the 15-ounce can, it’s another good choice for a cheap, healthy food.

 

16. Kale

Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables around, so it really is a great value. It is packed with antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium, At our local grocery store you can find it for around $1 to $1.50 per bunch.

 

Fruits

In this section you will find some of the best cheap fruits to buy when broke.

 

17. Bananas

Probably because they are readily available all year round, bananas are one of the cheapest foods you can buy, so they should be on your go-to list when you are trying to save money on groceries. And they are just delicious, in any case. 🙂

18. Apples

For what you get, apples may be the overall cheapest fruit in many grocery stores, if you choose the least expensive varieties such as red delicious and Gala. But even yellow delicious, Granny Smith, and some of the others are not too expensive, either.

 

19. Oranges

Oranges are another great fruit when you are wanting to eat the cheapest foods you can buy when broke. They are somewhat seasonal, so you will pay more for them in the winter generally than you do in the summer, but the prices year round are pretty good. And these awesome little fruits are packed with vitamin C as well as fiber and potassium. If you love orange juice, save money by making your own, fresh squeezed! (And you will avoid the extra sugar and other additives that way, as well!)

 

20. Cantaloupe

Though not as cheap as the fruits listed above, cantaloupe is still a good choice when you are looking for cheap foods to eat when broke. It is a good source of vitamin C, folate, fiber, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals. Cantaloupe is awesome to cut up for a simple fruit salad, or chop it up and eat it plain or with your favorite low-fat or nonfat yogurt.

 

21. Kiwi

This sweet, delicious fruit is another budget-friendly option—particularly during the summer months when they are in season. At our local grocery store we can usually get three or four for a dollar during the summer. Kiwis have tons of vitamin C and fiber, and they are great alone or sliced up in a fruit salad.

 

22. Watermelon

You can find watermelon for a great price—when they are in season! When they are not, stick to fruits that are so that you don’t spend an arm and a leg on them. Check local fruit stands and farmers’ markers to find great deals during the summer. This powerful fruit is a great source of vitamin C and is delicious in fruit salads or all on its own.

 

23. Grapes

Grapes are another one of the cheapest fruits available. When they are in season during the summer months, they can be a steal of a deal on sale. They are great in fruit salads, straight off the vine, or frozen as a sweet, healthy treat! We also love them in chicken pasta salad and chicken salad sandwiches.

 

24. Frozen berries

When your favorite berries are not in season (and honestly, even sometimes when they are), you will get more bang for your buck by buying them frozen. Especially if you get mixed frozen fruit with strawberries, you will spend less per serving than you will on berries bought out of season.

And frozen berries lose little if any nutritional value, so they are a great option when you are looking to buy cheap, healthy foods when broke.

 

Grains

In this section you will find some of the best cheap grains to buy when broke.

 

25. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of the cheapest grocery staples you can buy for your pantry, and it is also very good for your heart. You can make oatmeal the traditional way over the stove or in the microwave, or you can make overnight oatmeal or these super easy 2-ingredient banana oatmeal cookies. Another thing I like to do that is even easier than the two-ingredient cookies are to simply mash up a banana with one-half to one cup of oatmeal for a filling, tasty, nutritious, low-calorie breakfast.

 

26. Cream of wheat

This is another one of our family favorite staples for breakfast. It is not quite as cheap as oatmeal, but it is still very inexpensive if you buy it in the box. You can flavor it with a little white or brown sugar (or even an artificial, calorie-free sweetener of choice), or my personal favorite (not healthy at all, but so delicious! and also not super cheap) is to add some sweetened condensed milk. Yum!

 

27. Bread

Bread can make a very inexpensive breakfast item when you make toast, but of course bread is a staple of an inexpensive lunch, as well, with the many kinds of sandwiches you can make.

Obviously, you can spend quite a bit of money on expensive artisan and craft breads, but your basic store-brand breads are one of the items where you can get the most bang for your buck. The 100% whole wheat loaves are more expensive than white bread or just partial-wheat, but it is still quite cheap at just around $1.50 to $2 a loaf (in our area) for the less-expensive brands.

When you are needing to buy the cheapest foods you can, then skip buying buns, and just use bread for hamburgers and hot dogs and similar things. We regularly use bread in place of buns for these things just because I don’t like to have to keep buns on hand because sometimes they go bad before we can use them all up.

 

28. Rice

Rice is another dish amply suited for a cheapest foods list. White rice isn’t the healthiest option and it also isn’t super filling, but it is cheap and fairly versatile. Brown rice is healthier and not much more expensive.

You can make a simple breakfast rice for a cheap option for that meal, and of course there are tons of cheap dishes that you can prepare with rice for dinner meals.

29. Pasta

Basic pasta is another cheap groceries list item. You can use it in simple and relatively inexpensive main dishes such as spaghetti (especially if you make meatless spaghetti), homemade mac and cheese, broccoli alfredo, pasta carbonara, and so on.

 

30. Cereal

If you love breakfast cereal (like I do!), then when you are broke or on a tight budget stick to the varieties that you can buy for about 10 cents an ounce or less. (In your area they may be more expensive than that, but they would be the ones comparable in price to raisin bran, which is about the least expensive—but also one of the tastiest, in my opinion! :)—cereal you can buy unless others are on sale.

 

Proteins

In this section you will find some of the best cheap proteins to buy when broke. For what you get, some of the inexpensive protein options, like beans and lentils, really provide some of the best value for your money spent. These proteins are super cheap and very filling, so they are a great way to stretch your grocery budget.

 

31. Beans

Beans may be the overall cheapest food staple there is. Especially if you buy them in a large bag and soak and prepare them yourself, you pay just a few pennies per ounce. Dry beans to take time to prepare, but if you soak them overnight and then prepare them in a slow cooker, they really don’t take much effort at all. And of course there are tons of different kinds of beans. Pinto, black beans, red kidney beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), great northern beans, chili beans—we like them all at our house.

Even if you buy canned beans, you can still make a lot of inexpensive meals, such as taco soup or even meatless taco soup, to make the dish even cheaper. And use canned chili beans to stretch your can of chili and make it a cheaper meal.

 

32. Lentils

You can also buy lentils for very cheap, and they are another great protein option when money is tight. There are lots of recipes for lentil soups and other dishes with lentils, such as veggie lentil stir fry.

33. Eggs

Another staple on the list of cheapest foods you can buy when broke is eggs. At a price (where we live) of only about 10 cents per egg, you can have a hearty breakfast (or whatever meal) of eggs and toast for well under $1 per serving. And eggs are so versatile! 

 

34. Chicken

When money is tight or when you just want to be able to buy the most economical foods, chicken is definitely your friend. Much of the meat that we buy is chicken because it is generally less expensive than beef and pork and other kinds of meat. We can also get skinless, boneless chicken breasts for a $1 a pound, and so I tend to stock up when that happens until the next time they go on sale. Occasionally we can even get ground chicken for a great price, and it is excellent for dishes like tacos and enchiladas in place of ground beef.

Chicken thighs are generally less expensive than breasts, so if you want chicken and cannot get breasts at a great price, consider getting the thighs. Some people don’t like the thighs as much, but personally, for flavorful dishes, I actually like the thighs better sometimes because I feel they can be more moist and tender than the breasts. And if you don’t mind the extra work, buying the whole chicken can be a great way to purchase chicken on the cheap.

 

35. Ground turkey

Sometimes ground turkey is on sale for a better price than ground beef, and since it is also a healthier option than ground beef, when it is, we will sometimes buy several pounds of it and freeze it to use in various dishes where we would normally use ground beef.

 

36. Peanut butter

When looking for cheap foods you can buy when broke, peanut butter is a good value because it is high in protein. Especially if you just stick to regular peanut butter and not the sugar free kind (even though I admit not having the extra sugar is a healthier option), you can make a ton of sandwiches from one large jar of peanut butter!

In the 40 ounce jar (typically the largest standard size, at least at the stores where I shop, that is about 80 tablespoons of peanut butter, and if you eat the standard serving size suggested, that is 40 sandwiches that you can make from a jar that costs (in our area) about $4 or less.

So for about 10 cents for the peanut butter and another 10 cents for the two slices of bread (if you get the cheap bread) and another 15 cents or so per serving for the inexpensive jelly or jam, you are spending well under 50 cents for a PB&J sandwich. Eat an inexpensive apple with it, and you have a light lunch for well under a buck.

 

37. Tuna fish

Tuna has definitely gotten more expensive over the last 10 or 15 years, but it is still more economical than most meats. Tuna salad sandwiches are more expensive than PB&J sandwiches, for sure, but a simple tuna salad sandwich of tuna and mayo is generally a little less expensive than a simple homemade ham (luncheon meat) and cheese sandwich.

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Dairy Products

In this section I am going to discuss some of the best cheap dairy products to buy when broke.

38. Milk

Milk is definitely one of the cheapest dairy products, and overall foods, that you can buy when you are broke.

Milk is of course great to drink on its own, but you can also use it to make many inexpensive meals like waffles or pancakes, French toast, biscuits and gravy, cereal and milk, mashed potatoes with white gravy, and much more!

 

39. Yogurt

Yogurt is another relatively inexpensive dairy product that is a great cheap food to buy when you are broke. To get the most bang for your buck, buy yogurt in the larger containers, and then just measure out the amount that you want to eat at a particular time. (This is what we do in my family.)

Of course, as with most food buying, purchasing the generic or store brand varieties will pretty much always save you money over the name-brand options.

 

40. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is also a relatively inexpensive dairy product that is a great cheap food to buy when you are broke. Same as with yogurt, to get the most bang for your buck, buy cottage cheese in the larger containers, and then just measure out the amount that you want to eat at a particular time.

 

41. Cheese

Of course, you can spend a ton of money on cheese if you want to buy the fancy stuff! But cheese can be a relatively cheap food if you stick with the more familiar types of cheese like cheddar, mozzarella, and Monterey Jack.

To stretch your food buying dollar, you can always use a little less cheese than is called for in a particular recipe. So, for example, if a recipe calls for two cups of cheese, spread the cheese out thinner, and just use one.

Another great way to save money on cheese is to not buy string cheese, presliced cheese, and other types of convenience cheeses. For your kids, instead of buying the packages of cheese with individual things of string cheese, cut long strips of cheese for them yourself. We did this a lot when our kids were toddlers as a finger food, and it worked great.

 

 

Examples of Meals You Can Make from Cheap Foods to Buy When Broke

Here are some examples of simple meals or meal plans you can make with the cheap food items listed above.

These ideas are perfect for when you really have to (or want to!) make your money stretch because you are broke, waiting for your next paycheck, or saving money diligently for an important financial goal.

With these cheap and easy ideas below, you can eat for as little as a dollar a day!

 

 

Cheap Foods Breakfast Ideas

Toast with peanut butter or toast with jam or butter (or the cheaper margarine)
Toast with peanut butter and bananas
Oatmeal
Oats with mashed banana (I know it may sound a little odd, but I love this one!)
Oatmeal and banana cookies
Cereal (with or without milk; cereal you can get for 10 cents an ounce or less will give you the most bang for your buck)
Cream of wheat
Scrambled eggs with salsa
Egg omelet with spinach
Fried eggs with toast
Waffles or pancakes (make them from scratch; sprinkle with a little powdered sugar or regular sugar in place of syrup to save money and calories)

Cheap Foods Lunch Ideas

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with an apple
Tuna fish (with pickle) sandwiches with chopped carrots or baby carrots
Ramen noodles with chopped vegetables
Egg salad sandwiches
Bologna sandwiches
Lunch meat and cheese sandwich with an apple
Green salad with dressing (add a hard-boiled egg or a little chicken or beans for protein)
Baked potato with ranch or salsa
Baked sweet potato with a little margarine or cinnamon and sugar
Macaroni and cheese (with vegetables)
Any of the ideas from the list for breakfast or dinner

 

Cheap Foods Dinner Ideas

Egg fried rice
Beans and rice
Bean and cheese burritos (homemade)
Meatless taco soup
Squash soup with homemade rolls
Lentils and rice
Hot dogs and fries (make the fries yourself to save even more money)
Chicken and rice with steamed carrots or vegetables
Pasta (and broccoli) alfredo
Chicken alfredo with broccoli
Meatless spaghetti
Green salad with chicken
Chili macaroni and cheese
Tuna macaroni and cheese
Homemade chicken noodle soup
Homemade vegetarian chili with cornbread
Ramen noodles with chicken and vegetables
Hot dogs with fries
Fried potatoes and hot dogs (chop the hot dogs and add them to the fried potatoes for the last couple of minutes that you cook them; I used to eat this when I was living in Bolivia, where they called it salchipapas)
Chicken or vegetarian stir fry with rice
Any of the ideas from the list for breakfast or lunch

 

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They plan the meals you will eat and include the ingredients you will need to buy and the recipes you will need to follow to prepare them. Pretty cool! With $5 Meal Plans, the dinners themselves also cost less than $5 per meal to make! And the service comes with a 14-day free trial, so you have nothing to lose! If this sounds like a good option for your family, you can check out $5 Meal Plans here.

If you’re regularly spending several hundred dollars on groceries or hundreds of dollars eating out per month, one of these services could really help you get on the right track and save your food budget.

Conclusion

When compiling a list of cheap foods to buy when broke, there really are a lot of options for making meals using the items listed above. With this list of 41 of the cheapest foods to buy when broke, you can easily make meals until your next paycheck—or for the whole month, if you need to!

I really am a big advocate of keeping your grocery costs down anyway, even when money isn’t tight, so that you can use the money for things (such as getting out of debt, retirement, kids’ college, becoming totally financially free) that have longer-lasting value than a meal that is consumed in 30 minutes or less and that you can then barely even remember the taste of. 🙂

Want more ways to cut your food budget? You can find more than 70 ideas for saving money on groceries (without having to use coupons!) here.

 

What items would you include on your list of cheap foods to buy when broke? What else do you do to save money on groceries? Leave a comment below and let me know! I would love to hear your thoughts!

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30 Vegetarian Recipes for Dinner

vegetarian recipes for dinner

Vegetarian Recipes for Dinner

In this article I share some of the best and easiest (and quickest!) to make vegetarian recipes for dinner.

Making these cheap vegetarian recipes for dinner is a great way to save money in order to help make ends meet or to be able to save money to pay a bill or pay down a debt more quickly!

Your family, and even the kids, will love the meals you create with these vegetarian dinner recipes!

These quick, easy, and tasty vegetarian recipes for dinner will help you stretch your money and lower your grocery budget!


Tip:
Save the image above to Pinterest so that you can easily find these ideas for vegetarian recipes for dinner later!

 

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30 Vegetarian Recipes for Dinner

Below are 30 ideas for some of the easiest and cheapest vegetarian dinner recipes you can make for your family. These simple dinner recipes are ready in 30 minutes or less!

 

1. Roasted Broccoli Parmesan

The combination of mozzarella, marinara, and Parmesan make this vegetarian dinner recipe a winner!

Ingredients
1 large bunch of broccoli, about 24 to 32 ounces
8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons cooking oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup marinara or tomato sauce
1 to 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2. Chop the broccoli into bite-sized pieces.
3. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with the cooking oil (or use nonstick cooking spray).
4. Put the broccoli and the garlic cloves in the baking pan. Season the broccoli with salt, and roast for about 15 minutes, until the broccoli is tender and browned on the bottom.
5. Top with marinara (or tomato) sauce and mozzarella. Return to the oven and bake until hot and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

 

2. Broccoli Cheese Potatoes

This recipe uses a creamy homemade cheese sauce and is a perfect comfort food on winter days (or anytime!).

Ingredients

4 large russet potatoes
cooking oil
10 oz. broccoli florets
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup milk
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Pierce the potatoes several times with a fork. Fill a shallow glass plate with water, and place the potatoes on the plate. Bake them in the microwave for about 15 or 20 minutes, until they give slighly when squeezed.

Pro tip:
Enjoy baked potatoes in just minutes by cooking them in the microwave in these awesome cooking pouches. Get perfectly cooked potatoes in just four minutes! I love them!

2. While the potatoes are in the oven, chop the broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Boil the broccoli in a small saucpan with 1/2 cup of water.

3. Cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium low. Let the broccoli steam till tender and bright green (about 10 minutes). Using a slottted spoon, remove the brccoli from the pot, and set aside.

4. Whisk the flour with the broccoli water to form a thick paste.

5. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking till the milk is smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, till the mixture thickens and just barely begins to bubble.

6. Whisk in the grated cheese and stir till melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a large pinch of pepper). Reduce heat to low, stirring frequently for a minute or two. Remove from heat.

7. Squeeze the potatoes from the ends to split them wide open. Spoon one-quarter of the broccoli florets into each potato.

8. Pour cheese sauce over the stuffed potatoes. and serve.

 

3. Mushroom Risotto

This dish is a great mix of savory and sweet, with the savory chicken broth and mushrooms paired against the sweet apple pieces.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter and margarine
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 tablespoons minced onion, or 1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup rice
2 cups chicken broth (plus 1 cup water)
1 teaspoon cooking oil
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
10 oz. fresh spinach leaves
salt and pepper
1 sweet apple, peeled and chopped

Directions

1. Heat the butter and oil in a medium saucepan.

2. Add the onion and basil, and saute for 2 minutes.

3. Stir in the rice, and then add the 2 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and let the broth soak into the rice.

4. Then add the 1 cup of water, and continue cooking until it has been absorbed.

5. Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms in the cooking oil for about 2 minutes, and then add the spinach. Cook the spinach until most of the leaves have wilted. Then transfer to a mixing bowl.

6. Once the rice has cooked, add it to the mixing bowl, and combine with the mushrooms and spinach. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Stir in the apple pieces, and serve.

 

Check out these related articles:

100+ Cheap and Easy Meals for When Money Is Tight
25 Cheap Slow Cooker Meals for under $5
75 Easy Ways to Save Money on Groceries without Coupons!
7 Simple Steps to Use a Meal Plan to Save Money on Groceries
19 Top Tips to Save Money Eating Out
How to Use a Grocery Price Comparison Cheat Sheet to Save a Ton of Money!
Eat Free for Your Birthday!
12 Best Tips to Save Money on Entertainment

 

4. Easy Lentil Soup

This easy lentil soup recipe is thick and hearty and is made with just a handful of wholesome ingredients. It is a super simple vegetarian recipe for dinner. By using canned or precooked lentils, you keep the prep time to just 25 minutes! And many of the ingredients you likely have on hand virtually all of the time in your pantry!

 

Ingredients

1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 can diced tomatoes (or 15 ounces chopped fresh tomatoes)
14 oz vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups cooked or canned lentils
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup uncooked barley or rice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
pepper to taste

Directions

1. Combine the onion, celery, tomatoes, and broth in a large pot.

2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

3. Add all remaining ingredients, lower to a simmer, and cover. Simmer 25 minutes or until carrots and barley are tender.

4. Taste, and add more of the seasonings above as desired.  

 

5. Bean and Cheese Tostadas

Bean and cheese tostadas are a great way to get protein even without the meat. These easy bean and cheese tostadas bake up fast and have a satisfying crunch.

Ingredients
6 (6-inch) flour or corn tortillas
1 cup refried beans
1 cup salsa
1 cup shredded Cheddar
1 cup shredded lettuce
2 tablespoons sour cream

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Spread out tortillas on baking sheet, and bake until golden, about 8 minutes.
3. Spread beans among tostadas, top with salsa, and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and bake until warmed through, about 8 minutes.
4. Place each tostada on a plate and top with lettuce and a small amount of sour cream. Serve with extra salsa, if desired.

 

6. Cheesy Potatoes

These cheesy potatoes take a little longer than 30 minutes, but they are so good, I think they are worth it. In our family, we call them yummy potatoes (and some people call them funeral potatoes). No matter what you call them, they are delicious!

 

Ingredients

30 ounce bag hash browns (or country style shredded potatoes or cubed potatoes, thawed) or 8 to 10 cooked, cubed potatoes
16 ounces sour cream
10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup 
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 to 1 cup crushed cornflakes (or Ritz crackers, potato chips, or panko crumbs), optional

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of cheese. Stir until combined. Then spread into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

3. Top with remaining shredded cheese and crushed corn flakes. 

4. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling hot. If you use cubed potatoes instead of shredded hash browns, bake for about 40 minutes. 

 

7. Bean and Rice Burritos

This is a great way to use leftover rice. With the precooked rice, this easy recipe is ready in under 30 minutes. (Or you can use minute rice in a pinch.)

Ingredients

1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
1 cup salsa
1 cup cooked rice
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
12 flour tortillas (6 to 7 inches)

Directions

1. In a bowl, combine the refried beans, salsa, rice, and 1 cup of the cheese.
2. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the mixture off-center on each tortilla.
3. Fold the sides and ends of the tortillas over the filling, and roll them up.
4. Arrange the burritos in a greased 13x9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover and bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.

 

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8. Vegetarian Lasagna

Even without the meat, this lasagna is a winner! The three cheeses make this dish easy, cheesy, and delicious.

 

Ingredients

2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 cans or jars (28 ounces each) tomato sauce or pasta sauce
12 cooked lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. Mix cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, the parsley, and the oregano.

3. Spread 2 cups of the pasta sauce in an ungreased 13x9x inch pan. Top with 4 cooked noodles. Spread cottage cheese mixture over noodles.

4. Spread with 2 cups pasta sauce, and top with 4 noodles.

5. Repeat with 2 cups pasta sauce and 4 noodles.

6. Sprinkle with 2 cups mozzarella cheese.

7. Spread with remaining pasta sauce.

8. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

9. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes as needed (to thicken) before serving.

 


9. Creamy Herb Pasta

This is another tasty pasta dish perfect for a vegetarian dinner! This is simple, quick dish is rich and creamy and ready in 30 minutes or less.

Ingredients

8 oz sliced mushrooms
12 oz fettuccine
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons margarine or butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup whole milk
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Cook the fettuccine according to the package directions, and then drain in a colander.
  • While the pasta is cooking, add the margarine and minced garlic to a large skillet. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until fragrant and tender. Do not let the margarine or garlic turn brown.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms, and continue to cook until the mushrooms have turned dark brown. Turn the heat down slightly to medium-low, add the flour, and continue to sauté until the flour begins to coat the bottom of the skillet and turns golden brown (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Whisk the vegetable broth into the skillet with the flour and mushrooms. Whisk until all the flour has dissolved off the bottom of the skillet. Add the basil, oregano, and some pepper. Turn the heat up to medium, and bring the sauce to a simmer to thicken.
  • Stir the milk into the sauce and allow it to return to a  simmer. Add about 1/4 teaspoon salt. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt or pepper as needed.
  • Add the drained pasta to the sauce in the skillet. Stir to coat, and cook the pasta over medium low heat until heated through. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cooks.

 

 

10. Black Bean Quesadillas

This vegetarian recipe for dinner is a fun twist on traditional quesadillas. This quick dish is ready in 20 minutes or less.

Ingredients
2 cans (15 oz. each) black beans, drained
1 cup salsa
2 cups shredded cheese
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/3 cup sour cream (optional)

Directions
1. Mash one can of beans. Mix in remaining can of beans and salsa.
2. Spread mixture evenly on 4 tortillas; top with cheese. Cover with remaining 4 tortillas.
3. Heat skillet, and cook quesadillas 2 minutes. Flip, and cook for another minute or two.
4. Cut into wedges, and serve with salsa & sour cream on the side.

 

11. Meatless Spaghetti

Spaghetti is one of our favorite meals! We most often make spaghetti the way my mother did. To make it meatless, we simply omit the pound of ground beef that would normally be included. 

For the meatless sauce, mix a small can of tomato sauce with about half a can of water, a packet of spaghetti seasoning (though we have also made our own, which is cheap and easy!), and a small can of cream of mushroom soup. Sometimes we include mushrooms (fresh or canned) and chopped peppers (most often green peppers, since they are the least expensive) and onions, as well.

If you are including the vegetables, heat up about a tablespoon of oil in the frying pan. Add the chopped green pepper if you are going to use it; you could also add the chopped onion at this point, too. Then add the tomato sauce and the water. Add the spaghetti seasoning, and stir. Then add the can of cream of mushroom soup, and stir it in. Add the mushrooms at this point, if you are going to include them. Serve over warm spaghetti noodles.

12. More Better Mac and Cheese

This is my family’s favorite way to eat good old macaroni and cheese from a box. To traditional macaroni and cheese we add broccoli and carrots. We also sometimes add onions and green or other colored peppers. We sometimes add ranch right before serving to shake things up a little, and I like to add salsa to mine after it is cooked to get even more vegetables. Yum!

 

13. Vegetable Ramen Pad Thai

For a fun twist on a cheap-dinner staple, try this Thai-inspired dish. All you need are ramen noodles, vegetables, soy sauce, peanut butter, sriracha, and red pepper flakes. If you want a milder version, reduce or leave out the sriracha and red pepper flakes (like I do).

Ingredients
2 packages ramen noodles, Oriental flavor
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
12 oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 tsp sriracha
2 tablespoons hot water

Directions
1. Add vegetable oil, frozen vegetables, and seasoning packets. Cook for 3 minutes.
2. In a pot, cook Maruchan ramen Oriental flavor noodles in boiling water for 3 minutes.
3. Drain noodles, and add to pan.
4. Mix soy sauce, peanut butter, sriracha, and hot water. Add to pan, and mix together.
5. Divide into bowls, and serve.

 

14. Broccoli Alfredo

This is a simple and tasty dish, ready in 30 minutes. It’s great as a one-pot dinner, or we often eat it with toasted garlic bread. Eat with green salad to get in more veggies.

Ingredients

12 oz. linguine or spaghetti noodles
cup fresh or frozen broccoli florets
tablespoons butter or margarine
can (10 1/2 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Prepare the linguine or spaghetti noodles according to the package directions in a large saucepan. Add the broccoli during the last 4 minutes of the cooking time. Drain the linguine mixture well in a colander.
  2. Heat the butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, and cook until well browned and cooked through, stirring often.
  3. Stir the soup, milk, cheese, pepper, and linguine mixture in the skillet and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling, stirring occasionally.  Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

15. Classic Bean and Cheese Burritos

These easy bean and cheese burritos are another great option when you are looking for vegetarian recipes for dinner. They have just four ingredients (plus add any other toppings you love, such as salsa). All you need are refried beans, cheese, tortilla shells, and taco seasoning mix. Such an easy and cheap dinner idea!

Ingredients
1 can (16 oz) refried beans
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1 package (1 oz)  taco seasoning mix
8 8-inch flour tortillas
Additional toppings as desired, such as salsa, sour cream, diced tomatoes, and shredded lettuce

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper or foil (or spray with nonstick cooking spray); set aside.
2. In medium bowl, mix the beans, cheese, and taco seasoning mix.
3. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the bean mixture onto each tortilla, just below the center. Fold the bottom edge of each tortilla up and over the filling. Fold sides in, overlapping to enclose filling. Roll up from the bottom of the tortilla.
4. Place the burritos seam-side down on the cookie sheet.
5. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until heated through. Serve with additional toppings listed above, as desired.
6. Remove from heat, and serve.

 

16. Ramen Noodles with Vegetables

I know that ramen noodles are not super healthy, but they are super cheap and they are super easy.

We make eating them healthier by adding our favorite vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, corn, and sometimes peppers.

Cook the vegetables, drain off some of the water if needed, and then add the noodles and cook a few minutes until the noodles are soft. Add the seasoning packet (or omit), and stir to combine.

 

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17. Spinach and Artichoke Melts

Love spinach and artichoke dip, like me? Then you will love these simple melts! Main ingredients for this simple recipe include spinach (you can substitute frozen spinach, if it is cheaper), artichoke hearts, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, and sourdough bread (or substitute your favorite bread on hand). We generally substitute a less expensive spread for the butter. If you want, you can also add thinly sliced or chopped and cooked chicken breast to the melts.

Ingredients
1 teaspoon oil
5 oz raw baby spinach
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained, quartered, and chopped
5 oz cream cheese, softened
1 oz mozzarella, shredded
8 oz sourdough bread, cut into 8 slices
4 tsp unsalted butter (or margarine)

Directions
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large, nonstick skillet. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, stirring frequently, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a mixing bowl; add artichokes, cream cheese, and mozzarella. Mix well.
2. Preheat a nonstick skillet to medium-high heat.
3. Spread ½ teaspoon butter onto one side of each of the slices of bread. Distribute the spinach mixture evenly between each of 4 slices of bread, buttered side down. Top the spinach mixture with a second slice of sourdough bread, buttered side up.
4. Cook sandwiches 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes before slicing in half. Serve warm.

 

18. Fried Rice

You can make this simple, cheap dinner in just 15 minutes, so it is perfect for those busy evenings after work and school. There are many variations, but I like this simple recipe.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
1 cup diced red or white onion (about 1 small onion)
1 1/3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
3 green onions, sliced
4 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions

  1. Crack 3 eggs into a small bowl, and beat them together. Beat the last egg in a separate bowl.
  2. Heat a large frying pan or a wok with 1/2 tablespoon of the cooking oil over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the 3 beaten eggs and scramble them for about a minute. Transfer the eggs to a dish, and turn off the heat. Wipe off the pan or wok with a kitchen towel.
  3. Pour the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in the pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and cook them for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the mixed vegetables and green onions, and cook for another minute. Save some of the green onions (the dark green part) for garnish, if desired.
  4. Add the cooked rice into the pan or wok, and cook for a few minutes, until the rice is heated through. If you have large clumps of rice, break them apart with the back of your spatula. Pour the single beaten egg over the rice and stir to coat the rice with the egg. Cook for another minute.
  5. Add the soy sauce, and stir. Add the 3 scrambled eggs, and stir to mix again. Serve immediately.

 

19. Quick Bean and Rice Burritos

This is another great beans and rice recipe. 🙂 These burritos are tasty and filling and can be on your table in less than 30 minutes.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups cooked rice
1 medium green or red pepper (or half and half), diced
1 can or 2 cups of frozen corn
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
8 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
1 cup salsa

Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, saute green pepper and onion in oil until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the chili powder and cumin until combined. Add beans, corn, and cooked rice; cook and stir until heated through, about 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Spoon about 1/2 cup of filling off-center on each tortilla; top with 2 tablespoons salsa. Fold sides and ends over filling and roll up.
  3. Serve with cheese and sour cream if desired.

20. Italian Pesto Pizza

If you love pesto, you will love this simple pesto pizza recipe. In addition to the pesto, add mozzarella cheese, parsley, basil, and Parmesan cheese. (The recipe also calls for prosciutto, but you can omit that ingredient if you like to make the recipe even more budget friendly, or substitute regular chopped ham, Canadian bacon, or pepperoni.)

Ingredients
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Roll out pizza dough as directed on package. 3. Spread the pesto evenly on the crust. Sprinkle mozzarella over the pesto. Sprinkle pizza with the fresh parsley, fresh basil, and Parmesan.
4. Bake in preheated oven until crust is browned and pizza is hot and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

21. Hidden Veggie Mac and Cheese

This is another great cheap dinner idea when you want to sneak in some extra veggies for those picky palates. In this fun version of mac and cheese, to traditional elbow macaroni you add cauliflower, butternut squash, sliced carrots, milk, cheese, and cream cheese.

Ingredients
1 lb cooked elbow macaroni
1/2 cup water
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup diced butternut squash
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions
1. Add water, cauliflower, squash, and carrots in a pot over medium heat. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender.
2. Add everything into a blender, including cooking water, and blend until smooth.
3. Return blended veggies to the pot over medium heat, and add the milk, and cheese. Stir until smooth.
4. Add macaroni, reduce heat, mix thoroughly, and cook until warmed through.

 

22. Stuffed Green Peppers

For another fun vegetable-themed dish, try these stuffed green peppers. To make, you need four large green peppers, tomato sauce, ground beef, chopped onion, a cup of cooked brown or white rice, and some seasonings. Easy!

Ingredients
4 large green bell peppers (or about 5 small ones
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 cup cooked rice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions
1. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Place the peppers in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook 3 minutes, just until the peppers are slightly soft. Drain, rinse with cool water, and set aside on paper towels to drain.
2. In a large skillet, saute the onion with a little oil.
3. Add the salt, pepper, rice, garlic powder and half of the tomato sauce to the skillet.
4. Stir well, and spoon into the peppers.
5. Top with the other half of the tomato sauce.
6. Bake in an ungreased dish at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes.

 

23. Spinach Alfredo Pasta

I love this light and easy vegetarian dinner recipe for spinach alfredo pasta! To a package of spaghetti or fettuccine noodles add spinach, a little milk, Parmesan cheese, butter (or substitute a spread), and a little salt and pepper. 

Ingredients
12 oz. spaghetti or fettuccine
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
pepper to taste

Directions
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook the pasta to al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water in a measuring cup; set it aside. Drain and rinse the pasta.
2. In a large saucepan or skillet, heat a splash of the pasta water over medium heat. Cook spinach leaves until just wilted and bright green; then remove to a bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt, and set aside.
3. In the saucepan, add the milk, 1/4 cup of the pasta water, and the Parmesan cheese. Cook over low heat, stirring until a smooth sauce forms.
4. Add the pasta to the pan, and stir to coat. Add the butter, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine until the butter melts. If necessary, and a splash of pasta water to smooth out the sauce. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

 

24. Garlic Fettuccine Alfredo

For another 30-minute vegetarian dinner pasta dish, give this garlic fettuccine alfredo a try. This recipe calls for Fettuccine (or substitute a pasta of your choice), butter, minced garlic, diced shallot, half and half (or we just substitute whole milk or whatever milk we have on hand), cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper and parsley to taste. 

Ingredients
16 oz. fettuccine or penne pasta
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper
fresh parsley

Directions
1. Make pasta according to the box directions. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter, and add onions. Cook for 2 minutes, and then add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
3. Add milk and cream cheese, and heat just until bubbly (do not boil).
4. Remove from heat, and add in Parmesan cheese and mix until the cheese is melted.
5. Add pasta to the skillet, and toss until combined. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley.

25. Grilled Cheese (and Spinach) Sandwiches and Tomato Soup

Grilled cheese is another of my favorite vegetarian dinner ideas; and it’s so simple you don’t even really need a recipe. You simply need your favorite bread, cheese, butter or margarine (optional, to coat the bread and give it a more toasted color), and spinach (also optional, but it is yummy and makes this kid-friendly dish more nutritious). 🙂

 

26. Traditional Quesadillas

All you need for this easy dinner are flour tortilla shells, cheese (that you shred), ham or other favorite luncheon meat (optional), and spinach (also optional, but, like the grilled cheese sandwiches just above, it is yummy and makes this kid-friendly dish more nutritious).

 

27. Spinach and Cheese Jumbo Stuffed Shells

This is another tasty meatless dinner idea that makes for a great cheap dinner option. In addition to the spinach and jumbo pasta shells, you have three cheeses (cottage cheese—or you could use half ricotta and half cottage cheese, if you have ricotta cheese on hand—mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese), and your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce.

Stuff the shells with the delicious filling, bake for about 20 minutes, and you have a oozy, cheesy treat!

Ingredients

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
12 oz. package jumbo shells
3 cups cottage cheese
1 ½ cups (about 6 ounces) grated mozzarella cheese, divided
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
25 ounce jar or can marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the jumbo shells, and cook according to package directions. Note: Be careful not to overcook the shells, or they will fall apart as you fill them. Drain the shells, and let them cool.
2. Meanwhile, defrost the spinach in the microwave. Wring out the excess liquid. Set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
4. In a medium bowl stir together the cottage cheese, half of the grated mozzarella, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Stir in the spinach.
5. Spoon the filling into the shells, and place in a large baking dish.
6. Pour the marinara sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil, and bake for about 15 minutes.
7. Uncover, and bake for a few minutes more until cheese is melted and shells are hot.

 

28. Black Beans and Rice

This is another classic American beans and rice dish. Like the other meatless dinner recipes in this list, it takes only about 30 minutes to prepare and a great option for after school or busy weeknights.

 

Ingredients

1 teaspoon cooking oil
1 chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
3/4 cup uncooked white rice
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon cumin
3 1/2 cups canned black beans (about 2 cans)

 

Directions

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil.
2. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 4 minutes.
3. Add the rice and saute for 2 minutes.
4. Add the vegetable broth.
5. B
ring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat. Cook for 20 minutes.
6. Add the spices and black beans.
7. Stir, and serve.

29. One-Pot Broccoli and Pasta Dish

This one-pot broccoli and pasta dish is another great meatless dinner idea. This one-pot meal makes both preparation and cleanup super easy. Make this dish with your favorite regular or whole wheat pasta for a creamy comfort food.

Ingredients

1 16 oz. box pasta
3 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
3 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Add the pasta, broccoli, oil, salt, pepper, garlic, tomato sauce, milk, and broth to a large pot. Cover and bring to a rolling boil.

2. Stir, and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer covered for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
*Note: Watch the pot in the beginning of the cooking process so that the milk does not boil over.
3. Remove the pasta from the heat and stir in the mushrooms and the parmesan. Let the pasta rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving. Remaining liquid will absorb into the pasta, and the mushrooms will soften.

 

30. Vegetarian Noodle Soup

Warm vegetarian noodle soup is perfect for a cold day!

 

Ingredients

cups fresh or frozen mixed vegetables
small onion, chopped
stalk celery, choppped 
5 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
vegetarian vegetable bouillon cubes
2 cups uncooked medium egg noodles

Directions
1. In a large pot, combine all ingredients except the noodles. Bring to a boil.
2. Add the noodles, and then return the soup to a boil.
3. Reduce heat, cover the pot, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables and noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.

Conclusion

These 30 vegetarian recipes for dinner will help you to get inexpensive, healthy food on the table fast to feed your family! All ready in 30 minutes or less, these simple vegetarian meals are great for busy families!

 

What do you like to eat for your vegetarian dinners? Do you have quick and inexpensive go-to vegetarian recipes for dinner that you love?

Give these recipes a try, and let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts! And share your favorite vegetarian recipes below! 🙂

 

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25 Cheap, Easy Slow Cooker Meals for under $5!

cheap easy slow cooker meals

Cheap Slow Cooker (Crock-Pot) Meals for under $5

Find information and links below to recipes for cheap slow cooker meals (Crock-Pot meals) that are easy and that you can make for your family for under $5!

Winter is fast approaching. And even though I am kind of dreading it and looking forward to spring, the cold weather is perfect for some of my favorite slow cooker (Crock-Pot) meals. These cheap and easy slow cooker meals are perfect for dinner after work and school or for an easy meal on a busy Saturday.

When it’s a cold, wintry day outside, these tasty, inexpensive slow cooker dishes will warm you up from the inside out!

 

Tip: Pin the image above so that you can easily find these recipes for cheap and easy slow cooker meals later!

Make Your Cheap Slow Cooker Meals Even Cheaper!

One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries so that you can prepare inexpensive slow cooker meals and other meals is to use money-saving apps! My favorite FREE grocery money-saving app is Ibotta.

I’ve been a member of Ibotta for years, and they are a fun and easy way to save money whenever you shop! With the free Ibotta app, you earn cash back on purchases you make every day from your favorite grocery and other stores such as Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Dollar Tree, Sam’s Club, Amazon, and many, many more! With the easy-to-use Ibotta app you can get cash back when you shop not only for groceries but also for clothing, home improvement supplies, travel services, and more!

I can even use Ibotta at several of our smaller, local grocery stores, which I love!

Signing up takes just a minute, and then you can start to save money whenever and wherever you shop, at physical stores and online! Sign up for your free Ibotta account here!

 

 

Preparing Cheap and Easy Slow Cooker (Crock-Pot) Meals for under $5!

If you are looking to replace your old slow cooker, of if you do not have a slow cooker, one of the best ones that is a great value (budget friendly) and has really good reviews is this 7-quart, dishwasher safe programmable slow cooker from Hamilton Beach. Just click the image below for more information!

Or if you want to simplify your meal preparation even more (and possibly cut down on the number of gadgets you have in your kitchen!), consider getting an Instant Pot. We just got one of these last year, and they are so convenient! I love ours! Click on the image below to learn more about the benefits of getting an Instant Pot!

 

 

Cheap and Easy Slow Cooker Meals for under $5!

Below are 25 cheap and easy $5 Crock-Pot (slow cooker) meals that your family will love! With these recipes, you do simple meal prep, and your slow cooker does all the work!

 

1. Slow Cooker Taco Soup

This is a family favorite on cold days (or any day, really :)). To keep it to $5 (and keep it less spicy), omit the can of diced green chile peppers and use just one can of diced tomatoes. You can find this easy slow cooker taco soup recipe here.

 

2. White Chicken Slow Cooker Chili

This is another of our favorite winter meals. Omit the salsa verde, Monterey Jack cheese, and cilantro if desired to help keep costs low. (And I think it tastes better without those things—except for the cheese. :)) Find this tasty white chicken slow cooker chili recipe here!

 

3. Slow Cooker Meatloaf

If you love meatloaf but are leery of making it because it can sometimes get a little dry, then slow cooker meatloaf is the perfect solution for you! This slow cooker meatloaf is moist and yummy. And even better, you can make it as a freezer meal for even less prep time when you are ready to cook it. Check out this simple and satisfying slow cooker meatloaf recipe here.

 

4. 3 Ingredient Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

This meal is super quick, super easy, and super tasty. To save even more money (and make the dish less spicy), use regular diced tomatoes in place of the Rotel tomatoes. This base can be used for chicken tacos, burritos, enchiladas, salads, and more! You will find this easy slow cooker chicken taco recipe here.

 

5. Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This easy, tasty enchilada dish takes only 10 minutes to prepare! To save even more money, substitute the enchilada sauce with tomato sauce and taco seasoning (like we do; personally, I like the taste better, too! :)). Get the recipe for slow cooker chicken enchilada casserole here.

 

Related articles:

65 Must-Know Tips to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half!
7 Simple Steps to Use a Meal Plan to Save Money on Groceries
19 Top Tips to Save Money Eating Out
How to Use a Grocery Price Comparison Cheat Sheet to Save Big Bucks!
Eat Free for Your Birthday!
12 Best Tips to Save Money on Entertainment

 

6. Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

This classic Mexican dish is simple and quick to make; it can be ready to slow cook in just 15 minutes! To keep this dish to $5, you may want to stick with the less expensive peppers (like green peppers), and substitute carrots or another favorite vegetable for the other colored peppers. You can also substitute regular diced tomatoes for tomatoes with green chiles. Find this slow cooker chicken fajitas recipe here.

 

7. Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Chicken Stew

This is another yummy comfort dish. If you like garlic Parmesan (like me!), you will love this meal! The garlic and Parmesan give a fun twist to this dish. To save money, simply cut up regular russet potatoes in place of the smaller potatoes called for. Get this tasty slow cooker garlic Parmesan chicken stew recipe here.

 

8.  Slow Cooker Honey Lemon Chicken

This is another tasty chicken dish. It is a great way to use the more economical chicken thighs and drumsticks, too.  (Or you can substitute chicken breast, too, if you prefer.) Again, the small potatoes called for in the recipe can be replaced with cut up russet or other less expensive potatoes. Find this simple slow cooker honey lemon chicken recipe here.

 

9. Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken and Rice

This slow cooker recipe is the ultimate in comfort food! And it is easy peasy cheesy delicious. 🙂 If you want to save even more money, you can make your own cream of chicken soup (and even double the batch to freeze some for later!); a link for that recipe is included on the web page. Get this great recipe for Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken and Rice here.

 

10. Sour Cream Chili Bake

Sour cream chili bake is another great $5 Crock Pot recipe! If you do not have any enchilada sauce on hand, you can simply double the tomato sauce and add a package of chili or taco seasoning (that is generally what I do instead of using enchilada sauce). Get this sour cream chili bake recipe here.

 

11. Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Soup

This is a great way to make an inexpensive and hearty meal with leftover rotisserie chicken! All you need is the leftover chicken, chicken broth (the recipe includes simple instructions for how to make that while you make the soup), carrots, celery (or substitute another vegetable of your choice, such as brocolli, like I often do), rice, kidney beans (or your favorite beans), and seasonings. Find the recipe for leftover rotisserie chicken soup here

If you do not have any Italian seasoning on hand, no worries! You can easily make some with this recipe here. (Just substitute or omit any of the seasonings that you do not care for or do not have on hand.)

 

12. Crock-Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

This soup is a great comfort food and is perfect for fall or winter (or anytime!). This recipe is packed with delicious veggies and is great to eat with your favorite crusty bread or your favorite dinner roll. To save money and keep this recipe to $5 per meal, you can substitute regular rice for the wild rice, and substitute whole milk (or whatever milk you have on hand) for the half and half.

Find this slow cooker chicken and wild rice soup recipe here.

 

 13. Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Noodles

This slow cooker Italian chicken and noodles recipe is great for busy days because it is very qucik to prepare. And it is also easy to make because you probably have virtually all of the ingredients in your pantry and freezer, so it is something you can make on short notice. Get the slow cooker Italian chicken and noodles recipe here.

 

14. Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

This slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs recipe is quick and easy to prepare. You even cook the pasta right in your slow cooker. If you do not have crushed tomatoes on hand, you can substitute additional diced tomatoes. You can also omit the Italian sausage and Panko to keep costs down, and you can substitute dried basil for fresh if you do not have any fresh basil on hand.

Get the slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs recipe here.

 

15. Pulled Barbecue Chicken

Pulled chicken is a great staple for making barbecue chicken sandwiches, serving over rice, serving in a salad, and more! You can get this easy pulled barbecue chicken recipe here.

 

16. Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

We love making slow cooker pulled pork for barbecue sandwiches, to make taco salads and burritos and enchiladas, to serve over rice in Hawaiian type dishes, and more! And making the pulled pork is so easy; the slow cooker does all the work to make this tender, moist dish. This recipe from Betty Crocker takes just 10 minutes to prep and uses simple ingredients you will have on hand.

Get the slow cooker pulled pork recipe here.

 

17. Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

If you want a little bit healthier alternative to regular chili (and sometimes less expensive option), try slow cooker turkey chili. You can prep this dish in less than 20 minutes, and let the slow cooker do the work for you of blending the tastes of this hearty meal. (You can omit the tomato paste if you do not have any on hand; I generally don’t.) Find this easy slow cooker turkey chili recipe here.

18. Slow Cooker Goulash

Using a slow cooker is a great way to make goulash! This is another classic comfort food that is perfect for a chilly day! (Or a day when you do not want to heat up your kitchen in the heat of the summer! :)) This recipe from $5 Dinners is quick and easy to make. Get the slow cooker goulash recipe here!

 

19. Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

If you love macaroni and cheese, why not give it a try in your slow cooker?! This recipe is easy and cheesy. 🙂 (You can omit the dry mustard powder and simply use more of the cheddar cheese in place of the gruyere cheese if you do not have them on hand.) Find this simple and tasty slow cooker macaroni and cheese recipe here.

 

20. Slow Cooker Curried Coconut Chicken

If you love curry, give this curried coconut chicken recipe a try! Prep time is less than 10 minutes, and then the slow cooker does all the work! You can find this easy slow cooker curried coconut chicken recipe here.

 

21. Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

 This is another tasty and super quick to prepare slow cooker chicken recipe. It is another easy recipe that you can prepare in just 10 minutes or less! If you are not a fan of cilantro (like Ia m not), you can omit them and still have a great soup. You can find this slow cooker chicken tortilla soup recipe here.  

 

22. Slow Cooker Sour Cream Chili Bake

This is another great Mexican inspired slow cooker dish. For this recipe, if you do not have enchilada sauce on hand, you can substitute with another can of tomato sauce. You can also substitute whatever cheese you have on hand for the American cheese, if you choose. Get this simple slow cooker sour cream chili bake recipe here.

23. Potato Bacon Chowder Soup

The bacon in this hearty slow cooker soup recipe gives it an awesome flavor. You can make this recipe more budget-friendly (and keep it to about $1 per person) by substituting generic cream of mushroom soup for the Campbell’s cream of potato soup called for. This recipe serves 10 people, so you can half it (and keep it to about $5) if you have a smaller crowd to feed. 🙂 Find the recipe for potato bacon chowder soup here.

 

24. Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes

Another great way to serve up potatoes in the slow cooker is to make slow cooker baked potatoes. Simply wash the potatoes, prick them with a fork several times, and rub with a little oil and sprkinkle with salt if desired before wrapping in foil. Then bake on high for 4 to 5 hours or low for 7 to 8 hours. Then top with your favorite toppings like cheese, bacon, ham, chili, sour cream, salsa, ranch dressing, or other favorites. You can find a simple recipe for slow cooker baked potatoes here

 

25. Slow Cooker Garlic Roasted Chicken

For another easy slow cooker chicken recipe, try this slow cooker garlic roasted chicken recipe. Serve with baked or roasted potatoes or cooked rice to round out this simple meal.

Conclusion

These cheap and easy slow cooker meals will help you to get dinner on the table fast on those cold, busy days! Feed your family quick, delicious, inexpensive meals every day of the workweek for under $5! 

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Budget Friendly Ideas for Valentine’s Gifts for Him

ideas for Valentine's gifts for him

  

Ideas for Valentine’s Gifts for Him

In this article I am going to share some fun ideas for Valentine’s gifts for himFind Valentine’s gifts your special guy will love!

Tip: Do you want your gift fast and free? Have you tried Amazon Prime yet? Get free 2-day shipping when you sign up for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, and enjoy the many benefits of this awesome service!

 

Another top tip: Save the image above to Pinterest so that you can easily refer to this article on ideas for Valentine’s gifts for him later!

 

 

Awesome Ideas for Valentine’s Gifts for Him!

Here are some of my favorite ideas for Valentine’s gifts for him! If you are looking for budget-friendly Valentine’s Day gifts for your favorite guy, then check out these awesome gifts at a great price!

Click the images and links below for more information about each gift idea!

 

 T-Shirts

A fun or humorous T-shirt can be a great way to show your special guy how much you care! My husband has a beard, so I totally appreciate this fun idea for a Valentine’s gift for him.


This is another fun T-shirt if your guy is a Star Wars fan.

And there are many, many more options for awesome T-shirts for your favorite guy to choose from, so you are sure to find one that your guy loves!

 

Keepsake Journal for Two

 

This is an awesome way to chronicle a wonderful year together!

 

Sunglasses


An awesome pair of sunglasses is another way to show your man you care.

 

Fleece Plush Soft Full-Length Robe


This soft velveteen robe will help ensure your favorite man stays warm and cozy.

 

Hearts and Handcuffs Boxer Shorts


You and your man will love these fun and flirty boxer shorts.

 

Genuine Leather Wallets


This slim, genuine leather wallet with money clip is both stylish and functional. And of course it is budget friendly, too!

 

Chocolate


If your favorite guy loves chocolate, then that is another great idea for a Valentine gift for him. These ones from Godiva are a great, budget-friendly option.


Or if your favorite guy loves Lindor chocolates (and who doesn’t?!), then that is a great, fairly cheap idea for a Valentine’s day gift for him, as well! (And so delicious! No wonder it’s a best seller!)

You can find more cheap ideas for Valentine’s gifts for him with the many options for chocolates available here.

 

Magnetic Wristband


This unique and useful (and pretty cheap!) Valentine’s gift idea for your favorite guy that will help him work around the house or garage with ease! No more dropping screws, nails, drill bits, bolts, and similar items!

 

Tools


Tools are another awesome Valentine’s gift idea for him. Whether your guy is super handy already or wants to learn to be, you can find great deals on all the tools he would love to have in his arsenal.


This is a great, high quality, durable tool set with hammer, precision screwdrivers, tape measure, pliers, wrenches, sockets, ratches, and more!

In addition to the tool sets above, you can find tons of other great tool sets here.

 

Multitool


Multitools are another great Valentine’s gift idea for him! This one has a thoughtful message to show dad how much you care.

 

Lego Sets


If your favorite guy is into Legos, then this can be another fun option.

In addition to the ship in a bottle set featured in the image above, you can find tons of other fun Lego sets for your favorite guy.

 

Mugs

Mugs are another great option for cheap ideas for Valentine’s gift ideas for him.

 

You can find many funny and fun mugs here that your Valentine will love, like the one pictured above.

 

Best Books

Books are another great option for Valentine’s gift ideas for guys. Books like the one above are a great gift idea for guys who love to travel and explore.

You can also find tons of great ideas for books for guys here.

 

Trunk and SUV Organizer

 


This is a great way to get back more storage space and cut down on clutter in your trunk or SUV! I love this simple trunk organizer!

 

Personalized Bracelets

Give the perfect personal gift! These personalized bracelets are a great gift for the awesome dad or guy in your life.
You can find more awesome bracelets for dads here.

 

Beard Comb and Brush Set

If your favorite guy has a beard (like my husband does), then this beard grooming kit is a must! Check out the kit above, or find more options for best selling beard grooming kits here!

 

Indoor Grills



I love these awesome indoor grills! Got a husband or dad who loves grilling? You don’t have to wait till summer! Enjoy grilling delicious meals all winter long!

You can find more awesome indoor grills here.

 

Food Coolers

The 5-day Xtreme 5-Day Heavy Duty Cooler is a great Valentine’s gift idea for guys who love to camp, fish, hunt, or have other outdoor fun. Find more great deals on coolers.

 

Stainless Steel Insulated Mug

This super tough, best-selling stainless steel mug with lid keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot till your last sip, and the Duracoat color coat prevents scratching, peeling, and fading.

Find additional stainless steel mugs and tumblers and that are great Valentine’s gift ideas for him!

 

Camping Tents


If your favorite guy loves camping and the outdoors, like our family does, then getting him a new tent could be a great Valentine’s gift idea! We have had an Alps Mountaineering tent (the brand of tent pictured above) for years, and we love it! We also have other Alps Mountaineering gear because they are just a great company that makes great gear.


This is another best selling Alps Mountaineering tent (little bit smaller than the one picuted above). This is a popular four-person tent.

In addition to the tent pictured above, you can find other best selling camping tents here.

 

Duffel Bag


This awesome duffel bag is water resistant and has a separate shoe compartment. Available in various colors and sizes. It has multiple pockets and padded shoulder strap for easy carrying.

You can find more great sports duffel bags for guys here.

 

Sports Equipment

If the favorite guy in your life love to shoot hoops, this Spalding basketball pictured above is a great option for them.

Find more ideas for other awesome sports equipment for dad, as well!

 

Exercise Equipment


If your guy is looking for ways to get in better shape for the new year, then this treadmill pictured above is a great option! It is very similar (but not as expensive) as the treadmill I use most days of the week as I exercise. By using a treadmill like this one, I was able to exercise and lose close to 20 pounds earlier this year, all while I worked!

Tip: Learn how you can save tons of time by exercising while you work!

You can find other great options for treadmills here.

Conclusion

These ideas for Valentine’s gift for him will give you lots of great gift options for your favorite guy!

 

What are your favorite Valentine’s gifts for guys this year? What ideas for cheap Valentine’s gifts for him do you recommend? I would love to hear your ideas! Leave a comment below and let me know!

 

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help a family member or friend or people in general? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being with others. Thank you!

Join Our Facebook Group!

Join our closed Families for Financial Freedom Facebook group to get support and share ideas for how we can all improve our financial well-being by earning more, spending less, saving more, and investing more and reach our financial goals. You can do this! And we are here to help.