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51 Very Realistic Meals That Prove Cooking On A Budget Can Still Be Delicious

Posted 12 hours ago

Just 51 Really Good And Simple Dinner Ideas When You’re Not Sure What To Make

Cooking delicious meals doesn’t have to be expensive.

Chances are these past few months you’ve cooking more than usual. That’s why you’ll love these smart, realistic, and creative recipes that prove cooking on a budget can actually be satisfying and delicious.


Kroll’s Korner / Via krollskorner.com

Besides for bell peppers, this vegetarian recipe comes together with mostly pantry items like quinoa, diced tomatoes, black beans, and canned corn.

Recipe: Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Three pieces of grilled chicken topped with mozzarella, tomato, basil, and balsamic drizzle.

Three pieces of grilled chicken topped with mozzarella, tomato, basil, and balsamic drizzle.


Closet Cooking / Via closetcooking.com

All you really need are five ingredients to whip up this family-friendly chicken dinner: any kind of boneless, skinless chicken, mozzarella cheese, tomato, basil, and balsamic vinegar.

Recipe: Caprese Balsamic Grilled Chicken

A beef burrito with rice and beans cut into halves.

A beef burrito with rice and beans cut into halves.


Dinner Then Dessert / Via dinnerthendessert.com

You can make these burritos ahead of time stuffed with carne asada, refried beans, and Mexican rice and store them in the freezer for lazy meals when you just don’t feel like cooking.

Recipe: Freezer-Friendly Beef Burritos

Creamy pappardelle in lemon sauce.

Creamy pappardelle in lemon sauce.


Little Dairy on the Prairie / Via littledairyontheprairie.com

You don’t even need pizza dough to whip up this comforting meal. Start with a flour tortilla and load it up with marinara sauce, cheese, pepperoni, or any of your favorite toppings.

Recipe: Pizza Quesadilla

A bowl of pea risotto.

A bowl of pea risotto.


The Cozy Cook / Via thecozycook.com

Traditional beef stroganoff is usually made with thinly-sliced steak, but this version calls for ground beef instead. Not only is it cheaper to make, but it requires less time to cook.

Recipe: Ground Beef Stroganoff Casserole

A white bean and tomato skillet.

A white bean and tomato skillet.

A pot of chicken pot pie noodles with veggies in cream sauce.

A pot of chicken pot pie noodles with veggies in cream sauce.

A creamy orzo skillet with sausage.

A creamy orzo skillet with sausage.


Budget Bytes / Via budgetbytes.com, Budget Byes / Via budgetbytes.com

Make a big batch of these burrito bowls and prep them for the week ahead. They’ll come in handy whether you’re cooking for a family or just need some easy, on-the-go lunches.

Recipe: Meal-Prep Burrito Bowls

Chicken piccata in lemon butter sauce in a skillet.

Chicken piccata in lemon butter sauce in a skillet.


Pinch of Yum / Via pinchofyum.com

Cooked lentils are blended with fresh herbs, olive oil, garlic, flour and lemon juice, shaped into patties, and then baked into crispy-on-the-outside-tender-on-the-inside falafel.

Recipe: Simple Lentil Falafel


Kitchen Gidget / Via kitchengidget.com

This easy, kid-friendly dish starts with crescent roll dough on the bottom, then it’s loaded with ground beef, cheese, and any of your favorite taco toppings.

Recipe: Taco Pizza

Pasta and chickpea soup.

Pasta and chickpea soup.

Two bowls of pork and vegetable stir fry over rice.

Two bowls of pork and vegetable stir fry over rice.


Frugal Nutrition / Via frugalnutrition.com

Affordable, quick, and easy, this ground pork, veggie, and rice stir-fry is perfect for feeding a crowd. It also keeps for a few days in the fridge so you can make a big batch and savor the leftovers.

Recipe: Easy Ground Pork Stir Fry

A skillet of pasta shells and ground beef in creamy tomato sauce.

A skillet of pasta shells and ground beef in creamy tomato sauce.


Damn Delicious / Via damndelicious.net

It doesn’t get much easier (or more comforting) than this cheesy pasta loaded with ground beef. You can always substitute the meat for your favorite plant-based alternative.

Recipe: Creamy Beef and Shells

Egg fried rice in a skillet.

Egg fried rice in a skillet.

A wild rice skillet with lots of veggies.

A wild rice skillet with lots of veggies.


Pinch of Yum / Via pinchofyum.com

You can use whatever vegetables are in season to make this wild rice skillet. A tiny bit of milk plus creamy provolone cheese helps hold it all together.

Recipe: Harvest Wild Rice Skillet

Peanut chicken over rice.

Peanut chicken over rice.


Our Happy Mess / Via ourhappymess.com

Start with skinless, boneless chicken (breasts or thighs) sliced into bite-sized pieces in order to speed up the cooking time. The chicken is coated in a sauce made with chile paste, tomato paste, and peanut butter, then it’s served over rice for a complete and satisfying meal.

Recipe: Chicken Satay Rice Bowls


Simple Veganista / Via simple-veganista.com

The recipe calls for a mixture of kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans, but of course you can swap in whatever canned beans or grains that are already in your kitchen.

Recipe: Vegan Three-Bean Chili


Primavera Kitchen / Via primaverakitchen.com

Never underestimate the power of skin-on chicken thighs, especially when they’re cooked in olive oil, butter, and garlic, and pan-fried until perfectly crispy.

Recipe: Garlic Butter Chicken Thighs

A bowl of peanut sesame noodles with sesame seeds and scallions.

A bowl of peanut sesame noodles with sesame seeds and scallions.


Recipe Tin Eats / Via recipetineats.com

If you want to save time and effort, go ahead and pick up a jar of store-bought peanut or pad Thai sauce. Nobody needs to know, and the result is just as delicious.

Recipe: Sesame Noodles


Cooking Classy / Via cookingclassy.com

Ground beef, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and a head of cabage forms the bulk of this one-skillet meal. Serve it over rice or egg noodles.

Recipe: Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Several pulled pork sliders with garlic aioli.

Several pulled pork sliders with garlic aioli.


Stuck on Sweet / Via stuckonsweet.com

Don’t feel like cooking? Let your Crock Pot do the work. Pork shoulder is slow cooked until it’s tender and falling off the bone. Shred the pork with forks and serve it on buns with a simple aioli made with mayo, garlic, and lemon.

Recipe: Pulled Pork Sliders With Garlic Aioli


Budget Bytes / Via budgetbytes.com

The majority of these ingredients can be found right in your spice drawer. A mixture of brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and paprika form the sweet-meets-spicy glaze for these flavor-packed chicken thighs.

Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs

Poblano and mushroom fajitas.

Poblano and mushroom fajitas.


Cookie and Kate / Via cookieandkate.com

Don’t let the ingredient list overwhelm you. All you really need to make these fajitas are portobello mushrooms, peppers, onion, and tortillas. Swap the avocado sauce for store-bought guacamole or diced avocado and you’ve got a delicious meal.

Recipe: Portobello and Poblano Fajitas

Korean rice bowls with greens, carrots, and fried egg.

Korean rice bowls with greens, carrots, and fried egg.


Nourish Everyday / Via nourisheveryday.com

Start with rice at the base topped with whatever veggies you have on hand. Just don’t forget the fried egg and spicy Sriracha on top.

Recipe: Vegetarian Bibimbap

Ground orange chicken over rice with broccoli.

Ground orange chicken over rice with broccoli.


Dinner Then Dessert / Via dinnerthendessert.com

Save money but don’t compromise on flavor with this budget-friendly take on a Chinese take-out favorite. Ground chicken is tossed in a sweet and savory sauce made of sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, white vinegar, and orange zest.

Recipe: Ground Orange Chicken

A plate of spaghetti carbonara with bacon and parsley.

A plate of spaghetti carbonara with bacon and parsley.


Spend With Pennies / Via spendwithpennies.com

So decadent yet so incredibly simple, this bacon and Parmesan-packed Carbonara is a treat for your stomach and your wallet.

Recipe: Spaghetti Carbonara


Yummy Mummy Kitchen / Via yummymummykitchen.com

Not only is this satisfying soup made from simple, affordable ingredients, but it requires virtually no active cooking at all. Just toss everything into your slow cooker and wait.

Recipe: Split Pea Soup

Four bone-in pork chops cooking in mustard cream sauce.

Four bone-in pork chops cooking in mustard cream sauce.


White On Rice Couple / Via whiteonricecouple.com

Turn boneless pork chops into a fancy-tasting meal with the help of a few basic ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your kitchen. The creamy, tangy mustard sauce calls for Dijon, milk, and a handful of spices.

Recipe: Milk-Braised Pork Chops With Mustard Sauce


The Recipe Critic / Via therecipecritic.com

This fan-favorite casserole features breaded chicken breast, penne, marinara sauce, and a whole lot of mozzarella all baked to cheesy, melty perfection.

Recipe: Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Source: 51 Very Realistic Meals That Prove Cooking On A Budget Can Still Be Delicious

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