Cheap Dinner Ideas
Are you looking to satisfy your taste buds without breaking the bank? Look no further! We've compiled a list of wallet-friendly dinner ideas that are big on flavor and light on your wallet. These creative and affordable meals are perfect for those times when you want to save money without sacrificing taste.
Pasta with Homemade Sauce: Create a simple tomato sauce using canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basic seasonings. Serve over your choice of pasta. with homemade marinara sauce costing under $2 a can and a box of pasta under $1 if your lucky. you can feed a family of 5 for under $5. Adding other ingredients may boost up the price a bit, but its not enough to break the back. be wary though, because similar pasta dishes at restaurants may not be as kind to your wallet as homemade ones.
Rice and Beans: A classic combination that's nutritious and affordable. You can make variations with different types of beans, spices, and vegetables. Although a 20 lb. bag of rice will set you back $15 at your local store, it is worth it know that a dish uses a quarter pound of rice at the most. That comes down to $0.20 a dish for the rice alone. with a can of beans costing less than $2, your meal price will most likely be inflated with other quality ingredients you decide to put into the mix.
Vegetable Stir-Fry: Use a mix of affordable vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, and onions. cook with soy sauce and serve over rice or noodles. although this dish maybe one of the most expensive, we can rely on the idea that it is a heathier option than every other option. with each can or bag of vegetables costing at least $2 a piece. added with the noodles at another $2. However, be aware that even if you spend at total of $15 to make this dish, it will be enough for at least 4 people.
Egg Fried Rice: Combine cooked rice with scrambled eggs, frozen vegetables, and soy sauce for a quick and economical meal. Also with the use of rice, setting you back $0.20 a dish, eggs will most likely be the most expensive part of the entrée. However, if you look deep enough, you can probably find a dozen eggs for $2. If you were to use 2 eggs for a single dish, it will cost you $0.17, this will bring the total down to $0.37 for a rice and egg dish with the majority of the extra cost coming from condiments and additives.
Omelette: Whisk eggs and cook with diced vegetables, cheese, or leftover meats for a satisfying dinner. Again, with the cheapest eggs at $2 for a dozen. we can go crazy with the combination. However, we don't recommend eating more than two eggs in one sitting, for health reasons.
Tuna Salad: Mix canned tuna with chopped vegetables, mayonnaise, and seasonings. Serve over lettuce or as a sandwich. With a can of Tuna pricing at $2 for a 5oz can, you maybe spending more than $2 per meal. On the flip side, adding lettuce to the mix is still a cheap and healthy option with most discount grocery stores selling 6- pack romaine hearts for less than $3. With a single romaine heart lasting at least 3 meals, you will be spending only $0.20 per meal using Romaine lettuce as a carb substitute. However, keeping this dish simple, makes it cheaper all around.
Quesadillas: a delicious and easy meal to make using leftover meats and veggies. Simply fill a tortilla with shredded cheese, beans, and your desired ingredients. Cook until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crispy. A 10-count bag of large tortillas costs $4.00, so each quesadilla will cost at least $0.40. If you add more ingredients, the cost may increase, but you can still make a high-quality dinner for no more than $1 per quesadilla. Keep in mind that the price may vary depending on the meats you choose to add.
Chickpea Curry: Cook canned chickpeas in a curry sauce made from canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and spices. Serve with rice or flatbread. You can expect to pay $4 for a box of curry that contains 5 servings. With the addition of Chickpeas at $1 for a 15 oz can, this dish maybe the most expensive on the list pushing the price close to a $1 per dish. This price does not take into account added ingredients such as garlic, onion, tomatoes... etc. but keep in mind that even a $2 dish is still cheaper than a $15 dollar dish at restaurants.
Baked Potatoes: Top baked potatoes with chili, cheese, sour cream, or other preferred toppings. Even though this is a carb-heavy dinner, you can expect to be paying less than $0.60 for each baked potato with your filling of choice. With a 5-pound bag of potatoes costing $4, we can assume to be paying $0.40 for each potato which weighs 8oz on average.
Veggie Burgers: Make patties from canned beans or lentils, breadcrumbs, and spices. Serve on buns with your choice of toppings. Also coming in at an expensive option, you can expect a box of veggie burgers to be $5 for a 4 count box. This will make a burger be at least $1 each. Oddly if you get the beef option, you maybe able to get an equal or discounted price. This is possibly due to meat products being more readily available over vegetarian products of equal value.
Remember, these ideas can be customized based on what you have in your pantry and fridge, allowing you to get creative with the ingredients you have on hand.