It can be hard to stick to a budget when you’re planning a slew of family dinners for every night of the week. But having a few cost-effective ideas up your sleeve will ensure that you can get dinner on the table and save money on groceries.
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best dinner recipes that are both wallet-friendly and tasty. They rely on less expensive ingredients like ground beef, potatoes, and items you might already have stocked in your pantry. The Pioneer Woman credits her mother-in-law in teaching her how to buy in bulk. “About once a year, I go to a warehouse club and buy things in bulk like flour, rice, beans, and canned whole tomatoes,” Ree Drummond explains. “Then, once a month, I go to our nearest big supermarket, an hour away, for staples. I buy 10 to 15 pounds of butter at a time!”
That kind of meal prep mentality can be applied to all manner of cooking: chicken thigh recipes, pasta recipes, and recipes made with canned tuna. You can even opt for a homemade version of your favorite restaurant meal. (Ree’s quick and easy shortcut on pizza will do the trick!) Otherwise, try chicken teriyaki with a side of rice. You can also skip the meat altogether for a vegetarian chili that’s still packed with beans and comforting sweet potatoes. Either way, try one of these cheap dinner ideas for the busiest nights of the week.1
Sweet Potato Chili
Skip the meat without sacrificing flavor in this homemade chili made with beans, warm spices, veggies, and sweet potatoes. You can let your family build their own bowl by setting out an array of chili toppings.2
Stuffed bell peppers are the perfect dinner for families looking to eat something both comforting and healthy. You get your ground beef, rice, and veggies all in one dish.3
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Canned tuna and egg noodles are the stars of this casserole dish, but you’ll also find plenty of creamy sauce and frozen sweet peas. Don’t forget to sprinkle crunchy potato chips on top!4
Canned artichoke hearts, breadcrumbs, chicken broth, and pasta are all items that might already be in your pantry. That means your just a few steps away from making this creamy pasta inspired by the popular dip.