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Are you looking for cheap, healthy, easy dinner meals to get on the table during the week?
To be honest I think we all are. With the constant rush of today’s society, work, classes, practice and errands by the time you get home and ready to make dinner you are hungry.
Not only are we looking for easy healthy meals to get on the table in minutes we are looking for cheap meals. Meals that don’t cost the whole pay check but are healthy and good.
Below you will find 10 cheap and easy weeknight meals we cook for our family. You can adapt these to fit your dietary needs or swap up the protein sources for more variety.
Cheap tips for weeknight meals.
If you are looking for cheap weeknight meals look first in your pantry and work with the ingredients you have. Swap the protein out of a recipe and add beans. Stick to the basics and have rice, beans or potatoes as a side dish. Work with what you have or what you can afford.
10 Cheap & Easy Weeknight Dinner Meals:
1. Breakfast for dinner. Eggs, bacon, toast and hashbrowns. Or waffles, pancakes or french toast with a side of fruit. Breakfast foods are cheaper than dinner foods so opting a breakfast for dinner meal in once a week can save you money.
2. Vegetarian chili. Beans are a great source of proteins and they are cheap. You can purchase beans dry or canned both store great in the pantry. For vegetarian chili add a large can of tomato sauce, a can of crushed tomatoes, one can of tomato paste, several cups of beans of your choice. Use canned beans or rehydrated dry beans. One onion cut into small pieces, a clove of garlic and a several teaspoons of chili powder. If you have carrots, celery or peppers in the fridge you can add these to the chili. We add several cups of vegetable broth or you can use water to thin or spread the chili out a bit. You can cook this two different ways. Toss all the ingredients into a slow cooker before you leave for work set for 6-8 hours on low and enjoy, or you can place all the ingredients in a pot on the stove bring to a boil and simmer till all ingredients are tender. Serve with a sprinkle of cheese and a side of toast.
3. Soup and sandwiches. Soup and sandwiches are always an cheap and easy meal. You could cook your favorite soup from scratch or open a can of your favorite soup. Make a simple sandwich using the ingredients you have on hand. Serve and enjoy.
4. Tacos. Purchase taco shells, taco seasoning and ground meat. You can use ground beef, ground chicken, ground pork or you could use left over shredded roast beef or shredded pork. Slice up the vegetables you have available in the fridge, shred some cheese and enjoy a fun yummy meal.
5. Spaghetti and tomato sauce. Pasta is usually cheap, opt for any kind you prefer. Boil till tender. Top with heated tomato sauce and serve. You can add vegetables or ground beef or left over protein you have in the fridge.
6. Fried rice. You probably have left over meat and vegetables in your fridge, fried rice is a great way to use them up. If you have left over rice great, otherwise cook up some rice. Add oil, chopped onions and a clove of garlic sliced to a frying pan cook till tender, add your protein source chicken, pork, beef or tofu. Add rice and your choice of vegetables. Whisk one egg per person or more in a separate bowl add to frying pan mixture and fold ingredients together. Stir until all items are cooked. You can flavor with soy sauce or another sauce of your choice. Serve.
7. Stir fry. Stir fry I think is my favor easy cheap meal. We usually serve it over rice or you can use noodles or quinoa. You can do a vegetable stir fry or you can add a protein. We usually do a honey garlic chicken stir fry. I will use up the “remainder” vegetables I have in the fridge like carrots, celery, corn and peppers. I have even added spinach and kale to stir fry simply because we had it on hand. In a frying pan add oil, one clove of garlic sliced and a chopped onion cook till slightly tender add chicken or your choice of protein. For three people we use 2 chicken breasts sliced. Brown meat and add your choice of vegetables. In a separate bowl add 1/4 cup of honey, 1/4 cup of soy sauce or coconut sauce and 1/2 a clove of garlic sliced and combine. Pour honey garlic sauce over stir fry in pan and stir and cook till desired tenderness. Serve over rice or noodles or on its own.
8. Pulled pork sandwiches. Purchase a cheap pork roast place in a slow cooker with one sliced onion and 2 sliced clove of garlic cover with barbeque sauce. Cook for 8 hours on low. Once cooking is complete shred pork roast and add more barbeque sauce. You can reduce the barbeque sauce and add tomato sauce for a slightly different flavor. Serve pulled pork on a toasted bun with cheese and coleslaw on the side. Yummy.
9. Homemade pizza. Pizza is easy to make and usually a hit with everyone. Make you favorite pizza crust or purchase pre-made shells. You can also use tortilla shells for a thin crust pizza version. Shred cheese and put out the pizza toppings you have on hand. Let your family create their own pizzas or create a family pizza. Cook and serve. Add more vegetables and proteins for a healthier pizza.
10. Salad. I am not meaning boring side salad. Cook up a flavored chicken breast, or some eggs or open a can of tuna. Shred some cheese, chop up an array of vegetables. Be creative. Add seeds, nuts and dried fruit. Set up a “salad bar” and let your family create their own salad. Or grill up some chicken breasts and have chicken ceasar salad.
I am sure you have your own go to cheap and easy week night meals. The may be versions of the above or new ideas. What ever they are cook them and enjoy. Try to save time and include your family in the preparation work. If you can, use your weekend as your preparation and plan time for your week night meals. Plan ahead, do your grocery shopping, slice and dice your vegetables and protein all ahead of time.
If you are looking for more great cheap and easy week night meals checkout My Freezeasy for more recipe and meal ideas.
Have a great day everyone.