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    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.

    Budget Bytes / Via budgetbytes.com

    These cheesy noodles are loaded with diced chicken and broccoli so think: mac 'n' cheese that's sophisticated enough for adults and comforting enough for kids alike.

    Recipe: White Cheddar Mac and Cheese With Chicken and Broccoli

    2. Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

    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

    3. Caprese Balsamic Grilled Chicken

    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

    4. Freezer-Friendly Beef Burritos

    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

    5. Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

    Passion for Savings / Via passionforsavings.com

    If you want to save even more cash and time, start with shredded rotisserie chicken or ground chicken to make this hearty chili.

    Recipe: Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

    6. Creamy Pappardelle Al Limone

    Creamy pappardelle in lemon sauce.
    Family Style Food / Via familystylefood.com

    Introducing your new favorite pasta sauce, made with nothing more than egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, and fresh lemon.

    Recipe: Creamy Pappardelle al Limone

    7. Pizza Quesadilla

    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

    8. Five-Ingredient Thai Green Curry

    Pinch of Yum / Via pinchofyum.com

    This recipe calls for tofu, broccoli, and sweet potato, but you can always swap in whatever protein and veggies you like best.

    Recipe: Five-Ingredient Thai Green Curry

    9. Lemon Parmesan Risotto With Peas

    A bowl of pea risotto.
    Sweet Tea and Thyme / Via sweetteaandthyme.com

    While this recipe tastes totally restaurant-quality, there's not much to it: arborio rice, frozen peas, and chicken broth form the base of this creamy risotto.

    Recipe: Lemon Parmesan Risotto With Peas

    10. Ground Beef Stroganoff Casserole

    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

    11. White Beans Skillet With Tomatoes and Garlic

    A white bean and tomato skillet.
    The Cookie Rookie / Via thecookierookie.com

    This rustic skillet dinner requires virtually no fresh ingredients. You can keep the main components (canned cannellini beans, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth) right in your pantry.

    Recipe: White Beans Skillet With Tomatoes and Garlic

    12. Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Noodles

    A pot of chicken pot pie noodles with veggies in cream sauce.
    Life Made Simple Bakes / Via lifemadesimplebakes.com

    If you want to take this cozy dinner to the next level, top it with some store bought biscuit dough. the result is like a shortcut chicken pot pie.

    Recipe: Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Noodles

    13. Sausage and Creamy Cajun Orzo Skillet

    A creamy orzo skillet with sausage.
    Gal on a Mission / Via galonamission.com

    Orzo, sliced sausage, bell pepper, heavy cream, and a handful of spices is all there is to this Cajun-inspired skillet.

    Recipe: Sausage and Creamy Cajun Orzo Skillet

    14. Meal-Prep Burrito Bowls

    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

    15. Five-Ingredient Chicken Piccata

    Chicken piccata in lemon butter sauce in a skillet.
    Cooking For Keeps / Via cookingforkeeps.com

    It's hard to believe this sophisticated chicken calls for just five ingredients: butter, chicken breasts, dry white wine, lemon juice, and capers.

    Recipe: Five-Ingredient Chicken Piccata

    16. Simple Lentil Falafel

    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

    17. Taco Pizza

    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

    18. Pasta e Ceci (Italian Chickpea Soup)

    Pasta and chickpea soup.
    Pina Bresciani / Via pinabresciani.com

    This Roman-inspired recipe is made with canned chickpeas, your favorite pasta, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, and a bunch of diced veggies.

    Recipe: Pasta e Ceci (Italian Chickpea Soup)

    19. Easy Ground Pork Stir Fry

    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

    20. 30-Minute Chana Masala

    Simple Veganista / Via simple-veganista.com

    This Indian-inspired chickpea dish is made with chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and onions in a fragrant broth flavored with lots of spices.

    Recipe: 30-Minute Chana Masala

    21. Creamy Beef and Shells

    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

    22. Five-Ingredient Chicken Tortilla Soup

    Dash of Sanity / Via dashofsanity.com

    Geab some chicken broth, rotisserie chicken, canned diced tomatoes, ranch dressing, and canned fiesta corn mix to make this heart-warming chicken soup with a Mexican flare.

    Recipe: Five-Ingredient Chicken Tortilla Soup

    23. Instant Pot Pasta Primavera

    Simply Recipes / Via simplyrecipes.com

    You can start with any vegetables (fresh or frozen) to make this plant-based pasta right in your Instant Pot.

    Recipe: Instant Pot Pasta Primavera

    24. Bacon, Broccoli, and Potato Frittata

    Foodie Crush / Via foodiecrush.com

    The best thing about a frittata is that there's no wrong time of day to eat it. Have it for breakfast and enjoy the leftovers for dinner.

    Recipe: Bacon, Broccoli, and Potato Frittata

    25. Sausage and Potato Roast With Arugula

    Smitten Kitchen / Via smittenkitchen.com

    Calling for just five easy ingredients (plus olive oil and salt) this light and bright arugula salad with roasted sausage and potatoes will quickly become a new favorite weeknight dinner.

    Recipe: Sausage and Potato Roast With Arugula

    26. Tuna Pasta With Capers and Parsley

    A Beautiful Plate / Via abeautifulplate.com

    While you can make this pasta with any tuna fish, try using high-quality tuna packed in olive oil for the most flavorful version.

    Recipe: Tuna Pasta With Capers and Parsley

    27. Easy Fried Rice

    Egg fried rice in a skillet.
    Healthy Nibbles and Bits / Via healthynibblesandbits.com

    If you want some more protein, go ahead and toss anything from shrimp to tofu on this quick fried rice.

    Recipe: Easy Fried Rice

    28. Creamy Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

    Cupful of Kale / Via cupfulofkale.com, Cupful Of Kale / Via cupfulofkale.com

    Made in a single pot with all vegetarian-friendly ingredients, this creamy curry will be an instant favorite. You can always add more veggies to bulk it up.

    Recipe: Creamy Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

    29. White Bean and Artichoke Basil Toasts

    Pinch of Yum / Via pinchofyum.com

    Have toast for dinner, but make it fancy with this mixture of artichoke hearts, spinach white beans, and basil mashed into a creamy and savory spread.

    Recipe: White Bean and Artichoke Basil Toasts

    30. Harvest Wild Rice Skillet

    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

    31. Chicken Satay Rice Bowls

    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

    32. Vegan Three-Bean Chili

    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

    Half Baked Harvest / Via halfbakedharvest.com

    Basmati rice is pan-fried until the bottom is coated with a crispy and buttery crust. Top it with spiced chickpeas and sautéed spinach for an easy dinner made from mostly pantry items.

    Recipe: Crispy Persian Rice With Spiced Golden Chickpeas

    34. Garlic Butter Chicken Thighs

    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

    35. The Ultimate Shakshuka

    Don't Go Bacon My Heart / Via dontgobaconmyheart.co.uk

    Eggs for dinner? It's never a bad idea.

    Recipe: The Ultimate Shakshuka

    36. French Onion Beef Casserole

    Life In The Lofthouse / Via life-in-the-lofthouse.com

    All you need for this ultimate comfort food are egg noodles, ground beef, a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, French onion dip, and fried onions.

    Recipe: French Onion Beef Casserole

    37. Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower

    Delicious Little Bites / Via deliciouslittlebites.com

    Imagine mac 'n' cheese meets buffalo nuggets meets roasted cauliflower. This creamy, spicy, cheesy dish has it all.

    Recipe: Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower

    38. Slow Cooker Mexican Quinoa Casserole

    Eating Bird Food / Via eatingbirdfood.com

    A true dump dinner, pour all the ingredients besides for the cheese into your slow cooker. Two hours later, dinner is ready.

    Recipe: Slow Cooker Mexican Quinoa Casserole

    39. Sesame Noodles

    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

    40. Sheet Pan Black Bean Nachos

    Budget Bytes / Via budgetbytes.com

    These vegetarian-friendly nachos are made with canned black beans and any of your favorite Mexican-inspired toppings.

    Recipe: Sheet Pan Black Bean Nachos

    41. Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

    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

    42. 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

    43. Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs

    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

    44. Portobello and Poblano 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

    45. Vegetarian Bibimbap

    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

    46. The Best Black Bean Burgers

    Sally's Baking Addiction / Via sallysbakingaddiction.com

    Burger night just got a whole lot more exciting.

    Recipe: The Best Black Bean Burgers

    47. Ground Orange Chicken

    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

    48. Spaghetti Carbonara

    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

    49. Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

    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

    50. Milk-Braised Pork Chops With Mustard 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

    51. Chicken Parmesan Casserole

    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