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20 Cheap Dinner Ideas That Won't Break The Bank

All affordable, all delicious.

Posted on
Zoe Burnett / BuzzFeed

We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to share their go-to cheap dinner recipes. Here's what they said — along with a bunch of our own weeknight favorites!

1. Easiest Noodle Bowl

This recipe amps up whole wheat spaghetti by tossing it in a simple sauce that includes garlic + soy sauce. Recipe here.

2. Baked Eggs in Marinara Sauce

Using store-bought marinara sauce means prep is a breeze. Recipe here.
reciperunner.com

Using store-bought marinara sauce means prep is a breeze. Recipe here.

3. 4-Ingredient Slow Cooker BBQ Sandwiches

Pork + root beer + barbecue sauce + hamburger buns. Recipe here.
tablespoon.com

Pork + root beer + barbecue sauce + hamburger buns. Recipe here.

4. Lentil & Butternut Squash Chili

Loaded with inexpensive pantry staples — like canned tomatoes, beans, and lentils. To make it vegetarian and vegan-friendly, just swap the chicken stock for veggie stock. Recipe here.

5. Restaurant-Style Fried Rice

This version saves time by using frozen peas and carrots, and saves money by going meatless. Recipe here.

6. Margherita French Bread Pizza

These are completely customizable depending on your budget — and for easier cleanup, you can line the sheet pan with foil before baking. Recipe here.

7. Rotisserie Chicken Ramen

Long live the ever-affordable rotisserie chicken. 🙏 Find this and six other ways to dress up the grocery store staple here.
buzzfeed.com

Long live the ever-affordable rotisserie chicken. 🙏 Find this and six other ways to dress up the grocery store staple here.

8. Big-Batch Minestrone

Prep takes all of 10 minutes, and you'll have plenty of leftovers. Recipe here.
littlespicejar.com

Prep takes all of 10 minutes, and you'll have plenty of leftovers. Recipe here.

9. Black Bean–Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Packed with protein, and you can add toppings (like avocado, sour cream, or herbs) depending on your budget. Recipe here.

10. Fettuccine Alfredo

This lightened-up version goes easy on the cream. Recipe here.

11. Vegan Portobello Mushroom Fajitas

This version swaps pricier steak for mushrooms, and uses cashew cream to keep things vegan. (But you can use regular sour cream too.) Recipe here.
lovebakeread.com

This version swaps pricier steak for mushrooms, and uses cashew cream to keep things vegan. (But you can use regular sour cream too.) Recipe here.

12. 3-Ingredient Lemon Butter Cod

Dressed up with a side of tartar sauce. Recipe here.
primalpalate.com

Dressed up with a side of tartar sauce. Recipe here.

13. Lemony Kale & White Bean Soup

Perfect for winter, and needs only a handful of ingredients. Recipe here.
forkknifeswoon.com

Perfect for winter, and needs only a handful of ingredients. Recipe here.

14. Budget Goulash

This uses ground beef to keep costs down and makes enough for the whole family. Recipe here.
pipandebby.com

This uses ground beef to keep costs down and makes enough for the whole family. Recipe here.

15. Six-Layer Beef and Potato Dinner

This cooks itself in the slow cooker, and most of the layers — potatoes, carrots, onions — are inexpensive staples. Recipe here.
themagicalslowcooker.com

This cooks itself in the slow cooker, and most of the layers — potatoes, carrots, onions — are inexpensive staples. Recipe here.

16. Mujadarra

This Middle Eastern fave combines brown rice + lentils + caramelized seasoned onions. (And fair warning that you'll want to put the latter on just about everything.) Recipe here.
afamilyfeast.com

This Middle Eastern fave combines brown rice + lentils + caramelized seasoned onions. (And fair warning that you'll want to put the latter on just about everything.) Recipe here.

17. Crock-Pot Salsa Chicken

Three steps to dinner: 1) Toss chicken breasts into a slow cooker. 2) Pour your favorite salsa on top. 3) Let the meal make itself. Recipe here.

18. Simple Black Bean Soup

Black beans + salsa + cilantro + cumin + garlic. Recipe here.
gimmesomeoven.com

Black beans + salsa + cilantro + cumin + garlic. Recipe here.

19. Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta

Is there anything better than a heaping bowl of pasta? (There is not.) Recipe here.

20. Sheet Pan–Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

This recipe goes 50/50 on the chicken and vegetables, but if you need to make things even cheaper, just adjust the ratio. Recipe here.
gimmedelicious.com

This recipe goes 50/50 on the chicken and vegetables, but if you need to make things even cheaper, just adjust the ratio. Recipe here.

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