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Food

27 Easy Meals That Won't Break The Bank

There's no shame in the cheap dinner game.

Posted on
Amy Sefton / for BuzzFeed

We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to share their favorite budget-friendly dinner staples. Here's what they said:

1. Crispy Cheddar Chicken

"Super easy: Just halve some chicken breasts, and dip them in milk, cheddar, and crushed Ritz crackers or breadcrumbs. Then bake." —powitspaige

Recipe here.

2. Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

"Ground beef can be expensive, so I substitute half the meat for minced mushrooms, and nobody ever notices. Just toss mushrooms in a food processor and pulse. After you brown the beef, add the mushrooms, seasonings, and tomato sauce. This also works with taco meat, chili, and sloppy joes." —MarcosMommyRecipe here.
domesticsuperhero.com

"Ground beef can be expensive, so I substitute half the meat for minced mushrooms, and nobody ever notices. Just toss mushrooms in a food processor and pulse. After you brown the beef, add the mushrooms, seasonings, and tomato sauce. This also works with taco meat, chili, and sloppy joes." —MarcosMommy

Recipe here.

3. Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup

"For leftovers, shred the chicken and use it for burritos, tacos, quesadillas, or tostadas." —Lori O.Recipe here.
gimmesomeoven.com

"For leftovers, shred the chicken and use it for burritos, tacos, quesadillas, or tostadas." —Lori O.

Recipe here.

4. Fish in Lemon & Butter Sauce

"So simple, and works with with pretty much any white fish." —Annie Galveston, FacebookRecipe here.
primalpalate.com

"So simple, and works with with pretty much any white fish." —Annie Galveston, Facebook

Recipe here.

5. Easy Fried Rice

"This takes less than 10 minutes if you use day-old rice and frozen peas and carrots." —Jamie Silver, Facebook

Recipe here.

6. Pesto Chicken Bake

"I love the store-brand pesto at Trader Joes and Whole Foods, but it's also pretty cheap and fast to make your own." —Elizabeth Nadal, FacebookRecipe here.
thepinningmama.com

"I love the store-brand pesto at Trader Joes and Whole Foods, but it's also pretty cheap and fast to make your own." —Elizabeth Nadal, Facebook

Recipe here.

7. Whole Wheat Penne With Sausage & Peppers

"I use any produce that's about to turn, always with lots of garlic and olive oil." —Rhiannonelan

Recipe here.

8. Crock-Pot Salsa Verde Chicken

"Two ingredients: salsa + chicken. That’s it! Use it for tacos, salads, or even by itself." —Kenzie G.Recipe here.
skinnytaste.com

"Two ingredients: salsa + chicken. That’s it! Use it for tacos, salads, or even by itself." —Kenzie G.

Recipe here.

9. Shakshuka

"The best part is the rich, tomato-y sauce — with eggs baked right in." —Imit2 Recipe here.
nourishatelier.com

"The best part is the rich, tomato-y sauce — with eggs baked right in." —Imit2

Recipe here.

10. Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork

"Sweet and spicy. You can use a cheaper cut of meat and know that the Crock-Pot will break it down over several hours."—Diana Mia Gonzales, Facebook

Recipe here.

11. Cheesy Olive Bread

"Olive bread is a big favorite with my family. Cheesy, salty, bready goodness." —Jessica B.

Recipe here.

12. 15-Minute Penne Rosa

"It’s very similar to the penne rosa at Noodles and Company. But I leave out the shrimp and use frozen spinach, unless the fresh stuff is on sale." —venus236Recipe here.
backtoherroots.com

"It’s very similar to the penne rosa at Noodles and Company. But I leave out the shrimp and use frozen spinach, unless the fresh stuff is on sale." —venus236

Recipe here.

13. Tuna Casserole

"This version is a little healthier (no canned soup or heavy cream) but still just as tasty as the stuff I ate growing up." —Jan Bennett, FacebookRecipe here.
gimmesomeoven.com

"This version is a little healthier (no canned soup or heavy cream) but still just as tasty as the stuff I ate growing up." —Jan Bennett, Facebook

Recipe here.

14. Curried Chickpeas With Spinach

"This was my go-to cheap meal in college." —Lisa Arielle Evans, FacebookRecipe here.
budgetbytes.com

"This was my go-to cheap meal in college." —Lisa Arielle Evans, Facebook

Recipe here.

15. Homemade Chicken Shwarma

"This too!" —Lisa Arielle Evans, Facebook

Recipe here.

16. Slow Cooker Pinto Beans With Rice and Salsa

"Every month, I make a big batch of brown rice and a big batch of (dried) pinto beans in the Crock Pot. Then I portion both of them out in 16-ounce containers. For a quick meal, toss one serving of rice, one serving of beans, and 8 ounces of your favorite salsa in a skillet. Heat through, and serve with your favorite taco toppings in a tortilla." —Samantha T.Recipe here.
gracefullittlehoneybee.com

"Every month, I make a big batch of brown rice and a big batch of (dried) pinto beans in the Crock Pot. Then I portion both of them out in 16-ounce containers. For a quick meal, toss one serving of rice, one serving of beans, and 8 ounces of your favorite salsa in a skillet. Heat through, and serve with your favorite taco toppings in a tortilla." —Samantha T.

Recipe here.

17. Easy Rigatoni Bake

"You can change it up by adding Parmesan cheese, meat (like ground turkey), or bell peppers for sweetness." —Kristine Elizabeth L.Recipe here.
prouditaliancook.com

"You can change it up by adding Parmesan cheese, meat (like ground turkey), or bell peppers for sweetness." —Kristine Elizabeth L.

Recipe here.

18. Chicken or Turkey Lettuce Wraps

"Topped off with ranch or Sriracha." —Aymee Jay Recipe here.
damndelicious.net

"Topped off with ranch or Sriracha." —Aymee Jay

Recipe here.

19. Sloppy Joe Casserole

"Even better on the second day." —Lydia Blake, FacebookRecipe here.
cravingsofalunatic.com

"Even better on the second day." —Lydia Blake, Facebook

Recipe here.

20. Roasted Veggie & Black Bean Tacos

"Spend a few minutes chopping, then pile everything onto a baking sheet and roast." —Pauline Moran, Facebook

Recipe here.

21. Baked Tilapia in Foil or Parchment

"Serve with a green salad and enjoy!" —Leah L.Recipe here.
28cooks.blogspot.com

"Serve with a green salad and enjoy!" —Leah L.

Recipe here.

22. Vegetarian Lentil Chili

"Cheap, filling, and even my carnivore husband doesn't miss the meat." —Mary Shipley, FacebookRecipe here.
littlebroken.com

"Cheap, filling, and even my carnivore husband doesn't miss the meat." —Mary Shipley, Facebook

Recipe here.

23. Easy Chicken Curry

"Cilantro on the top, over rice, and boom." —Chelsea T.Recipe here.
food52.com

"Cilantro on the top, over rice, and boom." —Chelsea T.

Recipe here.

24. Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

"Top off with Parmesan cheese or prosciutto. So easy!" —Jessica Pick, Facebook

Recipe here.

25. Red Beans & Rice

"Adding chorizo makes this even better." —Lindsay Biram, FacebookRecipe here.
onecrazyhouse.com

"Adding chorizo makes this even better." —Lindsay Biram, Facebook

Recipe here.

26. Sweet Potato, Shrimp & Kale Skillet

"I'll buy fresh shrimp if they're on sale, otherwise, frozen works just fine." —Diane Barney, FacebookRecipe here.
primaverakitchen.com

"I'll buy fresh shrimp if they're on sale, otherwise, frozen works just fine." —Diane Barney, Facebook

Recipe here.

27. Kielbasa Hash

"Serve over rice, with noodles, or on its own. Leftovers are still good reheated at work the next day." —MabelRecipe here.
thetwobiteclub.com

"Serve over rice, with noodles, or on its own. Leftovers are still good reheated at work the next day." —Mabel

Recipe here.

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