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18 Satisfying Slow Cooker Dinners That Won't Break The Bank

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Posted on
Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

Price estimates assume you have a basic pantry stocked: spices, sugar, flour, cooking oil, and salt. All prices were calculated using Amazon Fresh under a Brooklyn, NY zipcode. Organic produce was limited to the dirty dozen.

1. Chicken with Mango-Tomato Salsa

A little sweet, a little spicy, crazy easy AND actually affordable? Sign me up. Cost breakdown:Boneless chicken tenderloins - $4.99Mango - $0.99Red onion - $1.49Grape tomatoes - $3.492 limes - $0.50Cilantro - $1.29Taco seasoning packet - $0.99Total cost: $13.74Get the recipe on Cutefetti.
cutefetti.com

A little sweet, a little spicy, crazy easy AND actually affordable? Sign me up.

Cost breakdown:

Boneless chicken tenderloins - $4.99

Mango - $0.99

Red onion - $1.49

Grape tomatoes - $3.49

2 limes - $0.50

Cilantro - $1.29

Taco seasoning packet - $0.99

Total cost: $13.74

Get the recipe on Cutefetti.

2. Easy Ratatouille with Bell Peppers

It doesn't have to be as fancy to be delicious. Cost breakdown:2 medium yellow onions - $0.72Garlic - $0.69Eggplant - $1.79Zucchini squash - $2.492 large red bell peppers (organic) - $4.84Tomatoes (organic) - $3.48 Tomato paste - $0.67 Fresh basil - $2.50 Total cost: $17.18Get the recipe from The Kitchn.
Diana Yen / thekitchn.com

It doesn't have to be as fancy to be delicious.

Cost breakdown:

2 medium yellow onions - $0.72

Garlic - $0.69

Eggplant - $1.79

Zucchini squash - $2.49

2 large red bell peppers (organic) - $4.84

Tomatoes (organic) - $3.48

Tomato paste - $0.67

Fresh basil - $2.50

Total cost: $17.18

Get the recipe from The Kitchn.

3. Sweet Potato, Chicken, and Quinoa Soup

chelseasmessyapron.com

Cost breakdown:

Boneless skinless chicken breasts - $4.99

Quinoa - $3.88

2 lb sweet potatoes - $3.92

1 can black beans - $0.98

1 can diced tomatoes - $0.89

Garlic - $0.69

Chili seasoning packet - $0.77

Chicken broth (with leftovers) - $4.98

Total cost: $21.10

Get the recipe on Chelsea's Messy Apron.

4. Banh Mi Pork Bowls with Pickled Carrots and Radishes

Don't let making your own pickles scare you away, you just plop them in the fridge for 30 minutes. Cost breakdown: Pork tenderloin - $3.49Garlic - $0.692 Jalapeños - $0.99Soy sauce (with leftovers) - $2.79Shredded carrots - $2.99 Radishes - $1.26Brown rice (steam-able bag, so you don't have to cook it) - $1.59 Red cabbage - $1.83Cucumber - $0.69Cilantro - $1.29Total cost: $17.61 Get the recipe on Skinny Taste.
skinnytaste.com

Don't let making your own pickles scare you away, you just plop them in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Cost breakdown:

Pork tenderloin - $3.49

Garlic - $0.69

2 Jalapeños - $0.99

Soy sauce (with leftovers) - $2.79

Shredded carrots - $2.99

Radishes - $1.26

Brown rice (steam-able bag, so you don't have to cook it) - $1.59

Red cabbage - $1.83

Cucumber - $0.69

Cilantro - $1.29

Total cost: $17.61

Get the recipe on Skinny Taste.

5. BBQ Chicken Tacos with Texas Caviar

In the estimate, we substituted frozen corn for grilled corn, because on a weeknight it's just easier. If you have leftover grilled corn, go for it! Cost breakdown: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs - $3.68Bottle of BBQ sauce - $1.88Flour tortillas - $1.62Frozen corn - $2.31Can black beans - $0.85Tomato - $1.99Jalapeno - $0.99Red onion - $1.49Red bell pepper - $2.42Red wine vinegar - $1.78Total cost: $19.01Get the recipe on Climbing Grier Mountain.
climbinggriermountain.com

In the estimate, we substituted frozen corn for grilled corn, because on a weeknight it's just easier. If you have leftover grilled corn, go for it!

Cost breakdown:

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs - $3.68

Bottle of BBQ sauce - $1.88

Flour tortillas - $1.62

Frozen corn - $2.31

Can black beans - $0.85

Tomato - $1.99

Jalapeno - $0.99

Red onion - $1.49

Red bell pepper - $2.42

Red wine vinegar - $1.78

Total cost: $19.01

Get the recipe on Climbing Grier Mountain.

6. Wild Rice Pilaf with Corn, Bell Peppers, and Basil

If you want more protein, add a rinsed can of beans or chickpeas. Cost breakdown: 2 medium yellow onions - $0.722 cloves garlic - $0.692 large red bell peppers (organic) - $4.84Wild rice blend (with leftovers) - $4.37Bag of frozen corn - $1.191 lemon - $0.59Pine nuts - $4.39 Total cost: $16.79Get the recipe on Well Plated.
wellplated.com

If you want more protein, add a rinsed can of beans or chickpeas.

Cost breakdown:

2 medium yellow onions - $0.72

2 cloves garlic - $0.69

2 large red bell peppers (organic) - $4.84

Wild rice blend (with leftovers) - $4.37

Bag of frozen corn - $1.19

1 lemon - $0.59

Pine nuts - $4.39

Total cost: $16.79

Get the recipe on Well Plated.

7. 5-Ingredient Super Simple Chicken and Stuffing

Round it out with a veggie (like the carrots shown + priced here) for a simple comfort meal.

Cost breakdown:

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (with leftovers) - $4.99

Stovetop Chicken Stuffing mix - $1.98

2 cans Cream of Chicken soup - $3.18

2 cans chicken broth - $1.98

Carrots (to steam on the side) - $1.57

Total cost: $13.70

Get the recipe on Cincy Shopper.

8. Zucchini and Tomato Frittata With Feta Cheese

A frittata for four feat. seasonal veggies. Cost breakdown:Zucchini squash - $2.49Eggs (with leftovers) - $2.91Fresh parsley - $0.99Feta cheese - $3.99 Grape tomatoes (organic) - $3.49Total cost: $13.87Get the recipe on The Foodie Corner.
thefoodiecorner.gr

A frittata for four feat. seasonal veggies.

Cost breakdown:

Zucchini squash - $2.49

Eggs (with leftovers) - $2.91

Fresh parsley - $0.99

Feta cheese - $3.99

Grape tomatoes (organic) - $3.49

Total cost: $13.87

Get the recipe on The Foodie Corner.

9. Pulled Tropical Chicken Sandwiches with Coleslaw

The cole slaw recipe's included, but there's no shame in going the lazy route and buying some pre-made at the deli counter. Cost breakdown:Bottle of tamari - $3.18Can crushed pineapple - $0.86Tomato paste - $0.67 Fresh ginger - $3.842 lb chicken breasts (not organic, frozen) - $4.998 buns - $3.40Pre-made cole slaw - $4.78Total cost: $21.72Get the recipe from Real Food Whole Life.
realfoodwholelife.com

The cole slaw recipe's included, but there's no shame in going the lazy route and buying some pre-made at the deli counter.

Cost breakdown:

Bottle of tamari - $3.18

Can crushed pineapple - $0.86

Tomato paste - $0.67

Fresh ginger - $3.84

2 lb chicken breasts (not organic, frozen) - $4.99

8 buns - $3.40

Pre-made cole slaw - $4.78

Total cost: $21.72

Get the recipe from Real Food Whole Life.

10. Cheesy Beef Tortellini Pasta

Take your typical tortellini-and-jar-of-sauce up a notch. Cost breakdown:Ground beef - $4.49Red onion - $1.49 Garlic - $0.6928oz can crushed tomatoes - $1.8610oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies - $2.099oz three cheese tortellini - $4.23Shredded mozzarella cheese (with leftovers) - $2.79Shredded cheddar cheese (with leftovers) - $3.00 Total cost: $20.64Get the recipe on Damn Delicious.
damndelicious.net

Take your typical tortellini-and-jar-of-sauce up a notch.

Cost breakdown:

Ground beef - $4.49

Red onion - $1.49

Garlic - $0.69

28oz can crushed tomatoes - $1.86

10oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies - $2.09

9oz three cheese tortellini - $4.23

Shredded mozzarella cheese (with leftovers) - $2.79

Shredded cheddar cheese (with leftovers) - $3.00

Total cost: $20.64

Get the recipe on Damn Delicious.

11. Lemon and Herb Chicken Breasts with Steamed Asparagus

You cook the chicken with lemon juice on a bed of onions, and add the asparagus in the last few minutes to steam a little.

Cost breakdown:

Boneless skinless chicken breasts - $4.99

Yellow onion - $0.36

Fresh thyme - $1.20

Lemon - $0.59

Asparagus - $3.99

Parsley - $0.99

Steam-in-microwave rice for serving - $1.59

Total cost: $12.12

Get the recipe from Baking Queen 74.

12. Frito and Chili Pie with Cheese

Chili's warming in the fall and winter, but Frito pie is made to enjoy ~all year~. Cost breakdown: Ground beef - $4.49Medium onion - $0.368 oz can tomato sauce - $0.4714 oz can diced tomatoes - $0.8915 oz can Pinto Beans - $0.6915 oz can Chili beans of your choice - $0.99Package of taco seasoning - $0.99Shredded Cheddar - $6.12 Bag of Fritos - $2.99 Total cost: $13.99 Get the recipe on The Salty Marshmallow.
thesaltymarshmallow.com

Chili's warming in the fall and winter, but Frito pie is made to enjoy ~all year~.

Cost breakdown:

Ground beef - $4.49

Medium onion - $0.36

8 oz can tomato sauce - $0.47

14 oz can diced tomatoes - $0.89

15 oz can Pinto Beans - $0.69

15 oz can Chili beans of your choice - $0.99

Package of taco seasoning - $0.99

Shredded Cheddar - $6.12

Bag of Fritos - $2.99

Total cost: $13.99

Get the recipe on The Salty Marshmallow.

13. Creamy Lemon Chicken Piccata Pasta

You don't even have to cook the pasta ahead of time — you add it to the pot partway through cooking. Cost breakdown:Boneless skinless chicken breasts - $4.99Linguine pasta - $1.39Chicken broth - $1.98Heavy cream - $3.69Lemon - $0.59Capers - $2.09Total cost: $14.73Get the recipe from The Recipe Critic.
therecipecritic.com

You don't even have to cook the pasta ahead of time — you add it to the pot partway through cooking.

Cost breakdown:

Boneless skinless chicken breasts - $4.99

Linguine pasta - $1.39

Chicken broth - $1.98

Heavy cream - $3.69

Lemon - $0.59

Capers - $2.09

Total cost: $14.73

Get the recipe from The Recipe Critic.

14. Zucchini Noodles with Pork Ragu

There's no better time to zoodle than zucchini season.

Cost breakdown:

Pork tenderloin: $3.49

Garlic: $0.69

28oz can crushed tomatoes: $1.89

Jar roasted red peppers (with leftovers): $2.99

Fresh thyme: $1.20

Fresh parsley: $0.99

2 zucchini squash: $2.49

Total cost: $13.74

Get the recipe on Skinny Taste.

15. Creamy Chicken Caesar Wraps

A self-contained meal perfect for enjoying on your patio or balcony, even if you don't exactly have "outdoor furniture." Cost breakdown: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts - $4.99Caesar dressing - $1.98Chicken broth, small can - $0.99Shredded parmesan - $2.49Fresh parsley - $0.99Flour tortillas - $1.69Romaine lettuce - $1.69Croutons - $1.29Total cost: $16.02Get the recipe on Damn Delicious.
damndelicious.net

A self-contained meal perfect for enjoying on your patio or balcony, even if you don't exactly have "outdoor furniture."

Cost breakdown:

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts - $4.99

Caesar dressing - $1.98

Chicken broth, small can - $0.99

Shredded parmesan - $2.49

Fresh parsley - $0.99

Flour tortillas - $1.69

Romaine lettuce - $1.69

Croutons - $1.29

Total cost: $16.02

Get the recipe on Damn Delicious.

16. Lentil Curry with Onion, Garlic, and Peppers

A great candidate for a prep-and-freeze-for-later dinner. Cost breakdown:Red onion - $1.49 Garlic - $0.69Yellow pepper - $3.29Lentils - $2.78Tomato paste - $1.09Can coconut milk - $2.25Curry powder - $2.43Garam masala - $3.59 Steam-in-bag brown rice to serve - $2.00Total cost: $17.61 Get the recipe on The Pretty Bee.
theprettybee.com

A great candidate for a prep-and-freeze-for-later dinner.

Cost breakdown:

Red onion - $1.49

Garlic - $0.69

Yellow pepper - $3.29

Lentils - $2.78

Tomato paste - $1.09

Can coconut milk - $2.25

Curry powder - $2.43

Garam masala - $3.59

Steam-in-bag brown rice to serve - $2.00

Total cost: $17.61

Get the recipe on The Pretty Bee.

17. Baked Potatoes with Cheddar and Bacon

A no-cleanup weeknight winner.

Cost breakdown:

Potatoes - $4.99

Shredded cheddar - $2.79

Bacon - $3.99

Sour cream - $1.69

Fresh chives - $1.20


Total Cost: $12.66

Get the recipe from Well Plated.

18. Super Easy Sloppy Joes

Since you save so much on your main, you could take the easy road and get store-bought sides. Cost breakdown: Ground beef - $4.49Red onion - $1.49 Red bell pepper - $2.42Carrot - $1.09Two15oz cans tomato sauce - $1.76 (use about one and a half cans) Tomato paste - $0.98Worcestershire sauce - $1.90Buns - $3.40 Total cost: $14.13 Get the recipe on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.
aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com

Since you save so much on your main, you could take the easy road and get store-bought sides.

Cost breakdown:

Ground beef - $4.49

Red onion - $1.49

Red bell pepper - $2.42

Carrot - $1.09

Two15oz cans tomato sauce - $1.76 (use about one and a half cans)

Tomato paste - $0.98

Worcestershire sauce - $1.90

Buns - $3.40

Total cost: $14.13

Get the recipe on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.

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