Budget Friendly Dinner Ideas

Posted: September 28, 2022

A smiling couple is in the kitchen as they put together a budget-friendly dinner.

When you’ve had a long day and your family is hungry, it’s tempting to pick up carry out or get pizza delivered. However, ordering food can take a big bite out of your budget (see what we did there?). We’re here to help with some easy and affordable dinner ideas.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Cost per serving: $3.57*


  • 4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 Jar of salsa
  • 1 Packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 Lime
  • Tortillas


  1. Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker
  2. Pour in the salsa, taco seasoning and juice from the lime
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours
  4. Shred the chicken with forks and spoon into tortillas

Optional: Add your favorite toppings such as cheese, sour cream or cilantro

Pressure Cooker Pasta with Sausage

Cost per serving: $3.53*


  • 12 ounces of whole wheat penne pasta
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 pound of chicken sausage
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil


  1. Turn your electric pressure cooker on sauté mode and add the olive oil
  2. Add sliced chicken sausage and diced onion to the pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes
  3. Press cancel to turn off the sauté mode
  4. Add diced bell peppers, 2 cups of marinara, 3 cups of water and stir
  5. Add pasta, pressing it down into an even layer and pour in the remaining marinara (without stirring)
  6. Close the cooker, pressure cook for 4 minutes and do a controlled release as soon as the cook time ends
  7. Add in chopped spinach and stir

Optional: Top with shredded mozzarella

Meatloaf Muffins

Cost per serving: $4.25*


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • Italian seasoning


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°
  2. Lightly coat your muffin tin with a cooking spray
  3. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and combine the ingredients in a large bowl, with salt and pepper to taste
  4. Roll your meatloaf mixture into balls and place them into the muffin tin
  5. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes
  6. Pull muffin tin out of the oven, top each muffin with a tablespoon of ketchup, and cook for 5-10 more minutes

Optional: You can also add in a handful of shredded veggies to your meatloaf mix to add a little extra nutrition!

Cauliflower Soup

Cost per serving: $4.05*


  • 1 Head of cauliflower
  • 1 White onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 3 Cups of veggie broth
  • 2 Cups of milk
  • ¼ Cup of flour
  • 2 Cups of shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1 Cup of shredded pepper jack cheese


  1. Melt butter in a pot
  2. Sauté chopped onion and minced garlic
  3. Add flour and stir
  4. Whisk in milk
  5. Add the broth, cauliflower and salt and pepper to taste
  6. Simmer until the cauliflower is tender
  7. Use an immersion blender or pour into a blender and blend until smooth
  8. Add the soup back into the pot (if needed) and fold in the cheese

Optional: Serve with bread or salad

*Cost per serving is estimated and may vary