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    The 35 BEST Cheap Dinner Ideas

    Looking for some budget friendly meals? You’ve come to the right place!

    We’ve compiled this list of easy Cheap Dinner Ideas for you. They’re all super tasty as super thrifty.

    You’ll find everything from soups to casseroles, pastas, rice dishes, slow cooker meals and more.

    Cook your way through all of these budget friendly recipes, you’re family is sure to love them, no matter how thrifty they are!

    The 35 BEST Cheap Dinner Ideas.

    1. Welsh Rarebit

    Lets start this cheap meals list with something easy and simple. This British classic will be a staple in your kitchen. This pile of cheesy goodness will be loved by the whole family!

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    2. Chicken Ramen Stir Fry

    Nothing gets as cheap as good old ramen… But Healthy ramen? Who would have thought! This stir fry is packed with veggie power and nice lean protein. Take your pantry staple to a whole new level!

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    3. Salmon Patties

    These salmon patties are tasty, nutritious and budget friendly. And just look at them. Who said pantry staple meals can’t be fancy? This is a great cheap alternative for great seafood meal.

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    4. Loco Moco

    Loco Moco is a fun, yet delicious, Hawaiian dish where a heap of rice is topped with a beef patty, smothered with gravy, and finished with a sunny side up egg. How cool!

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    5. Creamy Chicken Meatballs

    These creamy parmesan chicken meatballs are an easy weeknight dinner the whole family will love. They’re a great keto friendly option as well!

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    6. Fasolada

    Some cheap canned beans and you literally create a magic in a bowl. Fasolada is the ultimate Greek comfort food. This white bean soup is notable for a very generous drizzling of olive oil. Yum!

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    7. Crock Pot Pork Chops

    These crock pot pork chops, AKA Islander pork, are your new weekday best friend. Melt in your mouth tender meat in a delectable sauce. If you can spare 10 minutes, your crock pot or instant pot will do the rest!

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    8. Ground Beef Bulgogi

    15 minute dinner idea that is easy, delicious and family friendly? Yup. You have come to the right recipe. Ground Beef Bulgogi is a simple and delightful twist on traditional Korean Bulgogi. 

    Using ground beef makes this dish accessible and quick to prepare without losing the unique and delicious flavors of the original. Sweet, savory, and a touch of spice blend together in this recipe, creating a meal that’s satisfying and full of taste.

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    9. Sausage Potato Casserole

    This hearty casserole combines two comfort food staples, sausage and potatoes. Add in a generous helping of veggies and you have one great complete meal!

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    10. Giniling

    This pork Giniling, or Filipino Picadillo, is a classic Pinoy comfort food. Ground pork and veggies simmer in a tomato based sauce packed with great flavors. And it’s so easy!

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    11. Barbacoa Pork

    Super easy, super tasty and super budget friendly, using a super inexpensive cut of pork. Make a huge batch and you can serve a big crowd or have leftovers for days. Try in tacos, a Buddha bowl, or use your own creativity!

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    12. Pasta e Piselli

    This Pasta e Piselli recipe is perfect for those last minute weeknight dinners, when you want something tasty and comforting, without a lot of hassle. 

    A simple Neapolitan dish of Pasta and Peas, it’s a light one pot meal that you can have on the table in about 25 minutes.

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    13. Crack Chicken

    This is budget friendly food at its best. This addictingly delicious Crack Chicken is loaded with creamy cheesy goodness. And it’s topped with bacon. This easy recipe is equally great in the crockpot or instant pot!

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    14. Avgolemono Soup

    This Greek Avgolemono Soup is your chicken noodle soup taken to the next level. It’s silky and smooth and oh so delicious!

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    15. Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken

    This Hawaiian Pineapple chicken is a fall off the bone hit. Just a few minutes of hands on time and your trusty crock pot or instant pot does the rest!

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    16. Creamy Chicken Skillet

    This creamy chicken skillet is your weekday best friend. It’s super easy , it’s super tasty and it’s a low carb bomb. Start to finish in 30 minutes, this just may become a new staple in your rotation.

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    17. Crustless Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

    Pot pie without the pie? Yes, if you are like me craving those comfy, cozy flavors without the extra work. This one is for those lazy days.

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    18. Chicken Asado

    This Filipino Chicken Asado is simple in nature, yet there are so many flavors going on at the same time. It’s a brilliant combination of tangy, sweet, sour and savory!

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    19. Sopa de Fideo (Mexican Noodle Soup)

    Sopa de Fideo is a comforting Mexican soup, where small pasta simmers in a flavorful tomato based broth. Ready in under 30 minutes, it’s a perfect weeknight dinner.

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    20. Aloo Palak

    Vegetables are great for healthy and cheap meals. Do you like spinach? Do you like potatoes? They pair up so well in this simple, homestyle, Indian aloo palak!

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    21. Kedjenou Chicken

    Kedjenou is a beloved stew in the Ivory Coast. It’s so simple, yet so spectacularly tasty. Do you want it spicy? Oh, I will show you how to make it spicy!

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    22. Moroccan Lentil Soup

    Give your regular lentils an exotic makeover with this delectable soup. The warm and flavorful combination of Moroccan spices will forever change your idea of a bowl of lentils.

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    23. Black Bean Chili

    Quick, easy, healthy, cheap… this vegetarian black bean chili, based on Panera’s black bean soup, whips up in half hour or less.

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    24. Honey Mustard Chicken

    Sweet, Savory, Sticky, Saucy… Meet your new favorite meal prep option. This baked honey mustard chicken only takes 10 minutes of your time, the oven does the rest!

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    25. Maafe

    This West African peanut stew, Maafe (or Mafe), is loaded with rich savory flavors. Any meat of your choice goes great in this perfectly spiced peanut butter and tomato based sauce.

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    26. Tomato Basil Chicken

    This tomato basil chicken is a quick, light and tasty weekday meal. The sweetness from the orange marmalade is a great complement to the freshness of the tomatoes and basil!

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    27. Eggplant Parmesan

    Do you like Italian food? Do you like comfort food? This Eggplant Parmesan is the perfect combination of both! Bake it in the oven, or try my crock pot method.

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    28. Kung Pao Chicken

    Kung Pao Chicken – it’s savory, it’s sweet, it’s tangy, and those dried chilis give it just a bit of kick! Don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients, you can whip this up in half-hour or less. Perfect week-night meal!

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    29. Shakshuka

    Shakshuka: so much more than your regular eggs! With so many flavors from the various herbs and spices, this Middle Eastern classic ranks very highly on the egg pecking order!

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    30. Hibachi Fried Rice

    This Hibachi fried rice is a healthy and budget alternative to take out. If you already have some cooked rice handy, it only takes about 15 minutes!

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    31. Chicken Lettuce Wraps

    Inspired by P.F. Chang, this quick and tasty dish is a sure crowd pleaser! A great appetizer for guests or pot lucks, or an easy low-carb meal option!

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    32. Jollof Rice

    This colorful and tasty one pot meal is a West African classic. Simple preparation, then in the oven it goes. Impress your guests with this easy and exotic treat!

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    33. Dal Tadka

    Dal, a staple in every Indian household. There are countless varieties. This is one of the most popular, it is always found in any Indian restaurant.

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    34. Louisiana Style Red Beans and Rice

    Beans and rice are a staple cheap dinner option. This Louisiana style red beans and rice recipes takes the flavors to a whole new level!

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    35. Spaghetti and Meatballs

    We’re finishing off this list with everybody’s favorite… spaghetti and meatballs! This is a dish that tastes like a real treat, even while being a cheap dinner!

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    There you have it, thirty five easy and delicious budget friendly cheap dinner ideas! Pin or bookmark this collection of great dishes so you always know where to find it.

    And be sure to subscribe to the GypsyPlate mailing list, we’re always cooking up new recipes for you!

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    The 35 BEST Cheap Dinner Ideas

    This collection of budget friendly Cheap Dinner Ideas will give you plenty of thrifty meal options. In a hurry? Try this chicken ramen stir fry:


    • 1 large chicken breast
    • 2 packets ramen noodles (minus flavoring packets)
    • 1 small onion
    • 1 red bell pepper
    • 1 green bell pepper
    • 6-7 mushrooms
    • 10-12 baby carrots
    • 3 scallions
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • 1 Tbsp chopped ginger
    • 3 Tbsp cooking oil
    • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
    • 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
    • 2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
    • 1.5 cups water


      1. First get everything prepped. Finely chop ginger and garlic, slice mushrooms onions and peppers, matchstick carrots. Cut scallions into one inch slices and keep green and white portions separate. Also, mix all of your sauce ingredients, soy, Hoising, oyster and sweet chili together in a bowl. First butterfly chicken breast, then cut into thin strips.
      2. Get wok or large skillet hot over high heat. Once it is sizzling hot, add oil, chopped onions and white portions of scallions. Sauté one minute, then add chicken. Stirring frequently, cook until pink color has left chicken, 3-4 minutes.
      3. Add ginger and garlic, toss together about one minute. Then add carrot, peppers and mushrooms. Stir fry 3-4 minutes. Add sauces, mix well.
      4. Make well by moving stir fry ingredients to the perimeter of the wok. Add water to well. Let heat about a minute, it should start simmering.
      5. Add ramen to well, cook one minute. Flip and cook an additional minute.
      6. Separate the noodles and mix well with other ingredients.
      7. Serve hot and garnish with remaining part of scallions.


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    Check out these other great recipe collections!
    Chicken Breast Recipes
    Pork Chop Recipes
    Pasta Recipes
    Tilapia Recipes
    Chili Recipes
    Stew Recipes
    Quick Dinners

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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