15 Cheap and Easy Dinners

A platter of chicken thighs and roasted potatoes, garnished with fresh thyme
Photo: Kim's Cooking Now

Looking for an easy budget-friendly meal that's more than just beans or pasta? A satisfying dish that pleases not only the palate and your purse strings, but that is also super-easy to make? These 15 recipes will save you time and money, plus reward you with full bellies and happy faces at the dinner table. Calling for pantry staples and spices you're sure to have on hand, these recipes require only a handful of ingredients from the store. Plus, many of these quick and tasty dishes make enough for leftovers the next day, saving you more time. Take it easy on your sanity and your wallet—and spend more time with the family—with these 15 cheap and easy dinners!

01 of 15

Easy Mexican Casserole

Easy Mexican Casserole

The only cooking involved here is browning the ground beef—it's all downhill from there! With a few more ingredients dumped, dolloped, spread, and sprinkled on, all you have to do is wait for the flavors to infuse into a melty Mexican treat in the oven. Serve with a side salad, or treat it like a dip for tortilla chips along with your favorite hot sauce, salsa, and guacamole.

02 of 15

Aunt Carol's Spinach and Fish Bake

Aunt Carol's Spinach and Fish Bake

Melted cheese intermingled with crispy, warm bread crumbs and steamy chopped spinach kick this white fish bake up a notch, making it a family favorite. "My four year old loves this dish!" says SNOOCHUMS95. "This recipe was passed on by my Aunt and was a little bit of this, a little bit of that—so tweak the ingredients to your liking!"

03 of 15

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll
My Hot Southern Mess

Like a deconstructed version of the Polish rolls, this casserole combines ground beef, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, a handful of spices, and the magic of the oven for a dish that even the kids will love.

04 of 15

Philly Steak Sandwich

Philly Steak Sandwich

If you want a hearty sandwich that makes a wow-worthy dinner, then you've gotta choose the beloved Philly Cheesesteak: piping-hot peppers and onions and seared slivers of spiced steak piled on toasty hoagie rolls and topped with melting Swiss cheese.

05 of 15

The Best Parmesan Chicken Bake

The Best Parmesan Chicken Bake
Scott M.

Avoid the time-consuming mess of tenderizing, breading, and frying with this casserole version of chicken Parmesan. It may not look like your grandma's classic version, but it still delivers "that irresistible combination of tender chicken, crunchy-cheesy coating, and flavorful sauce," says Chef John.

06 of 15

Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak
Laurie Rogers

A savory mixture of ground beef, spices galore, egg, and bread are shaped into steaks and smothered in a rich and addictively savory gravy. "This recipe has been in my family for years," says Kelly Berenger. "It's easy to cook, but tastes like it took hours to make! I usually make enough extra sauce to pour over mashed potatoes."

07 of 15

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Easy Chicken Enchiladas
Photo by LatinaCook.

With only six ingredients, these enchiladas are a breeze to make. Grab your favorite toppings—like cilantro, jalapeños, hot sauce, guacamole, or sour cream—if you want to dress it up once it comes out of the oven. Enjoy!

08 of 15

Andie's Quick 'n Easy Sneaky Sloppy Joes

Andie's Quick 'n Easy Sneaky Sloppy Joes
Buckwheat Queen

These "Sneaky" Sloppy Joes earn their name from the addition of onions, bell peppers, and budget-friendly lentils into the meaty mix. "This is a kiddo- and grandkid-friendly recipe you can whip up in a pinch meal ... and get those veggies in without a struggle," says Andie.

09 of 15

Savory Tater Tot Casserole

Savory Tater Tot Casserole

Five ingredients pack a serious punch of flavor in this savory tater tot casserole. Cream of chicken soup melts into the browned beef and mixed vegetables creating a rich filling, while crispy and crunchy tots take the limelight.

10 of 15

Reuben Sandwich

Reuben Sandwich II

There's nothing quite like a ready-to-eat Reuben. This classic hot sandwich features piles of steaming thinly sliced corned beef and sauerkraut with a mixture of melted Swiss and creamy Thousand Island.

11 of 15

Quinoa Chicken

Quinoa Chicken in skillet with wooden spoon
Quinoa Chicken in skillet with wooden spoon. France C

This wallet-conscious and healthy one-pot meal is also kid-friendly, according to StephR0131: "This is incredibly easy, delicious, and spicy! Taste-test approved by a very picky 3-year-old."

12 of 15

Mary Pat's Tuna Melt

Mary Pat's Tuna Melt on a white plate

Encrusted with a mayo-and-potato-chip outer layer, this skillet-toasted tuna melt gets extra crunch, perfectly complementing its gooey and melty cheese center. Minced red onions, pickles, and Dijon lend a vibrance to the tuna mixture; while, sharp Irish cheddar brings it all together.

13 of 15

Greek Lemon Chicken and Potatoes

A platter of chicken thighs and roasted potatoes, garnished with fresh thyme
Kim's Cooking Now

When Chef John proclaims a dish is a hit, you'd better believe it. "It's a proven crowd-pleaser, simple to make, and easy on the wallet," he says. Who doesn't love juicy, fall-off-the bone chicken in flavorful Greek spices?

14 of 15

Four-Ingredient Red Curry Chicken

Four-Ingredient Red Curry Chicken
Culinary Envy

This four-ingredient red curry chicken is hassle-free and inexpensive to make, especially when compared to takeout prices. If desired, substitute white rice for the rice vermicelli noodles, or garnish with cilantro, green onions, or red chile peppers.

15 of 15

Chakchouka (Shakshouka)

Chakchouka (Shakshouka)
Daniel Gourley

Simmered tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, and spices are topped with eggs that cook sunny-side-up in this traditional Tunisian and Israeli dish. Serve with warm, crusty bread or pita for dipping into this mouthwatering mixture.

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