Cheap And Easy Family Dinners

by Marion - Budget Bytes
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Feeding a family on a tight budget is NO JOKE! We created this Cheap and Easy Family Dinners roundup to help keep dinnertime fresh and alleviate that recipe rut. Every delicious recipe in this round up comes together fast, requires minimal hands-on prep time, and makes at least four big servings for about what you’d spend for one serving at a restaurant. WIN!

SHEET PAN DINNERS

One of the quickest, easiest ways to get dinner on the table quickly is to throw everything on a sheet pan and bake it up. Plus, there’s only one pan to clean up, which is perfect for busy weeknights! Feed the whole family with these five cheap and easy sheet pan meals:

1. Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Sheet pan full of chicken fajitas with rice and tortillas on the side
These easy Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas are a simple hands-off way to get that smoky-sweet flavor of traditional griddle fajitas.
4.95 from 279 votes
$13.90 recipe / $3.48 serving Get the Recipe

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas is a Budget Bytes staple! Why? Because it achieves the same smoky flavor of traditional fajitas without a smokin’ hot skillet. We bet this easy, delicious dinner will also earn a spot in your dinner rotation!

2. Sheet Pan Kielbasa, Potatoes, and Green Beans

Sheet Pan Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans

Sheet pan roasted kielbasa potatoes and green beans with a spatula
Sheet pan meals don't get any easier or more delicious than this Sheet Pan Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans dinner.
4.89 from 52 votes
$9.47 recipe / $2.37 serving Get the Recipe

Sheet Pan Kielbasa, Potatoes, and Green Beans is an excellent, hearty meal for a busy weeknight. This easy dinner recipe brings together smoked kielbasa and frozen veggies, so it comes together quickly with minimal prep.

3. Sheet Pan BBQ Meatballs

Sheet Pan BBQ Meatballs

Overhead view of sheet pan with bbq meatballs, pineapple, peppers, and onions, tongs on the side
These Sheet Pan BBQ Meatballs are easy, colorful, and delicious. Plus the leftovers hold up great, so they're meal prep friendly!
4.81 from 31 votes
$7.84 recipe / $1.96 serving Get the Recipe

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you will love the sticky-sweet caramelized pineapple rings prepared alongside our Sheet Pan BBQ Meatballs! You can serve up serious summer-BBQ vibes with this drool-worthy dinner all year long (without sweating over a hot grill)!

4. Sheet Pan BBQ Meatloaf Dinner

Sheet Pan BBQ Meatloaf Dinner

Make an entire dinner for two at one time with this fast and easy Sheet Pan BBQ Meatloaf Dinner. Perfect for meal prep! BudgetBytes.com
Make an entire dinner for two at one time with this fast and easy Sheet Pan BBQ Meatloaf Dinner. Perfect for meal prep! 
4.93 from 68 votes
$6.27 recipe / $3.14 serving Get the Recipe

Do you love a classic meatloaf? If so, this Sheet Pan BBQ Meatloaf Dinner is for you! It’s a simple twist on the traditional version but gets dinner – complete with two sides – on the table in less than an hour.

5. Sheet Pan Pizza

Sheet Pan Pizza

A vertical image of a baked sheet pan pizza topped with pizza sauce, cheese, pepperonis, pickled jalepenos and honey sliced and a spatula is removing the bottom right slice.
Sheet Pan Pizza is a low-effort recipe guaranteed to make any occasion special and satisfy cravings for take-out pizza at half the cost.
5 from 10 votes
$9.89 RECIPE / $1.41 SERVING Get the Recipe

For an unforgettable family meal, you’ve got to try out this Sheet Pan Pizza! This easy recipe produces restaurant-quality pizza at half the cost.

ONE POT DINNERS

You can’t go wrong with a one-pot dinner. One pot pasta and rice dishes typically make about four servings each, create a well-rounded meal, and require minimal prep and cleanup! Whether it’s Meatless Monday or you need a meal to match your family’s favorite protein, these five cheap and easy one pot dinners will have you covered:

6. One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

Close up of cheeseburger pasta skillet being scooped out with a spoon
Cheeseburger Pasta is a fast and easy homemade version of hamburger helper that cooks all in one pot for easy cleanup!
4.56 from 94 votes
$5.03 recipe / $1.26 serving Get the Recipe

Ditch the box of Hamburger Helper and try this homemade version instead! Check out the full recipe for One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta to learn how we achieve the signature taste of the original with a special, budget-friendly ingredient you already have on-hand.

7. Cheesy Sausage Pasta

Cheesy Sausage Pasta

Cheesy sausage pasta on a plate with a black fork, on a bamboo mat.
Cheesy Sausage Pasta is a quick and easy meal for quick weeknight dinners. Everything cooks in one pot for fast prep and minimum clean-up!
4.76 from 91 votes
$7.07 recipe / $1.77 serving Get the Recipe

This cheap, easy Cheesy Sausage Pasta has everything you’d ever want in a dinner recipe: a hearty serving of veggies, a hint of spice from the sausage, quick-cooking egg noodles, and ooey-gooey melted cheese on top! Plus, it all comes together in the same skillet and will hit the dinner table in less than 30 minutes!

8. Creamy Chicken and Rice Skillet

Creamy Chicken and Rice Skillet

Close up of chicken and rice being scooped out of the skillet with a wooden spoon.
This easy one pot Creamy Chicken and Rice Skillet makes a comforting weeknight dinner during those long, dark winter months! Makes great leftovers, too!
4.86 from 42 votes
$7.12 recipe / $1.78 serving Get the Recipe

This Creamy Chicken and Rice Skillet is the ultimate, budget-friendly comfort food. Since rice is so filling, it helps stretch expensive proteins and frozen vegetables in a way that still satisfies the whole family. You’ll love this cheesy, decadent, and easy one-pot dinner!

9. One Pot Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice

One Pot Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice

overhead view of lemon garlic shrimp and rice in a skillet
You only need one pot and 8 ingredients to make this easy and flavorful Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice. Fast, easy, and delicious!
4.72 from 53 votes
$7.53 recipe / $1.88 serving Get the Recipe

Buying budget-friendly seafood options like frozen shrimp whenever they’re on sale help mix up your dinner rotation without breaking the bank. Try this fresh, filling, and easy One Pot Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice

10. One Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta

One Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Close up of pasta being twirled around the tongs in the skillet
This creamy mushroom pasta is a rich, umami-filled delight that cooks quickly and easily in one pot. The perfect dinner for busy nights.
4.86 from 42 votes
$3.74 recipe / $0.94 serving Get the Recipe

This One Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta is a perfectly uncomplicated recipe for a meat-free, busy weeknight dinner. If you’re craving something more complex, you can “beef” it up (literally) or add a few handfuls of leafy greens or top it with grilled chicken.

EASY SOUP AND STEW RECIPES

Some meals are not tied to a season when you are eating on a budget. Soups and stews are so easy to have on hand and can feed everyone no matter the temperature outside. These five cheap and easy soups and stews will be the center of your meal: 

11. Chicken Noodle Soup

The Best Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Close up overhead view of a bowl of chicken noodle soup.
This Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup is made 100% from scratch, with plenty of chunky vegetables, herbs, and a homemade broth, just like Grandma used to make! 
4.92 from 187 votes
$9.10 recipe / $1.14 serving Get the Recipe

When I need a hug in a bowl, I turn to Chicken Noodle Soup. This classic recipe cooks everything in one pot for ultimate simplicity.

12. Chicken Stew

Chicken Stew

Close up of a pot full of chicken stew
This chicken stew is a rich and hearty mix of tender chicken thighs, vegetables, and a light but flavorful herb-infused gravy.
4.92 from 148 votes
$12.22 recipe / $2.04 serving Get the Recipe

This Chicken Stew is the perfect dinner for Chicken Noodle Soup lovers looking for a heavier version of the classic, cozy meal. Adding potatoes gives the broth extra thickness and creaminess, which upgrades it from a light soup to a hearty, filling stew.

13. The Best Homemade Chili

Homemade Chili Recipe

Overhead view of a bowl full of chili with toppings and a spoon in the center.
This is the BEST homemade chili recipe is the ultimate comfort food and is made with simple ingredients like ground beef, beans, and tomatoes.
4.90 from 151 votes
$9.28 recipe / $1.55 serving Get the Recipe

When it comes to quick, easy, and budget-friendly dinners, nothing quite compares to a big pot of chili. This really is the Best Homemade Chili on the block, and the leftovers are even better!

14. Taco Soup

Easy Taco Soup

One bowl of taco soup with toppings.
This easy Taco Soup recipe is a simple yet flavorful meal in a bowl featuring ground beef, beans, vegetables, and tons of tasty toppings!
5 from 7 votes
$11.84 recipe / $1.97 serving Get the Recipe

Homemade taco seasoning and ranch seasonings make this Taco Soup extra flavorful, but you can use store bought seasoning packets to make it even faster!

15. Easy Vegetable Beef Soup

Vegetable Beef Soup

Overhead view of a bowl of vegetable beef soup.
This super easy vegetable beef soup is a filling and flavorful option for lunch, dinner, or your weekly meal prep!
4.74 from 26 votes
$11.13 recipe / $1.86 serving Get the Recipe

If you’re trying to feed many hungry mouths and make the most of your food budget, you really can’t go wrong with this Easy Vegetable Beef Soup. This big-batch soup will effortlessly feed a family of 6, makes excellent leftovers, and is a great choice for batching and freezing.

16. Creamy Tortellini Soup

Creamy Tortellini Soup

Overhead view of a bowl of creamy tortellini soup with a spoon in the side.
This Creamy Tortellini Soup features a rich tomato broth, hearty cheese tortellini, a medley of vegetables and tons of comfort in one bowl!
4.41 from 32 votes
$10.69 recipe / $1.34 serving Get the Recipe

Combining store-bought swaps (like frozen tortellini and dumplings) with fresh ingredients is a great way to create simple, semi-homemade meals like this Creamy Tortellini Soup! We love this cozy vegetarian soup and its rich tomatoey broth!

EASY CASSEROLE RECIPES

Casserole recipes make the best family dinners! They are easy to make and are a great way to pack tons of flavor and ingredients into every bite!  If you’re looking for big meals to feed your family, you will love these four easy casserole recipes:

17. Chicken Alfredo Bake

Chicken Alfredo Bake

A golden brown chicken alfredo bake in a round, white enamel casserole dish on a wooden background surrounded by a yellow and gray striped dish towel in the bottom left, a wooden cutting board with shaved Parmesan cheese in the top left corner, a clove of garlic, sprigs of parsley, and small wooden bowl of breadcrumbs in the top right corner, and a small wooden bowl of uncooked pasta in the bottom right corner.
Transform stovetop chicken alfredo into a super-cheesy, decadent casserole with this Chicken Alfredo Bake recipe! It’s super easy to make (or make ahead!), and so delicious there won’t be any leftovers!
4.53 from 17 votes
$12.80 RECIPE / $2.13 SERVING Get the Recipe

This Chicken Alfredo Bake is the dictionary definition of the ULTIMATE creamy, cheesy, rich pasta bake. It is guaranteed to become a family favorite! Once you whip up our easy, Homemade Alfredo Sauce, you only need a couple of (cooked) chicken breasts, a bag of frozen veggies, half a box of pasta, and BOOM… dinner is ready!

18. Classic Baked Ziti

Easy Baked Ziti

Overhead view of baked ziti being scooped out of the casserole dish with a wooden spoon.
This Easy Baked Ziti recipe has layers of pasta, homemade red sauce with Italian sausage, and three types of melty cheese!
4.85 from 44 votes
$12.16 recipe / $1.52 serving Get the Recipe

Our recipe for Classic Baked Ziti is another super easy pasta bake guaranteed to satisfy your whole family! Make it a complete meal with a Simple Side Salad and Homemade Freezer Garlic Bread.

19. Chicken And Biscuit Casserole

Chicken and Biscuit Casserole

Cooked chicken and biscuit casserole in a casserole dish with a serving spoon.
This Chicken and Biscuit Casserole is cozy, comforting, super versatile, and delicious enough to become a family favorite dinner.
4.84 from 24 votes
$8.75 RECIPE / $1.46 SERVING Get the Recipe

This super-simple, super-versatile Chicken And Biscuit Casserole makes a delicious family dinner using whatever you’ve got in the fridge or freezer. You won’t regret doubling, or even tripling, the Cheddar drop biscuit topping. (Especially if you plan to bake this casserole in a dish with more surface area to cover than the 8×8” dish we used!)

20. Chili Cornbread Skillet

Chili Cornbread Skillet

Chili cornbread skillet with some scooped out onto a white plate beside the skillet
This hearty and comforting Chili Cornbread Skillet is an easy, one-pot meal that is sure to make the whole family happy. Freezer friendly!
4.70 from 65 votes
$7.49 recipe / $1.25 serving Get the Recipe

If you love the classic combo of Vegetarian Chili and Homemade Cornbread, you’ve got to try our Chili Cornbread Skillet! This fun, vegetarian dish is the perfect mashup of the two Southwestern staples in a way that’s reminiscent of a Vegetable Pot Pie.

VEGETARIAN FAMILY DINNERS

Replacing expensive meat with cheaper protein sources (like beans, lentils, and chickpeas) is a great way to cut your grocery bill in half. Whether your family always eats vegetarian, or you’re looking to mix things up with some vegetarian meals, we have tons of easy and filling meatless dinners on our website! Add variety to your family’s dinner rotation with these six Cheap and Easy Vegetarian Family Dinners:

21. Sheet Pan Portobello Fajitas

Sheet Pan Portobello Fajitas

Three portobello fajitas on a plate.
Sheet Pan Portobello Fajitas are an easy and flavorful vegetarian dinner idea that all cooks on one pan for easy cleanup!
4.82 from 33 votes
$10.81 recipe / $2.70 serving Get the Recipe

For a vegetarian spin on the classic Mexican restaurant dish, give our Sheet Pan Portobello Fajitas a try! We swap out the chicken in our classic Sheet-Pan Fajita recipe, opting for slightly spicy, super-smoky portobello mushroom caps instead. We promise you won’t miss a thing!

22. One Pot Veggie Pasta

One Pot Veggie Pasta

One pot veggie pasta in a bowl with a fork
This one pot veggie pasta is an easy, satisfying, and quick dinner. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand and make it your own!
4.91 from 20 votes
$7.99 recipe / $2.00 Get the Recipe

If you’ve got a ton of fresh vegetables on hand, and looking for an easy, cheesy, and cheap dinner, look no further than this One Pot Veggie Pasta! The combination of tomatoes, zucchini, and squash gives the dish ratatouille vibes, but we also add mushrooms to balance out the flavors and make this a hearty one-pot meal!

23. Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili

This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili makes a huge batch, is packed with flavor and nutrients, and can be made for only about 5 dollars! Budgetbytes.com
This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili makes a huge batch, is packed with flavor and nutrients, and can be made for only about 5 dollars! 
4.91 from 91 votes
$4.64 recipe / $0.77 serving Get the Recipe

Slow cookers are a great asset when it comes to preparing long-simmered soups and stews without tending to them for hours and hours. We added some lentils to this vegan chili recipe which helps make this Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili thicker and heartier and packs some extra protein!

24. Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry

Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry

A bowl of Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry ready to be eaten.
This rich and spicy coconut vegetable stir fry is adaptable to whatever vegetables are lingering in your fridge, making it a great sweep the kitchen recipe!
4.80 from 65 votes
$5.93 recipe / $1.48 serving Get the Recipe

For a dairy-free and vegetable-forward easy dinner, check out this Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry! This summery, tropical dish is also super-versatile, perfect for cleaning out the crisper, and pairs well with all types of protein, rice, legumes, or whatever you have in the pantry!

25. Spanish Chickpeas and Rice

Spanish Chickpeas and Rice

Spanish Chickpeas and Rice - BudgetBytes.com
This one pot Spanish Chickpeas and rice has big flavor thanks to liberal dose of spices, artichoke hearts, and fresh lemon. 
4.82 from 136 votes
$7.39 recipe / $1.84 serving Get the Recipe

Chickpeas (or Garbanzo Beans) are another great way to make a quick, filling, and cheap dinner without meat! Paella inspires this recipe for Spanish Chickpeas and Rice, but you won’t need any of the expensive seafood or saffron!

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  1. That is the best roundup i´ve seen here or elsewhere. I already cook and love some of these dishes, and am inspired to cook all the others! Thanks!