101 Frugal Meals You'll Actually Want to Eat
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A few months ago, I became the owner of a new InstaPot. My husband has been an enthusiastic user, trying out lots of different recipes. I have to admit that it’s been fun for me to learn how to use it too. I’ve been learning to cook better over the past few years (does the InstaPot count?) as well as cutting back on my food spending and food waste. Time will tell if the InstaPot helps me do more of those things. But in celebration of more home cooking, I decided to put together a roundup of 101 tasty budget-friendly meals that you’ll actually want to eat.
While looking through this list, you may find a recipe that you like but feel is beyond your budget to make, perhaps because of the price of the main ingredient or the number of items required. I believe that most meals can be made even more budget-friendly with some adjustments. So try to keep these tips in mind when thinking about what to make and buy:
- Buy items when they’re on sale.
- Buy what’s in season.
- Check your pantry for ingredients you already have before you go shopping.
- Substitute ingredients with what you have at home or items that cost less.
- Leave out garnishes and ingredients that won’t make much difference to the flavor of the dish.
- Adjust the recipe a bit to use up extra ingredients. This could be adding more peas or corn to a dish to use up the package and give you more to eat.
- Make larger batches and refrigerate or freeze the rest for leftovers.
- Spices can be expensive. Stick to recipes that have common spices, spices you have on hand, and spices you know you will use again.
Chicken & Turkey
1. Bang bang chicken lettuce wraps - Kirbie Cravings (pictured)
2. One pan chili lime chicken & rice – The Recipe Critic
I’ve made the above dish three times including just this past Monday. It’s delicious! I added frozen vegetables and cut up broccoli I had in the freezer to make this dish even tastier and healthier.
3. Easy baked pesto chicken - The Recipe Critic
4. Chicken sausage, spinach, and cauliflower rice skillet - Mrs. Happy Homemaker
5. Thai peanut chicken - Budget Bytes
6. Grilled turkey burgers with cucumber salad - Skinny Ms.
7. Spinach stuffed chicken breasts - Basil and Bubbly
8. One-skillet balsamic chicken and vegetables - Averie Cooks (pictured)
9. Baked chicken teriyaki - Valerie's Kitchen
10. Parmesan crusted chicken - What's in the Pan
11. Firecracker chicken meatballs - Little Spice Jar (pictured)
12. Chicken fried rice - A Pinch of Healthy
13. Southwest chicken casserole - Graceful Little Honey Bee
14. Quick and easy chicken burritos - Gimme Delicious
15. Mediterranean chicken panini - Le Creme de la Crumb
16. Chicken ranch wraps - Gimme Delicious
17. Favorite chicken pot pie - Lil' Luna
18. Baked coconut chicken tenders - Yellow Bliss Road
19. 30 minute lighter turkey tetrazzini - Savory Nothings
20. Chicken noodle soup casserole - Wine and Glue (pictured)
21. Sweet and sour chicken - The Seasoned Mom
22. Best teriyaki chicken - Weary Chef
23. Lemon rosemary chicken thighs - My Recipes
24. One pot creamy garlic chicken and rice - Tablespoon
25. Creamy chicken and wild rice soup - All Recipes
26. Pesto chicken kebab with cool quinoa pilaf - A Spicy Perspective
27. Grandma's one pan hamburger helper - The Seasoned Mom
28. Cajun 15 bean soup with ham - Dear Crissy
29. BBQ sausage, beans and greens - Iowa Girl Eats
30. Grilled pork tenderloin - Iowa Girl Eats
31. Skillet sausage and white beans with spinach - Valerie's Kitchen
32. Pork chops - Cafe Delites
33. Pork chop and hashbrown casserole - Coupon Cravings
34. Prosciutto and gruyere grilled cheese - Sage to Silver
35. Split pea soup - Spend with Pennies
36. Balsamic instant pot pork tenderloin recipe - Eating on a Dime
37. 30 minute pozole - Budget Bytes
38. Pork cutlet parmigiana - Genius Kitchen
39. Easy two meat chili recipe - Sage to Silver (pictured)
40. Bell pepper tacos - Mrs. Happy Homemaker
41. Instant pot beef and broccoli - Don't Waste the Crumbs
42. Lasagna cups - Mrs. Happy Homemake
43. One pot spicy taco rice skillet - Sweet CS Designs
44. Steak and potato bowls - Iowa Girl Eats
45. Bibimbap – the ultimate bowl meal - Budget Bytes
46. Cheese steak quesadillas - Easy Peasy Pleasy
47. One pan steak and veggies with garlic herb butter - Damn Delicious
48. Chunky beef cabbage and tomato soup - Skinny Taste
49. Slow cooked simple pork lasagna - Recipe This
50. Beefy cheesy tortellini bake - Five Heart Home
51. Navajo tacos - A Heart Full of Joy (pictured)
52. Ground beef stroganoff hamburger - Spend with Pennies
53. Homemade Sloppy Joes - Five Heart Home
54. Budget shepherds pie - Divas on a Dime
55. Home-style meatloaf stuffed poblanos - Call Me PMC
56. Cheese beef goulash - Lil' Luna
57. Stuffed French bread - Life in the Lofthouse
58. Baked ziti - The Country Cook
59. Salisbury steak meatballs - The Pioneer Woman
60. Asian beef with snow peas - All Recipes
61. Spicy grilled shrimp with coconut lime rice and peach salsa - Floating Kitchen (pictured)
I first made this dish four years ago and have loved it ever since. It’s so easy to make and a hit with family and friends. Sometimes I made only one part of it when I don’t have all the ingredients.
62. Grilled salmon potato and tomato kebabs - Floating Kitchen
63. Sheet pan teriyaki salmon - Damn Delicious
64. Sweet chili sesame shrimp and zoodles - Iowa Girl eats
65. Seafood rice skillet - Budget Bytes
66. Lemon butter garlic shrimp with angel hair pasta - Averie Cooks
67. Best ever tuna noodle casserole - A Dash of Sanity
68. Garlic butter baked salmon in foil - Little Spice Jar
69. Tilapia fish tacos - Easy Peazy Mealz
70. Sheet pan fish and chips - Simply Recipes
76. Crispy quinoa patties - Sally's Baking Addiction (pictured)
77. Spaghetti aglio e olio - Damn Delicious
78. Spinach lasagna rolls - Cake Whiz
79. Ratatouille frittata - Budget Bytes
80. Charred corn red pepper farro salad - Joyful Healthy Eats
81. Lentil mushroom stew over mashed potatoes - Minimalist Baker
82. Honey sriracha tofu - Pickled Plum (pictured)
83. Baked quinoa black bean falafel - Minimalist Baker
84. Baked orzo with eggplant and mozzarella - Smitten Kitchen
I’ve made the above dish at least ten times in the past few years. It’s really versatile because you can add and omit whatever you’d like. When I made it earlier this month, I added leftover spinach to give it even more vegetables.
85. Zesty lentil spinach salad - Gimme Some Oven
86. Southern baked macaroni and cheese - Basil and Bubbly
87. Creamy tomato spinach pasta - Budget Bytes
88. Curried satay veggie bowls - Gimme Some Oven
89. Zucchini and eggplant tomato gratin - SImply Recipes
90. Chickpea, spinach & sweet potato brown rice bowl - Green Evi (pictured)
91. Sweet chili sesame tofu - Plant Based Jane
92. Vegetarian chili - Cookie and Kate
93. Caprese pasta salad - Coco and Ash
94. 10 minute black bean corn quesadillas - Dashing Dish
95. Quick and easy vegetable quiche - Living Well Spending Less
96. Garden vegetable lasagna - Taste Lovely
97. Easy 30 minute black bean soup - Perfect Pending
98. Harissa roasted vegetables with couscous - Caroline's Cooking (pictured)
99. Fajita gnocchi skillet with avocado salsa - She Likes Food
100. Curried lentil quinoa soup - She Likes Food
101. Shashuka - Smitten Kitchen
I’m a big fan of Smitten Kitchen. Some friends recently made this dish for us and I went back for seconds because it was that good!