Ever caught yourself peering into a seemingly empty fridge, wallet feeling just as sparse? You’ve landed in the right spot. This collection of 15 dinners is about to change your game. These are dishes that are easy on the budget and big on satisfaction, using what you’ve got lying around. Say goodbye to dinner dilemmas and hello to scrumptious meals that keep both your stomach and your bank account in check.

Chicken breasts covered in a cheese salsa sauce in a casserole dish.
Sloppy Joes. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.
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Shaved Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

Beef and broccoli stir fry served with white rice on a white plate.
Shaved Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Thinly sliced beef, crisp broccoli, and a sauce that’ll make you ditch the takeout menu for good, this shaved beef and broccoli stir fry is a weeknight warrior. It’s fast, it’s filling, and it’s got all the makings of your new favorite go-to meal. Plus, it’s proof that you can whip up a dinner that’s both speedy and scrumptious, all while keeping things light on the wallet.
Get the Recipe: Shaved Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

Creamy Turmeric Chicken with Chickpeas

Turmeric chicken with chickpeas over rice.
Creamy Turmeric Chicken with Chickpeas. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Imagine a dish that’s as nourishing as it is wallet-friendly—creamy turmeric chicken with chickpeas is just that. It’s a one-skillet wonder that’s bursting with flavor, thanks to the warm spice of turmeric and the hearty addition of chickpeas. Served over rice, it’s a complete meal that’s ready in under 30 minutes, ideal for those days when you want something both simple and nourishing.
Get the Recipe: Creamy Turmeric Chicken with Chickpeas

Spaghetti Alfredo with Broccoli

Spaghetti alfredo with broccoli florets in a pot with wooden spoon.
Spaghetti Alfredo with Broccoli. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Lighten up your spaghetti alfredo without lightening your wallet. This version throws in some broccoli for a guilt-free twist on the classic that’s as easy to make as it is kind on your budget. Creamy, cheesy, and with a hint of green goodness, it’s comfort food without the fuss, ready to make any dinner special without the need for a special occasion.
Get the Recipe: Spaghetti Alfredo with Broccoli

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joe sandwiches on an English muffin.
Sloppy Joes. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Revamp your dinner routine without breaking the bank with these healthier sloppy Joes. Lean ground beef, a tang of BBQ sauce, and a touch of cheese come together for a comfort food classic that feels indulgent without the usual guilt. It’s the kind of meal that brings smiles around the table, showing that eating well doesn’t have to be complicated or costly.
Get the Recipe: Sloppy Joes

Buffalo Turkey Cauliflower Skillet

White skillet with buffalo ground turkey and cauliflower rice with a wooden spoon.
Buffalo Turkey Cauliflower Skillet. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

This buffalo turkey cauliflower skillet is a game changer for anyone looking for a meal that’s easy, healthy, and wallet-friendly. With just four ingredients, it packs a punch of flavor and doubles as an excellent meal-prep option for the week. It’s the kind of dish that keeps giving, offering simplicity, taste, and health benefits all rolled into one.
Get the Recipe: Buffalo Turkey Cauliflower Skillet

Bucatini Cacio e Pepe

Bucatini cacio e pepe in a bowl with a gold fork and a pepper mill off to the side.
Bucatini Cacio e Pepe. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Dive into the heart of Italy with just your fork and this ridiculously simple yet soul-warming bucattini cacio e pepe. With only a handful of ingredients, it’s a testament to how minimalism can triumph in the kitchen. It’s all about pasta, cheese, and a crack of pepper turning into something that feels like a hug in a bowl. Perfect for when you need a fancy dinner fix on the fly.
Get the Recipe: Bucatini Cacio e Pepe

Salsa Chicken

Salsa Chicken. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

This is your lifesaver on busy nights when you’re looking for something quick, easy on the budget, and still want to keep things tasty. Salsa chicken mixes juicy chicken breasts with a tangy salsa, creamy cheddar, and a hint of sweet corn. It’s all about big flavors with little fuss, and in less than 30 minutes, you’ve got a dinner that’s bound to be a hit.
Get the Recipe: Salsa Chicken

Vegetable Bean Skillet

A skillet filled with beans and vegetables.
Vegetable Bean Skillet. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

This dinner is a vibrant, one-pan wonder that’s both cost-effective and packed with nutrients. It combines a variety of vegetables with beans, which are an inexpensive source of protein, to create a filling meal that can be tailored to whatever is in your fridge or pantry.

Get the Recipe: Vegetable Bean Skillet

Kale and Feta Egg Bake

Kale and feta egg bake in a white ramekin with a piece of toasted bread to the side.
Kale and Feta Egg Bake. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Here’s to those lazy dinner nights when you still want to eat well without the whole song and dance. Kale and feta egg bake is as easy as it gets, combining the goodness of greens with the tangy kick of feta. It’s straightforward, no-nonsense, and ready before you know it. Perfect for a chill evening or a power breakfast the next day, proving quick and cheap can still mean delicious.
Get the Recipe: Kale and Feta Egg Bake

Sheet Pan Chicken & Sweet Potatoes

Roasted chicken thighs with sweet potatoes and pecans.
Sheet Pan Chicken & Sweet Potatoes. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Here’s a sheet pan dinner that’s set to become your new weeknight hero. Chicken and sweet potatoes, sprinkled with caramelized pecans, bake together in harmony for a meal that’s ridiculously straightforward yet utterly scrumptious. It’s all about throwing it all on one pan and letting the oven do its thing, proving that a memorable meal doesn’t have to be hard work or hit your pocket hard.
Get the Recipe: Sheet Pan Chicken & Sweet Potatoes

Smashed White Bean Quesadillas

Smashed white bean quesadillas on a cutting board.
Smashed White Bean Quesadillas. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Who said meatless had to be boring? Smash that notion with these white bean and kale quesadillas that are all about the melt and the flavor. Stuffed with beans, greens, and plenty of cheese, they’re a testament to how simple ingredients can create something unexpectedly awesome. Plus, they’re quick to make, meaning you can have a feast ready in no time, proving that great meals don’t have to be expensive or complicated.
Get the Recipe: Smashed White Bean Quesadillas

Air Fryer Sausage

Air fryer sausage on a white plate with sauteed peppers and onions.
Air Fryer Sausage. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Discover the magic of the air fryer with this sausage recipe that’s about as hands-off as it gets. Perfectly juicy and golden brown, it’s a straightforward way to get dinner on the table without fuss. Whether you’re a sausage aficionado or just looking for a quick meal solution, this method is a game-changer, proving that great cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Sausage

Garlic Chicken Bite Skillet

Garlic chicken bites with peppers and mushrooms in a skillet.
Garlic Chicken Bite Skillet. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Got 20 minutes? That’s all you need for this garlic chicken bite skillet that’s bursting with flavors. Think tender chicken, mushrooms, onions, and red peppers all coming together with a sprinkle of fresh herbs. It’s a one-pan wonder that’s perfect for those nights when you’re tempted to order in but want something homemade, quick, and without the hefty price tag.
Get the Recipe: Garlic Chicken Bite Skillet

Pork and Cabbage Stir Fry

Ground pork and purple cabbage stir fry in a white pan.
Pork and Cabbage Stir Fry. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

When you’re racing against the clock but craving something that hits all the right notes, this pork and cabbage stir fry comes to the rescue. It’s a quick toss-up of ground pork, cabbage, and mushrooms, all jazzed up with an Asian-inspired sauce. You’re looking at dinner on the table in minutes, proving that quick, cheap, and easy doesn’t mean skimping on flavor.
Get the Recipe: Pork and Cabbage Stir Fry

Lentil Bolognese

A bowl of lentils and vegetables on a wooden table.
Lentil Bolognese. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Lentil bolognese is a hearty and nutritious twist on the classic Italian sauce, swapping out meat for lentils to make it both budget-friendly and filling. It’s packed with flavor from herbs and tomatoes, and lentils are not only cheap but also a great source of protein and fiber. This dish perfectly fits the bill for an affordable dinner option that doesn’t skimp on taste or satisfaction.

Get the Recipe: Lentil Bolognese

Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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