What's for Dinner? 10 Budget Meals
Savor the Savings
Yes, for less than the price of a large pie from the local pizza place, you can put a fresh, satisfying dinner for four on the table. The secret is to rely on affordable proteins -- chicken legs, ground chuck, sausage, canned beans or tuna -- then update some favorites from the weeknight repertoire. The results are hearty, full meals that will never leave you feeling shortchanged.
Chicken Legs: Braised Chicken Legs in Sauerkraut
Chicken legs are one of our favorite proteins; they're economical, flavorful, and extemely versatile. Here they play nicely with store-bought sauerkraut for a rich, flavorful casserole.
Canned Beans: Escarole and Bean Soup
This deliciously filling soup uses both canned chickpeas and canned kidney beans, and comes together in just 25 minutes. Toasted bread is a must -- to soak up the tasty broth.
Ground Chuck: Spanish Rice with Ground Beef and Eggs
For a very filling family dinner, try this update on tomatoey Spanish (or Mexican) rice, using ground chuck and eggs.
Canned Tuna: Tuna-Noodle Casserole with Cauliflower
Ultimate comfort food? We gave the dish that everyone loves a makeover. All the good things remain, but we add cauliflower and make the sauce from scratch (which isn't hard and doesn't take long). The result is divine.
Eggs: Tomato Soup with Poached Eggs
Hearty but not heavy, this soup makes a satisfying dinner anytime of the year. It uses canned tomatoes -- and water, not broth. The eggs are cooked in the soup and supply an an economical, meatless source of protein.
Sausage: Chickpea, Sausage, and Kale Pasta
Substantial and super-fast, this pasta dish has much appeal. It stretches a small amount of sausage by also using chickpeas -- and plenty of kale.Watch how to make this fast, cheap, and totally satisfying weeknight pasta dinner.
Chicken Legs: Chicken Paprikash
These tender, juicy braised chicken legs -- and you know we love juicy, meaty chicken legs -- in a classic Hungarian style taste like they were cooked long and slow, but the dish comes together in just 45 minutes. There's plenty of rich paprika-tomato sauce for the broad egg noodles.
Canned Beans: Red-Bean Burgers with Avocado and Lime
Ground Chuck: Cottage Pie with Vegetable Mash
Yes, meat and potatoes -- here with carrots and mushrooms too -- in a comforting, mash-topped pie.
Sausage: Zucchini Stuffed with Sausage
Not only are these zucchini inexpensive to make and good to eat, you can assemble them a day ahead and refrigerate, then bake them the next night.