When eating a healthy diet, I think it’s important to have a list of quick and inexpensive meal ideas and easy dinner recipes to have on hand. Even in the most well-balanced and calm life, there will be nights when you don’t feel like cooking elaborate meals, or times when you need an especially frugal meal to stretch out your budget.
With that in mind, I thought I’d pull together some of my favorite easy and frugal recipes together in one place!
Easy and Frugal Dinner Recipes
1. Paleo Meatballs
These grain-free meatballs (egg- and dairy-free too!) are some of the easiest ones to makes, but they are also a great frugal way to enjoy meat in many meals. These are on my $1 dollar menu, as a serving costs about 1 dollar! I use them in a variety of ways, including serving them with a mushroom sauce.
2. Persian Lentil Soup
Lentils are low in phytic acid, making the soaking process optional. This recipe for Persian Lentil Soup is gently flavored and the ingredients kept basic for an especially frugal and easy meal. To make it even more flavorful and nutritious, use my almost free chicken broth!
3. Curried Lentils with Apples and Onions
Another lentil dish is this lovely lentil curry, gently sweetened with apples, and flavorful from curry powder and garam masala.
4. Main Dish Salads
I love throwing together a main dish salad with extra cut up vegetables, leftover roasted chicken, Bpa-free canned or precooked beans, or canned salmon or low-mercury tuna, nuts or seeds, and a homemade salad dressing. It’s a very fast meal, and can be very frugal as well!
5. Thai Broth with Chicken
One of my popular recipes from my cookbook, Ladled, is this Simple Thai broth. Make is a main dish by serving it over rice noodles and cooking some chopped chicken in it too. Sooo good! It’s also very frugal if you use homemade broth, and don’t use too many “extras”. If you have broth on hand, it’s extremely easy and fast to put together.
6. Sloppy Joe’s in a Bowl
This unusual way to enjoy Sloppy Joe’s is a super easy meal that is also inexpensive to make!
Congee is an Asian-styled rice porridge. I have a section in my cookbook, Ladled, for them, but here is a Miso version. I especially like the broth based ones – such a fun way to get in that nutritious, inexpensive broth! This is a filling meal, and can be made with the most basic ingredients.
8. Chicken Noodle Soup
This chicken noodle soup makes its own broth while it cooks. Yes, it does take a couple hours to simmer, but it’s a ten-minute operation before that point.
9. Roasted Meats and Vegetables
This simple, one pan meal can be put together quickly and makes an easy dinner, and you get to relax during the roasting time.
10. Bacon Frittata
This basic, but delicious frittata is a great simple meal to make for any of the three main meals of the day! This version is dairy-free.
11. Sweet Potato Crusted Spinach Frittata
Or, why not try this sweet potato crusted version? It’s gotten rave reviews, and is just a little more work.
Truth be told, we love oatmeal. It makes a stick-to-your-ribs type meal, especially when served with butter and pure maple syrup. So yummy. And yes, we eat it for dinner sometimes. We just did last night, in fact! And you can’t beat it for simplicity and frugality!
13. Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
To make oatmeal a special treat, try out this baked, pumpkin oatmeal! It only takes a few minutes the night before/in the morning, and then a few minutes before you stick it in the oven to make.
And of course, soups are on the top of my list for easy, simple dinners. One example out of many is this German Dumpling Soup. Yum!
I’d love to hear your easy dinner recipes using healthy ingredients too!
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Thankyou for this Kimi, how lovely to have someone doing the thinking for me! Your suggestions sound delicious and affordable, and provide a balance of the different protein sources. I look forward to including them in my mealtime repertoire. Warm regards, Paula
This looks great, Kimi! I’m excited to try several if these 🙂 thank you! Quick question-have you made the German dumpling soup with Gf flour? Or do you use whole wheat pastry?
I love this list! Tonight we are doing Sloppy Joe’s stuffed peppers. A little bit more time than a bowl, but I’m trying them in the crock pot.
Would love to receive the above recipies.
Each recipe is a link! Just click on whatever ones you’d like. 🙂