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Dinner on a Dime: 15 Cheap Dinners for Easy Weeknight Meals

These wholesome, family dinner recipes will adhere to your budget!

By: Christina Riviera, Editor, CheapThriftyLiving
15 Cheap Dinners for Easy Weeknight Meals

If you're a family that's always on the go, frequenting the drive-through may be your convenient reality. Say goodbye to your fast food days with these cheap family dinners that can be prepared in little time! These recipes are aware of your tight budget and time restraints, so they maximize flavor with fewer ingredients and less time than standard dinner fare.

Most importantly, these easy weeknight meals are kid-friendly, so you won't have to worry about your picky eaters. From fan favorites like elevated macaroni and cheese to dump-and-go casseroles, we guarantee you'll fall in love with a new family dinner recipe from our collection.

Try one of these delightful dinners tonight and see how easy meal preparation for your busy family can be!

1. Hobo Dinner Recipe

What exactly goes into a hobo dinner? Recipes differ, but most hobo dinner recipes include beef or sausage of some kind, potatoes, and carrots. This hearty meal is a great way to use up those ingredients in your fridge that you want to use before they go bad. Plus, it's delicious!

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Hobo Dinner Recipe

2. World’s Most Irresistible Chicken

I know the title of this recipe is setting the bar high, but trust me – this dish lives up to the hype! This easy, elegant chicken recipe is made with 6 easy ingredients that you most likely have in your pantry right now. I love this meal because it takes just 30 minutes to throw together, so I can get dinner on the table in under an hour.

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 And for dessert? Our irresistible cake mix bars.

World’s Most Irresistible Chicken

3. Ground Beef Stroganoff Recipe

This delicious and savory beef stroganoff recipe is just what you've been craving. For a filling dinner that the whole family will love, give this recipe a try, and you'll be coming back for seconds. Warm egg noodles pair perfectly with this stroganoff recipe that features sour cream to make it even richer and tastier.

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Craving something a little heartier? Try this simple salt baked potato recipe as a side!

Ground Beef Stroganoff Recipe

4. Cheesy One Pot Hamburger Casserole

This recipe is basically a homemade, tastier version of Hamburger Helper. Always a classic dinner option, this meal is great when you need to whip something up fast. This is one of those meals that tastes every better the next day, so make a bunch of this and serve the leftovers up for lunch!

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If you have a few extra minutes, serve this alongside our Best Bisquick Drop Biscuits!

Cheesy One Pot Hamburger Casserole

5. Dump and Go Amish Casserole

Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best. Take a note from the Amish and bring it back to basics for dinner tonight! This meal can be made in under and hour and features some seriously cheap ingredients like ground beef and spaghetti noodles.

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Dump and Go Amish Casserole

6. Classic Mac ‘N Cheese

Just because you’re on a budget, doesn’t mean you have reach for those nasty boxed dinners. This dinner will take you just 20 minutes and is made with basic, cheap ingredients. Forget the boxed junk and feed your family this wholesome meal instead!

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Kick it up a notch and serve this alongside this Ritzy Baked Chicken!

Classic Mac N' Cheese

7. Copycat Cracker Barrel Cheesy Chicken

Skip the trip to Cracker Barrel and learn how to make this deliciously cheesy and crunchy chicken casserole at home! Using classic ingredients like chicken breast, frozen broccoli, and Ritz crackers you can have dinner done in under an hour and on the cheap.

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Complete the meal with these Cracker Barrel-Inspired Home-Style Mashed Potatoes!

Copycat Cracker Barrel Cheesy Chicken

8. Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe

This copycat version of everyone's favorite childhood dinner is just as delicious as you remember. This is a great way to use up some of that pasta and ground beef that's taking up room in your pantry. Give this recipe a try, and you'll be coming back for seconds.

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Save your fork! There's pie.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe

9. One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe

This one pot chili mac and cheese recipe is the easy weeknight dinner for you! The base of this recipe is ground beef, beans, tomatoes, and pasta, and along with a special blend of spices and herbs, so you know you'll get a delicious dinner that's hearty and filling.

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One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe

10. Slow Cooker Ranch Pork Chop Recipe

This slow cooker recipe requires just three ingredients for a low-stress dinner! Just dump the ingredients in your slow cooker and let it do all of the work until you are ready to eat these delicious pork chops!

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Slow Cooker Ranch Pork Chop Recipe

11. Easy Taco Pizza Recipe

This Mexican flatbread combines two dinner staples: tacos and pizza! This inexpensive dinner recipe can be customized to please the whole family!

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Easy Taco Pizza Recipe

12. Frozen Meatball Sub Recipe

Frozen ingredients are rather inexpensive and can be elevated for desirable dishes! These meatball subs use just a few ingredients to turn bland, frozen meatballs into gooey subs!

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Frozen Meatball Sub Recipe

13. 4-Ingredient Marinated Flank Steak

Who says you can't have a steak dinner on your budget? This four-ingredient flank steak is bright and flavorful while fitting your budget!

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Every steak needs a potato! Try these simple smashed potatoes!

4-Ingredient Marinated Flank Steak

14. 5-Ingredient Baked Spaghetti

There's nothing easier, cheaper, or more delicious than a hearty baked pasta dish! This five-ingredient spaghetti will yield enough for a hungry family with leftovers for tomorrow's lunch!

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5-Ingredient Baked Spaghetti

15. 3-Ingredient Cheesy Tuna Casserole

The traditional tuna casserole has some competition with this cheesy recipe! Use frozen macaroni and cheese as a base for this delicious, kid-friendly dinner!

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3-Ingredient Cheesy Tuna Casserole

What is your go-to weeknight meal?

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