I am the cooker of dinners in my family, and along with the many other hats I wear, I don’t have time, energy, or patience to cook a delicious and healthy meal from scratch every night. I do cook from scratch on most nights, but a couple times a week I like to add in a couple super easy and delicious pre-made dinners from the grocery store to keep dinnertime from becoming overwhelming. No shame in my game, baby!
Why not just eat out on those crazy nights? These pre-made dinners are still healthier and cost way less than eating out! Keeping these in stock so you don’t have to swing by the drive-thru will save you hundreds of dollars over time.
Here are some great, almost zero-effort options that you should be able to find at any grocery store! The frozen and deli sections are FULL of options, but these are my personal favorites for taste, texture, and affordability! My family loves and eats all of these on a regular basis.
All prices are an estimate from my Texas Walmart. Prices may vary.
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13 AFFORDABLE PRE-MADE DINNERS YOU CAN FIND AT ANY GROCERY STORE:
1. Stouffer’s Lasagne (frozen) $6.98
Optional side dishes: Rolls, side salad
I buy the “Family Size” ($6.98) and it feeds my young family of 5 for dinner plus some leftovers the next day. They have bigger ones and smaller ones too, to suit all family sizes and they are yummy.
2. Stouffer’s Macaroni and Cheese (frozen) $6.39
Optional side dishes: Side salad, cooked vegetables
This price and photo is for the “Family Size” but honestly just get the “Party Size” ($10.78). It feeds my family of 5 for 2 dinners or just bunches of yummy leftovers. It’s so cheesy, thick, and good.
3. Gorton’s Crispy Battered Fish Fillets (frozen) $4.74
Optional side dishes: Cooked vegetables, rice pilaf
4. Ball Park Angus Beef Hot Dogs (deli) $4.48
Serve with: Hot dog buns, toppings of choice
Optional side dishes: French fries
You can buy a $.98 package of hot dogs and it works! But if I’m going to feed my family something kind of cheap and easy, I want to enjoy it too, so I get the Ball Park Angus hot dogs. It makes me feel like I’m eating a real yummy dinner instead of a poor mans dinner.
5. Marie Callenders Chicken pot Pie (frozen) $7.98
Great without any side dishes!
6. Taquitos (frozen) $6.39
Optional side dishes: Fruit, Spanish rice, cooked black beans, refried beans
7. Burritos (frozen) $3.42
Optional side dishes: Spanish rice, chips & salsa, guacamole
These are my faaaavorite frozen burrito. Nothing else compares!
8. Soup $4.47
(NOT canned, try the refrigerated/deli section, Panera can be found at most Walmarts and some stores have a store brand version)
Optional side dishes: King’s Hawaiian rolls, other dinner rolls or bread
I love these Panera soups ($4.47) that my local Walmart sells. They are a bit pricey at $4.47 for a small container that is basically one large serving. I order several each week and eat them for lunch, so I don’t eat out! Many grocery stores also sell a store brand soup that is fresh and delicious from their deli. Those are worth trying! I don’t really like most canned soup.
9. Pizza (frozen) $2.98
Great by itself!
These pizzas are a total steal and they taste pretty great. At $2.98, this pizza feeds me and my kids for dinner. If my hubby is home I would make 2. If you don’t shop at Walmart, I highly recommend Freschetta frozen pizzas for taste and texture. The Hawaiian is my other go-to I keep on hand at all times.
10. Tortellini (frozen) $4.98-$5.98
Serve with: Spaghetti sauce
These are both delicious and will feed my whole family.
11. Jack Daniels Frozen Pulled Pork w/BBQ sauce (frozen or deli) $9.97
Serve on top of: King’s Hawaiian rolls (pickles and onions are so good on top!), Cole slaw in the summer
Buy the “Party Pack!” These aren’t that big but they are delicious. The party pack will feed my family of 5 for dinner, with a small amount of leftovers. We GOBBLE this stuff so I always buy the biggest size available.
12. Tyson Crispy Chicken Strips (frozen) $6.16
Optional Side dishes: French fries
One package is more than enough to feed my whole family with a few French fries on the side!
13. Stouffer’s Chicken Enchiladas $6.98
Optional Side dishes: Side salad, Spanish rice, black beans, refried beans
The “Family Size” is enough to feed my family of 5 plus have some leftovers.
14. (BONUS) PF Chang’s Orange Chicken Frozen Meal $6.89
Serve on top of: Your favorite white rice
This dinner is my new favorite! It’s so good. This package only feeds 2. You could stretch it for 2 adults and a couple small kids. If you have a bigger family or older children, grab a couple packages for dinner.
That’s it! Did you enjoy these 13 ideas for pre-made dinners from the grocery store? My family loves these simple pre-made dinners that don’t skimp on taste. I hope you enjoy some of these no stress meals very soon!
Finally a good list of normal, tasty, truly easy-to-prepare dinner options. Most of these I already use, but happy to see a list of exactly what I was looking for.. and there were a couple I have yet to try, so based on the fact that you seem to have similar tastes to our family, these should go over well. Thanks for posting!
It might be affordable. I however can’t afford my hospital bills if I eat this. Way too much sodium and satuturated fat. My liver and heart would explode! I meal prep and buy in bulk. Beans, grains and vegetables and lots of herbs and spices. Very affordable, nutritious and delicious. Most of these items I don’t like how they taste. Bland and over salted mush.
We don’t cook these meals every night of the week. But 1-2x a week we feel pretty good about! 🙂 I understand it’s not for everyone though.
Absolutely. Most of these meals are garbage. What awful choices.
What did you think you would be getting from pre-made dinners? Most of them are very reasonable for the average American family.
No need to be so rude! I have tried most all of those except the Panera soup..are the the most healthy – of course not , but for those busy working families with kids or those injured ect. They can be a quick solution to feed your family.. oh and in case NO ONE told you.. people have different taste then you, and If you don’t have anything nice to say- don’t say anything!
I really enjoy Panera Soups
I love to cook. But, I’ll take Panera Soup anyday I can get it.
You, see I have a little problem with my heart and I’m not allowed out much.
It really changes your life, when you have to watch out for everything.
I cook something everyday. Regular meals, then call and ask, WHO’S
HUNGRY? i HAVE ORDERS FROM MY DOCTORS, NOT TO LIFT ANYTHING LARGER OR HEAVY AS A GALLON OF MIKE.
They aren’t for everyone honey ❤️ I think these are great meal ideas for anyone on a budget like myself, Thank You
This is a wonderful list for those nights you cannot make a dinner from scratch after working all day and dealing with kids. Once a week I need a break and this list is awesome. Thank you!
I am now disabled and someone has to prepare all three meals for me. I am constantly looking for ideas that will make things easier for my caregivers. I use many of these and pair them with healthy fare like fresh vegetables, brown rice, fruit, etc. Thank you for your list. Those of you who think this food is awful choices, for me it beats being hungry.
Not everyone has a “normal” lifestyle. And I agree, some of the comments are harsh and rude. Please don’t criticize someone who is sharing information with us. If you find you cannot use the information, keep moving to information that you can use for your personal situation. I wish I could cook like I used to so count your many blessings and enjoy life. <3