30 Cheap Easy Meals You Can Make in 20 Minutes

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I once calculated the number of dinners I’ll need to cook over the course of 25 years while I’m raising my kids. It’s something like 9,000+ dinners. Needless to say, I’m going to be cooking a lot of dinners, but I don’t want to spend all night in the kitchen. Cheap easy meals are my go to most days of the week!

You have your career, your relationship, kids, and everything else in between to deal with– so, as a mom, when you’re in a bind and you don’t want to drain your wallet keeping everyone alive and healthy, what do you do?

That’s where these 30 cheap and easy meals you can make in 20 minutes come into play. Sit back, relax and try some of these dinners on for size!

30 Cheap Easy Meals You Can Make in 20 Minutes (or less)

  1. BLT // Bacon, lettuce and tomato is the perfect thruple — and an affordable meal

2. Breakfast for dinner // It doesn’t get much cheaper than breakfast food. Eggs, toast, pancakes and a protein have a way of satisfying even the hungriest people. You can even get creative with it and throw it all in a tortilla for breakfast burritos

3. Grilled cheese and tomato soup // This meal is especially amazing on a cold, damp night. Can anyone say comfort food?

4. Spaghetti // The OG of cheap meals. Pasta is cheap, 80/20 beef is cheap and you can elevate the dish with meatballs or cheese. 

5. Quesadillas // I love getting a rotisserie chicken and using the “leftovers” right before it’s about to be tossed in a chicken and cheese quesadilla. Easy peasy and very filling!

6. Soup // If you’re not in the mood for a grilled cheese, just take it out of the equation. You’re left with your favorite hot meal that will warm your heart. 

7. Tacos // If you don’t like tacos… I’m not sure we can be friends. Tacos are one of the cheapest meals around and sure to make anyone smile. They can be dressed up or down and you make authentic street tacos or American ground beef tacos.

8. Grilled Chicken Salad // Was this list getting a lil’ too greasy for you? Get some leafy greens, a vinegar based dressing and add seasoned grilled chicken. A Cheap, easy meal high in nutrients and protein. Badda bing, badda boom.

9. Mac and Cheese // But before you get too comfortable with healthy eating, don’t forget about cheesy mac. I love mac and cheese for obvious reasons, but you can throw in a protein to really… beef… it up. One of the cheapest meals around– It doesn’t get simpler than this, folks. 

10. Burgers // Another staple in any meal rotation — if you need your dollar to stretch, a simple burger is a cheap option.

11. Sloppy Joes // Who reading this is a 90’s kid!? Sloppy Joes are just that: sloppy. They’re cheap, they taste great and they’ll stick to your ribs.

12. Mushroom and Spinach Spaghetti // A creamy twist on the classic everyone loves!

13. Pepperoni Pizza Bites // You really thought you’d get through this cheap and easy meal blog article without pizza bites? Jokes on you!

14. Texas Toast Pizza // Garlic toast + pizza = cheap foodie heaven. 

15. Meatballs // At a meal that comes in around $4, it’s impossible to ignore!

16. Biscuits and Gravy // This *could* go with the breakfast for dinner, but I believe this famous, southern entree deserves its own place on the list.

17. Chicken and Rice Casserole // Casserole are fantastic because of their ease and hardiness. Don’t sleep on ‘em! 

18. Hot Dogs // Yes…hot dogs. 

19. Red beans and rice // delicious and filling, rice and beans will always be on cheap and easy dinner lists. 

20. Sour Cream and Chicken Enchiladas // Mexican cuisine tends to be affordable and delicious. Add cheap ingredients to tortillas and magic will ensue… and cheap magic at that!

21. Tuna Melts // The chicken of the sea thrown on to toast — frugal dinner #ftw

22. One Pot Southwest Pasta // Coming in with a southwest explosion of flavor, this one-pot meal will have you singing.

23. Pulled Pork Sandwiches // I love a good pulled pork sandwich and you’ll love this simple and cheap recipe for them.

24. Beef-stuffed Bell Peppers // Bell peppers come in at $0.69 — stuff them with protein, rice, onions and cheese!

25. Parmesan Crusted Chicken Sheet Pan // Green beans, potatoes and parmesan chicken is easy to throw on a pan and slide into the oven.

26. Cornbread and Chili Casserole // I really love the Trader Joe’s cornbread mix and canned chili, but you don’t need TJ’s to enjoy this simple meal!

27. Chicken Alfredo // Pasta, seasoned chicken, sauce and a sprinkle of cheese. 

28. Oatmeal // This stuff really sticks to you no matter what time of day you decide to indulge. 

29. Ham and Cheese Sandwich // Throwback to brown baggin it, am I right or am I right?

30. Leftovers // I know, bummer, but don’t waste food if you’re trying to save money!

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Did you enjoy this post about cheap easy meals? I sure hope you found your next dinner inspiration! Pin it to Pinterest for later!

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About the Author

Welcome! My name is Merilee and I’m the creator of Easy Budget. I started this blog to help other families like mine crush debt, budget, manage money, and meal plan like pros!

Everything you find here will be useful, motivating, and always easy. Need to contact me directly? Reach me here!

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