How to Step Up Weeknight Dinner Game on a Budget

by Regina Thomas Freelance Writer

Whether you're working outside of the home, working at home due to the quarantine, or spending your day caring for your family, there are likely some days when you're struggling to find delicious dinner ideas. Luckily, there are some ways you can up your culinary game during the week without spending too much on groceries. Here are a few dinner ideas you and your family will love.

Burrito Bowls

If you love Mexican food but you're trying to watch your food budget, burrito bowls are a great way to enjoy some of your favorite flavors while making good use of leftovers. Boil a bag of instant rice, or use leftover rice for this meal. Season the rice with butter, garlic, and a little taco seasoning. Next, warm or cook black or pinto beans seasoned with cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Prepare the meat of your choice --you can season the leftover roasted chicken, veggie meat, or ground beef or turkey with your favorite taco seasoning as well. Top the bowls with cheese, avocado, and diced onion. This tasty dinner is simple to make and allows you to use many of the ingredients you may already have in the fridge.

Chicken and Rice

This go-to weeknight dinner is often a staple because it's easy to make and is a meal most of the family enjoys. You can make the meal more interesting by making sauce from barbecue sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, and garlic powder to pour over the kitchen. Or, you can season the chicken with stewed tomatoes and chopped red peppers. Chicken and rice can be prepared in the oven, all in one pan. Just add rice to the bottom of a casserole dish, place the chicken on top of the rice, add the seasoning(s) of your choice and pour chicken or vegetable broth over the rice and chicken before placing it in the oven. This fancy take on chicken and rice is affordable and may motivate you and your family to break out the fancy plastic cutlery. You can even check the pantry or freezer for vegetables like peas or broccoli that you can prepare as a side dish.

Cheeseburger Cups

If you've got small kids at home and/or your family is a huge fan of burgers, you can make dinner a little more interesting tonight by making cheeseburger cups. Open a can of biscuits and flatten the biscuits inside muffin tins. Fill the biscuits with ground beef, chopped onions, and tomatoes and cook for about 25 minutes or until the meat is fully cooked. Top the cheeseburger cups with cheese, pickles, and all your favorite burger fixings. This fun dinner can help you stay within your grocery budget while discovering a new way to enjoy a burger.

"Leftover" Casserole

Chances are you've got some items in your pantry and fridge that are still fresh but you may not know what to do with them. A leftover casserole is a tasty way to create a delicious meal without having to make a trip to the grocery store. For instance, if you have tater tots, ground beef or turkey, cheese, sour cream, and cream of mushroom soup, you can make a meant and potatoes casserole. The casserole is also a great way to sneak a few vegetables into the meal -- chopped broccoli or spinach works great with this meal and adds more nutrients and vitamins to your dinner.


Quiche may sound extremely fancy, but it's actually pretty easy to make. This delicious dish also makes it easy to have breakfast for dinner if your family loves creative meal ideas. Chances are you've got eggs, and you likely have ingredients that can be used to make an omelet like chopped onions and peppers, bacon, chicken, cheese, and frozen vegetables. Use a store-bought pie shell for this recipe; just scramble the eggs, add the ingredients of your choice along with a little butter, milk, salt, and pepper, and pour the egg mixture into the pie shell. After cooking the quiche for a few minutes, take it out of the oven and top with cheese before letting the dish bake a little more. A quiche is a delicious all-in-one meal that takes just minutes to make. You can fill it with as many healthy ingredients as you'd like and add a side of fresh fruit for a dinner that tastes a lot like brunch.

These are just a few of the ways you can prepare a tasty meal packed with vitamins and minerals without adding to your grocery bill. Feel free to make your own spices and recipes more budget-friendly by adding common staples that are both nutritious and cheap. 

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About Regina Thomas Advanced   Freelance Writer

25 connections, 2 recommendations, 149 honor points.
Joined APSense since, June 29th, 2020, From Southern California, United States.

Created on Jul 22nd 2020 10:41. Viewed 266 times.


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