Quick and Cheap Dinners are a must-have for any family during the busy school year! These dinners are not only cheap and easy but delicious, the whole family will love them!
School is in session and the days are getting shorter while more tasks are being added to our schedules. Sometimes having quick and easy dinner ideas included in your meal plan can help when you have a limited time window between the kids getting home and you rushing them off to sports practice.
Being able to reduce your time in the kitchen on crazy days and still put out a delicious home-cooked meal is a great way to avoid the fast-food lanes- saving you calories and money.
Besides adding quick dinner ideas for kids to the menu, there are a few other things that you can do to help reduce the meal prep time such as preparing your foods in advance and choosing the proper cooking methods.
Preparing foods in advance
If you know what recipe you want to use a day or two in advance, you can see the ingredient list and choose to do things while you have the time. For example, if tomorrow’s dinner asks for a whole diced onion, chopped tomatoes or cold pasta, you can do that now and store it in the fridge so that tomorrow all you have to do is follow the steps. This can really cut down on a lot of the food prep time and give you more time for other important things like locating the shoe your kid lost in the living room.
Choosing proper cooking methods
If you know that you’re time is limited, think about the best possible way that you can quickly (and safely) cook food to a proper temp for consumption. A whole raw chicken breast takes about an hour in the oven, but if you sliced it thin, you could cook it in a skillet within minutes.
If you have time for a pressure cooker, you could find some meals that won’t take long. You can also set a meal inside your slow cooker and have it heating all day so that all you have to do is serve it up at dinner time.
By thinking about your schedule in advance, you can really find the best ways to get a quick and easy dinner on the table. You can also check out these delicious and fast dinner ideas to help give you some ideas and motivation.
Quick and Easy Pasta Recipes
Pasta is one of those quick dishes that is not only a kid’s favorite but also a cheap way to make a filling meal. It’s also incredibly versatile because you can dress it up for a fancy 5-star dinner or dress it down for some delicious comfort foods. Just take into consideration which noodles you choose to use as the cooking time may vary.
- Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
- Quick Alfredo Fettuccini Recipe
- Cheesy Pasta with Sausage and Roasted Red Peppers
- Easy Homemade Alfredo Sauce
- Cheesy Alfredo Pasta Bake
- Pasta Primavera
- Spaghetti with Lemon Cream Sauce
Quick and Easy Beef Recipes
You can make a quick and easy meat-filled dinner with these beef recipes. Ground beef and thinly cut beef steak can are able to give you the protein-packed dinner you crave while still being fast to prepare. Check out these amazing and fast beef recipes for some quick and easy dinner ideas!
- Homemade Beef Stroganoff
- Easy Sloppy Joes
- Garlic Pepper Steak Kabobs
- The Best Steak Fajitas
- Ground Beef Nachos
- Easy Korean Beef Bowls
- Ground Beef Tacos
- Dijon Peppercorn Steaks
- Easy Steak Salad
- How to Cook Steak in a Pan
Quick and Easy Pork Recipes
Another fast to cook meat idea is pork. While you won’t see a pork roast on this list, you will find several pork chop recipes that can help you to put dinner on a plate quickly. The great thing about pork is that it compliments almost any flavor choice, so no matter what mood you’re in, you can find the right pork recipe to compliment your cravings. Spicy, sweet, savory and more!
- Pan-Seared Pork Chops
- Pork Street Tacos
- Mexican Pork Chops
- Bacon Apple Pork Chops
- Easy Pork Chop Marinade
- Oven Roasted Sausage and Veggies
- Balsamic Pork Chops with Veggies
- Asian Pork Chops
Quick and Easy Chicken Recipes
If you really want a quick and cheap dinner idea, then look no further than these chicken dishes. Chicken is a very cheap meat option to add to your meal plan rotation and can be versatile as well as delicious. When you’re on a time crunch it’s important to remember to use your instant-read thermometer so you can keep an eye on your chicken and make sure that it reaches the proper temperature before serving.
- Creamy Chicken Over Noodles
- Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken
- Hawaiian Haystacks Recipe
- Homemade Chicken Alfredo Recipe
- Skillet Chicken with Lemon Sauce
Quick and Easy Sandwiches
Sandwiches for dinner can also be a great time saver! What makes them even better is that you can do most (if not all) of the prep work in advance and just stash the sandwiches in a cooler if you don’t have time to cook dinner at home.
- Ham and Cheese Sliders
- Easy Tuna Melts
- Easy Egg Salad Recipe
- BBQ Chicken Sliders
- Oven Baked BBQ Chicken
Quick and Easy Instant Pot Recipes
An Instant Pot is a great way to cook delicious meals within a very short period of time. It can take frozen meats and have them fully cooked in the blink of an eye. Just make sure that when you plan to use your Instant Pot that you account for the time needed to get it up to pressure and to depressurize at the end.
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
- Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta
- Beef Stew
- Chicken and Rice Soup
- Lentil Soup
- Split Pea Soup
Quick and Easy Side Dishes
No dinner feels complete without at least 1 side dish on the plate. So check out these quick and easy side dish recipes that can help you to fill your dinner plate with delicious options.
- Easy Fried Rice
- Oven Roasted Carrots
- Oven Roasted Broccoli
- The Best Canned Green Beans
- The Best Canned Corn
- Pan Roasted Cauliflower
Quick and Easy Soup Recipes
A lot of people don’t realize that there are also a bunch of quick soup recipes out there. Not all of them are as time-consuming as you may think. In fact, here are a couple of awesome soup recipes that are quick and easy. If you want more options, consider pairing them with grilled cheese sandwiches, a slice of french bread or a microwaved baked potato, or a side salad.
- Homemade Tomato Soup
- Easy Vegetable Soup
- Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup
With so many quick dinner recipes and options available, you can plan for even the busiest of days to include a delicious homemade meal!