• My Favorite Budget-Friendly Dinners

    April 11, 2012

    Good morning! Happy Hump Day, friends!


    I got my CrossFit on last night, and the WOD included lots of running, so I was happy!



    3 rounds for time:

    800 Meter Run

    50 Back Extensions

    50 sit-ups

    I did the workout as Rx-ed and finished in 17:27. It was a fun one, and  “Michael” is a hero workout, so we’ll revisit it again in the future. Hopefully, I’m faster next time!


    After CrossFit, Mal and I headed home to shower up and make dinner. Avacado and Asparagus Egg Sandwiches were on the menu, but neither of us were in the mood for eggs, so we made Mexican Ground Turkey Quinoa Skillet, which Kara mentioned in her upcoming CNC guest post. The recipe sounded so delicious, easy to make, and affordable, I just had to give it a try.

    IMG_3005 (750x563)

    The Mexican Ground Turkey Quinoa Skillet turned out really well, and it was insanely easy to make. You pretty much just cook the ground turkey (or beef) and then add the other ingredients to simmer until the quinoa is cooked. Set it and forget it, baby. Instead of using a can of diced tomatoes and a can of chopped chilies, I substituted a can of Rotel, which included both tomatoes and chilies.

    IMG_2998 (750x563)

    Now that Mal and I have incorporated more meat into diet, our grocery bills have been quite a bit more expensive, so I’m always looking for ways to save money. The recipe for Mexican Ground Turkey Quinoa Skillet is from $5 Dinners, so I spent some time browsing the site looking for budget-friendly recipes to make in the future. Here are some that looked especially delicious and you’ll probably see on CNC soon:

    Other cheap-y dinners that I love:

    Question of the Day

    What are your favorite budget-friendly dinners?

    P.S. Have you ever tried amaranth? I’m giving away some on Trading Up Downtown today!

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    { 51 comments… read them below or add one }

    Cait @ Beyond Bananas April 11, 2012 at 8:14 am

    My favorite budget friendly dinners are salads with grilled chicken. We buy our chicken in bulk when it is on sale (for $1.99 a pound AWESOME!) .. and then we always have good produce sales, too!

    I also like making things with ground turkey. I can get a few meals for two out of one package!


    Tina April 11, 2012 at 8:21 am

    $1.99/pound!?! That is an awesome price!


    The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh April 11, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Oh man, that looks so good!

    I love to do quesadillas or naan pizzas. Of course I guess those have bread/carbs involved though huh? 🙂 A big salad with ginger marinated steak (a cheaper cut) does the trick too!


    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat April 11, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Any type of casserole or bean-based dish – going meatless is one easy way to save money.


    Tina April 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    @Claire @ Live and Love to Eat: Casseroles are great budget meals! Thanks for the reminder! 🙂


    Molly @ RDexposed April 11, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Any meal with black beans! Mmmm


    Sarah @ Fresh Living April 11, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Mexican ground turkey quinoa…sounds really interesting. I don’t eat turkey myself but you’ve definitely given me great ideas for a new dish. Thanks!


    Tina April 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    @Sarah @ Fresh Living: I thought the combo sounded a little weird at first, but it turned out so well!


    mary April 11, 2012 at 8:26 am

    BEANS! So cheap, so easy. I haven’t gone cheap enough to buy the bagged ones and soak them myself (though I hear they are better this way) because I don’t have the time, but definitely something I want to try one day. Also, tuna is up there in terms of bang for your buck protein.


    Amy @Macncheesenpeas April 11, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I love this post!! I’m moving out into my first apartment in a little less than a month so I’ll be looking for cheap dinners to make.


    Sabrina April 11, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Sweet potatoes and chicken are my go to. Most of the time life is too hectic to get creative so I’m looking forward to going through these ideas.


    Tina April 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    @Sabrina: Mmm… sweet potatoes and chicken… can’t beat that combo! 🙂


    Angela April 11, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Hi tina,
    I told ya i’d touch base when more infor about the crossfit for hope fundraiser was available and the HQ website finally went live last night

    check it out and like I said if your box is going it good luck and have fun! If not feel free to take the day trip up to Hudson for some good ole crossfit fun 🙂



    Tina April 11, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Thank you!!! Just emailed our coaches! 🙂


    Hope @ With A Side Of Hope April 11, 2012 at 8:34 am

    That looks delicious! 🙂 I love 5 Dollar Dinners! I’ve made a recipe from her site before and it was delicious.


    Leah @ Chocolate and Wild Air April 11, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I’m always on the hunt for cheapie dinners. That skillet sounds good! One of my go-tos is always breakfast for dinner, with omelettes and toast. Yum!


    KerriAnn April 11, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Thanks for the website! I’m the same way, love my meat, but try to keep groceries to under $60/week – which gets difficult when you buy tons of produce and meat!


    Tina April 11, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Agreed! The meat kills our budget!


    jennyv April 11, 2012 at 8:49 am

    “Michael” is NO joke! It may appear easy, just three exercises but those back extensions got brutal for me the first/last time I tried it!


    Tina April 11, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Totally agree! The back extensions were KILLER!


    Cait's Plate April 11, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Love posts like this! My favorite budget friendly dinner is definitely bean tacos/burritos. Buy a couple of ripe avocados for guacamole, salsa, brown rice, beans, blue corn chips and some whole wheat wraps and you have yourself a whole meal!


    Faith @ For the Health of It April 11, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Tofu-based meals are great for saving money. Tons of protein and they’re relatively inexpensive – a block of the organic stuff is about $3, throw in some steamed veggies, rice or noodles and a splash of sauce (try making your own with broth, peanut butter, soy sauce and fresh cilantro!) and you’ve got a relatively cheap, healthy meal!


    Katie @ Peace Love and Oats April 11, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I’m definitely going to have to check these out! I’m working an unpaid internship this summer and since I’m not taking class I can’t get loan money. My parents are thankfully giving me enough to get by but I will be needing some tight budget recipes!!


    Lena @ Fit on the Rocks April 11, 2012 at 9:16 am

    That meal looks so good,and the others sound so yummy, too! Definitely book-marking because I need to stop eating out so much and have to get back into the habit of cooking again.


    Laura April 11, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Thank you for all of these recipes. We are always looking to save money, especially this year since we need a new car AND are house hunting-boy oh boy. These are uber helpful. I just added about ten of them to my favorites folder to try out! Happy Hump Day Tina!


    Shelly April 11, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I love it! My favorite cheapo meals often involve beans rather than meat, but I find that meat wise, using Italian Tuna canned in Olive Oil instead of water is a revelation. It tastes so much better and it doesn’t have many more calories- so I tend to keep a couple of cans in my pantry for quick occasional meals since they cost like $2 a can. I like to mix tuna (with it’s oil) with white beans, capers, basil, and a little white wine vinegar for a quick tuna salad; or simmer it in a white wine tomato sauce with capers, basil, and red pepper flakes to serve over pasta.


    Tina April 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    @Shelly: Thanks for mentioning this! I’ll definitely keep a look out for it the next time I’m at the grocery store!


    Kristen @ notsodomesticated April 11, 2012 at 9:29 am

    One thing I like to do is just put several chicken breasts in the slow cooker with water or chicken broth, and after it’s cooked, shredded it and added BBQ sauce, hot sauce, Caesar dressing, etc. Serve on buns or on top of a salad … it’s super easy and makes lots of leftovers!


    Tina April 11, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Slow cookers rule, don’t they? So easy and tons of leftovers! 🙂


    Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon April 11, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Beans, rice, and eggs! Cheap cheap cheap!!!


    Tina April 11, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Those are my favs too!


    Lindsey April 11, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Chili (turkey or veggie)! Since it makes so much and per serving does not cost a lot. Veggie burgers too, I make them in bulk and freeze them. Homemade soups, again the ingredients are usually minimal and cheaper and it makes a lot.


    katie @ KatieDid April 11, 2012 at 10:12 am

    First Rx workout?! Awesome job, sounds like a great one.


    Tina April 11, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Not my first, but still happy that I did it Rx-ed! 🙂


    Khushboo April 11, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Eggs are my go-to budget meal- cheap yet delicious!


    Meg April 11, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Dinner looks delish I’ll have to try! Salad is my favorite budget friendly dinner since I basically just throw whatever is in the fridge on top of some spinach or lettuce 🙂


    Whitney @ Whit Likes Fit April 11, 2012 at 11:38 am

    This is such a helpful post. We’re always trying to find budget friendly dinners with meat. Our favorite budget dinners are turkey spaghetti or shrimp tacos. We stock up on ground turkey when it’s on sale and we buy bulk cases of corn/black beans at costco. So for both of these dinners we only have to buy a few ingredients.


    Bjorg April 11, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Anka for the suggestions, as a college student I need it :))


    Hillary April 11, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing these, Tina. They look great, and I’m always on the hunt for some easy, cheap dinners (a teacher’s budget will do that for you!)

    Lately, I’ve been loving quick, easy stir frys. Frozen veggies, brown rice, and chicken tenders mixed with an easy stir fry sauce—it’s filling, delicious, healthy, and lasts for days!


    Tina April 11, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    @Hillary: Good call with the stir fry! I always forget to add them to my weekly menu. Thanks for the reminder!


    Hillary April 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    @Tina: No problem! It’s one of my favorites lately. Enjoy!


    Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    That Mexican skillet looks so good! I’m definitely bookmarking that to make.

    I’m a big fan of meatless chili with lots of beans for a good cheap dinner!


    Taylor @ Nuts for Apples April 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I love to get frozen veggies because they are cheap & you can always have them on hand to add to anything! Get some veggies & beans, nutritious & cheap!


    BroccoliHut April 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I’ve become a big fan of using lentils in my meals–they’re so delicious and incredibly good for you. Oh yeah, and CHEAP. I love them in lentil loaf.


    Kristia {Family Balance Sheet} April 11, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks for linking up my Grilled Pineapple and Teriyaki Turkey Burgers. I hope you enjoy them!


    Cheryl Mosley April 11, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    This is an Awesome post! A bunch of dinner ideas all in one spot?! Thank you so much!


    Luv What You Do April 11, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Shrimp Stirfry is my go to budget meal…
    a bag of frozen shrimp and a bag of TJ’s Hodge Podge (plus rice or noodles if interested) equals quick easy and healthy dinner!


    Allison@commitcomplete April 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Vegetarian chili is my favorite budget-friendly recipe. Thanks for the list in this post. I look forward to trying out some of those dinner suggestions!


    Megan @ Weddings and Workouts April 12, 2012 at 12:02 am

    If I’m reeeaally broke, lentils, rice and tinned tomatoes is great and yummy. Otherwise eggs.

    Cheers for the dinner ideas!


    Life's a Bowl April 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Quinoa is one of my favorite go-to’s when I want something satisfying but quick! Black beans and avocado are great additions 🙂


    Anne P. April 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    You should try my sweet potato & black bean veggie enchiladas instead – they are AMAZING. 🙂



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