My Favorite Budget-Friendly Dinners

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

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.

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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.

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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!



  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 🙂

  5. 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!

  6. “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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!!

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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 🙂

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

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