Preparing dinner can feel like an overwhelming task at the end of a long, busy day. Luckily there are plenty of meal ideas that are great for cheap quick easy dinners. The recipes listed below are a great starting point for quick and easy dinner that do not cost a lot. There are also plenty of modifications you can make to the recipes, as well as ideas using other inexpensive ingredients.
Cheap, Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes
If all you have is chicken, fresh or frozen vegetables, and noodles, you have enough to create a complete meal. Two recipes that utilize these simple, inexpensive ingredients include:
- 1 lb de-boned, thinly-sliced chicken breast (minus the skin)
- Mixed vegetables (cut up your own, or buy a 1 lb bag of oriental mixed vegetables)
- 1 package of chicken-flavored ramen noodles (3 oz.)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons teriyaki or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons ginger (freshly grated)
- ¼ cup water
- Heat the oil in a large skillet (medium to high heat).
- Add the chicken and allow it to cook, with frequent stirring – wait until the chicken is no longer pink, but begins to take on a golden-brown color.
- Add the vegetables, and cover the skillet. Cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes.
- While doing steps 3 and 4, cook the noodles, following the instructions on the packet. Do not add the chicken flavoring packet yet. Drain the noodles.
- Mix the soy or teriyaki sauce, ginger, garlic, and the chicken flavoring into the ¼ cup of water
- Pour this mixture over the chicken and vegetables; add the noodles and mix.
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Peanut Noodles with Shredded Chicken and Vegetables
- 1 lb de-boned, cubed or sliced chicken breast (minus the skin)
- 8 oz spaghetti
- 12 oz fresh mixed
- ½ cup creamy, natural peanut butter
- 2 teaspoon soy-sauce (reduced sodium)
- 2 teaspoons garlic (minced)
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (minced)
- To cook the spaghetti, put on a large pot of water to boil.
- While it is boiling, place the chicken breasts in a saucepan or a skillet, and add enough water to cover the chicken. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently for about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Place the soy sauce, garlic, chili-garlic sauce and the ginger in a large bowl, along with the peanut butter – whisk everything.
- Allow the spaghetti to cook until it is not quite tender – about a minute less than the cooking time indicated on the spaghetti package. Ad the vegetables, and cook until both are just tender. After another minute, drain the mixture, setting aside about 1 cup of the liquid. Rinse the spaghetti and vegetables with a little cool water to refresh them.
- Stir the cup of cooking water into the peanut butter sauce; add the spaghetti, vegetables and the chicken. Mix (or toss) everything well. This can be served warm or chilled.
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Where to find Cheap, Quick, Easy Dinner Recipes
In addition to the two recipes listed above, there are plenty of websites that offer ideas for cheap and easy dinners. The next time you are drawing a blank for dinner ideas, check out:
Never underestimate you own creativity and resourcefulness. The next time you think you do not have enough to cook or your food budget is stretched thin, try experimenting and come up with your own cheap, quick, and easy dinner recipes.