12+ Budget Friendly Dinner Ideas

As my kids get older I’m noticing more and more that their appetites are growing at a crazy rate. I am on the lookout for some budget-friendly dinner recipes as the cost of feeding teenagers is ridiculous and I’m striving to keep our grocery costs as low as I can. I’ve been given some great suggestions by our online community that I thought I would share with you – these dinners are budget-friendly, easy to cook and ready to feed your whole tribe!

TACOS– “Cheap and everyone loves them. Just buy a LOT of shells.” – Samantha N.
I use my Mexican Chicken Salsa to make tacos – one batch lasts up to 3 meals for the 5 of us making it very economically friendly.

  Find my Mexican Chicken Salsa recipe here

CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS– serve with cous cous or brown rice. “Chicken Drumsticks are the cheapest ever!” – Samantha I.

  Find Moroccan Chicken Drumstick recipe here

HOMEMADE LOADED FRIES – These can be potato or sweet potato and can be topped with your own choice of ingredients, making them perfect for picky eaters. “I par-cook mine in an air-fryer before topping them and putting them in the oven. I also fry off the garlic & onion before topping the fries.” – Julie A.

  Find Loaded Fries recipe here

TUNA MORNAY – My mum used to make Tuna Mornay for us all the time as children. Its one of my all time favourites! Thank you Emma M. for the suggestion.

  Find my Tuna Mornay recipe here

RISSOLES WITH TANGY SAUCE – “The smell of these cooking is amazing.” – Samantha I.
These rissoles/meatballs could also be made in bulk and frozen!

 Find Rissoles with tangy sauce recipe here

FRIED RICE – Fried rice is a quick and easy meal to prepare, make as per the recipe or simply search through your fridge to see what vegetables you have on hand, really any vegetable can be added to this dish.

 Find my fried rice recipe here


SLOW COOKED LEG OF LAMB – “Whenever we need a cheap dinner I pop the slow cooker on to make lamb. So delicious and cheap, I use the sauce it makes as a kind of gravy and just serve with mash and steamed veg.” – Kate D.

 Find Honey mustard leg of lamb recipe here – cook in oven or place in slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours

CHICKEN AND CHEESE PASTA BAKE – This Chicken pasta bake doesn’t take long to put together and the kids will enjoy it! To be frugal you could poach your own chicken rather than purchasing a BBQ chook from the supermarket.

 Find my chicken and cheese pasta bake recipe here

BEEF STIRFRY – Stirfry’s are a great way to use up any vegies in the fridge or freezer. Thanks Karen M. for the suggestion.

 Find beef stirfry recipe here

HOMEMADE FRITTATA – Looking for a light dinner idea to add alongside an easy salad? Frittatas can really be made with just about any veggies you have sitting around which makes them a perfect, cheap dinner. Thanks Steph P. for the suggestion!

  Find homemade frittata recipe here

HOMEMADE PIZZAS –Nothing beats homemade pizzas, I personally find them more enjoyable than the takeaway variety as you can make them to suit everyone’s tastes and needs. They are also another great way to use up anything you have in the fridge/cupboard or buy cheap toppings – like ham and pineapple, BBQ chicken or even chicken pesto like this pizza!

 Find Homemade pizza topping ideas and dough recipe here

Nothing beats homemade pizzas and they can be suited to everyone's tastes and needs. My kids love putting on their own toppings and it's a fun way to get the kids in the kitchen. Forget about ordering take-away and instead be inspired by some of these awesome pizza topping ideas and recipes!

MEATLOAF – “I usually make a double batch of meatloaf and split it to make one half into a meatloaf and the other into meatballs, then I can freeze the meatballs for another dinner.” – Rebecca H.

  Find meatloaf recipe here

SHEPHERDS PIE – “I almost always have ingredients in my kitchen to make a shepherds pie. It’s so quick and we usually have leftovers too” – Courtney A.

  Find my Shepherds Pie recipe here

What’s your best budget-friendly meal?

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1 comment

Farah Dyer-Steel August 3, 2018 - 9:19 PM

I used to have 6 step children and 4 of them were boys. They had enormous appetites (fast metabolism) and basically we learned to ~cook for the troops~. The cute little meals advertised on tv just didn`t do the job. I needed casseroles and stews or cheap cuts of meat that I could buy lots of. Corned beef is a good one to cook, same recipe for pickled hand of pork too. Tastes delicious and serve with the veges cooked in the water alongside the meat, topped with a white or cheese sauce. My dad also gave me a recipe for his ~swagman roll~ which is just thick meaty bolognaise sauce (more meat than sauce though) and when cooled, big spoonful on a sheet of puff pastry. Wrap it up and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. I used to give the boys one each


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