Cheap Dinner Ideas Under $5

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Do you need some help coming up with dinner plans? What if you had a whole list of cheap dinner ideas that cost under $5.00 to make?

Added bonus if most of those recipes took less than 30 minutes to make!

While you’re making out your meal plan make sure to check out some of these new dinner ideas you can add to the mix and try something new!

Why Should You Make a Menu?

If you want to save money on your food budget, sticking to a menu/meal plan is key!

Not only does it save you money it also saves you so much time.

You don’t have to argue about what’s being made or forget to take something out and have no idea what to make.

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    Cheap Meal Ingredients

    (You can stock up on some of these and use for multiple meals)

    • Rice
    • Potatoes (Instant Potatoes)
    • Beans (like Lentils or Black Beans)
    • Seasonings

    Homemade Entomatadas

    These are the equivalent to a grilled cheese but spicy. Altogether you only need 5 ingredients and it comes out to super cheap per serving when you divide it up.

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    Ham and Cheese Crescent Ring

    This one is so easy the kids can make it on their own! Just 3 simple ingredients needed and about 20 minutes or less in the oven!

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    Tomato Basil Egg Casserole

    Casseroles are so easy, just a one-dish type meal that is easy to cook and serve. This recipe only calls for four ingredients and takes 40 minutes to complete from start to finish.

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    Veggie Rolls

    If you need a simple snack or meal to go with everything, try these Egg Rolls! Super simple and frugal items you can make in bulk! Pick your favorite veggies and complete these in just 35 minutes.

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    Kielbasa and Potatoes

    If you don’t like spicy foods, you can use a regular Eckrich sausage (around $3 or less at your local big box store). Add veggies with a frozen bag of broccoli for just $1 as well!

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    American Goulash

    This dish goes by many names but it’s always got one thing in common, it’s cheap to make! You can adjust to what you have on hand or can find within the $5 range at your local store. It’s also a great way to use leftovers!

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    Chicken Pasta Salad

    Grab the canned chicken to cut the price on this meal. A quick and easy meal that only takes 15 minutes to make! It does contain mayo so be aware if you’re making it for an outdoor gathering.

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    Ramen Noodle Stiry Fry

    We all love regular ramen, so why not take it up a notch and make it a full blown meal that fills you up? This is a vegetarian recipe but you can add as you’d like. (Great way to use leftovers!)

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    Poor Man’s Stew (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)

    Who doesn’t love an easy dinner that’s cheap and you can use your favorite kitchen appliance? This stew requires just 6 ingredients and can always be adjusted to what you have on hand (as far as veggies or other leftovers that need to be used)

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    Chili Cheese Toast

    Now if you love chili or bread, you’re going to fall in love with this chili cheese toast recipe. You can keep it super frugal and make your own frugal chili and just make it thicker.

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    Baked Feta Pasta

    You may have seen this one on TikTok as it’s semi gone viral and everyone is making it. Now you can adapt this recipe and make it a budget-friendly one by substituting some of the items. (It takes just 5 minutes in the Instant Pot!)

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    One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice

    Simplify this recipe and use your favorite seasonings with the core ingredients. (Use canned chicken to cut down on price as well) A super easy and quick recipe that takes just 30 minutes!

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    Stuffed Pepper Casserole

    A 5 ingredient casserole that may just be the new family favorite with how great it looks! Needing just 35 minutes form start to serve this is a super easy and quick meal to add to the meal plan

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    Lentil Tacos

    Need a meat free meal to add to the menu? Lentils are super cheap AND they absorb flavor so well! Use your favorite seasonings and add your own twist!

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    Instant Pot Sausage and Lentils

    Another recipe to use those lentils on (you can make a big batch and use them for both meals). You just need four ingredients and 22 minutes to make this meal!

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    Instant Pot Spaghetti Bolognese

    The most expensive part of this meal is going to be the ground beef (but if you already bought it in bulk you’re saving money). It’s almost like Instant Pot spaghetti…almost.

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    Air Fryer Pita Bread Pizza

    You can make pizza in the Air Fryer?!?! This recipe is so easy to follow even the kids can make their own pizzas in no time! (Check your bakery section for discounted bread to use)

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    Baked Bean Stuffed Peppers

    Combine this with the Stuffed Pepper Casserole mentioned earlier and you’ve got something else you can buy in larger quantities and make more than one meal from! (This recipe is only 250 calories!)

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    Boiled Egg Sandwich

    Eggs are always an easy classic food that is super cheap usually (Get a dozen eggs around $1.50) and you can do so much with them! Sometimes the kids just ask for a egg sandwich and they’re quick to make too!

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    Mexican Red Bean Quinoa Casserole

    Casseroles are such a lifesaver! A one-pan meal that you can throw together and bake! This is a meat-free meal and you can always take out whatever your family doesn’t like. (It takes about an hour to complete this meal)

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    hi! I'm shannon

    I’m a wife, mom of three, doctor, and blogger! In 2018, I decided to turn my mom blog, into a personal finance blog so others could follow along on our journey to pay off over HALF a MILLION dollars in student loan and practice start up debt. I hope you enjoy following along, and maybe even find some inspiration along the way.