53 Quick And Easy Meal Ideas You Can Make On Any Budget Perfect For Weeknights

quick and easy dinner ideas, simple dinner ideas perfect for weeknights that you can make on any budget to feed the whole familyEasy dinner ideas that are also tasty can be hard to come by off the top of your head.

Especially when you want nothing more than to fix something tasty yet filling that doesn’t take too long.

Besides awesome crock-pot recipes, there are plenty of simple dinner ideas out there that can help make either lunch or dinner a success.

A lot of these simple recipes can help you with affordable meal planning and making sure you get the nutrition you need. Especially because they’re so easy to make and you can always put away leftovers for later.

Related: 61 Dinner Ideas To Stay With Your Budget And Still Eat Tasty

To help create your easy dinner ideas like a pro, we put together a crazy long list of more than 40 recipes to choose from that can take your dinner plans from zero to hero.

Now, to start, since we are talking ‘simple dinner ideas’ here, we decided to include an ‘Easy Chicken Recipes’ section in the beginning.


Well for starters chicken is some of the cheapest meat you can find if you really want to incorporate protein in your meals, it’s easy to fix, and can be absolutely tasty.

Chicken Potato Bake

Image and Recipe: Dizzy Busy and Hungry

To begin we’ve got a chicken potato bake as an easy dinner idea. Often we don’t think of pairing some creamy potatoes with chicken, but if you bring them together with the right seasoning, it can be a dinner winner. To find out more about how to put this simple dinner idea together make sure you check out the recipe here.

Chicken Parmesan Sub

Image and Recipe: Eating Well

Making these easy chicken parmesan subs can save you an expensive trip to Chic-Fil-A. They’re pretty filling if you pair them with the right toppings. I personally love making a fresh homemade coleslaw and slathering on a ‘yum yum’ sauce of sorts with ketchup, mustard, and mayo with some chili powder mixed in.

Check out the awesome cheap and simple dinner recipe here. 

London Chicken

Image and Recipe: The Midnight Baker

If you’re feeling a little fancier, try this great London Chicken Recipe. It’s a top favorite in the easy chicken recipes list.

Here is how you can put it together.

5- Ingredient Chicken Tikka Masala

Image and Recipe: Pinch of Yum

Chicken Tikka Masala is one of my absolute favorites! It can be pricey if you choose to go out for dinner at your local Indian restaurant, but you can make it affordable if you make it at home (and it’s an especially awesome affordable and easy dinner idea for two).

The creamy sauce envelopes the chicken nicely and goes great with some easy white Basmati rice. Here is the Pinch of Yum recipe that’ll have you makin’ a finger licking dinner in no time.

Easy BBQ Chicken Calzones

Image and Recipe: Chef In Training

Here is a little twist on the traditional Italian Calzone…just make it a BBQ Chicken Calzone. It’s an easy chicken recipe that you can add to your list of easy recipes as something that will fare well with the whole family (even the dog).

Here is the creative recipe to learn how to put it together!

Sesame Chicken

Image and Recipe: Rasamalaysa

It’s never a bad day for Sesame Chicken that gives you that oriental nod we call crave every so often (or for some of use every other day). It doesn’t take long to put it together and you can make it with just a few pieces of chicken breast with your favorite sauce.

Here is the handy recipe.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Image and Recipe: Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen

If you’re looking for healthy chicken recipes this one right here is your winner. Lettuce wrapped anything can provide a great alternative to starchy breads filled with glutten and sugars.

Here is the healthy chicken recipe to make tonight’s dinner a success.

White Chicken Chili

Image and Recipe: From Valerie’s Kitchen

If you don’t like beef but like chili then this is THE recipe for you to try. It looks absolutely delicious and I can almost smell the aromas by just looking at the end result.

Here is how to make this cheap dinner recipe idea.

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Image and Recipe: The Weary Chef

Buffalo chicken wraps sounds sooo yummy right now. Really anything with buffalo sauce is a winner in my book. Not only can this be part of your healthy chicken recipes ideas but it can be a great on the go meal.

Here is the easy dinner recipe! 

Spicy Fish Tacos

quick and easy dinner ideas, simple dinner ideas, spicy fish tacos are a perfect weeknight dinner idea

Image and Recipe: Teal Notes

While they might not look like it, these spicy fish tacos are a pretty quick dinner idea. The preparation process is a lot less involved than you would think (aren’t they just gorgeous tacos?) and it doesn’t cost too much to make at all which makes them a great quick dinner option. They can be ready in as little as 20 minutes.

Check out the quick recipe here

Cheap Korean Beef And Veggies

Image and Recipe: Dessert Now Dinner Later

Korean Beef on rice will leave anyone with a content stomach no matter how picky you are.

Korean BBQ is usually rich in flavor and if you pair it with the right beef, it can be an explosion of (affordable) flavor in your mouth. To try this recipe for yourself along with a set of complete directions on how to make it go here.

Grilled Chicken, Veggie And Black Bean Bowl

Image and Recipe: Sweet Peas and Saffron

Who says meal prepping is only for lunch? You can definitely have a healthy dinner that is also filling if you extend your meal prepping to include dinner meals. That way you can just grab and go without the burden of having to prepare anything from scratch after a long day.

Here is how to get started meal prepping this genius simple dinner idea.

$4 Spaghetti

Image and Recipe: Food and Wine

Simple dinner ideas can come as easy as this $4 Spaghetti recipe happily ‘foundable’ online. Spaghetti is historically one of the easiest and fastest meals to create and can cost you just a couple of bucks to feed a group of about 3-4 people.

Here is how to get this easy dinner idea off the ground.

Ramen Noodle Stir Fry

Image and Recipe: Soup Addict

Those 50 cents cheap Ramen Noodle packets aren’t just for broke college students. There are hundreds of ways you can be creative with Ramen Noodles to make them a hearty and filling meal. This particular recipe is a ramen noodle stir fry and it’s sure to rock your socks off.

Here is the yummy and simple dinner recipe.

Easy Pizza Bake

Image and Recipe: Pint-Sized Treasures

Don’t have to patience to create a whole pizza from scratch? All those frozen pizzas out there costing you an arm and a leg? Just put a twist on an easy meal idea and create your own pizza bake. Complete with all the goodness of pepperoni and cheese mixed all together.

Here are the directions for the awesome recipe.

Green Chili Chicken

quick and easy dinner ideas, simple dinner ideas, green chili chicken

Image and Recipe: Teal Notes

This green chili chicken might just be the quickest and tastiest dinner idea you have this week if you decide to make it. It’s a perfect weeknight dinner that doesn’t involve too much prep work and makes for amazing leftovers. If you’re at a loss for a simple dinner idea, then this quick recipe might be your best bet!

Get the quick dinner recipe here

5 Ingredient Black Bean Soup

Image and Recipe: Gimme Some Oven

Talk about a healthy dinner recipe. If you want a great source of protein that doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive meats then this is a perfect nutritious dinner for you.

Learn how to put together this 5-ingredient bean soup here.

Bacon Cheese Burger Tater Tot Casserole

Image and Recipe: Plain Chicken

This simple dinner idea looks so tasty it’s definitely one I’d try. Especially because it’s pretty easy to put together as you only need a few ingredients. As the title says, it’s basically a spin on a cheesy cheeseburger (with fries inside).

Here is the tasty dinner idea.

The Best Cheesy Quesadillas

Image and Recipe: The Kitchn

You can’t go wrong with a cheesy quesadilla recipe. They are quick to make and can make great leftovers to take to work the next day.

The best part is you can make them out of almost anything as long as you make sure they’re filled with ingredients you like. I usually like making mine with leftover chicken, spinach, and cheesy muenster.

Get the recipe here.

Tasty Chicken And Rice

Image and Recipe: i Heart Naptime

For a more filling simple dinner recipe try a chicken and rice combination. With the right spices, you can make this recipe super tasty and an absolute crowd pleaser.

Chicken and rice can go great with everything, whether you want to make it into a burrito or just add a nice kale salad on the side. Absolutely your dinner call.

Here is the easy recipe.

One Skillet Mexican Beef And Rice

Image and Recipe: i Wash You Dry

One skillet recipes are delicious and perfect for mixing all those leftover tidbits into one big scrumptious dinner. The one skillet mexican beef with rice dinner is sure to make a good dinner plan.

Here is how to put it together.

Grown Up Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Image and Recipe: Modern Honey

These are some of my absolute favorites to make and are a perfect dinner saver for when you’re in a hurry. It’s a super easy idea and you can get pretty creative with what you put together.

Here’s how to go about it

Easy Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

Image and Recipe: Inspired Taste

Chile verde chicken enchiladas are some of the best you’ll ever have, mostly because of how you prepare the chile verde sauce.

They’re easy to put together and just pop in the oven once you get all the ingredients together. Best of all you can substitute the chicken for ground turkey or even pork if you’re feelin’ extra fancy.

Snag the recipe here.

The ‘Take It Easy Fried Rice’

Image and Recipe: The Take It Easy Chef

The Take It Easy Fried Rice is pretty self-explanatory. I mean just look at how tasty it looks! Best of all you can put it together with some leftover rice and call it a dinner night.

Start learning how to put it together here.

Javier’s Huevos Rancheros

Image and Recipe: The Food Network

Try your hand at some Huevos Rancheros! It’s a quick and simple dinner recipe that doesn’t take long to learn and is an explosion of flavors in your mouth.

Here’s how you make them

Quick And Easy White Chicken Chili

Image and Recipe: Teal Notes

Our white chicken chili is YET another quick dinner idea that you can put together in no time! Best of all you can make it in a slow cooker so it doesn’t interfere with what you have to do during the day. A quick white chicken chili makes for a great weeknight dinner idea.

Find the quick dinner idea here

Crock Pot Baked Potato

Image and Recipe: Dinner-Mom

You can go wrong with a good old baked potato and how versatile it can be. Garnish it with some cheese and guac and you’re set.

If you don’t yet know how exactly you bake a potato, learn about it here.

Eggroll In A Bowl

Image and Recipe: Mostly Homemade Mom

Eggroll in a bowl is a must try easy meal recipe. If you are craving something ‘eggrolly’ but don’t have the patience to put it all together, make sure you try this recipe out to see how you like it.

Here is the recipe you can try

Pulled Pork

Image and Recipe: Natasha’s Kitchen

Pulled pork is another great simple dinner idea! It’s a nice addition to a salad or can even stand by itself. What brings it together nicely is a fresh coleslaw concoction that can add a nice bit of freshness to it all.

Here’s the awesome recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen

Grilled BBQ Chicken Bowl

Image and Recipe: Fit Foodie Finds

These BBQ Chicken Bowls look too delicious to pass up. You can use canned beans and corn to add as complements which cost next to nothing. Add some sour cream on top to garnish and you’re good to go.

Here’s the awesome dinner recipe!

Pork Carnitas Tacos

quick and easy dinner ideas, simple dinner ideas, Pork Carnitas Tacos are Slow Cooker Pork Tacos that are easy to make

Image and Recipe: Teal Notes

Pork Carnitas are some of the quickest things to make for dinner if you learn a few cooking shortcuts (this is were your slow cooker especially comes in handy). When you want some delicious pork tacos that are affordable AND quick to make then this recipe needs to make it into your favorites.

Check out the quick dinner idea here

Chorizo Stuffed Bell Peppers

Image and Recipe: Budget Bytes

Stuffed bell peppers are yet another creative way to end up with satisfied tummies all around. They are two things: easy to put together and cheap. Basically perfectly fitting the criteria for this dinner recipe list.

Learn how to prepare them here. 

Spaghetti Carbonara

Image and Recipe: Damn Delicious

Spaghetti Carbonara is a great way to stray away from the traditional tomato sauce and noodles recipe. This is especially true if you like cheese.

Damn Delicious teaches you how to put it together here.

Garlic Penne Pasta

Image and Recipe: Lil Luna

When one thinks of easy dinner ideas, one must not overlook the good old Penne Pasta recipe. It’s good for the wallet and good for the soul.

Here is how to put it together courtesy of Lil Luna

Classic Beef Chili

Image and Recipe: Brown Eyed Baker

You can’t go wrong with a good bowl of chili. And you can make your own tortilla chips to add to it or buy a cheap pack to throw in. Either that or you can add your favorite saltine crackers.

Here is the recipe by Brown Eyed Baker.

One-Pot Shrimp And Chorizo Rice

Image and Recipe: Erren’s Kitchen

Shrimp and chorizo rice sounds too good to be true! And if you think the shrimp part is too pricey you can always just exclude it or replace it with your favorite veggie or even chicken.

Here is the absolutely tasty recipe.

Quick Corn Chowder

Image and Recipe: Land O Lakes

Corn chowder is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about easy and simple (and tasty) meal recipes. But yeah, it’s a thing!

Plus ingredients like corn are some of the cheapest, since you can find it frozen or canned.

Here is your corn chowder recipe by Land O Lakes.

15 Minute Italian Meatballs

Image and Recipe: Don’t Waste The Crumbs

15 Minute Meatballs sound like a pretty good deal when you want something tasty that isn’t going take ages to put together.

Here is the recipe on Don’t Waste The Crumbs.

Chili Cheese Croissant Corn Dogs

Image and Recipe: Genius Kitchen

Here is a twist on plain old corn dogs, make them into chili cheese croissant corn dogs! The soft croissant dough makes it a perfect dinner choice since it comes prepared and you can quickly put them together and pop them in to bake.

Get the recipe at Genius Kitchen.

Roasted Cauliflower And Lentils Tacos

Image and Recipe: Cookie and Kate

Don’t mind legumes and cauliflower? Try your hand at these healthy tacos. Perfect for vegans or if you really aren’t trying to spend on meats.

Learn how to make it on Cookie and Kate.

Chicken Paprika Shepperd’s Pie

Image and Recipe: Betty Crocker

Have you ever tried shepherd’s pie? Well tonight might just be your night.It’s the perfect dinner idea for two. Easy, cheap, and tasty!

Get the recipe here.

Quick Shrimp Guacamole Ramen Noodle Bowl

Image and Recipe: Soup Addict

Here is an awesome new way to dress up your ramen noodle bowl. Just add some shrimp and guacamole sauce!

Learn how to make this easy idea on Soup Addict.

Cilantro Lime Pork

Image and Recipe: Bhg

These cilantro lime tacos look like the next best dinner idea you should try.

Here is the super tasty (and easy) recipe.

Lentil Patties

Image and Recipe: Mommy’s Home Cooking

Who says Lentils can’t be an awesome dinner ingredient? These lentil patties don’t think so!

Lentil patties can be used as a vegan burger option, or as just a complement to your favorite rice recipe. Your call.

But first learn how to put it all together over at Mommy’s Home Cooking.

Loaded Nachos

Image and Recipe: The Pioneer Woman

Loaded nachos are the absolute best! Regardless of whether you want some for lunch or dinner.

Here’s how The Pioneer Woman makes them.

Bacon Egg And Fried Rice

Image and Recipe: Buzzfeed

You definitely can’t go bad with bacon egg and fried rice. Enough said.

Here is the awesome recipe!

Crunchy Taco Kale Salad

Image and Recipe: How Sweet Eats

If you’re in the mood for a good salad. Look no further than this one, complete with crunchy tortilla pieces. It’s jam-packed with lots of tasty ingredients like cherry tomatoes, avocado and a special blend of spices.

Here’s how to put it together courtesy of Home Sweet Eats.

Easy French Dip Sandwiches

Image and Recipe: Cincy Shopper

You might not know what french dip sandwiches are. They are basically thinly sliced hot beef on a baguette. They can make a great simple dinner idea if you like subs and sandwiches and aren’t craving anything too particularly heavy.

Check out the recipe here.

Sesame Turkey Meatballs

Image and Recipe: Kalyn’s Kitchen

Turkey meatballs are a great way to cut out fats and create a healthier filling meal for dinner. You can buy some pretty cheap ground turkey packages to make into delicious meatballs you can put over pasta or rice (or even create meatball subs out of).

The sriracha part is also great for those that like super spicy foods.

Here’s how you make them.

Quick Easy Dinner Ideas Are Endless

While not all of these meals will make it on your top favorite quick dinner ideas list, there is plenty to choose from and experiment. It might take a while to get a meal plan down pat, but once you learn to make some easy dinner ideas you’ll be well on your way to making dinners/lunches practically with your eyes closed.

Sometimes we slip when it comes to weeknight cooking, and we’d rather order takeout, because, lets face it, its pretty easy! But once you learn some quick dinner ideas you’ll be well on your way to saving more money and curbing those cravings right at home.

Was there a recipe that was your favorite or that caught your eye the most? Make sure you leave a comment below letting everyone know!

Happy meal planning! 🙂

Easy Dinner Ideas

Sometimes you're in the kitchen and you're at a loss for what to make. You can look through this list to find your favorite meals to either make ahead for the week or keep in your recipe book!
Prep Time 1 hour


  • Find your recipe, click on the link for the full instructions, and start creating delicious meald for the whole family!

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