Easy and Affordable Meal Ideas

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen that I occasionally like to post what’s for dinner at our house! It was a struggle eating at home when we first started doing it, so I wanted to share some of our tried and true, go-to recipes! (I’ve included pictures of some of the dinners — sometimes I was too hungry to take one..oops!)

When Chris and I first moved in together, we knew we needed to make more of an effort to eat at home since it was cheaper and healthier than eating out all the time. As we’ve bought a home, started a business, and had a child, our need for easy, fast, affordable, and healthy meals has only increased!

Over the past few years, I’ve spent A TON of time looking for recipes that meet my criteria:

  • Quick to make: most nights I don’t have the time to spend more than an hour prepping and cooking dinner. All of these recipes can either be thrown in a crockpot and left alone all day or require little time in the kitchen.
  • Affordable: for our family, there’s no point in eating at home if the grocery bill is the same as it would be had we eaten out for every meal.
  • Healthy: okay, so these recipes aren’t necessarily super healthy. But the fact that you’re cooking at home and know exactly what’s going in your food usually makes it healthier than any meal you’d get at a restaurant. For every meal, I am to try for a good amount of vegetables, substituting any grains for whole grains, and we’re also trying to eat more lean meats.
  • Bonus points if the recipe can be made in bulk and frozen!
  • Extra bonus points if there are leftovers for lunches throughout the week!

Every week when we get groceries, I plan for 4-5 dinners + something simple for a few lunches (like groceries to make sandwiches). I also buy a few vegetables to add to the meals — broccoli and asparagus are usually affordable. The leftovers from all the dinners are usually eaten for lunches throughout the week + a night of leftovers for dinner. That’s usually enough food for 5-6 dinners and lunch for the week. Here’s an example of what we ate for dinner during the week a few weeks ago:

For lunches that same week, we had spaghetti and/or leftovers from the night before. The spaghetti sauce and chili were recipes I’d made the week before that we had in the freezer. I’ll make a big batch of the spaghetti sauce, freeze it into 3 or 4 large portions, and each portion will last us about a week for lunches and/or dinner.

Here’s what we ate for dinner this week (with spaghetti and leftovers for lunches):

Here’s a link to my Pinterest board! For more ideas, check out my Recipes board and Slow Cooker Recipes board. I’ve also recently started an Air Fryer Recipes board because of my newest air fryer obsession.


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