dirt cheap meals

20 Delicious Dirt Cheap Meals for a Tight Budget

We all know that eating out consistently is the quickest way to blow your food budget. While it is possible to save money eating out, eating on the run regularly is expensive and usually unhealthy.

On the flip side, it’s also easy to get carried away with your grocery budget. Especially if you’re trying to save money or need to cut back somewhere, saving money on groceries is one of the best places to start.

It can be hard to feed a family on a tight budget, but it is possible to cook delicious meals that are frugal and relatively quick to make.

Check out these dirt cheap meals that are easy and quick to make. Note that the cost reflects the cost of the ingredients needed for each meal, not to purchase the ingredients in the store. Each recipe serves 2-3 people.

20 Dirt Cheap Meals for a Tight Budget

1. Black Beans and Rice

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 4 Tbsp cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce

Preparation

Heat olive oil in a large skillet, then cook onion with green pepper until tender. Add to your beans, thyme, tomatoes, and garlic salt. After three minutes, add vinegar, pepper sauce. Cook for another five minutes, drain liquid, and you are ready to serve over cooked rice.

Preparation Time: 12 minutes

Cost: $6

2.Black Beans Burritos

If you love Burritos, here is a recipe you will enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 canned corn
  • 1.5 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 10 flour tortillas

Preparation

You will need to heat your skillet on medium, then add onions, beans, bell peppers, cilantro, butter, and spices. Cook for 4 minutes. Spoon bean mixture into tortilla and wrap. Repeat for all ten tortillas. Heat skillet with oil and add burritos for two minutes or until burritos change to a golden color. You’re ready to serve. 

Preparation Time: 10 minutes.

Cost: $6.50

3. Egg Salad Recipe

This egg salad recipe will go great on sandwiches.

Ingredients

  • 9 eggs
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • salt
  • 1/4 pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Preparation

Boiled eggs and remove from heat. Leave eggs in hot water for 10 minutes, then remove from water, peel shell, and chop into a bowl. Add mayonnaise, mustard, and onion into eggs along with the seasoned. Combine, and you’re ready to serve on your bread.

Preparation Time: 14 minutes

Cost: $5

4. Chicken and Dumplings 

Ingredients

  • 2 (10 0z) cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 chicken broth
  • 4 cups of shredded chicken
  • 2(10 oz) cans biscuit dough
  • frozen vegetables (optimal)

Preparation

Cook frozen vegetables until tender and drain. Stir soup into chicken broth, add shredded cooked chicken, vegetables into a large saucepan. Keep heat medium and let it simmer. Cut the biscuit into square shapes. Add biscuit into soup, stirring the mixture at a low. Let the mixture simmer between 10 to 14 minutes.

Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Cost: $8

5. Broccoli Casserole 

Ingredients

  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom
  • 2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 bags of frozen chopped broccoli
  • 12 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
  • salt
  • pepper

Preparation

You will need a 9×13 inch baking pan. Spray the pan. Next, add soup, mayonnaise, onions, and eggs to a mixing bowl and mix.

Take frozen broccoli and place it in a separate bowl. Add soup mixture and stir together. Add cheese and blend. Once you spread the ingredient out into the baking pan, add salt and pepper. The baking time is from forty minutes to one hour.

Preparation Time: 45 minutes to an hour 

Cost: $12

6. Salmon Croquettes

Like the taste of salmon, then you love this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 14.75 ounces can salmon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preparation

Mix your salmon, chopped onion, seasoning, lemon juice, black pepper, egg, and bread crumb into a bowl.

Combine ingredients into patties. Next, add vegetable oil into your skillet at a medium temperature. As soon as the oil is hot, place the patties into the skillet. Allow the patties to fry until golden brown.

You’re ready to serve.

Preparation Time: 16 minutes

Cost: $7

7. Chili

Nothing like a bowl of hot chili, especially when it’s cold outside or any other time. Here is a meatless recipe that will warm your inside.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped carrots,
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • l cup red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 28-ounce can of whole peeled and diced tomatoes
  • 1 19 ounces of kidney beans
  • 1 11 ounces of whole kernel corn un-drained
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil

Preparation

Heat oil over low to medium heat. Sauté your carrots, onions, then add the peppers and chili powder. Let it cook for 6 minutes or until the vegetables are tenderized. Add one to two cups of mushrooms. You’ll need to combine your undrained tomatoes, kidney beans, and corn into the mix. Add seasons, including cumin, oregano, and basil. Lower heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Preparation Time: 55 minutes

Cost: $7

8. Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 slice bread
  • your favorite cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 cans of creamy tomato soup

Preparation

Place butter on one side of your bread, then into a hot skillet. Add the cheese to the side, not butter. Cook until crunchy and cheese melts. Flip the bread over and cook until both sides are a nice golden brown. Heat your favorite can of soup, and you are ready to go.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cost: $4

9. Oatmeal with Raisins

How about a quick breakfast meal that takes no longer than 10 to 12 minutes? Perfect for when you’re in a hurry.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup raisin
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon

Preparation

Cook your oats according to the box, add salt, raisins, cinnamon, brown sugar. Place it into a bowl and watch it disappear.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cost: around $4

10. Pancakes 

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/5 salt
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter

Preparation

Beat egg yolks separate from white, then sieve baking soda, salt, sugar, and flour together and add butter, vanilla, and egg yolk into dry ingredients. Add butter. Beat egg whites and blend into the batter. You’re ready to place them on a hot skillet. After three minutes, flip and cook until the edges are solid and pancakes turn golden brown.

Preparation Time: 13 minutes

Cost: $3

11. Cabbage Soup 

Ingredients

  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 teaspoons of extra olive oil
  • 6 cups of cabbage cut up
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 (14 oz) stewed tomatoes chopped and drained

Preparation

Heat olive oil on medium in a pot, add your onion, garlic, and cook for five minutes on medium-low heat. Add 6 cups of chicken broth, then cabbage. Let cabbage simmer for about ten minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes and let it simmer for 15 minutes while stirring.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cost: $6

12. Baked Chicken and Rice 

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 oz can) of mushroom soup
  • cup of water
  • 3/4 cup uncooked white rice
  • 4 small boneless without the skin chicken breast
  • pinch of salt
  • paprika

Preparation

Heat oven to 375. Place soup, rice, water into a baking pan dish and add salt, pepper, and paprika. Add chicken to the rice and cover the dish. Place in the oven for about 45 minutes. Leave in the oven for 10 minutes, and you’re ready to serve.

Preparation Time: 1 hour and five minutes.

Cost: $8

13. Garlic Roasted Chicken

For this one, you’ll be using a crock-pot.

Ingredients

  • 3 lb chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/3 lb butter
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Preparation

Add salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic to the chicken. Place chicken into a crockpot. Place cut pieces of butter onto the chicken, then fill the crock-pot with broth. Let the chicken cook between 6 and 8 hours. You’re ready to serve.

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cost: $7

14. Pork chops

Ingredients

  • 5 pork chops
  • Salt
  • pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 (10.75 ounces) can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup of mushrooms

Preparation

Add your seasons to pork chops. Place in a large skillet and cook on medium heat until brown. Now add onions, mushrooms to the pork chops and cook on low for two minutes. Place cream of mushroom soup over pork chops and place the lid on top. Let pork chop simmer for 25 minutes to 30 minutes.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Cost: $10

15. Homemade Burgers

This list wouldn’t be complete without a recipe for burgers. Most of the ingredients you probably already have at your home.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup onion minced
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/5 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 cloves of garlic

Preparation

Mix ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, onion, Worcestershire, garlic, salt, and pepper. Shape ingredients into four burgers. Next, place the burger in a hot skillet, and cook until browned on both sides. Remove and serve on a toasted bun, add mayonnaise, mustard, burger, and ketchup along with tomato, lettuce. Add cheese if you like.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cost: $8

16. Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups of chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 cup of Original Bisquick
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can (10 oz) cream of chicken soup

Preparation

Heat your oven to 375. Ready a 9-inch bake pan, spray the pan lightly with cooking spray. Add vegetables, chicken, cream of chicken soup, and mix to the pan. Combine Bisquick with milk and egg, then add on top of chicken ingredients. Bake for 30 minutes.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Cost: $6.50

17. Corn Dog Recipe

For this recipe, you need to purchase corn dog sticks. You can get 100 kabob sticks to skewer hot dogs, fruit appetizers, and corn for under 3.00 dollars online.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 12 hot dogs
  • 12 sticks
  • 2 quarts of vegetable oil

Preparation

If you don’t have a deep fryer, use a large deep pot and heat the oil to 350 Fahrenheit. Mix cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt in a large bowl. Now add the eggs, buttermilk, honey, and vegetable oil and blend the ingredient.

Next, take hot dogs and skewer sticks into each. Pour your batter into a tall glass and dip each hot dog into the batter. Add the dogs into hot oil to fry. Allow the hot dog to sink. You can use tongs to turn them. Make sure the hot dogs are browning correctly, which should take about three minutes. Take hot dogs out and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up the grease.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cost: $5

18. Avocado Sandwich Recipe

If you like avocados, this recipe requires no cooking or baking, only a few ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 4 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • A pinch of salt

Preparation

Remove pits from avocados. Mash avocados into a mixing bowl, combine yogurt, mustard, lime juice, salt. You’re ready to serve on sandwich bread or chips.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cost: $5

19. Homemade Pot Beef Stew

You can make this recipe in your crock-pot or on the stove. Either way, the stew will taste just as good.

Ingredients

  • 1lb of beef stew cubes or cut into smaller pieces.
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 cups of beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 5 diced carrots
  • 4 cut up or cubed potatoes

Preparation

Prepare the above ingredients and mix them into a crockpot or a pot on the stove. Let the crockpot sit or occasionally stir on the stove.

Preparation Time: One hour and Forty-five minutes

Cost: $10

20. Sloppy Joes Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1 1/5 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 buns

Preparation

Prepared skillet to medium heat, then add ground beef and onion. Keep stirring the beef until the meat turns brown. Drain the liquid and stir in the rest of the ingredients, then reduce the heat to low. Let your sloppy joes simmer for about 10 minutes. Don’t forget to stir. After ten minutes, you are ready to serve.

Preparation Time: 18 minutes

Cost: $8

Moral of the Story 

It’s much easier to stick to a food budget eating at home, but that doesn’t mean that your meals need to be elaborate, time-consuming, or expensive.

With a few simple ingredients, you can whip up these dirt cheap meals in an hour or less or leave them to cook in a crockpot while you do other things.

With such a range of dirt cheap meals for every time of the day, which ones will you be trying next?

 

 

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