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Dinners So Delicious You’ll Never Believe They’re This Cheap to Make

Just because you’re being frugal when making dinner that doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious. Here are 14 affordable dinner recipes that no one will believe that you made on the cheap. Pro tip: stock up on chicken, beef and pork when they’re on sale so your supper pricetag can be even lower.

Close-up of two slices of medium-rare steak on a black plate, with a fork and a lemon wedge in the background.
Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

Honey Chipotle Steak and Potatoes

A fork piercing a piece of a seasoned roasted potato.
Honey Chipotle Steak and Potatoes. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

This Honey Chipotle Steak and Potatoes dish has all the flavor, including seasoned, roasted potatoes and tender steak bites cooked in a rich sweet and spicy smoky sauce made with honey, chipotle and garlic.
Get the Recipe: Honey Chipotle Steak and Potatoes

Italian Sausage and Pepper Pasta in One Pot

A close-up of creamy macaroni and cheese garnished with parsley.
Italian Sausage and Pepper Pasta in One Pot. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

You’ll love this Italian Sausage and Pepper Pasta dish for a number of reasons. One, you’ll use only one dish to make dinner. Two, it’s on the table in under 30 minutes. And three, it’s delicious.
Get the Recipe: Italian Sausage and Pepper Pasta in One Pot

30-Minute Creamy Chicken Corn and Pasta

Creamy Chicken And Corn Pasta closeup partial of finished dish cropped horizontal.
30-Minute Creamy Chicken Corn and Pasta. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

Pasta is always an affordable option for cooks on a budget. With this Creamy Chicken Corn and Pasta recipe, you’ll use bowtie pasta mixed with seasoned chicken chunks and topped with bacon.
Get the Recipe: 30-Minute Creamy Chicken Corn and Pasta

Pork Loin in the Crock Pot

A person eating shredded chicken with a fork, served on a white plate with roasted sweet potatoes in the background.
Pork Loin in the Crock Pot. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

When cooking this pork loin in the Crock Pot recipe, line the bottom of the crock with chunks of sweet potato, regular potato or another starch. Then, when it’s ready, you have a main dish and side.
Get the Recipe: Pork Loin in the Crock Pot

Shrimp Scampi Over Linguine

Close-up of linguine pasta with shrimp and parsley.
Shrimp Scampi Over Linguine. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

If you have leftover linguini in the fridge and frozen shrimp in the freezer, you can combine the two to make this classic Italian dish. It may not scream Tuesday night dinner, but it works.
Get the Recipe: Shrimp Scampi Over Linguine

Broccoli Chicken Cheese Casserole

A plate of chicken with rice garnished with parsley on a white surface with an orange napkin, wooden utensils, and ingredients nearby.
Broccoli Chicken Cheese Casserole. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

This fast and inexpensive Broccoli Chicken Cheese Casserole recipe ticks all the boxes: protein, veggies and cheese. Plus, you’re using a store-bought rice and pasta blend — purchased with a coupon, of course.
Get the Recipe: Broccoli Chicken Cheese Casserole

Easy Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole

A bowl of rice with corn and herbs on a striped cloth with garnishes on the side.
Easy Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

Looking to save money? Find ways to turn last night’s leftovers into something new for tonight. That’s what this Easy Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole Recipe is all about. You make it with leftover rice, chicken and cheese.
Get the Recipe: Easy Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole

Salmon in the Air Fryer

A fork holding a piece of cooked salmon, with more salmon fillets, lemon slices, and seasoning shakers in the background.
Salmon in the Air Fryer. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

To get more salmon in your diet on a budget, buy it frozen and in bulk from your favorite warehouse or wholesale club. Then, pop it in the air fryer where, in no time, you’ll have a beautifully cooked filet.
Get the Recipe: Salmon in the Air Fryer

Air Fryer Ribeye Steaks

Close-up of a stack of medium-rare, seasoned steak slices, showcasing a pink and juicy interior with a seared crust.
Air Fryer Ribeye Steaks. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

This Air Fryer Ribeye Steaks recipe has just four ingredients. That’s one of the reasons it is so affordable. Also, prep time is about 10 minutes, and it’s ready to eat in about 20 minutes.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Ribeye Steaks

Copycat Supermarket Chicken Rotisserie

Close-up of a roasted chicken with crispy, golden-brown skin seasoned with herbs and coarse salt, on a wooden cutting board.
Copycat Supermarket Chicken Rotisserie. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

You think that a supermarket rotisserie chicken is the cheapest option? Think again. This recipe for how to cook a whole chicken in an air fryer will change your mind about supermarket rotisserie chicken forever.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Supermarket Chicken Rotisserie

Copycat Trader Joe’s Arancini Rice Balls

A person pulling apart a gooey, cheese-filled arancini with more of the fried rice balls and sauce in the background.
Copycat Trader Joe’s Arancini Rice Balls. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

One of my favorite ways to save money is by finding new ideas for leftovers. With these copycat Trader Joe’s arancini rice balls, you can use leftover risotto to make these cheese-filled fried balls.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Trader Joe’s Arancini Rice Balls

Steak in the Air Fryer

Sliced medium-rare steak seasoned with pepper and served with a slice of lemon on parchment paper.
Steak in the Air Fryer. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

If your budget only allows for a cheaper slab of beef, great news: when you cook steak in the air fryer, it comes out tasting like you got an expensive cut. Think the budget version of sirloin.
Get the Recipe: Steak in the Air Fryer

Barbecue Sauce Chicken Drumsticks in Air Fryer

A close-up of chopsticks holding a piece of glazed, grilled chicken. The chicken appears juicy and well-cooked.
Barbecue Sauce Chicken Drumsticks in Air Fryer. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

My grandmother always made barbecue chicken when we went to her house for a weeknight dinner. She was as frugal as they come. When you employ your air fryer, you can make them, too, on the cheap.
Get the Recipe: Barbecue Sauce Chicken Drumsticks in Air Fryer

Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

Close-up of a stack of seasoned, grilled chicken drumsticks, with one drumstick partially eaten, revealing moist, cooked meat inside. A lemon wedge and herbs are visible in the background.
Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks. Photo credit: Bagels and Lasagna.

Experience the delicious taste of fried chicken without the oil or hassle by preparing these chicken drumsticks in the air fryer. The entire process, from prep to cooking, takes just 30 minutes.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

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