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5 Best Budget-Friendly Recipes That Are Better Than Takeout

We always search for weekday dinners that are budget-friendly, quick, and simple because, after all, we have to wait all day for them, and they cannot disappoint. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a satisfying family dinner because you can make something delicious in your own kitchen in less than one hour. This way, you will save money by choosing the best affordable proteins and time by making everything in one pan. Sounds nice, right?

No matter how picky you are, I am sure that at least one of these awesome recipes will appeal to you. Read on to find out how you can cook something delicious from scratch so you can ditch takeout in the blink of an eye!

Photo by pilipphoto From Shutterstock

1. BBQ chicken twice-baked potatoes

Whenever you miss summertime BBQ chicken but you’re not ready to spend a lot of money on ordering it, and you want a budget-friendly version of it, you can make stuffed sweet potatoes with grilled chicken in your own kitchen. Mmmmm, sounds tasty, right? Topped with some shredded Gouda cheese and your favorite BBQ sauce.

Let’s see what ingredients you need to make your BBQ chicken and twice-baked potatoes.


4 medium sweet potatoes

1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil

A pinch of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups of shredded grilled chicken

1/2 cup of barbecue sauce plus more for serving

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

1/2 small red onion (thinly sliced)

1 small jalapeno

1 cup of shredded smoked Gouda

How to: 

Preheat your oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit and place the sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Add a bit of oil, then toss with salt and pepper. Bake the potatoes until they become tender, for about an hour or so, depending on their size. Allow each sweet potato to cool slightly before cutting along the top of each one with a paring knife and inserting both ends to form a well.

In the meantime, in a medium-sized bowl, toss the chicken with the barbecue sauce and a bit of garlic. Stuff the mixture into sweet potatoes, then top with red onion, jalapeno, and the shredded Gouda cheese. Put them back in the oven (for about 15 minutes) and bake until the cheese is completely melted and the chicken is warmed.

Sprinkle with barbecue sauce before serving. Enjoy!

Do these awesome budget-friendly recipes sound appealing? Have you made them before? Tell us in the comments.

2. Smoked salmon pasta

I always tend to associate salmon with something fancy and expensive. But the truth is, it’s one of the simplest and fastest dinners we can actually make. The dish is going to be ready in less than 40 minutes, plus it’s going to be super budget-friendly! I am pretty sure that your guests will be impressed by this tasty food. Let’s see what you need for it.


1 lb. of spaghetti

1/2 chopped red onion

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

1/4 cup of white wine

3/4 cup of heavy cream

1/2 cup of lemon juice

A pinch of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 lb of smoked salmon (thinly cut into bite-size pieces)

1/4 cup of capers

2 tbsp of freshly chopped dill

How to: 

In a large pot with salted water, cook your spaghetti accordingly until al dente. In the meantime, in a large skillet, heat up the olive oil, then add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until it becomes soft and translucent, then add the garlic and cook everything for 1 more minute. In the end, add wine and cook until almost completely reduced for another 5 minutes. Gradually add the lemon juice and the heavy cream to the mixture and cook until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook until the salmon, dill, and capers are warmed (about 2 minutes), then toss the sauce and spaghetti together. In case the sauce is too thick, add 1/4 cup of pasta water. In the end, garnish with more dill and serve.

Delicious, right? Next time you’re in doubt about what to have for dinner that’s quick and budget-friendly, try out this amazing recipe. I can guarantee you won’t regret it!

Photo by gkrphoto From Shutterstock

3. Chicken fried rice

Originally, this recipe was created as a method to use up leftover rice that had dried up but was still completely edible despite not being as good on its own. The first great choice I can think of if you want to prepare a delicious meal from scratch is certainly chicken fried rice. Additionally, you will save a lot of money because this delicious recipe is also budget-friendly!


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 chicken breasts (medium size)

a pinch of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp of sesame oil

1 medium chopped onion

2 peeled and diced carrots

3 cloves of garlic (minced)

1 tbsp. of freshly minced ginger

4 cups of cooked rice (preferably leftover)

3/4 cups of frozen peas

3 large eggs (beaten)

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 green onions (thinly sliced)

How to: 

In a non-stick pan, heat the olive oil, and meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, then add them to the skillet and cook until they turn golden (I would recommend 8 minutes per side). Then remove them from the skillet and let them cool for 5 minutes. In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and add the onion and the carrots. Cook them until they are soft, but no more than 5 minutes. Then add garlic and ginger and cook until everything is fragrant for one more minute. Stir in peas and rice and cook for 2 more minutes (use a wooden spoon).

Push the rice to one side of the pan and add the remaining ingredients, including sesame oil, to the other side of the pan. Add the egg and stir until everything is almost fully cooked, then fold the scrambled eggs into the rice.

Meanwhile, cut the chicken into small bites and return it to the pan with the soy sauce and green onions, stirring everything together.


Have you ever tried this awesome budget-friendly recipe before? Tell us in the comments.

4. One-pan creamy chicken and gnocchi

Chicken breast is my go-to item whenever I want to cook something quick and healthy. Because it is also a budget-friendly, versatile food that can be prepared in a variety of ways, chicken has been included in a lot of recipes lately. This dish, together with gnocchi, makes an outstanding combo that can be an easy comfort meal perfect for your weeknight dinners. Let’s see what you need for it.


1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts

A pinch of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small shallot (diced)

8 oz. of mushrooms

2 cloves of minced garlic

1 tsp. of fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp of dried oregano

1 cup of low-sodium chicken broth

A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

17 oz. of gnocchi package

3/4 cups of shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 cups of baby spinach

How to: 

First of all, you must season the chicken breast on both sides with salt and pepper. Then, in a large non-stick pan, heat that 1 tablespoon of olive oil at medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook it until it turns golden (about 4 minutes per side), and then remove it from the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and add the remaining oil. Gradually add the shallot and the mushrooms and cook them until brown, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, garlic, and oregano and cook until fragrant for 1 more minute.

Add broth and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, then bring it to a simmer. Add the pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes and stir them together with the gnocchi. Let everything simmer until the chicken is cooked and its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and then remove it from the pan. Drizzle the shredded cheese and stir until it’s completely melted, and then add the spinach to the sauce. After you slice the chicken breast, return it to the pan and season it with more pepper to taste.

Pass the fork!

Photo by Esin Deniz From Shutterstock

5. Stuffed peppers

Bell peppers are so tasty and healthy, and because of that, during the summer, I don’t waste any given opportunity to include them in my meals. They are known as being the best source of vitamin C, especially the red ones. Bell peppers are full of antioxidants that can help you protect against cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer. In terms of food, bell pepper is an excellent vessel for rice, meat, and cheese.

Its body is full and strong enough to hold it firmly during cooking, and the flavor goes perfectly with almost anything. If you are looking for a budget-friendly recipe that is easy to make and has a pretty taste even after reheating, classic stuffed bell peppers are definitely among the best ones.


1/2 cup of uncooked rice

2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil

1 medium chopped onion

2 tbsp. of tomato paste

3 cloves of minced garlic

1 lb. of ground beef

14.5-oz can of diced tomatoes

1 tsp of dried oregano

A pinch of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 bell peppers (tops and cores removed)

1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack

Freshly chopped parsley

How to: 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and meanwhile, in a saucepan, prepare the rice accordingly. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onion until it turns soft, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the tomato paste and cook them for 1 minute. To this mixture, add the ground beef and cook for no more than 6 minutes, and then drain the fat. Return the meat to the pan and gradually add the cooked rice and the diced tomatoes.

Season everything with oregano, salt, and pepper, and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Place the cut-side-up peppers in a baking dish and sprinkle them with some oil. Put the beef mixture into each pepper and top with the shredded Monterey Jack, then bake everything for about 35 minutes. Garnish with parsley before serving. They’re going to be amazingly delicious!

Have you tried making this recipe before? Besides being easy to make, this is also a budget-friendly dish that will come to your help whenever you want to cook something yummy for your family dinners.

How do these mouthwatering budget-friendly recipes sound? Are there some other ones that you’ve tried before? Leave a comment and share them with us! We’re eager to find more budget-friendly recipes that won’t wreak havoc on our wallets whenever we’re craving something delicious but also healthy.

Because we’re on a roll with a lot of amazing and delicious tips for how to jump-start a healthier life, we have more interesting articles we think you will love, including this one: 8 Best Cast-Iron Skillet Foods That You Shouldn’t Cook Otherwise.

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