If you want to be better at saving money, one place to start is with dinner. Making dinner at home more often and relying less on delivery or dinner out is a strategy that's made easy with the help of this meal plan. To keep things simple and cheap during the workweek, stick to recipes with only five ingredients (not including the bare essentials like oil, salt and pepper) and rely on low-cost items, like canned beans, brown rice and on-sale veggies. We used these budget-friendly strategies in this meal plan and came up with five days of cheap and healthy dinners, all coming in under $50 (main and side dishes included). With the money you save during the week, you can feel better about treating yourself for dinner out during the weekend! Use this meal plan as your guide and browse our other healthy budget recipes for ideas and inspiration.
Chicken Enchilada-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: This healthy 5-ingredient spaghetti squash recipe is a satisfying low-carb alternative to taco night. If you have leftover cooked chicken on hand, skip Step 2 and stir 2½ cups into the filling. Look for an enchilada sauce with less than 300 mg of sodium per serving, such as Hatch brand.
Italian Zucchini-Topped Baked Potato: Quick-sautéed zucchini with dried herbs, canned tomatoes and a little Italian cheese adds punch to a plain potato. To round out the meal, serve with mixed greens dressed with olive oil and red-wine vinegar. This extra-affordable dinner tonight leaves you some extra cash for fresh salmon in tomorrow night's slightly more expensive meal.
Fresh Herb Shrimp Linguini: A simple and easy pasta dinner recipe, it doesn't take much to pack in the flavor, thanks to garlic, rosemary and cheese. To round out the meal, serve with steamed broccoli (or whatever is on sale at the grocery store). Save money on your grocery bill by reusing the shredded Italian cheese that's used in the Italian Zucchini-Topped Baked Potato recipe rather than buying Parmesan (or choose one or the other for both recipes).
Barbecue Chicken Pizza: Much cheaper than ordering out, this classic barbecue chicken pizza is low-cost and has an added health bonus—shredded zucchini hidden in the sauce for an extra serving of veggies. Serve this pizza with carrot sticks and hummus.
Black Bean Quesadillas: These satisfying quesadillas take just 15 minutes to make and use healthy budget-friendly canned black beans. Whatever canned black beans you have on hand will work well in this recipe. If you like a little heat, add crushed red pepper flakes. Serve with mixed greens dressed with olive oil and red-wine vinegar.