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Delicious Summer Dinners on a Budget

By Carolyn Malcoun, July 7, 2014 - 4:29pm

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I love summer. There’s just so much going on. Summer concerts in the park. Hikes and bike rides. Barbecues with friends. Trips to the ice cream stand.

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What I don’t love, though, is the hit my bank account seems to take right about now. Rather than cutting back on summer fun, I put my grocery budget on a financial diet. All these recipes clock in at $3 or less per serving, so I can spend more money on those fun summer activities. Added bonus? Not a one takes more than 30 minutes to get on the table, so we can play outside to our hearts’ content.

Here's what's on my menu this week:

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Mozzarella, Basil & Zucchini FrittataMonday: Mozzarella, Basil & Zucchini Frittata
Serve with a tossed salad and a slice of olive oil-drizzled crusty baguette
This vegetable-studded frittata recipe is one of the quickest meals you can make. Leftovers are great for breakfast or lunch.

Pork & Broccoli Thai Noodle SaladTuesday: Pork & Broccoli Thai Noodle Salad
Serve with a glass of Riesling and sliced mangoes.
Crunchy broccoli slaw—available in most supermarkets near the other coleslaw mixes—is the secret to making this Thai noodle recipe super-fast. If you have the time and want to make your own broccoli slaw, shred broccoli stems through the large holes of a box grater. Making the pork patties while the water for the noodles comes to a boil ensures the pork and noodles will be done at the same time.

Southwestern Beef & Bean Burger WrapsWednesday: Southwestern Beef & Bean Burger Wraps
Serve with coleslaw mix tossed with lime juice, rice vinegar and canola oil and an ice-cold beer.
Kids and adults alike will love these quick, zippy burgers. The beans make the burgers a little fragile, so be careful when taking them off the broiler pan.

Seared Chicken with Lemon-Herb Cream SauceThursday: Seared Chicken with Lemon-Herb Cream Sauce
Serve with roasted green beans and lemony rice.
In this healthy chicken recipe, chicken breasts are quickly pan-seared and then topped with a lemon-herb cream sauce. The healthy cream sauce recipe uses yogurt and actually contains no cream at all. The cream sauce also pairs well with seasoned pan-seared cod or salmon.

Don't Miss: Our Best Summer Chicken Recipes

Greek Pasta SaladFriday: Greek Pasta Salad
Serve with pita chips and fresh berries.
This quick, healthy Greek pasta salad recipe is tossed with all the elements of a Greek salad—plus chickpeas for added protein. This pasta salad holds well in the refrigerator or a cooler and tastes even better as the pasta absorbs the tomato-infused vinaigrette.

What are your favorite summery money-saving meals? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Carolyn Malcoun, Food Blog, Budget meals, Dinner

Carolyn Malcoun
A graduate of New England Culinary Institute and University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism, Carolyn pairs her long-standing love for food with writing as EatingWell's senior food editor. Carolyn’s culinary interest is rooted in her childhood; she grew up making thousands of Christmas cookies every year with her mom and picking leaves off bunches of parsley to make tabbouleh with her dad. Away from the kitchen, Carolyn enjoys seeking out rare craft beers and exploring the outdoors with her husband, young daughter and dog.

Carolyn asks: What are your favorite summery money-saving meals?

Tell us what you think:

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