7-Day Meal Plan: Easy Cheap $3 Dinners
Making budget-friendly meals that are healthy and delicious is easy with this cheap and healthy meal plan. Each of these dinners rings in at $3 or less per serving and is ready in no more than 40 minutes. The recipes use classic pantry staples like pasta, beans, brown rice and dried spices, plus a mix of fresh ingredients that make for fast and fresh meals, like the Sesame Ginger Pork Patty with Grilled Pineapple and Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl. You (and your wallet) will love this healthy meal plan on a budget.
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$2.38 per serving
Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl: Quinoa and chickpeas are essential pantry staples that pack this vegetarian grain bowl with plenty of plant-based protein. Whip up this quick recipe for dinner, and make an extra batch to pack for an easy, healthy grab & go lunch this week.
Day 2: Salsa-Black Bean Burgers
$2.13 per serving
Salsa-Black Bean Burgers: Salsa and some budget-friendly pantry staples give this vegetarian bean burger recipe tons of flavor. We use crushed tortilla chips to bind the burgers together, making them a great vehicle for using up those crumbs that inevitably fall to the bottom of the bag.
$1.53 per serving
Fish Fillets with Pineapple & Jalapeño Salsa: Serve simple sautéed fish fillets with jalapeño-spiked pineapple salsa for a Caribbean-inspired meal. Serve with black beans and brown rice-two cheap pantry staples-to round out your meal. Instead of buying a small pineapple like this recipe suggest, go for a larger one as you'll use pineapple again later this week in the Sesame Ginger Pork Patty with Grilled Pineapple recipe.
Day 4: Bean & Veggie Taco Bowl
$2.56 per serving
Bean & Veggie Taco Bowl: Canned black beans, precooked rice and whatever veggies you have on hand are all it takes to whip up this fast and flavorful bean and veggie taco bowl. You'll skip the trip to the grocery store, saving yourself time and money, by using what you already have stashed in the panty and the fridge.
Day 5: Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas
$2.73 per serving
Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas: One sheet-pan is all you'll need to whip up these zesty chicken fajitas. They're quick and easy to make and cleanup is even faster! This recipe uses classic pantry staples you likely have on hand-spices like chili powder and cumin, plus onions and a lime-which helps to keep your shopping list short and your grocery bill small.
$1.91 per serving
Sesame Ginger Pork Patty with Grilled Pineapple: Ditch the bun and serve this Asian-inspired pork burger with sweet grilled pineapple on top of a zesty watercress-and-carrot salad (or simply use whatever greens you have on hand). We like the taste and texture of fresh pineapple for this recipe, but canned pineapple rings work well too. Serve this alongside brown rice or another pantry-friendly whole grain.
$1.15 per serving
One-Pot Italian Sausage Kale Pasta: For a fast weeknight pasta dinner, why not cook your sauce and pasta all at once? By using the exact amount of water you need to cook the pasta-no colanders here-the starch that cooks off into your pasta water, which you usually drain away, stays in the pot, giving you delectably creamy results. At just $1.15 per serving, this budget recipe is a balanced and delicious choice for dinner.
Watch: How to Make Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas