15 Quick & Easy Recipes on a Budget

Food isn't cheap and life is busy. Whether you're a college student living paycheck to paycheck, a mother trying to make a quick meal that everyone loves, or just a fan of saving money, having some go-to recipes you can turn to can be a lifesaver!

So below I've shared 14 of our favorite lunch/dinner recipes, and one scrumptious breakfast/desert recipe! Some of the recipes come from other blogger friends/Pinterest, some are recipes I've tweaked, and some are family favorites passed down.

Either way, two weeks worth of meals is always great to have on hand! Plus, as a family of 3, when I make each meal, we almost always have enough leftovers for the 3 of us for lunch the next day.

Meal Plans Week 1

Monday: Chicken n' Dumplins

This hearty recipe is one of my favorite Pinterest recipes to date! With only 4 ingredients (plus pepper), it only takes 30 minutes to prep AND cook! We like to cook it for dinner, then save the rest for lunch the next day! It refrigerates well!

For the full recipe, jump over to www.southernkissed.com!

Tuesday: Dorrito Casserole

I'm not going to lie, when my husband first showed me this recipe, I thought it looked as gross as it sounded, but boy was I wrong! This is now a regular in our rotation of meals! I've used both cooked or canned chicken for this recipe, both work well.

Check out the recipe here!

Wednesday: Cajun Chicken Pasta

Where's all my pasta lovers at? This simple meal is so filling! The cajun spice with fresh tomatoes is such a savory flavor! The original recipe calls for lemon zest, but instead I use two drops of Lemon Essential oil and it tastes even fresher! Hop on over and try this recipe!

Thursday: Potato Soup

I've tried several different potato soup recipes in my life and I've never been a big fan of this soup. My roommate in college made a pretty good crockpot one, but then I stumbled upon a couple different ones on Pinterest and I've tweaked this recipe to make it my own, you can find how to make this soup over on my blog!

Friday: Biscuits and Gravy

I don't know about you, but we love brinner (aka breakfast for dinner). This 3 ingredient (minus the salt + pepper) homemade sausage gravy is so good! Every time I eat it, it reminds me of my Nana's gravy that we used to eat with her homemade biscuits! We like to use Blue and Gold sausage, but any kind will work! Check out the recipe here!

*Tip: To make your gravy thicker, add in a little extra flour.

Saturday: Taquitos

You can't beat a good taquito! We love popping these in for a quick lunch on Saturday! Sometimes I'll even prep them Friday night so I can be even more lazy on Saturday (no shame). These also make for a great appetizer/party food if you want impress your friends with a yummy, but super easy food! Click here to see how to make them!

Sunday: Roast + Veggies

Growing up, I remember having Sunday lunch at my Grandma's and many times, she made a delicious roast with the perfect, soft carrots and potatoes. What I love about this recipe is that I can pop it in the crock pot in the morning before I leave for church and when we get home, lunch is ready and my house smells delcious!

I found the original recipe here, and she cooks hers in the oven, but I've tweaked it some and here is how I make it instead:


3-5 pounds roast

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons of garlic cloves

3 Cups of beef/chicken broth

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

3 Tablespoons dry minced onion

1 Teaspoon onion powder

1 Teaspoon garlic powder

1 Teaspoon salt

1/2 Teaspoon pepper

1 Tablespoon bay leaves

1 Package of baby carrots

1 Bag of small potatoes

Put the roast in the crockpot, pour everything in. Add your veggies. Cook on low for 5 hours.

Meal Plans Week 2

Monday: Chicken Enchiladas

So this recipe is actually from my mother-in-law, but I love it because of how quick I can put them together and have a nice, hot meal that tastes much more complex than it is to make. It's also a great "meal train meal" to give too! Just prep it the night before, cover with foil, pop it in the fridge. Then we're you're ready to eat, pop it in the oven and they're ready to eat in 30 minutes!


8 oz. sour cream

1 package of flour/soft tortilla shells

1 cup of fiesta blend cheese

1 can cream of chicken

2 cans of chicken breast

Mix together the sour cream, cheese + cream of chicken.

Shred your canned chicken in a separate bowl.

Grab a casserole dish and spread a thin layer of the sour cream mixture on the bottom of the pan. Add a dollop of the mixture to each tortilla and fill with chicken.

Roll them up and place them in the dish.

Cover with foil.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

*Once the timer goes off, I like to sprinkle a little extra cheese on top and stick back in until melted (1-2 minutes).*

Serve with tortilla chips + guac!

Tuesday: Meatloaf + Mashed Potatoes

When I was younger, I hated meat loaf. With a passion. Honestly, I hated it until I tried my mother-in-law's (in case you haven't noticed, she's a pretty good cook!). Her meatloaf was the first meatloaf I actually liked and now it is a regular meal at our house!


1-1.5 lb. Ground beef

2 Beaten eggs

2/3 Cup of Italian bread crumbs

1 Cup Milk

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Sage

Pour the milk into a bowl and add your bread crumbs.

Let them soak for about 5 minutes.

Add in the meat, eggs, salt + sage. Stir/Mush together.

Form it into a loaf and put into pan.

Meatloaf Topping:

3 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup Ketchup

1/4 Tsp. Nutmeg

1 Tsp. Dry Mustard

Mix all of the ingredients together, then spread over the top of the meatloaf.

Bake at 350 for 1 hr. + 10 minutes.

Now, I like to serve this with mashed potatoes and a can of corn.

Mashed Potato Ingredients:

5-7 good sized potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 Cup of milk

1/2 Cup of butter

Salt + Pepper to taste

Boil your potatoes for 15 minutes (or until soft)

Drain and pour back into pot.

First, mash potatoes with a potato masher.

Add in the milk, and use an electric mixer to whip the potatoes and make them creamy.

Stopping will depend on how smooth or lumpy you like your potatoes.

Add in the butter, and stir with a spoon.

Serve alongside the meatloaf!

Wednesday: Chili

If you haven't figured out, I love cooking in my crockpot. The beauty of this chili recipe though is that you can take the same 5 ingredients, dump them in a regular pot and cook it for 20 minutes and it tastes just as good! I normally do the crockpot though because let's be honest, food that simmers for hours on low is just so dang good. However, I like using this recipe on Wednesday's because we don't always have a whole lot of time to cook a good meal, but whether I throw it all in the pot for 20 minutes, or put it in the crockpot during lunch, it always tastes delicious! We personally are big on frito pies, so that's usually how we eat it! Jump over here for the recipe!

Thursday: Cheesy Broccoli Rice + Chicken

So there's two ways you can make this. One you can find here, the other is a recipe I've played around with and made my own. The biggest difference is the cheese. If you're wanting a healthier option, the original recipe is best, but if you want a quicker, totally unhealthy way, follow my directions below!

Spoiler alert: I use Velveeta.


1-2 cups of white rice (Instant/Minute is what I use)

3-4 chicken breasts, cubed

16 oz. Velveeta cheese

1 package of frozen broccoli

1 can cream of chicken

Cook the chicken and set aside.

Cook your rice and set aside.

Cube your cheese, and melt it in a bowl to where it's not fully melted, but not still in cube form.

Mix in the cream of chicken with the cheese.

Stir in the rice and add the chicken.

Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes.

Friday: Beef Stew

I have tried several different stew recipes and what I've discovered with stew is that really it's just "a dab of this, a pinch of that" until you get the stew to taste how you prefer. That said, here is one recipe I have tried that we enjoy, along with a way that I make mine. Recipe one can be found here!

Ingredients: 1 lb stew meat 2 Carrots sliced

2 Stalks Celery sliced

2 potatoes cubed

1 can of corn

2 Tablespoons of Garlic

1 Onion diced

2 Tablespoons Parsley

1 Tsp Thyme 1 box Beef/Chicken broth or stock

3-4 Cups of water 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 Tablespoons of dried bay leaves

3 Tablespoons flour

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Coat your meat in 1 tablespoon of flour.

In a dutch oven/pot/or , pour in the oil, then add the remaining flour and coated stew meat.

Brown the meat.

Add in all of your ingredients except for the vegetables and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer.

Simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Once the stew has developed a good flavor (usually around 30 minutes) and the meat is tender, add in the vegetables and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with crackers or cornbread!

Saturday: Hot Ham + Cheese Subs

I may not have learned how to cook from my mom, but if there's one meal I won't forget, it's the super quick and easy, hot ham + cheese subs! The great thing is, you can dress these up as much as you'd like, or make them simple, with just meat and cheese.


1 lb. honey ham or black forrest ham

1 bake at home loaf of itailian/garlic seasoned bread (I get my loaf over at the bakery section and it's usually only $1!)

1 package of pepper jack cheese

1-2 avocados

2 tomatoes

1 onion (if you like)

1 bag of spinach

*Optional condiments

Cut the loaf of bread in half as if you were making a sandwich and set it on a baking sheet.

Layer one side with ham.

Top the ham with slices of cheese.

Layer on the onion.

Leave the bread open and put into oven.

Toast at 350 for 5-7 minutes, depending on oven, or until bread is as toasted as desired.

Pull out the bread, let cool just a minute or two, then put the top on and cut into slices.

Top with tomatoes, spinach, avocado + any condiments.

Sunday: Chicken Tortilla Soup

I stumbled upon this recipe when I was in college, dating Wes. We wanted to do dinner in one night and me being the very basic cook I am (I only knew how to cook mac n cheese), wanted to impress him with a good meal.

This recipe has 8 ingredients, but aside from the chicken, the ingredients are super cheap.

I personally leave out the cilantro, but you can add it in if you like!

Long story, short, you dump the ingredients in to your crockpot and let cook for 4-6 hours.

Ta-da! It's that easy!

We like to top ours with tortilla chips, shredded cheese and fresh avacodo!

For the full recipe, click here!

And now, for the 15th recipe...

If you're a fan of the Amish Friendship Bread, then you will go crazy for these quick and easy Amish Cinnamon Muffins! They taste just like the bread, with the bonus that they are SO much faster to make!

So there you have it, friends! I hope you get to try some of these yummy recipes out!

If you do, I'd love to hear how you like it or ways that you made it your own, share a photo online and give me a tag so I can share it, too!

- Alyssa

stay in the know

Let's Connect

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

Copyright © 2020