We all need meal ideas that aren’t going to break the budget, because even though my 9yo would approve, we can’t eat steak every night! This list is full of over 75 frugal meal ideas– meals with meat, meals without meat, meals with beans, delicious breakfast-for-dinner ideas, and so much more!
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I’m not a couponer and I don’t watch weekly sales…but that doesn’t mean saving money on our grocery budget isn’t important to me. Thankfully, there are lots of different ways to keep grocery costs down!
After extensive price comparing between Costco and Aldi, and Whole Foods/Harris Teeter/Walmart, I’m happy with sticking to doing the majority of my shopping at Costco and Whole Foods, knowing that their prices are competitive and their selection best fits our family’s preferences.
Another way we save money is by meal planning. You can find my weekly meal plans in my Instagram stories, and often on YouTube as well. Knowing what we are going to eat for lunch and dinner each week really helps to prevent extra trips to the store– not to mention keeps the stress of feeding my family every.single.day much more manageable! 😉
75+ Budget, Frugal Meal Ideas
Working from lists of meal ideas always helps to simply and streamline the meal-planning process, which is why I have master lists in my bullet journal, and why I often share printable reference sheets with meal inspiration (Mega List of Easy Dinner Ideas, Healthy Snack Ideas, Master Lunch List, etc).
This list of frugal meal ideas that I’m sharing today is similar to the others…BUT WITH SO MANY MORE IDEAS!
The meals in the list are separated by type (easy dinners, meatless meals, beans, breakfast for dinner, and soups & bread). To assemble the list, I pulled recipes from my blog, as well as other recipes from bloggers I trust.
You are definitely going to want to SAVE/PIN this list because there are just so many great recipes that are going to help us all save money while still eating healthy, delicious meals.
In addition to all the meals, (seriously, this post is PACKED WITH GOODNESS), I’ve included extra tips and links to help you make it even easier to save money and time. Find those tips and get the Frugal Meal Ideas printable reference sheet after the list of recipes.
Favorite kitchen tools for easy & frugal cooking:
- 6qt Instant Pot Ultra
- 10″ Cast Iron Skillet & 12″ Cast Iron Skillet
- Chef’s Knife
- Bread Knife
- Baking Sheets
- Shop the rest of my favorite kitchen recommendations
- Fried Rice w/ Chicken/Pork/Venison in the skillet (or this easy Instant Pot version) :: This Pilgrim Life
- Baked Chicken & Mushroom Skillet :: Damn Delicious
- Homemade Pizza (this Simple Thin Crust Pizza Dough will change your life!) :: This Pilgrim Life
- Sheetpan Sausage & Root Veg :: This Pilgrim Life
- Change-Your-Life Chicken (roasted chicken thighs and veg)
- Simple Chicken Rice Dinner :: Frugal Farm Wife
- Instant Pot Shepherd’s Pie :: This Pilgrim Life
- Sweet Potato Chicken Curry :: BBC Good Food
- Easy Skillet Chicken Carbonara :: This Pilgrim Life
- Use What You’ve Got Orzo :: Naptime Kitchen
- Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken :: This Pilgrim Life
- Easy Oven Fajitas :: Budget Bytes
- Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore :: This Pilgrim Life
- Salsa Verde Shredded Pork Tacos (in my cookbook, or a similar recipe for Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas from $5 Dinners)
- Skillet Tortellini Bake :: This Pilgrim Life
- Breaded Pork Chops with Warm Apple-Cabbage Slaw :: The Food Network
- Spaghetti Casserole :: Naptime Kitchen
- Mac’n’Cheese with Bacon & Peas in the Instant Pot :: This Pilgrim Life
- Skillet Crustless Chicken Pot Pie :: This Pilgrim Life
- Tastiest Easy Sliders :: This Pilgrim Life
- Garlic Orzo with Bacon & Greens in the Instant Pot :: This Pilgrim Life
- Sheetpan Nachos :: This Pilgrim Life
- Easy Burrito Bowls :: Damn Delicious
- Black Bean & Spinach Egg Rolls :: This Pilgrim Life
- Pintos & Cornbread :: This Pilgrim Life
- Bean Enchiladas (sub pintos and/or black beans for the beef) :: This Pilgrim Life
- Easy Tortilla Pizzas :: This Pilgrim Life
- Curried Chickpeas with Spinach :: Budget Bytes
- Freezer Burritos :: This Pilgrim Life
- Chili Potatoes (in my cookbook, or this recipe from Good Cheap Eats for Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes)
- Lentil Sloppy Joes :: This Pilgrim Life
- Instant Pot Ramen Noodles :: This Pilgrim Life
- Chili Cheese Lentils :: Red & Honey
- Can’t-Believe-It’s-Vegetarian Chili :: Gimme Some Oven
- Best Vegetable Lasagna :: Cookie & Kate
- Lentil & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie :: One Ingredient Chef
- Winter Vegetable Pie :: BBC Good Food
- Creamy Green Chili Beef on Noodles :: Red & Honey
- Veggie Pot Pie (this recipe, but sub extra veg for the chicken) :: This Pilgrim Life
- Vegetable Pasta Primavera with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce :: Don’t Waste the Crumbs
- Mushroom Risotto :: This Pilgrim Life
- Cheesy Herb-Stuffed Tomatoes :: Cheapskate Cook
Breakfast for Dinner:
- From Scratch Breakfast Biscuits :: This Pilgrim Life
- Easy Skillet Frittata :: This Pilgrim Life
- Instant Pot Make-Ahead Egg Casserole (from my cookbook) or this oven egg casserole from Good Cheap Eats
- Western Breakfast Casserole :: Naptime Kitchen
- Healthy Egg & Chips :: BBC Good Food
- Quiche (basic recipe from Good Cheap Eats)
- Egg & Potato Breakfast Scramble :: Cookie & Kate
- Back Pocket Pancakes :: This Pilgrim Life
- Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes :: This Pilgrim Life
- Saturday Morning Waffles :: This Pilgrim Life
- Muffins ::
- Huevos Rancheros :: Good Cheap Eats
Soup/Chili + Bread/Salad/Sandwiches:
- (Instant Pot) Extra Green Broccoli & Cheese Soup :: This Pilgrim Life
- Southwest Black Bean Soup (in my cookbook, or this Taco Soup recipe from Good Cheap Eats)
- (Crockpot) Vegan Black Bean Soup :: Naptime Kitchen
- (Instant Pot) Chicken Salsa Soup :: This Pilgrim Life
- (Instant Pot) Creamy Tomato Soup :: This Pilgrim Life
- 5 Ingredient White Chicken Chili :: Gimme Some Oven (or alternate version in my cookbook)
- (Instant Pot) Butternut Squash and Apple Soup :: This Pilgrim Life
- (Instant Pot) Honey Carrot Soup :: This Pilgrim Life
- Hamburger Vegetable Soup (Whole 30, Instant Pot/Slow Cooker/Stovetop) :: Cheapskate Cook
- Red Lentil, Chickpea, and Chili Soup :: BBC Good Food
- (Instant Pot) Sweet Creamy Gnocchi Soup :: This Pilgrim Life
- (Instant Pot) Loaded Potato Corn Chowder (in my cookbook or this slow cooker version from Damn Delicious)
- Chunky Lentil & Vegetable Soup :: Budget Bytes
- Cheddar Garlic Drop Biscuits :: This Pilgrim Life
- One-Hour French Bread :: This Pilgrim Life
- Twisted Cheesy Breadsticks :: This Pilgrim Life
- One-Hour Focaccia :: This Pilgrim Life
- Skillet Cornbread :: This Pilgrim Life
- Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaves :: This Pilgrim Life
- Homemade Pita Bread (recipe coming soon)
More Ways to Save Money on Healthy Meals!
1. Make your own sauces and dressings.
- 8 Ways to Sauce A Pizza
- Best Ever Homemade Ranch
- 5 Minute Pesto Sauce with Super Greens
- Make-Ahead Marinara Sauce (or use the recipe in my cookbook)
2. Prep meat at the beginning of the week:
Cook a half a ham:
- Hawaiian Pizza
- Frittata or Egg Casserole
- Pesto & Ham Sliders
- Add to pasta with peas or asparagus
- Add to corn chowder or potato soup
Cook a whole chicken:
- chicken salad
- chicken pot pie
- fried rice
- Add to soup, salad, pizza, quesadillas, nachos, rice bowls, pasta, or pizza
Cook a large batch of ground beef:
3. Use freezer cooking.
- Naptime Kitchen’s Guide to Freezing
- Instant Pot Freezer Meal #1
- Instant Pot Freezer Meals #2
- Instant Pot Freezer Soups
4. Invest in a cookbook (or two) that provide inspiration for inexpensive meals.
- 100 Days of Real Food On A Budget
- Good Cheap Eats: Everyday Dinners and Fantastic Feasts for $10 or Less
- Family Meals from Scratch in Your Instant Pot
Frugal Meal Ideas Reference Sheet
Download and print a quick Frugal Meal Ideas reference sheet to post in your kitchen or tuck in your planner!
Check out the rest of my helpful printables in the Free Resource Library!
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