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15 Cheap and Quick Dinner Ideas

After a long day of work, school, and commuting, we all want a delicious dinner that can even be tomorrow’s lunch. Whether it’s American, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Vegan, or Vegetarian, you can’t go wrong! However takeout is pricy. Here are 15 cheap and quick ideas to get your meal started.


 




  1. Tofu Katsu Curry 




Sesame seed and panko-crusted tofu cutlet on top of a bed of fluffy rice with tender carrots, mushrooms, onions, and potatoes in Japanese curry sauce. Alternative proteins: Chicken, pork, or ground meat cutlet. Chicken, pork, lamb, beef, seafood, or tofu cubed. Fresh or frozen veggies are recommended. Pro tip: Japanese curry freezes well, so you can freeze it ahead of time in small containers. Place the container into the refrigerator to defrost the day you want to use it for lunch or dinner. 


tofukatsucurry




  1. Sheet-Pan Lemon Butter Chicken Thighs 




Chicken thighs with skin basted in butter, sprinkled with thyme supported by small quartered potatoes, quartered red onions, and sliced lemons on a sheet pan. As a protein, you can alternate between chicken or turkey breasts, wings, and legs. For this dish, fresh veggies are better. Pro tip: Use a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy clean-up. 


lemmonbutterchicken




  1. Best Garlic Spaghetti Recipe 




Hot al dente pasta smothered in olive oil, butter, sliced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, chopped parsley, panko, lemon zest, and juice. Use the protein of your choice! Beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, shrimp, or tofu. Fresh veggies are suggested. Pro tip: Flavor won’t waver if you choose any pasta variation, whether it is gluten-free, protein, or veggie.


garlicspahgetti




  1. Best Turkey Casserole Recipe 




This dish is made of warm turkey, peas, and noodles held together with gooey cheddar and parmesan cheese while butter, salt, pepper, parsley, and lemon juice add a delicious flavor. Topped with panko and baked in the oven until golden and bubbling. You can choose between chicken and beef for protein. Fresh, frozen, and canned veggies can be used. Pro tip: This recipe is a great way to use leftovers if it’s a leftover night at home.


turkeycasserole




  1. Easy Taco Soup




In this soup, you can add everything you want in a taco: chopped onions, ground beef, pinto beans, yellow corn, fire-roasted tomatoes, cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream in a bowl to keep you warm during a winter’s day. Choose between ground or shredded chicken, pork, turkey, and impossible meat as protein. Fresh, frozen, and canned veggies are suggested. Pro tip: This dish is great to take to work, serve at a party, add extra ingredients, and is an excellent addition to your meal prep plan. Maybe have a bowl of chips ready to serve with it.


tacosoup




  1. Easy Butter Chicken 




Bite-sized chicken breast browned to perfection with butter is a perfect plan. A blend of aromatic spices, diced yellow onions, grated ginger, minced garlic, tomato sauce, and cream was brought to a simmer. This one is served on a bed of rice. Choose between chicken thighs, turkey breast, and turkey thighs. Fresh and frozen veggies will make a great dish if chosen. Pro tip: If you run out of rice, you can also serve this over noodles. 


butterchicken




  1. Sheet Pan Sausage and Veggies 




This dish consists of diced baby red potatoes, halved green beans, broccoli florets, chopped bell peppers, and sliced sausage tossed with olive oil and seasonings to roast on a sheet pan. You can accompany it with chicken sausage, vegetarian sausage, vegan sausage, or turkey sausage. Fresh veggies will make this an excellent one. Pro tip: Parchment paper or aluminum foil make for easy cleanup and leftovers refrigerate well. 


sheetpansausageandveggies




  1. Spicy Tuna Avocado Wrap




This dish is made with mashed tuna and avocado spiced up with sriracha, dijon mustard, chopped celery, chopped red onions, and chopped cilantro, all up with green lettuce and matchstick carrots in a whole wheat tortilla. As for your proteins, you can use canned chicken and SPAM. And for veggies, use fresh ones. Pro tip: Leave the tuna mixture in the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors come together. 


tunaandavocadowrap




  1. Spicy Baked Black Bean Nachos 




These thick tortilla chips are topped with black beans, diced onions, diced tomatoes, thinly sliced jalapenos, chopped cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, and pickled red onions, and dollops of sour cream will delight your heart. Choose between shredded beef, chicken, and pork as your protein. Use fresh and canned veggies. Pro tip: When lining your sheet tray, parchment paper is less likely to burn compared to aluminum foil. Use thick tortilla chips. 


loadednachos




  1. 4 Ingredient Pesto Chicken Bake 




Succulent chicken breasts layered with pesto sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and sliced tomatoes are ready to be tasted! Use turkey breast as your main protein, alongside fresh veggies. Pro tip: Searing the chicken for one to two minutes on each side will give it a nice caramelized crust.


chickenpestobake




  1. Avocado Grilled Cheese Sandwich 




This dish is made with sliced avocado and tomatoes held together with mozzarella and parmesan cheese between two toasted slices of bread. You can eat it with bacon and SPAM as protein. Serve with fresh veggies. Pro tip: Salt the tomatoes to drain them of extra moisture so the sandwich doesn’t end up soggy. Don’t hesitate to slather butter or mayo on the outside of your bread to ensure a proper toast.


avocadogrilledcheese




  1. Easy Chickpea Curry




This plant-based dish uses minced onions, garlic, ginger, spinach, tomatoes, chickpeas, a concoction of spices, and coconut milk until fully combined to be served with basmati rice. You can substitute jackfruit for your protein. Fresh and canned veggies are recommended. Pro tip: Brown rice or naan bread can be served with this dish as well.


chickpeacurry




  1. Quick Burrito Bowl 




This burrito bowl of black beans, corn, pico de gallo, avocado, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and chopped romaine lettuce on top of your choice of rice can make a great lunch for a Mexican day! You can use shredded chicken, beef, and pork. You can serve with fresh and canned veggies. Pro tip: Pico de gallo can be purchased as ready-made if you’re still short on time. 


burritobowl




  1. Naan Pizza




Gooey cheese, tomato sauce, and any other of your favorite toppings just for you on naan. Eat it with vegan and vegetarian meat for a vegan option. Don’t forget your fresh veggies. Pro tip: Prebake the naan for two to three minutes on each side at 425 degrees Fahrenheit to mimic a pizza crust.  


naanpizza




  1. Easy Soba Noodle Bowl 




This dish is made with soba noodles tossed with sauteed garlic, onions, peppers, broccoli florets, and scrambled eggs. Coated in a soy sauce and peanut butter mix with sesame seed garnish. Use shrimp or tofu as your protein. Accompany this dish with fresh veggies. Pro tip: Use rice, zucchini, and squash noodles for a gluten-free approach.


sobanoodlebowl


 


Note for canned veggies: It is recommended to wash the outside of the can to remove any dust. Veggies should be rinsed in a colander to remove any preservatives and salt. Canned veggies are partially cooked and should be added towards the end of the cooking process to avoid being overcooked. Lastly, use spices to brighten your meal!


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