17 Affordable Dinner Ideas

Budget Friendly Pineapple Fried Rice with Ham.  I now omit the ham and it tastes just as good!  This recipe makes a lot!

Budget Friendly Pineapple Fried Rice with Ham. I now omit the ham and it tastes just as good! This recipe makes a lot!

Our grocery budget is a monster.  Do y’all food allergy parents know what I mean?  I mean, it’s CRAZY!  And ya know what makes it even crazier?  We don’t even eat extravagantly.  Our safe foods are just THAT expensive.

I sat down and tried to brainstorm the most budget friendly tried and true recipes I could think of.  We are in Financial Peace University again as table leaders and really have budgeting on the brain.  I really want to cut our grocery bill each month.

My recipes might start looking a lot like these from now on since I’m trying to trim the giant grocery bill.

(These prices are what I pay at the grocery store and I don’t price out every item in this list.  Some are just my best guesstimates.)

If you want to get ahead of the menu planning game and like freezer cooking, the recipes that have stars are freezer friendly.

Meatless

  • Pineapple Fried Rice (1-2 pineapple cups {$1}, 2-3 carrots & 1-2 zucchinis {$2.50}, omit ham- can get 2 dinners from this & possibly 1 lunch)
  • Veggie Pizza** (1/2 bag Daiya {$2.50}, 1/3 green pepper {33 cents}, 1/3 green onion, olives)
  • Refried Beans, Rice & “Cheese” Burritos**
  • Rice & Beans (and maybe fruit to round out the meal)
  • Bean & “Cheese” Quesadillas (use homemade refried beans or black beans)
  • Veggie Spaghetti (1 zucchini {$1} & 1 carrot, sauce {$2.50} & noodles {$1}- can get 1 dinner and 1 lunch from this recipe)

Chicken

Turkey

  • Picadillo (1/2 pack ground turkey {$1.50} & rice)
  • Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole (1/2 pack ground turkey {$1.50} & approximately 1/2 bag of tater tots {$1.50})
  • Spaghetti (1/2 pack ground turkey {$1.50},  sauce {$2.50} & noodles {$1}- can get 1 dinner and 1 lunch from this recipe)

The chicken tacos are probably the most expensive dinner on this list because of the type of chicken we like and because of the fresh toppings.  I can plan another dinner or two that also uses those fresh produce ingredients like nachos or soup and salad night.  That helps lower the cost of the grocery bill & helps fresh produce not to go to waste.  I can also stretch the budget by stocking up on the chicken when it goes on sale.

I also buy dried beans.  It’s easy to soak and cook the beans.  I think I get 6-8 cups from one bag of dried black beans (my memory is a little fuzzy on this number.)  The beans cost $1.18.  Much cheaper than canned!  I freeze my beans in one cup portions and pull them out as needed.  A quick defrost in the microwave and the beans are good to go!

Do you have some food allergy & budget friendly dinner ideas?  Please share in the comments below.

Thanks!

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender.  Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender. Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole

Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole

20 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners

Menu Plan

It was so relaxing for me to sit down and plan out this menu plan. A few years ago, I never would have made that statement!!!

After our stressful vacation, it feels good to sit down and get back into our safe and comfy routine.

By the way, isn’t this graphic amazing?  My brother is a very talented graphic design artist and is responsible for graphic designs on my blog.  Thanks brother!  I will use this menu plan graphic in all of my upcoming menus.  I’m so excited!!!

Here’s our menu plan for the last few days of December and the first half of January.  I’m always adding new recipes (thanks Pinterest!) and mixing in our old favorites.

Speaking of favorites, I’m currently obsessed with pineapple fried rice. You’ll see that twice on this menu served three times. I could eat it for dinner everyday! And it’s meatless to boot. At least my version is.

I digress.

This menu has a mix of chicken, pork, turkey and meatless meals (beans and veggies as the main protein source).

I hope this helps. Maybe one day I’ll have enough energy to even make a coordinating grocery list. But not anytime soon.  🙂

I share these menus to help other families like ours out there. Meal planning can be a challenge with a special diet.

Just for fun, here’s a pic of my set up for menu planning and getting this post typed up. I love Coke with my homemade Dragon’s Breath Popcorn. It’s the perfect snack for this menu planning blogger mommy!

How I menu plan

How I menu plan

1. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (Make these awesome homemade dinner rolls, using vegan butter and non-dairy milk. Use dough setting on bread machine.  Follow directions for baking.  Once baked, cut rolls in half, add cooked chicken, top with safe bbq sauce) & Oven Roasted Carrots

2. Taco Pizza Rolls (use homemade pizza crust, use homemade taco seasoning from 100 Days of Real Food, ground turkey breast, & Daiya cheese)

3. Pineapple Fried Rice (omit ham, use only 1/2 cup pineapple & liquid aminos for soy sauce)

4. Lemony Chicken Stir Fry with Asparagus

5. Black Bean Chili & Cornbread

6. Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken, Baked Sweet Potatoes & Steam in a bag Broccoli

7. BBQ Chicken Pizza

8. Flex Meal

9. Vegan Crispy Cajun Chickpea Cakes, Homemade Dinner Rolls (See link from day one & make double batch for use in Day 10) & Sautéed Zucchini

10. Ranch Turkey Burgers made small enough to fit the Homemade Dinner Rolls from Day 9 (use 2 Tbs homemade ranch mix for ranch packet sub), French Fries & Fruit Salad

11. Tangy Slow Cooker Pork Roast, Roasted Carrots & Baked Potatoes (Bake enough potatoes for day 12, too)

12. Garlic Chicken, Baked Potatoes from Day 11 & Grilled Asparagus

13. Chicken Nachos (use leftover chicken from day 12 & Daiya cheese)

14. Pineapple Fried Rice (see day 3 for link)

15. Leftover Pineapple Fried Rice

16. Veggie Spaghetti

17. Ranch Pork Chops (make safe ranch dressing using link on day 10, dip chops on both sides in ranch, coat with panko bread crumbs & bake), Earth Balance Vegan “Cheddar” Flavor Mac and Cheese, & Steamed Spinach

18. Easy Chicken Tacos (use homemade taco seasoning using link from day 2)

19. Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole

20. Vegetable Soup & Bread & Vegan Butter

Here are a few photos of the foods in my menu plan.  Enjoy!

Homemade Dinner Rolls

Homemade Dinner Rolls

Ranch Turkey Burger

Ranch Turkey Burger

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender.  Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender. Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Pineapple Fried Rice with Ham.  I now omit the ham and it tastes just as good!

Pineapple Fried Rice with Ham. I now omit the ham and it tastes just as good!

30 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender.  Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Sauté chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender. Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Life has been happening lately.

I’ve been following my latest two menu plans, but haven’t had time to share them and link them up- until today!

So instead of a 15 or 16 day menu plan, I’ve combined them to make a 30 day menu plan!

My Thanksgiving post is still in the works, so I’ll have that up soon- I hope!

Randomness from last menu: I never tried the fish like I planned to last time. I chickened out. PLUS, I couldn’t find a tilapia that seemed to be safe. What brands do y’all use? Please and thank you!

This menu has chicken, turkey, pork and meatless meals. I’m starting to really enjoy our meatless meals. I’d love to eat more veggies and less meat. We shall see…

Here’s my latest only 30 day menu plan!!!

1. Taco Crescents & Steamed Broccoli

2. Sweet & Sour Chicken (sub flax eggs & liquid aminos), Rice & Steamed Broccoli

3. Honey Mustard Pork Chops & Baked Potatoes

4. Coconut Vegetable Curry Soup with Rice (I’ve linked to this several times & FINALLY made it. It is yummy! Even SG liked it!)

5. Mexican Stuffed Peppers (Sub ground turkey breast, use homemade taco seasoning, & make own tomato paste) & Cilantro Lime Rice

6. Crockpot BBQ Drumsticks, Baked Potatoes & Carrots

7. 0 Point Soup & Homemade Bread

8. Mojo Pork Tenderloin, Tater Tots & Zucchini

9. Arroz con Pollo & Puerto Rican Flavored Black Beans

10. Arroz con Pollo Leftovers

11. Chicken Tacos (Can make ahead & freeze. I did!)

12. Meatless Veggie Spaghetti

13. Chicken Curry (make homemade cream of chicken), Rice & Carrots

14. Mexican Pizza Bites (Sub ground turkey breast, use homemade taco seasoning, homemade refried beans & Daiya “cheese”)

15. Crockpot Lentil Soup

16. Chicken Salad Sandwiches & French Fries

17. Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole (I’ll share this new recipe soon!)

18. Maple Pumpkin White Bean Quesadilla

19. Crockpot Ranch Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes & Steamed Cauliflower (make of cream of chicken & use homemade ranch mix)

20. Turkey Nachos (season ground turkey like picadillo)

21. Garlic Chicken Drumsticks, French Fries & Broccoli

22. “Cheesy” Taco Crescents (use leftover chicken from day 21) & Leftover Broccoli

23. White Bean Lemon Potato Soup & Homemade Bread (use bread link from Day 7)

24. Leftover Soup or Arroz con Pollo Soup & Bread & Vegan Butter

25. Baked Ranch Pork Chops (make homemade ranch: see note at bottom of menu, coat chops in ranch, coat in safe panko bread crumbs), Baked Sweet Potatoes & Sautéed Zucchini

26. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Tater Tots & Steamed Spinach

27. Thanksgiving!!!

28. Soymilk Ice Cream for Dinner!!!!

29. Coconut Vegetable Curry & Rice (see link for Day 4)

30. Lentil & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Here are the links to the subs & homemade mixes:

Homemade Ranch Dry Mix

Homemade Ranch Dressing
(For Dressing, use the above Ranch Dry Mix link and use Just Mayo or other vegan mayo & sub non-dairy milk. I use SO Delicious Original Coconut Coffee Creamer. It’s very neutral in taste and the ranch flavor shines through.)

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

Homemade Taco Mix

Also, you may be wondering why on Black Friday we are having safe ice cream for dinner. It is SG’s birthday and I told her she can have whatever she wants for dinner- even ice cream. So of course, that’s what she chose! I’m guessing the Huzz and I will gorge on Thanksgiving leftovers, anyway. You only turn 4 once- may as well live it up! 🙂