Making new recipes can be fun but expensive. You’re not alone if you need to stick with a limited weekly grocery budget. Most people look for coupons and shop during sales, but you can have more fun in the kitchen without breaking the bank. Check out these cheap, healthy dinner ideas to make daily meals more enjoyable. 1. Rice With Scrambled Eggs and Veggies Rice is one of the most affordable carbohydrates available at grocery stores. Buy a big bag to make the most of your purchase. You’ll have weeks of rice-based meals at your disposal. Mix a cup of cooked rice with a 50-cent can of veggies, plus a scrambled egg or two. They contain over 12 grams of protein per egg, so a single bowl will keep you full while adding extra nutrients to your diet. 2. Veggie and Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner The next time you’re at the grocery store, get a container of chicken breasts. If you slice them in half and freeze them in individual bags, they’ll stay fresh in your freezer for a few months. Defrost a bag in your fridge overnight to make a sheet pan dinner. If you bake your chicken breast on a sheet of tin foil alongside fresh broccoli florets and carrot slices, you’ll have an entire dinner finished in less than a half hour. 3. Tuna Pasta Salad Stop by the tuna can aisle during your next grocery store trip. They’re often on sale and fit the tightest budgets. Mix a can with half a box of cooked pasta. If you add your favorite spices or sauces, you’ll easily make a delicious pasta dinner. Tuna is full of unsaturated fats, which decrease the risk of some diseases related to too much saturated fats in daily diets. Enjoy the nutritious seafood as a cold or warm dinner. 4. Spicy Chicken and Baked Sweet Potatoes Chicken breasts and thighs pair perfectly with sweet potatoes. Bake a few budget-friendly potatoes in your oven until they’re soft enough to slice in half. Top with shredded chicken, hot sauce and butter for a tasty meal. You’ll get plenty of fiber in each bite since sweet potatoes are naturally fibrous and packed with nutrients. This is also a great dinner idea if you want to make some leftovers. The potatoes and chicken will store well in your fridge for a few days. Make a few simultaneously to meal prep without any extra effort. 5. Whole Wheat Quesadillas Regular tortillas are primarily sources of carbohydrates. They have little nutritional value, but you could make them healthier by opting for whole wheat tortillas instead. Whole wheat products contain more of the nutrients that become lost in the bleaching process. Use whole wheat tortillas to make quesadillas with your favorite cheese. It’s a cheap, healthy dinner idea that works if you have at least a few dollars to spend. When you have a bit more, try getting sprouted grain tortillas. They’re healthier options than whole wheat because they contain vitamins C and B along with digestive enzymes that are easy on blood sugar levels. 6. Ground Turkey Chili Chili is a classic cheap meal. You just need pinto beans, chili spices and beef broth. Add a pound of ground turkey to increase the protein in your dinner. Ground turkey is lower in fat than ground beef, so you’ll have a healthier dinner if you’re trying to cut down on your fat intake. Ground turkey averages $3.27 per pound, which could significantly cut down your grocery bill if you’re currently buying the average $5.35 pound of ground beef for multiple weekly meals. 7. Stuffed Bell Peppers People often make stuffed bell peppers for special occasions, but they’re actually a cheap meal you can make any time. Get one to two bell peppers per person and stuff them with cooked rice, marinara sauce and your preferred ground protein. If you don’t have room in the budget for ground beef, substitute pinto or black beans. They only have to cook for 15 minutes in your oven if you cook your rice and brown your beef ahead of time. Stuffed peppers also freeze well. Make a casserole dish full of them and you’ll have dinner ready for a week. 8. Peas and Ham Pasta The pasta and veggie aisle can lead to an incredible dinner. Combine a box of pasta and two cans of beans with just a few dollars. Afterward, you bring them home and stop by a butcher’s shop for a whole ham. The upfront cost will be slightly higher than a few pounds of ground beef, but you’ll get numerous pounds of ham you can cube. Cubed ham, peas and pasta have everything you need in a meal. You’ll get healthy fats, vitamins, carbs and sodium. Save the leftover cubed ham pieces for salads and casseroles. They’ll also freeze for future use or taste incredible in soup. 9. Air Fryer Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Bacon is an excellent breakfast treat and a healthy source of protein when consumed in moderation. 100 grams or ⅔ cups includes potassium and magnesium alongside protein, sodium and iron. Fry a pound of bacon in an air fryer until they’re cooked slightly under the crispiness you prefer. Wash and shred a pound of Brussels sprouts before frying them for a few extra minutes with the bacon broken into pieces. You’ll have a savory salad ready to go in minutes and able to serve at least two to three people. 10. Pinto Bean Soup Beans aren’t just good for dips, casseroles and burritos. They also make the foundation of many soups. Get a few cans of pinto beans and vegetable broth when you’re hungry in the evening. Warm them in a pot along with spices like cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and oregano. It’s a protein-packed soup that’s perfect for long nights and those last few days before your next paycheck lands in your bank account. Have Fun Trying Cheap Healthy Dinner Ideas There are plenty of cheap, healthy dinner ideas you can try when you want to change up your diet. Explore the possibilities of pinto beans, different meats and veggies. You won’t have to overspend to eat something different or get more nutrients in your daily meals.
Making a nice meal is the perfect to make your night in extra special. Here are some of the best romantic dinner ideas for two you can make without much prep. 1. Chicken Satay Skewers With Spicy Peanut Sauce This chicken satay skewer recipe is flavored with a coconut milk, honey and curry marinade. It also uses a spiced peanut dipping sauce. You can sprinkle lime juice to add some tartness. This dish pairs beautifully with a side of coconut rice, grilled pineapple or stir-fried vegetables. 2. Quinoa Pasta With Garlic Sauce and Amaranth Bread Most romantic dinner ideas for two focus on lobster, steak and salmon — where’s the love for vegetarian couples? Fortunately, this vegetable quinoa pasta recipe, its garlic alfredo sauce and the amaranth bread side dish are entirely vegan. Best of all, it’s rich and delicious. 3. Shrimp Linguini With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce If you’re looking for classic dinner ideas for two, look no further — this shrimp linguini recipe combines creamy parmesan sauce with fiery roasted red peppers. While it might seem simple, it’s easy to make and hard to mess up. Plus, it’s sure to taste amazing. 4. Chili Roasted Tofu With a Minted Pomegranate Relish If you want another delicious vegan recipe, look no further. You serve the chili roasted tofu dish, the citrus chili marinade and the pomegranate relish on a bed of millet and avocado slices. This tart, spicy flavor profile is perfectly balanced. 5. Steak au Poivre With Cognac Cream Sauce This fragrant French dish features peppercorn-encrusted steaks and a creamy, caramel-like cognac sauce. Although a steak au poivre recipe may sound more challenging than most dinner ideas for two, it’s absurdly easy — you only need to cover the meat in peppercorns and sear it. 6. Lemon Garlic Baked Salmon and Asparagus Easy dinners are just as romantic as complex ones. This one-pan salmon dish is infused with herbs, garlic and lemon juice. Surprisingly, the savory, tangy flavor isn’t even the best part about this recipe — the best part is that it finishes roasting in only 10 minutes. 7. Marry Me Chicken With Roasted Veggies Romantic dinner ideas for two can’t get better than a flavorful chicken recipe called “marry me” chicken. The light, creamy sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest, seasoning and parmesan will practically melt in your mouth. Roasted vegetables, garlic bread and pasta make good pairings. 8. Curried Butternut Squash Soup Not every romantic dinner has to have unpronounceable French words in its name to be tasty. This curried butternut squash soup recipe is an inspired take on a traditional cozy meal. The curry powder, fresh ginger and cilantro elevate it, creating an unforgettable flavor profile. 9. Arctic Char With Pistachio Gremolata While arctic char has a flavor profile similar to salmon, it’s milder. If you’re intrigued, consider making this arctic char and pistachio gremolata dish. It’s zesty, fresh and slightly nutty. Since nuts are aphrodisiacs, it’s one of the best romantic dinner ideas for two. 10. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup With Creme Fraiche This dish elevates a beloved classic using sautéd shallots, rich cream, and tangy creme fraiche. Making a roasted butternut squash soup recipe that’s this tasty practically guarantees a successful date night. There are even dairy-free substitutions available for vegans. 11. Rack of Lamb With Red Wine Sauce What dinner ideas for two are more romantic than lamb and red wine? This roasted rack of lamb dish pairs aromatic rosemary, thyme and chives with a rich merlot sauce. The recipe’s author says to use drinking wine, meaning no one will judge you for sneaking sips while cooking. 12. Strawberries and Champagne Cheesecake Who said you can’t have dessert for dinner? This creamy, champagne-infused cheesecake recipe topped with fresh strawberries and chocolate drizzle is indulgent and sweet — the perfect pairing for a romantic night in with your special someone. The flavors are bold yet balanced. 13. French Onion Soup With Brûléed Blue Cheese French onion soup is a classic. If you’re a fan, you’ll love this brûléed blue cheese dish for its unique take on the original. Who doesn’t love gooey cheese with golden brown edges dripping over toasted bread and a rich, tangy broth? 14. Pikliz Oysters With Lemon Herb Couscous This oysters with pikliz dish is one of the most romantic dinner ideas for two. After all, some people consider oysters to be aphrodisiacs. You’ll love their hearty, savory flavor profile paired with a bold, pickled vegetable mixture. While oysters are delicious on their own, a tangy mignonette sauce of minced shallots, white peppercorns, sea salt and red wine vinegar will elevate their flavor profile to new heights. Also, you should know lemon herb couscous is essential as a side dish. 15. Lemon Butter Scallops Over Parmesan Risotto You’ve probably heard of scallops and risotto if you’ve watched cooking shows. While they seem fancy and complicated, they’re actually simple. This lemon butter scallop recipe uses parmesan, garlic, white wine and shallots to make a rich, savory base. 16. Steak Frites with Black Garlic Butter You’ll fall in love with this flavorful steak frites recipe if you try it. The potatoes fried in peanut oil and sprinkled with salt taste heavenly. Also, it'll be life-changing if you’ve never had umami-rich black garlic butter. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a juicy steak, either. 17. Lobster Mac and Cheese With a Breadcrumb Crust Who has time to spend hours in a kitchen on date night? This lobster mac and cheese recipe only takes an hour and is hands-off. Doing barely any work and still getting to eat a cheesy dish with savory lobster and a toasted breadcrumb crust is the perfect way to spend the night. 18. Crab Cakes With Remoulade Sauce Remoulade sauce always makes a classic crab cake recipe tastier. It should be your go-to if you’re looking for a simple, high-end seafood dish. Once you shape and pan-fry the crab, you get to coat it in lemon zest and creole seasonings and then dip it in a creamy southern sauce. 19. Filet Mignon With Truffle Oil and a Balsamic Sauce Filet mignon is incredibly tender and lean — it’s actually one of the most prized cuts you can buy. Naturally, this filet mignon dish is one of the most romantic dinner ideas for two. The juicy meat, reduced balsamic sauce and black truffle oil make for a mouthwatering meal. 20. Hearty Beef Stew Pot Pies Sometimes, a romantic date night is similar to a cozy night in. In those cases, a beef stew pot pie dish is one of the best dinner ideas for two. Sirloin steak topped with a beef-broth vegetable mixture, sprinkled with peppercorn and covered in a flaky pastry is the perfect meal. Enjoy Your Romantic Dinner for Two Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just want to show off to your partner, these date-night dishes are sure to impress. Although their names may sound daunting, most of them are easy to make, even for beginners.