21 Budget-Friendly Meal Ideas

Welcome to the Weekly Meal Planner! Whether you work all day and are out of steam when the dinner hour hits, or are fresh out of  ideas and in a cooking rut, we are here to make your life easier. 

This week, we’re featuring some easy, budget-friendly meals along with some of our favorite healthy dips for weekday after-school or after-work snacks. Enjoy! And if you ever need meal ideas, feel free to ask us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!

Meatless Monday

Lunch: Sick of winter yet? Bring the essence of spring to your kitchen with this Spring Vegetable Soup that is easy to make any time of year.

Dinner: Meatless Monday has never looked – or tasted – as good as this Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomato and Basil. Spaghetti squash is a light and delicious substitution for traditional pasta – a trick you can use with any of your favorite pasta dishes!

Snack: Greek yogurt is the key ingredient to this light yet satisfying Creamy Pesto Dip.


Lunch: Bring out the waffle maker for lunch today and enjoy these easy and tasty Bacon, Cheddar and Ranch Waffles. Everything is better with a fried egg on top!

Dinner: Relax tonight and make a pot of Mean Green Chicken Tortilla Soup in the afternoon (or the day before!) and set it out with your family’s favorite toppings for a fun, low-key meal.

Dessert: With just five ingredients, these Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies are a snap to make and perfect for packed lunches.


Lunch: A BLT without the bread? Yes, please! You can’t help but love this BLT Salad.

Dinner: Pasta Night! Red and Green Pasta – Bacon and Onion Sauce with Romanesco or Broccoli is an easy 30-minute weeknight meal. The broccoli cooks right with the pasta for easier clean-up, too.

Snack: If you have been looking for a go-to guacamole recipe, your search is over. Rachael’s Guacamole is a classic!


Lunch: Make a meal out of this nutritious Lentil Salad. You can add some additional veggies of your choice like chopped carrots and cucumbers for even more fiber. This is a perfect lunch for home, or brown-bagged for work or school.

Dinner: Turn budget-friendly chicken thighs into something special tonight with Red Chicken Marsala.

Snack: Cilantro-Jalapeno Bean Dip is delicious as a dip or sandwich spread.


Lunch: Spinach Calzone Grilled Cheese is delicious as written or with the bread and/or cheese of your choice.

Dinner: Celebrate the end of the work week with Jose’s Chimichurri Burgers. If you’re not in the mood for meat, ground turkey or chicken would also be delicious.

Dessert: Chocolate-covered graham crackers sandwich coffee ice cream (or your family’s favorite flavor) with these fun Mini Mud Sandwiches.

Entertaining Saturday

Brunch: Travel south of the border for brunch with this Huevos Rancheros Taco Waffle. A packaged cornbread mix makes this meal even easier.

Dinner: Carbonara with Artichokes is a special meal that’s perfect for entertaining. Bacon is a great substitute for pancetta if that’s what you have on-hand.

Cocktail: Enjoy your cocktail after dinner with these grown-up Coffee Sambuca Shakes.

Family Sunday

Brunch: Everything Cream Cheese BLTs on Everything Bagels is a good “any time of day” meal. You’ll definitely want to make the zesty cream cheese spread again and again!

Dinner: Treat your family to an old-fashioned Sunday supper with Chicken and Dumplings (Version 2).

Dessert: Oh My Whoopie Pies will be a hit with kids and adults.

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