A quick and inexpensive weeknight dinner doesn't have to come from the drive-through. With just a few staple recipes, you can enjoy simple, healthy dinners without too much fuss -- and fast! It's easier than you think. Here are some of our favorite cheap healthy recipes and dinner ideas:
Whether you roast a chicken yourself or pick it up at the store, it's always a good deal. Roast the bird with some carrots, potatoes, and maybe some fennel bulb, and you have a complete, simple, healthy meal. Plus, you can use the leftover roast chicken in plenty of delicious dinners.
Roast Chicken with Rosemary | This roast chicken takes just 10 minutes to prep.
Spicy Rapid Roast Chicken | Another simple preparation. This one features dried herbs and the kick of a little cayenne.
And with the leftover chicken? Try these simple recipes:
- Chicken Penne with Asparagus, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Artichoke Hearts
- White Bean Chicken Breast Chili
- Garlic Chicken Fried Brown Rice
For more ideas, here's how to Turn Leftover Chicken into Brand-New Dinners. And if you buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, we have some tips for getting the most value from that roasted supermarket bird -- follow them, and you'll get dinner the first night, lunch the next day, and soup whenever you feel like it. Not bad for one rotisserie chicken.
Pasta and Sauce
Pasta is a great choice for simple, quick dinners. Start with a noodles-and-sauce combo, and just add inexpensive meats and/or veggies for easy, cheap, and healthy meals that are also crowd-pleasers.
Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce | This simple pasta dish comes together in mere minutes.
Simple Pesto Pasta | Use prepared pesto, and dinner's ready in just 15 minutes.
Here's a simple trick. Put pesto in ice cube trays, and freeze it. Then use the little green cubes as your secret weapon for quick, healthy dinners on the fly.
Or try this. Make a big batch of tomato sauce on Sunday and turn it into a week's worth of deliciously different dinners.
What could be healthier than a dinner filled with fresh veggies? Whether you stick to what's fresh and seasonal in the produce aisle or get great-tasting vegetables from the freezer section, they're simple and quick to make. No need to shy away from frozen veggies, either; they're frozen in the field at peak freshness.
Ginger Veggie Stir-Fry | This requires some chopping, but it cooks in a flash and is loaded with healthy foods.
Grilled Vegetables in Balsamic Tomato Sauce with Couscous | This one brings frozen broad beans into play, combining them with a variety of roasted veggies in a simple tomato sauce.
Chicken and Turkey Breast
A staple of quick cooking, chicken breasts are so easy and versatile, you might forget how healthy they are. Looking for a different (and even less-expensive) option? Try turkey breast cutlets.
Slow Cooker Chicken Mole | This recipe combines a bunch of super-healthy foods: dark chocolate, chile peppers, tomatoes, and garlic. It takes about 15 minutes to prep.
Braised Balsamic Chicken | Preps in just 10 minutes, and is ready in 35.
Tender Breaded Turkey Cutlets | These moist turkey breast cutlets are ready in less than 30 minutes.
You can save money, of course, by buying a whole chicken and cutting it up into pieces yourself. Here's how you cut up a whole chicken. And don't forget to save the backbone and other parts for making homemade chicken stock.
Ground Beef and Ground Turkey
A bit of lean ground beef is always economical, and if you grab ground turkey breast, which is always low in fat, it's pretty healthy, too. Plus, it's so quick to make!
Tonya's Terrific Sloppy Joes | Prep 'em in 10, they're ready in about 40 minutes. You can also make this recipe in the slow cooker (after browning the meat).
Thirty-Minute Chili | Combine lean ground beef or turkey with diced tomatoes, healthy kidney beans, chili seasoning. It's 4-ingredient chili, and ready in 30 minutes.
Chef John's Turkey Burger | This turkey burger uses shish kebab seasonings for a tasty burger that's 95-percent fat-free.
More Ground Turkey Recipes
OK, so what about other healthy recipes that are also easy to make and ready in a flash? Yes, we have those, too.
- Simple, Healthy Meals in a Bowl
- 12 Healthy Dinners Ready In 20 Minutes Or Less
- Simple Tips for Eating Healthy With Easy Recipes
Check out our complete collection of Healthy Recipes.
Check out more dinner recipes that showcase whole foods, simple preparations, and wonderful fresh flavors.