This fall, I was talking to my cousin, Amber (who’s in college), and she was talking about how she needed to find cheap meals to eat other than pasta.
My aunt and I helped her do a little brainstorming, but since then, I’ve been thinking about how it’s not only important to find cheap meals, it’s important to find easy, straighforward meals. I certainly don’t want to spend my entire evening cooking, and the fewer dishes there are to clean up, the better.
With this in mind, I went through my Pinterest boards and found five of my favorite recipes that are relatively cheap and relatively easy.
These are so, so, so tasty, and I always make tzatziki to go with them (since I typically have Greek yogurt on hand anyway). There are two things to note, though. 1) The recipe calls for a food processor, but a blender works, too. 2) It calls for an hour of chill time after the mixture is made. I feel like that could probably be skipped if you’re in a hurry. (Though Matt would tell me that I’m making too many changes and not trusting the recipe. 🙂 )
Prep/Cook Time: 20 mintues (plus an hour for chilling)
To cut down on cleanup, I put the chickpeas on the small toaster oven pan instead of a full-size cookie sheet. (They still have enough room to spread out in an even layer.) And then I cook them in the toaster oven. I also leave out the mushrooms, and I actually prefer them without the avocado (which is weird for me – I love avocado).
Prep/Cook Time: 40 minutes
This is basically pad thai, but it’s way easier. It’s also way better than all of the at home pad thai versions I’ve tried. Plus, it’s a one pot dish, so that’s excellent. I basically make it according to the recipe, but I do use green pepper instead of red.
Prep/Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
I spent a long time trying to find a good black bean burger recipe, and this one was the clear winner. In my opinion, you can make some substitutions based on what you do or don’t have, but the chipotle sauce is what makes them especially good.
Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes
This may be the dish that I make most frequently. It’s very easy, it’s so good, and basically everyone (except for vegetarians) likes it. I’m not a huge cream cheese fan, so I use cottage cheese instead. I also make it into a casserole because stuffing shells is a pain.
Prep/Cook Time: 40 minutes (I only put it the oven for about 15 minutes to speed this up – I mean, everything is already cooked.)
I guess it’s also worth noting that most of these recipes don’t have meat in them. I usually make vegetarian dishes when I’m at home, and I’m just not a huge meat eater in general. But if you’re someone who typically has meat at every meal, think of these as a Meatless Monday inspiration!