Impressively Easy Meals on the Cheap
Ease your wallet crunch with these budget-friendly yet totally company-worthy weeknight meals!
Ease your wallet crunch with these budget-friendly yet totally company-worthy weeknight meals!
Apple cider and Dijon mustard give this chicken dish the ultimate sweet-and-savory flavor, while a colorful mix of kale, carrots and parsnips makes it extra-hearty and nutritious. To save money, buy skin-on chicken thighs and simply remove the skin yourself.
Runny egg yolks, crispy bacon and garlicky croutons come together to make this cleaned-up take on a traditional French bistro salad.
This intensely flavorful dish is a cross between two classic French meals: beef bourguignon and coq au vin. For best results, use a good-quality red wine – ideally, Burgundy. If you have butcher’s twine on hand, use it to tie the thyme sprigs together for easy removal once the stew is done.
Roasting mushrooms intensifies their umami-rich flavor and gives them a meaty texture, making this meatless main an all-around palate-pleaser.
We’re always on the lookout for fresh new ways to enjoy kale, and this twist on pesto might just be our favorite yet! Here, we’ve layered it into a veggie-packed lasagna as a fun, nutrient-rich alternative to tomato sauce.
Creamy ricotta cheese adds decadence to these no-fuss, rolled-up chicken breasts. A smooth cauliflower purée and a buttery, lemony sauce will make this dish a dinner-party favorite. For extra color, garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley or oregano.
Sprinkle these crowd-pleasing quesadillas with thinly sliced green onion or finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves. For variation, try black or white beans instead of pinto beans.
Black beans add a delicious punch of protein to these meatless burgers while sweet potato gives them a subtle sweetness. Spicy oven fries and a zesty avocado mash round out the meal.
Got nut milk? Try these flavorful dairy-free recipes from Clean Eating contributor Dina Cheney's new cookbook.
Matcha, finely ground green tea powder, gives this drink its bright green color and an antioxidant boost.
Hazelnut milk and almond flour add sweet, rich, nutty flavor to this fall dessert. Try solo or topped with whipped coconut cream.
This nourishing dessert pairs red strawberries with pale green, luscious pistachio cream. It's also delicious with almond, hazelnut, or macadamia nut cream; follow the same recipe, just use different nuts. You can also try fresh blueberries or a mixture of berries on top. Make sure to use raw (not roasted) pistachios for a greener, fresher-tasting cream.
The batter for these dairy-free, almond-flavored waffles can also be used for pancakes. Feel free to garnish with lightly toasted slivered almonds. Before juicing, zest the lemons.
Coconut milk adds creaminess to this comforting Indian-inspired meal. For the best texture, be sure to use full-fat milk and avoid boiling the sauce once it’s added.
For a lighter (yet still crispy!) take on tempura, we’ve coated sweet potato in panko and baked it instead of using the traditional frying technique. Wasabi powder, or Japanese horseradish, adds authentic flavor and a punch of heat to the dressing.
Passata is a great flavor-enhancing pantry staple to have on hand for soups, stews, sauces and chilies. Here, we’ve added the jarred purée to warmly spiced chickpeas to make a vibrantly colored, rich-tasting vegetarian stew.
Inspired by Jamaican cuisine, in which warming spices are often paired with vibrant fruits, this chicken dinner boasts an irresistible balance of savory and sweet. To easily slice the collard greens, stack the leaves, roll them up into a cylinder and cut crosswise into strips.
Colorful and full of flavor, this gluten-free, grain-free “pizza” features a crust made of cauliflower, garlic, egg whites and cheese – no flour! To save time, prep and roast the butternut squash and mushrooms first.
Enjoy garden-fresh spinach and tomatoes all tangled up in whole-grain noodles and just one pot to wash tonight.
Miso-brushed cod is served over brown rice, beans and easy roasted yams for a complete meal. Customize it by adding sliced avocado or shredded carrot, or by substituting another protein such as chicken or shrimp.
Quick-pickled vegetables are stacked over soy- and-lime-spiked chicken burgers. A fast and easy homemade ketchup adds a sweet-tart kick without the excess sugar that normally comes with store-bought ketchup.
Tart red wine and sweet honey combine to make a balanced and bold glaze for the chicken. Sweet potato fries with a sour cream and onion dipping sauce makes for an addictive side to the meal.
Packed with veggies, chickpeas and crunchy pita chips, this Lebanese salad makes a satisfying meal. If you can’t find Za’atar, a Middle-Eastern spice blend, make your own variation by mixing equal amounts of dried thyme, sesame seeds and ground sumac.
Just as indulgent as the original, our un-fried eggplant is smothered in layers of sauce and cheese. If you’re not a fan of heat, omit or reduce the red pepper flakes.
This frittata is delicious warm from the oven, at room temperature or chilled. If you can’t find frozen artichoke hearts (and don’t want to work with fresh ones), use an additional 1 cup frozen peas or 2 cups sliced zucchini.
Just as satisfying as the Asian lettuce wraps on many restaurant menus, our clean version has far less salt and sugar. The vinegar-based quick-pickled slaw adds bright flavor and color.
A colorful salad with a raspberry shallot vinaigrette makes for a fresh and speedy meal.
Bacon adds smokiness to this thick and comforting classic French soup. To save time, prepare cheese toasts during the last 10 minutes of soup simmering time.
This Greek-inspired entrée couldn’t be simpler to prepare – just toss and roast. Round out the meal by serving it with a salad or fresh fruit for dessert.
This colorful grain salad is delicious warm or at room temperature. If you don’t have time to soak the Kamut in advance, cook it for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. For a twist, swap in another whole grain, such as faro, barley, quinoa or wheat berries.
Sweet and spicy chicken tops saucy pinto beans in this easy recipe. For a change, you can make this dish into a wrap – simply shred the chicken and serve it with the beans in warm whole-wheat tortillas.
Vibrant magenta tzatziki sauce adds rich and sweet notes to this light Greek-inspired entrée.
Negimaki are traditionally marinated beef rolled around scallions. Here, asparagus and carrots are used instead for a unique twist.
An elegant, company-worthy dish, this chicken garners its earthy flavor from dried porcini mushrooms. Round out the meal with a side of sautéed spinach.
A fresh, soft cheese made from mozzarella and cream, burrata helps give this colorful salad an air of sophistication.
Aromatic, juicy pork tenderloin is complemented by sweet-tart roasted acorn squash.
This healthier version of taco salad provides layers of flavor without the overload of calories and fat.
Savory flank steak marinated in a sweet and sour sauce tops fresh leaf lettuce, juicy mango and crunchy cashews.
Sweet grilled pineapple, rich and creamy mashed avocado and fresh tomato slices impart amazing color, flavor and texture to these satisfying sandwiches.
This satisfying meatless dish combines sweet and tender sweet potato with spicy beans and creamy avocado and yogurt.
Wonderfully fresh and tender scallops are served on a bed of fennel and lettuce with a sweet and tart grapefruit dressing. If your budget allows, buy high-quality, dry-packed scallops, which are not packed in a phosphate preservative solution.
These protein-rich patties are kissed with just a touch of maple syrup and topped with fresh, sweet cinnamon-spiced apples for a meal that works equally well for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Opt for a sweet red variety of apple that will hold its shape when cooked, such as Braeburn or McIntosh.
Sweet, nutty cornmeal lends these baked chicken tenders a perfectly crisp coating. For more crunch, opt for medium-grind cornmeal, but if you like a smooth texture, choose fine ground.
The simple yet sophisticated flavors of butter, white wine, garlic and tomatoes elevate this clam linguine to an indulgent meal. Steamed broccoli rabe makes a great side for this dish.
You’ll never go back to plain pork chops again once you’ve tried our buttermilk-marinated version! Juicy plums lend a burst of seasonal flavor.
Lime, honey and roasted red peppers are combined to make a savory-sweet glaze for our modern take on meatloaf.
This herbed farro is reminiscent of Middle Eastern tabbouleh – try stirring in some diced tomato and cucumber if you have them on hand.
Olives, roasted red peppers and tomatoes combine for a flavorful condiment to this juicy steak. Since top round is a lean, relatively tough cut, be sure to marinate it overnight to tenderize the meat. Here we use the broiler to cook the steak, but a grill would work equally well.
This Greek-inspired recipe pairs tender chickpea burgers with sweet, warm watermelon and a crisp arugula and fennel salad. For added flavor, add fennel fronds as a garnish.
A double dose of apple flavor – in the form of fresh fruit and juice – adds sweetness to this quick weeknight curry. For added color, stir in chopped cilantro to the couscous.
Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice mix made of dried herbs and seeds such as sumac, thyme and sesame, is the seasoning du jour, popping up on menus in the hottest restaurants. Here, we make our own to flavor lemon-kissed chicken, which pairs perfectly with cilantro hummus and tangy pickled radishes.
Inspired by the Middle Eastern dish shakshuka this comforting vegetarian entrée is perfect for any meal of the day. Serve with whole-grain pita or baguette for dipping.
Mexican food often gets pegged being unhealthy, but our Mexican stuffed bell peppers prove the contrary! We’ve doubled up on fiber-rich beans and sweet corn while still packing in juicy beef, so you get all the flavor with less fat. Serve with lime wedges and brown rice or quinoa.