Next Week's Meal Plan: 5 Easy and Cheap Dinners

Next Week's Meal Plan: 5 Easy and Cheap Dinners

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Meghan Splawn
Nov 10, 2018
(Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)

I know, I just wrote another meal plan around eating down my pantry in an effort to keep my grocery budget in check, but after a week of birthday dinners, election night self-soothing, and general laziness our family needs another week of easy, cheap dinners.

The recipes are simple because as we head into the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I want to use any extra cooking time I have on making pie crusts, freezing gravy, and just generally preparing for one of my favorite meals of the year. Here's how we're keeping meals cheap and easy in our house this week.

Welcome to This Week's Meal Plan

I believe meal planning is the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. Since I'm frequently asked by friends and family what I'm cooking for dinner each week, I share my weekly meal plan here. Whether you're just learning to meal plan and looking for a real-life example of how this works or you're an old pro on the hunt for inspiration, here's a peek at how I'm feeding my family this week.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Monday: Roasted Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

Roasting the broccoli for this soup does something so magical for the flavor. Not only does it make prep easier (you can roast the broccoli from frozen or do it a day in advance), but it also adds a rich, caramelized sweetness that boiling just can't produce. I'm making extra soup for my work-from-home-lunches for the rest of the week.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Tuesday: Huevos Rancheros Tacos

Tortillas, eggs, and a can of black beans make this dinner clock in at under $7 for the whole recipe and way less than that a serving. I'm skipping the peppers, (despite their low cost) to cut down on dishes, but doubling down on the salsa for grown-ups. Canned or frozen corn is a great side dish option if you're concerned about your kiddos having a veggie side with this meal.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Wednesday: Easy Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta

This is one of those recipes that I can hardly believe is budget-friendly, but it is! Buying frozen shrimp helps, but so does reaching for pantry staples like pasta and breadcrumbs. For my sometimes-finicky 4-year-old son, I'm serving the pasta and the shrimp separately and throwing some roasted broccoli (leftover from Monday) on the table as a side.

(Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)

Thursday: Vegan Slow-Cooker Chickpea Tikka Masala

Honestly, I didn't pick this for being budget-friendly — I just had a craving! I'll serve ours with naan and Greek yogurt, so even if my littlest isn't into the warmly spiced chickpeas there is still plenty on the table to fill him up.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Friday: Roasted Tomato Soup with Pizza Croutons

I'm being kind of sneaky about pizza Friday this week, because I don't want to spend money on takeout and I'm actually tired of pizza (we had a birthday pizza party last weekend). So I'm using some canned tomatoes and making pizza croutons! There may be a small mutiny from my kids, but it'll be worth it for a better dining-out budget for the coming weekend.

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