Cheap Easy Dinner Ideas for Family: Quick & Delicious Meal Ideas


In today’s fast-paced world, understanding the importance of Cheap Easy Dinner Ideas for Family for families is crucial. The challenge many face is finding recipes that are both cheap and easy. Moreover, the added benefit of meals that can be reheated the next day is a lifesaver for many busy parents.

As families strive to balance work, school, and various activities, sitting down for a homemade dinner becomes a precious moment of togetherness. However, this doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune or hours in the kitchen to provide a satisfying meal. In this comprehensive guide, we will not only explore the top 10 cheap and easy family dinner ideas but also delve into practical tips for creating affordable yet delicious meals. These recipes are designed to save you money while satisfying your family’s taste buds, ensuring that dinner is both enjoyable and budget-friendly.

Top 10 Cheap and Easy Family Dinners

1. Chicken Parmesan & Pasta Casserole

This dish is always a hit, especially if you have a house full of picky eaters. It combines the classic flavors of chicken Parmesan with the ease of a casserole. Here’s how to make it:

One of the most delightful ways to enjoy a meal without burning a hole in your pocket is by trying out the Mexican Pasta Salad. This dish is not only affordable but also packed with flavors that will make your taste buds dance.


  • Chicken breasts or thighs
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic breadcrumbs


  1. Cook the pasta and set it aside.
  2. Season and cook the chicken until it’s done.
  3. Mix the cooked pasta with pasta sauce.
  4. Layer the pasta mixture, chicken, and cheese in a baking dish.
  5. Top it with garlic breadcrumbs for that perfect crunch.
  6. Bake until golden brown and bubbling.
  7. Serve with a Caesar salad for the ultimate meal.

2. Slow Cooker Chicken & Gravy

The benefits of using a crockpot are numerous. It makes dinner time a breeze, allowing you to spend more time with your family and less time in the kitchen. Here’s how to make this simple and delicious slow cooker chicken and gravy:


  • Chicken thighs
  • Chicken gravy mix
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper

Who doesn’t love tacos? The Steak Street Tacos are a perfect example of how simple ingredients can be turned into a mouthwatering dish without much effort.


  1. Place the chicken in the slow cooker.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the chicken gravy mix with water.
  3. Pour the gravy mixture over the chicken.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook on low for several hours until the chicken is tender.
  6. Serve with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables for a complete meal.

3. Lazy Lasagna

This dish is the epitome of convenience. With just a few ingredients, you can have a delicious meal ready in no time. Here’s how to make lazy lasagna:


  • Frozen ravioli
  • Pasta sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Ground beef or sausage (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven and grease a baking dish.
  2. Layer frozen ravioli in the dish.
  3. Top with pasta sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Repeat the layers.
  5. If desired, add cooked ground beef or sausage between the layers.
  6. Bake until bubbly and golden brown.
  7. Enjoy this effortless take on a classic Italian dish.

4. Loaded Chicken Baked Potatoes

Potatoes are a budget-friendly option. They’re cheap, filling, and versatile. One creative way to enjoy them is by making loaded chicken baked potatoes:

Potatoes are a staple in many households, and for a good reason. They’re versatile, filling, and can be turned into various delicious dishes. One such dish is the Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, a side dish that can easily steal the show.


  • Potatoes
  • Cooked chicken
  • Butter
  • Seasoning
  • Toppings of your choice (e.g., sour cream, cheese, chives)


  1. Bake the potatoes until tender.
  2. Split them open and fluff the insides with a fork.
  3. Top with butter, seasoning, cooked chicken, and your choice of toppings.
  4. Return them to the oven to melt the cheese and heat the toppings.
  5. Serve as a satisfying and customizable family dinner.

5. Crockpot Creamy Chicken Tacos

Shredded chicken is versatile and can be used in various dishes. This easy slow cooker meal is perfect for tortillas or even over cauliflower rice. Here’s how to make creamy chicken tacos:


  • Chicken breasts
  • Cream cheese
  • Taco seasoning
  • Salsa


  1. Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
  2. Sprinkle with taco seasoning.
  3. Add cream cheese and salsa on top.
  4. Cook until the chicken is tender and can be easily shredded.
  5. Serve the creamy chicken in tortillas with your favorite taco toppings for a family-friendly fiesta.

6. The Best Meatloaf You’ll Ever Make

A flavorful meatloaf is always a crowd-pleaser. Mix ground beef with boxed stuffing, add your favorite seasonings, and bake. Here’s how to make the best meatloaf:


  • Ground beef
  • Boxed stuffing mix
  • Onion
  • Ketchup
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Seasonings


  1. Combine ground beef with boxed stuffing mix, diced onion, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and your choice of seasonings.
  2. Shape into a loaf and place it in a baking dish.
  3. Bake until cooked through and the top is caramelized.
  4. Slice and serve with mashed potatoes and green beans for a classic family dinner.

7. Cheeseburger Pasta Casserole

This dish combines the flavors of a cheeseburger and pasta, making it an instant hit with both kids and adults. Here’s how to make cheeseburger pasta casserole:


  • Ground beef
  • Pasta
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Pickles (optional)


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
  2. Brown ground beef in a skillet and drain excess fat.
  3. Mix cooked pasta, ground beef, ketchup, mustard, and cheddar cheese in a baking dish.
  4. Top with additional cheese.
  5. Bake until bubbly and golden brown.
  6. For an extra cheeseburger kick, add pickles before serving.

8. Chicken Parmesan Baked Sliders

Using frozen chicken makes this dish quick and easy, making it perfect for busy weeknights or when you have guests over. Here’s how to make chicken Parmesan baked sliders:


  • Frozen chicken patties
  • Slider buns
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pasta sauce
  • Butter
  • Garlic powder


  1. Cook the frozen chicken patties according to the package instructions.
  2. Split the slider buns and place the cooked chicken patties on the bottom half.
  3. Top with mozzarella cheese and pasta sauce.
  4. Replace the top bun halves.
  5. Brush with melted butter and garlic powder.
  6. Bake until the buns are toasted, and the cheese is melted.
  7. Serve as a delightful twist on chicken Parmesan.

9. Chicken & Zucchini Casserole

This dish might sound simple, but the flavors are heavenly. Combine chicken, zucchini, stuffing, and bake until golden brown. Here’s how to make chicken & zucchini casserole:

Chicken is another versatile ingredient that can be turned into a plethora of dishes. The Pan-Fried Parmesan Chicken with Zucchini is a testament to that. It’s easy, quick, and oh-so-delicious!


  • Chicken breasts
  • Zucchini
  • Boxed stuffing mix
  • Cream of chicken soup
  • Sour cream


  1. Cook the boxed stuffing mix according to the package instructions.
  2. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish.
  3. Top with sliced zucchini.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix cream of chicken soup and sour cream.
  5. Pour the soup mixture over the chicken and zucchini.
  6. Top with the cooked stuffing.
  7. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, and the top is golden brown.
  8. Serve this comforting casserole to your family.

10. Garlic Toast Mini Pizzas

Mini pizzas are fun, easy, and a hit with kids. Use garlic toast as the base, add your favorite toppings, and bake. Here’s how to make garlic toast mini pizzas:


  • Garlic bread slices
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza toppings of your choice (e.g., pepperoni, bell peppers, olives)


  1. Preheat your oven and arrange garlic bread slices on a baking sheet.
  2. Spread pizza sauce on each slice.
  3. Add mozzarella cheese and your favorite pizza toppings.
  4. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
  5. Serve these delightful mini pizzas for a family dinner that’s both easy and enjoyable.

If you’re looking for an appetizer that’s easy to make and is sure to impress, the Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms are your best bet.


1. What Are Budget-Friendly Meals for Families?

Budget-friendly meals for families are dishes that are both affordable and nutritious. These meals are designed to provide sustenance to family members without putting a strain on the household budget. They often use inexpensive ingredients, leftovers, and pantry staples creatively to create delicious and filling dinners.

2. How Can I Cater to Picky Eaters in My Family?

Catering to picky eaters can be a challenge, but there are strategies you can employ. One approach is to involve them in meal planning and preparation, giving them a sense of ownership over their food choices. Additionally, you can try disguising vegetables in dishes, exploring different cooking methods, and introducing new foods gradually to expand their palate.

3. What Are the Advantages of Using a Crockpot for Family Dinners?

Crockpots, or slow cookers, offer several advantages for family dinners. They are incredibly convenient, allowing you to prepare ingredients in the morning and return to a ready-to-eat meal in the evening. Slow cooking also tenderizes tougher cuts of meat and allows flavors to meld, resulting in delicious, hearty dishes.

4. How Can I Incorporate Tortillas into Family Dinners?

Tortillas are versatile and can be used in various family-friendly recipes. They are perfect for making wraps, tacos, quesadillas, or even enchiladas. You can fill them with a variety of ingredients, from seasoned ground beef to shredded chicken and plenty of vegetables for a balanced meal.

5. What Are Some Creative Ways to Use Ground Beef in Family Dinners?

Ground beef is a versatile ingredient that can be used in numerous family dinner recipes. Beyond classics like burgers and meatballs, you can incorporate it into pasta dishes, casseroles, stuffed peppers, and more. It’s an economical choice that adds flavor and protein to your meals.

6. How Can I Create Delicious Cheeseburger Pasta Casserole?

Creating a cheeseburger pasta casserole is simple and satisfying. You can combine ground beef, cooked pasta, cheese, and a flavorful sauce to replicate the taste of a cheeseburger. It’s a great way to please both kids and adults with a comforting and budget-friendly meal.

7. What Are the Benefits of Cooking in a Slow Cooker?

Slow cookers offer several benefits for family dinners. They require minimal effort, allowing you to set and forget your meal. They also excel at tenderizing tough cuts of meat and infusing dishes with rich flavors. Slow cooker recipes often yield generous portions, making them perfect for feeding a family.

8. How Can I Use Shredded Chicken in Family Dinners?

Shredded chicken is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various family dinners. It can be added to tacos, burritos, enchiladas, soups, salads, and sandwiches. Slow cooking chicken breasts or using a rotisserie chicken can provide you with tender and flavorful shredded chicken for your recipes.

9. What Makes Meatloaf a Crowd-Pleasing Family Dinner?

Meatloaf is a classic family dinner choice because it’s flavorful, easy to prepare, and can feed a group of people. By combining ground beef with breadcrumbs, seasonings, and other ingredients, you create a dish that’s both comforting and budget-friendly.

10. How Can I Create Garlic Toast Mini Pizzas for Family Dinners?

Garlic toast mini pizzas are a fun and customizable family dinner option. You can use slices of garlic bread as a base and add your family’s favorite pizza toppings. Bake them until the cheese is melted and bubbly for a delicious and easy-to-make meal.

Additional Resources

For more budget-friendly meal ideas and cooking tips, you can explore the following external resources:

  1. Budget-Friendly Family Meals – Food Network
  2. Budget Bytes – Delicious Recipes Designed for Small Budgets
  3. Allrecipes Budget-Friendly Recipes


Finding cheap and easy dinner ideas for your family doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right recipes and a bit of planning, you can have delicious meals on the table in no time. Whether you’re using a slow cooker, baking, or frying, there’s a recipe out there that’s perfect for your family. Remember, the key is to find dishes that everyone loves, are easy to make, and won’t break the bank. So, the next time you’re stuck on what to make for dinner, refer back to this list or check out some additional ideas. Happy cooking!

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