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20 Meals to Make for Less Than $20

A delicious collection of 20 meals for under $20! Recipes include oven roasted meats, pastas, eggs, soups, stews, casseroles and more!

It’s time for another round of cheap meals! We are all feeling the pinch at the grocery store these days, so I thought this would be a good time to remind us all of some budget friendly meal ideas that are right at your fingertips. In this roundup, I’ve collected a list of 20 meals for under $20 each!

Of course, depending on where you are located and the size of your family, they might cost a tiny bit more (or less!), but you get the idea. Regardless, they all contain budget friendly main ingredients that are accessible at grocery stores, and are perfect the way they are for a family of four or more (recipes can easily be doubled). Let’s get to it! 

Family Meals Under $20

Let’s start with recipes the whole family will love! It’s so satisfying making something that everyone is equally excited about, isn’t it? These next recipes are tried, tested, and true, for kids and adults alike. 

Easy Pepperoni Pizza Sliders

These Easy Pull Apart Pepperoni Pizza Sliders are made with soft buns stuffed full of pepperoni, pizza sauce and ooey gooey cheese, then slathered in delicious garlic butter! Assemble these sliders in minutes, pop them in the oven to bake, and the result is a warm, cheesy, flavourful pepperoni pizza slider that will instantly become a family favourite recipe in your household.

Creamy Tomato Macaroni & Cheese

Is there anything better than hearty, yummy comfort food in the dead of winter? But it’s got to be quick too! Most days I need to be able to get a great meal on the table in one hour or less. This Creamy Tomato Macaroni and Cheese is exactly that kind of recipe: hearty, comforting, quick, and simple. It’s so good for those nights when you just don’t know what to make for dinner. And the addition of tomato sneaks in some extra nutrition too!

Slow Cooker / Crockpot Sloppy Joes

Slow cookers are such a time saver, aren’t they? Take a few minutes in the morning to prep all the ingredients for this easy recipe, then walk away for the rest of the day. It’s such a relief to know that at dinner time you don’t really have to do much except set the table. The best! And these Homemade Sloppy Joes are a fun family meal under $20 that are perfect for the slow cooker. Serve them up with buns and a simple vegetable and you’ve got a healthy, balanced meal with almost no effort at all!

Creamy Chicken & Green Chili Enchiladas

This recipe includes a delicious and easy prep time cheat idea…a cooked rotisserie chicken! Sometimes they’re cheaper to buy than chicken from the meat counter, not to mention the fact that they’re cooked to perfection and ready to go. Use it for the chicken part of this Creamy Chicken & Green Chili Enchilada recipe, and you’re already miles ahead of the game! This recipe is so creamy and flavourful (did I mention creamy?) and contains simple and comforting ingredients like canned chilis, either corn tortillas or flour tortillas, cheese, and sour cream. This makes a lot, so it’s perfect for large families. Everyone will ask for another helping! 

Beef Stroganoff Meatballs

These delicious and hearty Beef Stroganoff Meatballs are one of my favourite comfort foods. I just love the rich flavour of the sauce combined with the meatballs and pasta…so delicious.This recipe is pretty easy to assemble so you can enjoy it even on a busy weeknight. The whole process of making the meatballs, making the sauce, and cooking the pasta takes just under one hour! So start at 5, and dinner is ready for 6. I also love that this dish is made with pantry staples that you likely already have at home. Your entire family will feel warmed and well fed by the time they finish eating this meal!

Nacho Pasta Bake

This Nacho Pasta Bake has all the delicious flavours and ingredients of nachos, but in a pasta instead! Isn’t that just so fun? It’s made with shell noodles, ground turkey (any ground meat will do), spices, and loads of cheese. Then it’s topped off with tortilla chips, fresh tomatoes and cilantro. I also like to serve it with salsa and sour cream on the side. So good, and such an easy twist on a classic meal that can be on your table in only 40 minutes, and for under $20!

Easy and Cheesy Hashbrown Breakfast Bake

I love a good breakfast bake any time of year. There’s just something so relaxing and stress-free about doing all the assembling for a dish in minutes, then popping it in the oven to bake. This Easy and Cheesy Hashbrown Breakfast Bake is one of those GREAT recipes. This dish is so flavourful. It’s made with eggs, cheese, hash browns, bacon or ham, onions, and peppers…all the things you love about breakfast in one recipe! And let’s be honest, why does it have to be for breakfast? This also makes a great busy weekday meal option. What kid doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? 

Sunday Meals Under $20 

When it comes to food, I lean toward being a traditional gal in most ways. And so it won’t surprise you that I love a good Sunday dinner. I have a few recipes in my repertoire that I like to save for this time of the week, because it makes our end of weekend feel special and complete. But just because I think these meals are special doesn’t mean they need to take a lot of extra work or money! I’ve collected a bunch of affordable Sunday dinner ideas with simple ingredients that still fit our under $20 theme. 

Oven Roasted Whole Chicken with Vegetables

One of my favourite Sunday dinner go-to meals is oven roasted chicken with vegetables. Meals that can be tossed together in just minutes are such a lifesaver. This simple recipe has the chicken and vegetables roasting together on the same pan, so not only is it easy to prepare, but the clean up after dinner is easier than ever!

Slow Cooker / Crockpot Roast Beef and Gravy

Using a crockpot is a great way to cook roast beef because the meat comes out tender and moist, and SO delicious. But I think the best part of this Roast Beef and Gravy recipe is…well…the gravy! It’s rich, flavourful and amazing over mashed potatoes! Serve a quick and easy vegetable of your choice and you’ve got a complete and fancy-ish Sunday meal with almost no effort on your part. 

The Perfect Pot Roast

This recipe and roasting method is a classic in our family. My mom always made a pot roast with beef broth, and I won’t make it any other way. The beef roasts slowly in broth with herbs, chopped carrots, celery, garlic and onions, resulting in THE most flavourful and tender pot roast ever…like fork-tender beef. And as an added bonus to the roast, you also end up with a flavourful au jus to serve or turn into gravy. So simple!! It’s a perfect recipe to make on a weekend afternoon, and you can use the leftovers for soup the next day. The perfect way to end a weekend!

Creamy Parmesan Garlic Pork Chops

These Creamy Parmesan Garlic Pork Chops are actually easy enough to serve any day of the week, but we love them on a Sunday! Tender chops simmered in a creamy parmesan garlic sauce, with fresh healthy spinach tossed in and the whole thing served over noodles. The sauce makes it feel fancy and Sunday-ish, but without all the work! Your family will be scraping out the bottom of the pan, which is always a nice feeling.

One-Pot Turmeric Chicken and Rice Casserole

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for new and delicious ways to serve chicken! It’s easy to get in the loop of making the same chicken dishes over and over, so if you’re looking for something new, this One-Pot Turmeric Chicken and Rice Casserole is it. This easy chicken casserole is made with rice, chicken thighs, tomatoes, celery, onions, and ground turmeric, and it’s all prepared and baked in one dish. Assembly is easy, and so is the clean up. Perfect for a lazy Sunday! You can use either brown rice or white rice, depending on how healthy you’re feeling that day. It’s a colourful (and filling) meal for under $20.

Comfort Food Meals Under $20

One thing I love about comfort food, other than the obvious comfort factor, is how affordable it can be. Soups, stews and casseroles are some of the comfiest foods I know, and also the cheapest! Most of them use pantry items you already have on hand, which is a big win for cheap dinner ideas. Here are some of my favourite hearty and delicious meals that don’t break the bank. 

45 Minute Instant Pot Beef Stew

When I say this Instant Pot Beef Stew is ready in 45 minutes, I mean from start to finish: pressurizing, cooking, depressurizing, and resting. And for a beef stew with beautifully tender beef, rich gravy and perfectly done vegetables, 45 minutes is an amazing turnaround time! A very popular dish in my household.

White Chicken Chili

What is white chili, you ask? Well, it has no tomatoes in it to give it that traditional red chili colour. Instead, this White Chicken Chili has a creamy and flavourful white sauce. Hearty, full of beans and a nice kick of spice, it’s a fun twist on a classic chili recipe. Serve it with lime wedges, shredded cheese, fresh cilantro and tortilla chips for a delicious meal that can be on your table in one hour!

a top down image of a yellow bowl filled with white chicken chili. next to the bowl sits a small bowl of avocado

Easy Sausage Potato Soup

This Easy Sausage Potato Soup is prepared and simmered in one dish. Assembly is easy, and so is the clean up…love that! It’s creamy, cheesy, flavourful and so so good. The Italian sausage gives it so much flavour and spice, and it’s loaded with tender veggies. The best.

two bowls of sausage potato soup

Easy Perogy Casserole

This Perogy Casserole is what I like to call a lazy perogy casserole because it calls for pre-made frozen perogies! This casserole recipe is loaded with cooked ham (or chicken) and perogies in a creamy and flavourful sauce, and topped with melted cheese and green onion. It’s so easy to make, you don’t even need to cook the perogies first! And it’s a great way to use up leftover chicken, ham, or turkey. Comfort food at its best. 

a top down close up image of a dish filled with a perogy casserole topped with melted cheese and sliced green onion

Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup

If you love loaded baked potatoes, then you will love this Loaded Baked Potato Soup! It has all the flavours of creamy potatoes, bacon, cheese, and green onion. Other than the delicious flavours, the best thing about this soup is that you can make it in the slow cooker. Put everything together in the morning, and come home to a ready dinner! All you have to do at the very end is stir in some cream, add cheddar cheese, and then dress it up with your favourite baked potato toppings (hello, bacon bits). Perfect! 

Italian Meatballs

If there is one meatball recipe that I could recommend and shout from the rooftops, it would be my Italian Meatballs. They are the most flavourful, moist and delicious meatballs ever! Once the meatballs are baked, they simmer on the stove top in tomato sauce, making this THE perfect meatball and pasta dish. There’s just something so irresistible and comforting about a bowl of pasta, sauce and meatballs, as you’ll agree after you try this recipe!

Hamburger Soup

This Hamburger Soup is an easy weeknight meal! This big batch soup is chock full of simple and delicious ingredients like lean ground beef, tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots and fresh herbs. So good. Start making your soup around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, let it fill your home with scrumptious smells for a couple of hours, and you can have this delicious dinner on the table by 5! Serve it with buns or crackers and cheese for a complete meal deal.  

two yellow bowls filled with hamburger soup

Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole

This Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole is delicious and comforting! This is a quick and simple dinner made with a homemade cream sauce that can be on your table in 45 minutes, so it’s a good option for busy weeknights! I think it’s so important to remember that healthy meals don’t have to be fancy or complicated. A simple noodle casserole like this one hits all the major food groups (especially if you decide to add frozen peas!), uses relatively healthy ingredients, and will fill the tummies of even your picky eaters. That’s a win. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

There you have it! A versatile list of 20 meals you can make for under $20, any day of the week. I hope you find some inspiration and extra money in your grocery budget as a result! Happy cooking, everyone.  


Have a delicious day!

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