4 Fast and Cheap Meal Ideas For When You Don't Want To Cook

Lori | Home Made Simple
by Lori | Home Made Simple

Have you ever wanted a fast cheap meal after a difficult day? That doesn’t work well if you’re on a budget. If we go out to eat, we know it will cost about $50, which is way too much.


I’m sharing some fast-food replacement ideas I’ve come up with to help curb the urge to go out to eat. These are quick and easy recipes to get on the table, even on the busiest days.

Making carrot raisin salad

1. Carrot raisin salad

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups raisins
  • Salt


Directions:

Wash your carrots (yes, this is a huge carrot from Costco–I’m not used to these!).


Shred all of the carrots and add to a bowl.

Making carrot raisin salad

Add the apple cider vinegar (use regular vinegar or lemon juice if necessary), mayonnaise, and honey to the carrots.


Salt to taste.

Making carrot raisin salad
Making carrot raisin salad

Add the raisins. Stir together. Put plastic wrap over the bowl and set it in the refrigerator to chill.


Bonus recipe: quick bread

I realized I didn’t have enough bread on hand so I found this recipe for fast bread. I never used this recipe before so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out.


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup warm milk


Directions:

Making bread
Making bread

Add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. (I added a little more flour to the recipe as I was mixing.)

Making bread

Pour the batter on a floured surface to knead. (The stand mixer works fine, too, but I like kneading.)

Making bread

Put a ball of dough in a bowl. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes.

Making bread

Add a little olive oil to the bottom of a loaf pan. I baked it in my loaf pan for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


It came out nice and golden brown. So this is a really good recipe. I'd adjust the amount of flour to 3 cups, however.

Bread

2. Grilled chicken sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • Chicken lunch meat
  • Cheese
  • Thousand island dressing
  • Lettuce, tomato, toppings of your choice


Directions:

Making grilled chicken sandwiches
Making grilled chicken sandwiches
Spread dressing on the bread.


Making grilled chicken sandwiches

Put your toppings on the bread.

Making grilled chicken sandwiches

Put cooking spray on the pan, put the pan on medium heat, and toast the sandwich to melt the cheese.

Grilled chicken sandwiches

Look at this delicious meal of carrot and raisin salad and this grilled sandwich. Better than restaurant eating!


3. Taco soup

The ingredients below replace the ranch seasoning packet that most taco soup recipes call for. You don’t have to buy the extra packet of ranch seasoning.


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 large cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 package frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • ¼ cup of dry milk powder
  • 2-3 cups frozen rice
  • Black beans


Directions:

Making taco soup

Brown the beef and if you have lean beef, there’s no need to drain it.

Making taco soup

Add all the ingredients in the pot with the beef.

Making taco soup

Simmer for about 30 minutes or so until everything is heated through and then it's ready to serve.

Taco soup

I topped mine with cheese, tortilla chips, and avocado. Try sour cream, too.


4. BBQ chicken baked potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken
  • 1 block of cheddar cheese (or 1 package pre-shredded)
  • Paprika
  • 2 cups barbeque sauce
  • 6 potatoes, unpeeled and washed


Directions:

Making BBQ chicken baked potatoes

Add chicken to the crock pot. Sprinkle a little bit of paprika on it. Add the barbecue sauce. Cook on high so it’s ready in the afternoon.

Making BBQ chicken baked potatoes

Salt the outside of the potatoes for tasty skins.


Poke holes with a fork in the potatoes before baking (this is crucial or they may explode in your oven from the built-up steam).


Bake for 3 hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Making BBQ chicken baked potatoes

If you have a block of cheese, shred it or use already shredded cheese.

Making BBQ chicken baked potatoes

Use two forks to shred the chicken.

Making BBQ chicken baked potatoes

Slice potatoes open in the middle and add butter.


Add cheese to the top of the potatoes


Spoon on the chicken mixture directly from the crockpot.

BBQ chicken baked potatoes

I had tomatoes to top the potatoes, but I forgot to use them. Try cilantro on this as a topper. Add more BBQ sauce if you desire.


Fast cheap meals

I have enjoyed all of these recipes. It's always good when you can make good recipes that your family enjoys eating and come together quickly. I


always love hearing all of your go-to fast cheap meal and family-friendly recipe ideas so please be sure to share those in the comments below.


Next, check out these Frugal and Delicious Slow Cooker Meal Ideas.

Comments
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2 of 3 comments
  • LAUREL LAUREL 7 days ago
    The heading said fast and easy...the BBQ chicken potatoes takes over 3 hours to cook the potatoes!
  • Loi50705355 Loi50705355 6 days ago
    Almost anything in a Tortilla with cheese becomes a quesadilla. An electric grill makes it super quick.
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