100+ Best Meal Ideas for Dinner

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breakfast pizza

Recipes for Week Night Dinners

I wouldn’t necessarily call what I do meal planning.  It’s more of what else can I make with this ham, roast, chicken etc.  I am always looking for easy dinner ideas, quick recipes for dinner and how I can stretch our budget.  Here are the best meal ideas I’ve made for our family, to yours.

The goal is to take one meal and find ways to turn it into many meals, sometimes sandwiches down to soup.  I have put in links where I have actually made the easy dinner idea.  We also have a kid friendly list of food ideas as well as recipes for Summer.

For the most part, 90% of these recipes are family recipes.  I don’t want to spend the day in the kitchen cooking, it needs to be an easy recipe to follow and with normal ingredients that most people have in their kitchen (though our spice options have grown to most of them).

We have open pot meal and  sheet pan meal recipes as well.  The categories are by meat type and there is a vegetable and filler section. Fillers are things that help you stretch your food farther.

We also have on how to shop and save on food for a year to stretch your budget.

Best Meal Ideas for Dinner Tonight

ham and bean soup in the slow cooker
Soups are great way to use leftovers for meal planning ideas

Easy Dinner Recipes

Meal Ideas With Beans

5 layer taco dip, (refried beans)

Beans and Rice

Bean soup

Beans and rice with taco seasoning

Cooked Beans in Instant Pot

Fancy Beans (JAR of Northern Navy beans drained, 1/2 cup salsa and chicken broth. Sprinkle cheese and sour cream on top. Very low in fat but filling)

Green Bean Casserole (cream of mushrooms soup and French onions in and on top on green beans)

Ham and Bean soup

#2 Ham & Bean Soup

Homemade Ham Gravy

Nachos – (cheese, chili/taco meat, sour cream, black beans, refried beans, served on tortilla chips)

One Pot Ham & Bean Soup

Tortillias (add bean, cheese, sour cream)

Veggie Bean soup (beans, ham, chicken stock, salt/pepper, celery, carrot) add pasta

corn chili recipe

Best Meal Ideas for Dinner

Make Meals With Ground Beef

Beef Stroganoff

Bow Tie Lasagna (Bow tie noodles, Sour Cream, spaghetti sauce, Italian seasoning, Beef and Shredded cheese)

Barbecue Short Ribs


Cheddar Cheeseburgers

Cheeseburger soup

Chili (crock pot)

3 Bean Chili

Chili, Whole Tomato and Bean

Corned Beef & Hash



Ground Beef w/Cream of mushroom soup and a little milk (over potatoes or bake it with cheese at 350, serve once cheese is melted)

Ground Bologna


Italian Meatball Lasagna

Lasagna Rolls

Lasagna with Spinach

Meatball sandwich



Mongolian Beef, slow cooked

Pot Roast


Spaghetti bake

Sloppy Jo Sandwiches

Stuffed Cheeseburgers


Taco soup

beef pot pie

Making Meals With Beef Roast

Over potatoes (chopped beef served over mashed potatoes)

Barbecue Beef Short Ribs (Instant Pot)

Beef barley soup

Beef Pot pie  (chopped beef, veggies on hand, pie crust, corn starch, beef stock)

BBQ Beef sandwiches (chopped beef, bbq sauce)

Cabbage rolls, stuffed

Chuck Roast Chili

Corned Beef & Cabbage, Instant Pot

Corned Beef & Cabbage, Slow Cooked

Crockpot Pot Roast w/potatoes/carrots/other veggies with beef stock


German Pot Roast

Irish Stew

Pot Roast

Pot Roast in Instant Pot

Prime Rib – while expensive, bought on sale, you can make a lot with left overs.

Stir fry

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Veggie Beef Soup

chicken salad

Best Meal Ideas For Breakfast

Apple Pie French Toast

Apple French Toast Casserole

Bacon and Egg Hashbrown Casserole

Buttermilk Pancakes

French Toast

Cherry Scones

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Waffles

Tater Tot Casserole

Meatless Meals

Cheese Ravioli Casserole

Best Meal Ideas For Poultry/Chicken

Start with a Rotisserie Chicken

BBQ Chicken (crock pot)

BBQ Chicken sandwiches (chopped chicken w/bottle of bbq)

Ala King, Chicken Ala King (chicken pot pie without crust or carrots served over potatoes)

Asian Orange Chicken

Cherry Barbecue Chicken

Chicken and Pasta

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Creamy Chicken Alfredo

Easy Chicken Alfredo

Campfire Chicken meals

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chili, Chicken Chili (chopped chicken, navy beans, McCormick’s chicken chili)

Chili, Turkey

Enchiladas, Chicken

Pot Pie, Chicken (chopped chicken, veggies on hand, pie crust, corn starch, chicken stock)

Chicken & creamy  mushrooms

Chicken Kebabs

Pita Pockets Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Grilled Smothered Chicken

Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs

Freezing chicken eggs

Fried chicken

Gnocchi, Chicken Soup

Hawaiian Chicken

Lemon garlic chicken

Lemon Spiced Smoked Chicken

Meatloaf, Turkey

Sheet pan chicken dinner

soup, Chicken Soup (chicken stock, veggies on hand, chopped chicken with noodles or without)

Smothered Chicken Breasts

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Turkey Casserole

Turkey Breast – slow cooked

Stuffing, Turkey Breast (slow cooked)

Making Meals With Eggs

3 Layer Omlet

Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuit

Bread and egg casserole

Burritos, Breakfast

Breakfast casserole

Breakfast pizza

Cheesy eggs

Deviled Eggs

Egg in hole

Egg salad sandwiches

English Muffin breakfast sandwich


5 minute hard boiled eggs

Hard Boiled Eggs

Ham & Cheese Quiche

Ham & Egg Croissant

Potato Salad

Sausage and egg casserole

Scrambled eggs

Fillers In Meals

Adding the following into dishes will help stretch them further (where appropriate)

Buttermilk Biscuits

Crackers (in meatloaf)

Roasted Garlic Cloves

Pasta (added to most beef and chicken dishes will stretch them)

Baked Cheese and Ravioli

mac and cheese with bread crumb topping

Baked Mac and Cheese

Meatless Lasagna

Noodles (added to most dishes and making a gravy are a hit)

Veggies (will stretch dishes and are healthy)

Meals To Make With Fish

Salmon – Place in foil, sprinkle with lemon pepper and cook in the oven until light pink & flakey.

Lemon and Tarragon Trout

Tuna Casserole

Making Dinner With Ham

Bourbon Glazed Ham

Breakfast casserole

Broccoli, ham and cheese soup

Brown Sugar Ham with Pineapple

Cabbage soup with ham

Crock pot Bean Soup (beans, ham, chicken stock, veggies (if you desire) salt/pepper)

Cubed – soup, egg omelets, salads

Fried sliced ham (breakfast)

Ham Potato Frittata

scrambled eggs with ham & cheese


Soup Ham and bean

Ham and potato soup (slow cooker)

Ham salad

Omelettes with ham and veggies

Omelettes with ham and cheese

Orange Rum Glazed Ham

pizza with ham and other toppings

Potato Soup (slow cooker)

Potato and ham chowder

scalloped potatoes and ham

Sliced ham – sandwiches

Split pea soup with ham

Sweet Potato Casserole

Honey glazed spiced ham

Best Meal Ideas For Pork

Watch for pork loin to go on sale.  You can have it cut into slices at the store or at home and make them into pork chops (cheaper than buying pork chops and without the bone!)

Apple Cider Pork Loin

Bacon Egg & Cheese Sandwich

BBQ Pork Ribs (crock pot)

BBQ Pulled Pork Meat

Ham Bone Ham and Bean Soup

Pork Chops (Preheat oven to 400. cut up some potatoes, place pork chops in the pan, place sliced potatoes on top, Velveeta cheese chunks, Cream of mushroom soup and milk as needed to coat bottom of pan. Bake until potatoes are done. YUM… cook ½ hour)

Pork Chops –  throw them in the crock pot with diced up apples and some cinnamon and a little sugar.  Throw in a couple spoonful’s of apple sauce as well with a little water.

Pork chops with BBQ sauce in crock pot.

Pork chops with Teriyaki sauce in crock pot.

lo mein, Pork lo mein. dip in vidalia onion sauce and then panko crumbs and bake.

Pork fried rice – minced pork with rice.

chops, Pork chops – serve with brown gravy and rice

Pork Chops with cream of mushroom

Pork chops -Add layer of pork chops, ranch packet and pork chops.  Sprinkle ranch packet on them. Add a can of cream of chicken soup in with them. Couple hours on high until cooked.

Pork chops Sauteed, add cream of mushroom with can of water and simmer until cooked. Serve over rice or noodles or alone.

Instant Pot Pulled Pork

Sausage Patties

Sausage, Biscuits & Gravy

Stuffed Pork Chops

Best Potatoes Ideas

Amish hash browns

Au Gratin Potatoes

Baked Potatoes

Breakfast casserole

Corned beef hash

Cheesy fried potatoes

Cheesy potatoes (chicken stock, potatoes chopped, chopped bacon, corn starch, cheese)

French fries

Fried potatoes

Garlic mashed potatoes

Ham and potato soup 

Hashbrown Casserole (cream of chicken soup, hash browns, cheddar cheese, minced onion, salt & pepper)

One Pot Potato Soup

Potato pancakes (from mashed potatoes)

Mashed potatoes

Potato Salad

Potato Soup (slow cooker)

Old Fashioned Potato Soup

Potato wedges

Roasted red potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

Shepherds pie

Smoked Baked Potatoes

Twice baked potato skins

Meal Planning – Use Veggies

Add into Soup/Casseroles (stretches dishes farther and healthy)

Artichoke Hearts

Beans – drained great for kids to eat (just like Cheerios)

Cabbage Stew

Canned veggies, last longer

Carrots – Boil/steam, chopped into soups, inexpensive

Celery , chopped, serve with peanut butter, raisins

Eat Raw

Frozen Veggies easy to add in as needed

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Roasted/Grilled on the oven

Smoked corn on the cob

Steamed cauliflower or broccoli served with cream of cheese soup

What are you favorite cheap recipes?

Need a recipe for dinner? We have over 100+ of some the best meal ideas that are budget friendly you can make for your next family meal.

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  1. What a great list of ideas! Thanks so much for the roundup, I’m getting hungry just reading this post!

    Amber Johnson

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