Just 11 Easy (And Cheap) Dinner Recipes Our Writers And Editors Make For Themselves After Work

Food prices are at a dizzying 30-year high, but that doesn't mean we have to settle for bland and boring when it comes to making meals that don't break the bank.

Plain rice and beans? We don't know her.

We're writers and editors on the lifestyle team here at BuzzFeed who love to cook (and eat, obvi). We live all across the US, and we spend our days surfing the web in search of fun and practical tips, tricks, and recipes. So now, we're sharing some dishes we've made recently that are incredibly delicious without being super expensive. Here's what we've been cooking:

1.Best Anytime Baked Chicken Meatballs (with Tikka Masala Sauce) — This recipe takes a homemade base (aka your favorite meatball recipe) and turns it into a take-out style dinner with the help of a store-bought simmer sauce. It's minimal effort and only calls for a handful of ingredients, and the leftovers taste just as good.

Plate with meatballs in sauce, naan bread, and saag on a table

I make meatballs from scratch (often using this recipe from Pinch of Yum), bake them until golden brown, and then quickly toss them in Trader Joe's tikka masala curry sauce. Sometimes I'll add some extra ingredients to the sauce like a dollop of yogurt for thickness or some tomato paste for a kick. I serve it over rice or with naan for sopping up all the tikka masala sauce.

Hand holding a jar of Trader Joe's Tikka Masala Curry Sauce in front of grocery shelves

2.Easy Greek Red Lentil Soup — This soup is equal parts comforting and hearty while we're still in the woes of winter. It's usually my go-to when I'm craving a bowl of tomato soup (which is always) but want something that will actually keep me full.

A person holding a bowl of tomato soup garnished with crumbled cheese and herbs

3.Golden Creamy Butter Beans — Turmeric gives this dish its lovely color, with warming ginger and garlic for spicy and satisfying flavors. I was too hungry to take photos the night I made this and served it over rice, but it was somehow even better reheated the next day for lunch, as pictured below. This dish cooks up in about 25 minutes, but it tastes like it's been simmering on the stove all day.

A bowl of creamy vegetable curry with a spoon rests on a stove, ready to be served
Megan Liscomb

Mine isn't quite as pretty as the recipe video on TikTok that inspired me, but I've made my peace with that. Look how the original creator, Raquel Ravivo, scooped up her beans with some toasty fresh sourdough! It looks so good — I have to try that next time.

Raquel Ravivo

I did make a couple of additions to the recipe: I wanted to squeeze in more veggies without dirtying any more pans, so I added two diced carrots when I sautéed the onions and two big handfuls of spinach when it was nearly done. If you're a fellow veggie freak like me, I bet cauliflower would be great in this (or any other veggie you have on hand).

Megan Liscomb

Recipe: Golden Creamy Butter Beans

4.Creamy Gyoza Soup — As someone who's trying to incorporate more plant-based meals into her life, this soup called my name the moment I stumbled across it during a TikTok doom scroll. I've made it at least once a week ever since, and now I just tweak it depending on whatever veggies I have on hand. (Gyoza not pictured but definitely consumed, BTW.)

Hand holding a bowl of noodle soup with chopped green onions on top

5.Crispy Black Bean Tacos — At $2 per serving, these smoky and seriously satisfying tacos will be my rent week meal until the day I die. They're not quite a one-pan meal (one pan plus one skillet, technically!), but they're still remarkably cleanup-friendly and straightforward for any busy weeknight.

crispy black bean tacos on a white plate with dipping sauces

6.Beet and Goat Cheese Pasta — This pink pasta's moment of internet fame may have come and gone, but it's still my number one low-effort pasta dish. The combo of beets, goat cheese, and pistachios is absolutely *chef's kiss*, but I also understand they aren't always the most budget-friendly ingredients. If you're looking to keep this as low-cost as possible, there are definitely a few swaps you can make.

A plate of beet pasta topped with herbs, nuts, and goat cheese

7.Sheet Pan Nachos — This is a pretty simple, no-frills dish that I'm definitely late to the game with making, but it's one of those meals that is the gift that keeps on giving. It's easy to whip together, filling, and it's great to serve when hosting people (or to bring to a potluck) or to make for yourself and have leftovers for the next day.

Tray of nachos loaded with various toppings like cheese, dollops of sour cream, and guacamole

8.Prosciutto, Tomato, and Mozzarella Toast — If you love bread, cheese, and minimal-effort cooking (if you can even call it that), I urge you to try this recipe. Crunchy sourdough paired with salty prosciutto, creamy mozzarella, and juicy grape tomatoes is a combo that truly stands the test of time, and I know this because I eat this toast maybe thrice weekly, at least.

Person holding a plate with bruschetta topped with tomatoes, cheese, and cured meat

9.Coconut Cabbage and Tofu with Lemongrass and Ginger — For those nights when "throw stuff in a pan and bake" is all you're feeling up for, even though you want something beautiful and flavorful, turn to this cheap one-pan meal.

cabbage tofu and carrots in a curry sauce before baking

A 45-minute roast in the oven turns this smattering of cost-efficient ingredients into a dish that's pure magic: the coconutty sauce becomes luxuriously rich, chunks of carrot and cabbage turn velvety with bits of char here and there, and even the tofu becomes substantially hearty with a pleasant chew.

cabbage tofu and carrots in a curry sauce after baking

10.Lentil Shepherd's Pie — This recipe is perfect for a winter weeknight when you want something hot and hearty but you also need to eat your veggies. And if you, like me, have a giant jar of lentils in your kitchen at all times, this is a delicious way to use some of them up.

shepherds pie in a cast iron skillet
Megan Liscomb

The recipe as written isn't strictly vegetarian — it calls for Worcestershire sauce which contains anchovies. I swapped in a mix of Bragg Liquid Aminos and some gochujang that I had on hand to mimic the fermented umami and slightly spicy tang of the Worcestershire sauce. If you're also not keen on buying a whole new sauce to make one dish, you could make many substitutions depending on what you have in your kitchen.

A person's hand holding a plate with a portion of shepherd's pie, including vegetables and mashed potatoes

11.Swamp Soup — This viral cool-season favorite from Wishbone Kitchen lives up to all the hype. Frankly, I think it surpasses the hype, and I can confidently say it's like no chicken and rice soup you've ever tasted.

Bowl of chicken noodle soup with spoon, viewed from above

What have you been making for dinner lately? Share your favorite recipes (including any links!) in the comments below, and be sure to upload a photo if you have one.

And if you try out any of these recipes for yourself, be sure to tell us what you think.