Healthy Budget Meals

On a Budget? Looking to eat well? Whether you are a college student, a single professional, a budget conscious couple, a family of four it can be challenging to figure out how to make healthy meals on a budget. With every increasing grocery prices and smaller boxes it can make it tough to shop for the good stuff.

But I am here to tell you it is possible to eat healthy, great food with a skinny wallet! I began scouring for new menu ideas with four things in mind: healthy, easy on the pocket book, none of that processed stuff, and taste great!

So without further ado, I give you 5 budget friendly meals that won’t take a bite out of your wallet!

Gingered Pork and Vegetable Stir-Fry


1 (whole) pork tenderloin, about 12 ounces, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon(s) (grated peeled) fresh ginger
1 cup(s) (reduced-sodium) chicken broth
2 tablespoon(s) teriyaki sauce
2 teaspoon(s) cornstarch
2 teaspoon(s) canola oil
8 ounce(s) snow peas, strings removed, fresh or frozen
1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise , and thinly sliced crosswise
3 onions, cut into 3-inch pieces


Toss pork with ginger in a bowl. Mix broth, teriyaki sauce and cornstarch in a cup; set aside.
In a nonstick 12-inch skillet, warm 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add snow peas, zucchini and onions, and stir-fry until lightly browned and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables to large bowl.

In same skillet, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil; add pork mixture and stir-fry until pork just loses its pink color, about 3 minutes. Transfer pork to bowl with vegetables.

Stir cornstarch mixture to blend; add to skillet and heat to boiling. Boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return pork and vegetables to skillet, stir to combine with sauce and heat through. Serve with brown rice, if you like.

Chickpea Curry

IngredientsChickpea Curry

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp mustard seed
1 dried chili, or 1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tbsp salt, or to taste
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 ripe tomatoes, diced or 1 cup canned tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tbsp chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Heat oil in a large pot and add onions and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add all the spices to the pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the chickpeas and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. Serve with bread or rice. Add cilantro garnish if using.

Turkey Jambalaya

IngredientsTurkey Jambalaya

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups shredded cooked turkey
6 ounces andouille sausage, chopped
2 tablespoons sliced green onions


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in bell peppers and next 5 ingredients (bell peppers through black pepper); sauté 1 minute. Add rice; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add turkey and sausage; cover and cook 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions.

Tuscan Tuna & White Bean Salad

Tuscan Tuna

1 can (15- to 15 1/2-ounce) white cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, halved
1 can (6-ounce) tuna in olive oil, drain; reserve oil
1 cup diced plum tomatoes
1/2 cup(s) pitted olives
2 tablespoon(s) chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon(s) grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground black pepper
2 cup(s) torn arugula leaves
4 thick flatbreads


In a bowl, combine beans, red onion, tuna, tomatoes, olives, parsley, 2 tablespoons of the reserved olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper, tossing gently to combine. Stir in arugula.

Preheat grill or heat grill pan. Brush flatbreads lightly with the remaining reserved olive oil. Grill until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Cut flatbreads in halves or quarters. Serve with salad.

One-dish Chicken & Rice


1 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/4 pound(s) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 Anaheim or poblano chile peppers, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon(s) dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon(s) sweet paprika
1 teaspoon(s) salt
1 can(s) tomato sauce
1 tomato, chopped
1 can(s) pimientos, rinsed
8 pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced
2 tablespoon(s) capers, rinsed
8 cup(s) water
2 1/2 cup(s) brown rice
2/3 cup(s) packed chopped fresh cilantro


Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken, chiles, onion, oregano, paprika and salt and cook, stirring, until the onions have softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add tomato sauce, tomato, pimientos, olives, capers and water and bring to a boil. Stir in rice; return to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the sauce is thick, the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through, 35 to 45 minutes. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Do you have a great budget friendly meal you would like to share? I am always looking for new recipes to put on my weekly menu plan (plan, plan, plan – great money saving tip!) and I am sure you are too!

16 thoughts on “Healthy Budget Meals

    1. admin

      Although I believe this to be a comment for free advertising and not in regards to healthy budget meals… I am intrigued. So people can order antibodies from your facility for research purposes? Hmmm… interesting. I didn’t know there was such a thing. Here, in my place of employment, we produce these items directly out of our research labs. So, I believe.

  1. Lydia

    Ha … i’m definitely trying the curry chickpea dish!

    btw … i’m changing my siggy, i want to be a little more personalable (hence the name change);-).

    1. admin

      L-y-d-i-a Nice. It’s neat to see a name behind the site. Nice to meet you. 🙂

      So my coworker has been taking me to this Indian food place for lunch lately (and cheap – whole plate of food for $3.50). I’m addicted! I buy the packages of Dal, to take home, that look like MRE’s but they are so good !

      She is always telling me it is soooo easy to make. Here, you might like this recipe for Tadka Dal. Totally yummy over rice.

        1. admin

          Oh, I haven’t tried Ethiopian food. I am sure they have some wonderful spices. I really think i am going to delve into trying to make Indian Food. My husband (complete eats like a stereotypical white boy) actually liked the Dal (and he don’t like much of nothin’ – lol). And I love it more for its wide vegetarian basis. Which reminds me I still need to try that Vegenaise you told me about. Someone said its better than mayo.

          1. Lydia aka Ms. MoneyChat

            Yes, it is better than mayo. I’m very surprised. Mayo is out for good;-). I’ve made everything w/it, including deviled eggs and it’s a wonderful substitute. I was able to find it in a local health food store near my house so no more commuting 20 – 25 miles to whole foods just to get purchase that one thing. i digressed. yeah, try it and let me know what you think.

  2. Betsy Talbot

    We’ve gone from eating out 13 times a week (together and separately) to cooking at home for almost every meal in order to save up for our trip around the world. And you know what? I’ve discovered that I really like cooking!

    My latest favorite recipe uses turkey sausage, spinach, garlic and canned tomatoes and blackeyed peas cooked in a skillet and served over rice or pasta – delicious and easy to prepare in just one skillet (I make rice and pasta ahead of time and freeze in individual containers).

    I’m trying a sweet-potato gnocchi with mushrooms and spinach for a light Thanksgiving this year and have a feeling it will become a favorite winter dish!

    1. admin

      Hey! You are making me terribly hungry now! LOL. I like the way you think about food. Those ingredients are many of my favorite things. 🙂

      Also, I freeze individual packets of rice, too. No need making a full pot if it’s only my daughter and I who like rice. I haven’t tried freezing pasta yet. That is a great idea, too!

      When my husband and i discovered that we were spending $1200 a month on eating out we quickly zapped that problem! We rarely eat out now and save tons of money. We also watch our grocery spending. It’s amazing how much money disappear in the food category!

      You are making your gonocchi, yes? Please let me know how it comes out. That sounds like a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

      Thank you for stopping by! I am so happy Move to Portugal pointed you out. Someday, I wish to have the same goal, but first we are working on ridding the horrendous debt penny by penny. 🙂

    2. Lydia aka Ms. MoneyChat

      oh gosh besty i’m salivating now!!! can you please share your turkey skillet dish recipe, and i’m equally interested in the sweet potato gnocchi. oh my goodness, i can taste it!

    1. admin

      I recieved my Sunset in the mail and definitely want to try that gnocchi recipe. YUM! Thanks for the link to the other recipe – that one looks scrumpcious, too! 🙂

  3. Lydia aka @Lyddzz now @ilydiam

    wow.. thx for the receipes!! =] cooking is not my strong point nor is being a Martha Stewart all crafty… hmmmm… nor a Tim Gund all fashionably forward nor a Betty Crocker… oh well! =] hehe…. I shall defintely try these.. simple and most importantly I know the ingredients!! woohoo =]

    1. admin

      Well, I haz not spoken 2U 4 a while. Nice to hear from U again. 🙂

      Perhaps you should watch Sandra Lee on Food Network. She cooks semi-homemade meals. Might be to your likin. I can’t wait to try this recipe Betsy just recommended (above). Mmmmm… I must be hungry (still).

      How is the photography coming along????

      1. Lydia @ilydiam

        Hehe.. well i’m back on twitter {sigh sigh} i’m so glad u ‘member me =] haven’t done much with my photography since i’m oficially the only one working in my household… so no creativity flowing out of me right now… seriously if it wasn’t for the Money Funk site or the other 5 rss feeds on financial savvyness.. I would be lost… so there you go… one saved soul by MoneyFunk! =] I shall check out Ms. Lee on Food Network..thx for the tip!

  4. Joey Lawrence

    Good recipes, but now the situation has changed, the basic food materials have rise in price so much and cost of a meal up to $10, the beggar meal is cooking egg soup and rice, that would save 90% of the budget, but it could not be eaten every day, more recipes need to be found to save budget.

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