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$10 Dinner Meal Plan for October

Saving money on meals doesn't mean you can't have delicious, full-flavored dinners! Try these fall meals on a budget.

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Day 1: Skillet Shepherd’s Pie

This is the best shepherd’s pie recipe I’ve ever tasted. It’s very quick to make, and I usually have most—if not all—of the ingredients already on hand. —Tirzah Sandt, San Diego, California

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2 / 31
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Day 2: Tater Tot Casseroles

Ground beef, sausage and cheese make this tater tot casserole with green beans a crowd-pleaser. Cayenne pepper and hot Italian sausage give it a pleasant kick. —Ryan Jones, Chillicothe, Illinois
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Day 3: Bean Burritos

I always have the ingredients for this cheesy bean burrito recipe on hand. Cooking the rice and shredding the cheese the night before save precious minutes at dinnertime. —Beth Osborne Skinner, Bristol, Tennessee
4 / 31
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Day 4: Stephanie’s Slow-Cooker Stew

Start this warming one-pot meal before you head out for the day. By the time you get home, the well-seasoned meat will be tender and mouthwatering. —Stephanie Rabbitt-Schappacher, Cincinnati, Ohio
5 / 31
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Day 5: Sage Pork Chops with Cider Pan Gravy

A creamy sauce flavored with apple cider and sage makes for a quick and tasty weeknight dinner. If you like, serve these lightly seasoned chops with couscous, rice or noodles.—Erica Wilson, Beverly, Massachusetts
6 / 31

Day 6: Turkey Chili

I've taken my mother's healthy turkey chili recipe and made it thicker and more robust. It's a favorite, especially in fall and winter. —Celesta Zanger, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
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Day 7: Gnocchi Chicken Skillet

Stovetop chicken and gnocchi recipes like this one make for a homey dinner in a hurry. Personalize it with your own favorite sauce and seasonings. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Day 8: Contest-Winning Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

While this special chicken and wild rice casserole is perfect for a company dinner, it's so good that I often make it for everyday family meals. We think it is very nice served with some crusty rolls or French bread. —Elizabeth Tokariuk, Lethbridge, Alberta
9 / 31
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Day 9: Autumn Apple Chicken

I'd just been apple picking and wanted to bake something new with the bounty. I decided on apple chicken by throwing them in the slow cooker with some barbecue sauce. The dish fills my whole house with the most delicious smell. —Caitlyn Hauser, Brookline, New Hampshire
10 / 31
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Day 10: Rich Baked Spaghetti

It takes a little longer to make baked spaghetti, but the difference in taste, texture and richness is well worth the time. I serve this lasagna-style dish with a tossed green salad and breadsticks for a hearty, healthy meal. —Betty Rabe, Mahtomedi, Minnesota
11 / 31
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Day 11: Pan-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

This one-dish roast chicken with vegetables tastes as if it took hours of hands-on time to put together, but the simple ingredients can be prepped in mere minutes. The rosemary gives it a rich flavor, and the meat juices cook the veggies to perfection. It’s unbelievably easy! —Sherri Melotik, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
12 / 31
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Day 12: Hearty Butternut Squash Soup

The comforting combination of squash, meat, beans and veggies makes this my go-to soup in fall. It's full of freshness. —Jaye Beeler, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Day 13: Slow-Cooked Chili

This hearty slow cooker chili can cook for up to 10 hours on low in the slow cooker. It's so good to come home to its wonderful aroma after a long day away. —Sue Call, Beech Grove, Indiana
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Day 14: The Best Chicken & Dumplings

 Homemade chicken and dumplings from scratch harken back to my childhood and chilly days when we devoured those cute little balls of dough swimming in hot, rich broth. It's one of those types of soup you'll want to eat again and again. —Erika Monroe-Williams, Scottsdale, Arizona
15 / 31
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Day 15: Pierogi Beef Skillet

Hearty and thick with beef, veggies and potatoes, this is a complete meal in one. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Day 16: Homey Mac & Cheese

I also call this "my grandson's mac and cheese." Zachary has been to Iraq and Afghanistan with both the Marines and Navy, and I've been privileged to make his favorite casserole for him for over 20 years. —Alice Beardsell, Osprey, Florida
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Day 17: Tortilla Pie

My husband and I enjoy this southwestern take on lasagna because it’s not as dense or heavy as traditional layered dishes made with pasta. Our two daughters enjoy the mild flavor. —Lisa King, Caledonia, Michigan
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Day 18: Deep-Dish Sausage Pizza

My grandma made the tastiest snacks for us when we stayed the night at her farm. Her wonderful pizza, hot from the oven, was covered with cheese and had fragrant herbs in the crust. Now this pizza is frequently a meal for my husband and me and our family. —Michele Madden, Washington Court House, Ohio
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Day 19: White Bean Chicken Chili

My sister shared this white bean chicken chili recipe with me. I usually double it and add one extra can of beans, then serve with cheddar biscuits or warmed tortillas. The jalapeno adds just enough heat to notice but not too much for my children. —Kristine Bowles, Albuquerque, New Mexico
20 / 31
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Day 20: Chicken Enchilada Bake

Your family is going to gobble up this cheesy, southwestern and easy chicken enchilada casserole…and will ask for it again and again. It’s real comfort food! —Melanie Burns, Pueblo West, Colorado
21 / 31
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Day 21: Baked Spaghetti

Every time that I make this cheesy baked spaghetti, I get requests for the recipe. It puts a different spin on pasta and is great for any meal. The leftovers, if there are any, also freeze well for a quick dinner later in the week. —Ruth Koberna, Brecksville, Ohio
22 / 31

Day 22: Cheddar Chicken Potpie

Cheese soup is one of my favorites, but it’s a bit too rich for my husband’s taste. Now I make a variation of potpie we both enjoy. If I’m in a hurry, I’ll skip the crust, add extra milk and serve it as a chowder. —Sandra Cothran, Ridgeland, South Carolina
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Day 23: Chili Mac Casserole

This cheesy casserole uses several of my family's favorite ingredients, including macaroni, kidney beans, tomatoes and cheese. Just add a leafy salad for a complete meal. —Marlene Wilson, Rolla, North Dakota
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Day 24: Taco Lasagna

If you like foods with southwestern flair, this just might become a new favorite. Loaded with cheese, meat and beans, the layered casserole comes together in a snap. There are never any leftovers when I take this dish to potlucks. —Terri Keena, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
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Day 25: Creamy Sausage-Mushroom Rigatoni

In Rome, we dined near the Pantheon. The amazing restaurant is now history, but its memory lives on in this tasty pasta with mushrooms and sausage. —Barbara Roozrokh, Brookfield, Wisconsin
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Day 26: Thai Beef Stir-Fry

A distinctive peanut sauce complements this colorful combination of tender sirloin strips, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms. I like to dish it up over spaghetti, but you could use fried noodles instead. —Janice Fehr, Austin, Manitoba
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Day 27: Vegetarian Linguine

Looking for a tasty alternative to the usual meat-and-potatoes meals? Try this colorful pasta dish. My oldest son came up with the scrumptious supper that takes advantage of fresh mushrooms, zucchini and other vegetables as well as basil and provolone. —Jane Bone, Cape Coral, Florida
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Day 28: Chicken Burrito Skillet

We love Mexican night at our house, and I love to re-create dishes from our favorite restaurants. This burrito-inspired dish is ready for the table in almost no time! —Krista Marshall, Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Day 29: Chicken Broccoli Shells

This cheesy entree is a make-ahead dream. Just assemble it ahead of time and put it in the oven when company arrives. I round out the meal with a tossed salad and warm bread. —Karen Jagger, Columbia City, Indiana
30 / 31
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Day 30: Flavorful Chicken Fajitas

This chicken fajitas recipe is definitely on my weeknight dinner rotation. The marinated chicken in these popular wraps is mouthwatering. The fajitas go together in a snap and always get raves! —Julie Sterchi, Campbellsville, Kentucky
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Day 31: Pumpkin Sloppy Joes

When my oldest granddaughter gave me eight of the 50 pumpkins she grew in her backyard, I didn't know how I'd use them all up! Then I remembered this recipe from a dear friend—I'm glad I tried it. I froze some of the pumpkin to use in this and other recipes, and also froze some of the sloppy joe mixture to enjoy later.—Eleanor McReynolds, Scott City, Kansas

Lindsay D. Mattison
After years of working in professional kitchens, Lindsay traded her knives in for the pen. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to turn local, seasonal ingredients into beautiful meals for her family.

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