28 Budget-Friendly Recipes to Make After Tax Day

Updated: Apr. 20, 2024

Feeling short on cash after paying taxes? Make a budget-friendly meal plan. These tasty, hearty recipes turn pantry staples and affordable ingredients into a huge range of casseroles, stir fries, pastas and more.

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Pork & Ramen Stir-Fry

I normally serve a traditional stir-fry, but I wanted to change it up with this ramen noodle recipe. Ramen noodles are a quick sub for the rice, and we really like the crisp-tender bite from fresh broccoli and a package of coleslaw mix. —Barbara Pletzke, Herndon, Virginia
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Beef & Rice Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

This recipe is special to me because it’s an easy one-pot meal that tastes like you spent the whole day in the kitchen. My family loves it. —Lynn Bowen, Geraldine, Alabama
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Slow-Cooker Mac and Cheese

This classic casserole is a rich and cheesy meatless main dish. I've never met anyone who didn't ask for a second helping. —Bernice Glascoe, Roxboro, North Carolina

This is just one of the budget-friendly slow cooker recipes the whole family can enjoy.

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Ham and Swiss Casserole

When I prepare this noodle casserole for church gatherings, it's always a hit. It can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd. —Doris Barb, El Dorado, Kansas
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Best Ever Beans and Sausage

When my wife asks what she should make for a gathering, she's always told to bring this—and a couple of copies of the recipe! — Robert Saulnier, Clarksburg, Massachusetts
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Easy Chicken Fried Rice

After my first child was born, I needed meals that were satisfying and fast. This easy chicken fried rice is now part of our regular dinner rotation. — Alicia Gower, Auburn, New York
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Beef & Tater Bake

The entire family will enjoy this heartwarming, all-in-one dinner. Plus, it offers easy cleanup! —Mike Tchou, Pepper Pike, Ohio
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Italian Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini

I've always had to be creative when getting my family to eat vegetables, so I decided to make stuffed zucchini using the pizza flavors that everyone loves. It worked! We like to include sausage for a main dish but it could be a meatless side too. —Donna Marie Ryan, Topsfield, Massachusetts
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Cashew Turkey Salad Sandwiches

One bite and you'll be hooked on this slightly sweet turkey salad sandwich. It's protein-packed so you can feel good while you munch! —Mary Wilhelm, Sparta, Wisconsin
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Southwestern Casserole

I’ve been making this mild family-pleasing southwest casserole for years. It tastes wonderful and fits nicely into our budget. Best of all, the recipe makes a second casserole to freeze and enjoy later. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Cheeseburger Cups

This is a terrific recipe for moms with young kids and busy lives. This simple, inexpensive dish is made with handy ingredients and takes just a short time. Best of all, kids will go crazy for these darling dinner bites! —Jeri Millhouse, Ashland, Ohio
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Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles

My husband loves the spicy flavors in these Thai chicken noodles and often breaks out the chopsticks for a more immersive experience. — Jennifer Fisher, Austin, Texas
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Easy Chicken Tamale Pie

All you need are some simple ingredients from the pantry to put this slow-cooker meal together. I love the fact that I can go fishing while it cooks. —Peter Halferty, Corpus Christi, Texas
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Spaghetti with Bacon

As children, we always requested this dish for our birthday dinners. Our mother got the recipe from her grandmother. Now I pass on our tasty tradition. —Ruth Keogh, North St. Paul, Minnesota
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Beef and Bean Burritos

This recipe made it through the pickiest taste testers: my kids! They absolutely hate beans, but love, love, love these plump burritos. —Mindy Culver, Post Falls, Idaho
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Parsley-Crusted Cod

Struggling to increase your family’s fish servings? You’ll appreciate this easy cod with staple ingredients. The flavors are mild and delicious, so even picky eaters won’t complain. —Judy Grebetz, Racine, Wisconsin
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Hay and Straw

This recipe is not only quick and easy to prepare, it's pretty, too. This colorful pasta dish combines julienned ham, Parmesan cheese, peas and linguine.—Priscilla Weaver, Hagerstown, Maryland
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Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

Similar to a Vietnamese pho rice noodle soup, this red coconut curry chicken soup packs big flavor and a bit of heat. The crisp raw vegetables help cool things down. —Monnie Norasing, Mansfield, Texas
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Roadside Diner Cheeseburger Quiche

My savory main-dish quiche tastes just like its burger counterpart. Easy and appealing, this cheeseburger quiche is pretty enough to serve guests. —Barbara J. Miller, Oakdale, Minnesota
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Corn Quesadillas

My cheesy corn quesadillas take only minutes going from skillet to table. They make craveable leftovers for brown-bag lunches, so pack the salsa too. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
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Cassoulet for Today

French cassoulet is traditionally cooked for hours. This version of the rustic dish offers the same homey taste in less time. It’s easy on the wallet too. —Virginia Anthony, Jacksonville, Florida
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Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

This recipe was inspired by my daughter’s favorite food—Buffalo wings! It tastes as if it came from a restaurant. —Melissa Millwood, Lyman, South Carolina
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Great Northern Bean Stew

This thick and hearty stew with great northern beans is sure to chase the winter chills away. —Mildred Sherrer, Fort Worth, Texas
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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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Chili Hash

A little micro time, a dash in the pan and you'll have a satisfying meal for those "where-did-the-time-go?" kind of nights. Now you can put up your feet and relax! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Pizza in a Bowl

On busy days, it's a comfort to know that my family can sit down to dinner minutes after we walk in the door. Double it to wow at a potluck. This recipe works in a slow cooker, too. —Virginia Krites, Cridersville, Ohio
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Weeknight Chicken Chop Suey

If you'd like a little extra crunch with this colorful chop suey, serve with chow mein noddles. —George Utley, South Hill, Virginia