Easy, Inexpensive Weeknight Dinner Favorites

After a hectic day, many people detest the thought of preparing a meal for themselves or their family.  However, creating a delicious meal doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive.

These four recipes can be prepared in under 30 minutes for less than $25.

Still not convinced? Food prepared at home is healthier than restaurant dishes. When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight.

Try one of these dishes tonight!

Photo Credit: A Healthier Michigan (Recipe Pictured is Blood Orange Salmon)

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Salmon on a plate with blood oranges.


  • 1 lb. fillet of salmon
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup blood orange juice (fresh squeezed)
  • 2 whole blood oranges, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley, garnish

Blood Orange Salmon

1. Set the oven to broil.
2. Grease the bottom of a casserole dish with olive oil. Also rub the salmon fillet with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. In a small saucepan, bring the blood orange juice, brown sugar and soy sauce to a boil. Add garlic and ginger.
4. Cook liquid until reduced by half.
5. Pour the sauce over the salmon and place the fresh blood orange slices on the salmon.
6. Bake the salmon for about 15 minutes, or until the fish is done to your liking. You can flip the blood oranges over halfway through if they look like they are burning.
7. You know the salmon is ready when it easily flakes apart with a fork.
8. Serve warm with quinoa and brown rice and favorite vegetable of choice. Enjoy!

Inspired by Homemade Interest

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  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 dashes nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. white shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 bunches baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Quinoa and Spinach Mac and Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of butter and flour and heat over medium heat. Whisk continuously until paste forms. Whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium/high and bring to a boil whisking the whole time. Stir in nutmeg, salt and cheddar cheese. When cheese sauce is smooth, remove from heat.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked quinoa, cheese sauce and spinach.
4. Transfer the mixture into a casserole dish. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
5. In a small bowl, mix together the butter and bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
Bake on 350 degrees until bubbly, about 20 minutes.

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Chicken lettuce wraps on a plate.


  • 1 can of drained mandarin oranges
  • 1/4 cup plum sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. rice wine or wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cups of chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 peeled and chopped English cucumber
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions
  • 8 leaves of romaine lettuce

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

1. Combine plum sauce, vinegar and ginger in a large bowl and stir together.
2. Mix the oranges, chicken, pepper, cucumber and scallions into the same bowl and toss all of the elements together.
3. Lay out lettuce leaves on a plate. Then, add contents from the bowl onto each leaf of lettuce.

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  • 2-4 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cups of vegetables (fresh or frozen) recommend peas, carrots, corn, bell peppers, green beans
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 4 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cashews, almonds or other nut (optional)
  • 1/2 lb. (8 slices) thick-sliced turkey bacon, cooked and roughly chopped (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish

Cauliflower Fried "Rice"

1. Cut the cauliflower into florets, discarding the tough inner core. Working in batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it breaks down into rice-sized pieces. You should have 5 to 6 cups of cauliflower "rice." Do not over process or else it will get mushy.
2. Heat sesame oil in large skillet and sauté garlic and ginger.
3. Add onion, cook until tender and translucent.
4. Add other vegetables, sauté for about 3 minutes.
5. Add cauliflower and soy sauce – stir thoroughly, but do not over stir to avoid mashing the cauliflower.
6. Push cauliflower rice mixture aside and cook eggs in the same pan until fully cooked and scrambled.
7. If needed, add more soy sauce and pepper to taste.
8. Finish by adding cooked bacon and cashews or almonds (optional). Mix in and cook through.
9. Garnish with green onions. Serve warm and enjoy. Will keep for about 5 days in airtight container in the refrigerator.

Inspired by The Kitchn

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