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10 creative food combinations for dinner that are cheap and delicious at the same time

With inflation rising, having a tasty meal has become a luxury. Thankfully, these 10 cost-efficient dinner options will tingle your taste buds.

10 creative food combinations for dinner that are cheap and delicious at the same time
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Sydney Troxell; Reddit/u/Cyclethe859

Cheap food can also be delicious!

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Rajesh TP
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Rajesh TP

With the current inflation and the state of the economy, it has become difficult for people to afford basic amenities let alone luxury items. Dining out or even cooking luxury items at home has also become a struggle. Several people are caught up with paying bills that by the time they're all done, there's barely anything left for personal expenses. Reddit user u/bibbles82 asked people to share cost-efficient dinner options and they did not disappoint. "I have $70 left of my paycheck after paying bills, what can I make for dinners the next 2 weeks?" the post read.

1. Dry beans and rice

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Zi's Food& Nature Art
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Zi's Food& Nature Art

Start getting fluent in beans and rice (dry beans). They are incredibly cheap and incredibly versatile. Add whatever is cheap and in season/on sale. u/Whyte_Dynamyte. Yeah, he should be able to get 25 lbs of rice and 25 lbs of beans and then have another $20 left over for other stuff like onions and garlic and celery and whatnot. u/bomber991. You then have a supply of rice and beans you can also use for future meals. Buying bulk (when you can) stretches your dollars. at/punkrockpm

2. Handful of veggies and protein 

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Monicore
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Monicore

Rice, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, and chicken leg quarters. Rice and beans will be the main cheap stable food for carbs and calories, potatoes are a good switch for calories. Tomatoes are usually less than a dollar per pound and healthy. Eggs and chicken leg quarters are cheap protein. You can make tomato and eggs as a tasty meal with rice. There’s quite a handful of nice permutation of options meals and should last 2weeks. u/Algernusprime

3. Meats on sale

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Nocolas Postiglioni
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Nocolas Postiglioni

Always check the clearance meats. I got a 13lbs, whole, smoked turkey for $15. Most grocers have clearance sections and the deals are great if you can plan to use it immediately (sometimes freeze some). u/Complcatedcoffee Walmart keeps putting their Butterballs on clearance for $0.50/lb. I grabbed one to have on hand! u/masters_domme Or for around $7 a 10lb bag of leg quarters. u/AFurryThing23 The meat section at Aldi's. $1.19/lb for leg quarters and drumsticks. $1.99/lb for thighs. Rotisserie is the cheapest way to get a whole chicken, but not chicken in general. u/I_FAP_TO_TURKEYS

4. Potato dishes 

Representative Image Source: Pexels|  Karolina Grabowska
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Karolina Grabowska

I like cutting potatoes and putting them on a cookie sheet with a little oil and salt and baking at 400 you end up with a crispy fry-like potato wedge. u/DampCoat And nutritious. Just learned that potatoes are a decent source of vitamin C, in addition to the other stuff like potassium that I knew about. u/dragonfliesloveme Potato soup, baked potatoes, fried potatoes and onions. Here is my tip, if you peel your potatoes, save the skins and bake them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. You get a nice batch of crispy homemade potato chips. u/okIsopod7893

5. All the beans one can get... and scraps

Representative Image Source: Pexels| MART PRODUCTION
Representative Image Source: Pexels| MART PRODUCTION

Save your scraps from onions, garlic, carrots, chicken bones, etc and you can make broth in your slow cooker to add extra flavor and nutrition to the beans. Also, you can sprout the beans which takes no extra effort other than more time. I do this about once a week. u/mamamenagerie You forgot…beans are loaded with so many nutrients it’s bonkers and they have more protein than meat. (By weight) not to mention it’s one of the common factors of blue zones (places on earth with a high percentage of people living in triple digits). u/SorePsychological11

6. Spinach 

Representative Image Source: Pexels Lisa Fotios
Representative Image Source: Pexels Lisa Fotios

Those little frozen bricks of spinach are the best and usually around $1 to $1.50 for ten ounces. That's a lot of spinach, and it's already cleaned and chopped. They're never at eye level, so look at the top and bottom shelves for them. They go great with most bean and rice variations, you can toss some into almost any soup or stew, and they're perfect for saag or any other type of creamed spinach depending on the spices you have. u/Flack_Bag

7. Mix and match with sandwiches

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Nicola Barts
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Nicola Barts

Hams are a great deal right now, I got an 11-pound ham for $8 at Kroger. A bag of beans, a couple of cans of tomatoes, all under $5, dinner for at least a week. Add a loaf of bread and some cheese and you have sandwiches for a while as well. That's half the food you need for $15! u/Cyclethe859. Ham and bean soup and split peas with ham soup are two favorites that I make. Cheap, easy, filling, and delicious! u/tialisac

8. Ham 

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Ron Lach
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Ron Lach

I bought a ham prior to Christmas for $0.97 p/lb. 10-11 lbs (can't remember). Baked it. Had several ham dinners. Some of the leftover ham was diced and used in a few ham/egg/cheese scrambles for breakfast. I still have some ham slices in the freezer right now. I boiled out the bone and made 8qts of broth. I used half of that (the rest was frozen for future use) to make 5qts of split pea soup. That's lunch for about two weeks at work at less than $1 p/lunch. u/Thangleby_Slapdiback

9. Oats

Representative Image Source: Pexels| JESHOOTS
Representative Image Source: Pexels| JESHOOTS

Get a thing of oats for breakfast. They’re relatively cheap and you can add vanilla extract, frozen berries, milk, cinnamon, anything you might have on hand. u/nomoreusernamespls. Oats are an underrated pick. They're not as cost-effective as some other suggestions, but they're still cheap, filling and versatile. u/Jet_Jirohai. And you can eat them savory when you want to mix things up! u/dcmom14. Especially if you can find oats in bulk bins. They’re extremely cheap compared to the oats at the grocery store. u/BellwertheValentine.

10. Quickeats

Representative Image Source: Pexels Chitokan
Representative Image Source: Pexels Chitokan

To add to this - what do you already have? Any spices? Basic items? (Flour, baking soda/powder, sugar, pasta, rice?). u/PrestigiousBig8743. Rice, beans, potatoes, eggs, chicken. You can put boneless chicken in a crockpot with salsa and use it for burritos, tacos or quesadillas. u/motherofdaschunds11. Tortillas are easy to make. I cook up anything and every weird combo and wrap it in a tortilla. Even fried tatos. -u/Opening_ Variation952 Pasta dishes like ziti or lasagna go far. u/Gunnerboi1991

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