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These 15 dinners for $5 are amazing!  For me, the biggest problem with making dinner is just thinking of what to have РI love easy recipes like our chicken & salsa meal in the crockpot.  

Here are 15 Dinners and menus you can make for $5 or less for the main dish.   Thank you for this guest post from the authors of Dining On A Dime Cookbook.

15 dinners for $5

15 Easy Meals for under $5 a meal

Mexican Chicken 

Serve with: Spanish Rice, Steamed Broccoli, Sliced Tomatoes


1 bag (2.5 to 3 lbs.) of frozen chicken breasts

1 foil package cream cheese (the kind that comes in the rectangle foil pack)

1 large jar salsa (any size will do Рthe more that you put in, the more liquid you will have.)  I like to use more.


Place all ingredients in a crockpot and cook all day on low (6 hours).



Chicken or Beef Barley Soup  

Crackers, Relish Dish, carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, pickles or olives


1/2 cup barley

1 stalk celery, sliced

1/2 carrot, diced

1/4 cup onion, chopped

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup chicken

1/4 tsp. turmeric (optional)

salt and pepper (to taste)


  • ¬†Rinse and cook barley in broth as instructed on package.
  • Halfway through, add vegetables, chicken, and seasonings.
  • Makes 2 quarts.



Honey Baked Chicken 

Serve with: Rice, Buttermilk Muffins, Baked Squash, Sliced Tomatoes


6 chicken fryer pieces

1/3 cup margarine, melted

1/3 cup honey

2 Tbsp. prepared mustard

1 tsp. salt


  • Arrange chicken in a baking dish with the skin side up.
  • Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over chicken.
  • Bake at 350¬į for 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting every 15 minutes (until chicken is tender and brown).
    Serves 4-6.


Chicken and Dumplings

Serve with: Tossed Salad, Green Beans


4 cups chicken broth

1/2-1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey, cooked

1/2 cup celery, sliced

1/2 cup carrots, sliced

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. parsley flakes


2 cups baking mix

1/4 tsp. thyme, dried

tsp. parsley flakes

2/3 cup milk

  • In a Dutch oven, combine broth, chicken, celery, carrots, bay leaf, and parsley.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • In a bowl, combine baking mix, thyme, and parsley.
  • Stir in milk just until moistened.
  • Drop by tablespoonfuls into the boiling broth.
  • Cook uncovered for 10 minutes and then cover and cook an additional 10 minutes.
  • DO NOT PEEK or your dumplings will be soggy.
  • Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and serve in bowls. Remove bay leaf and spoon broth over the top of the dumplings. Serves 4.



Chicken Pot Pie

Serve with Cauliflower and Broccoli with Dip, Texas Toast, Baked Apples, Fruit Gelatin


 1 2/3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey, cooked and cubed

1 ( 10 3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup

1/4 tsp. thyme, dried

1 cup biscuit mix*

1/2 cup milk

1 egg


  • In a bowl, combine vegetables, chicken, soup, and thyme.
  • Pour into an ungreased 9-inch pie plate.
  • Combine biscuit mix, milk, and egg.
  • Pour over chicken mixture.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
    Serves 4-6.

*For a super easy and quick dish replace the biscuit mix, milk and egg and use canned biscuits or crescent rolls to top the chicken mixture.


BBQ Chicken 

Serve with Potato Salad, Corn on the Cob, Sliced Cucumbers, Fresh or Frozen sliced Peaches with Whipped Cream


4-6 pieces chicken

1 cup barbecue sauce

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2-1 tsp. red pepper flakes


  • Place chicken in a crockpot.
  • Mix remaining ingredients.
  • Pour over chicken.
  • Cook on low in the crockpot about 4-6 hours.



Mexican Hamburger Casserole 

Serve with Lettuce and Tomato Salad


1/2 lb. ground beef, browned

6 cups macaroni, cooked

2 cups American cheese

1/2 tsp.garlic powder

salt (to taste)

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce


  • In a casserole, mix browned ground beef with macaroni,¬† tomato sauce and seasonings. Add cheese; stir. Heat in oven* at 350‚ąě for 20 minutes.
    Serves 4

*When I am in a hurry I drain the macaroni add the hamburger, rest of ingredients and cheese into the same pan I cooked the mac in. I then stir until the cheese is melted.

15 dinner recipes for $5 or less

Cheeseburger Rolls 

Relish Dish, Fruit Gelatin*


1 batch ninety-minute roll dough

1/4 lb. hamburger

1/2 tsp. onion salt

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

salt and pepper (to taste)

cheddar cheese, grated


  • Make ninety-minute roll dough.
  • Roll into twelve 3-inch circles.
  • In a saucepan, brown hamburger.
  • Drain.
  • Add onion salt, garlic salt, salt and pepper.
  • Put 1 tablespoon hamburger mixture and 1 tablespoon of cheese in the center of the 6 circles.
  • Then press another circle on top and seal the edges.
  • Bake at 350‚ąě for 10-15 minutes (until golden brown).

These are great for families and kids and taste great when topped with a little butter while they’re still warm enough to melt it! Yummy!



Chicken Tacos

Served with, Refried Beans, Tortilla Chips with Honey and Giant Peanut Butter Cookies for dessert.


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 package taco seasoning

1 can Rotel tomatoes*

Place all of the ingredients in the crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hours. Shred and use in tacos, burritos, enchiladas or in a salad. You can also serve it hot or cold so it would be great as leftovers to take for lunch.

¬†Rotel tomatoes are canned tomatoes with chopped green peppers or¬†jalape√Īos¬†¬†Any brand that is labeled ‚Äútomatoes and green chilies‚ÄĚ should be OK or just used canned tomatoes and add the kind of peppers you would like.



Baked Pork Chops

Serve with: Salad with Italian Dressing*, Broiled Butter and Parmesan Cheese Toast


1 egg

2 Tbsp. water

6 pork chops

2 Tbsp. flour

1 1/2 cups herb seasoned stuffing mix, crushed

Beat egg and water together in a shallow bowl. Dip pork chops in egg mix, flour and stuffing, and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the pork chop is cooked through.


 Slow Cook Roast

Serve with: Brown Gravy, Tossed Salad & Dressing, Buttermilk Muffins, Onions, Carrots, Potatoes

cooked with roast


1 beef roast, 3-5 lbs.

1 onion, sliced

1 can cream of mushroom soup (omit for Gluten Free and sprinkle with seasoned salt)


Place roast in pan. Pour cream of mushroom soup and onion on top. Cover tightly. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour. Then turn down to 225 degrees and cook for 15 or more hours; 10 hours for roasts smaller than 3 pounds.
*Use a meat thermometer to make sure internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

*This recipe is an excellent way to prepare inexpensive roasts. This slow cooked roast recipe makes them so tender they fall off the bone and are almost impossible to lift out of the pan. It is an excellent way to make a delicious meal for Sunday after church or for guests because it can cook for 2 or 3 hours longer than required without overcooking. Since it is so tender that no meat is left on the bone, you get more for your money.
Money saving tip: Buy roasts on sale and save the leftovers and you spend around $5 for each meal. Then use the leftovers for Beef and Noodles. Serves 4. 



Beef and Noodles

Serve with: Amish Bran Muffins, Steamed Broccoli, Pineapple РOrange Gelatin for dessert


1 lb. leftover roast

¬ľ¬†¬†cup flour

1 cup water

salt and pepper (to taste)

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 lb. egg noodles, cooked

Mix water and flour in a jar and shake well. Pour into saucepan and boil until it starts to thicken. Add roast. Cook until roast is heated through. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Serve over cooked noodles or on toast. Serves 6.



Easy Ham & Potatoes

Serve with: Mom’s Sweet Muffins (found on Dining on a Dime),¬†Minty Peas & Onions


 6 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 -1 lb. ham, thinly sliced

1 onion, chopped

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cream of mushroom soup


Layer the potatoes, then some cheese, then some ham and then chopped onion. Continue to layer to 3 inches from top of crockpot. Then pour cream of mushroom soup on top. Let simmer for several hours on low until potatoes are cooked through.


Sour Cream Chili Bake

serve with: Sliced Apples and Oranges, Tortilla Chips and Honey

1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked, drained

1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained

1 can (10 oz.) enchilada sauce

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce

1 cup American cheese, grated

1 Tbsp. instant minced onion

1 cup water

3 cups tortilla chips, crushed (great us for the bottom of the bag smashed chips)


Place all of the ingredients in a crockpot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Serve with sour cream, cheese, and chips in summer or cornbread in the winter.



Potato Bacon Chowder Soup Recipe 

Serve with: Round Herb Bread, Baked Apples


4 slices bacon, cut

1 cup chopped onion

2 cups cubed potatoes

1 cup water

1 can cream of chicken soup (regular small can)

1 cup sour cream

1 3/4 cups milk

1/2 tsp. salt

Dash pepper

2 Tbsp. parsley, optional


In a kettle, fry bacon until crisp. Add onion and saute 2-3 minutes. Drain. Add potatoes and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add soup and sour cream. Gradually add milk. Add salt, pepper, and parsley. Heat until warm. Do not boil. Makes 4 servings.


Pepperoni & Eggs¬†‚Üď

pepperoni & Eggs recipe
Weight Watcher Soup¬†‚Üď
A bowl of tortellini soup with a loaf of bread beside it.
Great Grandma’s Sauce¬†‚Üď

Great-Grandma's Home-Made Spaghetti Sauce
Sheet Pan Garlic Chicken ‚ÜďA tray of food on a plate, with Chicken and potatoes.

Note: This is a guest post from the bloggers of Living on a Dime.¬†¬†We have full permission, from the bloggers of Living on a Dime to share these recipes with you today! ¬†They wrote them for you! ūüôā ¬† I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do!

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. I like the menu suggestions .. .. .. they are appealing++, and agree that they’re economical – but there are a couple menus that I think go above and beyond the $5 mark. Of course, grocery prices are regional; I live in the northeast, which may have higher grocery costs

  2. Thank you for the list. I always like a quick reference but I really like Erin Chase’s Cookbook 5dollardinners. She includes prices for ingredients’ ever though the prices will be different depending on where you live, coupons, personal gardens etc. it give ideas on how much it really cost her and how I can be creative in my own kitchen.

  3. Great recipes! I love the short ingredient list and appealing and kid friendly menus and pairings! Thank you!

  4. Some recipe ingredients do not tell the size. For instance, Cream cheese comes in 3 ounce and 8 ounce size. Also, what is. “Large size of salsa” eight ounces or sixteen??????
    Crockpot cook times should not say “simmer for a while” but give actual time and heat setting. I don’t like to guess and spoil a recipe.

    1. Hmm‚Ķ I’ll ask the guest poster. ūüôā These were shared from her page.
      I’ll get back to you. Thanks!

  5. I like these recipes… All the add ons sound good too… could you share where we can get those recipes? Like Buttermilk Muffins or Moms sweet muffins, etc?