We’ve all been there. Those days when time seems to slip away, and the idea of cooking a meal feels overwhelming. But no need to worry. There are some workarounds when you’re too busy to cook and don’t want to order takeout.

Cheap meals on the fly are saviors of busy days and tight budgets. When you’re pressed for time and need something delicious without breaking the bank, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Cooking on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor or settling for bland meals. In fact, it’s an opportunity to get creative, explore new ingredients, and find hidden gems in your pantry. What’s great about these recipes is their versatility. They’re perfect for any occasion, like a casual weeknight dinner or a gathering with friends. You can even whip them up faster than your delivery would arrive at your doorstep. With quick and budget-friendly meals, you won’t have to wait long to satisfy your hunger and enjoy a delicious homemade feast.

Whether it’s scrambling eggs, assembling tacos, or indulging in a PB&J. These cheap meals on the fly prove that you don’t need fancy ingredients or hours in the kitchen to enjoy a delicious and affordable feast.

Take a look at 7 cheap meals you can make on the fly.

  • Spaghetti

    Cook up some spaghetti noodles and top them with a simple tomato sauce made from canned tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs. Add grated cheese if desired. Another option is to prepare spaghetti squash noodles and pair them with a flavorful pesto sauce made from basil or spinach, as an alternative to traditional spaghetti with tomato sauce. Cook the spaghetti squash and scrape out the noodle-like strands. Then, toss them with a homemade pesto sauce consisting of fresh herbs, garlic, nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.

    Italian Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Basil Leaves - Isolated

    ItalianFoodProduction/ Getty Images

  • Vegetable Stir-Fry

    Serve it over rice or noodles for a delicious budget-friendly meal. Simply stir-fry a mix of bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, and onions with soy sauce and a touch of honey or brown sugar.

    Asian-style stir-fry vegetables cooking in a wok

    HughStoneIan/ Getty Images

  • Bean Burritos

    Bean burritos are a fantastic and budget-friendly option for a quick meal. Just fill tortillas with canned beans like black beans or pinto beans, rice, cheese, salsa, and any other desired toppings. Roll them up and heat them in the oven or on a stovetop skillet for a delicious treat. The best part is that tortillas, beans, rice, cheese, and salsa can be used for multiple meals, making it both convenient and economical.

    Rice black bean avocado tomato burritos. toning. selective focus

    nata_vkusidey/ Getty Images

  • Nachos

    Remember those extra ingredients from the bean burritos? Well, take the beans, rice, cheese, and salsa and make a nacho. Just grab a bag of tortilla chips and spread them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle on shredded cheese, canned beans, sliced jalapeños, diced tomatoes, and chopped green onions. Pop them in the oven until the cheese melts and the nachos are heated through. Top with sour cream, salsa, or guacamole if you like.

    nachos loaded with salsa, cheese and jalapeno

    OlgaMiltsova/ Getty Images

  • Baked Potatoes With Toppings:

    This meal is super easy to put together when you’re in a time and budget crunch. Bake some potatoes and top them with your favorite ingredients like sour cream, grated cheese, bacon bits, chives, or any other toppings you love.

    Baked loaded potato with bacon, cheese, sour cream and onion

    Azurita/ Getty Images

  • Fancy Grilled Cheese

    Start with your favorite bread slices and spread butter on one side. On the other side, spread a thin layer of mayo. Sprinkle shredded cheese on the mayo side and add any extras like caramelized onions, spinach, peppers, bacon, or your other favorite toppings. Sandwich it all together and grill it up until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden.

    Grilled sandwich with vegetables and mozzarella on a wooden board.

    vaaseenaa/ Getty Images

  • Flatbread

    Many grocery stores offer affordable and delicious pre-made flatbreads that you can use. Just look for brands that fit in your budget. You typically can find these in the bread or bakery section of the store, or even the freezer section. Get creative with your toppings to transform your store-bought flatbread into a delicious and affordable meal! Whether it’s sautéed mushrooms, colorful peppers, or a variety of cheeses, the choice is yours. You can also experiment with different sauces like tomato sauce, white sauce, or even a drizzle of olive oil to enhance the flavors.

    Flatbread pizza garnished with fresh arugula on wooden pizza board, top view

    Arx0nt/ Getty Images

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