18 Inexpensive Meals to Make While You Wait for Your Tax Refund

Save money in the kitchen with these simple and cheap meals

18 Inexpensive Meals to Make While You Wait for Your Tax Refund

The weeks between sending in your taxes and receiving your refund (we hope you're getting one!) can seem like an eternity, and your wallet is probably stretched pretty thin. Living on ramen and $1 slices of pizza while you’re waiting for the IRS to come through is unhealthy (and plain boring!). Skip the junk and save money by making your own food on the cheap.

Beer-and-Mustard Pulled Turkey

Quickly braise turkey thighs in a pressure cooker to create intense flavor. Serve with inexpensive flour tortillas and some fresh salsa and you’ll have a complete meal.

Cuban-Style Black Beans and Plantains Over Oatmeal

Pantry staples like oatmeal make for a great base in cheap meals — even at dinnertime. Protein-packed canned black beans, good-fat avocados, and potassium-rich plantains round out this savory Cuban-style oatmeal.

Linguine Puttanesca

Puttanesca is a traditional Southern Italian pasta preparation made with food you probably already have in your pantry, like canned tomatoes, olives, capers, and garlic.

Mushroom and Robiola Cheese Polenta Pie

Polenta is one of those foods that sounds expensive and fancy, but it’s just corn meal; it’s essentially the Italian version of grits. Turn this cheesy comfort food into dinner with a fried egg.

Quinoa Black Bean Veggie Burger

Make this hearty vegetarian meal on the cheap with canned black beans, beets, and quinoa. One recipe makes a big batch, so store the leftovers in the freezer for future meals.

San Choy Bow

Use whatever ground meat is cheapest to make these quick and easy lettuce wraps.

Shrimp and Quinoa Grits

Add a little bit of cream cheese to turn quinoa into a comforting and filling cheap meal.

Stuffed Flank Steak with Bacon and Pickles

Flank steak is an inexpensive and lean cut of meat that becomes tender when cooked low and slow or quickly in a pressure cooker. Infuse flavor and fat into the meat with bacon and pickleswhich you probably already have in the house; the pan drippings turn into a delicious dipping sauce.

Two-Ingredient Pasta Dough

Two-Ingredient Pasta Dough

Aurelie Jouan

All you need to make your own pasta is eggs and flour; knead the dough by hand for a few minutes, toss the cooked noodles with butter or olive oil and some grated parmigiano, and you’ve got a gourmet meal for practically nothing.

Slow-Cooker Chicken Verde

Make a large batch of the slow-cooker Chicken Verde that you can enjoy all week long in tacos at lunch, with rice at dinner, and even over pasta.

For the Slow-Cooker Chicken Verde recipe, click here.

Frittata for All

Frittata for All

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When you need a speedy brunch or supper dish for friends, think frittata. It takes only about 15 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook. Plus, you can add almost anything to the eggs — leftover pasta, stale bread, chorizo, tomatoes — so it’s a great way to get creative while making a filling meal. Greek Salad or Spicy Coconut–Sweet Potato Soup would be a fine accompaniment. If you’re starting with fresh bread, spread the cubes on a baking sheet and dry them in a 350-degree F oven for about 10 minutes. — Klancy Miller

For the Frittata for All recipe, click here.

Spring Hash With Eggs Sunny Side-Up

Spring Hash With Eggs Sunny Side-Up

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Use a mix of potatoes and fresh spring vegetables for the hash and then top with a fried egg for delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

For the Spring Hash With Eggs Sunny Side-Up recipe, click here.

Spaghetti With Ragù alla Bolognese

Spaghetti With Ragù alla Bolognese

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Make your ground beef go a little further with this flavorful bolognese recipe. Start with a sofritto for rich flavor.

For the Spaghetti With Ragù alla Bolognese recipe, click here.

Pan-Fried Fish With Citrus Sauce

Pan-Fried Fish With Citrus Sauce

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This bright, citrus-flavored fish dish isn’t overly fussy and can be made with ingredients you probably already have on hand, like soy sauce, lime juice, and olive oil. Warm some tortillas to serve alongside your pan-fried fish.

For the Pan-Fried Fish With Citrus Sauce recipe, click here.

Epic Taco Salad

Epic Taco Salad

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"For something light and fresh try creating your own taco salad. Start with Hormel® Taco Meats™, which are all natural and pre-cooked, and add your favorite seasonal vegetables. I added one of our favorite grains, quinoa, which gives an extra boost of protein, and avocado for a healthy fat. This salad is packed with nutrients and full of flavor." — Chef Angela Sellers

For the Epic Taco Salad recipe, click here.

Easy Chicken Skillet One Dish Dinner

Easy Chicken Skillet One Dish Dinner

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Combine chicken breasts, fresh vegetables, and basil in a sauté pan for the easiest, tastiest weeknight dinner around. Also, did we mention you only have one pan to clean at the end of the night?

For the Easy Chicken Skillet One Dish Dinner recipe, click here.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Pungent garlic, smoky cumin, and spicy chiles give this chicken and rice soup lots of flavor and Latin flair.

For the Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe, click here.