I don’t know about the rest of you, but quarantine has me sick to death of cooking. All these people in my house do is eat and eat and eat—me included. When I need to prepare yet another meal, but I’m exhausted from a long day of work, I turn to easy and inexpensive skillet dinners. Not only are they quick to throw together, but cleanup is a breeze, since I only dirty one dish.
Skillet cooking is one of my favorite easy dinner ideas. You can even make skillet lasagna, cornbread in a skillet and heat up leftover pizza. I learned the leftover pizza trick from my oldest daughter, who also uses her air fryer for heating up leftovers. She’s just brilliant. I couldn’t be prouder of her.
My Favorite Easy and Inexpensive Skillet Dinners
There are some tried and true skillet dinners I cook often. I know how to make these by heart. They are from ingredients I frequently have on hand. You can mix them up however works best for you. I don’t measure anything with these. The idea is to throw it together. I can have most of these dinners on the table in under 20 minutes.
Breakfast for Dinner
- Take a carton of eggs and beat them with a dash of milk, salt and pepper to taste.
- Throw a pat or two of butter in the bottom of a skillet and start heating.
- Add eggs and top with cut up veggies, cheese and meats.
- Use whatever leftovers you have on hand and things ready to go.
- Toast some bread and breakfast is served.
The surprise is that you never know what’s going into this pasta. Ha ha It’s a great way to use up those leftovers and save some extra money. It’s honestly hard to mess up pasta.
- Add some chicken stock or water to the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil.
- Add pasta of your choice. I like rigatoni because you can serve it a little al dente, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
- While the pasta boils, add some cut up veggies.
- Top with pasta sauce or cans of diced tomatoes. I like to mix one can of diced tomatoes with one can of pasta sauce.
- Throw in whatever to finish up (meatballs, hamburger, veggies, olives).
For example, this week, I needed a quick but filling meal. I threw this together in about 15 minutes. Then, I added some meatballs from the freezer, leftover black olives we’d used on pizza, a few banana peppers and some cream cheese to make it creamy. I also threw on some Parmesan and mozzarella to finish it off.
Egg Roll in a Bowl
I keep the supplies on hand to make this. So quick and easy.
- Brown some natural ground sausage (can use beef or chicken, too).
- Once it’s brown, stir in a bag of coleslaw greens.
- Add a few dashes of soy sauce.
- Salt, pepper and tiny bit of red pepper flakes.
- When almost finished, make a well in the center.
- Crack two whole eggs into the well and let them fry.
- Stir and chop and distribute egg pieces throughout.
Tastes good as leftovers.
Easy Skillet Lasagna Dinner
Making lasagna in a skillet is super easy. You need precooked noodles for this meal.
- Throw the noodles into the pan.
- Top with pasta sauce.
- Dollop on cottage cheese or ricotta.
- Add garlic powder or fresh garlic.
- Sprinkle on cheeses of choice.
Beef and Cheesy Noodles
My husband loves this one. I think it’s disgusting. However, I also don’t mind making myself a wrap and making this for him. Or, if I only have enough leftovers for one, I’ll eat the leftovers and make him this.
- Brown ground beef and set aside.
- Add water and boil macaroni noodles (I just use generic shells and cheese).
- Drain water.
- Return noodles to skillet.
- Add half stick of butter and stir until melted.
- Pour in cheese packet and stir until mixed (add a dash of milk if needed).
- Mix in browned ground beef.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
These are my favorites. They are cheap, filling and quick. If you don’t mind spending a little more, you can also buy pre-packaged Alfredo chicken from Birdseye that is yumalicious. There are tons of ideas online for skillet dinners, too. Here are a few I’ve tried and really like the taste of.
12 Easy Skillet Dinner Recipes
Every person has different taste. The skillet dinners me and my family enjoy may be different than the ones you love. The key is figuring out which ones you love and adding them to your dinner lineup.
1. Easy Beef Burrito Skillet
This one was so easy and had tons of great flavor. I tend to shy away from brands who offer recipes, but Betty Crocker is right on target with this skillet meal.
2. Cajun Chicken and Dirty Rice
This one was a bit spicy for us, although the taste was good. If you don’t mind a bit of heat, this skillet dinner is for you.
3. Tex Mex Ground Beef Skillet
I love anything with corn and black beans.
4. Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes
The flavor in these are some of the best I’ve ever tried. I love the addition of cheese to give it some extra flair. And, who doesn’t love a messy sloppy Joe for dinner?
5. Cowboy Skillet Pie
This one was a real hit and super filling. If you have some hungry men to feed, or you just want some stick-to-your-ribs food, this is worth the effort. You will need an oven-safe skillet for this one. I just used my Pampered Chef family size skillet.
6. Ramen Noodle Skillet Dinner
For many people, the word “cheap” relates to Ramen noodles. This recipe uses the cheap packets of noodles and adds vegetables and other goodies to make it a full meal.
7. Sausage Pepper Onion Potato Skillet Dinner Bake
I actually have not tried this one yet, but doesn’t it sound delicious? It’s on my menu for this coming week.
8. Taco Ring in Cast Iron Skillet
This is another one where you use your oven and a skillet. Again, it doesn’t have to be cast iron, but it does need to be oven proof. I like the crispness you get when you use cast iron.
9. Kielbasa and Potatoes Skillet Dinner
You can also sub in smoked sausage. I like the taste of that type of sausage a little better. We often use the turkey smoked sausage.
10. Skillet Brownie
You can also cook brownies in a skillet in the oven.
11. Skillet Cornbread
There are two ways you can make cornbread in the skillet. Some fresh garden tomatoes, a big salad and cornbread is the perfect summer meal.
12. Skillet Chicken Pot Pie
What’s better than a meal in pie form? This easy skillet chicken pot pie is filling.
These recipes should keep you busy for a while. If you have a favorite skillet dinner you make, we’d love to hear about it.
If you like Easy and Inexpensive Skillet Dinners, you might also like…
- 30 Dirt-Cheap and Easy Meals for Your Family
- Cheap Comfort Foods to Get You Through Hard Times
- 18 Top Easy Summer Dinner Recipes