10 Budget-Friendly Summer Recipes to Try

By Chonce Maddox
July 10, 2020

Quarantine life has been challenging, but it’s also given some of us the time to find one or two hidden talents (like cooking!)

With restaurants slowly opening back up, you and your family may still be making most of your meals at home. It’s no secret that dining out can get expensive. At the same time, cooking at home can add up if you don’t plan out affordable meals in advance. 

During the summer, my family and I usually eat lighter meals that are easy to prepareplus we grill out a lot. If you’re looking for some at-home inspiration, here are 10 of the best summer recipes to try out over the next few weeks:

  1. Grilled Steak Salad
  2. Penne With Roasted Summer Vegetables
  3. Air Fryer Cheeseburger
  4. Blackened Tilapia
  5. BBQ Pineapple Chicken Kabobs
  6. Potato Sausage Foil Packs
  7. Summer Berry Crisp
  8. Blueberry Yogurt Pops
  9. Strawberry Lemonade Punch
  10. Pink Watermelon Lemonade
  11. Prepare Meals at Home and Save

Grilled Steak Salad

It might sound fancy, but it’s an easy go-to summer recipe for any time you’re out of ideas. Just grill up some steak (or any kind of protein) and pair it with mixed vegetables and a homemade dressing. Yum!

This grilled steak salad with Asian dressing recipe is easy to prepare and allows you to incorporate a ton of fresh vegetables. 

Penne With Roasted Summer Vegetables

When you think of affordable summer recipes, pasta may not immediately come to mind. However, pasta is rather affordable and you can always serve a lighter dish for your familyinstead of a heavy (and more expensive) lasagna.

All you’ll need for this penne with roasted summer veggies recipe is some penne pasta, grated ricotta cheese, and your favorite vegetables. It also calls for fresh basil but you can always use other dried herbs you have on hand. To make it even healthier, consider using whole wheat or brown rice pasta.

Air Fryer Cheeseburger

Have an air fryer? This Air fryer cheeseburger recipe is one of the best budget-friendly recipes on this list. It’s simple to make and great for lunch or a quick BBQ for families. 

You can cook the burgers in about 10-12 minutes and finish this meal off with your favorite toppings. For a fun side, consider making some carrot fries in the air fryer as well. A bag of baby carrots is generally just $1 at the grocery store. 

Blackened Tilapia

Blackened tilapia may sound like a complex dish that you’d find on a restaurant menu, butfresh or frozentilapia is one of the most affordable kinds of fish. And you really only need a few things to make this dish. 

For the seasoning, you can make your own as described in this recipe. Or, you can buy Zatarain’s Blackened Seasoning and just pan fry or bake your tilapia for 10 minutes with a little butter.

BBQ Pineapple Chicken Kabobs

Kabobs are always fun to makeand you’ll only need a few, affordable ingredients for this BBQ pineapple chicken kabobs recipe

A combination of barbecue and teriyaki sauce makes up most of the flavor, and then you’ll marinate the chicken overnight. Pair them with any side as an easy way to spice up a weeknight meal.

Potato Sausage Foil Packs

You can make your next grill night easy and delicious with this potato sausage foil packs recipe. All you’ll need is smoked sausage of your choice, potatoes, onion, and bell peppers. Wrap up each serving size in its own foil packet, and just place it on the grill. 

This is also a great way to use up any veggies you have in the fridge, plus you can substitute the sausage for chicken, beef, or anything else you’d like.

Summer Berry Crisp

Take your summer desserts beyond s’mores by switching it up with new recipes like this summer berry crisp. You can try preparing it with different berries, or even use frozen berries to keep the cost low. 

Also, you can get creative and use what you have on hand at home for the toppingseven if it’s just flour, butter, and sugar. You can always add chopped nuts and rolled oats if you have them, but you don’t need it to knock this recipe out of the park.

Blueberry Yogurt Pops

Cool down with this fun popsicle recipe and get your kids involved when preparing it, too. You’ll need some popsicle molds but, other than that, all you need are 3 main ingredients: yogurt, blueberries, and honey. 

Tip: These are healthier than regular popsicles, and cheaper to make too!

Strawberry Lemonade Punch

Everyone loves a refreshing drink during the summer. Instead of ordering smoothies and to-go drinks at restaurants, consider making your own summer drinks at homelike this strawberry lemonade punch recipe

It’s only 5 ingredients, and you can use fresh fruit for an even-better taste!

Pink Watermelon Lemonade

This pink watermelon lemonade recipe is great for a hot day. It comes with two versionsso you can decide whether you want lemonade by itself, or try going the extra mile to make the slushies. 

If you already have fresh lemons, sugar and some watermelon at home, it’s simple to try!

Prepare Meals at Home and Save

It’s nice to dine out occasionally, but trying out new, simple recipes can also go a long way if you’re trying to keep a moderate food budget each month. 

The meals on this list are budget-friendly and easy to prepare. Consider trying them out for lunch or dinner over the summer, and make sure to share your favorites!

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Choncé is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, personal finance freelance writer, and blogger who focuses on helping other manage their money better in order to live a life with more possibilities and fewer limitations. Her work has been featured on Business Insider, LendingTree, Credit Sesame, Barclaycard.

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