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18 Idiot-Proof Cheap Recipes That Anyone Can Make (Infographic)

Getting into cooking isn't easy, and learning those first few dishes can be daunting. But hey, we all have to start somewhere.

With that in mind we’ve compiled the 18 best idiot-proof cheap recipes that any novice can put together. Anyone of any cooking level can make these, and will serve as the perfect entry point to take your cooking to the next level.

best idiot proof cheap recipes US

-Breakfast-

Scrambled Eggs

Time needed: 10 minutes
Cost per serving: $0.65

The staple for everyone. Making a good scrambled eggs makes the perfect beginners dish for all people learning to cook. Even better news is that it is very, very difficult to get wrong.

While you can easily make scrambled eggs with just eggs, salt and a little oil, I recommend using a bit of butter for the pan, and then chopping up some mixed herbs to sprinkle on top.

One key point is to avoid adding salt when you first whisk the eggs, as this can separate the eggs. 

Try this recipe: How to make fluffy moist scrambled eggs

French Toast

Time needed: 10 minutes
Cost per serving: $0.70

The perfect Sunday breakfast. It’s indulgent but is great for lazy mornings. Its glorious brown exterior goes perfectly with its fluffy inside and… OK, I’m salivating now.

This dish works best with French bread that's a couple of days old just so it’s firmed up a little bit, and be careful not to go OTT with the sugar!

Try this recipe: French Toast by Natasha's Kitchen

Granola

Time needed: 20 minutes
Cost per serving: $0.50

If you’re a breakfast toppings kind of person then look no further than granola. It offers a lot of room for creativity, and is possibly your best opportunity during the day to get in several of your five-a-day.

I highly recommend making your own granola from scratch just because you’ll then be using far less sugar, and you’ll make a huge saving.

Try this recipe: Easy Healthy Homemade Granola

chicken salad

-Lunch-

Hummus & Pitta

Time needed: 15 minutes
Cost per serving: $0.30

Hummus is a brilliantly easy sidedish to make in the blender, and pairs well with pitta bread to help make the perfect midday snack or light lunch.

Try this recipe: Hummus by Jenn Segal

​Greek Salad

Time needed: 15 minutes
Cost per serving: $0.90

I don’t think I could possibly overstate just how easy a Greek salad is to make. All you need to do is chop up its four main ingredients (I make it with tomato, cucumber, red onion and feta), throw in some balsamic vinegar and olive oil, season it and then you’re done. Plus, anything with feta in it wins points with me.

It can made in a good sized batch and last you for 2-3 days, making it a really easy lunch to throw together.

Try this recipe: Cucumber Greek Salad

​​Jacket Potato

Time needed: 80 minutes
Cost per serving: $1.20

The ultimate comfort food. The real time sucker in this is just waiting for the potato to bake, but other than that you can put your choice of filling in it. My favorite?: Tuna and cheddar.

Try this recipe: Mediterranean Loaded Baked Potato

Halloumi Salad

Time needed: 15 minutes
Cost per serving: $1.60

Another salad? I know, I know. Often salad leave people wanting as they can fail to fully curb your hunger, but not so with a halloumi salad. The delicious cheese is filling enough to make a great lunch and keep you going.

Try this recipe: Halloumi, Avocado and Lime Salad

​Pizza Omelette

Time needed: 10 minutes
Cost per serving: $1.20

Weeks of pizza gorging is going to catch up with you at some point, so why not sub in this less decadent take on it? You can still go nuts on toppings, but the lack of a doughy base makes it much healthier on your gut.

Try this recipe: My Montana Kitchen's Pizza Omelette

​Ham & Cheese Toastie

Time needed: 10 minutes
Cost per serving: $0.80

OK, I’m not even going to pretend that this one is healthy but anyone living away from home for the first time or taking their first forays into cooking for themselves needs to learn how to assemble a good toastie. You can make these under the grill, but for best results it’s probably worth investing in a toasted sandwich maker.

Ham & cheese has always been my default filling, but there is so much room to experiment here. Bacon and egg? Sure. Gouda and red pepper? Perfect. Ham and Oreos? Ok, maybe not. 

Try this recipe: Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Ham & Bacon

tomato soup

-Mains-

​Fajitas

Time needed: 30 minutes
Cost per serving: $1.00

Maybe my all time favorite, and one of the easiest dinner dishes out there. What makes these even better is that they make for a great dinner party dish, and can be easily adapted to suit your filling cravings.

From chicken to shrimp, and from fried vegetables to roasted chickpeas, there’s a lot of opportunity here to stop you from growing tired with them.

Try this recipe: Steak Fajitas by Little Spice Jar

Chili

Time needed: 70 minutes
Cost per serving: $2.20

The ultimate batch-cook dish. Chili is fantastic for making in huge quantities and then storing away either in your fridge or freezer to keep you going in the following days or weeks.

While a lot of people will use beef or turkey mince to make their chili, it can easily be adapted to be vegetarian with either a meat substitute like Quorn, or sweet potatoes.

Try this recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Stir-Fry

Time needed: 20 minutes
Cost per serving: $1.80

This was my go-to at university merely because it's perfectly suited someone as lazy as me. Some beansprouts, peppers, noodles, and your choice of chicken, fish or tofu is all you need and then you’re all set.

Try this recipe: Ginger and Tofu Stir-Fry

​Risotto

Time needed: 80 minutes
Cost per serving: $2.10

Another great dish for batch cooking, risotto is filling enough in small servings to make your batches last several days.

Risotto has a reputation for being difficult to make, but as long as you use the right kind of rice, simmer on a low heat and stir regularly then it shouldn’t get the better of you. The rewards are certainly worth it.

Try this recipe: Salmon and Asparagus Risotto

​Quesadillas

Time needed: 30 minutes
Cost per serving: $1.00

Look, sometimes you just tortillas covered in cheese. Sometimes you just want quesadillas.

These make for a really uncomplicated dish, and give you total freedom to include whatever your heart desires… Just make sure that you don’t skimp on the cheese!

Try this recipe: Oven Baked Chicken Quesadillas

​Tomato Soup

Time needed: 60 minutes
Cost per serving: $0.40

One for those long winters, soup is a great comfort food on a cold night. Everyone should have a soup recipe in their cooking repertoire, so why not start with one of the simplest out there?

Try this recipe: 4 Ingredient Roasted Tomato Soup

strawberry tart

-Desserts-

​Strawberry & Almond Tarts

Time needed: 50 minutes
Cost per serving: $0.70

Definitely not the first thing that people think of when asked for ‘easy dessert recipes’, but this one is ridiculously simple. Its ingredients of strawberry and almonds make for a refreshing change from tubs of ice cream and endless brownies.

Plus, if you sub in almond flour then you have the option of making this gluten-free. Give it a go!

Try this recipe: Strawberry and Almond Tarts by BBC Goodfood

​Banana & Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Time needed: 130 minutes
Cost per serving: $0.30

Don’t be put off by the preparation time here; the majority of that is freezing time.

This is a great recipe to crack out if you don’t know what to do with your ripening bananas. Plus, it’s much healthier than store-bought branded ice creams.

Just blend up some bananas, peanut butter and milk (non-dairy milk is fine too!), and freeze it. It really is that simple.

Try this recipe: Yumsome's Vegan Banana and Peanut Butter Ice Cream

​Frying Pan Brownies

Time needed: 60 minutes
Cost per serving: $0.40

A lot of people are put off baking by the thought of investing hours into a single lot of food. Not the case with these easy frying pan brownies, which can be made in an hour or less. Melting the chocolate and cooking the mix in the same pan keeps everything simple, and once they’re ready you just dig them out from the pan and serve. Easy!

Try this recipe: Cast Iron Skillet Oreo Brownies


What have we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

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