5 Weeknight Dinner Ideas for $50 | Drew Barrymore’s #5for50Challenge

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Check out these 5 family-friendly weeknight dinner ideas using inexpensive pantry ingredients.

woman using air fryer to make chicken tenders

Could you create 5 weeknight meals for $50?! I’m up for the challenge.

Having a meal plan for the week including a grocery list sure makes life run smoother! Everything feels a bit more organized and manageable when we know what’s for dinner ahead of time. Keeping a family fed each evening can sometimes feel overwhelming, so here is some great meal inspo you can take and run with this week.

If you love easy and affordable meals like me, this post is for you! Check out these 5 delicious weeknight meal ideas your family will love, plus the grocery list to shop from or print!

beautiful air fryer and slow cooker

It’s Drew Barrymore’s #5for50Challenge!

She’s encouraging people to try making 5 meals under $50. I’m always up for a challenge when it comes to creating budget meals. If Drew Barrymore is involved, then heck yes I am in. Are you? I am a huge fan of her Beautiful by Drew Barrymore line of kitchen items for Walmart!

In fact, my Beautiful brand 8-quart slow cooker and 6-quart air fryer are two of my most used and LOVED kitchen tools! They are both easy to use, are of nice quality, and look pretty sitting out on my counter. The gold handles are a nice aesthetic.

beautiful brand dutch oven and skillet

Drew Barrymore’s pieces of cookware are also helpful for weeknight dinner ideas.

I highly recommend checking out the gorgeous enamel 6-quart Beautiful Dutch oven that I have as well. It’s great to make comforting soups, stews, and roasts. The shape is unique and I have been impressed with the quality and high-end look at an affordable price point.

If you’re looking for a large all-purpose nonstick saute pan, I am loving the Beautiful 5.5-quart ceramic pan. It’s perfect for creating easy skillet weeknight dinner ideas such as fajitas! This pan is oven-safe up to 500 degrees and has a nice quality die-cast lid.

unloading groceries from walmart plus membership

My Walmart+ membership makes weeknight dinner ideas easier than ever!

I’ve maintained a Walmart+ membership for years now because you cannot beat the grocery delivery aspect for meal planning. I just use the app to order all the ingredients I need for recipes and it shows up at my door! What a great time-saver.

using beautiful by drew barrymore slow cooker to make a meal

I am so busy with work and my kids’ sports, sometimes we default too often to take-out food. Walmart helps me stay on track with meal planning by making it so easy to order groceries! I am much more likely to get dinner in the slow cooker in the morning for a homemade meal later on.

weeknight meal plan next to canned goods

Print this list and let’s get to cookin’ our weeknight dinners!

I’ve done all the prep work for ya on this simple yet tasty meal plan! Simply shop through the links or print your grocery list and grab your ingredients for the week. Even better, you may already have lots of these grocery staples on hand so be sure to shop your pantry first.

As far as the meals being under $10 each, I am counting the main ingredients and not pantry staples like seasonings, oil, butter, etc.

Note that prices may vary slightly by location. The prices of the meals below are adjusted to reflect the amount of the ingredients used. For example, the cost reflects the price of 1/4 cup of bread crumbs versus the entire container. 

slow cooker chicken chili in beautiful brand slow cooker

1. Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Warm up a bowl of this hearty chicken chili with beans, green chiles, and corn. It has lots of delicious flavors, with minimal effort of simply popping all the ingredients into the slow cooker.

Cost of recipe: $9.83 via Walmart.com


Recipe Directions

sausage green beans and potatoes weeknight meals

2. Sausage, Green Beans, & Potatoes One-Pot Dinner

Get a warm and comforting meal on the table in a snap with this yummy sausage and potato dish. It has a buttery broth, and the sausage seasons the potatoes and green beans nicely, for a delicious stew-like meal from the Dutch oven.

Cost of recipe: $10.02 via Walmart.com


Recipe Directions

everything bagel chicken tenders in beautiful brand air fryer

3. Everything Bagel Seasoned Chicken Tenders

Everyone’s favorite bagel seasoning featuring dried garlic, onion, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds gets tossed with panko-style breadcrumbs for the ultimate crunchy chicken tenders. You can make these in the air fryer or the oven for convenience!

Cost of recipe: $8.92 via Walmart.com


Recipe Directions

cranberry meatballs weeknight dinner in a slow cooker

4. Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs

Turn an ordinary bag of frozen meatballs into tender slow-cooked cranberry glazed meatballs with lots of sweet and savory flavor! They make a delicious meal served over rice with a steamed veggie. This actually makes closer to 6 servings in my opinion. We had leftovers so it makes up for being a little over budget! 

Cost of recipe: $11.58 via Walmart.com 


Recipe Directions

weeknight chicken skillet fajitas

5. Skillet Chicken Fajitas

Zesty chicken fajitas are a cinch to make using a skillet on the stove! This idea takes such little time and effort, and yet the results are filling and delicious.

Cost of recipe: $9.39 via Walmart.com


Recipe Directions

Shop the Drew Barrymore Beautiful line of cookware and appliances and let’s get cooking!

About the writer:

Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 11 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in Today.com, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.

Join The Discussion

Comments 18

  1. Angi Brugger

    I can’t get the PDF to load

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh bummer! Sorry for the troubles.❤️ That link is still working for me now as I click through. Maybe try a different browser or switch to desktop view if using a mobile device. I had success using the Chrome browser on my desktop. Hoping it works for you soon! 🤞💞

  2. Maria

    This is such an awesome idea! Thank you for the post.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Glad you like this post Maria! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. Patricia Lavenz

    Wow some great recipes. If it was only me I would love to try them.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks Patricia!

  4. Lana

    how to download the recipes

  5. Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

    Click on “recipe directions” and it will take you to each recipe post where you can save or print the entire recipe. Hope that helps Lana!

  6. Lolie

    Thank you so much for sharing! I will be making a couple of these this week for dinner.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh good, thanks Lolie!

  7. Mindy

    Lina’s recipes are always good. There’s a sheet pan chicken pot pie I printed years ago — it’s a family favorite! Thanks Lina…keep ’em coming. Like you, I have so little time to cook!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh that’s so sweet Mindy, thanks!

  8. Csandst1

    The challenge isn’t difficult. What’s difficult is feeding breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a family of 4 for $50.

    • Amy

      FOR A WEEK! Now that’s living!🤣🤦‍♀️

  9. Csandst1

    #3 recipe doesn’t show bagel seasoning in ingredient list

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      So sorry about that! It’s been updated, if you’d like to check back! 💕

  10. Trineke

    I can do it! I generally spend between $35- $48 a week for groceries and household items for a family of 3 adults.

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