15-Minute Meals Under $15

Guys don’t get a lot of credit for knowing how to cook. But here’s the thing: as guys, we’re busier today than we ever were. When you’re so tired you can barely summon the strength to unpack your work bag and drop your wallet on the counter, the last thing you want to do is cook a four-course meal. So how do busy dads get food on the table every night without driving through McDonalds? Like with so much else in life, the answer is to work smarter, not harder. Having a few quick, cheap meals mastered can eliminate the temptation to go through fast food lines or order delivery on a nightly basis. With that in mind, here are a few quick, easy meals that you can make for your family that cost fewer than $15 to make and take fewer than 15 minutes of prep time.  

Souped-Up Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Grilled cheese and tomato soup is a pretty classic dad-combo, especially on a cold winter day when no one wants to leave the house. But if you want it to be a little less of a cop-out (without it being much harder to make), add some fresh veggies and meat to the grilled cheese before you make it. We especially like a little bit of baby spinach, sliced tomato, and deli ham. If your family likes kick, Pepperjack cheese can punch it up a bit, too!

  • Bread - $2.50
  • Cheese - $2.50
  • Spinach - $1.50
  • Tomato - $1.00
  • Ham - $3.00
  • Tomato Soup - $1.00

TOTAL COST: $11.50

Crock Pot Boiled Dinner

If you’re willing to spend your 10 minutes of prep time in the morning rather than after work, this crock pot meal will change your life. Serve your family fresh root veggies and succulent ham without any real effort. All you have to do is combine the following ingredients in a crock pot and leave it on low all day. You’ll come home to a house that smells great and a meal that tastes amazing.

  • Ham steak - $3.00
  • Cabbage - $1.00
  • Fresh Carrots -$1.00
  • Fresh Turnip -$1.50
  • Onion - $1.50
  • Vegetable Broth -$2.50
  • Lipton Onion Soup Mix - $1.50

TOTAL COST: $12

Buffalo Tempeh Sandwiches

Want a meal that’s insanely easy and tastes as good as anything you could get in a restaurant? Cut some Tempeh into strips and pan-fry them. Then mix them up with some buffalo sauce and layer it on a hamburger bun with fresh avocado and some ranch coleslaw, and serve it with some tater tots.

  • Tempeh - $3.00
  • Buffalo Sauce -$3.00
  • Avocado -$1.00
  • Cole Slaw -$2.00
  • Ranch Dressing -$2.50
  • Hamburger Buns - $1.50
  • Tater Tots - $2.00

TOTAL COST: $15

Barbecue Mini Pies

Here’s an easy one for the BBQ lover in you. Brown some hamburger, mix in some BBQ sauce and corn, and then make it into 4 small individual pies using Pillsbury pie crusts cut into quarters. Technically, you have to bake it for half an hour after, but the amount of time you spend in the kitchen with it is well under 15 minutes, meaning you can get it into the oven and then go change and decide what you’re watching on the TV in time for dinner.

  • Ground Beef - $4.50
  • BBQ Sauce - $2.00
  • Canned Corn - $1.00
  • Pie Crusts - $2.00

TOTAL COST: $9.50

Wrapping Up

You don’t have to slave over a hot stove to feed your family at night, and you don’t have to resort to fast food. For less than the cost of feeding your whole family at McDonalds, you can make a delicious meal and spend fewer than 15 minutes in the kitchen. It’s every guy’s dream!