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8 Simple weeknight dinner ideas - some in just 15 minutes!

Tortellini Soup with Tomatoes and Red Pepper
Tortellini Soup with Tomatoes and Red Pepper
Meagan Paullin, SunshineandSippyCups.com

Getting dinner on the table every night can be such a challenge. Maybe you work all day outside the home, and get home late. Maybe you work from home and lose track of time. Maybe you run after kids all day, driving and picking up and dropping off and picking up again. Maybe you have picky eaters, where no one ever likes the same foods. Or maybe it's simply that your food budget is pretty slim, and meal planning gets tough.

Simple, frugal, delicious recipes to the rescue!

I've included a slideshow of really easy, family-friendly recipes, all created from simple, frugal ingredients. Some of these dinners take just 15 minutes from start to finish! Be sure to pin your favorites, and share this list with any other busy parents you know who need a little bit of dinnertime help.

For more frugal living tips - Subscribe to weekly updates from this column. Check out the crazy-popular post, 10 Ways to Make Money from Home, filled with tons of valuable resources, and tips from readers. And follow Momma in the Kitchen on Pinterest for simple recipes, and Frugal Tips for Moms for more ideas to live fabulously frugal!

Tortellini Soup with Tomatoes and Red Pepper
Tortellini Soup with Tomatoes and Red Pepper Meagan Paullin, SunshineandSippyCups.com

Tortellini Soup with Tomatoes and Red Pepper

This absolutely delicious soup can be cooked up in just 15 minutes! It featured cheese-filled fresh or frozen tortellini, in a tomato and chicken broth soup base - spiced up {if desired} with red pepper flakes. There are many ways listed to mix it up and make substitutions too. 

Find it here: Tortellini Soup with Tomatoes and Red Pepper Recipe.

Chicken and Italian Herb Fettuccini
Chicken and Italian Herb Fettuccini Meagan Paullin, SunshineandSippyCups.com

Chicken and Italian Herb Fettuccini

Another delicious homemade recipe that you can have on the table in 15 minutes! This features a really clever ingredient that is a must-have in any frugal kitchen, fresh herb and spice tubes from Gourmet Gardens. They taste as fresh as if you picked them yourself, but stay good in the fridge for months, making less waste.

Use them to create this yummy pasta dish - then top with whatever leftovers you have on hand: Chicken, shrimp, veggies, and more. Lots of ideas.

Find it here: Chicken and Italian Herb Fettuccini Recipe.

15 Minute Mac 'n Cheese with Bacon
15 Minute Mac 'n Cheese with Bacon Meagan Paullin, SunshineandSippyCups.com

15 Minute Mac 'n Cheese with Bacon

Who doesn't love homemade mac 'n cheese? But, you don't have to settle for a boxed mix when you're in a hurry - this creamy, cheesy pasta mixes up in just 15 minutes. The addition on bacon and pepper makes it a little more grown up - but you can make it without to please picky eaters.

Find it here: 15 Minute Mac 'n Cheese with Bacon Recipe.

Healthier Kickin' Chicken
Healthier Kickin' Chicken Meagan Paullin, SunshineandSippyCups.com

Healthier Kickin' Chicken

There's a store-bought spice called Kickin' Chicken - it's really good, but filled with additives and unhealthy levels of sodium. Make your own version at home - save money, and eat healthier!

Find it here: Healthier Kickin' Chicken recipe.

Bacon, Steak, Potato & Cheese Kabobs
Bacon, Steak, Potato & Cheese Kabobs Meagan Paullin, SunshineandSippyCups.com

Bacon, Steak, Potato & Cheese Kabobs

This is a fun dinnertime shortcut - it uses inexpensive ingredients like tator tots, but in a unique new way! Layer all of the goodies on skewers, and have the perfect dinner to please picky kiddos, since every kid loves food on a stick. Or, add sides of gourmet dipping sauces for a great party food that's easy to eat while mingling.

Find it here: Bacon, Steak, Potato & Cheese Kabob recipe.

Southwestern Style Chicken Tortilla Soup
Southwestern Style Chicken Tortilla Soup Meagan Paullin, SunshineandSippyCups.com

Southwestern Style Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup packs an amazing set of flavors, and is really simple and inexpensive to make! Add some canned tomatoes, frozen veggies, and frozen chicken breasts, (I recommend Zaycon foods, order online.) A few hours in the crock pot and dinner is served!

Find it here: Southwestern Style Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe.

Healthier Loaded Baked Potato
Healthier Loaded Baked Potato Meagan Paullin, SunshineandSippyCups.com

Healthier Loaded Baked Potato

This stuffed baked potato recipe is loaded with deliciously healthy flavors - fat free cheese, red pepper flakes, steamed broccoli and more!

Find it here: Healthier Loaded Baked Potato recipe.

Ultimate Party Meatballs
Ultimate Party Meatballs Meagan Paullin, SunshineandSippyCups.com

Ultimate Party Meatballs

This recipe for party meatballs is super versatile! It's perfect as a dinner recipe, served over rice or noodles, with veggies or mashed potatoes, or on hoagie rolls. And it's amazing for parties, served on kabobs, individually with party picks, or in a big crock pot. 

Find it here: Ultimate Party Meatballs recipe.