Entertaining friends and family can be tons of fun, but let’s face it…it can also be pretty expensive! Recipes that offer ingredient flexibility and encourage shopping your pantry first can be a game-changer. Take a look at these versatile, budget-friendly recipes—that are not only delicious but also easy on the wallet, ensuring you can entertain without breaking the bank.


Shakshouka is a versatile recipe that’s perfect for using up any leftover veggies you have on hand. You’ll just need some basic ingredients: onion, garlic, basil, chili, 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes, and eggs. But don’t hesitate to get creative! If you’ve got fresh kale, spinach (or frozen), bell pepper, tomatoes, cauliflower, or any other veggies, toss them in too. Experiment with different combinations—it’s all about making it your own.

Berry Baked Oatmeal

This baked oatmeal recipe is incredibly versatile and ideal for meal prep. No berries on hand? No problem. Experiment with cranberries or apples instead. Simply freeze any leftover fruits for later use in this dish!

Vegetarian Biscuits & Gravy

Biscuits and gravy are so delicious and it’s amazing how inexpensive they are when you make them from scratch. Plus, so many of the ingredients in this recipe can be bought in bulk, allowing the purchase of only what you need and saving on packaging!

Spiced Apple Bread Pudding

Improvising with recipes based on what you need to use up is a savvy budgeting strategy! This bread pudding recipe is wonderfully adaptable, accommodating a variety of ingredients. Experiment with pears, cherries, berries, or whatever you have available. It’s also a fantastic way to repurpose stale bread, ensuring nothing goes to waste.

Spring Vegetable Frittata

Making a spring vegetable frittata based on what you have is great way to save! This recipe offers ample room for ingredient flexibility, allowing you to incorporate any seasonal veggies such as asparagus, peas, spinach, or any greens you need to use up. By utilizing leftover vegetables, you not only cut down on food waste but also create a flavorful and nutritious meal without breaking the bank.

Old Fashioned Banana Bread

Sweet breads are a great option when cooking on a budget. When preparing a sweet bread from scratch, the ingredients are so inexpensive. Plus, sweet breads (especially banana bread!) offer are a great way to use ingredients that may have otherwise not been able to be used – like overripe bananas!