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7 Dollar Tree Dinner Ideas ($42.50/Week for 2-3 People)

Need to trim your grocery budget? These Dollar Tree Dinner ideas are both affordable AND tasty.

When you’re shopping for dinner ingredients this week, don't discount the Dollar Tree.

woman in light green apron cooking at stove, text overlay "7 surprising Dollar Tree dinner ideas"

These Dollar Tree dinner ideas are so filling and so tasty (my husband approves!).

Not to mention, affordable – this meal plan comes in at $6.07/meal for two people.

Not too bad.

Note: for most of these dishes, you’ll need a Dollar Tree with a refrigerated food section. The one meal that doesn’t require that is the Crunchy Chicken Salad Wraps.

Dollar Tree Dinner Ideas

I didn’t go extreme with these Dollar Tree dinner ideas.

Instead, my goal was to add enough tasty ingredients and variety to the dinners that anyone would want to eat them (and not just people who are in dire financial straits).

After all, couldn’t we all use a trim to our grocery budgets?

One final note: while the servings for several of these meals is for two people, there are enough meals with 3-4 servings that some families might be able to stretch this meal plan for three.

1. Sausage-Stuffed Garlic Bread (with Peppers & Onions)

Servings: 2-3

Items to Buy from DT: 1 loaf of Garlic Bread (frozen), 1 7-oz. package of frozen sausage, 1 12-oz. bag of Pepper Stir Fry vegetables, 1/2 10.5-oz can of Cream of Mushroom soup, 1 3-oz. block of mozzarella cheese

Approximate Calories: 970/serving (for 2 servings)

two large garlic loaf halves smothered in sausage, green and red peppers, onions, and mozzarella cheese on white plate

Friends and family – if you called last Friday night and I didn’t answer, it was because I was stuffing my face with this awesome dinner. From the Dollar Tree.  

Seriously – Paul and I could not get enough of this meal. It’s SO tasty.

I love that the garlic bread package comes with it already sliced into two portions, which is perfect for my husband and me. You’ll need one-half of a garlic bread loaf per person that you’re serving.


Defrost the sausage.

Preheat your oven to 400° F.

Heat a frying pan with a little oil, and mash up the sausage until it’s ground (don’t forget to use your Dollar Tree meat masher – get more Dollar Tree food hacks here). Cook through. Drain the grease.

Add in most of the 12 oz. bag of Stir Fry vegetables.

Cook through. Add in ½ the can of mushroom soup, and mix together.

Put the two pieces of garlic bread, top side up, on a sheet pan. Top each with half of the sausage-veggie mixture.

Shred the mozzarella block, and divide it evenly on the two pieces of garlic bread.

Cook until the mozzarella cheese is bubbly, or about 15 minutes.

2. Crunchy Chicken Salad Wraps + Leftover Corn Muffins

Servings: 2

Items to Buy from DT: 2 tortilla wraps, 2 cans of chicken, 1 package of nuts & dried fruit mixture (found in the snacks section), 2.5 tbsps. mayonnaise

Approximate Calories: 265/serving for 1 wrap, and 149 calories/corn muffin

chicken salad wrap with cranberries and nuts sliced in half on white plate

Don’t let the “crunchy” part scare you – it’s just walnuts, dried cranberries, and other nuts added in to make this dish delightful.

Did I mention, you don’t even need a refrigerated section in a Dollar Tree to make these?


Hint: see the Dollar Tree Casserole Dish section for where the leftover corn muffins come from.

Also, one final note: I was surprised with how small these turned out to be. That’s why I paired each with a corn muffin, to make the dinner more filling.


Open and drain the cans of chicken.

Put chicken and bag of nuts & dried fruits into a bowl.

Add in 2.5 tbsps. of mayonnaise.

Mix together.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Divide among three tortilla wraps.

3. Thin Crust Chicken BBQ Pizzas

Servings: 2

Items to Buy from DT: 1 package of flat bread/pizza rounds, 9 tbsps. of Kraft’s BBQ sauce, 1 12 oz. bag of Pepper Stir Fry vegetables, 1 3-oz. block of mozzarella cheese, 2 cans of chicken

Approximate Calories: 550/serving (1 mini-pizza)

personal mini chicken bbq pizza with green and red peppers and onions and mozzarella cheese onw hite plate

These are flippin’ delicious!

In fact, I was cooking them while my husband was taking a nap in the other room (we’re in the middle of a cross-country move, and both a bit exhausted).

And he was like “wow, babers – that smells delicious!” He and I both chowed down.

To be honest, it was the perfect lunch for waiting for our movers the next day, because it was easy to make and also easy to reheat to eat on our own time (here are 7 other Dollar Tree lunch ideas).

But it also makes a delicious, light dinner.  


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Heat a little oil in a pan, and sauté the pepper stir fry vegetables. Add salt and pepper (drain them when done – there will be lots of water in the pan from them being frozen).

Open and drain the 2 cans of chicken. In a bowl, mix 5 tbsps. BBQ sauce with the chicken.

Shred the block of mozzarella cheese.

Assemble your pizza: spread the bread with about 2 tbsps. of BBQ sauce, each. Add the chicken, and the veggies on top. Add the shredded mozzarella.

Cook in the oven until cheese is bubbly – about 10 minutes.

Psst: like what you see? Find more recipes in my Dollar Tree Meal Plan for a week, for 2 people.

4. Sausage Broccoli Braid with Cheese Sauce

Servings: 4

Items to Buy from DT: 1 frozen package of broccoli (12 oz.), 1 7-oz. package of sausage, 1 4-oz package of mild cheddar cheese, ½ cup of shelf-stable milk, 2 cups. Flour, 1/8 tsp. salt, 2/3 cup water, 1 tbsp. olive oil (if you have it)

Approximate Calories: 553/serving

Uncooked dough with slits on sides, filled with sausage, broccoli, cheddar sauce before going into oven

I’m so excited about this recipe. When I first thought it up – I couldn’t figure out how I would make dough from Dollar Tree ingredients.

Then, I found a recipe for instant pizza dough, and thought that would work!

It did, and boy was this a tasty dish.


Defrost the sausage. Heat a frying pan with a little oil, and mash up the sausage until it’s ground. Cook through. Drain the grease (and keep it to use as your “fat” throughout the week).

Make the cheese sauce in a saucepan by combining 1/2 cup milk with 4 oz. shredded cheese, and 1 tbsp. flour. And season to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder if you’ve got it). Sauce will be thick.

Cook entire broccoli package according to instructions (I like to steam mine to keep as many nutrients as possible).

Make the instant pizza dough – 2 cups flour + 2/3 cup water + 1/8 tsp. salt + 1 tbsp. olive oil (if you’ve got it).

Assemble the dish by adding everything into the drained broccoli sauce pot and stirring it up.

Spread the dough out in a rectangular shape on a greased pan (I used foil underneath).

Cut slits about 2 inches down each side, then add the meat filling in the middle.

“Braid” the dough by taking turns putting the dough slits over the top of the meat filling on the left, then the right, then the left, then the right.

Bake at 400° F for 15 minutes, or until the dough is crusty and a bit brown on top.

Psst: also check out these 3 Dollar Tree Charcuterie board ideas, and budget-friendly hot cocoa bar made completely from the Dollar Tree.

Dollar Tree Casserole Dishes

Looking for Dollar Tree Casserole dish recipes?

I’ve got you covered with two of my favorites (taste-tested by me and my husband).

1. Texas Caviar Frito Pie

Servings: 2

Items to Buy from DT: 1/2 bag of frozen Santa Fe Veggies Blend, 1 bag of corn chips (from snack food aisle), 2 cans of chicken, 1/2 can of red enchilada sauce, 1 4-oz block of sharp cheddar OR pepper jack cheese

Approximate Calories: 747.50/serving

frito chili pie with beans, corn, chicken, and cheese on white plate

This was such a hit with my husband! I loved it, as well.

In fact, we ate it for our “Hobbit Thursdays”, which is when we do a screen-free evening, wear green robes and PJs to dinner, light some candles at the dining room table, and read from The Hobbit while eating.

Psst: You can get more of my family fun night ideas, here.


Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Open and drain the two cans of chicken.

Heat a pan to medium, and add the frozen bag of Santa Fe Veggies Blend, plus the two cans of chicken.

Add in ½ a can of red enchilada sauce.

Grease an 8 X 8 pan.

Add the veggie + chicken blend to the pan, then top with the corn chips.

Shred the block of cheese and add it to the top.

Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted through, or about 10-15 minutes.

Hint: you can choose whether you want the corn chips on the bottom and the veggie mixture on top, or the corn chips on top. Personally, after 11 years of living in Texas and eating my fair share of Frito Chili Pies, I like to put the corn chips on top so that they don’t get completely soggy.

2. Tamale Pie

Servings: 3-4

Items to Buy from DT: 1 bag Texas Cornbread mix, ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce, 1 ¾ cup shelf-stable milk, 1/2 bag of frozen Santa Fe Veggies Blend (OR 1 can of corn, and 1 can of black beans), 1/2 can of red enchilada sauce, and 1 4-oz. of real cheddar cheese

Approximate Calories: 468 calories/serving (really depends on how much of the cornbread batter mix you put on top)

tamale pie with cornbread, melted cheese on top, sausage, beans, and corn


Ground the patties in a pan over medium heat with your meat masher (what…you don’t have a Dollar Tree meat masher yet? Get yours – and check out lots more Dollar Tree food hacks here).

Drain the grease out of the pan. Then add in the red enchilada sauce.

Add in ½ bag of the frozen beans and corn (you can use canned for both, which are available at the Dollar Tree as well).

Stir everything together.

Mix the Texas cornbread according to the package directions. Our Dollar Tree does not sell eggs, so I used a substitute (1/4 cup applesauce = 1 egg) that I was able to find at the Dollar Tree.

Grease an 8 X 8 pan, and fill it with the filling (meat, corn, and beans). Then top it with the cornbread batter.

Bake at 425 for 30 minutes (shred the cheddar cheese block, and add to the top halfway through).

Hint: we had too much batter for the top of our 8 X 8 baking dish, so I made the remainder of the batter into cornbread that we ate as a side dish to a meal later that week.

Bonus: you can add a can of hatch chiles or regular chiles from the DT for $1.25 more.

*I made 2 corn muffins from the leftover batter and put it as a side dish for our Crunchy Chicken Salad Wrap night.

3. Chinese Take Out Night

Servings: 2-3

Items to Buy from DT: 1 cup of rice, 1 Jennie’s Garden Spring Rolls, 1 frozen package of buttered carrots, 2 tbsps. soy sauce

Approximate Calories: 421 calories/serving

This has become a favorite Friday night dinner my husband and I have about once a month. No need to get in the car or order takeout, in!


Cook about 1 cup of rice in a rice cooker (after rinsing it thoroughly).

Defrost the package of buttered carrots, and chop them up.

In a frying pan, add some cooking oil, the rice, and 2 tbsps. soy sauce (to taste). Add the carrots, and cook.

Preheat the oven and cook the spring rolls according to the package directions.

Serve the rice with three spring rolls on top or on the side.

Dollar Tree Dinners Grocery List

If you were to make this whole dinner meal plan for the week, here are the ingredients you'll need to buy:

1 bag of rice

1 Jennie’s Garden Spring Rolls

1 frozen package of buttered carrots

1 soy sauce

1 bag Texas Cornbread mix

1 jar of unsweetened applesauce

1 container shelf-stable milk

3 frozen bags of Santa Fe Veggies Blend (OR 1 can of corn and 1 can of black beans)

1 can of red enchilada sauce

3 4-oz. blocks of real cheddar cheese

2 3-oz. blocks of mozzarella cheese

1 bag of corn chips (from snack food aisle)

6 cans of chicken

1 can of red enchilada sauce

1 frozen package of broccoli (12 oz.)

2 7-oz. packages of sausage

1 4-oz package of mild cheddar cheese

2 cups. Flour

1 tbsp. olive oil (optional)

1 package of flatbread/pizza rounds

1 bottle of Kraft’s BBQ sauce

1 package of 12 tortilla wraps (you only need 2-3)

1 package of nuts & dried fruit mixture (found in the snacks section)

1 container of mayonnaise

1 loaf of Garlic Bread (frozen)

1 10.5-oz can of Cream of Mushroom soup

Many of these Dollar Tree dinner ideas and recipes, and will seriously be making them again. Which ones are you excited to try out?

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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.


Sunday 3rd of September 2023

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