Six Budget-Friendly Family Meal Ideas

6 budget-friendly family menu ideas
Busy moms and dads know how hard it can be to feed a family of growing youngsters. If your family is large, it can be extra tough to make sure everyone has the nutrition they need while keeping the budget intact. Thankfully, there are many excellent ideas on the internet for keeping the whole family satisfied. No matter what type of food you prefer, there are countless recipes, tips, and tricks available to help you get healthy, budget-friendly food on the table.

The following ideas can be put to use by virtually everyone, no matter where you live or how busy you are. For best results, get the whole family involved. Kids who help prepare a meal are more likely to eat it, and parents who let them will love the quality time together. Who knows, maybe you can even get the kiddos to pitch in with the dishes.

1. Meat Math

Plan your dinner menus one week at a time. Starting with Sunday, cook a large cut of meat such as beef pot roast, a whole chicken or turkey, ham, or a pork shoulder. Prepare it in the oven, on a rotisserie, or in the crock pot. Begin by enjoying the meat the way it is prepared, then transform the leftovers into new meals each night. For instance, ham can be transformed into casseroles, omelets, sandwiches, and soup. One hunk of meat times four meals created from leftovers equals significant savings of both time and money.

2. Put it in the Pot

Whoever invented the crock pot was a genius. What could possibly be better than putting a cheap cut of meat in a pot in the morning, turning it on and walking away, then coming back to a fabulous, melt-in-your-mouth meal in the evening? Nothing, that’s what. Recipes from every culture and cuisine are a snap to make in a pot. By adding fresh vegetables, rice, or potatoes to the meat you’ll have a healthy, stick-to-your-ribs meal that will please the whole family.

3. Pasta Pleasers

Pleasing a crowd is easy if you have pasta. Choose long noodles or short, cream sauce or marinara. Keep it simple or dress it up to impress the foodie in the family. Whatever your preference, pasta is inexpensive, filling, and part of a balanced diet. The food company, hampton creek, is coming out with a new line of healthy pastas soon. Pasta pairs well with many types of meat and poultry and makes a great vegetarian dish too.

4. Casseroles for Comfort

Every family has a favorite casserole. Taken from the French, the word refers to the dish itself, rather than the contents which are baked in it. In American English, casserole may mean the dish or the food, but for most people, it’s the food that comes to mind. And, mind you, it’s not just any food. It’s comfort food. Casseroles are baked gooey goodness that represent the love and devotion of the person who prepared it. Virtually any combination of noodles, rice, or potatoes baked with meat, vegetables, sauce, and cheese is a casserole. They are crowd-pleasing, budget-loving, and delicious.

5. Fire up the Grill

If you have a little bit of outdoor space, such as a patio or porch, you have enough room for a barbeque. They come in all sizes, but if your family is large then spring for a big one. Charcoal or gas, the choice is yours, but connoisseurs and purists prefer hot coals to flames. Inexpensive meats, such as burgers, hot dogs, and chicken legs are awesome when grilled, and are sure to please a hungry crowd. Simmer some baked beans in the oven and cut up a watermelon for a memorable meal.

6. Say it With Soup

For inexpensive, nutritious, and tasty food, it is tough to beat soup. You can read soup recipes all day long, but the best ones are made with items that you just happen to have on hand. Leftover meat, rice, pasta, and veggies can go in a stockpot together. Add some broth or diluted vegetable juice for the base. Stir in fresh or dried herbs and simmer it until fragrant. Slice a loaf of French bread, toss a salad together, and dinner is served.

Feeding your family a tasty, balanced meal without breaking the bank doesn’t have to be difficult. By starting with inexpensive cuts of meat and utilizing leftovers creatively, you can please everyone and feel good about it, too. Best of all, you’ll be making great memories in the kitchen with your family.

About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile

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