Inside: Got more month left and your grocery budget is already shrinking? Whip up one of these dirt cheap meals for a family to rescue your budget! Cooking at home is one of the best ways to save money. Try these quick cheap family meals to make your food dollar stretch.
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You want to feed your family well. You don’t want to eat rice and beans for a month. You refuse to keep spending big bucks on take-out night after night.
It’s really not too much to ask, right?
But if you’re like me, finding frugal meals for your family that they’ll actually eat can be a challenge! Delicious and dirt cheap meals for a family can be a lifesaver when your budget is tight.
Every family needs a few quick cheap family meals in their back pocket. Try a few of these amazing recipes! Browse through cheap home meals and make a budget-friendly plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
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Dirt Cheap Meals for a Family
Dirt Cheap Breastfast Ideas
In my house, we eat the same thing for breakfast almost every morning. On the weekends I get creative, but school mornings are too busy to try to work any culinary magic.
My kids eat oatmeal with peanut butter or Sunbutter since my daughter is allergic to peanuts. My husband and I eat scrambled eggs. I keep a big tub of fruit in the fridge as well for quick breakfast add-ons.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Realistically though, breakfast can quickly become the most expensive meal of the day if you don’t have a plan! Try these quick and cheap breakfast ideas to save money every single morning.
- Oatmeal: Buy oatmeal in the big tubs to get the best bargain. Flavor with cinnamon and applesauce, or add in a bit of peanut butter for a more filling breakfast. The whole grains in old-fashioned oatmeal are healthier and cheaper than the pre-seasoned quick oat packets.
- Egg Frittata Muffins: These protein-packed egg frittatas are simply amazing. The recipe can be switched up with some extra veggies, different cheeses or other meat options
- English Muffin Breakfast Sandwiches: Try this easy recipe for English muffin breakfast sandwiches that you can make ahead of time for yummy on-the-go breakfasts.
- Make-Ahead Oatmeal Smoothies: These make-ahead oatmeal smoothies are easy to grab for a quick breakfast on the go to take along in the car, to work, or anywhere.
Dirt Cheap Lunches
Lunch is often an afterthought for many families. But the cost of lunch for a family can add up quickly! If just one family member spends $5 for lunch 5 days per week, that adds up to $1,300 per year. Finding frugal options for lunches (that your family will actually eat) is essential for keeping your grocery bill down!
Be sure to check with your child’s school about lunch options as well. Many schools offer free or reduced lunches for students. This could save a ton of money during the school year!
- Open-Faced Tuna Melts: These quick and easy open-faced tuna melts are made with cream cheese, no mayo, a little kick from the jalapenos. You can make them ahead and reheat, so they’re also perfect for the lunch bag!
- Vegetarian Broccoli Quiche: This easy vegetarian broccoli quiche recipe costs just $4.48 to make, and it has a creamy smooth custard interior, and it’s filled to the brim with broccoli and sharp white cheddar cheese. Munch on it all week long for lunch!
- Easy Chickpea Salad: This healthy, summer Chickpea Salad with cucumbers and tomatoes is great for a cheap and healthy lunch!
- Potato and Spinach Fritatta: Filled with potatoes, red pepper, and spinach, this potato and spinach frittata is an easy one-pan dish that can be served for any meal of the day!
- French Onion Burgers: Try this quick and easy French onion burger recipe using ground beef and canned French onion soup.
- Grilled Cheese Rollups: This fun take on the classic is easy on your wallet. Your kids will devour these grilled cheese rollups!
- Chicken Pasta Salad: This simple and delicious Chicken Pasta Salad makes a quick and easy meal or side dish using leftover chicken.
- Chicken Pesto Naan Pizza: Try this simple chicken pesto burrata naan pizza with fried egg that bakes up in under 10 minutes!
- Stovetop Pizza Pockets: These quick and easy Stovetop Pizza Pockets are the bomb when time is short, the oven breaks, or you’re camping. Perfect Pizza flavors in ten minutes flat!
- Penne Pomodoro: This Penne Pomodoro is a simple tomato pasta recipe made with an easy, flavor-packed tomato sauce and fresh basil leaves. This recipe comes together in just ten minutes making it perfect for when you’re short on time.
- Broccoli Ham and Cheese Pockets: Craving something cheesy? These ham and cheese pockets are perfect for a yummy lunch on the cheap.
Dirt Cheap Dinners
Tired of the same thing every night for dinner? When our families get bored with dinner, it’s easy to turn to take-out for dinner. But the cost can add up fast!
Instead, I try to plan for eating out nights in advance. On your weekly meal plan, give yourself some wiggle room and allow for one night of take-out.
You’ll be much more motivated to cook at home when you know you’ve got a break coming up! Then use this list of dirt cheap meals to feed your family delicious dinners at home for less.
- Chicken and Wild Rice Soup: This chicken and wild rice soup is a Weight Watchers friendly version of a classic Chicken and Wild Rice recipe. Perfect for a chilly day plus the whole family will be asking for leftovers!!
- Korean Ground Beef and Broccoli: Easy Korean ground beef and broccoli is a delicious meal that comes together in about 30 minutes! Great flavors that the whole family can agree on.
- Navy Bean Soup: This navy bean soup recipe is a great crockpot meal that comes together in no time. It is so easy, frugal, and delicious!
- Crockpot Layered Bean Burritos: Slow cooker layered bean burritos are a delicious and hearty meal that’s easy to put together and even easier to cook because the Crockpot does the work!
- Cheeseburger Casserole: Cheeseburger Casserole is a yummy cheeseburger in a casserole dish! This version is a lighter take on the classic dish.
- Taco Spaghetti: Who loves Tacos and who loves Spaghetti? Most picky eaters – why not combine those two yummy meal options? This taco spaghetti recipe is not only super easy to make, it’s on the Weight Watchers plan and is delicious!
- Ground Beef Stroganoff: This hearty and comforting 30-minute skillet meal will have your family asking for seconds! Ground beef stroganoff is a frugal crowd pleaser.
- Chicken Tortilla Soup: Chicken tortilla soup is a great way to stretch leftover chicken, easily feeding your family dinner for a second night!
- Greek Pasta: Greek pasta with yogurt, garlic, and lemon is a quick and easy budget-friendly meal!
- Homemade Beefaroni: Easy beefaroni is a fast family-friendly meal that reinvents a childhood classic. Kids and adults love this hearty and comforting dish made with only five main ingredients, including pantry staples like elbow noodles and ground beef that takes less than twenty minutes.
- Veggie Chow Mein: This Instant Pot vegetable chow mein recipe is amazing! Whip it up in under 15 minutes!
- Instant Pot Fried Rice: This Instant Pot fried rice is loaded with flavors and mixed with eggs, and vegetables. So delicious and comforting!
- Cavatelli and Broccoli Pasta: A simple Cavatelli and broccoli recipe made with fresh garlic, tender broccoli, a little fresh chili and of course cavatelli pasta! This quick weeknight meal is ready in only 15 minutes and is both hearty and healthy
- Thai Peanut Noodles: These 20-Minute Thai Peanut Noodles are full of veggies, covered in an easy peanut sauce, and topped with a fried egg. The recipe serves 6 and costs just $6.16 to make!
- Vegan Lentil Tacos: These vegan lentil tacos are super easy to prepare and you don’t even miss the meat! The perfect way to add more plant-based meals into your weekly menu!
- Slow Cooker Swiss Steak: This Slow Cooker Swiss Steak with tomatoes (smothered steak) is the ultimate comfort food and dump and go recipe! It requires no pre-cooking and is economical.
- Tuna Pasta Bake: This Tuna Pasta Bake (a.k.a Tuna Casserole) is made with everyday store-cupboard ingredients and comes together in minutes.
- Crock-Pot Whole Chicken: Make this easy to prep crockpot whole chicken for dinner and use the leftovers for other meals.
- Slow Cooker Irish Stew: This slow cooker Irish stew recipe is easy to throw together in advance. It makes for a warming, stick-to-your-ribs meal and is easy on the pocket too.
- Rosemary Chicken: One pan and 20 minutes in the oven will create a baked lemon rosemary chicken dinner to crave!
- Crustless Quiche: A really easy ‘magic’ crustless quiche that makes its own ‘crust’ while in the oven. Just 30 mins in the oven!
- Penne Rosa: Easy, creamy pasta that everyone in the family will enjoy. This penne rosa pasta is yummy and super cheap!
- Instant Pot Chili: This five-ingredient Instant Pot chili will be an instant favorite!
- Instant Pot Rice and Beans: Loaded with the bold flavor of salsa and spices, this hearty dish is a delicious addition to taco night. This Mexican Instant Pot rice and beans recipe also would be the perfect base for a burrito or burrito bowl.
- Smoked Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner: A super easy sheet pan dinner recipe with Smoked Sausage, Potatoes & Veggies. Prep the simple, budget-friendly ingredients in only 15 minutes, pop it in the oven, and go relax!
- Crispy Parmesan Chicken Tenders: These crispy baked parmesan crusted chicken tenders make a flavorful weeknight meal that the entire family will enjoy.
Need a jump start getting your meal plan on track? Download and print my free two-week meal planner!
Getting hungry yet? Feeding your family on a budget doesn’t have to be boring! Go ahead, try out a few of these frugal recipes for dinner this week!
What’s your secret to making delicious dirt cheap meals on a budget? Share your best ideas in the comments below!