Living on a budget is hard! There, I said it.
Sure, the rewards of successfully sticking to a budget, such as being able to pay off debt, put your child through college, take that fab vacation, or retire early, are amazing but the day-to-day realities? Not so much.
I think the time I feel the restraints of my budget the most is when grocery shopping. It just seems like everything is so expensive, which is why I shared my save money groceries shopping secrets in a previous article. However, sometimes those tips just aren’t enough. Perhaps the best way to save money is to simply pick cheap meals to cook. Cheap meals for large families are especially handy. Heck, even if you have a small family (like mine) cheap meals for large families come in handy because they’ll leave you with leftovers which can easily be frozen and used later.
When I say pick cheap meals to cook I do not expect you and your family to live on Ramen noodles or $0.99 frozen bargain meals. Nope, there are plenty of cheap meals for large families that are nutritious and delicious.
Don’t buy it? Well, you’re about to become a believer. Here are 39 of my favorite cheap meals to cook!
39 Easy and Cheap Meals to Cook for Large Families
1. Ham and Vegetable Fried Brown Rice (Freebie Finding Mom) – Fight the temptation to do “takeout” with this satisfying cheap meal to cook. Bonus: It’s a one pot meal meaning cleanup will be just about as easy as if you had actually opted for takeout!
2. Mexican Quinoa (Freebie Finding Mom) – Not only is this a cheap meal for large families, but it is a “freezer meal”. This means you can make the dish ahead of time, freeze it, and then reheat it on those hectic nights where the thought of actually cooking anything is enough to make you want to run screaming into the night. Wait, that’s not just me, right? 🙂
3. Crockpot Layered Bean Burritos (Thrifty Jinxy) – If it’s Mexican you’re craving, than this dish should really hit the spot. I love that you can let the crockpot do most of the work and still have a flavorful meal for dinner. Tip: To make this a really cheap meal to cook, hit up your local dollar store (ex. Dollar General) for the spices and seasonings.
4. Keilbasa and Rice Casserole (My World Simplified) – Looking for something that is quick, easy, and different? If you’re stuck in a dinner rut, so to speak, be sure to check out this dish. Not only is it a cheap meal for large families, the chef says she can get it on the table in approximately 20 minutes. Perfect for busy weeknights!
5. Black Bean Lasagna (Frugal Minded Mom) – Most “meatless” meals are going to fall into the “cheap meals to cook” category. As I’ve mentioned (many times) before, going meatless even one night a week can save you some serious dough. Here’s a yummy meatless meal to inspire you.
6. Beef Fajitas with Homemade Tortilla Chips (Frugal Minded Mom) – This truly is a cheap meal for large families. The chef reports that she can make this dish for just $6.20 and it’ll feed 6 people. You couldn’t even get fast food that cheap!
7. Cheesy Burrito Casserole (Ann’s Entitled Life) – Ready for some cheesy goodness? Bring it on, right? This is a cheap meal to cook that doesn’t sacrifice taste. However, if you wanted to make it a little more waistline-friendly, you could replace the ground beef with chicken and opt for a reduced fat cheese (or cut back on the total cheese used).
8. Easy Homemade Onion Soup (The Holy Mess) – One thing that makes cooking so dang expensive is buying all the spices and seasonings recipes call for. Now you can save money and cut chemicals from your family’s diet by making your own dry onion soup mix. Make a big batch of this and store it in an airtight container (ex. a Mason jar) as you’re sure to find it called for in plenty of cheap meals for large families.
9. Pork Chop and Hashbrown Casserole Dinner Recipe (Coupon Cravings) – Save money and time by choosing this cheap meal to cook. To make this recipe you simply put everything in one pan and put it in the oven. Trust me, you can get out of the kitchen with just about 15 minutes of prep work.
10. Fancy (But Easy) Rice & Beans (Happy Deal – Happy Day!) – Don’t let the “fancy” appearance of this dish fool you. It’s really an easy and cheap meal for large families in disguise! You can be serving this meal to your family in just 30 minutes.
11. Pesto Pasto with Avocado, Parmesan, Romano and Tomatoes (Happy Deal – Happy Day!) – The best way to describe this meal is “satisfying”. It’s filling, delicious, and flavorful… oh, and don’t forget the cheese. It’s also a cheap meal to cook since pasta is the base and that’s pretty affordable. Tip: Customize this meal to fit your family’s tastes and what you have in your pantry. For example, kick the protein up a notch by adding grilled chicken.
12. Momma’s Biscuits and Gravy (My Heavenly Recipes) – Nothing says comfort food quite like gravy, am I right? I love this recipe because it is a super cheap meal for large families (I mean, come on, it only has 4 ingredients!) but is still finger lickin’ good!