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Cheap meals for large families

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 

Does anyone have any meal ideas for a large family? We've recently had a decrease in our income. I have had to learn to be very creative with meals! We have 5 kids and are strugggling to put food on the table! I know I'm not the only one these days.Does anyone have some inexpensive meals to feed a crowd :)

post #2 of 49
I feed a lot of people. Things that are a must, a loaf of fresh made bread, a large pot of rice, anything that takes my main course and extends it further. For dinner, I announce before we set at the table that itnis a water only night and to ensure that everyone is drinking water, I put out a couple of containers of ice water, favored with lemon or cucumber but always ice cubes.
post #3 of 49

You can make a big pot of chili pretty cheap--ground beef, canned tomatoes and kidney beans, a little salsa, chili powder, onions.  Add some cornbread or put the chili on a potato.  Can also put the chili on a roll or some bread to make it more filling.


Pasta salad can be made pretty cheap, just pasta, whatever kind of dressing, and some veggies.


You can also make tuna fish sandwiches or wraps (butter the bread and toast it under the broiler).  Egg salad sandwiches can also be pretty inexpensive.


Soup can also be made pretty cheap.

post #4 of 49

You can check these out:


A lot of her recipes are pretty basic but you can use them as a starting point and add to them.

post #5 of 49
post #6 of 49

I feed 7-9 people most nights. We add things to meats to stretch it out. For example: add chili beans to taco meat or use refried beans to stretch tacos. Also, add tomatoes and lettuce and sour cream if your kids like those. For spaghetti sauce, I use less meat and add a can of tomato paste to stretch it or you can add chunky veggies to the sauce. We make a lot of chili and soup in the winter and add some kind of bread with it.

post #7 of 49

A loaf of bread served with dinner goes a long way to stretch a meal.


I bulk up casseroles with extra veggies. Pastas are usually cheap. You just have to get creative. What about meatless meals? My family loves stuffed shells.


I think that you need to look at multiple meal dinners. Turkey is not just for Thanksgiving. Pound for pound it stretches futher than any other meat. I average one turkey every other month. I don't make a full on Thanksgiving meal but a turkey with potatoes, gravy, rolls and a veggie make a good meal. Then you take the leftovers for sandwiches, turkey tacos, turkey enchiladas, mixed in pasta dishes, whatever. Then you boil the carcass to make broth. Use the broth and little bit of turkey, add veggies and you have turkey pot pie, turkey stew, or turkey noodle soup. Ham is another one. Make a ham dinner. Use leftovers to make omlettes for dinner, ham steaks, scalloped potatoes, or my favorite cheesey hashbrown and ham bake. Make a roast and turn leftovers into beef stew.

post #8 of 49

Artisan bread is really hearty, but can be expensive, so I make my own--super cheap.  It's really good with a little butter, but even better dipped in warm oil seasoned with italian seasoning, salt, and garlic.  You can substitute different flours (but keep heavy flours like rye and whole wheat under 50% if I remember right).  It's easy to make too, you just have to start it a day ahead.

post #9 of 49

One of our favorite cheap meals is any kind of breakfast.  We do pancakes, waffles, eggs all ways including omelets.  You can make a quiche with some eggs, a little cheese and a pie crust.  I throw in whatever veggies I have in it.  Onions, broccoli, mushrooms.  Biscuits and gravy is cheap and filling.


I also make fried rice alot.  Throw some cooked rice, a scrambled egg, a handful of frozen peas or carrots, garlic and soy sauce.  You can  add bits of leftover pork or chicken if you have it, but it can also be meatless.


Grilled cheese and tomato soup.

post #10 of 49

One of my favorite cheap meals is Chicken Italian-O.


2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut up in small chunks

2 cans Rotel, undrained

1 sm. onion, chopped

2 bags egg noodles


garlic salt


Cook chunks of chicken breast and onion in a little oil until done.  Meanwhile, cook your egg noodles.  Add Rotel to chicken and onion and allow to simmer until heated through.  Once egg noodles are done, drain then add enough butter to coat noodles. Sprinkle noodles with garlic salt.  Serve chicken/Rotel mixture over the noodles.


I feed a family of 5 (more like 8 with my boys) on this recipe for pretty cheap.  My entire family LOVES this recipe.  I've also added chopped fresh green pepper if I have it available - I don't buy the peppers just for this recipe.



Another good recipe is Ramen Noodle Stir-Fry.


5-6 packs of Ramen Noodles (whatever flavor you prefer).

1-12 oz. pack stir-fry frozen vegetables

1 sm. onion, chopped

Worchestershire Sauce

1/2 lb. Meat (whatever compliments your flavor of noodles)


Cook meat, frozen vegetables and onion until done.  Drain excess fat.  Boil the Ramen Noodles until soft.  Drain off 1/2 to 3/4 of the water.  Mix 2-3 seasoning packets (from Ramen Noodles) and Worchestershire Sauce (as much as you'd like) into noodles.  Mix all ingredients together and serve.


My family also loves this one.  I don't worry too much about the sodium content because you aren't using all of the packets from the Ramen Noodles.  Obviously, I don't serve this one all the time though because of the sodium.

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