The one place that we have the most control of is our food budget. Whether you are struggling to make ends meet or simply want to save money for a rainy day having a good list of frugal family meals to cut your costs is a must.
Over the years I have come up with a decent list of family-friendly recipes that continue to keep our grocery costs down. Now, I can’t take credit for all these ideas so I am linking you to the actual recipes. If I made any changes to keep the cost of ingredients down I will note them here.
It is also important to note that my personal food philosophy hinges on reasonably healthy meals. I try my best to make meals that include lots of fresh fruit and veggies but I am not going to go crazy over the occasional box of mac and cheese or boxed brownie mix.
We are not perfect, we don’t eat a 100% organic whole-food diet. If that is what you are looking for, you are not going to find that here.
Most of the time we are just happy to have a decent meal on the table
On to the recipes!
This is one of our favorite meals. The recipe comes from Clara who grew up during the Great Depression. Several years ago her family made a series of cooking videos featuring her recipes. Clara has since passed away but her legacy lives on in these videos.
You might notice in the video she mentions using hotdogs because they were the cheapest. This is where I made a change because I don’t eat hotdogs. I use ANY meat that I have on hand cut into small pieces, but our favorite meat is smoked sausage.
Link to recipe: Poorman’s Meal
Pasta and Peas
This is another one of Clara’s videos. The change I made to this recipe is that I don’t use the potato in it. I feel like we get plenty of sustenance from the pasta. Although, I do add a little bit of meat to it. Adding a little protein to a meal helps keep bellies full.
Link to the recipe: Pasta and Peas
Unstuffed Cabbage rolls
We LOVE cabbage around here! The thing I love most about this recipe is that a pound of beef goes a really long way. The cabbage really adds a lot of bulk to the meal so it is very filling.
We love this recipe just the way it is.
Link to recipe: Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
Fried Cabbage, Beans and Cornbread
Have you ever heard of fried cabbage? This was a rather new concept to me but I am glad I came across it! Like I said above cabbage is just so filling. The beans and cornbread add a little protein and grains to make it a pretty complete meal.
Normally I just toss beans that I have soaked over night into a crock pot and follow the package directions as to how much water should be added. Then I toss in a stick of butter and a little salt, pepper and ground thyme and let it simmer all day.
If I am really pressed for time I use “Jiffy” cornbread mix otherwise I make my own. We are “sweet” cornbread people here is a link to a budget friendly, tasty and easy cornbread recipe.
If you have no idea what fried cabbage is take a look at this recipe. I don’t always use bacon in my fried cabbage but it is a real treat if you have the money in your food budget!
We love soups around here for so many reasons. They are comforting and easy to make. The kids LOVE anything in soup form which makes it my go to cooking style for “use it up” meals.
Seriously, just take your rouge veggies any broth, leftover meat, beans or pasta toss them in a pot and simmer gently until veggies are tender and season to taste. It really is that simple. I always serve soup with either bread or biscuits.
Rice and Beans
No frugal family meals list would be complete without mentioning rice and beans! Dinner can be as easy as opening a couple of cans of black beans and serving them with rice and salsa.
If you need recipes for the beans check these out!
I hope you enjoyed this list of our favorite frugal family meals.
Some of you may be arguing that there is NO WAY your family will eat beans or cabbage. I used to think the same thing and would get SO discouraged when I would plan our meals.
After a lot of trial and error I changed the way my family ate without tears or fighting about meals. We even have a couple of picky eaters who will eat everything on this list. The key is really to take it slow and try, try, try again.
What are some of your go-to frugal family meals? Let me know in the comments below!