Sunday, April 15, 2012

Easy Dinners to feed 6 for about $10

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Now I am writing this assuming you have some of the basic ingredients on hand like butter, condiments etc.
As a homeschooling mom with a husband who works crazy hours I don't really put a lot into our dinners. I'm sure their are some fantastic recipes for cheap meals out their but a recipe that is long or has to many steps, or to much prep is a big old turn off. It's not to say that I don't ever cook anything like that. I just rather reach for the easy, little thought, low prep meals that my family loves.
Please keep in mind I am giving price estimates, based on the products we buy in Ohio where food may be cheaper or more expensive than your regional location. All our meals feed 6 (2 adults and 4 kids, but to be fair my oldest 2 eat adult portions)
Meal #1 Pasta with meat sauce & garlic bread.
This is a go to meal, when satisfying everyones taste buds pasta is a winner here. I have noticed a rise in both pasta and meat prices (guessing this goes with all the recent gas hikes lol)
For this meal we use
$1 pasta box (rigatoni is a fave here)
$1 Fresh Italian Bread from our Kroger Bakery (plus butter, garlic bread & Parmesan)
$1-1.50 can or jar of pasta sauce (I get whats on sale and spice it up to make it good)
$3-4 pound of ground beef or ground turkey
Now certainly everyone knows how to make Pasta and meat sauce so I will spare you the recipe. For the garlic bread we cut it down the middle long ways and spread it with butter and sprinkle on some garlic powder and Parmesan cheese and put it on the cookie sheet on broil for 3-5 minutes and this comes out perfect just like the premade frozen loafs that cost $3+ for 1/2 the amount of bread.
Meal #2 Tacos
if you make your own taco powder bonus! but the Kroger brand packets are usually 49 cents
For this meal we use
$3-4 ground beef (that is for a pound but feeding six thats usually not enough so I sometimes double this, we don't always have the extra meat so I will use a $1 can of refried beans to fill them out a little better)
$1-1.50 Taco shells and soft shells (thats each again I buy what is on sale or Old el Paso often has coupons on the boxes for if you buy two old el Paso products you get a pack of taco seasoning free if its cheaper to go store brand I do)
$1-1.50 head of lettuce
$2-2.50 bag of shredded cheese
$1-1.50 tub of sour cream
I assume you already have things like salsa or taco sauce on hand, we always do lol if not it might put you over $10 but you wont use all of the taco sauce or salsa so you will have that for another meal. we often never use all the lettuce, cheese or sour cream either so if you want another taco night or taco salads you will have most of what you need already, Score!
Meal #3 Duggar Inspired Tater Tot Casserole
This is a family favorite, I started using the dugars recipe but we didn't care for it so we changed it up and scaled it down to size of course.
$3-3.50 ground beef or turkey (we use 1.5 pounds for this because we like it beefy 1 pound will do)
$1-1.5 can of cream of what-ever-you like soup (we use cream of cheddar)
1 can of milk (lets assume every house has milk on hand)
$2-2.50 bag of shredded cheese.
$2-2.50 bag of tater tots
This is a really easy meal to toss together but the baking time is long, I have not tried making it ahead or freezing it but if i do try that i will report back how it went.
Ok so brown up your beef and put it in the bottom of a 11x13 dish, then put your bag of tater tots on top of that. Mix your soup and milk in a bowl and pour that on top of the Tater tots (if I remember I mix a 1/2 cup of the cheese into the soup) Now your going to bake this for about an hour at 350, 1/2 way through take your cheese and put it over the top and keep on baking till its bubbling and browned. Your going to want a little salt and pepper with this, my husband puts hot sauce on his (and just about everything else) and the girls and I like a little ketchup. We generally will have a veggie or salad with this too.
Meal #4 Biscuit pizza
$1.50-2 refrigerated flaky biscuits (we use Kroger brand which are often on sale for 3 for $5)
$1.50 pizza sauce (again Kroger brand)
$2-2.50 Mozzarella Cheese
$2-4 on your favorite pizza toppings this usually means pepperoni and black olives for us
Now you have to use flaky biscuits for this because they are easy to "peel" in 1/2 so this gives your 16 mini pizzas. you just 1/2 them, and flatten them with your hands, spread a spoon full of sauce and top with cheese and toppings these cook up at 350 in about 10-12 minutes. We generally have salad with this too.
Meal #5 The big salad
This is great if you have leftover meat like chicken or taco beef, or have lunch meat on hand
$1-1.5 head of lettuce
$2-3 on your favorite veggies (this is usually a bell pepper and carrots for us)
$2-2.50 bag of shredded cheese
$1-1.50 croƻtons
(I'm assuming you have a nice spread of salad dressings in the fridge we usually have 6 because everyone has a different favorite lol)
You can add leftover meats, lunch meats, hard boiled egg, cottage cheese what ever you have its a great way to use up some left overs and veggies
Meal #6 Grilled Cheese and Soup
Now my Husband and oldest daughter are insane and don't like tomato soup. Which is my Favorite soup ever. So they usually split a can of clam chowder and the little girls and I split 2 cans of tomato soup. Now I buy tomato soup in the bulk 4 packs for about $2.50 but a single can will run you a little over a $1 in most stores. Of course you need a loaf of bread (we always buy Kroger brand 100% multi-grain usually around $1.50) and Cheese of your choice American and Sharp Cheddar for my anti American cheese girly. So the cheese ends up being more expensive because the slices sharp cheddar is like $4.19 but it lasts a week or two since only one child eats it. Now you may call this a lunch and not a dinner but we do it for both and we eat breakfast for dinner often too lol
Meal #7 Breakfast for dinner
This is a big winner here, If my kids had a choice they would eat breakfast for dinner everyday.
Generally we have eggs, toast & beef or turkey bacon (turkey bacon is cheaper)
Now we love eggs and Kroger has had them $10 for 10 for a few weeks around the Easter Holidays so I have tons of eggs on hand. for our 6 we do scramble a full dozen, bread at about $1.50 and Turkey bacon as low as $2 this is cheap, filling, and makes for happy kids! So with the current price of eggs this meal works out to 75 cents per person. Love that!
Meal #8 Thanksgiving
Ok so not a real Thanksgiving dinner but its pretty a pretty yummy little dish.
$3 Chicken (I use 3 mid sized breasts for this)
$1-1.50 stuffing
$1-1.50 turkey Gravy
$1.50-2 Cranberries (canned)
$1.50 mashed potatoes
SO I cook up the chicken and stuffing and mashed potatoes (go instant if you want we often do)
I spray a 11x13 with Pam and layer in this order Potatoes, Chicken, stuffing, and pour the gravy on top everything is already "cooked" but I pop it in the oven at 350 until the 3rd child asks "is it ready yet" then I take it out and we have some chilled cranberries on the side. (and yes this totally works for leftovers from Thanksgiving of course) Now this might be pushing it but a slice of pumpkin pie makes this so much better. Our bakery has had some decent sales on them or of course you can make your own.
Meal #9 Crockpot BBQ-what-ever on a bun
Some like pork but we do chicken.
Now we have a deep freeze so I stock up when chicken is on sale I usually get the 3 pound bags for $6.99 or less I use about 3-4 breasts here which I assume is about 2 pounds, then BBQ sauce we love sweet baby rays its usually $2.50 and you need buns of course. frozen chicken +BBQ +crock pot = done. I wait until the chicken is easy to shred with a fork. We will generally have mac n cheese or some other side along with this.
Meal #10 "snack dinner" (aka left over night)
This is a common Tuesday dinner we basically bring out everything we have have leftovers of and add in some raw veggies, cut fruit and cheese and crackers. Everyone "snacks" on what they want and the rest of the leftovers get trashed (snack dinner coincides with trash night so yay you just cleaned out the fridge. Score!)
*Stockphoto from


  1. We call snack dinner Sninner LOL my kids look forward to it b/c of the crazy name

  2. We make Hamburger Surprise instead of Tator Tot Casserole. We do 2 cans of cream of soup (usually mushroom and celery), a bag of frozen mixed veggies and basically do the rest the same. That gives us our veggies! I think I'm going to try it with the cream of cheddar next time. We do love our cheese here. :D

  3. Yes, I can put cheese on just about anything and they will eat it lol. I get crazy happy when cheese is on sale lol.


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