Frugal meal ideas are always important to have on hand. Do you have a family to feed with a smaller food budget? It is entirely possible to feed your family filling, healthy, and affordable meals no matter what your budget is. Here are some frugal meal ideas for your family to try!
Use a Whole Chicken or Turkey
Instead of getting individual chicken breasts or thighs, consider purchasing an entire chicken or turkey. They tend to be less expensive as a whole bird, and it is more than enough to feed your entire family. On average, I can find a whole chicken for about $.79 per lb. Cut chicken, especially boneless and skinless, will run on average $2.99 per lb. That’s a big difference! You will save the most money by purchasing them from the meat section of your grocery store, then roasting it yourself. However, you can also get a cooked rotisserie chicken if you are short on time. It is still going to be more cost-effective than most other packaged foods. Frugal meal ideas often start with the meats that are the least processed. This also includes buying a whole Boston Butt, roast, etc.
One of my favorite tools to use when roasting a whole chicken or turkey is a roasting rack like this one. The unique angled stainless steel nonstick frame allows drippings to pool above the breast keeping it moist through the cooking process. It also helps reduce cooking time by up to 20 minutes! And as the old saying goes, time is money.
Make a Casserole
Another great option for making healthy meals for your family on a budget is with casseroles. So many ingredients that go in casseroles are budget-friendly, like rice, beans, frozen veggies, eggs, and many more. Casseroles are very budget-friendly, since you control what ingredients are used to make them. Often times, this means rice, a cream-based soup or cheese, some veggies, and lean protein like chicken, tuna, or turkey. Casseroles are one of those frugal meal ideas that doesn’t even really need a plan. If you don’t have time to go by the grocery store, check out your cabinets for items that need to be used up. We have had some of our best meals by just throwing something together!
Casseroles to try:
Breakfast for Dinner
It will probably come as no surprise to you to find out breakfast foods are often less expensive and easier to cook than those traditionally made for dinner. Every once in a while, it can be worth it to save some money by skipping the burgers or chicken, and going for a simple breakfast for dinner option. My family isn’t really big on eating in the early mornings, so they actually prefer to have breakfast in the evening.
This can be pancakes or waffles, eggs with bacon and potatoes, an egg scramble, and so many great options that are easy to make and will make your kids happy. During the Fall, you can always try adding seasonal flair to your breakfast dishes including these Pumpkin Spice Pancakes!
My youngest also loves adding Chicken Fried Steak to the breakfast mix. The gravy is perfect for the steak, as well as the biscuits! Breakfast can be an assortment of frugal meal ideas and ingredients. Makes it easy to toss in more variety to your meal plan.
You Can Make Frugal Meal Ideas From Scratch
As you begin putting meals and snacks together, think of packaged foods that you could easily make yourself. While it is a little more work, you definitely save more money doing it this way. Some foods that you can make from scratch with just a little more effort include granola, protein balls, hummus, applesauce, and nut butters. These frugal meal ideas help save time and money for the entire family.
Chili and Soup
Lastly, you can’t go wrong with chili and soup for frugal meal ideas. It helps you use up all those veggies that you won’t use before they go bad, and can be close to free if you have a veggie garden in your backyard. Chili is just a mixture of tomatoes, different beans, and seasonings which is very budget-friendly as well. I always stock up our cabinets when it’s chili season so I have everything on hand right in my kitchen.
Chili/Soup Recipes to Try:
- Hearty Beef & Bean Chili
- Pulled Pork Chili
- Tuscan Sausage & Potato Soup
- Find even more soup recipes here!