How To Build Cheap Dinners For Your Family

Looking at the sale prices has me concerned for the long winter ahead. Looking at these sale prices has me looking to make some changes to go back to how we ate when we were just starting out as a family and needed to make every cent count. Those tough times have made looking at the times ahead of us a little less scary.

Today I want to talk about a few tricks you can do to help make cheap dinners for your family and show you some frugal recipes that can go a long way in feeding your family.

Focus on nutrition

The fact is you feed your family to meet their nutritional needs. If your family is getting what their body needs they will feel more satisfied with less food. Adding un nutrient-dense vegetables can be a big help in achieving this and you can even grow many of these vegetables.

Along with increasing the nutrition in your family’s food you want to take the time to ensure everyone is taking a quality multivitamin. While this is not part of dinner itself it can help make it easier to meet your family’s needs on a budget.

Bulk it up with bread

No matter what you serve for dinner you can make it more filling and help reduce the amount of food your family eats by bulking it up with bread. To do this for cheap I buy the ingredients in bulk from Sam’s Club. Serving homemade rolls or biscuits with dinner is a great way to make a meal seem bigger and keep everyone content.

I try to make enough leftovers to have off to the side for when someone wants to munch. They can grab one and use some homemade jam or some peanut butter to make it more interesting as a snack.

Use rice or pasta

I know that many families are used to meat and potatoes kind of meals. Sadly in today’s economy, many families are looking at changing their diets and this means building meals up with cheap ingredients like rice and pasta.

I buy boxes of pasta when it goes on sale for 99 cents and can often make a box stretch to bulk up a soup and make it more filling. We recently made meatball soup for cheap this way and everyone loved it. I also add pasta to leftover chili to make chili mac and get an extra meal out of it.

Rice can make a great filling side dish and the option for enriched varieties of rice can help meet your nutrient needs while making meals more filling. Some side dishes with a little butter and salt to full fleged casseroles you can do so much with rice to make a meal more filling.

Try more soups and stews

When it comes to cheap meals one of the best things you can do is make a lot of soups and stews. The broth helps make them more filling helping to stretch the food you have on hand a bit further.

This time of year, when it is chili soups and stews, can be warming and help comfort your family on cold days as well.

Buy in bulk

I know I say this a lot but when you buy an item you use a lot of like flour, rice, and such in bulk you make the overall cost of your meals much cheaper. This may have to be done in waves. Each week look for an item you can buy in bulk to help save money over buying regular packages and watch the cost of your meals go down each time. Stop buying small packs simply because they fit your budget at the moment because they will cost you more in the long run.

Dress up meals to make them more interesting

Perception is a big factor in how appealing even the cheapest of meals are able to be dressed up to look more appetizing. Take the above photo for example. This is the same recipe served in two ways.

One as a fancy Crockpot Cheesy Taco Rice served with shredded Mexican cheese and freshly fried tortilla shells. The other dish is a Hamburger Helper Taco Rice Copycat topped with a melted cheese sauce and served with tortilla chips. The two dishes look very different. Both cost under $10 for enough to feed a family.

Cook for the family not the individual

I was recently talking to a friend about this concept. Things like the taco rice above last for more than one meal with only #1 of meat and gives all the flavor of tacos. If I make tacos for my family for dinner it takes a 3# package of ground beef for only that one single meal. This is a great way to cook with less meat and help make your budget go further.

Instead of doing classic meat and potato meals do more casseroles and such that will help make the food go further. Casseroles became popular in the great depression because simply put they are a cheaper more affordable meal.

While trips to the grocery store may be a bit scary these days these tips will help you make your budget go further and feed your family no matter how scary the prices are getting.

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