With the Government Shutdown at the front of everyone's minds, people are beginning to panic. 800,000 families are going on their 4th week without pay. Families that rely on aid to feed their families are being handed their benefits early and told to make them last because no one knows when they will get more. So I figured each night I would start to share a frugal recipe from our day along with a breakdown of our menus to help other families learn some of the tricks I learned from feeding a large family and a not-so-large income. While our menus are a bit carb-heavy and not allergy-friendly anyone can benefit from checking out these recipes and adjusting to fit their personal needs. I encourage families on a budget to supplement the entire family with a quality multivitamin to help fill in any gaps. I ask that you give me a little leeway on these posts. I am not staging the meals as they are real time what my family is eating and that means I am trying to snap a photo of a plate while several children and the dog are bouncing around the kitchen. Smoked Sausage and Pasta Recipe This Smoked Sausage and Pasta recipe is one I learned from my husbands foster mom one day when we visited. I may have learned more from her on getting creative with food than my own mother. My mom had no idea how to cook. This week Meijer has their huge buy 10 for $10 get the 11th item free so this meal is ridiculously cheap but you can pull this off at the $3 mark at nearly any grocery store. I will list both a normal size family and a large family version of the recipe to make it easier for everyone. You can use smoked sausage or any kielbasa you find on sale for $1 or less. Dollar Tree locations with a refrigerator section carry the two packs. Family size smoked sausage and pasta recipe 1/2 box penne or another choice pasta 1 two pack smoked sausage 1 jar pasta sauce or make your own pasta sauce to save even more Cost for a family of 4 - $2.50 Large family size smoked sausage and pasta recipe 1 box of penne or another choice of pasta 2 two-pack smoked sausage 2 jars of pasta sauce or make your own pasta sauce to save even more Cost for a family of 8 - $5 On the side On the side we make some garlic toast. I took the other half of a loaf of bread (also from the sale) from the children's lunch and spread leftover garlic dipping sauce from our last pizza night. Sprinkled a little garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley on top and popped in the oven on 350 until toasted. Cost about 50 cents. This recipe does not take much thought. Boil the pasta like you would any other meal. Chop the sausage and fry it up to nice and steaming hot then add your sauce. I do not like to use the sauce as is when I use jar so I added powdered onion, garlic, and some Italian seasonings to spice things up a bit. After draining the pasta just mixed everything together and served. Our menu and shopping for the day Breakfast Cereal and milk was breakfast this morning. I was way too tired to deal with anything else after a security issue last night had me up later than I would have liked. It also had the kids up late which left them very cranky. They had Malt-o-meal frosted flakes bought in the BIG bags, regular vitamin D milk for 4 of the kids, and almond milk for my son that does not do well with dairy. This was about $1.5 for the day Lunch Lunch we did peanut butter and jelly with apple sauce. This was quick and easy and essential for a day with cranky kids. $3 for the meal Dinner Dinner we did this sausage and pasta recipe that sneaks in a pretty good balance with meat, veggies, and grains but is like the rest of the day really carb heavy. Total for the family $5 Snacks and drinks Snacks are where I fill in gaps. You will notice the snacks here are heavy on the produce side but it is a great way to get healthy food into the kids during the day. My kids are grazers and If I put out containers of different fruits and veggies they will poof by the end of the day. Snacks today included Baby carrots (on sale at Meijer I gave them the full 90 cent bag of organic baby carrots to munch.)Cucumber slices (3 for $1 on cucumbers at our local produce market)Apples ($1.99 for 3-pound bag at our local produce market)Grape Propel drink mixes to flavor water was our treat drink of the day. These where about 8 cents each. I scored these on Amazon for about 8 cents each when I bought 5 packs using the Amazon Prime Pantry trial and buy 5 save $6 deal. This one was a risk because a lot of people do not like grape but my kids liked it. A major benefit of using Hylands cough syrup instead of the stuff I had as a kid.The toddler had another full cup of milk and will have another sometime tonight at her age most of her siblings were still breastfeeding so we give her whole milk more than is really healthy for her. Under $15 total for 7 out of 8 of us. My husband ate 2 of his meals out while working. Shopping today Today we had 3 boxes of items from Amazon Prime Pantry arrive. Including: 4-64 oz sweet teas that will go to my husband or as a treat for the kids. 1- 64 oz honest peach tea for the kids and I. 5 canisters of quick oats. Bacon bits made with real bacon to spice up dishes. A pack of pecan cookies. 1 pack propel grape. 5 pounds of pancake mix. 6 boxes of chicken and broccoli pasta. and 4 boxes of captain crunch from a Subscribe and Save deal earlier this week. Total: $27.72 for 22 items.