Often, large families have to be creative with their budgets and even more creative with their meal planning. We are currently a multi-generational family of 9 (10 when my husband comes home from working out of state) and pinching every penny we can to redo our basement. During the day, it's just my mom, my four kids, and me, but dinner means everyone sits down and eats together. This week, we put together a dinner menu for under $100.
|Monday||Pasta & Red Sauce w/ Caesar Salad|
|Tuesday||Soft Tacos w/ Dirty Rice or Mexican/Taco Rice|
|Wednesday||Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Corn|
|Thursday||Chicken & Rice|
|Friday||Hamburger Helper (we make our own hamburger helper)|
|Saturday||Pancakes, Eggs, & Breakfast Potatoes|
|Sunday||Red Beans & Rice w/ Cornbread|
*Prices compiled from Wal-Mart Online Price Checker or Product Standard Price Estimate. Prices do not reflect current sales!
|2 Cans||Hunts Pasta Sauce (Red)||$2.00|
|1 Can||Hunts Meatloaf Starter Sauce||$1.60|
|1 Box/ 2 Bags||Zatarans Dirty Rice/ Knorr Taco Rice||$2.00|
|2 Box||Dried Pasta (Penne)||$2.50|
|2||Twin Packages Hamburger Helper||$5.00|
|32oz||Dried Red Beans||$2.50|
|32 oz||Vigo Yellow Rice||$3.00|
|4 Box||Jiffy Cornbread Mix||$2.25|
|1 Box||Pancake Mix||$2.00|
|5 lbs||Ground Beef||$14.00|
|1 lb||Ground Pork or Ground Italian Sausage||$3.00|
|5+lbs||Large Whole Chicken||$6.00|
|18 oz||Smoked Sausage||$4.00|
|1 Bag/Head||Romaine Lettuce or Iceberg Lettuce (for tacos)||$2.00|
|1 Lg or 2 Bag||Romaine Lettuce or Caesar Salad Kit(s)||$4.00|
|8 Ears/2 lbs||Fresh Corn/ Frozen Corn||$2.00|
|2 lbs||Snap Beans/ Frozen Green Beans||$2.00|
|16 oz||Shredded Mexican/ Taco Cheese||$3.50|
|8 oz||Shredded Mozarella Cheese||$1.75|
|16 oz||Sour Cream / Greek Yogurt||$1.25|
|16 oz||Caesar Salad Dressing (Optional w/Kit Purchase)||$2.00|
|1 Bag||Croutons (Optional w/Kit Purchase)||$1.00|
|8 oz||Parmesan Cheese||$2.00|
|15 oz||Italian Bread Crumbs||$1.50|
|2 Pks||Soft Tacos (10 Quantity+ Ea.)||$3.00|
|3 Doz||Large Eggs||$6.00|
Monday is an easy day, as all Meatless Monday meals should be. Tonight's meal is your favorite pasta with red sauce and Caesar salad.
While waiting for your pasta water to boil, prepare a quick Caesar salad. (*Kits are great, and rarely cost more than purchasing the necessary supplies separately!) Cook pasta according to the box directions. After the pasta is drained, return to the pot and add two cans of red sauce. Stir, top with mozzarella cheese, and it is ready to serve!
Did you save big this week by shopping the sales? Splurge by adding garlic bread to your meal!
Tuesday's dinner is a family favorite, Taco Tuesday!
Begin your meal prep by starting your rice. Depending on the rice side you chose, cooking time will vary between seven and twenty-five minutes. While your rice is cooking, brown your meat and slice your taco fixings (tomato, onion,etc.).
You probably noticed that I didn't tell you to buy taco seasoning on your shopping list. Taco seasoning can be easily prepared using ingredients you probably already have. Following Rachael Ray's taco seasoning recipe, combine 1 T chili powder, 1 T ground cumin, 1 T garlic powder, 1 T onion powder, 1/4–½ T crushed red pepper and shake!
After you beef is browned, drain and return to your pan. Add your taco seasoning and 1/4 cup of water. Cook and stir on medium heat until thickened. Reduce heat to low and cover until ready to serve.
Heat tortillas according to package directions or preference (microwave, skillet, or oven). Set your dinner table and gather chopped toppings, sour cream or greek yogurt, salsa, and cheese. Bring your family and hot items to the table, and you are ready to enjoy Taco Tuesday!
You've taken it easy while you settled into your week, now you need a great mid-week pick me up with a hearty family meal. If you have a meat and potatoes kind-of-family, they will be especially pleased with tonight's meal: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn.
Preheat oven according to Hunts Meatloaf Starter Directions.
In a large bowl, add one pound of ground beef, one pound ground pork (or ground Italian sausage) with one-half can of Hunts Meatloaf Starter and set aside (don't mix yet). If desired, chop and saute one-half Vidalia onion and one-half large bell pepper – add to raw meat bowl. Add two beaten eggs and one cup of bread crumbs to the raw meat bowl… now you can mix, but don't overdo it!
Add mixture to loaf pan (or shape into a loaf and place on a baking sheet). Top with remaining can of Hunts Meatloaf Starter and bake according to their directions.
Since the meatloaf will take, roughly, one hour, you can now take a break in a chair to peel your potatoes. Prepare your mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn according to your family's preference.
Save even more on your bill this week by making Meatless Monday continue through Tuesday – use black beans in your tacos instead of ground beef!
Another hearty meal is on the menu for today! Chicken & Rice is easier than you think. Boil your chicken, remove from the pot (reserving the liquid), allow it to cool in a large bowl, and tear it away from the bone!
Sometimes I rush the cooling method by packing my bird with ice and sticking it in the freezer. This speeds the process up very quickly!
While pulling your chicken away from the bone and shredding, be sure to skip anything unpleasant (small bones, fat, and skin). After you are done, return the chicken to the pot with the reserved liquid and add your yellow rice. Return to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for twenty-five minutes WITHOUT opening the lid! ~ Viola! You're ready to eat! Easy peasy meal that your family will devour!
It is time to get ready for the weekend with a meal even your kids can make! It's Hamburger Helper night! Give your kids a large pot, 2 lbs of ground beef, and the boxes of Hamburger Helper. Let them know you will be on the couch if they need you!
Since you slept in this morning (ha, ha) grab a box of your favorite Pancake mix and give the kids a treat – Breakfast for Dinner! Pancakes, eggs, and breakfast potatoes will fill everyone up while you enjoy a family movie together.
It is time for a big meal again, it's Sunday, big meals are a must! Today's Sunday meal is Red Beans & Rice with cornbread. Yummies!
Rinse and blanch your red beans according to the package directions. This takes a little over one hour to complete. Drain, rinse, and set aside the beans.
Chop and saute' one-half Vidalia onion and one-half large bell pepper. Return beans to your pot with eight cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium. Simmer for two hours, stirring periodically and checking the pot to be sure the liquid doesn't simmer away. Add water if necessary.
After the beans have simmered for two hours, cube smoked sausage and add to the beans. Simmer for an additional thirty minutes.
During the final thirty minutes the beans are simmering with the sausage, prepare the cornbread and white rice according to package directions.
Chop one large onion, set aside in a serving bowl.
Serve beans over rice and cornbread (or place cornbread on side). Top with a generous portion of raw chopped onion.
Need to make a change to this week's meal plan? Print a blank version & fill out based on your favorite meals!
Need more meal ideas? Check out all of our Meal Plan Monday posts & our delicious recipes, like this easy freezer meal: Beef Stew!
I have a family of 5 and my budget is $100.00. It gets hard sometimes and I always have to go over the budget by 50 bucks sometimes. I think this will help us keep our goal. Thank you.
So all of these are family favorites…some I will stick to our recipe, but some I plan to try yours like your Chicken and Rice…sound much healthier than ours 🙂 thanks for sharing this…and I too have 4 boys 🙂
jessica matier (
I can see this post being helpful for so many people. My sister in law struggles with cheap dinner ideas for her large family. I would be honored if you would come share this at Pin Your Friday Favorite, it goes live tonight (Thursday) at 10pm.
This is wonderful! Thanks for sharing!!
I would love if you would come linkup and share on Friday Favorites!
This is amazing! I have been working on something just like this. It’s hard to stick to the budget, have variety and still be feeding your family healthy stuff. Fruits and veggies our favorite, but its so hard because they are so expensive.
Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week and come back soon!
Very nice dinner menu, thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul blog hop. Pinning it.
Melissa French of HousePunkery
What a great plan! Thanks for sharing. Hello from Fabulously Frugal Thursday.
I love love love this menu template, but it will not let me print a blank one. Could you help me with that?
I just updated the post. I had accidentally linked to the completed one in both spots. If you can’t get it to work now, just let me know & I can email it to you. Thanks!