Here are some cheap healthy family meal ideas and recipes you can use to feed a family of 4 for just $26 per week! These are quick and easy basic meals for 2 adults and 2 kids that you can easily modify to meet your needs!
You can find some of these recipes and other cheap family meals in Volume 1 of our Dining On A Dime Cookbook.
Cheap Healthy Family Meal Ideas And Recipes – Feed A Family Of 4 For $26 Per Week!
With the family meal ideas in this 7 day budget meal plan, a family of 4 can eat quite well for under $30! We are assuming that you have a few basic ingredients on hand already, like salt, sugar and seasonings. If not, we’ve added them at the end for an additional $7.50.
This family meal plan includes 21 basic meals that are easy to make even if you aren’t especially good at baking or cooking. We did add a basic muffin recipe for snacks and that you can use as a different breakfast.
This meal plan is designed for a family with 2 adults and 2 typical kids. These meals aren’t going to feed a 350 lb. lumberman or a family of teenage boys at this price, but if you have large guys in your family, you can just double the recipes and the total for these meals still won’t go over $60. This might be a good time to get some of that extra weight off! :-)
If you live in a very expensive place to live like Southern California or New York, it may cost more than $26 for these meals because everything costs more, but the point is it will still cost a lot less than a typical week of meals.
If you’re not concerned if the price is a little higher, you can adapt and substitute items you prefer in place of others you don’t like as much. For example, if you aren’t that fond of chicken, you can use meat from a beef roast for many of these recipes, but it will add some extra cost.
Are these meal plans and recipes organic? No, but if you want to use organic ingredients it is easy to do. It will increase the cost, but it will still cost less than other organic meals.
Is it gluten free? No but you could easily makes these recipes gluten free by just using rice and other gluten free ingredients.
What stores did you shop to purchase these foods? I bought the food for these recipes and menus at my local Walmart. I don’t have an Aldi food store in Colorado, but I would buy there if I had one. If you shop at Aldi, you could trim off at least $5 and maybe $7-$8 from the $26 total.
I’ve included the recipes for these easy family meals below.
Meal Plan Shopping List:
- bread (2 loaves – 44 slices) – $2
- ham – $2
- lettuce – $1
- rice – $1
- oatmeal – $1
- potatoes – $2
- bananas – $1
- apples – $2
- 2 packages frozen veggies (1 pkg. onions and 1 pkg. peppers) – $2
- 1 bag baby carrots – $1
- 4-5 lbs. Chicken thighs – $3 (thighs at $.69/lb. – about 12 thighs)
- 2 dozen eggs – $3
- spaghetti – $1
- spaghetti sauce – $1
- cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup – $1
- peanut butter – $2
Optional additional ingredients (if you don’t already have them in you pantry) – $8.50
- flour – $1.50
- sugar – $2
- baking powder – $1
- oil – $2
- margarine – $1
- 1/2 gallon milk – $1
Family Meal Ideas:
- oatmeal with chopped apple
- scrambled eggs, toast and margarine – 3 days (4 eggs cooked each day – I included 2 dozen eggs, so if you need to make one or 2 more, go ahead.)
- Mom’s Best Homemade Sweet Muffins
- ham sandwiches with banana (2 slices of bread for mom and dad, 1 slice for kids under 10)
- peanut butter sandwiches
- leftovers with apple slices
- Homemade Muffins
- Apple with peanut butter
Dinner #1 – Roast chicken, rice, baby carrots
- Cook 2 extra thighs and double the rice for tomorrow night’s meal
- Save bones from the chicken in the freezer for soup later in the week.
Dinner #2 – Stir fry with rice – 2 thighs worth of meat with 1/4 pkg. onions and 1/4 pkg. peppers
Dinner #3 – Spaghetti with salad (lettuce and carrots)
Dinner #4 – Roast Chicken with fried potatoes and baby carrots, 1/2 package each onions and peppers
Dinner #5 – Chicken soup with 2 thighs worth of meat – Save bones from the other nights, simmer to make broth and soup add 1/2 spaghetti noodles (or rice) and carrots.
Dinner #6 – Baked potatoes with ham with 1/4 pkg. onions and 1/4 pkg. peppers, sauteed in margarine or oil. Serve with margarine.
Dinner 7 – Chicken casserole – leftover veggies with leftover chicken baked with cream of chicken soup
Family Dinner Recipes To Go With The Family Meal Ideas Above:
The BEST 3 Ingredient Roast Chicken Recipe
4 chicken thighs
1-2 cloves garlic or sprinkle of garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 tsp. thyme (to taste)
1 tsp. rosemary (to taste)
1 tsp. oregano (to taste)
Rub the chicken skin with olive oil, garlic cloves or sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper. If you’re using the optional items, put the thyme, rosemary and oregano to taste under the skin. R
Bake at 400° for 35-45 minutes or until the temperature of the thigh reaches 180°. You can also let it cook all day in the crockpot on low. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
Easy Homemade Stir Fry Recipe
1/2 cup leftover chicken
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cornstarch or 2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp ginger powder (optional)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1-2 cups vegetables (carrots, onions, green peppers)
2 Tbsp. water
2 cups cooked rice
Stir the cornstarch into 1 cup of water in a bowl. Add the soy sauce.
In a deep skillet, cook the vegetables in the oil, starting with the firmest as you dice the others. Stir after each addition and sprinkle on water as needed. Make sure you do not overcook the vegetables.
Add the cooked meat last. Push the vegetables to the side and add the sauce to the pot while stirring. Add additional water if needed. As the sauce clears, mix in the vegetables. Serve over rice. Serves 4.
Easy Fried Potatoes Recipe
2-3 Tbsp. bacon grease or margarine
6 potatoes, sliced or cubed
salt and pepper
1/2 cup green onions, green peppers chopped (to taste, optional)
Melt bacon grease or margarine in a frying pan. Add the potatoes in the pan and cook over medium heat. Flip potatoes and cook until golden brown. Remove from pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4-6.
Chicken Soup Recipe
Bones from chicken
1/2-1 cup leftover cooked chicken
about 4 quarts of water
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 or 2 carrots (optional)
1/2 box spaghetti (optional)
I sprinkle with all of the following (to taste):
salt and pepper
onion powder (about 1 tsp.)
garlic powder (about 1 tsp.)
1-2 chicken bouillon cubes (optional)
Simmer the chicken bones in water for 8-10 hours to make the broth. Take out the bones. Strain and skim the fat off the top. Add the meat from the chicken and the spaghetti. Bring to a boil for 8 minutes until spaghetti is cooked.
When I get ready to use this soup or reheat it, I taste it to see if it needs more salt, onion powder, etc.
How to Make Baked Potatoes
Have you ever wondered how to bake potatoes? Check out these easy ways to bake potatoes:
bacon grease or margarine or butter
Wash potatoes and pierce each potato with fork a couple of times. Rub bacon grease, butter or margarine on the outside of each potato and sprinkle with salt. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 300° for 1 1/2 hours.
- When slowly cooked, baked potatoes have a much better flavor than when cooked quickly in the microwave.
- Here’s a tip from one of our readers on perfect baked potatoes: Bake your potatoes in a crockpot. Scrub, pierce with a fork, rub some butter on the potatoes and cook on low all day. You will have perfectly baked potatoes when it’s time for dinner.
- If you like the taste of oven baked potatoes but forgot to put them in the oven in time, nuke them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Then finish them in the oven. The centers will be cooked and they won’t take nearly as long to bake in the oven.
- To prevent a dry hard skin, rub your potato in butter or margarine, sprinkle with salt and wrap in foil.
- It is usually best to prick a potato with a fork when cooking it in the microwave because at times potatoes have been known to explode. Big Mess.
- Add Toppings as desired.
Easy Chicken Casserole
1 cup chicken
1/2-1 cup leftover vegetables
2 cups cooked rice (leftover works great)
1 can cream of chicken OR cream of mushroom soup
1 Tbsp. margarine
Mix everything in a baking dish and bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes until warmed through.
Mom’s Best Homemade Sweet Muffins Recipe
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. soda
1 1/2 cups flour
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Place 2/3 full in greased muffin tins or muffin tins lined with papers. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes. Makes 1 dozen
For more easy cheap family meals and recipes like these, check out our cookbook:
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