13 Easy Family Menu Ideas – Dinners Your Family Will Love
Here are a few easy menu ideas from my family dinners and dinners from when I was growing up. The secret to my spending less on food isn’t the food I cook but how I purchase and use it in dishes.
I buy almost everything on sale for the cheapest price possible. I buy almost no meat that is over $3.00/lb.
I use only fruits and veggies that are in season and cheap. In the winter we eat mostly frozen and canned veggies.
I always try to make more for dinner than we need. We usually eat the leftovers for lunch the next day or I freeze them for another meal when I don’t have time to cook.
For breakfast we eat mostly oatmeal, pancakes, French toast, waffles or cereal (purchased on sale with coupons for $1.50 or less per box). I don’t shop with a lot of coupons. It is cheaper to buy off brands (most have a money back guarantee if you don’t like them.) and items on sale.
I try to keep my pantry stocked. If an item goes on sale then I stock up. If I find a really good deal on meat then I stock up and we eat that meat if we don’t have anything else.
Usually I have enough variety in my freezer that we don’t eat the same thing over and over each night.
We don’t eat meat as a main dish a lot. I try to use meals where it can be an ingredient and not the main dish. We also try to eat pasta dishes at least twice a week and a Soup and Sandwich or Potato night once a week at least.
I don’t plan meals 1 or 2 weeks in advance. I prefer to do it only a couple of days in advance. If I planned too far ahead I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of deals that I find. (I just found 14 avocados for .99 on the get rid of shelf. I didn’t plan for this but it was a great treat!)
I hope these suggestions and menu ideas help you get started. If you would like more easy menu ideas please check out our Menus On A Dime menu planners. Enjoy! Tawra
You can find recipes to go with these easy menu ideas in our Dining on a Dime Cookbook.
- Slow Cooked Roast
- Brown Gravy
- Onions Carrots, Potatoes cooked with roast (Place in a pan the morning you plan to cook the roast and let them slow cook with the roast all day.)
- Sweet Buttermilk Muffins
- Tossed Salad with Thousand Island Dressing
- BBQ Beef
- Potato Salad
- Baked Beans
- BBQ Ribs
- Best Ever Easy Corn Bread
- Cole Slaw
- Relish Dish
- Carrots, Peppers, Celery, Radishes, Olives (any veggies in season or cheap)
- Ranch Dressing
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Easy Homemade Muffins
- Green Beans
- Red Jello Salad
- Tossed Salad
- Ranch Dressing
- Maple Glazed Chicken
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Glazed Carrots
- Ninety Minute Rolls
- Cucumber Salad
- Apple Crisp
- Ham & Potatoes
- Tossed Salad
- Applesauce Muffins
- Minty Peas & Onions
- Roast Chicken
- Garden Salad
- Dinner Rolls
- Cucumber & Tomatoes
- Macaroni Salad
- Taco Seasoning
- Refried Beans or Spanish Rice
- Tortilla Chips w/ Honey
- Chicken Tenders
- Fruit Gelatin
- Fried Potatoes
- Mexican Chicken
- Spanish Rice
- Sliced Tomatoes
- Baked or Fried Tortilla Chips
- Refried Beans
If you’d like recipes for the meals included in these menus, along with hundreds more delicious quick and easy recipes, check out our Dining On A Dime Cookbook!
…And for more pre-made meal plans and menu planning tips, check out Menus From Dining On A Dime.
This is the most realistic meal planning advice I have seen. I don’t like using coupons either, and I don’t like planning two weeks in advance.
Thanks for being real and practical.
Tell me more about how you find meat for under $3/lb!! This is very similar to how we eat/shop/save. But, here in central Ohio, even the clearance bin items are at least $2.60/lb…
Dreama it does vary in different parts of the country but like I always say we may get meat cheaper but you may get fruits, veggies or fish for a better deal. Plus the average income varies in different parts of the country so in some places where prices on things are a little higher so are the incomes.
I have lived and been in so many different areas of the country and have found that most things tend to balance out. You need to make the things you can get for less in your area work for you.
For example we don’t get very good fruits or veggies here and they aren’t usually a good deal. We don’t even have a good farmers market and the little one we do have is often 3-4 times the amount of what we can get at the store so we don’t do farmers markets and we eat more frozen broccoli then fresh and use more canned peaches then fresh.
Avocados are a special treat for us where in California many people can just pick them off of trees in their back yard. I would kill for the taste of a fresh blackberry but we just don’t have them here where in Idaho they would grow along the road and we would pick gallon buckets full for nothing.
What are/is Madrites? Loose meats? Do you have a recipe to share?
Sorry… I’m a California girl…
Sorry Sheri for the typo but it was suppose to be Maidrites. It is a type of loose meat burger. Here in Wichita we what Nuways that they sell and are the same thing.
Yes I do have the recipe and it is another really yummy one from Dining on a Dime
This is half of the recipe in the book and it does freeze well. This is great to serve to a crowd too if you are having a big get together for something.
3 Lbs. ground beef
4 slices bread, broke into small cubes
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup tomato juice
onion powder to taste or 1 cup chopped onions
salt to taste
Mix all together. Pour into 2 – 9×13 pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 1/1 hours until done. Stir frequently. Serve with pickles on a hamburger bun or in bread as Sloppy Joes. Serves 15
My sister told me about loose meats when I was visiting her in Wisconsin. It was on the school lunch menu. Never heard of it before that. Then taco meat would be the Mexican version?
One of my favorite things to make is so simple and yummy.
Take 3 pounds: rump roast, london broil, chicken breast or pork or even hamburger.
Put it in the crockpot, pour on top one cup: salsa, barbecue sauce or other simmer sauce.
This can be started before going to bed if you use frozen meat or in the morning with thawed meat. To cook it 8-12 hours, cook on low. To cook for 4 hours, set on high.
The meat will shred itself! If you use hamburger, it will break up by itself. You might need to press it just a bit at the end.
Depending on what sauce you cook it with, will determine what you serve it on. Salsa and meat can become tacos or burritos. Barbecue sauce goes on bread. Simmer sauce over rice, barley, other cooked grain or potatoes.
Simple and so good!
By the way, DO NOT add water to the crock pot! One cup sauce is just right! Trust me! There will be plenty of liquid after cooking. You can stir it back in and the meat will absorb it, or you can take the liquid out to cook your grain.
You reminding me of my best price list. I have a list of stores I go to and what I buy there, because it is the best price or the brand we like. I also have a list of my price tolerances. Like you, I try to keep my meat under $2/pound. I had been doing the same for cheese, but now I have set it at $3. Produce under $1/pound. Cold cereal-10 cents an ounce. I stock up on what I find and that’s what we eat. Not all specials are advertised. There are some exceptions of course.
Would you like me to send you some of my files I use for shopping?
In our area there is a meat shop – Worden’s Meat. They sometimes sell 80/20 hamburger for 1.99 a pound. I think they sell it at that price rather often. They also sell meat in bundles. I purchased a bundle that cost 43.09. I had five pounds, chicken and other beef. They had larger bundles as well. I purchased another five pounds of hamburger at 1.99 a pound. The total cost was $55.53 including tax. I do not have children at home. I will not need to buy meat for at least a month.
The maidrites sound so good! My kids went to an elementary school that always served sloppy joes at the school fall carnival. they were the best I have ever had. But I’ve never been able to figure out how they made them. Maybe I’ll give this a try. all the recipes sound good to me.
One thing I like about maidrites is they freeze really well (the filling does) so that when you need a quick meal on a hot (or cold) day you can just grab a packet of it out of the freezer, warm in the microwave and serve on buns with chips, fruit or veggies.
Can you freeze avocado? I would like to buy more when their on sale. But end up throwing some away because they spoil so fast.
Yes you can. I make up my guacamole and then just freeze it. It turns out grea!
Thanks Tawra I will not have to waste anymore:) certainly did not grow up with that! I have instilled that in my girls. I have been buying up blueberries and strawberries like crazy and freezing them too. Have a blessed day!
Yes Ofcourse we can freez.
We usually have one or two nights a week where our meal is meatless. This typically could be a hearty spaghetti dinner with a chunky veggie sauce, a chili dish, or a soup with homemade noodles. As empty nesters, I have started making “breakfast for supper” on the weekends, to change things up a bit. My husband eats oatmeal for breakfast all week, so on breakfast for supper night, we might have bacon, eggs and hashbrowns, or we might just have waffles with all the fixin’s. I find that breakfast for supper is less exhausting mentally than a typical supper, on the weekends.
When freezing avocados I usually just mash them, add a bit of lemon juice so they don’t turn brown then freeze. I can add the other things when ready to use it and it will taste fresh.
You are right! But we need to make sure not to use poor quality polythene bag, Instead of that we should use silver foil to keep it good for long time.
I find it is cheaper to buy name brand items if you use a coupon and match it with a sale. I follow Kroger Krazy for Kroger deals and Hip2Save for Target deals. I haven’t paid for toothpaste in years (free after coupon) and usually pay less than a dollar for mouthwash (big bottles) etc. I even get organic food for less than a dollar. You just have to follow the blogs and stock up when items are free or almost free. I keep a stockpile (but not as big as on tv, usually just less than a dozen items of some things) and it changes all the time due to sales.
Thank you so much for these meal planners and Tips, and thank you for being real. Your meals are what I’ve been looking for. There not fancy but homemade. And My husband is diabetic and I am lactose intolerant and celiac. But We can adjust to these meals. It’s simple. Thank you again.
Wow!it’s an awesome list for dinner. I will try for my family, and I think they will definitely love this menu. I want to know, can I freeze avocado? I need to buy more because my mom loves cheese avocado juice in dinner.??
You can freeze them if you are going to use them for guacamole or smoothies but the texture is a little different after you freeze them so they aren’t as good to eat by just eating a slice of them.
Thank you for your kind information.??
I have learned so much from you and your family.
I have to adjust some recipes as my husband is diabetic. But, the recipes still turn out wonderful!