Five Frugal, Family Friendly Dinners

posted by Andrea | 04/13/2011

Here in Michigan, the price of gas has officially reached $4.00 per gallon!!!

And just this morning, I heard that these high gas prices are starting to trickle down to higher prices on groceries {and pretty much everything else we buy}. However, I’m determined NOT to let higher grocery prices ruin our very small grocery budget of about $20 per week!

One way I plan to do this is by integrating lots of frugal, family friendly dinners into our weekly and monthly menu plans.

Here are a few of OUR favorite frugal meals.

1. Pasta

Pasta is one of those foods I could eat almost every day. I love it! And while we don’t actually eat it EVERY day, we do have some sort of pasta every week. It’s just so quick, inexpensive, and even Dave can make it!!

Here are some of our favorite pasta dishes.

  • Any type of noodles with meat sauce
  • Lasagna
  • Homemade Mac and Cheese

2. Mexican

Beans, rice, tortillas, and tomatoes are all very inexpensive. Plus, Mexican dishes usually spread a small amount of ground beef, turkey, or shredded chicken over a huge amount of food — which is why I’m always looking for more Mexian recipes to add to my collection.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Chicken or beef Tacos
  • Meat, cheese, or bean Quesadillas

3. Breakfast

We usually have breakfast for dinner about once a week. Not only is it such a quick meal to make, it’s also a really inexpensive way to feed your family. Plus there are SO many options!

Here are some of our go-to breakfast meals.

  • Omelets or any other type of egg dish

4. Soup, Salad, and/or Sandwiches

While soup is traditionally more of a cold-weather food, we often eat it year round. I love making big batches of soup, dividing it up, freezing it, and then pulling it out for a really fast weeknight meal.

Here are a few of my favorite homemade soups. Just add a side salad or your favorite sandwich and dinner is served.

  • Chicken Soup — I have a huge pot of this on my stove right now, and will share the recipe soon!

5. Pizza

We love pizza! And even though we do splurge for restaurant pizza every now and then, we also make a fair share of homemade pizza for frugal weekend meals.

Pizza is another way to really stretch a small amount of meat and veggies to feed many hungry mouths.

Here’s a link to 7 delicious pizza recipes.

What are YOUR favorite frugal, family friendly dinner ideas?

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly, recipes!


Filed under: FoodMeal Planning

Leave a comment


  1. Derek M


    Try a bag of lentils with two cans of rotel. You can create enough food for 10-15 for 3 bucks.
    And you do not have to soak lentils split peas as well but some reccipes suggest it.


  2. Rivki Locker


    I recently committed to a more frugal lifestyle for my family, starting with major cuts to our astronomical grocery bills. I just came across your blog and love these frugal meal ideas. I am committed to healthy eating as well as a frugal lifestyle, and the balance can be a challenge. Thanks for these tips!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks!! We have a pretty small grocery budget too so these frugal meals help us eat well while stretching our budget each week!


  3. Megan Camp


    Andrea, if you’re looking for more Mexican recipes that are cheap and tasty, you should try making Pork Pozole. It’s supposed to be a soup but we prefer it cooked down and then served burrito style. It’s delicious, freezes well and one recipe would probably feed you and your husband for several meals. I’ve made it a number of times for guests and they’ve always loved it. It tastes very authentic and flavorful.

    Thanks for all the other yummy meal ideas!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Megan!
    We’re ALWAYS looking for quick, easy, make-ahead Mexican recipes and this one sounds delicious!
    I know my husband will love it too!


  4. Tammy


    Wow, $20… Even if I extrapolated that to our family of five which would mean $50, we would never survive.. I think prices are just so much higher in Canada. Also your wonderful double coupon days and coupon stacking are just not allowed up here. It is one coupon per purchase, and trust me you will never find a coupon in Canada worth more than 1/3 the cost of the product (ON SALE). I always envy the people in the US who live in the regions that make this style of living possible. For now I must struggle to stick to my $150 per week (this includes cleaners, diapers, and other household expenses) and dream of the day life becomes just a tiny bit more affordable.

    Oh, yeah and as my other fellow BC’r said gas is outrageous.. I am spending $350/month on gas for my car, just to get to and from work. No public transit is not an option in my situation.

    Great blog, read it everyday.



    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Tammy,
    Where I live, we actually don’t have double coupons either {bummer} but I’m certain we still have better deals and coupons than what you have in Canada!

    And I totally feel your pain with the gas — I have a very small car and spent over $50 just to fill it up once! I can remember when I first started driving {only 9 years ago} and I could fill my car up for $13!!

    Anyway, I guess we’ll just have to keep saving where we can…and hope that gas and grocery prices start going back down 🙂


  5. Jolon @ Savvy Chic Savings


    Thanks for the shoutout! I just posted a review of The $5 Dinner Mom: Breakfast & Lunch Cookbook. It’s awesome. I want to keep trying her recipes just so I can see if I can make them cheaper. hahaha


  6. LaVonne


    Blueberry stuffed french toast? Yummy! 😉

    Thanks for these great ideas. We are in Northern B.C. (Canada) right now for hubby’s work and it is about $5.50 per gallon. It cost $95 CND to fill our Toyota minivan last week! Yuck!

    I am visiting from TILT at the Diaper Diaries. Nice to find your blog. I love your blog design. The simplicity and great photos are very much appreciated.

    Long Wait For Isabella


    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — $5.50 is really expensive! It’s unfortunate we need to pay so much for gas — I can remember when it was less than $1.00 per gallon here in MI {and that was only about 9 years ago!}


  7. Rosie @ RosieBear


    Great ideas.
    Thanks for the help getting through these tight times.


  8. Susan


    Loved your pics and recipe ideas! We enjoy Mexican food.


  9. Kristen @ JoyfullyThriving


    Sigh. Gas is at $3.99 here in Northern Indiana. I’m determined to do the same. I need to stick to my budget in the grocery area and continue saving money there so we can afford the high gas prices! I’m combining trips as much as possible, and like you, maximizing my meals. I’m impressed by you, Andrea! Your $20 budget makes my $40 seem so high! 🙂 Love it! Keep up the great work!


  10. Kim


    Wow! I can’t believe your grocery budget! That is incredible, you could do an entire series on grocery shopping. Can’t wait to hear more about it.


    Andrea Reply:

    Kim, just remember — we’re only feeing 2 people with occasional entertaining. Plus, we aren’t picky eaters so we eat whatever is on sale, in the freezer, or in the pantry. And you know I’m obsessed with coupons 🙂