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Having a large family is a beautiful experience that can bring you life long joy.
Yet the day to day details of maintaining a large family can be difficult to manage, and feeding everyone every day can be costly if you’re not wise about how your grocery shop and how you cook.
Knowing how to grocery shop on a budget is in itself one of the best steps towards feeding a large family without spending every dime on food, but just having the food and having no plans on how you’ll use it can lead to large amounts of waste, which translates as money in the trash.
Food is one of the most important necessities in life, and what you feed yourself and your family is just as important as how much it costs you to feed them, so it’s better to plan ahead what you’d like to have as your meals on a nightly basis to better keep your budget aligned with your family needs.
Finding a sustainable meal plan for your family doesn’t have to be back breaking work, and you can easily find delicious recipe ideas that suit all your family’s unique meal preferences with simple ideas that are healthy, affordable and creative.
There are many different ways to meal prep and meal plan, and with this list of simple budget friendly recipes for large families, you’ll be able to find some great meal ideas for yourself and your family to enjoy any time of the month.
10 Budget Recipes for Large Families
If you’re looking for a few great recipe ideas that are budget friendly for your large family, there are many different ways that you can plan ahead for your monthly meals and keep a tight budget while eating delicious healthy food every day.
Here is a look at some excellent recipe ideas that you can utilize for your meal planning, as well as a short and simple grocery list per recipe to keep your budget in check and your meal time well organized and delicious!
1. Whole Wheat Homemade Pizzas
If you’re like many other cheese lovers out there, you must love pizza.
This classic meal is one of the best shareable meals out there, and they’re easy to make from home.
Ordering delivery pizza once or twice a month can easily cost you $20 or more for one large pie with your favorite topping for one meal, which is a lot of money for one night, and if you’ve got a large family that number can easily triple for a single meal.
Instead of splurging on a single night of a pizza meal for your family, save a couple dollars and make your own homemade pizza.
You might think that pizza is hard to make, but with all the ingredients found at your local grocery store, you’ll be able to make a pizza at home within a small time frame.
If you’d like to take the easiest route when making your homemade pizza, purchase a pre-made dough.
If you want to make your own, you can do that as well.
Here is a great recipe for pizza dough and instructions for a homemade pizza:
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons (1 package) instant yeast
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 15 ounces of tomato sauce
- Dried oregano
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella or your favorite cheese blend
- Your favorite toppings (pepperoni, chicken, sausage, veggies, herbs, etc.)
An hour before you are set to put your pizza in the oven, make the pizza dough.
Mix the dry ingredients, the flour and yeast, in a bowl, then add the cup of water.
Stir the ingredients together to combine and then add the salt and honey.
You cannot add the salt too early, otherwise you will kill the yeast in the mixture.
If the dough is dry or crumbles easily, add hot water to the mixture one teaspoon at a time until the dough holds together well.
The dough should be tacky, not sticky or soupy.
If the dough is too soupy, add flour to the mixture to absorb the water.
If the dough is too sticky, add more flour to the mixture to bring it to a tacky consistency.
Knead the dough or use a standing mixer on a medium-low speed for 10 minutes.
If you’re kneading the dough by hand, sprinkle some flour on your countertop to keep it from sticking, and lay the dough on top of the flour.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes.
When the dough is done being kneaded, lightly coat a bowl in oil or cooking spray, place the dough int he bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
Let the dough rise for a full hour.
10 minutes before your the hour for your dough is up, preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the dough from the bowl once it has doubled in size, and place it back on your counter top.
If you want to make two smaller pizzas, you can easily divide the dough into two equal portions.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle (or two).
Place the dough on a baking sheet.
Alternatively, you can make a large, square shaped pizza by rolling the dough into an 18” x 16” pan.
Set the dough aside, and begin prepping your pizza sauce.
You can purchase remade pizza sauce, but it’s better and cheaper to make your own pizza sauce from scratch with herbs of your choosing to taste.
Pour the contents of a 15-ounce tomato sauce can into a bowl.
Add the dried oregano, garlic powder, salt, and onion powder into the tomato sauce until the flavor is to your choosing.
You can also add rosemary, basil, or other spices of your choosing into the tomato sauce.
Retrieve your pizza dough, and spread the herbed tomato sauce over the dough in a thin layer.
After the tomato sauce is layered on the dough to your liking, add as much shredded cheese as you’d like.
If you want it extra cheesy, add as much as the whole 8 ounces.
Add whichever toppings you chose for your pizza, or leave the pizza with just cheese if you’d like to keep it simple.
Place the pizza in your pre-heated oven for 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and crisp.
When the cheese has started to brown a little, your pizza is ready.
Remove the pizza from your oven, place on a heat proof surface such as a cutting board or cooling rack, and let it stand for 3 to 5 minutes.
Cut the pizza into slices, and then serve.
2. Crockpot Chicken Tacos
If you love tacos and you have a crockpot handy, this is a great way to make juicy shredded chicken tacos for your whole family!
These delicious tacos are insanely easy to make, and you get the added benefit of setting your ingredients up and letting them cook over the course of a few hours without having to watch it happen.
This recipe can easily feed your family and take the stress out of a long prep time, plus they’re absolutely delicious.
To make your crockpot chicken tacos, you’ll need:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups of salsa
- Salt and pepper
- Sour Cream
To make your chicken tacos, you will place the chicken breasts inside your crockpot and cover them with the salsa.
Mix the ingredients in the crockpot and cover the slow cooker.
Cook the ingredients on high for 4 hours, on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the chicken is easily shredded with a fork.
In the crockpot, shred the chicken breasts completely and mix with the remaining salsa and juices within the crockpot until they are combined together fully.
Warm your tortillas on a skillet, and serve the chicken tacos with sides of guacamole and sour cream for a delicious meal.
3. Garlic Pasta
One quick, cheap and healthy meal option for your whole family is garlic pasta.
Garlic itself is cheap, and if you have a garden at home, it’s easy to grow.
This recipe requires just a few ingredients and a little bit of time to complete.
Here is what you’ll need to make your garlic pasta dish:
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup panic bread crumbs
- 1 pound of whole wheat pasta
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 whole head of garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 pounds of washed and chopped greens (spinach, kale, or Swiss chard are great options)
- Dried Italian herbs like basil and oregano
- Salt & pepper
- Grated parmesan
To start off your garlic pasta, set a low flame on your stove and add the butter and half of the minced garlic.
Once your garlic starts to brown, add the panic bread crumbs and stir until the panic become a golden brown color, and then set aside.
Add water and salt to a large pot and bring it to a boil.
Cook the pasta in this pot with the directions on the pasta box, until the pasta is al dente.
Avoid overcooking the pasta to keep the glycemic index low and keep your pasta from becoming mushy before your meal is fully cooked.
Drain the pasta, but make sure to preserve one cup of the water that the pasta was cooked in.
Set the pasta aside, and bring a skillet over your flame.
Heat the olive oil in this skillet, adding the remaining garlic for 30 seconds and then begin to add in the cooking greens by the handful until they are all wilted.
Cook the greens for a minute.
When they’re ready, add the pasta into the skillet.
Stir some of the pasta water into the pan to make a sauce.
Start with half a cup and then add only if the pasta mixture seems dry.
While this mixture is being prepared, add the Italian herbs to the skillet as well as the salt and pepper to your liking.
Once this is done, put the mixture in a large serving bowl.
Take the breadcrumbs you set aside at the start of your prep and top the pasta off with this mixture.
Grate some parmesan over top of the pasta, and serve.
4. Baked Cheese Enchiladas
Enchiladas are a traditional Mexican dish that are easy to customize based on your dietary requirements and restrictions, and are extremely budget friendly as well as delicious.
This dish can be easily packed with nutritious proteins and fiber, and the mixture that will bulk up your enchiladas can be altered to contain more nutritious vegetables.
Enchiladas are cost effective and can be easily made, which means that you can feed your whole family on a budget and keep them satisfied with delicious foods that are quick to prepare.
Making your own enchilada sauce is easy enough, but it’s more cost-effective to purchase a canned sauce at your local grocery store.
To make your enchiladas, you’ll need these ingredients:
- 1/2 pound ground beef ( can be substituted with lentils for a vegetarian option)
- One 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 pound white button or cremini mushrooms, washed and chopped
- One 4.5 ounce can of chopped green chilies
- 1 can of enchilada sauce
- 6 large flour tortillas
- 8 ounces of your favorite cheese blend, shredded
- 1 jar of traditional salsa
Before you begin prepping your enchiladas, preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
Cook the beef for your enchiladas in a skillet over a medium-high flame until the meat is browned and cooked all the way through.
Place the cooked beef in a bowl, and set it off to the side.
Add the black beans and the mushrooms to the skillet and cook the mixture until the mushrooms have lost some of their liquid and have reduced in size.
Remove the mushrooms and beans from the skillet and place them in the same bowl as the cooked beef.
Mix the beef, beans, and mushrooms together with the green chilies.
Pour half a cup of the canned salsa into the beef, mushroom, chili and bean mixture, and stir until they are well combined.
Pour another half cup of salsa into the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking pan.
Spread the sauce evenly across the pan, making sure to fully coat the bottom.
Fill a tortilla with the beef, mushroom and bean mixture, add shredded cheese to the inside of it, roll the tortilla and place it on the far side of the baking pan.
Repeat this process with the rest of the tortillas, placing them side by side along the inside of the baking pan.
Take the rest of the enchilada sauce and pour it over the top of the rolled tortillas in the pan.
Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the tortillas in the pan to your liking.
Place the pan in the oven, and bake your enchiladas for 25 minutes.
Once the cheese has melted and the sauce is starting to bubble, your enchiladas are ready.
Let the enchiladas cool for 3 to 5 minutes, then serve with guacamole or an onion and cilantro mixture.
5. Spiced Turkey Chili
A healthy meal option that is easy to make and utterly delicious is spiced turkey chili, a quick family meal that will wow everyone.
If you have a slow cooker, this can be easily done in there, or you can make it on your stove top for a fast delicious meal for your entire family.
The ingredients to make a delightful spiced turkey chili are:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 chopped yellow onion
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1 chopped medium red bell pepper
- 1 pound extra lean ground turkey (can substitute chicken)
- 4 tablespoons of chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- One 28 ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
- Two 15 ounce cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- One 15 ounce can of sweet corn, drained and rinsed
- Avocado slices
- Tortilla chips
- Sour cream
To prepare this on your stove top:
Grab a large pot and place the oil inside it over a medium high heat.
Add the onion, garlic, red bell pepper and sauce for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently to keep it from burning.
Add the ground turkey to the pot, cooking it until it’s no longer pink and breaking up the meat as it cooks.
Once the meat has cooked through, add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, and salt, stirring for about 20 seconds.
Add in the tomatoes, chicken broth, kidney beans and corn to the pot, bringing the contents in the pot to a boil and then down to a simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
When the chill begins to thicken and the flavors begin to come together, taste the chili to adjust the salt and seasonings to your liking.
When your chili is finished, portion the chili out into serving bowls and top each one off with cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, cilantro and sour cream and serve.
If you’d like to prepare this in your slow cooker:
Use only half a cup of chicken broth, and brown the turkey and onions in a skillet before placing these ingredients in the slow cooker.
Add the rest of the ingredients and set the chili in the slow cooker for your desired time.
6. Salisbury Steak
If you like to have a delicious meal that feels expensive but isn’t, you should try this low cost salisbury steak that utilizes different cuts of meat instead of expensive steaks for an equally delicious dish.
This meal calls for ground beef instead of steak, and can be done relatively quickly at home.
The ingredients you’ll need to complete this meal are:
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- One 8-ounce package sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
- 1 3/4 cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
To make your salisbury steak, you’ll take a large bowl and combine the beef, chopped onions, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper and mix these ingredients together thoroughly.
You’ll shape this mixture into patties, and with this recipe, it’ll make about 4.
Over a medium high heat, take a skillet and cooke each patty for 5 minutes on each side.
Reserve one table spoons worth of the drippings from the skillet, and set the patties aside.
Over a medium high heat, cook the mushrooms and sliced onions in the patty drippings for 5 minutes or until they’ve become tender, stirring constantly to keep the ingredients from burning.
Add the broth and Worcestershire sauce to the skillet, then place the patties in as well.
Bring the contents of the skillet to a boil, then cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the contents of the skillet for 15 minutes.
Remove the patties from the skillet using a slotted spoon to help drain the patty as it’s being removed.
Place the patties on a platter and keep them warmed.
Take a bowl, combine the water and cornstarch by stirring them well.
Add this mixture to the broth in your skillet and bring the mixture up to a boil.
Stir constantly while you cook for 1 minute or until the mixture has thickened.
Ladle the mixture over the patties and serve with a side of veggies or mashed potatoes.
7. Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash
This meal calls for a broiler and is a great dish for a large family, especially if you’re trying to keep to a vegetarian option a few times a week.
If you’re a vegan, choosing to use a parmesan cheese that has no animal rennet in it can make this dish animal by-product free.
These are the ingredients that you will need to make a vegetarian spaghetti squash for your family:
- One 3 pound spaghetti squash
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 chopped medium onion
- 8 ounces of mushrooms thinly sliced
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon of ground oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/2 cup of marinara sauce
- 1 3/4 cups no salt added chickpeas, rinsed & drained
- 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Here is how to make your vegetarian spaghetti squash:
Take the spaghetti squash and pierce it with a sharp knife in several places, keeping it whole but with holes.
Place the squash in the microwave for 15 minutes inside of a microwaveable glass baking dish, turning the squash over about 7.5 minutes in.
Let the squash sit for 10 minutes before handling it as the inside contents will be boiling hot and can burn you.
Once the squash has cooled, cut it in half and remove all of the seeds and fibers on the inside.
Once this has been done, use a fork to twist out strands of the squash, creating the base for your meal, and place these strands in a large bowl.
Preheat your broiler after you’ve separated the contents of your spaghetti squash from the rind.
Take a large skillet and heat the olive oil over a medium high heat.
In the skillet, add the mushrooms and onions and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and start to brown, then add the garlic, oregano, pepper and salt.
After a minute, stir in the spaghetti squash that you’ve placed off to the side as well as the chickpeas, parsley, and marinara sauce.
Spread the mixture evenly within the skillet, and top it with your choice of parmesan cheese.
Place the skillet in your broiler for up to 2 minutes or until the cheese on top of your dish is melted.
Remove the skillet from the broiler, let it cool for a minute or two, and serve.
8. Chicken Tamales and Cornbread Casserole
Chicken tamales are delicious and can be easily made, but why not experiment and make a chicken tamale and cornbread casserole for your family!
This inexpensive meal is delicious and combines two beloved food items into one savory concoction that your whole family will love.
To make your chicken tamale and cornbread casserole you’ll need:
- One 15 ounce can of creamed corn
- One 8 ounce box of corn muffin mix
- One 5 ounce can of chopped green chilies
- 1/4 cup of sour cream
- One egg
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 1/2 cups of shredded Mexican cheese, divided evenly
- 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
- One 10 ounce can of red enchilada sauce
- Diced avocado
- Diced tomatoes
To prepare this your chicken tamale and cornbread casserole, begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take a 9” x 13” baking dish and spray it with your choice of cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together the creamed corn, muffin mix, chilies, sour cream, egg, cumin and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
Take this mixture and place it in your baking dish and bake it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and turn golden and the middle has set.
With the back of a wooden spoon, create small bowl shaped indentations at the top of the dish.
In a medium sized bowl, mix the shredded chicken in with the enchilada sauce then pour this mixture over the top of your baked cornbread.
Layer on the remains half cup of shredded cheese, and bake this new dish for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese has become melted.
Remove this dish from the oven and let it cool for 3 to 5 minutes.
Slice the chicken tamale and cornbread casserole into squares, and serve with a topping of sour cream, diced avocado, diced tomatoes and cilantro for an additional flavor boost.
9. Easy New Orleans Jambalaya
If you like jambalaya or have never tried it and would like to give New Orleans style cooking a try, this simple jambalaya is perfect for a flavor packed meal that wills satisfy your entire family.
This dish is quick and easy to make, and is full of unique New Orleans flavor.
To make this dish, you’ll need:
- 1 pound of diagonally sliced smoked sausage
- One 14 ounce can of drained diced tomatoes
- 1 box of Zaitarans Jambalaya mix
- 2 1/2 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 pound of deveined and peeled shrimp
- 4 sliced green onions
To make your New Orleans style jambalaya, you’ll need to heat a large saucepan over a medium-high flame.
Add the sausage to this saucepan and sauté it for about 3 minutes until its browned, making sure to stir frequently.
Add in your diced tomatoes, the rice and seasoning mix, and olive oil to the saucepan, and stir it until it’s well combined.
Take your 2 1/2 cps of water, and add it to the large pot.
Bring the contents of the large pot to a boil, cover it, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
After the time has passed, add the peeled shrimp to the top of the jambalaya, and cover the pot again, cooking the shrimp and the jambalaya for another 5 to 7 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Remove the pot from its heat source, and let it cool slightly before serving.
10. Tex-Mex Meatballs
These meatballs are delicious, mouthwatering balls of goodness that will make your family meal time a silent one.
If you want to get really creative with this dish, warm up some hero rolls and make some extra-yummy meatball subs and top them off with some extra sauce and melted cheddar to make a perfect weeknight meal.
To make your Tex-Mex meatballs, you’ll need:
- 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
- 2 cups of shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
- 1/2 cup panic bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 finely chopped jalapeño
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 chopped large onion
- 1 oz of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon of chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
To make your Tex-Mex meatballs, grab a medium bowl and combine the ground beef, one cup of cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, jalapeño, egg, cumin, salt and pepper, then mix these ingredients until they are thoroughly combined.
Place a large skillet on your stove and add in the olive oil, heating the skillet before you begin to cook.
Form the ground beef mixture into meatballs and place them in a large skillet over a medium-high heat in a single layer and sear them for 2 minutes on each side.
Transfer the meatballs to a platter, then add the onions to the skillet to cook them for 5 minutes, stirring them until they’re soft.
Add the crushed tomatoes and chipotle in adobo sauce to the skillet and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat from high to medium-low and place the meatballs back in the skillet, covering them and cooking them through for about 10 minutes.
Top the meatballs with the other cup of shredded cheese, and let the cheese melt for up to two minutes.
Garnish the meatballs in the skillet with parsley, and then serve on a hero roll or alone with a favorite side for a delightful meal!