25 Cheap and Easy Meals Ideas For a Frugal Budget (2022)

Looking for some cheap and easy meal ideas? Here is a complete list of 25 delicious budget-friendly recipes. Perfect to feed your whole family on a budget! Cheap dinner ideas and recipes you can try this month!

Cheap and Easy Meal Ideas

Is it possible to make cheap meals for large families? This is the question I asked myself after realizing how much money we used to spend on food.

Trying to come out with cheap dinner recipes or affordable meals for a family was something that I needed to plan every week.

I usually do a meal plan for the whole week in order to save money and time. However, to do this I realized that I needed to find and keep a list of cheap and easy meals to feed my family on a budget.

If you come from a large family, as I do, you know that food takes a great part of any budget. In fact, According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average family spends over $7,900 per year on food. That’s a lot of money!

There’s no doubt that food is expensive these days and its cost can really add up fast. In this case, you would either avoid overspending on food or just come out with some budget recipes and easy cheap meals you can make.

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Learning how to meal plan on a budget and cooking budget-friendly recipes will drastically reduce your grocery budget and save you tons of money.

So, to give you some ideas I gathered 25 easy cheap meal recipes that will help you save money.

Must-Have Tools to Help You Prepare Affordable Meals

Below are some must-have tools to help you make cheap family meals while keeping your grocery bill low:

$5 Meal Plan

If you are looking for weekly meal plans with cheap and easy recipes, I recommend the $5 Meal Plan.

$5 Meal Plan is a meal planning service that sends you every week budget-friendly and easy meal plans including the shopping list for only $5 a month.

It is an option that it will definitely save you a lot of money and worth looking into. Clickhere tolearn more about the$5 Meal Plan.

Ibotta

This is my favorite money-saving app and I use it whenever I go grocery shopping.

(Video) 25 MEALS FOR $30 || EXTREME BUDGET MEALS || CHEAP MEALS

Ibotta allows you to get cash back for your regular purchases from grocery stores.They give you cash back for buying things such as potatoes, bananas, or bread. Things that most families usually buy when grocery shopping.

Last month, I was able to earn $180 by using Ibottaand recommending the app to some friends. I can’t recommend Ibotta enough, it saved me so much money and I use it on every shopping trip!

Bonus: Get a FREE $10 Welcome Bonus from Ibotta when you sign up through this link.

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25 Cheap and Easy Meals to Feed Large Families on a Budget :

Below is a list of delicious budget recipes you can try this month. These quick, easy, and cheap meal ideas are perfect to feed your large family on a budget!

1. Healthy White Chicken Enchiladas

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“These Healthy White Chicken Enchiladas are one of our family’s favorite main dishes. Easy to make and a total crowd-pleaser, they use yogurt instead of sour cream to make a creamy white sauce (with tangy green chilis). Everyone loves them!”

2. Chicken Breast in Sour Cream Sauce

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“Chicken breast in sour cream sauce has an amazing rich flavor with a smooth and creamy texture. You’ll feel like you’re eating a dinner made in a fine restaurant right in your own home.”

3. Healthy Buffalo Chicken Chili

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“This Healthy Buffalo Chicken Chili (with creamy white beans!) is easy and healthy – and a fun twist on traditional chili. It’s comfort food that’s quick enough for a weeknight dinner, and it’s freezer-friendly too!”

4. Meatball Casserole Parmesan

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“If you are looking for a new family dinner this easy Meatball Casserole should be it. Juicy, flavorful meatballs baked until golden and then covered with tomato sauce and cheese.”

5. Mexican Tater Tot Casserole

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“This delicious taco-inspired tater tot casserole recipe is chock-full of black beans, corn, ground beef and a whole lot of flavor.”

(Video) 20 *BEST* EXTREME BUDGET MEAL IDEAS // FAMILY FAVORITE CHEAP RECIPES

6. Fajita Bowl

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“Combining black beans, rice, and perfectly seasoned chicken together you will find this dish to be a quick and easy dinner idea that works every time.“

7. Ham and Scalloped Potato Casserole

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“Ham and Scalloped Potato Casserole – the addition of ham cubes in this delicious potato casserole makes it worthy to serve as a meal with a side vegetable.”

8. Crispy Chicken Thighs – One Pot Meal

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“A super easy one-pan meal. A simple spice blend gives tons of flavor to the crispy skin and moist, juicy thigh meat. This is in the oven in just minutes for a delicious and budget-friendly main dish.”

9. One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

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“This One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Meal comes together in no time at all and was a perfect meal for my larger family.“

10. 5-Ingredient Easy Apricot Chicken

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“This easy oven baked apricot chicken recipe is a dream come true on those days when you have little to no meal inspiration and/or don’t want to hit the grocery store. It’s a one-pot meal that requires very little effort and uses staples from your pantry.“

11. BBQ Turkey Biscuit Casserole

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“Try this easy and delicious ground turkey casserole recipe, with a buttery biscuit crust and savory BBQ flavor. The family will ask for this biscuit casserole again and again!”

12. Ham and Gruyere Melt Sandwich

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“A gourmet ham and cheese sandwich featuring the very best cheese for ham — Gruyere! Chopped ham, gruyere, and green onions all come together to make the best grilled ham and cheese ever! A quick and easy dinner time fix”

13. Classic Stuffed Shells

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(Video) 5 Meals For UNDER £25 From Aldi | Easy Budget Weekday Family Meals | 5 For £25 Meals Part 1

“This Classic Stuffed Shells Recipe couldn’t be easier to put together! Made with Ricotta, spinach, and Italian herbs and seasonings, they are luscious and comforting.”

14. Sloppy Joes Burgers

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“These quick and easy paleo sloppy joes can be made, from scratch, in just 20 minutes. This clean eating,kid-friendlyrecipe is the perfect weeknight meal and is guaranteed to please the whole family.”

15. Lentil and Kale Soup

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“This spicy lentil kale soup is ahearty, delicious and pretty budget friendly. Made on one pot for easy clean up, it’s like a little bowl of goodness for your tummy.”

16. Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Spaghetti

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“This Mushroom and Spinach Spaghetti recipe has the most amazing and easy creamy sauce – Conveniently vegetarian and packed with nutrients, it comes together in just 15 min!”

17. Turkey Taco Casserole

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“This turkey taco casserole recipe is quick and delicious, perfect for our weeknight dinners!“

18. Cheeseburger Soup

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“This Cheeseburger Soup is perfect for a cold day! Add a little bacon, top it with cheese, green onions or anything else that you’d like and you can change it up each and every time you cook it!”

19. HealthyCreamy Pasta Salad with Ham and Peas

“This healthy creamy pasta salad is a great choice as a meal in itself, or as a side dish for some grilled chicken, pork chops or steaks.”

20. Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe

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“This simple, hearty, homemadechili mac and cheeseis a regular on our family’s dinner menu. We love this recipe and think it’s the best! You’ll enjoy the flavor of the spices, cheese and pasta blending together perfectly.”

(Video) EXTREME BUDGET FAMILY MEALS for a WEEK // CHEAP & EASY RECIPES for BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER

21. Pizza Chicken

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“This homemade pizza chicken breast recipe is quick enough for a weeknight family dinner and kid approved! It’s also gluten-free, but full of flavor with tomato sauce, spices, cheese, and mini pepperoni!

22. Southwest Skillet Chicken and Rice

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“ThisSouthwest Skillet Chicken And Rice is cheesy, kind of sweet, savory and full of flavor. It tastes just like the filling of a fajita. In fact, you can even serve some warm tortillas alongside androll them up.”

23. Grilled Chicken Fajita

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“These Grilled Chicken Fajita Flatbread Wraps are cheesy, crunchy & so delicious!”

24. Kidney Beans Burger

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“The BEST & simplest Kidney Bean Burgers! Made with only 6 simple, wholesome ingredients. Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and low-fat!”

25. Broccoli Cheese Soup

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“This easy, creamy low carb broccoli cheese soup is probably the easiest recipe you’ll find. It’s also gluten-free, healthy, and can be vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.” Only 5 ingredients!

Need more ideas for cheap and easy dinners?

If you have a super busy schedule and struggle to get dinner ready try this freezer cooking service that could help you cut your grocery bill in half!

More Cheap Easy Meals on a Budget:

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25 Budget Recipes-Cheap and Easy Meals for Large Families on a Budget

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(Video) 20 MEALS FOR $25/EXTREME BUDGET MEALS /What’s For Dinner/ Easy Affordable Recipes

FAQs

How do you feed 20 people on a budget? ›

20+ Inexpensive, Easy Meals for Large Groups
  1. Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches.
  2. Hearty Baked Penne Pasta.
  3. Tasty Taco Bar.
  4. Crockpot Breakfast Casserole with Bacon and Gruyere.
  5. Killer Carnitas.
  6. Chicken Spaghetti.
  7. Easy Ham and Cheese Sliders.
  8. Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos.
4 days ago

What is the cheapest meal I can make? ›

Meals to Make When You Have No Money
  • 1.) Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This one's a bit obvious, but PB&J is a classic staple and a REALLY simple meal. ...
  • 2.) Pasta and jarred sauce. ...
  • 3.) Bean and cheese burritos. ...
  • 4.) Pancakes/waffles. ...
  • 5.) Grilled cheese sandwiches. ...
  • 6.) Chili cheese dogs. ...
  • 7.) Sloppy Joes. ...
  • 8.) Goulash.
27 Oct 2021

How do you feed a family of 5 for $10? ›

10 Family Dinners Under $10
  1. Quick and Easy Sloppy Joes. ...
  2. Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet. ...
  3. 5-Ingredient Family-Friendly Baked Potato Soup. ...
  4. French Onion Frittata. ...
  5. Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala. ...
  6. Slow Cooker Chicken Parm Meatballs. ...
  7. One-Pot BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowls. ...
  8. Tomato Tortellini Soup.
5 Jun 2019

What to cook for under $10? ›

Recipes under $10
  • Pumpkin Bread. $5.94 recipe/ $0.37 serving. ...
  • Pollo Guisado (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew) $9.37 recipe / $2.34 serving. ...
  • Dollar Store Dinners – Sausage and Rice. ...
  • Apple Pie. ...
  • Sausage Stuffed Spaghetti Squash. ...
  • Dollar Store Dinners – Pea Soup. ...
  • Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup. ...
  • Roasted Spaghetti Squash.

What can I make for 10 people? ›

PureWow
  • 52 Big-Batch Dishes to Feed a Crowd. ...
  • White Pesto Spinach Lasagna (10 servings) ...
  • Slow Cooker Crispy Carnitas (10 servings) ...
  • Baked Sausage and Cheese Rigatoni (8 servings) ...
  • Caramelized Shiitake Mushroom Risotto (8 servings) ...
  • Korean Beef Tacos (12 servings) ...
  • Healthy Instant Pot Turkey Chili (8 servings)
19 Oct 2022

How much food do I need for 30 people? ›

The easiest rule is the “One Pound Rule.” Provide one pound of food for each adult guest (not including drinks or dessert).

How can I eat for $30 in a week? ›

Here's how I keep my grocery bill under $30 a week
  1. Breakfast: Cheerios with milk and a banana, plus the free coffee I get from my office.
  2. Mid-morning snack: Granola bar or orange.
  3. Lunch: Whole wheat pasta dressed up with butter and salt.
  4. Dinner: Fried eggs, a side of rice, and a glass of milk.
13 Jan 2017

What do you do when you have no money for food? ›

Your local food bank can help you find food today. They partner with food pantries, soup kitchens, and meal programs in your local community to give away free food. Enter your zip code to find your nearest Feeding America member food bank. They'll share the locations and hours of nearby food distributions.

What is the poor man's meal? ›

One of these meals was called the Poor Man's Meal. It combined potatoes, onions, and hot dogs into one hearty, inexpensive dish, which was perfect for the hard times people had fallen on.

What can I cook under 20 dollars? ›

Dinners Under $20
  • The Best Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken. ...
  • Grandma's Easy Chicken And Dumplings Recipe. ...
  • Creamy Beef and Noodles Recipe. ...
  • Homemade Meatloaf Recipe With Jiffy. ...
  • Easy Lasagna Recipe. ...
  • Slow Cooker BBQ Beef. ...
  • Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast. ...
  • Slow Cooker Chicken and Spanish Rice.

How do you feed a family of 4 on $10 a day? ›

Here's what she suggested:
  1. Eggs: 99 cents per dozen, can be breakfast, lunch, dinner or hard-boiled for snacks.
  2. Canned beans, like kidneys or chick peas: 79 cents for a 16-ounce can.
  3. A five-pound roasting chicken ($5) could yield two dinners. ...
  4. Oatmeal costs $3.69 for a 42-ounce canister and has 30 servings.
28 Oct 2010

How can I feed my family with no money? ›

My Tips on Eating for (Practically) No Cost
  1. Sprout Your Veggies. The first thing we do to feed our family at no real expense each month is we grow a large garden each year. ...
  2. Pick Your Fruit. ...
  3. Raise Your Protein. ...
  4. Trade. ...
  5. Use Your Animal's Byproducts. ...
  6. Can It! ...
  7. Grow Your Own Herbs. ...
  8. Raise Natural Sweetener.

How can I feed a lot of people for cheap? ›

What is the Best Way to Feed A Lot of People?
  1. Chose a recipe that can be scaled up without having to cook or bake more batches.
  2. Create a “Bar” and feed everyone cafeteria style, such as a potato bar. ...
  3. Slow cooker/Instant Pot to the rescue!
  4. Make as much food ahead of time as you can.
19 Nov 2021

How do you feed 7 people on a budget? ›

  1. Shop your pantry, fridge and freezer first!
  2. Meal Plan, Meal Plan, Meal Plan, Meal Plan.
  3. Choose in-season produce.
  4. Shop at Aldi (or another discount store)
  5. Shop mostly once a month.
  6. Buy meat (and other items) in bulk.
  7. Eat meatless meals 1-2 times a week.
  8. Meat is rarely the “star” of dinner.

How many trays of food do I need for 25 people? ›

Indeed, as it is possible to serve dishes that can cater to between 25 – 40 people. In most cases, a catering tray will measure 12-inches by 10-inches. Clearly, you can use 2 half trays to feed a large crowd with the same amount as a full tray.

How much does it cost to feed one person for a year? ›

That's roughly $2,641 annually per person (based on the average 2.5 people in each household). The average cost of food per month for the typical American household is about $550.

How do you feed 10 people on a budget? ›

What is the Best Way to Feed A Lot of People?
  1. Chose a recipe that can be scaled up without having to cook or bake more batches.
  2. Create a “Bar” and feed everyone cafeteria style, such as a potato bar. ...
  3. Slow cooker/Instant Pot to the rescue!
  4. Make as much food ahead of time as you can.
19 Nov 2021

How do you feed a family of 16? ›

How Do You Feed A Family Of 16? | Part 1 | Origin - YouTube

What is the cheapest food to serve at a party? ›

Here are some simple party food ideas on a budget:
  • Soup.
  • Loose meat sandwiches.
  • Baked potatoes.
  • Pasta.
  • Tacos.
  • Make-your-own-pizzas.
  • Cheese and crackers.
  • Vegetables and dip.
6 Aug 2019

What should I make for dinner for a large group? ›

18 Inexpensive Meals Perfect for Large Groups
  1. Chicken Tortilla Soup.
  2. Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala.
  3. Rigatoni With Brussels Sprouts & Kale Pesto.
  4. Cauliflower Nachos.
  5. Lime-y Chicken Tacos With Jicama, Avocado, & Mint.
  6. Italian Stuffed Shells.
  7. Pita and Kebab Board.
  8. Pomegranate Molasses Chicken.
2 days ago

What is the cheapest way to feed a lot of people? ›

Cheap Meals for a Crowd
  1. BBQ Beef, Pork or Chicken Sandwiches with Chips (My Favorite recipe here)
  2. Nacho Bar.
  3. Taco Bar (Doritos Taco Bowls are fun!)
  4. Baked Potato Bar (Try Making Baked Potatoes in your Crockpot)
  5. Chili with Frito's & Cheese.
  6. Homemade Soup Bar (try this Chicken & Wild Rice Soup Recipe)
20 Jan 2015

What food is the cheapest to cater? ›

The cheapest food to cater is any rice or noodle-based cultural cuisine. Mexican, Indian, and Thai dishes are delicious and affordable. Or, if you're hosting an event during the day, serve brunch and breakfast items.

How many trays of food do I need for 25 people? ›

Indeed, as it is possible to serve dishes that can cater to between 25 – 40 people. In most cases, a catering tray will measure 12-inches by 10-inches. Clearly, you can use 2 half trays to feed a large crowd with the same amount as a full tray.

What can I order instead of pizza? ›

Here are 12 ideas for party fare that will help you out of the takeout pizza rut:
  • Grilled Cheese for a Crowd. Grilled cheese doesn't sound like a smart idea for a party—until you make it this way. ...
  • Fondue. ...
  • Chili. ...
  • Pulled pork sandwiches. ...
  • Taco bar. ...
  • Burgers. ...
  • Potato Bar. ...
  • Kebabs.
17 Jan 2018

Videos

1. 45 MEALS FOR $20 | EMERGENCY GROCERY BUDGET MEAL PLAN IDEAS | JULIA PACHECO
(Julia Pacheco)
2. 25 MEALS FOR $40 || EXTREME BUDGET MEALS || CHEAP MEALS
(All Things Mandy)
3. 5 SLOW COOKER MEALS FOR UNDER £25 FROM ALDI | Summer Low Budget Slow Cooker Recipes 2022
(Sopherina)
4. EXTREME BUDGET GROCERY CHALLENGE | I Thrived on Only $15 of Food for a Week + FREE PDF
(The Conscientious Eater)
5. 5 Dinners for $20/ Budget Meals/Frugal Healthy Meals
(Sandy Steinbrook)
6. EXTREMELY BUDGET-FRIENDLY MEALS | The BEST Quick & EASY Cheaper Dinner Ideas | Julia Pacheco
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