The following is a guest post by Connie at Smockity Frocks!
One of the ways I manage to feed a BIG family on a small budget is to stretch my meals for all they are worth.
The first fundamental of stretching a meal is to forget about “meat and potatoes”. By that, I mean most meals that include a meat as the main dish with vegetable side dishes are going to be more expensive than a casserole or a soup.
With one whole chicken, I can make 2-3 casseroles that will feed my family more than once. But, if I had to serve each person in my family a chicken breast, or a chicken leg or thigh, I would need more than one chicken for that single meal.
We do occasionally splurge on meat and potato meals, but they are usually special occasions, and we can certainly eat cheaper when we don’t!
Consider these meal stretching tips if you are feeding a big family on a small budget:
- Use plenty of rice. Rice is inexpensive, filling, and goes with almost any dish. You can serve a casserole over rice, or you can incorporate it into the casserole itself. I even use rice as a filler in my meatballs, and I call them “porcupine eggs”.
- Use noodles. Noodles are also inexpensive and filling, and can be incorporated into many dishes. I serve lots of saucy dishes over noodles. Spaghetti, Swedish meatballs, and stroganoff are just a few.
- Potatoes can also be the base for many dishes. A hearty potato soup with cup or so of leftover, diced ham is a very frugal meal that will satisfy a hungry crew. Also, many saucy dishes, like Swedish meatballs or stroganoff, can be served over mashed potatoes instead of noodles or rice for some added variety.
- Have plenty of bread available at meal times. My whole family loves my homemade bread! This is an inexpensive and delicious way to satisfy everyone at the dinner table without busting the budget.
Remember that meat is probably the most expensive item when it comes to feeding your family. If you can make a little meat go a long way, by using it in a casserole, or serving it in a sauce over rice, noodles, or potatoes, you can make your meals stretch and stay on budget.