Okay, times are tight. If you are a family of five your monthly grocery budget likely rivals or even exceeds your monthly rent or mortgage. If you’re like me you’ve probably hit the internet looking for “cheap recipes” and come up with sites that think dinner for less than ten dollars is a good deal. Not good enough.
Or, you find some dirt cheap meals but don’t have the time to prepare everything from scratch flour, grow your own ingredients, and start a coupon collection.
Here are three family meals for less than five bucks that are satisfying, easy to prepare and no coupons are required:
Meal one consists of black beans, yellow rice, and corn bread. The best canned and seasoned beans for this, in my opinion, are the La Costena brand black bean soup. Simply prepare the rice, heat up the beans and serve over it and serve with the corn muffins.
The cost breakdown for this yummy meal is as follows: When the beans are on sale or at the Dollar General I can find them for $1.00 but it’s generally closer to $1.30. Yellow rice can be found for close to $1.00 or a little over as well, so let’s say $1.25. And lastly one box of Jiffy Mix corn muffin mix makes 6 corn muffins and you can pick a box up for about $.40 even if you decide to make two boxes you’ll still be under $5.00. But as it is you have a cheap and satisfying meal for a whooping $2.95.
Meal number two is a macaroni creation. Simply take two boxes of generic mac and cheese, a can of white chicken chunks, and a small can of generic cream of mushroom. Boil the mac and cheese and drain. Add the powdered cheese and about half of the called for butter and milk, drain the can of chicken and add to the macaroni and stir in the can of cream of mushroom soup. This makes a large pot that can feed a family of five.
The cost breakdown of this meal is $.50 for the macaroni and cheese, $2.35 for the can of chicken, and $.90 for the small generic cream of mushroom soup. This meal comes in at less than four dollars at about $3.95.
Meal number three I consider comfort food, dirty rice, green beans and biscuits. I generally use the Wal-Mart Good Value dirty rice box and prepare it in a rice cooker or on the stove top according to directions. I add about a half pound of ground beef that I’ve already cooked about half way through the rice cooking process. Serve with a can of green beans and canned biscuits.
The cost breakdown for this filling meal is about $1.30 for the dirty rice, $1.00 for the ground beef, $.50 for the green beans, and $.40 for the canned biscuits. For a total of $3.20.
In summary you can make easy to prepare meals the entire family will enjoy without resorting to ramen noodle or peanut butter and jelly and still stay well within budget. I hope these meal ideas help you think of other satisfying affordable family meals.