My latest budget menu plan that shows the simple meals that our family of 6 has enjoyed. Use it to get easy recipe ideas and meal planning inspiration for your own menu!
New to My Menu Plans?
It might be helpful to know a few things before reading further.
- The size and ages of our family.
Our family of six consists of two adults, a 12 ½-year-old boy, a 9-year-old girl, a 7-year-old girl and a 4 ½-year-old boy. All of our kids have hearty appetites and tend to be big eaters.
- Having a stockpile saves me money.
If an item that we use goes on sale, especially if it’s a particularly good sale, I try to stock up whenever possible. Sometimes the saving seems small- it may only be $0.25 an item. But doing that with multiple things does add up rather quickly! Then when I plan my menus, I first look at what I have in my cupboards, fridge and freezer and try to plan as many meals around that as possible.
- I use my freezer a lot.
I freeze so many foods to extend their shelf life- everything from cottage cheese to zucchini to onions! Another thing I like to do is cook up extra meat, rice and even things like soup and then freeze them to save time later. Both of these things help save me time and money too.
- I cook almost totally from scratch.
That means when I bake a cake, I make it from scratch. I rarely use pre-packaged sauces. I make my own cream soups, homemade Bisquick and pie crusts. Making our own food is typically less expensive and healthier too.
- We rarely snack.
By eating hearty food like granola at breakfast we don’t get hungry until lunchtime. And our lunches are big enough that we usually are fine until dinner time. When we do need a snack, I try to keep it mostly healthy by offering fruit, nuts or maybe No Bake Energy Bites. We don’t always do it perfectly though, and sometimes end up having chips or cookies instead.
- We eat simple, filling breakfasts.
Typically we have either Homemade Granola or Baked Oatmeal, and occasionally some bought cereal and fruit too. I know that might seem awfully boring to some of you, but the simplicity of it works well for us. I also have a homemade iced coffee, homemade frappe or some other fun beverage like Warm Vanilla Custard every afternoon.
A little side note: I occasionally get asked why I only do a two-week menu plan instead of four weeks. To be honest, it’s mainly for my own convenience.
Keeping track of everything we eat gets to be a little tedious. So only doing it for two weeks helps me not get bogged down with it.
Get my FREE $50 Aldi Meal Plan here! It has 7 easy dinners for a family of 5.
- Various Leftovers; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Fresh Strawberry Pie
- Tuna Toasts; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie; Homemade Popcorn
– For the tuna toasts we just butter homemade sourdough bread, put it on a baking sheet, sprinkle the bread with shredded cheese and bake it until it’s a bit toasted and the cheese is slightly browned. Then we make homemade tuna salad and eat it on top of the toasts. So good!
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches with homemade Sourdough Bread; Hummus with Carrots and Peppers; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Bananas; Clementines
- Curry Chicken and Rice Soup; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Chocolate Zucchini Sheet Cake
- 5 Minute Refried Bean Dip with Tortilla Chips; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Grapes; Nectarines
- Homemade Hamburgers with Cheese, Sauteed Onion and Mushrooms; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Various Candy (for dessert)
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches (for the kids); Roasted Broccoli Quinoa Salad (for my husband and I); Hummus with Carrots; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Bananas; Apples
- Bisquick Chicken Alfredo Casserole; Green Beans for the Kids; Roasted Broccoli for my husband and me; Leftover Chocolate Zucchini Sheet Cake
- Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Bananas; Watermelon
- Easy Mexican Rice Bowls; Strawberry Shortcake with Fresh Strawberries (from our garden)
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches (for the kids); Roasted Broccoli Quinoa Salad (for my husband and I); Greek Yogurt with Honey
- Chicken Stroganoff; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Strawberry Shortcake and Fresh Strawberries
- Spinach Feta Scones; Cold Sausages; Sliced Ham; Cheese; Deviled Eggs; Hummus with Carrots/Peppers; Deviled Eggs (my recipe is similar to this one); Store-Bought Cookies
– We went on a picnic lunch with a friend
- Various Leftovers; Peas; Classic No Bake Cookies (my recipe is similar to this one)
- Sausage and Lentil Skillet; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover No Bake Cookies
- Naan Pizza; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie; Homemade Popcorn
– The Naan Pizza is simply a pizza made using naan bread as the crust. So easy and so good!
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Watermelon; Nectarines
- Super Easy Beef Macaroni Skillet; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadilla (used my homemade refried beans); Greek Yogurt with Honey; Apples; Bananas
- Creamy Sausage and Potatoes; Green Beans; Rhubarb Cheesecake Squares
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus with Carrots and Peppers; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Bananas; Canned Peaches
- One Pot Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Rice; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Rhubarb Cheesecake Squares
- Zucchini Fritters; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Clementines; Grapes
– I can’t find a recipe quite like mine for the Zucchini Fritters, but if you Google you’ll find lots of recipes that are somewhat similar that you’ll probably enjoy as much as we do these.
- Baked Potatoes | Sweet Potatoes; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus with Carrots and Peppers; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Fresh Raspberries (that we grew); Apples
- Ground Beef Stroganoff (my recipe is similar to this one); Green Beans; Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus with Carrots and Peppers; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Bananas; Grapes
- Various Leftovers; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
You might also enjoy:
What do you make when you have an hour to eat, get everyone ready, and get out the door? Do you ever use convenience foods?
So sorry for the slow reply, Emily! Somehow your comment slipped through without me seeing it until now. To be honest, because I work from home and homeschool, I don’t have a lot of days where we have the scenario that you are talking about. Typically, I can structure my day to avoid that kind of thing. But there are definitely times that we have really full days and it’s harder to get dinner easily!
A couple of things that help- prepping food ahead of time (I always have cooked chicken and cooked ground beef in the freezer which makes something like soup really fast as it can thaw as the soup heats) and doubling recipes so that I can cook one day and then have enough extra to use it for another meal later in the week.
When my kids were younger I also often did freezer meals that were helpful on busy days. (I also had more freezer space then, which helped. At the moment I don’t have enough space to really do many freezer meals.)
And yes, I do sometimes resort to convenience foods. I always try to have chicken nuggets, breaded fish (I usually pair these with baked potatoes- use the Instant Pot or microwave for quick cooking) or a couple of pizzas in the freezer to use on busier days or on those rare occasions when something comes up last minute that throws my dinner plans off.
I hope that helps!
No problem! You have 4 kids AND homeschool AND work from home. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question! 😀 Your answers did help! Thank you and have a nice day!
Ha, well, I’m truly not super woman. 😉 I have a husband that works as a team with me on housework and making some meals. And my kids use a video program for their homeschool, so while there are still things that I need to do for that, it’s not like I’m sitting down with them for hours a day to teach them. This site is my business and while it takes a shocking amount of time to actually run and is our family’s source of income while my husband is getting his PhD, it is my own business which means I can adjust my schedule as needed in a way that not everyone can.
So truly, I don’t think I’m doing more or juggling more than the vast majority of women. And there are days where I feel like I’m not keeping up very well with everything and dropping the ball so to speak…like the majority of women too, I suppose. I just felt like I should state all that as I feel like it can sound way more impressive than it really is.
Anyway, glad what I shared about meals was helpful! It’s one of those things that I found can be tricky and can take a bit of time to figure out what works well.
When you list meat and cheese sandwiches, is this usually from the deli, or do you cook and slice meat yourself? I’m just curious and always looking for ways to save on sandwich meat.
Great question, Adrienne! It’s typically deli meat. Cooking and slicing your own would definitely be cheaper but I just don’t feel like I have the time for that in this season of life and I also don’t have a meat slicer currently. I can fairly frequently find lunch meat that is marked down because it’s close to it’s sell-by date and when I do, I like to stock up and then freeze it until we are ready to use it.