With grocery costs rising, we’re all looking for cheap recipes to feed our families and stretch our budgets! This menu plan is full of easy, budget-friendly meals that will help inspire you with fresh ideas for feeding your own family.
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When people find out that we rarely go out to eat and that we generally eat from-scratch meals at home daily, they often wonder how I manage it.
Trust me. I’m no superwoman!
Two of the things that help are the fact that I have a great husband that shares household tasks and doesn’t just leave it all to me. And the fact that I am a big fan of quick and easy recipes!
Most of the recipes in this meal plan are ready in around 30 minutes and they all take no more than about 10-20 minutes of hands-on time. Perfect for busy schedules!
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 13 1/2-year-old boy, a 10 1/2 year-old girl, an 8-year-old girl and a 5 1/2-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 eat simple, filling breakfasts.
Typically we have either Homemade Granola or Baked Oatmeal, and occasionally some storebought 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 latte, homemade frappe or some other fun beverage like Warm Vanilla Custard every afternoon.
- 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.
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 Dressing; Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars
– I increase the rhubarb to 2 cups in the cheesecake bars.
- Toasted Tuna Salad Sandwiches; Homemade Popcorn; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus and Carrots; Flavored Organic Yogurt; Bananas; AppleGrees
- Oven Ready Lasagna; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch Dressing; Leftover Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars
- Homemade Egg Salad Sandwiches (my recipe is similar to this); Greek Yogurt with Honey; Apples; Grapes
- Store-Bought Rotisserie Chicken; Homemade Oven Fries; Roasted Parmesan Sweet Potatoes; Green Beans; Chocolate Pudding Cake with milk (this recipe is similar to the one I use)
- Homemade Egg Salad Sandwiches (my recipe is similar to this); Hummus and Carrots; Flavored Organic Yogurt; Grapes; Canned Peaches
- Instant Pot Creamy Ziti; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Blonde Brownies
- Super Easy Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Fresh Pineapple; Bananas
- One Pot Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Rice; Peas (for the kids); Roasted Broccoli (for my husband and me); Leftover Blonde Brownies
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus and Carrots; Flavored Organic Yogurt; Fresh Pineapple; Apples
- Easy Ground Beef and Potato Skillet; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Rhubarb Custard Bars
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Apples; Frozen Cherries
- Various Leftovers; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Rhubarb Custard Bars
- Fried Eggs; Sausage; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Triple Chocolate Chip Crinkle Cookies (from the freezer)
- Ham and Cheese Sliders; Homemade Popcorn; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothies
– We loosely followed this recipe for sliders. We used sourdough bread instead and turned this into more of a grilled cheese sandwich. We also reduced the ham and cheese in these sliders to around 1/2 lb. or maybe a bit less.
- Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadillas (used my homemade refried beans); Flavored Organic Yogurt; Clementines; Bananas
- Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala; Rice; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Easy Chocolate Crazy Cake with 5 Minute Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
– I subbed whole milk for the heavy whipping cream in the Tikka Masala to make it more budget-friendly. It was still very tasty!
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus and Carrots; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Clementines; Grapes
- Easy Vegetable Beef Soup; Garlic Butter Swim Biscuits; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus and Carrots; Flavored Organic Yogurt; Canned Peaches; Apples
- Bisquick Chicken Alfredo Casserole; Green Beans; Rhubarb Pudding Cake with milk
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Flavored Organic Yogurt; Oranges; Bananas
- Burgers; Store-bought Fries; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Store-bought Ice Cream Bars
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Apples; Grapes
- Various Leftovers; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Rhubarb Pudding Cake
- 5 Minute Refried Bean Dip served with Tortilla Chips; Flavored Organic Yogurt; Grapes; Oranges
- Sour Cream Chicken Skillet Enchiladas; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting (from the freezer)
Do you still use coupons and use grocery rebate apps?
I do not use them much at all anymore due to where we currently live. However, I still think they are a great way to save!
Seeing a menu like this I get very overwhelmed by thinking about what the grocery store visit would look like and just how much I would have to buy. So I ask, what is your grocery list for these two weeks? Do you go weekly or biweekly and then pick up a couple things to supplement in the middle of the week?
Hey, Michelle! So the way I shop is probably a bit different than many people. I have a list of things that I try to always keep on hand (most of which are on this Pantry Staples list). With these items, I can make most of the recipes that we enjoy, since they are basic pantry/fridge staples and I don’t use a lot of unusual ingredients. My system is that when I open/use an item on this list, I immediately add it to my grocery list, that way I always have it on hand.
I grocery shop once a week and my system for that is to look at the grocery list that I already have added things to as mentioned above. I then also take a quick look in my fridge and pantry to see if there are any items that I am low on and need to order (either things that I don’t use as much or just items that I maybe missed adding to my list when I used the last item etc.). I also then think about what recipes I want to make the next week and make sure there are no unusual ingredients that I don’t typically keep on hand and should order.
I don’t know if this makes sense or not…but that’s the best that I know how to explain it.