By Marilyn Katz
Can You Feed Your Family For Five Bucks?
I was at a party the other night and one lady bragged that she managed to feed dinner to her family of four for less than $20. People have different financial situations, so that may have been economical for her. But I was pretty sure I could challenge myself to come up with some $5 meals that would still satisfy a hungry and picky family.
This would take some smart shopping, a good knowledge of food prices, and a flexible menu. My challenge was to feed a family for a little more than a dollar a person. Since we are all fairly busy, and have to conform to tight schedules, I also needed some ideas that were fairly simple and quick to prepare. Could I do it? Let’s see what I cam up with.
The Old Standby – Pasta!
The toughest part of making pasta for dinner would be to supply a protein for $5. This is where shopping sales is very important. When you visit your grocery store see what type of ground meat is on sale. This could be ground beef, turkey, or even ground chicken. Once it is mixed with sauce, it is pretty hard to tell what type of meat you started with.
Beyond a half pound of ground meat, you can surely supply pasta and store brand sauce while still sticking to your budget. Any extras you have in your fridge or pantry, like seasonings, will liven up the meal. You can also add a fresh salad with in-season produce to make a complete meal.
Let me also mention that making an inexpensive, but hearty and tasty pasta meal works better for budget-minded people if you prepare a couple of meals in advance. You may need to feed four people, but you can make dinner for eight, and then freeze half of it for a few days.
Baked Potato Bar
A bag of potatoes is only a few dollars. Four decent sized spuds should cost less than a dollar. You can surely add butter, chopped onions, cheese, and sour cream without going over your budget. I have even seen baked potato bars served at family events as an inexpensive way to feed a crowd.
Home Made Hearty Soup
We tend to forget that a hearty soup can be a delicious main course. If you have a few pieces of chicken, turkey, or beef left over from another meal you can start a broth. If you don’t have any leftovers, you can purchase a large can of broth for less than a dollar at my grocery store. Simply add in-season produce like carrots, onions, potatoes, and celery. A handful of cooked pasta makes your soup much more filling.
Can You Feed Your Family For Five Dollars?
It is not that easy to stay under $5 for each meal, but you can certainly try it a few times a week. Again, it is a lot easier to do if you actually plan to make larger portions, and then freeze some for later use.
Would You Like Some More Cheap and Healthy Meal Ideas?
We have a popular $5 Shepherd’s Pie recipe you can try. If you want to make breakfast, try our $5 turkey biscuits.
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