I am often asked about our food budget, and how much we spend to feed a family of six.
The last time I wrote about our food budget was back in 2012. Back then I was able to stretch our budget a long way, but in the last year or two our food budget has been forced to grow a little. This is mostly because our children have grown, and their appetites have grown with them, but also because food prices in general have risen.
We still use all the methods described in that original post – I still do a big monthly shop, we still work with the cash system, and we still try to keep our food budget under control. Most months we spend between $600 and $650 on food and groceries. It depends on the month and how insanely busy we are, and also what’s growing in the garden, some months when I am particularly on top of things I can keep it below $600, other months I splurge!
One of the things that keeps us on track is a good list of budget friendly family dinner ideas.
Our family dinners are usually vegetarian, or have less meat than recipes recommend. I stretch many meals by adding extra veggies or pulses (red lentils can go in just about anything!). I rotate meals according to the seasons so I can get cheaper veggies, and so we can grow our own. And I cook meals from scratch when I can.
I am far from being a fancy cook, so our dinner menu is full of simple, easy to prepare meals, that everyone will eat.
Here’s 20 of my favourite budget friendly family dinners from my blog and some of my favourite family bloggers:
- Spinach Pasta Bake
This quick and easy pasta bake is sure to be a hit with the family.
- Mexi Rice.
Mexi-rice is a great side dish, or add some optional extras and make it a main meal.
- Zucchini Bake
If you grow zucchinis in your garden this is a great recipe to use your harvest!
- Felafel Style Veggie Burgers.
These falafel style veggie burgers freeze well and are a great vegetarian option for BBQing.
- Crust-less Quiche Four Ways
There are four ideas for using this easy quiche recipe, but you can add whatever you like!
- Spinach and Potato Slice.
Get some tips for growing your own leafy greens to use in this delicious recipe.
- Lentil-ese – Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese.
This lentil-based pasta sauce freezes well and you won’t even notice it doesn’t have any meat in it.
- Pizza Pockets
This easy calzone or ‘pizza pocket’ recipe can be filled with whatever pizza toppings you like, they also freeze well, so make a double batch!
- Chicken on Sticks
This is a great kid-friendly meal that is perfect for the freezer.
- Chicken Meatballs from Childhood 101
Everyone will love this delicious meatball recipe.
- Chicken Burritos from Childhood 101
Kids will love choosing the fillings for their burritos.
- Chicken Fried Rice
This easy fried rice recipe is a delicious way to use up leftover chicken.
- Chicken Noodle Soup
You can simmer this soup on the stove for hours, or you can have the whole think ready in 30 minutes!
Beef or Lamb Meals
- Freezer Friendly Meatballs
This is a freezer friendly version of old fashioned ‘porcupine’ meatballs.
- Kid-made Chilli
You can also make a vegetarian version of this easy chilli recipe and it freezes really well.
- Beef and Spinach Burgers
Make a big batch of these burgers and pop them in the freezer so you’ll always have some handy.
- Meat and Veggie Pasties
These flaky pastry parcels are delicious for lunch or dinner.
- Beef and Veggie Pot Pies
Pizza Pasta Bake (can also be vegetarian)
Easy Tuna Pasta from Childhood 101.
Cheese Burger Pasta Bake from The Organised Housewife (we use less meat and add veggies)
Sausage and Rice Bake from Childhood 101
Tuna and Rice from Planning With Kids
Kid-friendly Fried Rice from Planning With Kids
Mexi Bake from Planning With Kids (can also be vegetarian)
What are your best budget friendly family dinners?
Share some links or meal ideas in the comments so we can give them a try!