If you have many mouths at home to feed, you’ll understand how difficult it can be to cook for a family on a budget. There’s a fine balance between cooking foods that will make your kids say “yum” but don’t add up to a supermarket bill that makes you say “yikes.” When you add the fact that each meal needs to be nutritionally balanced and healthy, the challenge can sometimes be overwhelming. However, don’t give up! Cooking for your family on a budget is possible, and it can even be fun and tasty when you get into the swing of things.
Here are a few ideas for money-saving dishes that everyone young and old will enjoy:
What child doesn’t love eating pizza? The homemade version is a lot healthier, cheaper and more fun than eating it in a restaurant because everyone can be involved. If you have time, you can make the dough from scratch the night before which will save you even more money. If you don’t want to buy a pricey jar of sauce from the store, just find a cheap tin of tomato sauce and jazz it up with salt, oregano, black pepper, and any other spices that you enjoy. Buy some cheap mozzarella cheese, green peppers, olives, mushrooms, pepperoni, and anything else that you and your kids like on your pizzas. Separate the dough into individual pizza sizes, and cook it for a short time in the oven to prevent it from becoming soggy. Now for the fun part, as your little ones get to assemble their own pizzas by hand!
A delicious and hearty casserole should be on your menu for cold winter nights, as these healthy dishes are easy to cook, well loved, and save you money because they allow you to use some of the cheaper and tougher cuts of meat at the supermarket. These tough cuts will soften after being simmered in the oven for several hours, and become juicy and flavourful. Casseroles should be cooked for most of the day, so plan your ingredients in advance and prepare them in the morning. Simply combine your ingredients such as meat, vegetables, beans, and pasta or rice in a casserole dish and place in the oven to cook. By the time dinner rolls around, the house will be filled with a delicious smell and you will have a nutritious and delicious one-dish meal waiting for you!
Soup is very easy to make and a hearty homemade soup from leftover vegetables can feed a family for next to nothing. If you grow your own vegetables, soup is even cheaper! Kids love the comforting warmth of soup, but you might have to remind them not to slurp! There are no rules when it comes to making soup. Start with a hearty stock which can be homemade with leftover meat or created with soup stock cubes. Next, add anything you desire including vegetables, barley, rice, pasta, and spices. Serve it with some nice bread or dinner rolls, and you will have a happy and well fed family!
These are just a few ways that you can treat your family to healthy and hearty meals for much less money. There are many possibilities when it comes to cheap meals, so use these suggestions as a jumping-off point to experimenting with your own ideas and creating your own recipes!
Barry Hardcastle writes about money matters on Devon Money Man, and has worked on behalf of such financial brands clients as business banking specialists Ulster Bank.