Affordable Healthy Meals That Stretch for Big Families
When we decided to get our grocery spending under control, I quickly realized that coming up with some really delicious meals we wanted to eat would be the key to sticking to a meal plan.
Believe me, I've been that mom who creates a meal plan for the sake of saving money and then decides I don't want to eat any of it and the whole thing is a waste.
The secret to successful meal planning is to a) do it, and b) put tasty meals on there!
If the food doesn't sound good, your family will never want to stick to it and saving money on groceries will seem like a terrible hassle.
Let's get smart ladies and make this a positive thing!
In this post I want to share three of our favorite simple, delicious, healthy go to meals that we eat pretty regularly in the fall and winter.
Red Pepper Sausage Soup- $1.82 per meal
Want to stay a little slimmer over the holidays this year? This soup is both filling and low calorie, and it tastes great. Even my picky two-year-old loves it, and it is so easy to make. If you've got an instant pot, this recipe gets even easier!
I like to make large batches of this soup so that I can freeze half and keep the other half in the fridge. We will happily warm up this soup for several lunches and dinners over the week, which frees up so much of my time for other things.
I've also found that freezing soup in gallon Ziploc bags is such a relief for those nights when I feel unprepared for dinner and I'm not sure what to make. Having some healthy, easy options to warm up saves us from getting takeout or rushing to the grocery store for a last-minute meal.
- Three boxes chicken broth (or make your own)
- One package sausage (any flavor you like will be pretty good!)
- Two red peppers
- Three tablespoons olive oil
- Two teaspoons chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- Shredded white cheddar for topping
- One avocado for topping
Step 1. Cut your cooked sausage into thin discs. If you purchased raw sausage, you'll need to cook it on the stove top before you cut it. I like to use a pair of sharp scissors to quickly snip through the pieces.
Step 2. Chop the red peppers into half inch squares.
Step 3. Place all of the ingredients except for the cheese and avocado in a pot. If you are using an instant pot, don't add the red pepper just yet! The instant pot will severely overcook it and make it mushy. Cook the soup on medium heat on the stove top for 20 minutes. Or, cook via instant pot for 15 minutes.
Step 4. You'll know your stove pot soup is ready when the peppers have softened but aren't mushy. If you've cooked your soup via instant pot, let it depressurize and then add the chopped peppers to the soup. Let it rest for another 20 minutes to cook the peppers down.
Step 5. Taste test the soup and add any additional spices, salt, or oil you think it needs.
Step 6. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a bit of shredded cheese and diced avocado.
Easy Delicious Freezer Burritos - $1.43 each
Did I mention that I'm all about freezer meals these days? No, I'm not pregnant. (LOL)
But after spending the last few years cooking three times a day and sometimes four when my son needs a snack, I need a break. I don't know about you, but I get tired of cooking from scratch all the time.
And since my husband takes lunch to work with him and the kiddo and I often need a fast lunch after he gets home from preschool, the freezer burrito was born!
Each of these burritos comes in at about 300 calories, which is perfect for keeping my waistline in check over the winter!
They are also super easy to reheat in about a minute and a half. What can I say? I love them.
- 2 lb ground beef
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- One and a half cups cooked black beans
- 24 organic flour tortillas
- Two packets taco seasoning, or simply add chili powder, cumin, salt, and chili flakes.
The best way to whip up these burritos super fast is to have two people in the kitchen. One person adding the filling, and one person folding and wrapping the burritos in plastic wrap.
If you plan on making a lot of these freezer burritos to save money this winter, I highly recommend buying the ingredients in bulk. I shop at Costco for these types of things, and it brings the price per burrito down even further!
Step one. Cook the ground beef thoroughly and add your seasonings of choice. Clean off your counters and set out a cutting board for filling the burritos.
Step two. Shred the cheese and put it into a bowl. Then rinse and drain your black beans and place them into a second bowl.
Step three. Open the sour cream and keep it handy on the counter with a clean spoon for adding to the burritos.
Step four. Lay out a flour tortilla and add two spoonfuls of ground beef, two spoonfuls of black beans, two teaspoons of sour cream, and a bit of shredded cheese on top of the tortilla.
Step five. Fold the tortillas and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap to be stored in the freezer.
This recipe makes around 20 to 24 burritos depending on how full you stuff them!
Here's how to warm them up when you're ready.
First, remove the plastic wrap from the frozen burrito. Wrap the burrito in a paper towel, and place it in the microwave for 1 minute. Flip the burrito over and microwave for another 30 seconds.
Take the burrito out of the microwave and check the center for doneness. If you have a powerful microwave, you may not need to cook it for as long. Be careful not to burn yourself! These little suckers can get pretty hot in the middle.
Definitely cut them in half to cool any hot spots inside before you bite into one! (I learned this the hard way).
Green Bean Chicken Casserole - $2 Per Serving
This recipe was a happy accident. It was one of those I have three ingredients and need dinner on the table in 30 minutes sort of situations, and it created something beautiful.
I've been doing keto on and off for a while now, and this is certainly one of my favorite keto recipes. It is filling, delicious, and even the toddler likes it. On top of that, it's super affordable to make and stores well in the fridge. What more could I ask for?
I like to shop for these ingredients at Costco, because all of them come in bulk and make this meal even cheaper. I typically buy the two packs of organic whole chickens, extra large 5 lb bags of organic green beans, and those giant blocks of cream cheese which I then cut into single portions and freeze.
Here's what you need to make the casserole.
- One bag frozen or fresh green beans
- 1 lb cooked chicken
- One package cream cheese
- A pinch of sea salt
Step 1. Start by cooking your chicken. If you bought a whole chicken, you can either bake it or throw it in the instant pot. I find that the instant pot is much faster and works well for chicken that will be added to other dishes.
Step 2. Add the green beans and cream cheese to a pot and cook over medium heat until the green beans are soft but not mushy, and the cream cheese is fully melted.
Step 3. Add a sprinkle of salt and the cooked chicken to the dish and mix it in well.
Healthy, cheap, and delicious meals are so doable for your family… You just need to go into it with a plan! Thankfully all of these meals freeze really well, so you can make several weeks worth in one day.
I hope you love these recipes. And if you don’t, they were my husband’s idea. 😉
How Women Are Reaching Financial Freedom Faster Than Ever
Have you dreamed of becoming financially free... this year? This 7 day free guided challenge is your one stop shop for completely making over your money in a fun, exciting way. Join hundreds of other women now by signing up for the Makeover Your Money challenge!