Meals for 4-6 for under $10 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 03-30-2014, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I often have several unannounced visitors for dinner, DS friends come over, and while I love it I do need recipes that can feed 4-6 people on a budget.

 

Last night for instance we had chili, tonight tacos, so I have those down pretty well. Any other suggestions? I would love to hear from you.


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#2 of 18 Old 03-30-2014, 11:01 PM
 
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Hmmm, well I bulk buy so I don't really know how much each meal costs. I usually scale my meals to feed 6-8, though there's only 3 of us. That way we have leftovers for another dinner or several lunches. We rely mostly on legumes, eggs, whole chickens or cheap cuts of red meat for protein sources. I tend to build a meal based on the protein, though in summer I tend to start with whatever is ready in the garden.
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#3 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 09:38 AM
 
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#4 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 09:54 AM
 
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We are a family of seve. I like to stretch chickens by roasting a couple of them one night, then use the bones to make two batches of broth another time. I can make a large pot of rustic cabbage soup very inexpensively with the broth, beans, and vegetables.

http://www.littlefarminthebigcity.com/2012/03/rustic-cabbage-soup.html
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#5 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 11:13 AM
 
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Soup! Potato based ones are super cheap, usually. We like potato-leek with some bacon sprinkled on top, roasted beet with a bit of plain yogurt stirred in, pumpkin or squash with a bit of yogurt and/or toasted nuts on top, spinach with orzo and a few beaten eggs stirred in at the end.... the possibilities are endless! Bread in the US is ridiculously expensive, but it's not hard to make. I always have bread to fill those "soup is not a meal" bellies, and try to make sure there's a bit of protein in there somewhere (the toasted nuts, eggs, etc...). 

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#6 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 11:50 AM
 
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Egg frittata....8 eggs, chopped mushrooms, caramelized onions, diced yellow pepper, chopped spinach, diced chicken breakfast sausage. Add in salt, pepper and cheddar cheese before baking at 350 for 20m

 

Butternut Squash soup----big butternut squash diced, 1 onion diced, 2tsp garlic and 2 large diced carrots tossed in olive oil and roasted at 400 for 20mins. Toss in blender with 4C chicken broth. Add in salt, pepper, ginger powder, all spice and cinnamon to taste.

 

Serve either with a dinner roll or piece of toast

 

Eggs are cheap from your own hens or a neighbors :) 


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#7 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 11:57 AM
 
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Subbing...I'm sick of grilled cheese as my go to cheap fill in supper. The butternut squash soup sounds good!

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#8 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 12:05 PM
 
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There are almost unlimited options with eggs. Scrambled, omlets, sunny side up, poached, hard boiled, egg salad, egg drop soup, egg biscuits, etc...
Grilled cheese and soup
Cheese quesadillas
brats in a blanket
wraps with a cheap side (rice, tatter tots, baked potatoes)
Chicken salad, you can get creative with this, onions, celery, walnuts, grapes...
french toast
Meatloaf
Pasta with meat sauce and garlic bread

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#9 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 07:40 PM
 
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I second the notion of soup! all winter we've had a guest every wednesday and every week I have made a different soup. Cream of broccoli, zucchini/potato, corn chowder, tortellini, cream of spinach...mmmmm good.

 

Tomorrow it is a basic vegetable soup with rosemary cheese bread on the side. 


 
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#10 of 18 Old 04-02-2014, 06:03 AM
 
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Mostly, I'd avoid red meat lamb and pork-- which is sad because they are so yummy but even the cheap cuts tend to be pricey if you buy grass fed and organic. We only have them once or twice a week at most because its so expensive :(

 

Same idea as raisingknights with a recipe:  Colombian style arroz con pollo.   So you roast chicken(s) and eat some of it/them-- this depends on the size of your family.  Roast potatoes and root veggies with them. (You don't serve this to your guests, but to your family because you can't really  ask guests not to polish off the  the carcass even though its so  yummy :)

 

Then you scrape of the remaining meat mix with rice, peas, chopped carrots, corn,  green beans (all really cheap fresh or frozen) add a bit of oregano and thyme and some tomato puree or paste and water season to taste and you have another meal.  

 

Use the bones, feet especially, and innards to make broth look at recipes for bone broth -- there are lots.  Modify them by adding the innards. If you are Colombian you add some chopped carrot and peas and eat this broth with the liver heart etc.  If that is not your style take out the bones  and add a squash, sweet potatoes, peas, or spinach, boil in broth and puree and add cream. (can't taste or feel the heart etc. but you get all the benefits of organ meats)  We serve this with rice but you could thicken it up before adding cream and serve it as a sauce over pasta especially if you add some veggies or sausage

 

So with one smallish free range chicken at about $14, I get three large meals for a family of four with big appetites. the rice and chicken dish feeds six easily.  If free range is not important to you the price would drop by half.  Again, if you don't do grass fed organic then you might be able to make  beef goulash with dumplings I love this recipe: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/beef_goulash_with_dumplings/

 

 

 

ALTERNATELY

Think vegetarian,

-homemade hummus and baba ganoush are dirt cheap

-as is ratatouille,  a jar of strained tomatoes, chop up fresh summer veggies (eggplant, summer squash, bell peppers, carrots) and a bit of lemon juice and a small dollop of honey, be generous with olive oil, serve over toasted bread.  

-pea soup with dumplings made out of either wheat flour or raw green plantains (you just grate it, add salt and pepper form into balls and, voila, green plaintain dumplings.)

-garbanzo soup with chopped up pumpkin or squash, lots of rosemary, kale and tomato paste serve with rice or add macaroni at the end of the soup.

-bean salads 

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#11 of 18 Old 04-02-2014, 09:58 AM
 
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Don't discredit the humble beans. I make two meals with beans using the same method: I cook up a bag of dried beans in the pressure cooker. While it's cooking, I slowly sautée a bunch of onion and garlic in lots of olive oil. When the beans are cooked, I scoop some out and mash them up with the onions, then add the whole mess back in the bean pot with a bay leaf. Let it simmer a half hour more and it's ready to go. I go this with black beans and serve over rice, usually with cole slaw. I also do it with small red beans and add pasta and Parmesan rind to make a soup.
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#12 of 18 Old 04-02-2014, 10:44 AM
 
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That sounds really good! I'd probably sprinkle some shredded cheese on top. I wish more ppl in my house would eat beans. Its just me, DD, and DS3... I guess we could eat that and feed everyone else something else, but that's a pain. Oh well enough about me, carry on!

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#13 of 18 Old 04-02-2014, 11:09 AM
 
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We have baked beans as a pretty thrifty meal- 2 lb. of dry beans makes a lot! I use 1/2 lb. bacon in mine, but they can be done without and you can tweak the flavours to suit your gang.

 

Another easy thrifty meal I rely on is crustless quiche made in a 9"x13" pan. There are lots of recipes out there, but the one I use is from the book "French Kids Eat Everything" by Karen Lebillion. It doesn't call for a lot of special ingredients.

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#14 of 18 Old 04-02-2014, 12:44 PM
 
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Breakfast for dinner is amusing to a lot of kids.

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#15 of 18 Old 04-02-2014, 03:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3LilChunklins View Post

That sounds really good! I'd probably sprinkle some shredded cheese on top. I wish more ppl in my house would eat beans. Its just me, DD, and DS3... I guess we could eat that and feed everyone else something else, but that's a pain. Oh well enough about me, carry on!

These beans might change their minds. I soak them in salted water to soften the skins. They get so nice and creamy.
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#16 of 18 Old 04-02-2014, 08:28 PM
 
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Our favorite vegetarian dish around here is black bean and rice burritos. Can of black beans, rice, jar of salsa. Heat to simmer and add 1cup cheddar cheese, stir until melted. Garnish with extra cheese, sour cream, veggies, etc.
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#17 of 18 Old 04-03-2014, 12:40 PM
 
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Gee, I think 95% of the recipes on my site meet that criterion.  One I especially want to bring to your attention is Honey Baked Lentils.  Bake alongside sweet potatoes or winter squash, and/or serve with a salad.

 

If I have to feed a big group on short notice, pasta with tomato sauce is my best bet, because I buy 5-pound bags of whole-wheat pasta at GFS Marketplace and buy jars of sauce whenever they go on sale, so I always have some in the pantry even if I don't have a current batch of homemade sauce on hand.  If we don't have salad stuff, frozen broccoli is a staple in my home and a good side dish with spaghetti.


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#18 of 18 Old 04-03-2014, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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These are great ideas! Thanks and keep 'em coming!


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