Family Dinner: Quick, Easy, Cheap and Yummy!
This was a busy week for my family. Field trips, after school activities, doctor and dentist appointments…you get the idea. Busy. Luckily I have some quick, easy, and cheap meals to share with you! Family dinner in a rush can still be yummy. These are kid pleasers and you’ll love having them in your arsenal.
I told you…simple. Even if you have nothing more than tortillas and cheese, you can do this. Put the tortilla in a warmed pan, put cheese on it and fold it when the cheese starts melting. If you have more ingredients like black beans, left over chicken, avocado, tomatoes, corn…all the better! Any kind of left over meat is delicious in a quesadilla. For more ideas check out Mexico In My Kitchen…the author Mely has created some authentic (and delicious) recipes you’ll love. Remember that your family can customize these…without making you feel like you’re working at a restaurant.
Tator Tot Casserole
I stole this goodie from my own mother. It’s very hearty and perfect during the colder days. Cook tator tots (or hash browns) and cook then in the oven according to the directions on the bag. This typically takes about 20 minutes. Then transfer them into a casserole dish, cover them with chili and top it with cheese. Again, you can customize this, but those are the bare essentials. Once you pop it back into the oven and the cheese melts, you’re good to go!
Taco Mac n’ Cheese
I feel guilty even calling this a recipe. Make macaroni and cheese per the directions (my kids love the Kraft blue box but the hubby loves Velveeta). At the same time, brown some hamburger and add taco seasoning. If you have all the spices that’s great, but a taco seasoning packet works amazing too. Super easy. Combine the finished mac n cheese with the taco meat and as Emeril Lagasse would say, “BAM!”. You can add regular taco toppings like tomato, olives, onions, and lettuce, but my family likes it simple.
For years I thought that homemade soup was a mythical thing that only my great-grandmother must have known to do. Now I’m going to show you how easy this meal is! If you are the Mama who really needs a recipe, check out Molly’s Soup Blog. She has a recipe for Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana that’s amazing. If you’re a bit more comfortable: have some fun and get creative! Use beef or chicken broth as a base…water can work too but the broth adds a lot more flavor. Add whatever you have in your fridge…seriously. Leftover meats? Shred or dice it up and toss it in. Potatoes? Yes. Carrots? Peas? Absolutely. Let it all simmer for as long as you want to…realize that some veggies like carrots do take longer to soften. Spices can add a lot of variety and flavor. Once you’re about 20-30 minutes from dinner toss in some pasta or rice to bulk it up if you’d like…and enjoy it.
I make brinner almost every week. There is too many options to even list them out for you guys, but I’ll give you a few examples. Pancakes, eggs, sausage, omelettes…even oatmeal. I tend to do hot meals at dinner, but you could even do cold cereal and milk. Breakfast food is so cheap and easy that making it in the evening is a great choice. I can’t stand going to breakfast style restaurants anymore. They aren’t super expensive, but I can’t help but think “I could make an entire family dinner for the cost of one meal“.
Sometimes your menu planning won’t work. With these recipes you’ll look and feel like a super hero on these busy week nights. Saving money and still eating yummy food your family will be excited about? You’re welcome friend.
[…] I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Menu planning saves a lot of money and it’s not hard to do! Even 15 minutes a week could save you $50 or more every month. I’ve published a few menu plans here and here if you need inspiration. Just remember that it doesn’t need to be fancy. Do what works best for you. […]
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