Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Frugal Family Meals

Hi I am Heather. This is my first time blogging. I decided to start this blog to see how it would be to blog and to give other families ideas for frugal meals and feeding a family in general. We are a family of five, but often (4-5 days a week) have my mother in law and sister in law for dinner. I stay at home (homeschool) with the three kids ranging from 6years - 8 months. In today's economy making good meals on a budget has become a real challenge.

Generally, I have been spending around $300-$350 on food a month. The last 2 months seem to be going to around $400-$500. This includes toiletries such as feminine products, diapers, wipes, deodorant... It includes everything we need for that month. I do this by making a list throughout the month of toiletries that we will need. Then I make a menu for a month on the calendar of meals that we will eat. From that menu I make a shopping list. Although I do not have a menu for breakfast and lunch they are included on the list.

This can take a little time. For me it has gotten easier since I have done it for awhile. For instance, I know that we need 2 big bags of cereal and we have pop tarts (special kid weekend treat) for weekends. I know that we always need to stock canned vegetables because we come close to finishing them off every month. I know to always keep peanut butter and jelly and frozen lunchmeat for lunches. We also have hummus for lunches which we buy garbanzo beans and make our own. This save a few dollars. One can is like a dollar compared to a small $3-$4 container of premade hummus. It is very easy to make (see recipe below).


One can garbanzo beans
lemmon pepper seasoning

Take one can of garbanzo beans and blend it in the blender. We put it on puree but if you like texture you can select a different setting. I put the seasonings in kids little medicine cups (save them from Ibuprofen or tylenol...) so that the kids can pour in the ingredients. I probably put about a teaspoon of lemmon pepper, pepper, and garlic. Then I blend the mixture again. If it seems dry I add a little water. Then you are ready to eat. With the seasoning it is really your own preference. We have made it spicier with cayenne or you can add mustard really just whatever you like.

Some other tips would be to buy a small freezer if you have space for one. You might find one on craigslist or in the Iwanna. Then you always have room to store extra meat, bread, cookie dough... We also have 2 shelves one with mainly toiletries and coffee/juice and one with canned goods, chips, rice... It is always great to have extra space to organize food. It is alot to keep up with but if you can do it you can save money. Before I leave you for today I am going to share what we are having tonight with you. It is one of my favorites. I cook this Chicken/tomato soup in a crockpot but a big pot will do if you do not have one. If you cook it in a pot be sure to keep an eye on it.

Chicken Tomato Soup

three - four chicken breasts or precooked cubed chicken
one big can of stewed tomatoes
baby carrots or one-two cans of carrots
can of corn
chicken bullion cubes or can of chicken bullion
garlic powder
italian seasoning
3 cans pinto beans
one can of peas
green pepper

First begin boiling the chicken in a pot for about 20-30 minutes until all meat looks white. While chicken cooks pour the big can of stewed tomatoes into the blender (if you like chunks you can just get diced tomatoes and stir in spices). Heat two bullion cubes in a cup of water in the microwave. After heating the bullion pour it into the blender. Then put in 1 tsp garlic powder, 1tsp italian seasoning, 1tsp pepper, 1tsp basil (or add basil leaves) and then blend in the blender. Once it is blended pour it into the crockpot. Drain the cans of pinto beans, rinse and add them to the pot. Then add the peas undrained. If you have a bag of small carrots you can cut them up or just add them whole (about 3 cups) to the pot. If you have canned carrots just dump them in the pot undrained. Cut up one green peeper in small pieces and add to the pot. Then cut up the cooked chicken into small pieces and put it in the pot. I put mine in the crockpot so after I finish the last step it is kind of on auto pilot (just stir from time to time or add more spice if you desire). Usually I start this meal at lunch and let it go until dinner. If you are cooking it on the stove bring to a boil and then simmer until you are ready to eat. We like ours served over rice.

I hope some of these tips have been helpful. Have a wonderful day.


  1. I have been looking for a hummus recipe! I will give this one a try. Thanks!

  2. I hope you like it momma24. We do. even the kids eat it.

  3. I will try that soup- sounds good. I have a cheap spaghetti one that you can post and a black bean burrito with hidden veges.