When you have an entire family to feed, your grocery bill can add up pretty quickly. But, just because you may not have a big budget for your weekly food shopping, that doesn’t mean you can’t think big when it comes to the recipes you prepare. As a matter of fact, we here at Mashed have a bunch of family-friendly meals to suggest that are simply delicious, exciting, and won’t make your wallet absolutely cringe. And, the best part is, these dishes are all super easy to make.
From a warm tray of cheesy baked ziti fresh out of the oven, to one-pot ground beef stroganoff, to slow cooker mac and cheese, there’s no doubt about it — your family will be raving for days about these tasty, budget-friendly recipes we’ve rounded up just for you. So, take a browse, gather the necessary ingredients for the recipes of your choosing, and then get to cooking!
Baked ziti is an all-time favorite meal you can have on the table in 50 minutes
Baked ziti can be prepared and ready to serve up to the family in 50 minutes, and is always an all-time favorite. All you’ll need to make this scrumptiously cheesy dish is ziti pasta, marinara sauce, ricotta, an egg, Parmesan cheese, parsley, shredded mozzarella, sea salt, and black pepper. Even if you want to make a fresh pot of your own tomato sauce, that wouldn’t break the bank. You can add on a tossed green salad with sliced peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and even garlic bread as a complimentary side. These are all easy items that can stretch a meal to make sure everyone has more than enough to eat for dinner.
This tray can be prepared for a very reasonable cost and serves eight people. One tray will provide leftovers, too, so it really goes a long way. It’s convenient to warm up and enjoy the next day as lunch or a quick and easy leftovers dinner.
This slow cooker mac and cheese is a pot of creamy, cheesy deliciousness
Let’s be honest: mac and cheese is a family favorite any night of the week. It is a plate of creamy, cheesy goodness, after all! Who can resist?
The fact that many of the ingredients in this recipe are items you most likely already have in your kitchen is even better. Not only will it be convenient, but that makes this a very affordable meal to prepare and serve to the family. In fact, you can usually throw it together pretty last-minute, which is an added bonus!
The ingredients needed to make this slow cooker mac and cheese include pasta, whole milk, evaporated milk, cooking spray, unsalted butter, garlic powder, ground paprika, ground mustard, shredded mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, salt, and black pepper. Consider adding a spinach salad on the side for this meal, perhaps prepared with shredded carrots and red onion for extra-fresh flavor. It’s a great way to add some healthy vegetables to your pasta dinner and adds nice color to your dinner spread in general. This will definitely be a happy meal, so don’t hesitate to plan on making it.
One-pot beef stroganoff will certainly please your dinner crowd
If you want to make something a bit meaty for the family, you will love preparing our one-pot beef stroganoff. It’s easy to make and definitely won’t hurt your wallet when you hit the grocery store. Besides, you will only dirty one pot, so you will be saving yourself time in the kitchen when cleaning up. The fewer dishes you have to do, the better!
To make this stroganoff, you will have to pull together egg noodles, ground beef, mushrooms, garlic, yellow onion, olive oil, beef broth, sour cream, Italian parsley, salt, and pepper. The most expensive part you need for this recipe is the ground beef, but you only need one pound of it. If you buy a larger package to take advantage of a better price, you can freeze some of your ground beef for another stroganoff dinner night in the future! This is a very filling meal and will certainly please your crowd while making your bank account happy, too.
This one-pot whole carbonara will be ready in just 20 minutes
Our recipe for one-pot whole wheat pasta carbonara is here to win over the whole family. It even looks super fancy when plated, but actually doesn’t take much time or fuss to put together. The prep time is just 10 minutes, and the cook time is only 10 minutes as well. This dinner will be ready to serve up in 20 minutes but will look like you spent hours in the kitchen perfecting your craft. Of course, there’s no need to tell anyone that if they’re really impressed with the final dish.
Our recipe serves four, but can easily be doubled and still won’t break your budget. You’ll need pancetta, a medium shallot, chicken broth, ground black pepper, salt, whole wheat spaghetti, 4 large eggs, and grated Parmesan cheese for the sauce and for serving. This dish is really yummy, and everyone will agree.
Pulled chicken sandwiches are ideal comfort food
What makes a cozy, simpler meal for a family night than pulled chicken sandwiches? They’re easy to make, and the ideal comfort food for a night spent in the home together. Our recipe serves eight people but can potentially go a long way, especially with the right accompaniments. Whether you serve them up with a side of potato salad, coleslaw, or just a tossed green salad and chips, these pulled chicken sandwiches are sure to make everyone very happy at dinner.
All you need to prepare this dish is boneless chicken breasts and lots of miscellaneous seasonings spices and such, like Worcester sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Be sure to shop for some really yummy rolls for this dinner — like challah or brioche, perhaps — and splurge on paper plates to give yourself an easy night.
The prep time is really quick for this dish and your slow cooker will do most of the actual work. While your pulled chicken masterpiece is cooking you can prepare the additional sides, or just have a bit of downtime if you decide to serve with some prepared, like chips.
This one-pot chicken and rice is seamless from grocery store to table
One-pot meals are the actual best. Are we right or are we right? This one-pot chicken and rice recipe is just such a dish that is super easy to make and is sure to become an instant family favorite. The ingredients are also pretty inexpensive and include chicken thighs, white jasmine rice, yellow onion, olive oil, celery, carrots, minced garlic, chicken broth, unsalted butter, Parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley.
You probably have many of these items in your pantry and fridge already. Even better, this meal is comforting, savory, and packs in plenty of color and nutrition. What’s not to like? This is sure to become one of those family favorite recipes you’ll come back to again and again. When you want to make something quick and tasty but need to save at the bank, this one-pot chicken and rice will be there to save the day.
Sheet pan nachos are a fun way to switch things up for dinner
If you’re looking for a casual dinner idea that’s lots of fun, then this recipe for sheet pan nachos with a side of green salad is just the right thing for your next dinner menu! Nachos may not be traditionally respected as a meal, but why not? With plenty of fixings, they can easily be a filling meal that’s cheap to make, too.
All you will need to whip this up is lean ground beef, tortilla chips, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, red and yellow peppers, a red onion, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, a medium jalapeño, diced tomatoes, sliced black and green olives, chopped cilantro, kosher salt, and ground pepper. You will definitely be making it again. Trust us on this one — nacho night will be a huge hit with the entire family, especially with this recipe! Plus, you will be serving protein and dairy, boosting some important nutrients. A side salad packed with healthy veggies can easily be added to this menu, too!