270+ Best Cheap Meal Ideas for Large Families




cheap healthy meals

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If you are looking for the ultimate directory for best cheap meal ideas for large families, be sure to check our out below!

Cheap meals at home are the new normal nowadays. If you are in charge of managing your household like I am, then you know how precious time can be. Especially on those nights where you have parent-teacher conferences or you are carting your kids all over town after school for activities.

Pondering is eating out a waste of money and not sure, just meal plan for one month and see your savings for the month instead of out to eat. Planning meal prep in and of itself sometimes can be a challenge. Hunting down the recipes can be time consuming and is half of the battle.

That is why I have put together one of the best reference lists available with over 270 cheap meal ideas most of which can be ready in 30 minutes or less! A lot of these receipes utilize staples found on our basic college grocery list for convenience.

The easiest way to use this directory is to use the table of content icon to find cheap meal ideas by dish.  

I get it though, sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking.  Between travel soccer and running kids all over town, the convenience of eating out wins sometimes.

Want to save some money eating out? 

Be sure to also check out our cheap meal ideas for restaurants where kids eat free (or really cheap!)

Cheap Dinner Ideas for Families

There is no fluff here for you to sift through, just raw access to recipes and cheap meal ideas for your family.

Below you will find a collection of inexpensive meals that will not only help you save money on groceries, but will also make you feel like royalty.

In addition to these cheap meal ideas below, there are also other tools that will help you save money for your family when it comes to meal planning.

Use the best cash back apps for groceries and shopping available to keep your costs down for food.

To save more money on the food for these recipes, look into using Amazon’s Prime Pantry service.

Amazon’s Prime Pantry service is a great deal.

Be sure to check out our guide on “how does Prime Pantry work” if you have questions about the service!

These are cheap meal ideas that any family will love and there is something here for everyone.

Who said you have to sacrifice quality for the best price?!

With these cheap meal ideas, you can have quality and quantity.

Happy cooking!!!

(Be sure to check out our 185+ frugal living tips as well)

Cheap Meal Ideas with Chicken 

cheap meal plans

Creamy Chicken Piccata by Cooking Classy

Southwestern Bean Chicken by The Gracious Pantry

Slow Cooker Chicken Marsala by Dinner at the zoo

Crockpot Sweet Hawaiian BBQ Chicken by The Frugal girls

Grilled Chicken Wraps by My Kitchen Escapades

Crockpot BBQ Ranch Chicken Drumsticks by The Frugal Girls

Chicken Cacciatore Slow Cooker by Freebie Finding Mom

Homemade chicken noodle soup by Simplistically Living

Crock Pot Chicken and Gravy by The Country Cook

Black Pepper Chicken by Rasa Malaysia

Chicken Cordon Bleu Wraps by The Best Blog Recipes

One-Pan Chicken Burrito Bowl by No. 2 Pencil

Easy Greek Roasted Chicken by Lauren Greutan

Baked Chicken Parmesan by Cakes Cottage

Homemade Chicken Tenders by Six Dollar Family

Cheap meals to make

Easy Chicken Bake by Ann’s Entitled Life

Lemon Chicken by Hillbilly Housewife

White Chicken Chili Crockpot  by Gluten Free Daddy

Crockpot Cheesy Chicken & Rice by Family Fresh Meal

Quick Chicken and Dumplings from Betty Crocker

Easy Garlic Chicken from Allrecipes

One Pot Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice from Creme de la Crumb

15 Minute Healthy Roasted Chicken and Veggies from Gimme Delicious

Grilled Lemon Chicken and Asparagus from Delish

Chicken Pot Pie Crescent Braid from Wine and Glue

Loaded Baked Potato & Chicken Casserole from Food.com

Honey-and-Lemon Baked Chicken from MyRecipes

Cheddar Bacon Chicken Tenders from Pillsbury

Crunchy Pan-Fried Chicken from MyRecipes

Chicken Crescent Roll Bundles from Lil Luna

Cheap meals

BBQ Chicken Pizza from MyRecipes

Chicken Pot Pie Rice Bake from Plain Chicken

Easy 3-Ingredient Ritz Cracker Chicken from Stockpiling Moms

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta from Pillsbury

Mushroom-Herb Chicken from MyRecipes

Maple-Glazed Skillet Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potato Hash from Whole and Heavenly Oven

Crispy Onion Chicken from Life in the Lofthouse

Winger’s Sticky Fingers from Creme de la Crumb

Baked Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard from Delish

Buffalo Chicken & Potato Skillet from The Wicked Noodle

Baked Honey-Garlic Chicken from Delish

One-Pot BBQ Chicken and Bacon Pasta from The Recipe Rebel

Easy Chicken Fajitas from Averie Cooks

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas from Nums The Word

BBQ Chicken Tostadas from Cupcakes and Kale Chips

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas from The Wanderlust Kitchen

Chicken and Black Bean Nachos from The Baker Mama

Chicken-Tortilla Pie from MyRecipes

Chicken Enchilada Skillet from Buns in My Oven

Creamy Southwest Chicken Alfredo from Good Cook

Chicken, Bean, and Cheese Burritos from Good Cheap Eats

Spicy Skillet Chicken from Betty Crocker

cooking cheap meals

Cheap Meal Ideas with Italian Chicken 

Creamy Garlic Mushroom Chicken from The Recipe Critic

Mozzarella Chicken in Homemade Tomato Sauce from Little Spice Jar

Tuscan Chicken Simmer from Kraft

One-Pot Chicken Alfredo Penne from Pillsbury

Mozzarella Chicken in Homemade Tomato Sauce from Little Spice Jar

Chicken Carbonara Deluxe from Betty Crocker

Parmesan Chicken Breast Tenders from MyRecipes

Pesto Chicken and Pasta from Kraft

20-Minute Tuscan Chicken with Penne Pasta from Gal on a Mission

20 Minute Skillet Chicken and Spinach Parmesan from Mom on Timeout

Parmesan Chicken Fettuccine from Pillsbury

Skillet Chicken Marsala from $5 Dinners

Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta from Lil Luna

Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Florentine Pasta from Pinch of Yum

Chicken Picatta from Better Homes and Gardens

Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Roll Ups from Like Mother, Like Daughter

Crispy Chicken Parmesan with Tomatoes and Mozzarella from Delish

Brown Sugar Italian Chicken from Plain Chicken

15 Minute Chicken Alfredo from Eazy Peazy Mealz

cheap chicken meals

Cheap Meal Ideas with Asian Chicken

Sweet, Sticky and Spicy Chicken from Allrecipes

Quick Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls from Crunchy Creamy Sweet

Vegetable-Chicken Stir-Fry from Betty Crocker

Coconut Chicken Tenders from Yellow Bliss Road

Chicken Stir Fry with Rice Noodles from Natasha’s Kitchen

12 Minute Chicken and Broccoli from Gimme Some Oven

Fast Chicken and Rice from Better Homes and Gardens

20 Minute Thai Peanut Chicken from Betty Crocker


Cheap Meal Ideas with Beef 

beef meals

Cheap Meal Ideas with American Beef

Cornbread and Beef Skillet Pie from Woman’s Day

Family Favorite Sloppy Joes from High Heels and Grills

Mini Meatloaves from Betty Crocker

Beef & Macaroni Chili from All She Cooks

Country-Fried Steak with Mushroom Gravy from MyRecipes

Easy Unstuffed Bell Pepper Skillet from Kim’s Craving

BBQ Sloppy Joe Muffins from Cookies and Cups

Ground Beef and Cheese Stuffed Potatoes from Food.com

Easy French Dip Sandwiches from Allrecipes

Sloppy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from 5 Boys Baker

Hamburger Steak With Sweet Onion-Mushroom Gravy from MyRecipes

Southwestern Beef Chili With Corn from Real Simple

Salisbury Steak Casserole from Nums The Word

Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet from Pillsbury

Baked Chili Dogs from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes from Bellyfull

Country Fried Steak from Allrecipes

One Pot Chili Mac from NumsTheWord

Cheap Meal Ideas with Italian Beef 

Easy Goulash from Mandy’s Recipe Box

Beef Stroganoff from SimplyRecipes

Skillet Meatballs in Marinara Sauce from Recipe Runner

One Pot Beef Penne from Girl Gone Gourmet

One Pot Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff from Budget Bytes

Meatball Bombs from The Novice Chef

Sheet Pan Philly Cheesesteaks from Easy Peazy Mealz

Poverty Meal from Food.com

Cheap Meal Ideas with Asian Beef

Quick Beef Stir-Fry from Allrecipes

Sweet and Sour Meatballs from Allrecipes

Broccoli Beef from Allrecipes

Ten-Minute Beef and Broccoli from Pillsbury

Mongolian Beef from Chef Savvy

Crispy Sesame Beef from Damn Delicious

Asian Orange Beef from Chew Out Loud

Asian Beef & Noodles for Two from Kraft Recipes

Cheap Meal Ideas with Tex-Mex Beef

Beef Burrito Skillet from Bread Booze Bacon

Taco Pie from Allrecipes

Taco Spaghetti from Plain Chicken

Easy Beef Nachos from Old El Paso

Flank Steak Fajitas from Country Living

Taco Bowls from Busy Budgeter

One Pot Taco Rice Skillet from Sweet C’s

Mexican Pasta Skillet from Pillsbury

Simple Oven Tacos from Simplistically Living

Quick Taco Salad from Kraft Recipes

Cheesy Nacho Beef Skillet from Pillsbury

Frito Pie from Chef in Training

Skillet Burritos from Diethood

Taco French Bread Pizza from Life in the Lofthouse

Crispy Southwest Wrap from Tastes Better from Scratch

Cheap Meal Ideas with Plain Ol’ Beef

Quick and Easy Taco Salad from Daily Burn

Penne Pasta With Beef by Simply recipes

Cheeseburger Casserole by Written Reality

Beef stroganoff by The Spirited Violet

One Pot Tortellini and Ground Beef Casserole by Foody Schmoody

Sloppy Joe Quinoa Pitas by Fabulessly Frugal

Doritos Taco Salad by Life in the Lofthouse

Cheese Steak Casserole by Who Needs A Cape

Korean Beef by The Girl Who Ate Everything

Crock Pot Beef Tacos by Frugal Foodie Mama

Taco Spaghetti by Plain Chicken

Beef Stuffed Zucchini Boats by Gimme Delicious Food

Old Fashioned Goulash by My Incredible Recipes

Pepper Steak and Rice by South Your Mouth

cheap beef burrito

Mongolian Beef by Savory Tooth

One Pot Lasagna by Carl Bad Cravings

Classic Baked Ziti by Budget Savvy Diva

Pizza Casserole by Allrecipes

Beefy Cheesy Tortellini Bake by Five Hear Home

Baked Spaghetti Pie by Mom 4 Real

Easy Baked Ziti by The Country Cook

One- Pot Eggplant Pasta by Buiton

Cheap Meal Ideas with Vegetarian Dishes

Vegetarian Chili by Cookie and Kate

Broccoli Fettuccine by Budget Bytes

Spinach Lasagna by Savor and Savvy

Vegan Chickpea and Rosemary Soup by The Blender Girl

10 Minute Pasta by Oh She Glows

Protein-packed twice baked potatoes by Pass the Plants

Vegan Corn Fritters by The Stingy Vegan

Easy Veggie & Black Bean Enchiladas by Vegan Insanity

Vegan Fried Rice by One Ingredient Chef

Pizza Pockets by Hot for Food

Buffalo Chickpea Lettuce Wraps by Pass the plants

ChickPea Salad by Whole Living Lauren

White Mac & Cheese by The Savory Vegan

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas by Don’t Go Bacon My Heart

Cauliflower Buffalo Pizza by This Savory Vegan

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger by Happy Healthy mama

Vegan Lasagna by Vegetarian Gastronomy

Vegan Mashed Potatoes by Emile Eats

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Quesadillas by This Savory Vegan

Hummus Vegetable Wrap by Emile Eats

Balsamic Roasted New Potatoes by Wallflower Kitchen

Avocado and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta By Crazy Vegan Kitchen

Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Peas and Crayons

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites by Veggie Inspired

Sweet Potato and Kale Chilli by Wallflower Kitchen

Creamy Vegan Corn Chowder by  Crazy Vegan Kitchen

White Bean and Avocado Baked Burritos by Ceara’s Kitchen

Vegan Black Bean and Veggie Enchiladas by Full of Beans

Loaded Cauliflower by Low Carb Maven

Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo from Budget Bytes

Creamy Garlic Pasta from Budget Savvy Diva

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes, and Pepperoni from Delish

Pasta Primavera Alfredo from Delish

Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta from Budget Bytes

Angel Hair with Tomato and Basil from Betty Crocker

To Die For Fettuccine Alfredo from Allrecipes

Spinach Pesto with Pasta from Delish

One Pot Baked Ziti with Ricotta from Kitchen Nostalgia

Easy Eggplant Parmesan from Kraft

Cheesy Baked Ravioli from Food.com

Ricotta and Spinach Calzones from Kitschen Cat

Tortellini Primavera from Eating Well

Italian Mac and Cheese from POPSUGAR

Tomato and Olive Penne from Martha Stewart

Baked Penne Rigate from Memories By The Mile

Easy Pantry Pasta from Country Living

Cheap Meal Ideas with American Vegetarian

20-Minute Mac and Cheese from Betty Crocker

French Bread Pizza from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Macaroni and Cheese with Mixed Vegetables from Better Homes and Gardens

Cheesy Veggie Pasta Bake from The Domestic Superhero

Mac and Cheese Spaghetti from Better Homes and Gardens

One Pot Vegetarian Chili Mac from Kristine’s Kitchen

Vegetarian Black-Bean Chili from Martha Stewart

Cheap Meal Ideas with Asian Vegetarian

Peanut Noodles from Allrecipes

Dragon Noodles from Budget  Bytes

One-Pot Spicy Asian Noodles from Babble

Simple Sesame Noodles from The Pioneer Woman

Vegetable Stir Fry with Noodles from Budget Bytes

Vegetarian Fried Rice from Hurry The Food Up

Spicy Sesame Noodles from Living Sweet Moments

Spaghetti with Vegetables and Peanut Sauce from Martha Stewart

Easy Lo Mein from Damn Delicious

Thai Peanut Noodles from Budget Bytes

Cheap Meal Ideas with Tex-Mex Vegetarian

Black Bean Burritos from Allrecipes

One Pan Crack Bean Burritos from Heather Likes Food

5 Ingredient Black Bean Enchiladas from I Heart Vegetables

10 Minute Oven Baked Tostadas from Yellow Bliss Road

Black Bean Quesadillas from Eating Well

Poor Man’s Burrito Bowls from Budget Bytes

Black Bean Nachos from Kraft

Refried Bean Tostadas from MyRecipes

Crispy Black Bean and Rice Burritos from Gimme Delicious

Corn & Black Bean Chili from Living Well, Spending Less

Black Beans and Rice from Allrecipes

Avocado Black Bean Quesadillas from Gimme Delicious

Creamy Black Bean Taquitos from Budget Bytes

Cheap Meal Ideas for Seafood

Lemon Garlic Tilapia from Allrecipes

Skillet Shrimp Tacos from Country Living

Fish Stick Tacos from MyRecipes

Tuna Croquettes from Food Network

Pan-Seared Tilapia from Allrecipes

Five-Spice Tilapia from Eating Well

One Pan Spicy Garlic Shrimp from Dinner, Dishes and Desserts

Lemon Caper Tuna and Noodles with Alfredo from Better Homes and Gardens

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia Fillets from Allrecipes

Skillet Shrimp and Rice from MyRecipes

Crisp Catfish with Apple-Celery Slaw from Better Homes and Gardens

Sweet & Spicy Tilapia from Farmgirl Gourmet

Easy Tuna Patties from Allrecipes

Tuna Salad Crescents from Pillsbury

Skillet Shrimp, Sausage, and Rice from Country Living

Fish Tacos with Lime Sauce from Better Homes and Gardens

Salmon Patties from Allrecipes

Cheap Meal Ideas for Turkey Dishes

Turkey Stroganoff from Better Homes and Gardens

Ground Turkey Cabbage Skillet from Primavera Kitchen

Turkey Chili from Food Network

Turkey Tetrazzini from Savory Nothings

Turkey Meatballs Over Zucchini Noodles from Country Living

Cheap Meal Ideas for Pork & Sausage Meals

Kielbasa, Peppers, and Potato Hash Skillet from Mom on Timeout

Skillet Sausage ‘n’ Rice from MyRecipes

One Pan Sausage and Tortellini from Yellow Bliss Road

Sausage, Potato & Pepper Skillet Dinner from $5 Dinners

Bacon Tortellini Bake from Fake Ginger

Quick and Easy Calzones from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Spaghetti and Sausage Meatballs from Delish

Ham & Cheese Tortellini from Kevin & Amanda

Easy Stromboli from Southern Bite

One-Pot Pizza Pasta from Fake Ginger

Rigatoni & Italian Sausage Skillet from Who Needs a Cape

Sausage Alfredo Pasta from Shugary Sweets

One-Pot Sausage Pasta from Melanie Cooks

Bacon, Chicken, and Spinach Spaghetti from Delish

Oven-Fried Pork Chops from Allrecipes

Country Ham Carbonara from MyRecipes

One Pot Lasagna from Damn Delicious

Texas Toast Pizzas from Crafty Morning

English Muffin Pizzas from Once Upon a Chef

Spaghetti With Sausage and Peppers from MyRecipes

Asian Pork Skillet from Better Homes and Garden

Deep Dish Mini Pizzas from One Little Project

Pizza Pull-Apart Sliders from The Country Cook

Cheap Meals at Home

These are some of the best cheap meals at home around.  If you would like your favorite recipe added, reach out to me in the comments below!

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