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Meals for Big Families on a Budget

October 11, 2019

Here’s a common scenario you might be familiar with. You come from work or from picking up your children from school. You’re tired, all your kids are hungry, and coming up with a dinner idea on the spot to feed your whole family seems nearly impossible. And to top it all off, you forgot to meal plan this week, but the kids are hungry now. So what do you do? If you had an especially busy day, you might decide to just order take out because it’s fast and easy. But you also had a busy day earlier this week and now you’re ordering out again.

While picking up dinner every now and then isn’t a bad thing, if you end up ordering out a couple of times per week it can start to add up quickly, and you might end up spending more money than you originally intended. As you sit down to another meal that’s been delivered and that maybe isn’t the healthiest for your family, you think, there has to be another way. And the good news is, you’re right! There is another way!

When it comes to saving money while also whipping up large meals to feed your family, it’s all about being smart. There are easy switches and decisions you can implement that will make both your family and your bank account happy. For example, consider shopping in bulk or planning your meals ahead of time so you know exactly what ingredients you need to buy in advance. This can help avoid feeling like there’s nothing in the fridge, which may lead to spending more money on eating out. Additionally, stock your pantry with staple items that make it easy to prepare a meal even if you’re short on time and haven’t planned in advance.

If you’re wanting to save money when it comes to feeding your big family, here are some pro tips:

  • Buy dried beans. Skip the beans that come in cans, which also have added sodium in them, and simply stock up on dried options, which are much cheaper. This also goes for other legumes such as lentils and chickpeas.
  • Stock up on pasta. Pasta is affordable and also adds so much variety to your recipes. With all the different types of pasta, there will always be something new to try. Be sure to stay on the lookout for the “Buy 5 boxes for $5” and other similar deals that stores will often feature.
  • Go big when it comes to rice. Rice is another staple ingredient that you can add to a number of budget-friendly meals. Avoid the 32 oz bags and instead, go for the 5 or even 10-pound bag. With a big family, you’ll go through it quickly and you will save money in the long run.
  • Buy family packs of meat. If your family loves meat, be sure to always look for family packs, as these are less per pound. If your family also happens to have a large freezer, stock up whenever you find a good sale, as the meat stays well for long periods of time in the freezer.
  • Don’t forget to check local ads! You know which ones I’m talking about. They come in the mail and they got lost in the ‘sort later’ pile or maybe you mean to look at them but never get around to it. These ads from your local grocery store will always feature current sales, so you don’t want to miss out on taking advantage of these deals. Get creative and plan meals around whatever items happen to be on sale for extra savings!
  • Start your own garden. Save money on buying fresh vegetables by simply growing your own at home! If you have kids, this can also be a fun way to teach your kids about how to grow plants and it can be an activity you can do together as a family.
Big family eating together

Taking these saving tips into consideration is a great place to start. Once you get in the habit of trying to save, you’ll likely come up with your own smart ways to start reducing your grocery and take out bills. Now that you know how to get started with saving money, the next step is coming up with dinner ideas your family will love. If you have a big family, the idea of cooking at home might be intimidating. But thanks to the internet, there are plenty of meal ideas you can find online that are also budget-friendly so they can help you and your family save money. If you feel like you’re not a great cook, there are also easy recipes out there that taste delicious and that will make everyone think you’re the best chef around.

A great way to save time on cooking and to make the whole cooking process a breeze is to use a pressure cooker/crock pot. Not only will it save you a lot of time, but it is also an easy way to make big meals to feed your family. You might even have some leftovers, which means lunch for the next day and double the savings! I currently love to use the BSTY 6 quart electric pressure cooker as my go-to for making family meals. It also works as a slow cooker and rice cooker, making it a convenient kitchen appliance to own.

Check out some of these tasty recipes, many of which are made from ingredients that you probably have on hand.

Stuffed Pepper Soup (Servings: 6)
Perfect for the colder months of the year, stuffed pepper soup is easy to make and satisfyingly hearty and delicious.

Healthy Crockpot Chili (Servings: 12)
A comforting staple, this recipe will be your go-to chili recipe for whenever your family is craving some chili. It’s also an easy way to make dinner with leftovers! 

Teriyaki Chicken Thighs (Servings: 8)
If you’re looking for savings, check out this recipe that is sure to be a hit with your family. Rounding out at just about $10 to make, this recipe not only tastes good, but it’s affordable too!

Creamy Crockpot Italian Chicken (Servings: 6)
The great thing about this delicious recipe is that you only need 4 ingredients to make it! This recipe is so easy, it’ll quickly become the perfect recipe to make on a busy weekday night.

Daughter helping mom prepare a meal

Old-Fashioned Chili Sauce (Servings: 8)
This yummy recipe can be a fun treat for the family. Featuring ground beef, beans, onion, tomato paste, and delicious spices, what’s not to love? This sauce goes great on both hot dogs and burgers. Don’t forget the cheese!

While these are some great recipes for lunch and dinner, saving money on meals isn’t only just for dinner. When you have a big family, you have to think about providing food for every meal of the day. Did you know that you can make your children's favorite breakfast items in a pressure cooker as well? Here’s a tasty and affordable breakfast recipe that you and your family will love. If you want to add a healthy treat, you can even add in diced apples, chopped nuts, berries, or raisins into the pressure cooker for different flavors.

Almond Joy Steel Cut Oats


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 3 1/2 cups almond coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup toasted shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds


  1. Using the Sauté setting on the BSTY Pressure Cooker, melt the butter then add the oats. Stir continuously until the oats are toasted and a nutty aroma is released about 3 minutes.
  2. Next, add the almond coconut milk and salt. Close and seal the lid. Select Multigrain then set the pressure to High and cook time to 10 minutes. Make sure the vent is set to Seal.
  3. When the cooking time is complete, use a quick pressure release. Wait until the pin drops then carefully remove the lid and stir the oats.
  4. Cover and let sit until the oats reach the desired thickness, about 5 minutes.
  5. Top with shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and sliced almonds.

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