Frugal recipes to feed large family?


Due to financial problems, my bil and sil and their son are moving in with us for awhile. We will now be a “family of 9” for meals. I’m at a loss. We’re all really on a budget when it comes to food, so does anybody have any good recipes that work well for large families that are economical…and don’t include beans (cuz I hate beans :slight_smile: ) ?


I cook for 9 daily. We have an extra freezer in the garage.
Get a membership to your local wholesaler (Sam’s or Costco), if you don’t have one already. We buy in bulk large bags of frozen veggies, shredded cheese, spaghetti sauces, butter, cereals, pastas, rices, and so on.
Stocking up on things like frozen chicken breast, ground meat, and pork chops pays off too.
We shop for bread at the local bakery outlet for Mrs. Bairds and load the freezer with that too.
It’s basically time to get creative. My kids aren’t picky at all so anything goes here.
Tonight we are having baked (unbreaded) chicken strips (bought in bulk bags), steamed broccoli, and rice with chicken gravy. Nothing fancy but it stretches.


One of our favorites is a baked pasta casserole. What we make fits in a 9x13 inch pan and could easily be doubled and split into two pans or into one large, deep dish.

For 1 batch (should feed 5-6 generously)

1 lb. short pasta (we like penne)
1/2 lb. (about two links) hot turkey Italian sausage (Jennie-O and Butterball both make turkey Italian sausage links)
1 28-oz. jar tomato-based pasta sauce (whatever variety you like)
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese

Cook and drain pasta as usual. Set aside.
Cut the casings off of the sausages and brown in a skillet over medium heat, breaking up the meat as you go so it crumbles like ground beef.
Once the meat is cooked, add the pasta sauce and tomatoes and heat through.
Mix in the pasta and 1 cup of the cheese.
Spread the whole mess into a greased 9x13 pan and top with the rest of the cheese.
Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

You could add extra veggies to this if you wanted, or switch out the meats (one of my friends adds diced pepperoni to his). If there are any leftovers they’re great the next day.


This is great with chopped meat too – I used to layer the noodles, then cheese, then meatsauce, then noodles…simple and inexpensive.

The cheapest way I’ve found is when you find whole roasters on sale, get two or three – you can feed a lot of people off a chicken! We were a family of nine for years – we ate a lot of chicken, london broil (not cheap, but my dad loved it) and you can always buy the cheapest cut of big ol’roast and put it in the crock pot with an envelope of onion soup, 1/2 cup water, and two cans of cream of mushroom…yummy!!!

Chicken legs are relatively cheap too – kids eat one usually; we eat for two days off one big package (there’s only 4 of us) and the cheaper cuts of pork (bone in chops are easily broiled up with a little salt and pepper or grill seasoning) – I go with the frozen veggies over fresh when I’m scrimping; almost same nutritional value, lots cheaper…hth and good for you for sticking together when the going gets tough!!

PS – I used to use a lot…



1-2 pounds cooked elbow maccaroni
2 pounds ground beef, cooked
1 medium chopped onion, browned with the ground beef
2 cans diced tomatoes
a little salt, a little pepper, a generous shake of oregano and basil
green beans or spinach thrown in

You could also cook thick soups such as minestrone that work in a big crock pot or dutch oven and take all day to cook. With bread or corn bread and a salad, it goes a long way, and feels good on a cold day.

You could do rice pilaf and add chicken or cooked hamburger to it (Leave out the orange zest and rasins. It’s just too much, even for me, and I am an adventuresome eater).

You could do this mexican deep dish pizza, double it (get your s-i-l to contribute her skillet if you haven’t another).

Homemade Chilli! Chilli on baked potatoes!! Chilli on corn chips from a cheap source such as Aldi!!! Add cheese, a little sour cream, seme minced onions!!!

Sloppy joes, which stretch when served on regular white bread and “topped” with green pepper, cheese, onion, etc.

A Dubuque 10-pound canned ham goes a long way in eggs, as sandwich meat, in a ham-and-potato casserole.

See if you can find bulk packages of cryovac pork rib tips. They are tasty in a slow cooker in BBQ sauce with potatoes also in the BBQ sauce.

You are a good person to do this for them. God bless your efforts!!!


Sorry the formatting doesn’t come out too well. This is a Greek dish and some people find the cinnamon to be too unusual when added to meat, at least my kids did. If you don’t like it, just leave it out. I’ve given the measurements both in metric and in US. Use a large lasagne pan for this. It can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until ready to heat. Adjust quantities for number being served. I had to cut this in half for my family of 4 and I still had heaps leftover.

Macaroni and Meat Pie

Meat Sauce
Olive Oil…60ml…¼ cup
Butter…50g…3 Tblsp
Hamburger …1 kg…2 lb
Medium Onions, grated…2…2
Large ripe tomatoes, grated…3…3
Cinnamon…1 ½ tsp…1 ½ tsp
Water…125ml…½ cup
Salt & pepper to taste

Cream Sauce

Butter…75g…1/3 cup
Flour…100g …½ cup
Milk…1 ltr…4 ½ cups
Parmesan or kefalotiri cheese…100g…¾ cup
Salt to taste

Macaroni – penne or elbow…375g …13oz
Oil…3 tsp…3 tsp
Grated parmesan

Meat Sauce
1 Heat oil and butter in large frying pan. Brown hamburger, add onion and sauté further 5 minutes
2 Add tomatoes, cinnamon, water, salt and pepper. Stir well.
3 Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until sauce thickens

Cream Sauce
1 Melt butter in a large saucepan. Remove from heat, add flour and mix to a smooth paste. Return to medium heat Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until sauce bubbles and thickens. Cook for 1-2 minutes
2 Crack eggs one at a time into sauce and whisk quickly. Add cheese and salt. Mix well, return to heat. Stir constantly till sauce begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from heat

1 Boil macaroni in salted water with 3 tsp oil until tender but firm. Drain
2 Spread bottom of large dish with layer of cream sauce. Spread half the macaroni on to and stir slightly so macaroni is coated in sauce.
3 Top with meat sauce
4 Cover with remainder of macaroni and pour rest of cream sauce on top. Sprinkle with extra grated parmesan cheese and cinnamon. Bake in moderate-hot oven for 45 minutes, until well browned on top.


This will easily feed 4 to 5, so just double the recipe.

HashBrown Casserole
Oven to 350

1 bag hashbrowns
1 can mixed vegs
1 can cream soup, any
1/2 cont small sour cream
salt/pepp/spices to taste

Mix the soup and sour cream, add vegs
Blend this with hashbrowns, season
Place into 9x13 pan
Bake a/b 40 min, til hot and bubbly

You can add meat of your choice, ham is good,
also turkey/chicken.
Delicious topped with cheese!


Scottish oats are about $1 a pound in bulk. And you can make a large pot and feed everyone for less $1 a person even if you include the price of jam, honey or maple syrup to put on it.

A dear friend (who also happens to be on her KCthemommy) gave me a recipe for Pho Ga that is QUITE inexpensive to make and makes a HUGE amount of soup.

In general soups are the most economical thing to make in large quantities.

And making spanish rice and beans is a really expensive meal. You can have a bowl of it straight or have it in burritos. Pinto beans and rice are really inexpensive when you buy in bulk.

Sorry, I noticed you hate beans…:blush: But burritos are really yummy!


Here’s a list, message me or google for recipes!

Soup, endless variety of this!
Spagetti, meatless or not, is cheap and ‘stretchy’.
Chicken and rice uses dark meat for flavor, so inexpensive
Chicken and dumplings, the same
Pot pies, made with chicken, turkey, beef, ect
Top the turkey/chicken with stuffing, intstead of crust
Have a hot dog and french fry night
Homemade corn dogs and french fries
Stir fry over rice or pasta, with meat or without
Have a baked potato bar one night
Salmon patties and mac and cheese
Breakfast for supper, omelets/waffles, ect
Cabbage, sausage, potatoes, one pot, serve with bread
Ground beef stroganoff over rice or pasta
Pork and rice, veggies, bread
Chicken and noodles, veggies, bread
Sausage and peppers over rice
Stuffed Peppers
Red beans and rice w/sausage/beef/meat of choice in it
Sub night, make your own, or make a baked sub for all


Potato salad
Green bean casserole
Corn casserole
Potato cakes
Creamed peas
Mac and cheese
Rice and gravy, the old standby!
Biscuits, reg or cheese or sweet potato


Baked Oatmeal
Baked Grits casserole
Breakfast Burritoes
Potato pancakes w/sausage, veggies, and cheese
Breakfast Casserole

Hope these help!


do you have a crock pot or electric roaster? Crock pot meals are not only cheap, they are easy too…


We were recently introduced to “More With Less” -

I’d HIGHLY reccomend this cookbook.


I recommend TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
You can buy it at the local health food store or co-op. A familf friends of ours had 6 children, and TVP was their protein of choice for many years.

  • You can buy it in flakes (great to stretch ground beef, or even to replace it! Soak the flakes in broth/stock- and that’s what it tastes like), in strips (think burritos, tacos, etc. Same flavoring style), and in chunks (add to soup or tomato sauce for tasty bits).

Seitan is a good choice as well. It used vital wheat gluten. The only draw back is that it much be simmered for about an hour to obtain some taste. If anyone wants recipies for seitan and simmering liquids, PM me.

Is there a co-op near you that you can become a part of? Perhaps you may need to look into Angel Food to supplement what you are purchasing? You many need to speak with the director directly, since you are feeding a large family. Good luck!


chili is also yummy on pasta (it’s cincinnati chili if served on spaghetti).

if you have a meat grinder, either an attachment for your mixer or one of the old ones that clamp to a table, you can buy roasts when they go on sale and grind your own hamburger. I like to do that when the roasts are less per pound than the regular old hamburger. I also like the texture better and it just seems to taste better (and I don’t have my 17 year old brother-in-law joking about eating worms >D).

I like to make my own hamburger and hot dog buns too. it’s really easy with the bread machine. :smiley: I love that they’re nice and sturdy and taste sooo good when they’re warm (I usually try to have them come out of the oven before I need them but they’re good cold too).


I’m a frugal sybarite;) , so I have the older copy of this along with the newer copy. The older one is better.


Angel Food programs are also known as SHARE, if that helps in locating one.


Hi, Here are some ideas for Cheap and Easy Bulk Cooking. Chickens are on sail at my store now for .69 cents a pound so I am doing the chicken plan today :slight_smile:

This is an Awesome sight for Busy Frugal Moms
Menus for Moms Websight
The Hamburger Plan

Here is also My personal Websight (several years old now but still useful) Deana’s Kitchen

If you send me a message I will email you the Chicken plan I am doing today but it is to long to post.
Have a great Day everyone
I got to get back to my chickens :slight_smile:


Mock Lasagna

Make up a couple packages of powdered Macaroni and Cheese. Cook up 1 lb. hamburger, drain and add favorite spaghetti sauce. Grate favorite cheese. Layer Mac and Cheese, grated cheese and hamburger and spaghetti sauce into baking pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with bread and salad.

Click on the “healthy” recipes for something a little lighter, or the regular ones for really really cheap and filling. All good, but I usually tweak them with a little more flavor–add some garlic or something.

PS: ignore the fundamentalist stuff, the food is why you’re there!


A couple boxes of mac n cheese, cooked to directions, will also abosorb your leftovers, as well as the last of package of hot dogs and pork n beans (I know, you’re not fond of beans). One of my favorites is 2 boxes mac n cheese according to directions, 1 pound hamburger, 1 can diced tomatoes, a half an onion and a half a green pepper austeed in the butter for the directions, and a litle bit of chilli powder or taco seasoning.


Get the More With Less cookbook, written by the Mennonites.

Get the spiral-bound so it stays open on your counter.

It will not only nourish your large family cheaply, but it will nourish your soul as well.

One of my favorite recipes in the book is the Oven-Cheese Fondue (it can be doubled, tripled, etc.):

Preheat oven to 325

Beat until lemon-colored: 5 eggs.

Add and mix well:
1 t. salt, dash pepper, 2-3 cups grated cheese

2 1/2 c. hot milk
1 qt. cubed bread

Pour into greased 7X11 baking pan.
Bake 30 minutes or until set.

This dish is SO good with tomato soup!

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