These Cheap Dinner Ideas for Kids Will Please the Whole Family

By Kara Reynolds | May 31, 2019

Let’s be honest here — groceries are expensive. The average family of four spends between $700 and $1,100 a month on food. If you’re looking for ways to cut your monthly bills, after you ditch the unnecessary subscription services, groceries are likely next on the list. Here are some quick and easy dinner recipes that are kid-friendly, but your entire family will love them regardless of their age.

Garlicky Beef and Bean Stir Fry

Instead of spending a ton of money on a steak dinner, why not be a little smarter about the meat you purchase? All you need for this meal is one 10-oz sirloin steak, sliced thin and quickly stir-fried to keep it tender. Fry it up with some green beans and bell peppers, and serve over rice for a tasty filling meal that won’t break the bank.

Meatball Subs

Who says you have to go out to your local Italian place for a meatball sub? All you need for this tasty meal is meatballs, marinara sauce, cheese, and hot dog buns! You don’t have to splurge on expensive hoagie rolls for a tasty meatball sub — just toast up some hot dog buns and you’re good to go. You can also make this recipe in bulk and freeze the meatballs in their sauce until you’re hungry for a sub.

Black Bean Burgers

Ground beef is expensive but that doesn’t mean you have to skip out on burger night. These delicious black bean burgers are a vegetarian alternative that is packed full of flavor. Even the die-hard carnivores in your family will be asking you to make these once a week. Instead of using ground beef, the base of these burgers is one can of black beans that you can pick up for less than $1 — or less if you’re patient enough to pre-soak dried beans!

Turkey Chili

Who doesn’t love a nice bowl of chili, topped with cheese, after a hard day’s work? If you’re trying to cut costs, skip the ground beef and opt for ground turkey instead. This lean alternative is healthier than beef, and once it’s browned and mixed into your chili, you won’t be able to tell the difference. You can make your own chili seasoning but if you’re feeling lazy, in the words of The Barefoot Contessa, store bought is fine.

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

Mexican food always ends up being less expensive if you’re cooking at home, and these quesadillas are tasty enough — and cheap enough — to make every night of the week. You don’t even have to cook the chicken! All you need is a $5 rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store. Shred it up, mix it with your favorite buffalo sauce and cheese, and toast it up in a tortilla and voila, you’ve got a simple but filling meal that is perfect for those nights when you have leftover chicken in the fridge but don’t want to make anything complicated.

Pizza Cupcakes

Everyone loves pizza and everyone loves cupcakes, so why not put these two tasty foods together? That’s exactly what this recipe does — combines all of your favorite pizza ingredients in a savory cupcake. Total, you’ll spend maybe 40 minutes making this quick and easy meal, and half of that is baking time. Stuff them full of cheese and top them with mini pepperoni or your favorite pizza toppings.

BLT Pasta Salad

BLTs are tasty sandwiches but when you’re cooking up enough bacon for the entire family, you can end up spending way too much on the meal. Instead, opt for this unique twist on the classic sandwich. You may already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen — lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, and pasta. Mix it all together with a mayo and sour-cream based sauce and you’ve got the perfect pasta salad for those hot summertime afternoons.

Beef Cakes

No, you’re not serving up attractively muscled men for dinner. This is a 19th-century dish that makes use of leftover meat and mashed potatoes. Mix your leftover beef with some bacon and suet and mesh it between two layers of mashed potatoes. Then toss them in a pan to fry for a couple of minutes on each side to create a crispy potato crust, and you’ve got a tasty historical take on a hamburger that turns those leftovers into something more interesting.

Enjoy Your Grocery Savings

Now that you’ve got a few inexpensive dinners under your belt, all that’s left to do is enjoy those grocery savings — or at least, stop stressing about how much money you’re spending on food every week. Cutting back on your weekly grocery bill doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor. Try out a few of these recipes and let us know what you think, or share your favorite cheap kid-friendly dinner in the comments below.

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