Can you Feed Your Family For $50 or Less?

I’m continuing my look at our monthly grocery bill with a challenge of seeing how cheaply I can feed my family of 5 hungry people!  This series, brought to you by my friends at Indiana’s Family of Farmers, features four meals of breakfast, lunch dinner or a combo of all three.  And each meal much contain protein.  My house can’t live on salad alone!

As I stated last month, what is difficult for me is realizing the cost of meat in the grocery.  I believe beef, pork and chicken are very affordable and we enjoy the safest, most affordable food of any country on the planet.  But I don’t buy meat in the grocery.  We butcher our own hogs every winter and I buy half a beef from a cattle farmer friend, thus avoiding the grocery store.  We don’t raise our own chickens, yet, so I will buy those in the grocery.

This week’s meal plan is based on eating around baseball games and fieldwork!  All three kids are playing baseball and have practices or games every night.  The Farmer has been busy hauling hog manure to use as organic fertilizer in our fields.  And when he’s not hauling manure, he’s planting corn or working ground ahead of the corn planter.  It’s been a crazy few weeks.
I feed a family of 5 every night.  And I always need at least one serving leftover to pack for my Little Man’s lunch at daycare the next day.
Meal #1
Hot Dog Casserole
Green Salad
Fresh Fruit
White or Chocolate Milk
I’m almost embarrassed to admit my family eats Hot Dog Casserole.
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Maybe I’m even more embarrassed to say it actually tastes pretty good!  I found this recipe in a 35-year-old cookbook written by farmwives.  It sounded disgusting, but the kids and The Farmer told me to make it.  it’s super easy to make and very easy on the budget.  This meal costs about $15 total, including the gallons of milk.
hot dog casse
Hot Dog Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
A cheap, easy meal that the kids will love!
  • 1 16 oz bag of wide egg noodles
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 16 oz package hot dogs, cut up
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • ¼ c. mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp prepared mustard
  1. Cook the noodles using package directions. Drain
  2. Heat the butter in a saucepan until melted. Add the flour and salt and stir well.
  3. Add the mild gradually, stirring constantly. Cook until thick. Stir in the cheese
  4. Add the noodles and mix gently.
  5. Spoon into a greased 9x13 casserole dish.
  6. Combine hot dogs, mayonnaise, brown sugar and mustard in a bowl.
  7. Spoon over noodle mixture.
  8. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes
Meal #2
Taco Salad
Fruit Salad
White or Chocolate Milk
Taco Salad is my go-to quick meal when I need to throw something together.  This is a pretty healthy version of what could be a fat-laden meal.  My taco salad is made with lettuce, browned hamburger, a few cans of red kidney beans, taco seasoning, and reduced fat french dressing.  Mix all of that up and serve with baked chips! I will serve it with fruit because fruit salad is easy to make and we will eat fruit nearly every night during the summer!  I can make this entire meal for $10.
Meal #3
Slow Cooker Mushroom Pork Chops
White or Chocolate Milk
I mentioned we have a freezer full of pork from butchering this winter.  However, I priced pork chops at Aldi’s and found I could purchase a package of 5 chops for $8.25.  Does that seem like a good price?  I added a few cans of mushroom, a can of cream of mushroom soup and a bit of chicken stock.  All of that cooked in my slow cooker on low for the entire day.  The chops came our fork tender and were a big hit!  This meal costs about $18, including the milk I’ll need to restock.
Meal #4
Slow Cooker Eggs and Sausage
Peanut Butter Toast
White or Chocolate Milk
I’m down to about $7 left in my meal budget.  Breakfast for supper is always my go-to meal when I need a cheap meal that is filling and fast.  This meal is a mixture of french bread, eggs and breakfast sausages.  It cooks in the slow cooker for a few hours.  Add some cheese at the end of the cooking process and serve while hot.  Serve with toast and enjoy a fairly cheap meal.
Those are my meals for this week.  What can you make for $50?

Key Lime Pie

I love all things citrus.  I’m not a fan of chocolate so citrus is always my go-to dessert recipes.  And since spring planting season is upon us, I’m always seeking recipes that I can take to the field and feed our big crew of planting and manure hauling folks.

This pie is one that I’ve never taken to the field but my family loves.  I’ll be adding it to the menu lineup this year!


key lime

Easy, Amazing Key Lime Pie


Key Lime Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 slices
A great recipe for an easy, amazing key lime pie!
  • Crust
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • Filling
  • 1½ tablespoons finely grated lime zest
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • ⅔ cup fresh lime juice (from about 1 dozen tiny key limes or 4 persian/regular limes)
  • Whipped topping
  • ¾ cup (heavy whipping cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Heat oven to 350°F
  2. To make the crust combine graham crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl and stir until mixed. Add butter and stir until crumbs are evenly coated. Press crumbs into the bottom a standard 9-inch pie dish or square dish. Bake crust 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned.
  3. To make the filling: Zest limes. Beat zest and egg yolks with an electric mixer until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until thickened again, about 3 minutes more. Whisk lime juice into yolk mixture until combined. Pour into graham crust and bake pie at 350 degrees for another 10 minutes. Let pie cool completely before adding topping.
  4. To make the whipped topping: In a medium bowl, beat cream and sugar until soft peaks are formed. Spread over top of chilled pie.




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