Can you Feed Your Family for $50?

As a farmer, feeding people is my priority.  I want to make sure families are eating three good meals a day, each meal with meat, veggies and milk to drink!  But how far will $50 go in the grocery store?

I’m excited to bring you this new series, from my friends at Indiana Family of Farmers.  For the next 4 months, I’m going to see how many meals I can make for $50. I will not only share a recipe for an affordable meal, but I’ll also share a few meal plans, why I’m cooking those meals and challenge you to make  your own affordable meal plan.
I’ve been asked to follow a few guidelines.  The meals can be breakfast, lunch, dinner or a combo of all three.  Each meal must include one meat protein.  As a hog farmer, that isn’t hard in this house.  We LOVE our pork chops and bacon!!
What is more difficult 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 how much we aren’t home at night!  All three kids are playing baseball and have practices every night.  I have some work travel as well and will be gone one night this week.  That requires me to plan ahead so The Farmer doesn’t hit up the local fast food joints!  So my slow cooker is going to get a lot of use.
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
Chicken Tetrazzini
Green Salad
Garlic Bread
White or Chocolate Milk
Meal #1 is a Sunday night supper.  The tetrazzini was a big hit for the entire family.  My kids love anything that includes pasta and cheese.  They are also big salad eaters.  The garlic bread was to round out the meal.  And the meal must have milk on the table as well.  Cost of meal – $13
chicken tetrazzini
 Easy Chicken Tetrazzini
Easy Chicken Tetrazzini
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
A tasty, easy chicken tetrazzini that your family will love!
  • 1 lb linguine
  • 4 large chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 5 TBSP butter
  • 12 ounces sliced mushrooms, portabello or button
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese
  1. Cook pasta per package directions. Drain.
  2. Saute mushrooms in butter until softened and browned. Add garlic and chicken broth and continue to cook until liquid is reduced by half.
  3. Add cream of celery, cream of mushroom, sour cream and milk to mushrooms. Mix. Add chopped chicken breasts to mixture and stir. Dump soup mixture into pasta and stir to combine.
  4. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Dump mixture into dish. Put cheddar cheese on top of mixture and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Meal #2
Slow Cooker Chicken & Bean Nachos
Blue Corn Chips
Sliced Veggie Tray
White or Chocolate Milk
Chicken thighs are a cheap, go-to meat in my house.  And canned beans are a great shortcut and cheap meal maker!  Many of the ingredients for this recipe were purchased at Aldi’s.  My secret weapon for saving money is to do the majority of my shopping at this store.  It is so much cheaper than the bigger retailers!  Chicken thighs were on sale.  My package of 6 skinless thighs were just $2.  Pretty cheap!  Aldi’s blue corn chips are very good and only $2 a bag.  I don’t buy many of my veggies at Aldi’s, making another trip to Kroger or Marsh for a wider variety of vegetables.  Cost of meal – $10
Meal #3
15 Ham & Bean Soup
Crusty Bread
White or Chocolate Milk
I had leftover ham from our Easter celebration.  I froze most of it and will pull it out for this super easy soup!  A precooked ham is very inexpensive around the holidays and can be stored in your freezer for some time before being used.  My spiral cut ham was cooked for a few hours and enjoyed on Easter and the rest frozen.  This recipe uses a double dose of protein, with the ham and the variety of beans.  A loaf of crusty bread, dipped in some olive oil and vinegar, rounded out the meal.  Cost of meal – $10
Meal #4
Maple crusted pork loin
BBQ Green beans
Orange brown rice
White or chocolate milk
This meal is my most expensive of the week.  While I don’t buy pork loin at the grocery since I have my own in the freezer, I realize it is a more expensive cut of meat.  But it is one of The Farmer’s favorite foods!  So I pulled mine out of the freezer for this meal.  I did price the pork loin at the local grocery and found it on sale for $1.99 per pound. I could have purchased a decent size loin for $10.  BBQ Green Beans are also a big favorite in our house.  I use green beans I canned from last years garden and add a homemade BBQ sauce.  You can buy a big can of green beans.  I then fry a few slices of bacon.  To the bacon, I add brown sugar, ketchup and  worchestershire sauce.  Voila!! BBQ sauce!  Add to the green beans and stir.  Whip up some brown rice and the meal is done.  Cost of meal – $16
How would you use $50 in your meal planning?  Can you make $50 stretch to make 4 dinners?  Or maybe a combination of lunches and breakfasts?  Let me know how you would use $50!


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