Kids Eat Free: Three Family Meal Ideas for Under $5.00
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Kids Eat Free: Three Family Meal Ideas for Under $5.00

A family of four can eat for less than $5.00 Hearty nutritious meals don`t have to cost a lot. Cooking for your family can be quick, easy and inexpensive.

With todays rising prices a single person is hard pressed to buy a small "value meal" at the local fast food chain for less than $5.00. So is it really possible to feed an entire family of four a healthy and nutritious meal for less than $5.00? You bet it is. All it takes is a little creativity and imagination to serve your family healthy meals for just a couple of dollars.

Stocking Up

It would not be possible to feed one person, let alone four people for less than $5.00 if every single ingredient had to be purchased each time a meal was prepared. Stocking up on dry goods, canned goods and meats when they are on sale is they key to being able to create healthy meals for so little. Here are some items that should be purchased on sale, stocked up on and kept on hand at all times.

  • Ground meats frozen in 1-1/2 lb packages
  • Your favorite sausages frozen in packs of 4-5 (about 1 lb)
  • Chicken 1/4`s (legs and thighs)Frozen vegetables (keep several varieties on hand so they can be used a handful at a time in recipes)
  • Tetra packs of broth or stock (or make your own and freeze it)
  • Packages of assorted pastas
  • Rice
  • Fresh celery,onions, peppers and carrots (don`t but them already chopped. Bring them home, chop them yourself and store them in Zip-lock bags for about 1/3 the cost)
  • Canned condensed cream soups
  • Spices

These are probably not the only things that you will need on hand, but it is a good start. (Please note that all prices are approximate because of varying food prices in different locations and do not include the cost of condiments or spices)

Healthy Chicken and Rice Bake: Approximately $4.40


  • 2 cups long grain rice .50
  • 4 cups chicken broth $1.50
  • 2 chicken 1/4`s aprox. $1.25
  • 1 small can of diced tomatoes .75
  • 1 small finely chopped onion .10
  • Handful of chopped bell peppers .10
  • Handful of frozen peas .20
  • Drizzle of oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Steam (or boil) 2 chicken 1/4`s until tender and falling off the bone. Let cool and remove all meat from the bones. Set aside.
  2. Saute onions and peppers and set aside.
  3. Heat chicken broth and pour over rice in a large casserole dish add a little oil garlic powder and salt and stir. Add tomatoes and stir again.
  4. Bake covered in a pre-heated 375* oven until rice is almost completely cooked according to package directions.
  5. Remove from the oven and add the sauteed vegetables, chicken and frozen peas.
  6. Stir well and return to oven and continue cooking another 10 minutes uncovered.

Ham and Vegetable Fritata (with Tomato Juice): Approximately $4.90


  • 8 large eggs beaten with a little milk $1.50
  • 1/4 lb ham chopped into cubes. (A couple of thickly cut deli slices cut into cubes will do) .75
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped .10
  • Handful of chopped bell peppers .30
  • 1 can of sliced mushroom $1.00
  • Salt and pepper
  • Splash of oil
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • I large can of tomato juice $1.25


  1. In a large heavy skillet, saute ham, onions, mushrooms and peppers over medium heat until slightly soft.
  2. Add beaten eggs over ham and vegetables, add salt and pepper. Stir to make sure vegetables are evenly distributed, reduce heat to low.
  3. Cover and cook until the eggs are firm.
  4. Serve with a cold glass of tomatoes juice or vegetable cocktail.

Rotini Pasta with Sausage Peppers and Cheese Approximately $4.95


  • 1 lb of your favorite sausage cooked and cut into 1" pieces $2.00
  • 1/2 900g bag of cooked Rotini pasta .50 (cooked but still quite firm)
  • 1 Can condensed cream of mushroom soup .50
  • 1 small can diced tomatoes .75
  • 1 Small red bell pepper .30
  • 1 Small green bell pepper .30
  • 1 Small onion chopped .10
  • Handful of shredded cheese .50
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper


  1. In a skillet, saute onions, peppers, and garlic just until the onions start to look transparent. Set aside.
  2. In a large casserole dish, combine the pasta and mushroom soup and stir well.
  3. Add tomatoes and stir.
  4. Add the spices,sauteed onions and peppers and stir.
  5. Sprinkle on shredded cheese.
  6. Bake covered in a preheated 375* oven for 15 minutes. Remove lid, set oven to broil and and broil until the cheese is golden brown.

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