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Frugal Fridays–Feeding My Family for Fifteen (or Less!)

Hopefully I can get back on track with Frugal Fridays!




Here is a yummy supper that will feed a larger family for a reasonable price.   These dishes actually make enough for a dinner and extras for lunch the next day!   For some reason, this combination became a favorite for several birthday dinners!    You could easily pick one or the other of the main dishes, add bread and a salad, and have a meal in itself!!!


 [Editing to say–if you make both main dishes and the veggie dish, you are probably going to have around $25 in everything.  However–you will have enough leftovers for a hearty lunch the next day, too!   It is for us, anyway, and that’s 11 people, with 4 adults, 2 hungry teens, 4 under 10,  and an 11 year old that eats as much as her older sisters, too!  You could either just make one main dish, the veggie dish and some bread to keep it under $15 for the  meal, or you could make it all and figure you get basically two meals which cuts the $25 in half!]


Creamy Spinach Enchiladas


2 pkg. flour tortillas (these are the smaller size)                                                            

1 c. sliced green onion                                                  

2 T. butter       

20 oz. spinach (we use frozen thawed and drained)                                                                                                                              

2 c. cottage cheese                                                       

1 c. sour cream (plus extra for serving)

4 c. shredded cheese

2 cans enchilada sauce

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

 1 tsp. garlic powder


In a medium saucepan saute’ green onion in butter until crisp tender.  Add spinach and cook until moisture is evaporated.  Remove from heat.  Add spices, cottage cheese, 2 c. cheese, and sour cream.  Spoon about 1/4 c. into each tortilla.  Place seam side down in a greased 9 X 13 pan.  (You will need two for this recipe).  Pour enchilada sauce over tortillas, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.


Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.


Serve with extra sour cream.



Barbecued Meatballs

(from The Best of Country Cooking)




3 pounds ground beef                                                   

1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk                                    

1 c. oatmeal                                                                  

1 c. cracker crumbs 

2 eggs 

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper    

2 tsp. chili powder    




2 c. catsup                                                                   

1 c. brown sugar       

1/2 tsp. liquid smoke or to taste

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 c. chopped onion         



To make meatballs, combine all ingredients (mixture will be soft) and shape into walnut-size balls.  Place meatballs in single layer on wax paper-lined cookie sheets; freeze until solid.  Store frozen meatballs in freezer bags until ready to cook.  To make sauce, combine all ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Place frozen meatballs in a 13 X 9 X 2 in. baking pan; pour on the sauce.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.   Yield:  80 meatballs




Here’s a really delicious veggie dish!   It called for just cauliflower, but my very resourceful daughter knew we needed to use up some broccoli, too, so she mixed them!  I think we like it better that way!   And we hardly EVER have leftovers!   Everyone down to the little boys eats it up! 



 Cheesy Cauliflower (and Broccoli!)

(from Cooks.com–this is double the original recipe)


1 head cauliflower

1 head broccoli

2 c. mayonnaise

2 T. mustard

2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded


Cook cauliflower and broccoli until tender.  Combine mayonnaise and mustard.  Place caulifower/broccoli on serving (we use a baking) dish; cover with mayonnaise-mustard mix.  Top wtih shredded cheese.  Warm until cheese melts.


The recipe says, "Even the kids will eat cauliflower this way!"  I can say a hearty, "AMEN!"





And to add to the idea of frugality, I’d like to share other things as I can.   Sometimes we equate being frugal with plain.   I believe part of my "career" as a full time homemaker is to be creative!  


In trying to reduce our paper waste, we have brainstormed for ways to buy less paper products (paper towel, napkins, etc.) and reduce our usage of them.  We still have some on hand, but we don’t use them as much.


For paper towel, well, we use old towels!!!   You know, the towels that aren’t as good for drying dishes or bodies anymore?  But still have some wear left?  Or else the towels that started off too thin to be of much use?!   Many times we sop up a mess with the towels first.  We might use a few paper towels for stuff we wouldn’t want the washer to catch    but for the most part, we reach for an old towel!   (Or call the dog!!!   )


We have a friend with 11 children and the 12th on the way who made cloth napkins from her fabric scraps (like me, she has LOTS of fabric scraps!!!)    That inspired us and one day, my oldest 4 girls got both our sergers out, found lots of fabric scraps big enough to make decent sized napkins from, and had a sewing party!  (Can’t remember why I wasn’t a part of it, but it was a lot of fun watching them!)   They made 62 napkins in one afternoon!   There are even "John Deere" napkins for the boys!      When we buy paper napkins now,  they last a looooooong time!  (We use them sometimes, but not nearly as often now!)


We have a small basket (like for organizing drawers) on top of the dryer and put the used napkins in there. We’ve discussed a way of reusing them when they’re hardly used—one thought was to make a board with painted clothespins and write each one of our names on a clothespin!!!  Then we could clip up a napkin on our clothespin to use again later!


For washing, when someone notices the basket getting full (or the basket for the clean ones in the drawer getting empty!) they throw the napkins in with a load of dark clothes (since there are so many variations of colors!).   Someone is doing laundry nearly every day of the week (everyone age 7 and over has their own laundry day!) so it’s not a problem.


They don’t necessarily match, but we like being eclectic in other things (school, furniture, etc!), so why not table settings, too?!  Makes for a colorful table!  


This isn’t all of them (some are duplicates, some are in the wash!) but it gives you an idea of the variety we have!  



I am definitely still learning in this process!   I’m afraid I can’t tell you how to feed a family of 11 for $50 a week or less    but I can share what I do and what I learn along the journey!


Hope you enjoy the recipes and frugal ideas!



2 Responses to “Frugal Fridays–Feeding My Family for Fifteen (or Less!)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I've read that originally, napkin rings were for the purpose of distinguishing which cloth napkin belonged to which person. They would use the same cloth napkin multiple times, and each family member had their own napkin ring. They put the napkins in the rings after eating and left them at their place.

    <a href="http://www.heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com>DHM</a&gt;

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great tips, thanks! I hadn't thought to stretch meat by adding oatmeal, will have to try it.



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