3 Delicious Meal Ideas for a Family of 4 on a Budget

All Things Mandy
by All Things Mandy

Welcome back to my channel. My name is Mandy and this week we will be creating easy, delicious budget family meals. This week is the last week of the month, so it’s a low-spend week. I’m cooking only from what I have on hand in my freezer and pantry.

Pulled pork from the freezer

1. Pulled pork nachos

For tonight’s budget family meal, I have pulled out some pulled pork from my freezer that was leftover from another recipe. 

Adding water and barbeque sauce

I’m going to start by getting my pulled pork heated. I don’t want it to dry out, so I’m going to put it in this saucepan and add a cup of water and some barbeque sauce as well, and then I’m going to let this simmer on my stove. 

Jars of pepperoncini

Next, I preheated my oven to 375. I was digging through my fridge and found these two bits of pepperoncini in my fridge that I need to use up. So I'm going to slice up these pepperoncinis.

Ingredients for queso

As I get ready to make my queso, I’m thinking about using these onions. I also have a little bit of sharp cheddar, some pepper jack, and a can of green chilies. 

Making the queso

To make the queso, I’m going to warm this saucepot up on my stove and put in two tablespoons of butter. I’m going to let the butter melt down and then add some flour. I’m basically just making a roux.

After I add the flour I’m going to constantly stir this to cook the flour and get it incorporated with the butter. And then, I’m going to be adding in some milk. This is going to be the base for my cheese. 

Making the roux

Once you add in the milk you want to constantly stir, just to incorporate the flour in the milk and not have lumps. 

Adding cheese to the queso mixture

Once the flour is incorporated, I pulled it off of the direct heat. You don’t want to add your cheese to the mixture boiling. I’m adding my cheeses: the sharp cheddar and the pepper jack. I’m going to give this a stir until the cheese melts and also add in those green chilies.

This is going to continue to thicken. You can see the deliciousness and gooeyness that this queso has. 

Layering tortilla chips on a pan

Now, I’m building nachos on my sheet pan. I sprayed the sheet pan and I’m putting a layer of tortilla chips on the bottom. 

Sprinkling toppings on the nachos

I’m sprinkling the pulled pork on my tortilla chips. Trying to get even coverage. Then, I’m adding that delicious queso, trying not to make it too gloppy and trying to spread it out so all the chips get a little bit of queso.

I’m going to put a few of these peppers and some cheese on top and then just repeat the layers. I’m adding more chips, more pulled pork, more pepper, more cheese, and obviously, more queso.

Drizzling sauces on the nachos

I’m then going to take the nacho sheet pan and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes. And here are the nachos. It smells amazing. It looks amazing. I’m going to take a little bit of barbeque sauce and drizzle it over the top along with leftover sour cream from my fridge.

You can put whatever toppings you prefer. I’m trying to keep this a low-spend week and just use what I have.

Pulled pork nachos

Here are my nachos. Let’s do a taste test. Wow! It was so delicious with the pepper. Pulled pork nachos are so good. It’s a great way to use leftover pulled pork.

Ground beef

2. Homemade hamburger helpers

I have a pound of ground beef from my butcher box that I got a couple of months ago and need to use up. I am also using elbow macaroni.

Cooking meat and adding sauce

After I start my meat browning on the stove, I’m going to get the spice mix ready. I’m using cornstarch as a thickening agent, paprika garlic powder, and onion. I added sugar and, of course, salt and pepper.

Once my meat was all cooked up, I added my spices to the meat along with Worcestershire sauce. This was the beginning of my hamburger helper.

Adding liquids

The next step is to add in my liquids. I have two cups of hot water and two cups of milk. 

Adding the macaroni

I added two cups of elbow macaroni to my boiling hamburger mixture. I’ll cover it and let it simmer for about 12 minutes. 

Adding cheese

Once it’s simmered, I’m going to add this pizza blend cheese that I had on hand, to make this extra cheesy and creamy. 

Cutting up jalapeno dill pickle spears

After 20 minutes, it smells so good. I started digging through my fridge and found I had little bits of jalapeno dill pickle spears. I diced it up and mixed it in.

Homemade hamburger helpers

Look at this bowl y’all. It’s time for the taste test. Wow! That is so good and so much better than the box mix. Y’all gotta try this. It’s delicious. Add the pickle.


3. Baked spaghetti

For this budget family meal of baked spaghetti, I’m going to borrow from a delicious recipe that mom uses. I have a little more than half of this linguini left. It’s not spaghetti, but it will be ok.

Italian sausage

I have a little bit of Italian sausage that I’d cooked. I’m adding another pound of sweet Italian pork sausage from my butcher box, some pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, and a can of cream of mushroom soup. 

Mixing pasta with sauce

I’m boiling up my pasta, browning my sausages in a pan with the pasta sauce, and then we are going to mix it together.

Pouring pasta into a casserole

Next, I’ll pour it into a casserole dish and spread it out. 

Adding cream of mushroom soup

I’m adding the cream of mushroom soup to the top of the dish. I’m also adding some leftover sliced mozzarella along with shredded mozzarella. 

I’m going to put this in a 425-degree oven for 20 minutes. This is a great way to use leftover spaghetti. My mom used to put leftover noodles and sauce in the freezer.

When guests came and she needed something quick, she put the leftover pasta, mushroom sauce, and cheese in the casserole dish and popped it into the oven.

Meal ideas for family of 4 on a budget

Here is my finished baked spaghetti. It smells amazing and is bubbling and gorgeous.

Meal ideas for a family of 4 on a budget

Leftovers can be repurposed into delicious meals. What budget family meals can you make from the things in your pantry and freezer? Let us know in the comments.

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