These Delicious One-Dollar Meals Can Feed My Family of Five

I’m going to see how many budget-friendly meals I can get for $20 worth of food. The answer? It’s four meals that each feed my whole family of five! It cost on average about $5 a dinner.

So, break it all down and I made 20 meals on a budget that cost about $1 a meal to feed each person.

Here’s what I bought at Aldi and Walmart to make these cheap meal ideas. But you won’t see sun-dried tomatoes, which I already had in my pantry. But for your info, Walmart sells a bag for $2.52.

Groceries for family meals

Cheap groceries


  • Refried black beans, $1.18
  • Roll of pork sausage, Aldi $1.99
  • Onion, .20 cents
  • Artichoke hearts in a jar, $1.77
  • Cream of mushroom soup, 2 cans total $1.16
  • Head of lettuce, $1.85
  • Corn tortillas, $1.95
  • Roma tomatoes, 2 total .75 cents
  • Red potatoes, package $3.29
  • Lime, .44 cents
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, Aldi package $3.69
  • Angel hair pasta, Walmart box .92 cents
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, Walmart bag $2.52 (but I already had them in my pantry so I did not have to buy them)

Total haul: $21.71

Black bean tostadas


  • Corn tortillas
  • Oil for frying tortillas
  • Refried black beans
  • Cumin
  • Garlic
  • ¼ cup water


  • Cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes 
  • Salsa 
Frying the tortillas

1. Fry the tortillas

Heat up an oiled frying pan. Add more oil to the pan so you can fry the tortillas. When the oil is hot enough, put one tortilla in at a time to fry. Flip them over a few times for even frying. I fried all the tortillas but used four for this meal.

Heating up the refried black beans

2. Heat up beans

Put the package of refried black beans into a small pot on the stovetop. They are thick so I added a small amount of water. I also added some garlic powder and ground cumin. Stir until the consistency is a little liquidy.

Prepping the tortillas

3. Prep tortillas

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the fried tortillas on a shallow baking pan. Add a layer of refried beans on top of each tortilla. Add another layer of shredded cheese on top of each tortilla. Put the baking pan in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted.

Chopping tomatoes and lettuce

4. Prep toppings

Chop the tomatoes and shred the lettuce.

Cheap meals to feed the whole family

Cheap and easy tostadas

Top the tostadas with the vegetables and salsa and that’s one meal!

Olive oil pasta


  • Olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Artichoke hearts
  • 2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes 
  • Minced garlic
  • Pasta 
  • Pasta water
Boiling pasta

1. Boil pasta

Prepare the pasta per the directions.

Oiling the pan

2. Oil the pan

Eyeball the amount of oil you put in a large skillet. Add a couple of tablespoons of minced garlic and red pepper flakes per your liking (but you don’t need red pepper flakes). 

Adding sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes

3. Add sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes

Put your sun-dried tomatoes into the skillet. Mix and saute ingredients for about 5 minutes, then toss in the jar of artichoke hearts. You can break up the artichoke hearts as you saute them.

Mixing the pasta

4. Add pasta

When the pasta is done, unload it from the pot and put it directly into the skillet with the oil mixture. Do not discard the pasta water yet. It is needed to make the sauce. Mix pasta in the oil. Add more seasoning to taste. Add pasta water until it’s the consistency you like.

Pasta with olive oil

One big heaping plate of delicious, simple, and super tasty pasta. Add parmesan cheese if you’d like.

Pork sausage and potato bake


  • 2.5 lbs potatoes diced
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom
  • 2 cans milk
  • Breakfast sausage
  • Salt n pepper
  • 1½ cups cheese
Cooking the sausage

Cooking the sausage mixture in a pot

1. Prep the sausage

Cook up all of the breakfast sausages in a pot. When it’s cooked, drain it. Then add in the cans of mushroom soup, milk, and shredded cheese. Mix it all up and season it to taste.

Dicing up potatoes

2. Dice potatoes

Dice up your potatoes. I use this handy dicer to do a quick job. Put the potatoes into a baking dish.

Pouring the mixture into a baking dish

3. Pour sausage into a baking dish

Pour the pan of soupy sausage into the baking pan over the potatoes. Mix it all up as much as you can. Bake in the oven for one hour at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pork sausage and potato bake

Here’s the delicious, hearty, and bubbling result. 

Potato tacos


  • Potatoes boiled in their skin
  • Cumin
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Corn tortillas 
  • Oil for frying 
  • Cheese
  • Tomato
  • Onion
  • Lime
Prepping the potatoes

1. Prep the potatoes

Keep the skin on your potatoes. Wash them well. Boil them in a big pot of water with the skin on. 

Making pico de gallo

2. Make pico de gallo 

I made a homemade pico de gallo (minus cilantro just because I don’t like it). I just mixed chopped onion, tomatoes, and lime.

Mashing the potatoes

3. Mash the potatoes

I peeled off the skin from the potatoes and mashed them. But I threw the potato skins into the bowl as I was mashing them. Season to taste with garlic powder and cumin.

Frying the tortillas

4. Fry the tortillas

Oil up a frying pan. Put in a tortilla and cover it in cheese. Then add a big scoop of those potatoes on top of the tortilla. Fold over the tortilla and cook as a quesadilla. Fry each tortilla until crispy. Continue the same with the remaining tortillas.

Toasty potato tacos

Here are toasty potato tacos topped with homemade pico de gallo.

One-dollar meals

These are my delicious cheap meals for a $20 dollar budget. Personally, my favorite cheap meal was the tostadas with refried black beans. I love refried black beans! Let me know in the comments how you incorporate refried black beans into your budget meals.

Join the conversation
2 of 11 comments
  • Bernice Bernice on Jan 30, 2023

    All these recipes sound delicious ! Can’t wait to try them. Thank you for posting them.

  • Ruth olmstead Ruth olmstead on Mar 15, 2023

    That’s such a great way to do shopping at Aldi. I just started shopping there again. You gave me some great recipes. I look forward to trying each of these 🥰