In 2020, one of my goals is to make having family dinners at home a priority. It will help with both keeping our spending down and creating more chances for creating meaningful conversations and relationships in our family. It will also help with giving us more control over what food we are putting into our bodies. Both my husband and I are working to make healthier choices, and one of our sons is on ADHD medication which can often affect his appetite, which makes being more conscious of what he is eating when he has an appetite even more important.
So, I set out with the goal to try out as many different meal ideas this year as possible. Every Monday, I will post a list of meals we had during the previous week. I will give you our reviews based on taste, prep time, cost, etc. I will need more than just my own Pinterest search skills as we go through the year to keep coming up with new meals to try, so if you are following along and have a recipe you think we should try, please send it to me!
Now, here is the list of meals we tried over the last week (and a half because of how the new year fell). I will include links to recipes I found online and links to cookbooks that I got recipes from as well. Please feel free to let me know in the comments here, on Facebook, or Instagram if you and your family decide to add any of these in to you regular meal rotations.
- Breakfast Crescent Casserole
Find Recipe Here: delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a49188/breakfast-crescent-casserole-recipe/
Family Taste Rating: 4/4 no complaints here!
Cost: Approximately $8 total (we get about 6 servings out of it)
Time: 20 min prep/25 min cook The most time consuming part of this is frying up the bacon, so if you wanted to make it a super fast meal, you could probably just sub in ready made bacon bits.
This one is already in our regular meal lineup and is a family favorite! We omit the green onions just as personal preference.
- Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese
Find Recipe Here: https://cafedelites.com/tuscan-chicken-mac-and-cheese/
Family Taste Rating: 2.5/4 One picky eater balked at the sight of spinach and the sundried tomatoes and wouldn’t eat it. The other ate it without much grumbling, but I definitely wasn’t his favorite. Husband and I absolutely loved it though! If you’ve got super picky eaters, it may not be the best hit, but it’s definitely worth a shot to try to get it in the rotation in my opinion. I will still make it since husband and I loved it so much, but I won’t make it a regular meal probably until I can bring the kids around to it fully.
Cost: Approximately $12 (about 6 servings)
Time: 1 hour This definitely wasn’t the most time efficient meal, but worth the time in my opinion. Plus, it’s all cooked in one pan, so you save some cleanup time there. It evens out in my book!
Note: I replaced the white wine with chicken broth and used milk, not cream.
- Spinach Artichoke Chicken Casserole
Find Recipe Here: http://midgetmomma.com/spinach-artichoke-chicken-casserole…/
Family Taste Rating: 2/4 Ok so both husband and I thought the taste was great, but the texture was off. One kiddo took his required test bite and that was it. The other ate it, but wasn’t enthused.
Cost: Approximately $15 (about 6 servings)
Time: 20ish prep/40 cook time
Note: I think next time I want to try using precooked/shredded chicken vs cubed raw chicken breasts. I think that might eliminate some of the loose texture and improve it greatly.
- Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies
Find Recipe Here: https://damndelicious.net/2016/12/16/sheet-pan-steak-and-veggies/
Family Taste Rating: 4/4 I’m not including my kids’ usually complaints about veggies lol they enjoyed the baby potatoes and ate their required amount of broccoli, but like many kids they don’t exactly get excited about vegetables.
Cost: Approximately $20 (5-6 servings) This one is a bit pricier, but still cheaper than a meal out for a family, and much, MUCH healthier!
Time: 40 minutes (This includes prep and cook time, and I may be over estimating a bit. So this is a great weeknight easy option!)
- Crazy Easy Curry
Find the recipe in this cookbook (We use it nearly every day, so trust me, it’s worth the purchase!): https://amzn.to/36NUMP1 *affiliate link*
Family Taste Rating: 4/4
Cost: Approximately $20 (we get about 10 servings, sometimes more) *I also use boil in a bag rice, because it is the one thing that I always mess up cooking, so that increases the cost for us.
Time: 20 (About 10 minutes to dump everything in the crockpot and another 10 to cook the rice. This is a favorite weeknight meal of ours)
Note: I cut the crushed red pepper in half to make it more kid friendly, and we serve over brown rice without adding the cauliflower.
- Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
Family Taste Rating: 2.5/4 The kids weren’t crazy about these, but husband and I think they taste great!
Cost: Approximately $12 (5-7 servings)
Time: 20 min prep/20 min cook time
- Creamy Honey Mustard Chicken with Crispy Bacon
Find Recipe Here: https://cafedelites.com/creamy-honey-mustard-chicken/
Family Taste Rating: 4/4 (Husband took the extra serving and put it on a bed of spinach for lunch the next day, using the sauce as salad dressing and said it was amazing!)
Cost: Approximately $11 (5 servings) We served roasted broccoli and biscuits on the side, making the total meal cost around $14.
Time: 40 min
- Korean BBQ Beef Burritos
Find Recipe Here: https://pinchofyum.com/korean-bbq-burrito
Family Taste Rating: 3.5/4 Some small complaints from one kiddo, but raves from everyone else. This will definitely go in the regular rotation!
Cost: Approximately $24 (6-8 servings)
Time: 20 About 10 minutes to dump everything in the crockpot and another 10 to boil rice
Note: I couldn’t find kimchi, so we used plain shredded cabbage. Cost will also vary depending on how many/what type of other toppings you want to use. Boil in a bag rice increased our cost some.
Oops! We forgot to grab a photo because we were all so hungry that night! There is no recipe! This is all store-bought prepared ingredients. Mama needs a break every once in a while, and this is still cheaper than eating out and still brings your family around the table. I got a bag of frozen ravioli, frozen breadsticks, a jar of marinara, and a bag of salad at Walmart!
Family Taste Rating: 4/4
Cost: Approximately $9 (6 servings)
Time: 10 minutes
- Homemade Pizza
Crust (makes one crust) –
2 C flour
Italian Seasoning (add to crust dough to your taste)
2/3 C milk
1/3 C vegetable oil
Pizza blend cheese
*adjust to your preferences
Pre-bake crust at 400 for 10-12 minutes. Add toppings and cook until cheese is melted toppings are warmed through.
Family Taste Rating: 4/4 This is the same recipe my mom used when I was growing up and it instantly takes me back to birthday sleepovers with friends when I taste it!
Cost: Approximately $7-$8 (8 servings. We doubled the crust recipe to make two pizzas)
And tonight (Sunday), we had leftovers, because even after eating some of them for lunches, we had a good bit of miscellaneous servings left from throughout the week of dinners!
Total approximate cost for 11 nights of dinners for a family of four (with some servings also providing lunches): $139!!!!!!! Y’all those are some major savings right there! That would only get you a few nights of eating out, and eating out wouldn’t provide you with leftovers for lunches!
****All cost estimates assume pantry staples like oils, flour, and spices are already in your kitchen. Costs are based on prices of goods in my local Wal-mart and Aldi, and they may vary depending on your area and where your grocery shopping preferences are. If you are like me and always on the go, looking for ways to save time, try out grocery pick up or Instacart!
Try Wal-Mart Grocery Pick up now and get $10 off your first order of $50 or more!
Try Instacart now! And save $10 off your first order!