One way to plan some cheap family recipes when you are just starting out and don’t really know how to go about it, is to make a list of staples that are inexpensive in your area. The reason this works well is that the whole meal can be planned around that staple, and small bits of more expensive foods can be added to it to create interest, add nutrition, and round out the meal.

In general, the following staples can be purchased fairly cheaply in most areas and are filling and healthy.

* Legumes- dry beans, peas, lentils

* Grains- barley, rice, millet, cracked wheat or bulgur, oats, flour

* Pasta

* Vegetables- potatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots

Try a rich, tasty split pea soup. You could combine this with discount or homemade buns and serve canned peaches for dessert. The cost for this soup is $4.00 and it serves 6 people.

Rich Split Pea Soup

2 tbsp oil, 1 chopped onion, 1 cup red lentils, 5 cups water, 2 chicken bouillon cubes, 1 (11oz) can condensed split pea soup, 1 (11oz) can condensed cream of potato soup, 1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk.

In large pot, combine oil and onion. Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes until onion is browned. Stir in water, bouillon cubes and lentils. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 10 minutes.

Add soups to pot and stir well. Bring back to a simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in evaporated milk and turn off heat.

Serve immediately.

Pesto Pasta Salad

This recipe serves 8 and costs $6.40 to make. Serve with deli ham and orange wedges on the side.

1/2 cup Spinach Pesto, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup salad dressing, 2 Tbsp milk, 1 (16 oz) bag bow tie pasta, 2 cups frozen peas, 1 chopped green pepper, 3 stalks celery chopped, 1/4 cup chopped green onions.

Bring to boil a large pot of salted water. Meanwhile, combine in large bowl the pesto, mayo, salad dressing, and milk. Mix well. Cook pasta until al dente. Place frozen peas in strainer and drain pasta over peas to warm them. Add pasta and peas to pesto mixture and stir in pepper, celery, and green onions. Cover and chill for 3-4 hours before serving.

Cheap Family Recipes can be made with beans and rice. These 2 ingredients together make a complete protein, so no need for meat. Cost of this dish is $6.55; serve with carrot sticks on the side for a great color combination.

Red Beans and Rice

1 1/2 cups long grain rice, 3 cups water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp butter- divided, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped green pepper, 3 stalks chopped celery, 2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans drained, 1 (4 oz) can green chilies with juice, 1/2 cup chili sauce, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.

Cook rice according to directions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter in large skillet; add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add pepper and celery; cook 4 more minutes. Add beans, chilies, chili sauce and pepper. Bring to a simmer.

When rice is cooked, add 2 Tbsp butter. Put rice on serving plate and make an indentation in the center. Pour bean mixture into center and serve immediately.

We have many more Healthy Eating help Articles Now Available.