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How to Feed a Family of Six Three Tasty Meals for $100

Ms. Carroll is a contract paralegal who enjoys freelance writing in her spare time.

Don't Panic

The coronavirus pandemic caught many of us off-guard, that is, with depleted pantries and unexpected budget tightening. Here is a quick and easy meal plan that will feed a family of six for three evenings for slightly more than $100. The meals I chose to prepare are:

  • Chicken pot pie
  • Chicken tetrazzini
  • Chicken/sausage gumbo

I prepared all three of these dishes in a single morning and then set them in the fridge to be brought out and cooked over three consecutive days. I simply pre-mixed the gumbo without cooking it (which served to enhance the flavors). If you're vegetarian, just leave out the chicken.

Below you will find your grocery shopping list for all three dishes, along with their respective recipes. You'll have leftover link sausage, which quickly adds to breakfast the next morning. And might as well add a Bloody Mary. You'll have leftover mix as well—after all, you deserve it!

Full Grocery List for 3 Meals

Servings per meal: 6

  • 1 package deep-dish frozen pie crusts (2 crusts per package)
  • 8 boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2 bags frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 carton of chicken broth
  • 1 box spaghetti noodles
  • 1 package shredded cheddar cheese (at least 1 cup)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 (4 oz.) cans sliced mushrooms
  • Milk (at least 1/3 cup)
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 box or bag brown rice
  • 1 package Cajun link sausage
  • 1 (4 oz.) jar pimientos
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bottle Bloody Mary Mix (vodka optional for later : )
  • 1 (20 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bag Gumbo Blend frozen vegetables
  • 1 small can tiny shrimp
  • 1 small can crabmeat

1. Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is as good for the soul as chicken soup. After all, it contains chicken soup.

Yield: 4 servings. Double the recipe to make 8 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 package frozen deep-dish pie crusts (2 crusts per package)
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 soup can chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Cook 3 boneless chicken breasts or thighs thoroughly (1 hour at 350 degrees F).
  2. Line the bottom of greased casserole dish with one thawed frozen pie crust. Separately, mix together all remaining ingredients except the other pie crust. Salt and pepper to taste, then pour the mixture into the casserole dish (on top of the first pie crust).
  3. Add the second pie crust to the top of the mixture and make several punctures with a knife in the top. Lighly cover with foil. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.
  4. If you are adding crispy fried onions, remove from the oven and add the onions. Bake without foil for an additional 8 minutes.
how-to-feed-a-family-of-six-three-meals-for-100

2. Chicken Tetrazzini

This is a twist on turkey tetrazzini but this recipe could easily be made with turkey or a combination of turkey and chicken. I've even made it with a Cornish hen. My daughter loves another variation where I simply add a can of LeSuer English Peas which also helps stretch the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz.) box spaghetti noodles
  • 2 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (cheese lovers can add extra)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1-2 cans sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped green or red pepper
  • 1 small jar pimientos
  • 1 medium onion, diced

Instructions

  1. Snap the spaghetti noodles into 2" pieces and cook according to directions, then drain. Cook 3 chicken breasts or thighs at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
  2. Transfer cooked spaghetti and cooked chicken to a large bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste and thoroughly stir.
  3. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes at 375 degrees F.
how-to-feed-a-family-of-six-three-meals-for-100

What's Your Preference

3. Easy Chicken/Sausage Gumbo

This can be prepared ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator. It can be cooked stove-top or placed in a slow cooker. It's as simple as mixing the ingredients together and serving once heated.

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Bloody Mary Mixture
  • 1 (20 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 bag Gumbo Blend frozen vegetables
  • 1/2 package Cajun-style link sausage, diced
  • 1 small can tiny shrimp, drained
  • 1 small can crabmeat, drained
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3-4 cups cooked brown rice

Instructions

Mix all ingredients and heat. Yep, that's it. I prefer to put all ingredients in a slow cooker for about 6 hours, but you can whip this up and serve over cooked brown rice in about 30 minutes.

how-to-feed-a-family-of-six-three-meals-for-100