Grocery prices are on the rise. That’s why I am so encouraged to share these delicious, inexpensive meals I made from Costco groceries!
We really can be more cheerful about grocery spending, friends. Yes, some prices have gone up. But we can still make very reasonably priced meals for our families. And we can still even serve them WITH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.
You know I had to say that, right? :)
Sometimes we think that we need to compromise on healthy foods in an effort to save money. Not so, not so. Let’s keep eating good food and know that we can focus on nourishment too!
I have become curious as of late, so I decided to spend some time breaking down the cost of some of the meals I made after a big Costco trip. I was so excited to see that every meal I made was still incredibly reasonable.
I typically feed a minimum of 10 people at each evening meal. Depending on our adult kids’ schedules and the friends they have with them, often we feed 15 or more at dinnertime. This makes my cost breakdown even more exciting. :)
If you’d like to take a look at the list of food I recently bought, you can check that out here.
Inexpensive Meals I Made From Costco
1. Chicken Salad on Croissants
I used canned chicken and croissants that I got at Costco to make a delicious meal of Chicken Salad on croissants with spinach. We had this with fresh strawberries, raspberries, and carrots. The cost for this meal was right around $18 for 10 of us to eat!
2. “Homemade” Pizza
We used the pizza-making-kit from Costco to have a pizza night. Everyone loved this! We made four pizzas and ate them with these nourishing smoothies. Total cost for this meal was only $17. Amazing, right? But wait, it gets better…
Only our six littles were home when we first had this meal, so we ended up having enough leftovers to stretch these pizzas into two meals. So my $6.97 pizza kit lasted us for two meals, which was awesome on the budget, and also because having pizza leftovers is soooo nice to pull out on a busy day!
($17 divided by 2 meals equals $8.50 per meal to fill my family with pizza and a nourishing side. SO AMAZING!)
3. Smoked Chicken
We marinated Costco boneless chicken thighs in barbecue sauce, then threw the chicken on the smoker. We ate this with steamed green beans, buttered corn, baked potatoes, and grapes. The total cost for this meal was $26.
Sound like an expensive meal? Maybe. But it was a full night with many of our bigs and their significant others being home. Plus some family friends and my niece joined us. So we actually fed 16 people that night – 10 adults and 6 kids. $26 for a meal like this!! It breaks down to just $1.62/plate.
4. French Toast
The cinnamon streusel bread from Costco makes the most wonderful French toast!! We use eggs from our neighbor and made this meal with sausage links and sliced pears (or another choice of fruit the kids grabbed). The total cost for this meal was $19 for 12 people, $1.58 each.
I hope this cost breakdown encourages you as it does me!
Want to make these meals cost even less?
All of these meals can cost even less if you make more of the foods from scratch. My current season in life gives way to me purchasing some convenience foods (like croissants and other breads, some boxed foods, and canned items). But to save more money:
1. Make Chicken Salad from a cooked whole chicken. Save the bones to make broth for another meal or two. Instead of buying croissants, make bread like this. Or homemade, easy Pita Bread. So much more money saved!
2. Make homemade pizza crust like this. You can make these ahead of time and freeze the extras for an easy meal later.
3. Watch for meat mark-downs! I recently found chicken thighs marked down for quick sale at Sam’s. I bought all I could!
4. Make homemade bread or simply skip the special cinnamon streusel bread to use a less expensive variety to make French toast. Skip the sausage in the meal and just enjoy eggs as protein. :)
What inexpensive meals have you made lately?
Stay tuned for more Big Family Food posts, where I share all about how I make food for our big family! And read here to catch up on other posts in this series you may have missed. :)
I’ve made black bean soup and chicken noodle soup in my pressure cooker. They both take only a few ingredients and a few minutes to prep.
Thank you so much. I am usually feeding anywhere from 9-14 people every night and am always on the lookout for new meal ideas, especially cheap and easy!! I usually make big pots of soup in the winter and freeze the in portions for us to pull out easily and heat up. Summer is always harder to find easy quick inexpensive meals that feed a crowd when we are all tired of soup after the winter.
Well your prices must be a lot lower over there. Not even at Costco prices can I come even close.
Not to mention the fact that I cannot have a single meal that you made due to food allergies and intolerances. They each have major components that I can’t have, and most have more than one.
It’s almost $8 for just a half size loaf of wheat and corn free bread. Most have corn. Almost $4 for a quart of milk.
I really wish I could have almost anything, like I did as a child. Sounds so yummy.
I also am dealing with major food intolerances (the list of foods I can eat without issues is shorter than the list of foods I can), but I am grateful for the foods I am able to eat, even if that means not being able to eat the foods I would like to eat. Mindset matters. If we focus on ‘lack’ and on how frustrating our bodies and circumstances are, that impacts our health too and makes life less joyful. Let’s choose to focus on solutions and on what we can do, rather than what we can’t.
Why not make your own bread? If wheat is an issue, you may be able to tolerate spelt or einkorn. They are certainly more expensive grains than all-purpose wheat, but the cost per loaf will surely be lower than $8! Or you could skip bread altogether and make easier items such as biscuits, pancakes, and muffins that can be nice and fluffy without needing wheat or special additives. Oats are an easy flour replacement for those.
Waffles made with oat flour (throw gluten free rolled oats in a blender) are easy to make, freeze very well, and make a decent bread substitute. I never add sugar and I always use water (a little less) in place of milk. Add a bit of vinegar to make ‘buttermilk’. Works just fine in baking.
If a gallon has a cheaper unit price than a quart, why not buy a gallon and freeze it in smaller containers? Milk freezes just fine.
One of the best deals for a large family is the rotesserie chicken. I can use the meat off the bone for at least three meals (feed family of 6, including 4 boys) by making quesedillas, chicken and pasta or a Middle Eastern chicken and rice dish. Then, put the bones in the crock pot overnight, covered with water (and onion, carrot, bay leaf) to make incredible (and healthy) bone broth that is a fantastic soup starter that…..will feed my family of 6 again for two meals at least. Crazy. All for $4.98
I agree with Melissa about the allergies. On top of that my husband is a southern boy and french toast and some of the other things you mentioned he eats for breakfast not supper. He eats potatoes, green beans eggs and meat for breakfast with a biscuit along with salad fixings. He will not eat pizza so I better have leftovers in the fridge when I plan pizza. I am glad that all those things make great evening meals for your family but they won’t work for me.
Thank you for sharing these awesome meal ideas.
You’ve come a long way from your rigid stance against all convenience foods.
For sure! I’ve had to: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/who-even-cares-anymore-about-free-range-chicken
Love this, even though I do some of these it is so nice to see the cost breakdown and get a few more ideas. I also love all your recipes, especially the fresh ground wheat ones. It is so helpful to have homemade option and convenience options in one place because sometimes we have time and sometimes we don’t. Thanks!!!