Freezer Meals,Meal Planning,Recipes

Frugal Chili – 1 recipe, 3 meals for a family of 6

Spread the love

Are you always searching for frugal meals? I’m always looking for a big recipe to feed our family while keeping the cost down. Not only do I search for frugal recipes, they need to both taste delicious and be approved by my kids. If you have stumbled onto my page, I am a mother of 4 kids and I meal plan weekly with a budget of $150/week (Canadian). Yes, that is correct, feeding us all on that budget and we are meat eaters which drives the cost up. See my previous meal plans and grocery hauls in the posts below:

Today, I am sharing a chili recipe I make over and over. It’s simple, it’s frugal and I can make it stretch a long ways. 2 lbs of ground beef is eaten quickly in this house and it’s the most expensive ingredient in this recipe. I use it all, and split this recipe into 3. Instead of eating it 3 times the exact same way, I try to change it up and eat it with different carbs.

I do want to point out that y kids are young and my boys are not super hungry teenagers, therefore I can divide this recipe into 3. When they do get bigger, I will most likely only split it into 2 as they will have bigger appetites.

My favorite aspect of eating chili is that you can change it up every single time. If you don’t have specific ingredients on hand, you can play around with other shelf items. For example, today, as I made this recipe, I did not have any diced tomatoes, however, I did have a few tomatoes in my fridge that I could quickly dice up. If you have extra vegetables in your fridge, why not use them as well (for example peppers). It’s kind of a dump the ingredients from your fridge into your chili.

Right now, this is how I transform our recipe in 3 different ways:

  1. Chili on plain macaroni sprinkled with cheddar cheese
  2. Chili on a dinner rolls
  3. Chili Dogs (I will cook up my hot dogs either on the stove top or grill, then add hot dog buns to a casserole dish, add the hot dogs, top it with chili & cheese, bake quickly at 350F for 5-10 mins for the cheese to melt)
  4. .

Batch Chili

Making chili once, eating it 3 separate times for a family of 6!!!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Family Meal, Frugal Meal, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chili, Family Meal, Frugal Meal
Servings: 6 People
Author: Surviving Three Boys And A Girl


  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 6 Carrots
  • 1 Celery Stalk
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Lbs Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 Can (28 Oz) Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Marinara Sauce
  • 1 Can Tomato Soup
  • 1 Can Maple Flavoured Beans
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans
  • 3 Tbs Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Tbs Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Cup Corn
  • 2-3 Cups Cooked Macaroni (optional)
  • Cheese to sprinkle over each serving
  • Hot Dogs & Buns (optional)
  • Dinner Rolls (optional)
  • More Beans (optional)


  • Dice up all your vegetables.
  • Heat oil in a large pot and add all your cut up vegetables. Cook down for 10-20 minutes on medium and make sure to stir often not to burn them.
  • Add ground beef and cook it all together. Drain the fat/liquids.
  • Add the remaining ingredients except for corn.
  • Add spices. Let simmer for at least an hour or throw it into a slow cooker on low for (make sure to spray your pot and leave it on low so not to burn the chili).
  • Just before eating, add corn and cook for another 5-10 minutes for the corn to warm up.
  • Serve on top of macaroni, or hot dogs, dinner rolls. Sprinkle with cheese


We prefer a sweeter chili, but if you prefer spice, add a touch a of cayenne pepper.
You can always stretch out your meal by adding more types of beans.
To freeze, I use freezer bags and make sure they are properly sealed for storage. I divide before I freeze in order to make it easier to pull a meal out of the freezer for another night.
Author Image
Surviving Three Boys and a Girl

13 thoughts on “Frugal Chili – 1 recipe, 3 meals for a family of 6

  1. Finally...a Canadian website for meal budgeting. And the amounts are realistic! I've been searching for way too long! Thank you.
    1. Aw so happy to hear!!! I felt the exact same way. I found many great examples and budgets but they were all American. I wanted to test myself to see if I could do it here in Saskatchewan/Canada. It was a fun challenge to do. Don’t get me wrong, sticking to $150/week is challenging and I haven’t been on that budget since April. However, I love trying, meal planning and having the discussion with others. Feel free to follow me on Instagram too where I post my grocery hauls (with a mixture of kid pictures ha!). Bonita_momof4

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: