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5 Easy Cheap Dinners for Families

Try some of our ideas for feeding a family well on the cheap. See more kid-friendly recipe pictures.

You don't have to spend all your time watching TV to know these are not the best economic times. And even if you're not worried about the economy, the reality is it's still affecting your grocery bill. In August 2011, the weekly cost to feed a family of four, on a moderate plan, was between $195 and $231, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Compare that to just $182 and $217 one year earlier.

These higher costs stem from two items: wheat and corn. Wheat has been in short supply, thanks to droughts in Russia, a major wheat exporter, and disease (wheat rust UG99) in Africa. Corn has its own challenges. Once primarily grown for food, corn is now also used for ethanol, an alternative sustainable fuel source. For shoppers, these supply and demand issues mean higher costs in areas they may not suspect. Cereals, breads and pastas contain corn and wheat; cows, pigs and chickens feed on corn; and many products are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.

That's why you'll want to read on to discover some cheap, easy recipes for your family. We'll start with a breakfast staple that also works for dinner.