10 Quick and Frugal Sunday Lunch Ideas
Can I be brutally honest for a minute?
Sundays are hard for my family.
I’ve said it before, but on Sundays, Chip goes into some sort of preacher trance where he takes an hour and a half to get himself ready. During that time, he just goes through his sermon over and over, so there’s a lot of whispering scriptures while making hand gestures.
It’s pretty weird, and I try to be out of the room before he starts all that.
But while he’s in the twilight/preacher zone, I’m trying to get four kids dressed and out the door without losing my patience and ruining the morning.
Because what’s the point in taking kids to church to learn about Jesus if you act like the devil before you get there?
So by the time church is over, I am worn out.
I want to go home, put on my pajamas, and eat all the carbs.
The last thing I want to do is cook or go out to eat.
Now, those of you with older kids or fewer kids or better-mannered kids may love going out to eat on Sundays.
For us, it’s pretty miserable. We have to drive twenty plus minutes to get to a restaurant that we all like, and by that time, the kids are starving and tired which is a horrible combination.
So for this season of life, the easiest thing for us to do is to go home and eat a meal that I already prepared.
Because hospitality is so important to us, we invite people over two or three Sundays a month. Then, we can put the younger kids down for naps and let the older ones play while we visit instead of expecting them to sit politely in a restaurant.
Before you start to think that I’m a domestic goddess, every meal that I make is EASY.
Because my primary concern is nourishing my kids, not impressing guests, I’m able to make a nice hot lunch in about 20 minutes on Sunday morning before church.
1. Buffalo Chicken
This three-ingredient recipe is a family favorite.
I can throw it all in the crockpot in the morning while I make my coffee, and it’s ready by the time we get home from church. We usually serve it with lentils and tater tots, but it’s best served on crusty French bread with mozzarella cheese.
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I use this recipe from The Frugal Girls.
2. Taco Soup
This recipe involves more prep work because you have to brown the ground beef before you dump it in the crockpot, but I usually do that part on Saturday.
In fact, we often have tacos on Saturday and I make extra meat to use in the soup on Sunday.
The only thing I do differently from this recipe is to use spicy V8 juice and Rotel instead of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Although sometimes I’ll add a couple of finely shredded zucchinis to sneak in some veggies. My kids have never even noticed.
3. Chicken Tortilla Soup
I make this soup using the same eight ingredients as the taco soup, except I use chicken instead of beef.
So open your crock pot and put in two cooked chicken breasts, one can each of pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, corn, Rotel, 1 (or 2) packet taco seasoning, and enough spicy V8 juice to achieve your desired consistency.
I’m not going to tell you how to make enchiladas.
There are so many different ways that we’d be here all day.
I am going to tell you to make an extra pan the next time you make them. Just pull the pan out the day before and thaw it in the refrigerator. Then, throw it in the oven after church on Sunday.
It takes my family 30 minutes to change out of church clothes, wash hands, and set the table. By the time you’re all situated and ready to eat, the enchiladas will be finished cooking.
We usually heat up some refried beans and I cook some rice to go with the enchiladas.
5. Beef Tacos
For some reason, we didn’t eat tacos for the first decade we were married.
Now we eat them weekly.
We often eat them on Sundays because it takes about 15 minutes to brown the meat and put it in my small Crockpot along with the water and taco seasoning. If I’m feeling extra energetic on Saturday night, I’ll go ahead and do all that so I only have to put the crock in the pot Sunday morning.
We come home and pull out the tortillas, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, guacamole, and tomatoes, and lunch is ready in 20 minutes.
6. Salsa Chicken Bowls
To make this fantastic meal, you simply put four chicken breasts and 16 ounces of salsa in the crockpot for 4-6 hours.
When the chicken is done use a fork to shred it.
You then put it in a bowl with some rice, black beans, guacamole, shredded cheese, Greek yogurt, and whatever else you like!
It’s super easy, but really delicious. Every time we serve it to guests, I get tons of compliments on my cooking. Which makes me much more likely to invite those people back.
You could also make it in an Instant Pot, but I haven’t quite mastered mine yet, so be sure to read some chicken cooking articles somewhere else before you attempt it.
My friend, Tomasina, is Italian and from Rhode Island. She makes the best spaghetti sauce I’ve ever eaten, and part of the cooking process involves deglazing the pan. It is complicated and amazing.
My spaghetti sauce is nothing like hers. Mine is just ground beef cooked with dried onions and then covered in jarred spaghetti sauce. I’m not even that particular about which kind I buy.
So if you make spaghetti like Tomasina, this might not be a quick Sunday lunch for you.
For me, it takes about 20 minutes to brown the meat and dump it into the crockpot with a jar of spaghetti sauce.
My oldest son loves chili.
The last time we were at McDonald’s, a worker asked if he wanted jelly with his biscuit.
He said, “Yes!” very excitedly because he thought she’d asked if he wanted chili with his biscuit. Which is a really weird thing to think considering we’ve never had chili and biscuits or chili at McDonald’s.
Kids are weird.
Because he loves chili so much, we eat it often.
My recipe is really basic and follows the directions on the back of a McCormick Chili seasoning package pretty closely. The only changes I make are to use V8 juice instead of water, Rotel instead of plain diced tomatoes, and to add an extra can of beans.
This can all be thrown into the crockpot very easily before church Sunday morning or before bed Saturday night.
9. Roast, Potatoes, & Carrots
This is not a favorite of my family’s, so we don’t eat it nearly as often as I’d like.
When I do make a roast, I put the roast, seasonings, and two cans of Campbell’s Golden Cream of Mushroom Soup into the crockpot the night before, and I start it on low. It takes that long for the roast to get really tender.
I add the chopped potatoes and baby carrots in the morning and it’s all ready by the time church is out!
Again, I know this could be done much faster using an Instant Pot, but I don’t know how to do it. If you do, please tell me in the comments!
10. Chef Salad
This meal requires some pretty serious menu planning to make sure that all your fresh ingredients are still good on Sunday, but that’s about the extent of the prep work.
We like boiled eggs on our salad, so I boil those at some point on Saturday, so they’re ready and in the fridge on Sunday.
Because my kids don’t like to eat salad “mixed together,” we just lay everything out salad bar style, and everybody gets what they want.
For us, the options are usually sliced turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, shredded cheese, sliced boiled eggs, cucumbers, bacon, corn, and ranch dressing.
The best thing about these quick and frugal Sunday lunch ideas is that they can be served for Sunday dinner as easily as lunch. (Ahhh, the beauty of a crockpot.)
That’s important for us because plans change.
If we get an invitation to go out to lunch, we want to be flexible enough to go without worrying about the timer on the oven.
I’m sure that one day Alexa will be able to get a text message from me and turn off the oven for me, but until then, the slow cooker is my go-to for Sunday lunches.
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