Being frugal and having your whole household griping and feeling deprived is a drag. I'm usually succesful at avoiding this by including some "fun" foods in our menus. For example, tonight we are having Black Beans and Rice, a simple but yummy meal. I usually serve it with a dollop of salsa and steamed greens on the side(kale, collards, etc.) To make it more fun, everyone gets a handful of tortilla chips to use as edible spoons. The kids love this and at $1.61 for the 1 pound bag of tortilla chips, I haven't broken the bank either.
Plaintains are also a treat to serve with beans, my kids love them. Just make sure you let them ripen until they're really mottled looking or they'll be too starchy. I peel them and fry them in a cast iron skillet with a little spray of olive oil. (BTW, if you use cooking spray invest in one of those refillable containers. It's so much cheaper and better for the environment than buying the disposable aerosol cans from the grocery store. I got mine on ebay for under $10.)
Another fun addition to meals that I recently tried is breadsticks. I had some leftover pizza dough from the birthday party this past weekend. I rolled it into sticks, sprinkled with garlic powder and sesame seeds and baked at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (I kept peeking so I'm not totally sure on the time.) I served it along with pasta and the kids loved it. They kept dipping them in their sauce.