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We live on a budget to help bring us closer to achieving our dream of being completely debt free! 🙂 One way we are able to do this is by carefully planning out our money saving meal plans and frugal grocery budget. Today I’m sharing my method with you so hopefully you can get some money saving meal ideas yourself.
We feed our entire family on a budget of about $200 per MONTH. This is less than what most people spend in a week. Our average shopping trip is around $60 per week. We only shop once a week, either on Saturdays or Sundays.
This week I fed our family for $67.80. It’s normally less than that, but I had quite a bit of stuff on the list this week.
This is based on a family of 4. This includes 7 dinners and 7 breakfasts for us all, plus lunches all week for 1-2 adults (since the entire family isn’t always home during the day). The following money saving meal plans are great for a family who is on a shoestring budget.
These calculations assume that you do already have some basics stocked in your pantry, like seasonings, oil, butter, etc. Also, it doesn’t figure in the things I buy in bulk and stockpile, like canned veggies. I only buy those 1-2 times per year when I can get them on sale (and combine with coupons) for about 20 cents per can.
We also can and freeze tons of our own garden veggies in the summer and eat them all year long. I’m giving you main dish ideas, but I usually also add a veggie for a side dish, which is “free” for me because they come from our garden or stockpile. There’s also the bonus that the hubby likes to fish, and we usually have fish in the freezer when his outings are successful. Told ya we’re frugal! 🙂
THEME MEAL DAYS
To simplify dinner planning, I’m going by this guideline:
-Meatless Monday…eliminating meat one day a week saves money!
-Tortilla Tuesday…because everything tastes better in a tortilla.
-Web Wednesday…every Wednesday, a new recipe from the web that I’ve been wanting to try.
-Throwback Thursday…some of our favorite old-school recipes from our favorite little old ladies.
-Fancy Friday…I try to make something a little special on Friday nights, as a way to ring in the weekend, since we usually stay in.
-Sandwich Saturday…Saturdays are the perfect day for sandwiches, and maybe some soup with it!
-Slow Cooker Sunday…hey, Sunday is the “day of rest”… And it doesn’t get more restful than letting your crockpot do all the work for you!
~~Breakfast options this week, based on our shopping list, are: Greek yogurt, toast, English muffins, banana, eggs, omelets, protein bars, meal replacement shakes
~~Lunch options this week are: all the things I said above, plus… Egg salad sandwich, salad with ham and hardboiled eggs, grilled cheese sandwich
There are also almost always leftovers from dinner that can be eaten the next day for lunch.
**Here’s my shopping list, and the prices I paid. All items were purchased at Aldi.
Fit & active shakes (2) $3.29 ea
Protein bars $3.99
Greek yogurt (5) $.85
Pane Italian Bread $3.79
English muffins $.99
Sour cream $1.29
Frozen pie crust $1.49
Ham lunch meat $3.29
Large raw mushrooms $1.49
4 bacon wrapped beef filets $1.95 ea
Frozen asparagus $2.29
Cream cheese $1.29
Canned luncheon meat (like SPAM, but it’s the Aldi brand) $1.59
Canned chili $1.29
Block Boxed Cheese (like Velveeta in the box, only it’s the Aldi brand)$4.29
Whole chicken $5.68
Skim milk $3.30
Whole milk $3.60
Total = $67.80
MAIN COURSES THIS WEEK WILL BE
*Meatless Monday: Fried PB & J Sandwiches
*Tortilla Tuesday: Fish Tacos
*Web Wednesday: Green Bean Quiche
*Throwback Thursday: Pizza Burgers
*Fancy Friday: 10 oz Bacon Wrapped Filets and Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
*Sandwich Saturday: Ham & Cheese Panini Sandwiches with Spicy Mayo
*Slow Cooker Sunday: Whole Roasted Chicken
Here are all the recipes (I will also be featuring each recipe as an individual post through the week, with photos!) 🙂
**Meatless Monday: Fried PB & J Sandwiches
Jelly, any flavor
2 beaten eggs with 1 tbsp. flour added
1 c. Whole milk
1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. sugar
Spread bread with peanut butter and jelly. Make batter and dip sandwich into batter quickly. Fry in deep HOT oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with powdered sugar. This is enough batter for 10 pieces of bread.
**Tortilla Tuesday: Fish Tacos
Fish. I like Tilapia or any flakey white lake fish.
1 can beer (drink the rest, Cheers!)
¾ Cup Flour
Lots of spices, about ½ tsp of each: cumin, chili powder, garlic (lots of garlic!), salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, parsley, onion powder.
Thaw fish (if frozen) & dry on a papertowel. Dip in batter and fry in hot oil until fully cooked and golden brown. Set on papertowel to remove excess oil. Add to tortillas and top with desired fix ‘ins.
**Web Wednesday: Green Bean Quiche
This recipe is courtesy of AllYou.com, via Pinterst…but I tweaked it a little bit because that’s what I do.
1 can green beans (or any green veggie you have frozen or in your pantry…spinach, asparagus, broccoli, etc)
6 Large Eggs
1 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup diced ham
1 ½ cups shredded cheese
Frozen pie crust
Salt & pepper
1 tsp minced dried onion
In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk, salt & pepper, and onion. Beat until well mixed. Arrange drained green beans on bottom of pie crust. Scatter ham over beans. Sprinkle cheese over ham. Pour egg mixture into shell.
Place quiche on baking sheet and bake until filling is set and crust is golden, about 40 minutes at 375 degrees. Slice into wedges and serve hot.
**Throwback Thursday: Pizza Burgers
This recipe is a specialty of my mother-in-law, who’s been making these since my hubby was just a little boy. They’re not exactly a burger, or a pizza…but they’re really yummy!
6 English Muffins, sliced in half
1 can canned luncheon meat (like SPAM, but from Aldi)
1 can chili without beans
1 cup cubed boxed cheese (like boxed Velveeta, only the Aldi brand)
With a potato masher, or a meat grinder if you have one, mash the meat, chili, and cheese until it is mixed very well into a uniform mixture.
Top open-face English muffins halves with mixture.
Broil on LOW until mixture in melted, bubbly, and golden brown. Be careful not to let it burn!
Serve hot and enjoy!
**Fancy Friday: 10 oz Bacon Wrapped Filets and Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
The filets are simple, just season and grill them to desired internal temperature!
Now for the stuffed mushrooms:
1 package raw mushrooms, cleaned & dried. If they have stems, remove those, but keep. Dice up and add to stuffing mixture.
1 block cream cheese, softened to room temp
1 cup shredded cheese
1 teaspoon Sriracha Asian hot sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
Paprika for garnish.
Set aside the whole mushroom caps, but mix all other ingredients very well until it is a uniform consistency. Stuff mushrooms with cheese mixture. Sprinkle with paprika. Place on foil lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until cream cheese mixture is bubbly and starts to turn golden brown.
**Sandwich Saturday: Ham & Cheese Panini Sandwiches with Spicy Mayo
Aldi Pane Italian Bread (this stuff is like crack…soooo amazingly GOOD!)
Ham lunch meat
Any kind of cheese
First make your Spicy Mayo… Mix together 4 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon Sriracha, a dash of garlic powder, and a few shakes of dill weed. Mix very well.
Slather your Spicy Mayo onto your bread, add several slices of ham, and any kind of cheese you have.
Close the sandwich, then smear real unsalted butter on the outside of the sandwich.
I fry mine on medium in my panini pan. If you don’t have a panini maker, cook it like you would a grilled cheese. On medium for 2-3 minutes, checking frequently to avoid burning. Flip and repeat.
Cut in half so the melted cheese oozes out onto the plate. Serve hot.
**Slow Cooker Sunday: Whole Roasted Chicken
Make sure chicken is completely thawed. Thourghly rinse the bird, inside and out, remove any giblets left behind. (Cook them and enjoy, if that’s your thing.)
I stuff the chicken with an onion, some garlic cloves, some leftover frozen rosemary from my mom’s garden last summer, and sprinkle the top with garlic powder, basil, pepper, onion flakes, and pretty much any seasonings that sound and smell good at the time.
I spray my crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Add the chicken and just a small amount of water to the crockpot, about 1/8 of a cup.
Cook on low all day until the meat is falling off the bone, usually 6-8 hrs. This will give you chicken to eat for this meal, but save all of the leftovers, and put them in a freezer bag and freeze, because you’ll be using the leftovers for next week’s meals!!
I hope this post helps you with your meal planning this week, and helps you meet your money-saving goals!