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Help me plan for a week's worth of meals for $100! - Page 2

post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contented73 View Post

Karen, I think I'm going to reach right through the internet and kiss you!  Oh my goodness, this is fantastic.  Thank you everyone for all your great ideas, you are all very inspiring.  I feel like we can eat like Kings now...

 


Happy to help! 
 

 

post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by texmati View Post

Karen, that is incredible! How did you do that? Off the top of your head? do you mind sharing your thought process?



:)  Thanks!

It comes from years of feeding a family of 6 on not much money. It's a bit of a game lol.

I don't know that there is much of a thought process to share. I keep a well stocked pantry and freezer almost completely stocked on sale, and figure out how to make the most of meats which tend to be the priciest element of a meal. So I looked at her list of what she had in the freezer and figured out what recipes would give her one or two meals from each of those meats if possible, and what grains would help do that. I also think about what would make us feel satisfied. That whole addage that we eat with our eyes first really comes into play.

 

Two or three kebobs skewers might only need 1/2 a chicken breast, but when combined with veggies (red onion, yellow zuchini, mushrooms, orange peppers, cherry tomatoes) served on some lightly flavoured quinoa, it looks/feels like a satisfying meal. 

One sausage per person doesn't look like much on a plate as the centerpiece to a meal, but 4 sausages used as a topping to a big hearty salad, and served with a warm bagette is plenty.

Adding a cob of corn to a meal of burgers cost maybe $0.40-0.50 per person (or less if it is seasonal) and it makes the meal seem bigger. It also ups the fibre content of the meal. You can make the burgers a bit smaller if you top them with a couple of lettuce leaves, tomato slices, onion rings, dill pickles etc.

 

Then I add in the veggies trying to get a balance of greens and coloured veggies, and mix as many as I can in a meal (ie the stir fry and sauted veggies, side salads, mixed veggies for lunch etc). Fruit can be more expensive and so it is something I would buy more sparingly if I was on a budget. It's also the easiest to nibble on and so if we are tight I try to buy it and use it mindfully rather than putting it out for general consumption. I know for my kids sometimes it's most cost effective to slice 1/2 a banana and 1/2 a peach into a bowl of granola, and save the second banana and the blueberries to top the yougurt tomorrow, than to just have open season on fruit. If we are tight and I am making a snack I cut up 2 apples (saves on waste) and put it out with celery and carrots (cheap but healthy), some pretzels and a pb/yogurt dip, rather just have them eat apples and be hungry again half an hour later.

 

I'm babbling and I'm not sure if I answered your question. I think that meal planning is something that is pretty easy to do once you get in the habbit. Allrecipes.com is a great place to browse for recipes based on your ingredient list.  

 

hth

Karen

 

 

 

 

post #23 of 32

Karen....I have a lady crush on you now. I should probably tell my husband lol

post #24 of 32


No, you defnitely helped! We are vegetarian, so I'd plan around what veggies I have in the house (that's our main course.) I'm terrible about letting food go to waste in teh fridege, but I do that thing that a pp mentioned-- buy a lot of little things to support a main meal. Not very frugal at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post





:)  Thanks!

It comes from years of feeding a family of 6 on not much money. It's a bit of a game lol.

I don't know that there is much of a thought process to share. I keep a well stocked pantry and freezer almost completely stocked on sale, and figure out how to make the most of meats which tend to be the priciest element of a meal. So I looked at her list of what she had in the freezer and figured out what recipes would give her one or two meals from each of those meats if possible, and what grains would help do that. I also think about what would make us feel satisfied. That whole addage that we eat with our eyes first really comes into play.

 

Two or three kebobs skewers might only need 1/2 a chicken breast, but when combined with veggies (red onion, yellow zuchini, mushrooms, orange peppers, cherry tomatoes) served on some lightly flavoured quinoa, it looks/feels like a satisfying meal. 

One sausage per person doesn't look like much on a plate as the centerpiece to a meal, but 4 sausages used as a topping to a big hearty salad, and served with a warm bagette is plenty.

Adding a cob of corn to a meal of burgers cost maybe $0.40-0.50 per person (or less if it is seasonal) and it makes the meal seem bigger. It also ups the fibre content of the meal. You can make the burgers a bit smaller if you top them with a couple of lettuce leaves, tomato slices, onion rings, dill pickles etc.

 

Then I add in the veggies trying to get a balance of greens and coloured veggies, and mix as many as I can in a meal (ie the stir fry and sauted veggies, side salads, mixed veggies for lunch etc). Fruit can be more expensive and so it is something I would buy more sparingly if I was on a budget. It's also the easiest to nibble on and so if we are tight I try to buy it and use it mindfully rather than putting it out for general consumption. I know for my kids sometimes it's most cost effective to slice 1/2 a banana and 1/2 a peach into a bowl of granola, and save the second banana and the blueberries to top the yougurt tomorrow, than to just have open season on fruit. If we are tight and I am making a snack I cut up 2 apples (saves on waste) and put it out with celery and carrots (cheap but healthy), some pretzels and a pb/yogurt dip, rather just have them eat apples and be hungry again half an hour later.

 

I'm babbling and I'm not sure if I answered your question. I think that meal planning is something that is pretty easy to do once you get in the habbit. Allrecipes.com is a great place to browse for recipes based on your ingredient list.  

 

hth

Karen

 

 

 

 



 

post #25 of 32

All the replies here are so amazing and I am so appreciative as well!

 

Just wanted to add one thing that came to mind based on your supplies: sloppy joes are super fast and easy and tasty to make -- try to Joy of Cooking's recipe, great either with or without buns or bread, even just a side salad or whatever would be a perfect meal. And, they're sweet so kids love them too. GL!

post #26 of 32

Something small that I try to do once a week that I always feel good about is making our own chicken stock, baking off a bunch of sweet potatoes, and baking bread or muffins that will store well in the fridge.  It works really well because I boil a whole chicken (I get two just shy of organic-no anitbiotics, free range, etc. for $12 at BJs)  and then with cooked chicken on hand it is really easy to come up with dinner in a hurry rather than caving and going out for that extra grocery trip or fast food.  

 

Our typical Chicken Stock:

 Boil a whole chicken until the chicken is cooked through, pull meat off of the bone and return bones to the pot to fortify your stock

A big bag of kale

2-3 Onions-halved

2 big carrots-halved

handful of peppercorns

few pieces of celery broken in half

whole head of garlic cut right down the middle

sea salt 

usually rosemary, thyme, parsley,

cook it down, strain it, you're good to go

( I don't cut or peel anything here, if I can't bend it or break it it goes in whole with the exception of the onions which get halved)

 

the stock is super nutrient rich and boosts all of your rice dishes-makes great rissotto, and my son loves egg drop soup and it is so healthy and fast with fresh stock on hand.

 

My favorite muffins:

 

2 cups of spelt flour

1/2 cup demara sugar + extra for sprinkling on top

1 1/2 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 almond or coconut milk (the drinking kind if you use canned it changes the texture a lot because of the higher fat content)

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 egg 

2 cups chopped fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, or whatever you like

 

Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes for regular sized muffins.

You can totally swap out oils and milks to your preference, the sugar too.  I think the demara adds a great mapley crunch on top that eliminates missing a rich strusel cause its perfect.  I mix everything in one bowl, its super easy and quick.  And because Spelt doesn't have as high of gluten content and there is so much fruit in these they have enough moisture to keep well in the fridge which is handy for me when I want to spread them over a few days to a week.

 

 

post #27 of 32

I feed my family of 3 on less than a hundred dollars a week every week and am also trying to learn to not used processed foods...

My kids love this meal and we have used it since they were babies.

My favorite Cheap vegetarian meal is Asparagus Pasta- and asparagus can be relatively inexpensive since it is used for the whole meal.

Asparagus- $3.00

Penne Pasta 1.25

2 fresh garlic cloves or substitute

Parm Cheese( assuming you have a brick of this or even a container of the sprinkl kind,... but if not- 4.00)

Break off ends of asparagus and then break asparagus into halfs or thirds( about the length of penne pasta)

Put on a cookie sheet and drizzle with oil( olive oil if you have it)

top with garlic and sprinkle on some salt( or don't up to you)

Broil for 5-10 min.

Cook pasta and drain reserve some cooking water

Mix asparagus and pasta and top with parm cheese

serve with a loaf of bread.

It is so good.

WE also eat tons of eggs, eggs for dinner eggs for snacks, eggs for everything.

post #28 of 32

Chana Masala is cheap, very cheap, if you like Indian and have the ingredients already in your cupboard. It's mostly just chickpeas, onions and tomatoes and the rest is seasoning and water. We LOVE this. I can cook enough to last two days + , feeding 5 people, for under $10. (Then again, I already have all the seasonings)

 

We eat plain yogurt and dress it up with honey or homemade granola for breakfasts, and use the same plain yogurt as sour cream on soups and with tacos, or on potatoes.

 

Black bean soup with chunks of onions, tomatoes and sweet corn is tasty with a dollop of yogurt on top, and very cheap, too.

 

Gazpacho is a bit spendier than $10, but you'll be eating off it for days, and makes a fabulous lunch.

 

I love the kabob idea. SO stealing that one!

 

 

 

 

post #29 of 32

Two things I can think of that will help you out... (They've helped me immensely!)

One: Try to only use milk when you can't avoid it. (recipes, cereal) In my house- milk is rarely for drinking once you've weaned.

Two: Check out Supercook- http://www.supercook.com/  You type in what ingredients you have on hand and it will find things you can make with it. One night we had waffles for dinner because that was how low on food we were. Only had all the ingredients for that. :( But I was still able to feed my family. And the next day we went food shopping!

Hope that helps. And now I'm off to Supercook to find out what's for supper. :)

post #30 of 32

 

Originally Posted by Contented73 View Post

Karen, I think I'm going to reach right through the internet and kiss you!  Oh my goodness, this is fantastic.  Thank you everyone for all your great ideas, you are all very inspiring.  I feel like we can eat like Kings now...

 



How did your week go? Did the manage to have money and food left at the end of the week?

post #31 of 32


Fresh 20 now has a gluten free button!  you should check it out. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeLittleBirds View Post

We used the site Fresh 20 before we found out I have issues with gluten...wonderful meal planning site. Now I plan out our week myself. Breakfast, lunch, dinners (inludes DH's lunches for work that he packs) all for about 80-100. Its about finding CHEAP recipes. Ones that dont use alot of ingredients, or expensive ones. I like cooking with a lot of what is in my pantry,,,which is alot of bulk grains and beans. I buy everything organic and local. Fruits and veggies (in season) I get from our local organic farm and everything else comes from Wegmans natural store.

 

My meals for the week are:

 

Quiche night w/ soup and salad

Veggie Burrito night  (the sour cream used in this nights meal was also used the night before in top of the soup! same with the green onions. Dress up your soups with extras!)

Pizza & Family Game night (pizza is a simple gluten free crust, mozz cheese, sauce and basil...mushrooms if I have extra from the quiche night) w/salad

Fish, mashed pot with Boursin cheese (AMAZING!), and wild rice w/salad

Vegetarian chili with gluten free corn bread muffins

Pasta carbonara (w/ crushed almonds instead of bacon) w/ salad

homemade mac and cheese (w/ gluten free noodles)

 

lunches are always easy breezy...soups, sandwiches, annies mac and cheese, pitas, fruit

 

Breakfasts are from the following: eggs, toast and jelly, muffins, pancakes

 

Once a month I stock up on staple items from Trader Joes (its about 45 minutes away) and bulk items at out local organic market.

 

 



 

post #32 of 32

Getting in on this meal/budget planning late.......whenever I know $$'s are tight, I always substitute another form of protein for meat...eggs and dried beans are my fav...and I saw u had some celery going bad....I saute mine in evoo, and freeze until use....sour creme..(I have had this same problem)....baked potatoes, or meat, mushrooms and noodles....there is a place in IOWA...FRONTIER that I get spices, dried beans, etc.....look on the net and call them for a catalog.....most of the prices are good there......also a can of tomato paste goes a long way instead of a jar of sauce.....peace......

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