I'm in desperate need of help!
I need to make a grocery list. Payday is Friday. Our eating habits are horrendously horrendous. Really.
Budget: $150 give or take.
Duration the food needs to last: 2 weeks.
I already have ingredients and staples (flour, sugar, coconut oil, garlic, onion, potatoes, rice) though I'm low on beans.
I also have carrots and celery.
I'd like to follow the following guideline for the weekly dinner menu:
Wed: Stir-Fry and Rice
Fri: Spaghetti/some kind of pasta
Sat: Homemade pan pizzas if possible.
Sun: DHs favorite "Milanesa", breaded thin pan fried steak. (minimal breading, minimal frying oil. I think I should try baked. Would that work?)
I'm willing to try new foods, so give me things that you and your families like and I'll see if I can incorporate them into our menu (while still following my guideline.
breakfast is only for myself and the kids. I usually have a muffin (unhealthy jiffy muffins...) and milk. They get oatmeal and a hard boiled egg. I need to start eating better so I'm going to join them and eat oatmeal and an egg(s) as well. Right now I'm good on oatmeal- I got a big big box of organic instant oatmeal from Costco, and I have a big bag of steel cut oats in bulk.
lunch, I definitely need ideas for! that is also just both DDs and I.
So I guess, start throwing recipes at me that follow my guideline and are relatively inexpensive (remember $75/wk!) and I'll see what I can pull out of them as far as ingredients and we'll formulate a list.
I need your help MDC!
- also, no food allergies or anything, but I'd prefer everything be homemade and minimally processed. things don't NEED to be organic either- we need to start eating balanced diets before that.
Mexican - quesadillas, just cheese and bean, cheese and chicken, whatever. You can make your own tortillas to make that even cheaper. Tacos are pretty cheap too. Taco or tortilla soup.
Chicken - there's a million different things you can do with chicken. My kids love chicken legs - drumsticks browned in a frying pan and then baked. I usually serve those with mashed potatoes and a veggie. I make my own chicken strips/nuggets that go over really well too, served with baked fries (very easy to make from potatoes).
Soup - potato soup is probably my favorite and you can make it with what you've got. Or chicken soup with any leftover chicken from the night before.
Spaghetti - spaghetti's super cheap, but you can change it up to a baked spaghetti/pasta dish. I make pasta casseroles alot with a little meat, whatever veggies I've got, pasta and then a white sauce.
Pizza - the crust is simple and I think you've got everything you need for that. Just throw whatever veggies you've got on top with a little sausage, pepperoni or chicken. Or just plain veggie.
I think you can keep it pretty cheap if you stock up on veggies, some tomatoes and sauce for your pizza and pasta, and get some beans.
We do $75/week as well.
For us, breakfast is frequently oatmeal, eggs, or peanut butter toast (my boys are crazy for pb).
Lunch is either leftovers, salad, soup, or quesadillas. Occaisonally I'll do tuna or ramen. My dh eats leftovers most frequently. Sometimes I will send tuna in a thermos for him (not tuna salad--just regular tuna out of a can--he likes this Mexican brand with jalapenos). The ramen is my guilty pleasure, and I only do it 2 times a month. LOL. Funny that I limit my ramen consumption.
We eat similarly, but I'm bored with my meals. So, for the next 2 weeks, I've got some new stuff planned. I almost always shop at 2 different stores--a regular store or Aldi, plus an international market that has good prices on meat and produce, not so great on other groceries. I always spend more at the first store I go to, so I vary it based on what I need most. Are we out of most of our staples? Out of meat in the freezer? Am I craving lots of different veggies (not just the cheapest ones)? It just depends. Then, I skimp at the other store.
I'm also close to Florida, so we're seeing the tail end of their second produce season right now. Stuff like grape tomatoes, green beans, and the like are trickling through. ANd of course, winter stuff, like potatoes, cabbage, cilantro, squash are cheaper.
So, for us, Mexican night is usually tacos (usually Mexican style, with onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime; sometimes Old El Paso style with refried beans and ground beef, cheese and sour cream). We also do alambres (mix the meat with beans; it seems like a lot more meat), chilaquiles (serve the chicken on top of it--again, it fools you), my favorite queso fundido (cheese, chorizo, roasted poblanos) tacos, enchiladas, or sometimes a copycat California style (rice, beans, meat) burrito.
Our favorite soups are chicken and dumplings (my southern roots coming out), tortilla, black bean, 16 bean, baked potato, vegetable, Italian wedding, and white chicken chili.
I try to do one rice and beans meal a week, too. Most of these have some meat, but not a lot. Red beans and rice (with andouille), soup beans (with ham), black beans and rice (with a little bit of slow roasted pork), pintos and rice (with salsa or pico de gallo), hummus, chana masala (really good, easy Indian food), and hopping john (black eyed peas, rice, ham) are our favorites.
Thanks all for the wealth of options!! :)
I'm now down to planning out meals that have ingredients in common, so I can buy in bulk.
I'd love to do something, say soup, where meat from the soup gets used in the next meal (say a casserole or something). That would be neat.
I love chilaquiles! We don't make them very healthy though- usually, we blend up tomatillos and a few jalapeños, and pour it over tortilla chips in a pan, and we serve it with eggs. The tortilla chips are store bought, I wonder if we could either make our own for find a higher quality version (we use El Milagro ones from the Mexican store).
I usually bake my own, cause chilaquiles are my answer to stale tortillas. :) Cut tortillas in 6ths, then bake until crispy. The original recipe said to spritz them with oil, but I never do. They turn out fine. It's a litle chewier/a little less crispy to do it this way, but we like it.
For a carb based meal, it's not that bad. You get the vegetables from the tomatoes or tomatillos, it's a good one to put greens in (try it with chard in the tomato sauce--really good), and that can up the healthy part.
When I subscribed to a CSA, I learned the trick of having a flexible recipe at the end of the week that could take any of the leftover veggies. Things like frittatas, quiche, soup, stew, and the chilaquiles work for that. these days, I don't have a CSA, but we still like them. And by mixing up the veggies included, it varies our menu. Some of the cheapeast veggies I have in the winter are canned tomatoes and frozen spinach. I can put those in lots and lots of things!
For my kids, I also add frozen blueberries to their oatmeal (it cools it down, tastes good, and it's an extra fruit). And sometimes, especially far from grocery shopping day, we will eat canned fruit. Especially on sale or at Aldi's, canned fruit is a pretty decent bargain at the grocery store. And if you get it packed in juice, it might not be as good as fresh, but it's not bad, either. It's better than skipping fruit cause it's pricey, you know?
Another thing I do to think of different ways to make in-season veggies (which tend to be the cheapest, plus I think a veggie-rich diet is a healthier one) is to look at the trendy farm-to-table restaurants around us. They do weekly prix fixe meals and usually put the menus online. Those meals tend to be based off what's in season, so you'll get a new idea that feels fresh and gourmet, but it's based on what's in season and cheap right then. That's actually one of my favorite ways to come up with new ideas.
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