Cheap, seasonal menu plan, a la Hillbilly Housewife - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 11-10-2007, 11:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've seen the Hillbilly Housewife's menu posted repeatedly for feeding a family on a very small budget ($45 a week for a family of 4.) I think it's a great resource and am glad that it's available to help families who are struggling to make ends meet, but I found many of the menus a little lacking for my refined palate and think a buck can be stretched farther when you're planning to eat seasonally available foods, and avoiding nutritionally deficient hot dogs, ramen noodles, boxed mac and cheese, and creamed tuna.

I'm trying to make a comparable week-on-a-tight-budget menu with seasonally available foods, like turkey and pumpkins and such for fall. My thinking is to use whole and unprocessed foods, and meet current nutritional guidelines. (Hillbilly Housewife does include a lot of unprocessed foods, like dry beans and lentils. I'm with her on that one!)

Also, in my high cost of living area, the prices are considerably higher than the $45 menu she has listed. I'm suggesting $60 for a family of four for a week, which is half of what the USDA defines as the Thrifty Plan Cost for food at home, and the menu will likely cost less in lower cost of living areas.

I'm currently coming up with a menu plan for a cheap, nutritionally balanced, seasonally appropriate week of food and would love your suggestions! I'm assuming that salt and pepper are in the house, and everything else would need to be purchased. I'm also assuming shopping at one inexpensive grocery store. I'll make similar winter/spring/summer menus if it seems like people can use them.

Here's my current plan. Does it seem like there is enough variety? Would your family eat these meals?



Dinners:

Roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots
Pumpkin-black bean chili, corn bread, carrot-raisin salad
Turkey-apple-sweet potato bake, beets
Honey baked lentils, brown rice, beet greens
Turkey-barley soup, cabbage salad
Mashed potatoes with kale and smoked sausage
Tamale pie with leftover chili, baked apples

Lunches
Tuna cakes with mashed potatoes, carrot-raisin salad
Baked potato with chili
Burritos made with turkey-apple-sweet potato bake, black beans, and cheese
Brown rice bowl with honey baked lentils, carrots and cabbage
Turkey-barley soup, cabbage salad
Cabbage rolls made with mashed potatoes, kale, and sausage filling and tomato sauce
Turkey salad sandwiches, carrot and celery sticks

Breakfasts: (all served with milk)
Oatmeal with applesauce and raisins x2
Pumpkin bread with peanut butter x2
Pumpkin French toast
Apple ring pancakes
Corn and green chili frittata, homemade tortillas, salsa

Snacks:
Celery with peanut butter
Carrot sticks
Raisins
Apples
Air-popped popcorn
Roasted pumpkin seeds

Yes, the menu is turkey, apple, carrot, and pumpkin heavy, because I can get them in my area for next to nothing and assume you can too this time of year!

What do you think?
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#2 of 23 Old 11-10-2007, 11:12 PM
 
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Right on, Mamaste!
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#3 of 23 Old 11-11-2007, 09:26 AM
 
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I think it is great especially for a week in a pinch like you say. The only thing that I'd like to see that is "missing" to me is something like a green salad or something like that. I know that may not work with the budget so may not be possible but when I just read the meals as a whole this is what I am "craving" after thinking about the days.
Great job! You should start your own site.

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#4 of 23 Old 11-11-2007, 03:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momaste View Post
I've seen the Hillbilly Housewife's menu posted repeatedly for feeding a family on a very small budget ($45 a week for a family of 4.) I think it's a great resource and am glad that it's available to help families who are struggling to make ends meet, but I found many of the menus a little lacking for my refined palate and think a buck can be stretched farther when you're planning to eat seasonally available foods, and avoiding nutritionally deficient hot dogs, ramen noodles, boxed mac and cheese, and creamed tuna.

I'm trying to make a comparable week-on-a-tight-budget menu with seasonally available foods, like turkey and pumpkins and such for fall. My thinking is to use whole and unprocessed foods, and meet current nutritional guidelines. (Hillbilly Housewife does include a lot of unprocessed foods, like dry beans and lentils. I'm with her on that one!)

Also, in my high cost of living area, the prices are considerably higher than the $45 menu she has listed. I'm suggesting $60 for a family of four for a week, which is half of what the USDA defines as the Thrifty Plan Cost for food at home, and the menu will likely cost less in lower cost of living areas.

I'm currently coming up with a menu plan for a cheap, nutritionally balanced, seasonally appropriate week of food and would love your suggestions! I'm assuming that salt and pepper are in the house, and everything else would need to be purchased. I'm also assuming shopping at one inexpensive grocery store. I'll make similar winter/spring/summer menus if it seems like people can use them.

Here's my current plan. Does it seem like there is enough variety? Would your family eat these meals?



Dinners:

Roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots
Pumpkin-black bean chili, corn bread, carrot-raisin salad
Turkey-apple-sweet potato bake, beets
Honey baked lentils, brown rice, beet greens
Turkey-barley soup, cabbage salad
Mashed potatoes with kale and smoked sausage
Tamale pie with leftover chili, baked apples

Lunches
Tuna cakes with mashed potatoes, carrot-raisin salad
Baked potato with chili
Burritos made with turkey-apple-sweet potato bake, black beans, and cheese
Brown rice bowl with honey baked lentils, carrots and cabbage
Turkey-barley soup, cabbage salad
Cabbage rolls made with mashed potatoes, kale, and sausage filling and tomato sauce
Turkey salad sandwiches, carrot and celery sticks

Breakfasts: (all served with milk)
Oatmeal with applesauce and raisins x2
Pumpkin bread with peanut butter x2
Pumpkin French toast
Apple ring pancakes
Corn and green chili frittata, homemade tortillas, salsa

Snacks:
Celery with peanut butter
Carrot sticks
Raisins
Apples
Air-popped popcorn
Roasted pumpkin seeds

Yes, the menu is turkey, apple, carrot, and pumpkin heavy, because I can get them in my area for next to nothing and assume you can too this time of year!

What do you think?
I absolutely love the idea - would you provide recipes too? Ideally I'd like to see two weeks per season; repeating something twice in a month doesn't sound bad at all.

Erica
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#5 of 23 Old 11-12-2007, 08:48 PM
 
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Wow, just that list gives me lots of ideas...I'm trying to get some sort of a menu figured out. I know we'll never *really* stick to it...but opening the fridge 100X per day & blankely staring because I have no idea what to throw together is getting old & time consuming. I want at least an idea of what we can pull together in times of indecision!

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#6 of 23 Old 11-12-2007, 08:56 PM
 
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I love your menu! We are CSA share members so it forces us to eat in season (which is a great thing). Right now its squash, root veggies (mostly carrots, potatoes, garlic, onions - will get beets, parsnips, etc later), greens, and apples/pears. Your menu ideas would be very adaptable to what we have. I'm also trying to keep our grocery bill extremely low right now and the beans and turkey would fit right in perfectly with what we have available. I've gotten things like baking supplies, dried cranberries, turkey legs, for ridiculously cheap right now. Thanks for the ideas!

~Rebecca~
mama to a sweet girl , & 4 silly boys

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#7 of 23 Old 11-13-2007, 08:53 PM
 
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I agree that I have a difficult time using things like the Hillbilly suggestions because that is just not how we eat! To me cheap does not equal eating hot dogs!

Can you provide recipes for the things that you have listed?

Thanks for the ideas!
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#8 of 23 Old 11-14-2007, 12:01 AM
 
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We do "cheap" meal planing. We are broke and meal plan for 7-14 days in a row on aprox $45-$50/week for 3 people. That may not sound cheap to some, but DP is a big boy and eats well. On top of that, we are diabetics and have a nutrition plan.
We buy 5lbs of chicken
2lbs of ground beef
2 steaks
1 pack of boneless pork chops(contains about 4 small chops)
1lbs of beef stew meat

Thats our meat and we buy 1 box of pasta(1 lb) every other week or so(sometimes longer)
4lbs of cheese every week or so
1 small bag of rice (like 3lbs I think?) every month
5lbs of potates every month or so
We really have a varitey of meals
Like tonight we had mini burgers on homemade savory buns, with baked potatoes and fresh green beans
I try to give them a hearty meal with variety
There are weeks that we can only afford $35 for food for the week for 3.
I have really grown to LOVE it cause I have gotten SOOOO creative some nights..
I love planning on a tight budget...

Mom to Bouncy Breastfed fly-by-nursing1.gifDD energy.gifLoving Woman to DH, RIP DS Born at 22 weeks  ribbonpb.gif

 

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#9 of 23 Old 11-19-2007, 01:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jess12808 View Post
I love planning on a tight budget...
That's the attitude to have!

~ Kim

mama to E (01-2007) and wife to C

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#10 of 23 Old 11-19-2007, 02:42 AM
 
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I love the idea and the menu sounds great to me. Unfortunately, DH is too picky. He won't eat cabbage or apples or raisins

I would really like to focus on buying ingredients we can use several times in the week for different meals, and also batch cooking so leftovers can be created. And I love using seasonal items - we're in a CSA, too, so this is great.
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#11 of 23 Old 11-20-2007, 11:30 PM
 
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I think it's fabulous! Our family would probably eat them, but we'd need to eliminate dairy foods due to allergies.

I love the idea of thrifty seasonal menus.
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#12 of 23 Old 11-23-2007, 12:15 AM
 
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I want to eat at your house! Great menu
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#13 of 23 Old 11-23-2007, 10:13 AM
 
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mmmmm please post recipe for honey baked lentils. Please!!!!
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#14 of 23 Old 11-23-2007, 10:46 AM
 
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Here's the one I copied from somewhere on MDC a while ago. It is so freaking delicious, cheap, and easy. If you don't want to cook it in the oven, just cook the lentils on the stove by themselves and then add the other ingredients at the end to warm through. YUM!

Quote:
Honey baked lentils

1 cup lentils
2 cups water
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soysauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
salt & pepper

Bake in a covered dish at 350 until tender (about an hour and a half)

Sometimes I sub 1/3 of a cup or so rice or barley for some of the lentils. I also sometimes add whatever vegetables are on hand for a one dish meal. Some that are good are carrots, celery, potato, yam, squash, turnip, cabbage and parsnip. Use what you have, "winter" vegetables work best.

Chessa , mama to Silas T (6/06) , wife to Chad . Welcome August Emerson! 2/8/10
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#15 of 23 Old 11-23-2007, 12:09 PM
 
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Thanks!!!!

(and referring to OP, I like creamed tuna )
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#16 of 23 Old 11-23-2007, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm still working on this! I could do two weeks instead of one week, but I think one week will be about the level of time I can put into it right now. Maybe I'll add a week per season next year. I will provide recipes, too.

I'll be test driving the menu week after next (we have lots of leftovers for this week - boy will we be sick of TURKEY!!) and then I'll post what I come up with on my blog.

The honey baked lentils are deeelicious. I always add carrots, but it would certainly be good with other winter veggies too.

Any more ideas?
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#17 of 23 Old 11-26-2007, 06:38 PM
 
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Just wanted to say - this totally ROCKS! I love HBHW but the emergency plan does leave a little to be desired. I plan on printing out your plan and putting it on the fridge. I see that many of the recipes are faves of our from the HBHW site, and the honey baked lentils, but can you please give us the rest of the recipes? I can't wait to try this!!

Thank you!
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#18 of 23 Old 11-27-2007, 01:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm still working on it, and plan on "test driving" it next week, after I get the recipes and shopping list done. Since I'm actually going out of my pantry, I need to make a special trip to price out the shopping list. For fun, I'm going to price out the HBHW list as well to see how well I compare!
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#19 of 23 Old 11-27-2007, 03:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momaste View Post
I'm still working on it, and plan on "test driving" it next week, after I get the recipes and shopping list done. Since I'm actually going out of my pantry, I need to make a special trip to price out the shopping list. For fun, I'm going to price out the HBHW list as well to see how well I compare!


thank you!!
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#20 of 23 Old 11-27-2007, 03:36 PM
 
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I looks great to me. We'd have to skip the raisins as I'm the only one that will eat them! I'd add in some other greens that my kids eat well but could do frozen brocolli for a buck or two to last the whole week.

I'd love to see some of these recipes. Perhaps you could start a "seasonal eating on a dime" type blog *hint, hint*

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#21 of 23 Old 11-28-2007, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I looks great to me. We'd have to skip the raisins as I'm the only one that will eat them! I'd add in some other greens that my kids eat well but could do frozen brocolli for a buck or two to last the whole week.

I'd love to see some of these recipes. Perhaps you could start a "seasonal eating on a dime" type blog *hint, hint*
I currently have an eating-locally-on-a-diet blog (link in signature) and am going to make this one of the features.
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#22 of 23 Old 11-30-2007, 10:57 PM
 
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Love your idea and your menu.

How bout for each recipe, making a suggestion how to omit the meat and what to replace it with? - just a thought for us vegies out there...

AP HB Mama to three beautiful girls!
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#23 of 23 Old 12-03-2007, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do a lot of veggie menus, but to be honest I'm not sure how to replace the meat in every dish. The meat is more often a condiment than a chunk-on-a-plate, so it could probably be omitted, but I'm not sure how to arrange that with the recipes or the budget. Maybe I'll do a meat menu then a veggie menu for each season if I can get through this one!

So far, the menus have all been well received at our house. I have a surprising amount of leeks from my CSA, though, so I'm taking a few days off the plan to eat those, haha.
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