Join Date: Oct 2006
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Mama to (DS 7) and (DD 5), wife to DH
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?
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
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
Celery with peanut butter
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?
mama to a sweet girl , & 4 silly boys
Mom to Bouncy Breastfed DD Loving Woman to DH, RIP DS Born at 22 weeks
|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.
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!
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*