You asked; I’ll blog!
How will I feed my family on $200 for the next 28 days? Read on!
Our family consists of two medium/low activity adults and three small children who are not big eaters yet. So maybe about 3 average adult servings per meal.
I make about 14 meals per 28 days. We are good at eating leftovers. These meals are enough for 1-4 meals… you know, 1-2 dinners and 1-2 lunches each. Some makes too much, so I freeze part of it for later. Some doesn’t make enough. Sometimes we get stuck eating something for a few meals longer than we’d like. This month isn’t a perfect representation of our usual meals, because I’m dealing with morning sickness. That means, I’m looking for the easiest meals possible. Also, it’s the dead of winter… we eat the least amount of produce this time of year.
But, for what it’s worth, I’ll be photo-journaling this month’s meals as well as tracking my grocery trips for y’all. (that way you’ll see any stock-up shopping I might or might not do as well as anything I buy for breakfasts/lunches)
Recipes for our family – February 2012
1. Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches – not one of our very cheapest meals, but SO YUMMY! Slice your chicken breast (hopefully you paid less than $2/lb. for it) into thinner flat pieces so you get more sandwiches out of it. Cook it in a pan with a teriyaki glaze (thicker than a sauce). Put on toasted bread (hopefully less than $1.25 or so a loaf or homemade), top with slices of mozzarella cheese (hopefully $3.00/lb or less) and pineapple rings. A little mayo, a little extra teriyaki… YUM! This is our entire dinner. We don’t accessorize much. Brian usually eats two sandwiches, I eat one. We try not to overeat, even when it’s a favorite meal, but sometimes we just can’t help it! I think I cooked just under 2 lbs. of meat… and have 1 lb. of cheese… probably need 1 1/2 cans of pineapple… will be enough for three meals I think.
2. Spaghetti – oh yeah, going for easy food this month! All of these meals have as little time in the kitchen as I can help it, using ingredients I have or will be buying soon. Noodles – pay no more than $1/lb. Sauce – DO NOT buy super expensive sauce. I like the Classico sauce and get many jars at once when it’s on sale… I don’t remember… I think I paid about $1.25 each jar? I usually cook 1 lb. hamburger and use one jar of sauce. The kids don’t like much sauce, so I give them mostly noodles and parmesan cheese. If we are having a hungry night, we have hot buttered toast with it.
3. Tacos – Our tacos consist of flour tortillas ($1 for 10 medium tortillas), 1 lb. of hamburger, black beans from dried (can use a can or two instead), a bit of brown rice (cooked of course), taco seasoning (love the big thing from Costco – do NOT bother with Winco bulk taco seasoning), salsa, and sour cream. In the summer they are extra yummy with lettuce and tomatoes too.
4. Canned soup (home-canned) and bread. I’ll try and make some bread to go with the chicken vegetable soup I made in the fall. Flatbread (focaccia) is really easy and quick. I may cook some noodles and add them to make it go farther.
5. Pulled pork sandwiches – I got some inexpensive pork roast, so it’s time to make sandwiches! Homemade buns would be best (whole wheat, hearty and fresh!) – but not sure I’ll be up for that. You can get BBQ sauce in the summer for $.50 or less without a coupon… free or nearly with a coupon. So a bottle of BBQ sauce, a bunch of pork, some bread, maybe a few slices of cheese… there ya go! Ideally, this would be served with a salad.
6. Pork chops with Rice & Veggies – I don’t know what my veggies will be yet… roasted squash, steamed broccoli, salad… don’t know! Whatever is cheap when I get to the store. The pork chops were on sale. Brown rice is yummy with a little salt and butter. Easy. (remember, I’m going for easy this month!)
7. Chicken rice casserole – I take my recipe and double the sauce. I don’t double anything else, but I throw in whatever I have… 1 lb. chicken, a bunch of brown rice, whatever frozen veggies are getting freezer burned, and any yummy tidbits that are laying around like bacon or chopped green chilis. This is a nice comfort food that’s served on its own.
8. Chicken alfredo – Also usually served on its own, but it’s not unusual for me to put broccoli or asparagus or peas or something random and green in or beside it. I make this homemade. Cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, butter, parmesan cheese… not good for your arteries, but those noodles are good power food. You don’t need a lot to be full and happy!
9. Frozen lasagna from last month – From The Pioneer Woman She blogs other tempting things like this and this and this! I don’t cook with as much meat as she does usually… but ohhhhhh… she does know how to cook!
10. Nachos – It’s actually a boring, but good recipe at our house. Get corn tortilla chips – whatever’s cheapest. (go down the aisle and read the price per ounce, NOT the price per bag) Cook some beans from dried. Go ahead and use rice that needs eating too. Shred some cheddar cheese (hopefully $2.50/lb). Melt all together. If you don’t want your chips soggy, heat it all in a bowl except the chips and just dip it out. Add salsa and sour cream, because it’s better that way. In the summer, add tomatoes and stuff.
11. Baked chicken, potatoes and salad – Haven’t eaten this in awhile. I was trying to think of something simple. I’ll look for chicken thighs or drumsticks for $.79/lb or under and bake them straight. Then I’ll steam, bake or mash potatoes. Or make baked french fries. Who knows. Just cheap russet potatoes. And lettuce, carrots and celery make a salad. Oh – salad dressing is one of those things that goes on sale and has coupons. Don’t spend more than $1/bottle.
12. Quiche… not the easiest, but we have milk and eggs and stuff. And I can make pie crust ok. My backup plan is scrambled eggs and toast for dinner.
13. Steak, rice, veggies – Ok folks, even cheap people get fancy sometimes. I bought t-bone steaks ($4.99/lb.) the other day. And $6-$8 wine is still delicious. (Sad I don’t get any til this winter!). Rice with a little butter and salt. Whatever veggies are on sale. I think oven-roasted zucchini and yellow squash is really yummy with steak. Oh… and if you were wondering… the girls will get a couple bites each. These steaks are for us. haha
14. Soup and cornbread – I have lots of turkey broth in the freezer from thanksgiving. And I will have leftover carrots and celery and potatoes. And will probably have leftover bits and pieces of chicken. And there’s always noodles. And herbs. And salt. Gotta have salt. And I was hankering for cornbread. So there ya go!
15. Backup plan if I run out of food – meatball sandwiches from the freezer. Well, the meatballs in sauce are out there from a few months ago and I just need to buy or make pita bread.
p.s. If you want any recipes, I can type them up… I’ll try and take pictures of some of these meals too. We’ll see. If this goes well, I’ll do it again sometime this summer. Can’t wait for the lettuce to start growing! We’ll be planting for the first time in a few weeks!