I don't know about you, but when money is tight I'm always more tempted to reach for the convenience foods. I especially struggle when I'm coming to the end of my grocery budget for the month, and it makes it so tempting to start eating junk food that seems cheaper. I say “seems” cheaper, because when I give into temptation I know the cost on my health and my family's health is high! It's not worth it.
Before my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I would often reach for spaghetti, frozen pizza, frozen chicken nuggets, and worse. Fortunately, those aren't options for us anymore, and we're all better off for it!
After my last post of $7 Gluten Free Trim Healthy Mama Dinners, I got tons of requests for more, and here they are! Here is another collection of inexpensive, easy, and healthy dinners with no “special” ingredients and no coupons required. This menu is fun, flavorful, and pretty easy. Best of all, I got ALL of the ingredients for under $50! This week I shopped at Kroger. If you have a Costco membership, or buy in bulk, you can save a lot of money! I know I can buy meat and rice much cheaper in bulk, so if I hadn't been buying them for the blog post I would've spent about $40 total for a week of dinners! I save a lot by purchasing good quality meat at Zaycon Fresh (it's really easy, and you just pick it up in your area).
Update: $7 Dinners Part 3 is available now!
Let's get started:
Sunday: Tomato Zucchini Frittata from SkinnyTaste.com with a side salad (S)
This is delicious and easy, and even better, you can use the week's leftovers in it! If you have some wilting veggies you can toss them into a frittata to keep them from going to waste. I've used asparagus, bell peppers, zucchini, and all kinds of leftovers in my frittatas and they always taste great. I cut this into six thinner slices and serve it with a side salad, and occasionally I'll get a slice leftover for breakfast the next morning, which is just as good!
I don't buy the Asiago cheese this recipe calls for. I use cheddar or monterey jack and it's always delicious!
Monday: Warm Chicken and Brown rice (no-recipe recipe below) (E)
I buy a rotisserie chicken and shred the white meat (save the rest for tomorrow!), then mix it with cooked rice, and reheat the whole dish in the oven for about 20 minutes. After I remove it from the oven, I throw in leftover tomatoes, cucumbers if I have them, and season it with oregano, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and just a splash of olive oil. This is a yummy delicious E, and the best part is you can change it to suit your family's tastes by changing the ingredients or the seasoning. This is really simple, and cheap, but you can add as much rice as you need to feed your family.
If you want to save time later in the week, you can cook a full 2 pounds (or more, if you need it) of brown rice tonight, and serve half with dinner tonight, and the rest with black bean soup later in the week.
If you already have quinoa, it's a perfect substitute for the brown rice in this dish and will add extra protein.
Tuesday: Chicken Taco Pizza (S)
To keep this recipe cost effective, I sub the dark meat and any leftover meat from yesterday's store-bought chicken and use it in place of the three chicken breasts it calls for. If you have a huge family, this may not be enough chicken, so you may have to add additional meat or sides to the shopping list if you're feeding a huge crowd). You have choices here, too! Instead of the crust it calls for, you could use the Speedy Thin Crust Recipe from the Trim Healthy Mama book, or any favorite low carb pizza crust. I included the ingredients in the shopping list for the crust in the recipe at the link.
In this recipe, I use my own taco seasoning (not included in the shopping list), that I make from this recipe. In my opinion, it's cheaper, tastier, and lacking in yucky added ingredients.
Wednesday: Pearl's Chili from the Trim Healthy Mama Book (in my ebook it's on page 328) (S)
Right now, ground beef is super expensive where I live, so I bought 3 pounds of ground turkey instead, and I only used 1 1/2 pounds to feed my family of 6 with this recipe, but otherwise I cooked it as directed. I used the other 1 1/2 lbs of ground turkey for Friday's dinner. It's helpful to cook it all up at once, though, and have the other pound and a half ready for Friday.
Thursday: Velvet Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Herbs and Green Salad (S)
Please make sure you use heavy cream instead of milk to keep this an S! I used dried herbs (I start at a teaspoon and adjust to taste) instead of fresh to save money, but if you want to buy fresh that makes it even better!
Friday: Turkey Tacos (S or E)
Using the leftover 1 1/2 lbs of turkey from Wednesday, I season it well with taco seasoning and reheat it. You can wrap it in lettuce instead of shells (there are 2 heads of lettuce on the shopping list, so 1 1/2 of those can be for salads, and the rest for lettuce wraps if you want). You can stack it with leftover rice from Monday for an E, with greek yogurt and diced tomato on top (you can add beans if you have any leftover from making chili, too!).
Or, for an S option, you can stack them with cheese, sour cream, olives…anything you have on hand to make yummy S taco stacks or lettuce-wrapped tacos.
Saturday: Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup (E)
If you don't have vegetable broth, or aren't able to buy it, I've subbed chicken broth from my pantry before with no problems. You can serve this with a dollop of fat-free Greek Yogurt for extra protein and creaminess! I make a batch of brown rice and serve a small portion for myself to stay under 45 grams of carbs, and give the kids as much rice as they want. Yummy!
I had to do my shopping online at Kroger because we've been battling one sickness after another, so you can probably do even better in the store! Here's my receipt:
This price does NOT include staples like seasonings or oil, or sour cream or Greek yogurt (which are optional toppings), so if you have bare cupboards and no spices you might need to spend a little more.
Like I've said before, I am not a couponer, so I was really excited to make a week of dinners for under $50, or about $7 per dinner! If you are a coupon Queen and are able to save even MORE money using this list, please let me know! I will be posting a new week’s worth of 7 dinners under $50 soon, so stay tuned! If you missed the first round of $7 Dinners, please check them out!
Please make sure you check the recipe links AND my notes on each recipe before you plan on using this list! Your family may require more/less and that is YOUR call, so please double-check before you shop! Also, make sure you have the “Staples” listed below! There's a little wiggle room to stay under $50, so if you don't have something you can probably add it and keep the cost under budget. Remember, this is how I shopped and fed my family of six for a week, THM style, but my kiddos eat lots of rice, etc. on the side. Your shopping trip may look different, so use this as a guide but not something set in stone.
It's not super cute (my apologies, I've been sick!) but here is a PDF screen shot of my full shopping list from Kroger:
And here is a list of Staples you'll need that are NOT included on the shopping list:
- olive oil
- lemon (for velvet eggs, optional)
- dried oregano
- dried thyme
- chili powder
- onion powder
- Parmesan cheese (you can sub other cheese if you don't have parmesan)
- Dijon mustard (optional, for making your own salad dressing)
- red wine vinegar (optional, for making your own salad dressing)
- balsamic vinegar (optional, for chicken and rice)
- favorite salad toppings (lettuce is on the shopping list)
- ingredients for taco seasoning (see link above)
- salsa (this isn't on the shopping list, but there is room to buy it and stay under $50 if you don't have any at home)
- chili powder
Linked Up At:
Org Junkie's Menu Plan Mondays