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Meal ideas for a 100 per week budget


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We're in between jobs here and trying to stretch our money. I've managed to stay under 100 a week, but it's kinda boring to always make the same meals. Meat is expensive here so I try to have more less often rather than a tiny bit at each meal. Any ideas would be lovely. Veggies(seasonal), fruits(seasonal), cheese and beans are very cheap. The veggies and fruits are about 1 per pound. And the cheese 2 per pound. Beans, of course, are next to nothing, but I never know what to do with them. Any ideas would be lovely.

We're a family of 5. Three boys (6, 3, 1) Ds(6) eats like he's constantly in a growth spurt and is skinny as a rail. Dh is in the same camp.

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:bigear:

would love ideas myself! hope you get some!

the couple of things i've done are:

 

make sure i have a meal plan and only shop once per week

 

plan well around our schedule knowing that i don't want to spend an hour cooking on certain days

 

have one night per week (usually friday or saturday) be breakfast for dinner and one night a week is usually spaghetti night and one night be "veggie plate" - all three of these can be varied slightly so it's not always the same thing and are pretty budget friendly. that leaves only a few nights that i have to really "think" about what i am going to prepare and it's also where i can spend a bit more money and shake up the "routine" of the meal plan. though i'll confess i'm in a rut myself!

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1. Sometimes I make a dish we eat at Chipotle grill but make it at home.

 

 

White rice with cilantro and lime, salt

Black or pinto beans with salt

salsa

kids like cheese on it but it isn't necessary.

 

Roll the above in a flour tortilla or put on top of lettuce for a salad. Add sour cream if desired.

 

2. Another dish I love but family doesn't so I rarely make it:

 

make a pot of rice

a pot of lentils cooked with onions, garlic, curry, and ginger (and salt and pepper)

 

Mix rice and lentils.....add sour cream if desired.

 

I even make chapatis myself......Dh and kids still prefer meat and rice to the lentils...:glare:

 

3. You can always have beans and cheese in a burrito.

 

4. Baked potato night is a hit here and very filling.

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I just made this recipe for the first time last night for my family of 5 (DH, Me, DS-20, DS-15, DD-5) and it was very filling and was enough for all of us (I made baked chili cheese fries and veggies with dip to go with it). I used 1 chicken breast and it was plenty. The recipe is very easy. I omitted the blue cheese because my family doesn't like it. I also used white sugar instead of brown sugar because I was out of brown sugar. Last change was I used Monterey Jack cheese instead of cheddar because I had Montery Jack on hand.

Buffalo Chicken Bites

recipe adapted from

Gourmet

 

1 cup finely diced cooked chicken breast

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup hot sauce (Frank's brand is what I used)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise dry yeast

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup warm milk ( I used 2%)

2 1/2 cups of flour

 

To make the buffalo chicken mixture, in a small bowl, combine the chicken, blue cheese, cheddar cheese, melted butter and hot sauce; set aside.

 

In a 1 cup measuring cup, heat the milk and then add the 2 tablespoons brown sugar; stir into warm milk until dissolved; place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.

 

Add 2 1/2 cups flour and yeast to the stand mixer and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms, adding up to 1/2 cup additional flour, a little at a time, if necessary. Allow the dough to knead in the stand mixer for 5-7 minutes. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times to form a smooth ball. Place dough into a clean bowl that's been lightly oiled. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled and bubbles appear on surface, about 2 hours.

 

 

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

 

 

 

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust your hands with flour, then gently roll and stretch 1 piece of dough to form a 12-inch-long rope. Flatten dough and arrange so a long side is nearest you, then roll out to a roughly 12- by 4-inch rectangle with a lightly floured rolling pin. Gently press one fourth of buffalo chicken mixture into lower third of rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch border along bottom edge. Stretch bottom edge of dough up over filling and press tightly to seal, then roll up as tightly as possible to form a rope. Cut rope into 12 pieces and transfer to a sheet pan. Make 3 more ropes with remaining dough, filling and cut into pieces, transferring to sheet pans. Let rest at room temperature, uncovered, 30 minutes (dough will rise slightly).

 

Bake buffalo chicken bites in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned. Remove from oven (some cheese may have melted out.) and brush tops with melted butter before serving (optional).

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How about eggs? A fritatta with veggies in it, with a side of fruit?

 

Ratatouille with bread.

 

Soup with beans, veggies, etc....a small amount of sausage added in would really make it good. Serve with bread or biscuits.

 

Fritatta sounds awesome; why hadn't I thought of that. :) Eggs are cheap here. I can get 30 for about 3.50. And there's always the accompanying baguette. I would live on soup but dh hates it. He'll eat it once a week, but if it starts showing up more he claims he's not hungry and then keeps looking into the fridge.

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For breakfasts I always do Quick Oats raw with raisins, dried coconut (super cheap in Asian stores) and milk. My kids don't mind the monotony and a week of breakfasts is only 10. It's lunch and dinner that stumps me. Snack is always fruit and yogurt (1 euro a litre).

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I should add that we live in France where black beans, tortillas, sourcream and all that lovely-ness are EXPENSIVE. (Sniff) Peanut butter is 12 euros a kg. Crazy!

 

Just baguettes - every meal. Yummmm. ;) Sorry, not helpful.

 

This site is great for creative, tasty vegetarian recipes. I like the gnocchi with chard and white beans and the carmelized onion lasagna.

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_vegetarian_recipes

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Homemade pizza? Make your own crusts (practically free), canned tomatoes ($1), and cheese ($4 - maybe?). If you happen to have toppings, great! If not, no biggie.

 

Chicken and potatoes. Roast a chicken one day. (To make this work, I have to roast two chickens, but I have a really big family!) Have potatoes as a side with veggies. The second night, take the leftover chicken and make a chicken casserole (we usually do chicken alfredo over rice). Make the bones into a broth and do a veggie soup the third night. (For added protein, I'll add beans, or egg. Sometimes I'll serve it over pasta or rice. Others I'll make dumplings.)

 

Homemade waffles and scrambled eggs. Yum!

 

We also do all the beans and rice meals, but mostly those are snacks for my kids. I keep all the ingredients in the fridge and the kids can go at it anytime. So, those aren't really our meals anymore.

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Homemade pizza? Make your own crusts (practically free), canned tomatoes ($1), and cheese ($4 - maybe?). If you happen to have toppings, great! If not, no biggie.

 

Chicken and potatoes. Roast a chicken one day. (To make this work, I have to roast two chickens, but I have a really big family!) Have potatoes as a side with veggies. The second night, take the leftover chicken and make a chicken casserole (we usually do chicken alfredo over rice). Make the bones into a broth and do a veggie soup the third night. (For added protein, I'll add beans, or egg. Sometimes I'll serve it over pasta or rice. Others I'll make dumplings.)

 

Homemade waffles and scrambled eggs. Yum!

 

We also do all the beans and rice meals, but mostly those are snacks for my kids. I keep all the ingredients in the fridge and the kids can go at it anytime. So, those aren't really our meals anymore.

 

A chicken lasting three nights sounds good to me. I need to try homemade pizza. Doughs really intimidate me.

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Do you have a costco for meats?

You can buy a huge bag of individually wrapped chicken breasts for about $16 (this will usually last a month, when other meats are also used); a huge slab of ground beef (separate into 1 lb and put each pound into a small ziplock) for around the same; a large four pack of pork tenderloin (about 20) and you're set for meat for the month, leaving the rest of your budget for meal prep items, veggies, fruits, pastas, and grains! Also, our Costco carries these AWESOME Kirkland brand spinach and mozzarella ravioli - the bag is big enough (with your clan size) for two meals. It runs (I think) about $12. It's a money saver to buy eggs here too (two huge 24 packs, way cheaper than the regular store, that lasts us about 2 months).

 

Our Publix generally runs buy one/get one deals on a brand of pasta and a brand of red sauce every week (brands vary by week). Great time to stock up on it. Breakfasts can consist of fresh fruit and yogurt (Yoplait is usually on sale 20 for $10 once or twice a month here). Lunches can be leftovers or grilled cheese and soup. Whatever bread is on sale, buy a couple loaves and freeze the loaf you aren't using (they thaw well). Also, steamer veggies of some brand are usually on sale buy one/get one - these come in such a variety of yummy flavors that they are GREAT for quick, cheap sides. Corn is also a big sale item right now - we grabbed a HUGE box for minimal cost, shucked the cobs and froze them 5 per large ziplock for easy grab and go.

 

Meals for a week:

 

Pesto chicken and asparagus with penne pasta (favorite here, even with our 10 year old)

 

Blue chicken and tomatoes with corkscrew pasta and an herb butter sauce (another fav here); steamed veggies on the side *other than the chicken listed that I get at Costco, the other ingredients run me about $5 total*

 

Spinach and Mozzarella Ravioli with red sauce; steamed veggies on the side *Buying the ravioli at Costco, the other ingredients run me about $5 total*

 

Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin (two slabs = one pack of the duo bought at costco, so there are four slabs total) with rice and a veggie *Buying pork at Costco the other ingredients, including teriyaki marinade, cost around $5 total*

 

Homemade burgers with corn on the cob *Buying ground beef at Costco other ingredients (buns, cheese, lettuce) run about $5 total*

 

Chili with cornbread *quick brown box mix runs about $2, tomato sauce less than $1, we use elbow noodles to serve under chili, and I usually have items for cornbread on hand*

 

... and then we do pasta with red sauce on Sundays (I know, most of these meals have pasta in them, lol) with meatballs or Italian sausage chunks, a vegetable, and a loaf of crispy bread.

 

These are some of our favorites. I know, we don't eat completely healthfully, but we eat homemade... things we remember from our childhoods... wholesome, balanced, tasty. I generally do our shopping for 5 (me, dh, dd10, ds3, ds-newborn) for $100 a week. We do spend a bit up front for a Costco trip, but it means I spend much less at the regular grocery store on meats and some other items.

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I should add that we live in France where black beans, tortillas, sourcream and all that lovely-ness are EXPENSIVE. (Sniff) Peanut butter is 12 euros a kg. Crazy!

 

You can make your own flour tortillas fairly easily. There are a number of recipes for that online (I don't measure anything, so it's hard for me to tell you). I don't use shortening in mine, I find it easier to mix using vegetable oil, and I do use baking powder and a bit of salt along with white flour and a bit of water. I roll them out with a rolling pin and cook them on a dry griddle.

 

You can put a lot of things inside of a tortilla with some cheese, fold it, and cook briefly on a hot griddle and call it good.

 

Refried beans are good in a tortilla and over rice, also with cornbread and even as a topping on plain toast. They don't use black beans, either. Do you have pinto beans? I bet you can substitute whatever kind of beans you have in your area.

 

You can make your own pasta fairly easily also, and it uses mostly flour and some egg. I roll mine out with a rolling pin. They are thicker and more filling than store bought, and you can add in seasonings to the dough if you want to.

 

Any kind of sauce will do, but if you get tired of tomato try topping the pasta with something like cream of chicken or another inexpensive canned soup.

 

Homemade pancakes (even potato pancakes) and homemade waffles can be good for dinners. My dh loves homemade waffles topped with cream of chicken soup and bits of chicken.

 

Baked potato topped with anything, even beans. Rice topped with beans. Homemade pizza, cornbread with beans, anything with oatmeal (scones, muffins, that sort of thing) all very inexpensive.

 

I found a recipe online that made a chicken-less chicken dish from oatmeal that is amazing http://theprudenthomemaker.com/index.php/chicken-fried-steak and she has other great recipes too.

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Oh, I thought you said beans were cheap where you are.

 

You can still make some dishes, don't add sour cream (we only use 1T per person anyway).

 

Tortillas and chapatis are SO easy to make.....pretty much flour and water and roll it out. Chapatis I kind of fry in butter but tortillas I just cook.

 

My kids prefer the homemade but I am too lazy to make them myself often.

 

Dawn

 

I should add that we live in France where black beans, tortillas, sourcream and all that lovely-ness are EXPENSIVE. (Sniff) Peanut butter is 12 euros a kg. Crazy!
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Plain Greek-style yogurt can sub for sour cream. You can even make your own in a crockpot if buying it at the store is too expensive (you'll need to strain it afterwards to get the thick consistency).

 

When my DH was between permanent positions a couple years ago I made tons of soups and stews, egg dishes, pasta, stuffed baked potatoes, and bean dishes. We also did quite a few "breakfast for dinner" nights. It was pretty carb-heavy and truth be told, I did gain about 15 lbs. as a result of the not-so-great diet and stress eating. I was able to get that off, however, after my DH found a new position and we were able to return to healthier eating.

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Fritatta sounds awesome; why hadn't I thought of that. :) Eggs are cheap here. I can get 30 for about 3.50. And there's always the accompanying baguette. I would live on soup but dh hates it. He'll eat it once a week, but if it starts showing up more he claims he's not hungry and then keeps looking into the fridge.

 

Sounds like my husband when I make something he doesn't care for. :lol:

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Along the lines of the 3-night-chicken recipe, you can do a similar plan with a pork roast. Just season, add liquid, and bake/crockpot until tender. Then, shred the meat. There will be a LOT. Have it on tortillas (make them if you must) with some beans, cheese, veggies, and taco seasonings/fixings. If you pre make burritos you can ration the cheese.

 

Later, add BBQ sauce and have pulled pork BBQ on rolls. I usually serve these with coleslaw and baked beans.

 

If you still have broth/meat left, I like to put it onto a soup. I do a pho noodle soup, but anything you like would work.

 

For sides, just serve salads from the freshest, cheapest seasonal veggies you can find.

 

Pork roast is a cheap way to get a serious meat fix on a budget

 

 

-------------------------------------------

 

Also, you may want to experiment with shepherds pie recipes. You get that meat and potatoes satisfaction with very little beef or lamb.

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Pork is really cheap here. At least certain cuts. Everyone is suggesting these delicious Mexican foods like tacos, and beans and rice. Just not so doable here. I miss Chipotle! Unless I make garbanzo refried beans and spread yogurt on top of them for sourcream and blue cheese in place of Cheddar (so pricey here -- the cheddar that is) By then it'll just be gross. Are there any bean recipes that aren't soup that I can do with garbanzos, lentils or navy beans? Or anything I can do with tofu? Or more egg or cheese ideas? Pork ideas would be cool too.

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In the states, ethnic markets often have lower prices on certain staples. Do you have that where you are, and if so, are they affordable?

 

eta: egg dishes: quiche, frittata, strata-that one especially if you can find ends of bread or save them easily from other meals.

Cabbage is cheap. Fry some shredded cabbage until soft and stir some scrambled eggs in, cook til set. Good with soy sauce or hot sauce if you want to liven it up. If pork is cheap, stir fry some of that with cabbage (bacon would work, ham would work, bits of pork loin). Soy sauce or hot sauce could liven that up.

 

If you can make your own stock from a chicken carcass (too pricey?) or veggie stock, you could do eggdrop soup, or cabbage and bean type of soups. If you can get cabbage inexpensively you could also make homemade sauerkraut, which is very nourishing. That would be great with the pork dishes. Is sausage expensive? Could you stretch that by adding some into quiche, frittata, strata, or soup (with whatever inexpensive veggies you can find?).

 

Can you shred some pork for something like carnitas? With beans, rice, skip the cheese, add some plain strained yogurt? Are avocados available or extremely expensive? I imagine they might be pricey there, but just in case, that would be yummy. Are apples expensive? Pork with sauteed sliced apples? I add thyme to mine and we eat them kind of savory.

Edited by Momof3littles
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You can make falafels with garbanzo beans. I've made this recipe: http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/2010/12/falafel-264-recipe-030-serving.html. Then I make this tzatziki sauce for the falafels that uses greek yogurt http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/2010/05/tzatziki-greek-yogurt-sauce-225-recipe.html. It's a simple meal and my husband loves them (my kids feel so-so about falafels). That website has a lot of budget-friendly recipes.

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Split pea soup with ham in the Crockpot

 

French toast

 

Quiche

 

Fritatta

 

roast chicken/beef with root veggies

 

Shepherd's pie

 

Creamy tomato basil soup

 

Homemade Hamburger Helper

 

Grilled cheese w/ham and thinly sliced apples

 

Scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon and fresh fruit

 

Crepes

 

In the summer, we often just have green salad and whatever veggies are in season in our garden. Last night it was green salad with corn on the cob, sauteed zucchini, and cantaloupe and honey dew melon.

 

When I lived in Paris, we always has a baguette with some ham and cheese for lunch. We ate outside everyday and it was wonderful.

 

Let me know if you want any of the recipes.

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egg dishes are affordable

 

 

 

crack slaw is one of my go to cheaper meals (ground meat of choice stir fried with shredded cabbage and carrots)

 

 

 

I've never heard that name :lol:

 

But that IS yummy.

 

I really like warm bean dishes. I love cannellini beans cooked and tossed with a saute of onion, garlic, olive oil and rosemary or whatever herbs you have . Bread and your done.

 

Homemade noodles are super cheap and easy. You can just roll them and cut for a rustic homemade noodle thing. My aunt always made noodles with gravy for a holiday. You could add some chicken from the 3 night chicken idea, or whatever meat lilke pork which I believe is cheap there.

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We are a family of 4, with one 12 year old skinny, hungry boy.I also have a skinny, hungry 7 year old and a skinny, hungry husband. I do spend a little bit more than 100$ a week but not much more. I expect to spend about 120-130 every week, but that is with lots of fun 'extras' or time savers that I could easily not buy. There have been very tight times when I spent 50$ for the week. That wasn't fun, but we managed.

 

We don't eat meat. That is a big money saver. We do eat a lot of eggs, oatmeal, beans, lentils, and rice. I used to make a lot of stuff with potato and pasta (not together) but we don't love that stuff. I don't buy juice or drink things. We have water or milk. If you want sweet, then eat fruit. I have lots of fruit. I do buy coffee and tea. I don't buy individual packaged items. For example, I don't buy cheese sticks. I do buy a pound of low-fat mozzarella and people are welcome to have a slice. I don't buy yogurt in individual cups. I do buy a large container of plain yogurt. We got through two a week. I stir in a teaspoon of jam for sweetness.

 

My 'splurge' is stuff like refried beans in a can and store bought hummus. I could so easily make that myself and save a lot of money. Gobs of money. But, I don't. I will if I have to, but right now I am happy to just buy it.

 

I think another difference from how lots of people shop, we don't buy 'snack foods' unless there is a good sale. Generally, if you want to eat, then you have to prepare something.

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I blog about the simple, homemade, inexpensive food our family eats, so you can check out some recipes there. The link is in my signature.

We do eat a lot of beans. Last week I cooked up a 4lb bag and refrigerated the cooked beans in quart jars.

 

Many folks feel like you have to add pork to beans, but we do just fine without. Beans have such great flavor!

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I should add that we live in France where black beans, tortillas, sourcream and all that lovely-ness are EXPENSIVE. (Sniff) Peanut butter is 12 euros a kg. Crazy!

 

I was wondering how you were able to get cheese for $2/lb. ;)

 

I make a big pot of beans (properly soaked of course) in the crockpot and have beans topped with cheese and served with a side of fried diced potatoes. The next night, I take the beans and some tomatoes and some seasonings and ground beef (if I have some on hand) and make chili...again served with shredded cheese. I'm the only one in my family who likes sour cream...so I rarely serve it.

 

I also do a lot with potatoes. We love our baked potato nights.

 

Have you considered making your own tortillas? It is so much cheaper than buying them and so much more healthy! I make up huge batches at a time and then freeze them.

 

Eggs are a huge staple at my house as well (and are relatively inexpensive.) So for breakfast, there are so many things you can do with them. Quiche, scrambled, poached, fried. I saw a show with Jacques Pepin where he put a fried/poached egg on a salad...must be a French thing. ;)

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Split pea soup with ham in the Crockpot

 

French toast

 

Quiche

 

Fritatta

 

roast chicken/beef with root veggies

 

Shepherd's pie

 

Creamy tomato basil soup

 

Homemade Hamburger Helper

 

Grilled cheese w/ham and thinly sliced apples

 

Scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon and fresh fruit

 

Crepes

 

In the summer, we often just have green salad and whatever veggies are in season in our garden. Last night it was green salad with corn on the cob, sauteed zucchini, and cantaloupe and honey dew melon.

 

When I lived in Paris, we always has a baguette with some ham and cheese for lunch. We ate outside everyday and it was wonderful.

 

Let me know if you want any of the recipes.

 

So happy to know someone else survived Paris :) Or maybe that's why you aren't there anymore? Seriously, it is great here. And the bread is cheap and wonderful. I'd love to have any recipes you may have for fritatta, quiche, shepherd's pie and the homemade hamburger helper. Regarding your dinner last night. It sounds delicious to me, but I feel guilty when I don't serve protein at each meal to the kids. Is it fine to skip here and there?

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I was wondering how you were able to get cheese for $2/lb. ;)

 

I make a big pot of beans (properly soaked of course) in the crockpot and have beans topped with cheese and served with a side of fried diced potatoes. The next night, I take the beans and some tomatoes and some seasonings and ground beef (if I have some on hand) and make chili...again served with shredded cheese. I'm the only one in my family who likes sour cream...so I rarely serve it.

 

I also do a lot with potatoes. We love our baked potato nights.

 

Have you considered making your own tortillas? It is so much cheaper than buying them and so much more healthy! I make up huge batches at a time and then freeze them.

 

Eggs are a huge staple at my house as well (and are relatively inexpensive.) So for breakfast, there are so many things you can do with them. Quiche, scrambled, poached, fried. I saw a show with Jacques Pepin where he put a fried/poached egg on a salad...must be a French thing. ;)

 

Oh, please do tell me about the potatoes. Dh hates potatoes but for 1.75 for 5 kg he will just have to eat them.

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We are a family of 4, with one 12 year old skinny, hungry boy.I also have a skinny, hungry 7 year old and a skinny, hungry husband. I do spend a little bit more than 100$ a week but not much more. I expect to spend about 120-130 every week, but that is with lots of fun 'extras' or time savers that I could easily not buy. There have been very tight times when I spent 50$ for the week. That wasn't fun, but we managed.

 

We don't eat meat. That is a big money saver. We do eat a lot of eggs, oatmeal, beans, lentils, and rice. I used to make a lot of stuff with potato and pasta (not together) but we don't love that stuff. I don't buy juice or drink things. We have water or milk. If you want sweet, then eat fruit. I have lots of fruit. I do buy coffee and tea. I don't buy individual packaged items. For example, I don't buy cheese sticks. I do buy a pound of low-fat mozzarella and people are welcome to have a slice. I don't buy yogurt in individual cups. I do buy a large container of plain yogurt. We got through two a week. I stir in a teaspoon of jam for sweetness.

 

My 'splurge' is stuff like refried beans in a can and store bought hummus. I could so easily make that myself and save a lot of money. Gobs of money. But, I don't. I will if I have to, but right now I am happy to just buy it.

 

I think another difference from how lots of people shop, we don't buy 'snack foods' unless there is a good sale. Generally, if you want to eat, then you have to prepare something.

 

You sound so much like me in your shopping habits. I don't do pop, juice (at least not regularly), snack foods, individually wrapped just about anything, breakfast cereal, etc.. Snack is fresh fruit and yogurt from a tub. I do make a dessert once a week -- it was a strawberry tart today. At the same time I'm not the kind of person that can pick 7 meals and rotate through them. I have to have variety that's why I'm picking the Hive's cooking brain here. Boys eat like horses. My ds6 eats more than I do. I'm dreading the teenage appetites. I have all boys.

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http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/egg/

 

Here are lots of egg recipes....maybe they will inspire you. ;) When we were in Europe we ate lots of brochen with ham and cheese at lunch. I always served a side salad at lunch and dinner and had ham, cheese, olives and pickles on a little platter in the refrigerator. I kept deviled eggs made and cooked lots of pork medallions with potato salad and rolls. Have a blast in France...I so miss Europe! :D

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http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/egg/

 

Here are lots of egg recipes....maybe they will inspire you. ;) When we were in Europe we ate lots of brochen with ham and cheese at lunch. I always served a side salad at lunch and dinner and had ham, cheese, olives and pickles on a little platter in the refrigerator. I kept deviled eggs made and cooked lots of pork medallions with potato salad and rolls. Have a blast in France...I so miss Europe! :D

Wonderful this was just what I needed. Now I can serve eggs for dinner once a week for 35 weeks without repeating a single dish. Loving it. Spinach Frittata is on for tomorrow. There is one thing awesome about Europe. The farmers markets are way cheaper than the grocery stores, they are huge, and they are fresh. But there's nothing like the States for cheap meat.

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Veggies are so lovely this time of year....I think I'd serve salad every day. You could mix it up by varying the veggies, dressing, and the bits of protein you add in.

 

Zucchini here is very inexpensive right now, and very versatile. We use cook it with a butter as a side for fish, we use it in mexican dishes with beans and corn and tomatoes, etc. (I know they don't sell the seasoning packets there, but it's so easy to mix up yourself!), we cook it with a bit of sausage....

 

I would look for whatever is inexpensive in the produce markets and base your meals around that. Look at food.com or some of the other recipe websites where you can sort by ingredients and see what works....

 

Potatoes are lovely diced and cooked with a drizzle of olive oil & spices as a side. They can be a filler so that you give everyone small portions of meat, a side of potatoes and another veg and finish the meal off with salad.

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Make your own tortillas or other flatbread. But it's hard for us to advise you since we don't know what's cheap there.

 

My 'splurge' is stuff like refried beans in a can and store bought hummus. I could so easily make that myself and save a lot of money. Gobs of money. But, I don't. I will if I have to, but right now I am happy to just buy it.

Really? Sure canned beans are a bit more expensive than cooking from dried ( assuming fuel is reasonably cheap for you) but they're not expensive compared to many other things. I can buy store bought hummus for cheap enough that it's not worth my while to make it at home. I do cook my beans from dried, but it doesn't strike me as a giant savings, so don't despair.

Edited by stripe
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Oh, please do tell me about the potatoes. Dh hates potatoes but for 1.75 for 5 kg he will just have to eat them.

 

Poor man's shepherd's pie uses mashed potatoes:

Brown some ground beef and put in a baking dish. Top with some corn (or mixed veggies.) Then top with some mashed potatoes and cheese. Cover with foil and bake @ 350 for half an hour.

 

Baked potatoes make a meal by themselves.

 

Twice baked potatoes are pretty easy and super delicious.

 

Potato soup (this is one of our favorites in the winter!) I used to add crumbled bacon...but bacon is now incredibly expensive.

 

Hash browns...oh so yummy!

 

Diced fried potatoes...another one of our faves. I use refined coconut oil for all of my frying (it is more expensive but the health benefits can't be beat.)

 

Au gratin potatoes...there are so many variations and you can make them into a meal.

 

Mashed potatoes with garlic and cheese.

 

HTH! :)

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When I make shepherds pie, I use ground lamb. Is that more available than beef for you?

 

I brown the lamb and sauté veggies. We like carrots and onions. Add a little beef broth and flour to produce a gravy (think pot pie consistency). I like to add rosemary to season it. Toss in some peas if your family likes them.

 

While making the meat mixture, toss some whole potatoes in a pot of boiling, salted water. When a knife goes in easily they are cooked and the peelings will come right off (just plunge in cold water so you don't burn your hands when peeling). Place potatoes back in their pot, season, add a little butter or olive oil, and mash by hand. I add crumbled feta at this point, but that's just me :D

 

Put the meat-veg-gravy mixture in an oven-safe dish. Top with potatoes and bake until the potatoes are golden and the gravy is bubbly.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a recipe I LOVE that makes a shepherd pie with fish:

 

http://www.food.com/recipe/fantastic-fish-pie-147123

 

I leave out the eggs because they're just weird to me, and the original recipe listed Parmesan cheese as an option, so I've always used that rather than cheddar.

 

 

 

Both of the above pies make a lot of food for the money :001_smile:

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Really? Sure canned beans are a bit more expensive than cooking from dried ( assuming fuel is reasonably cheap for you) but they're not expensive compared to many other things. I can buy store bought hummus for cheap enough that it's not worth my while to make it at home. I do cook my beans from dried, but it doesn't strike me as a giant savings, so don't despair.

 

The store bought hummus is my secret shame. It feels so wasteful. I just went shopping this afternoon and I bought a 32 oz tub of hummus for 5.99. That is a store brand. I could spend more and get a name brand. I can buy a pound of dry chickpeas for 1.80. That would make approx 2lb of hummus. One pound of chick peas dried makes about 3 cans (6 cups) worth of beans, so I am guessing. The tahini is expensive but I don't use much.

 

Really, for 6$ I could make a lot of hummus. I could prob make 4lbs.

 

And those 2lbs will be gone by Wednesday. My kids eat a lot of hummus. They eat it with a spoon. DH and I don't even eat any because we know the kids will gobble it up. They know I will only buy one tub a week.

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Stretch your proteins...

 

Instead of a chcken breast per person, chop up two and add them with veggies or fried rice...

 

Use a 1/2 pound of beef for spaghetti sauce, dice up ham in potato soup, crumble bacon for salads, add sausage to omelets...proteins are the mst expensive product, just be creative! I can make enough chicken tenders (chicken piccatta) for five people using 3 breasts and slicing them into 6 slivers...

 

Cut up pork for pasta dishes, stick to block cheese on sale, we feed our family on $450 a month...and we buy only organic milk and eggs, never buy frozen dinners, cookies, chips, sodas...mostly fresh veggies, fruits, whole grains, dairy and meats.

 

Oh, and a son who is 6'3 and rows competitively and two competitive dancers...they EAT! :)

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Trying to stretch the food budget here as well & as I, too, am not living in the States many of the common suggestions just aren't possible. What I've found helps for my family is:

 

---Cook a bigger roast once a week (vary the meats to take advantage of what ever meat is currently on sale that week)

*day 1 = roast dinner with seasonal veg.

*put aside some of the extra meat for sandwiches / salads for lunches during the week

*use some of the extra meat /veg / gravy in a soup or casserole later in the week

*a small amount of left-over roast meat adds heaps of flavor to fried rice or pasta dishes

 

---Have a weekly soup &/or salad night weekly. That wonderful local bread would make a meal like this a treat :D

 

---Have a weekly smorgaborg (left-over ;) ) night. Often we have just enough left-over for one serving. By having a weekly left-over dinner, we use up these bits & bobs. First in gets best choice.

 

---Have a weekly egg evening. Lots of options here.

 

---Try a new local dish each week. Local dishes tend to use more economic foods.

 

 

---Bento-style lunches make little bits of a variety of foods go a long way & seem more special. http://justbento.com/ has good ideas.

 

http://budgetbytes.blogspot.co.nz/ and http://goodcheapeats.com/ are full of good budget ideas that don't require processed foods found only in the States. I used a recipe from each in our dinner tonight.

 

HTH,

Edited by Deb in NZ
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Pork is really cheap here. At least certain cuts. Everyone is suggesting these delicious Mexican foods like tacos, and beans and rice. Just not so doable here. I miss Chipotle! Unless I make garbanzo refried beans and spread yogurt on top of them for sourcream and blue cheese in place of Cheddar (so pricey here -- the cheddar that is) By then it'll just be gross. Are there any bean recipes that aren't soup that I can do with garbanzos, lentils or navy beans? Or anything I can do with tofu? Or more egg or cheese ideas? Pork ideas would be cool too.

 

 

Here is a list of lentil recipes: 25 Tasty and Cheap Lentil Recipes

 

One recipe for lentils that we like is Egyptian Lentils and Rice.

 

This cannellini bean dip is good. You can serve with pita chips or baguettes. Can you find cannellini beans? I believe they are basically a white kidney bean. Navy beans would probably even work.

 

I second the idea of looking at ethnic markets for cheaper ingredients. Being so near Africa you could probably find good African/Middle Eastern food markets. Instead of using tortillas, you could stuff things in pita bread if you can easily find that.

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