Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The 10 Dollar Meals Week

I am aware of how much I overspend at the grocery store. It's absolutley rediculous. I usually go at least 50-100 dollars overbudget every time. It's so unnecessary too...things I absolutely do not need!

I do make a meal plan every week, but it's rare that I actually stick with the plan for the entire week...so often what happens is that I end up not using the items I bought for the meals I planned for. What a waste. My freezer is full of uncooked planned meals! What also happens is that someone eats an ingredient that I needed for the meal and I end up buying it again. Very frustrating!

So, when I sat down to make my meal plan this time, I raided our kitchen first. I picked items that I had but needed to be used and based my meals around them. If I had two main ingredients then that was even better! For instance, I had two one pound packages of turkey meat that I bought months ago...so I made sure to work in a meal that incorporated that.

I wanted to try to make this shopping trip as underbudget as possible, so when i made my grocery list I stuck to the essentials and instead of writing generic terms such as "fruits and veggies" I wrote exactly WHAT KIND of fruits and veggies I wanted and limited myself to only 3 types of fruit and 3 types of veggies. We've been letting fruits and veggies go to waste sometimes because I buy so much of it at one time and no one eats it! I also went the extra mile and tried to make each meal UNDER 10 DOLLARS. This meant me spending 10 dollars or under on the REMAINING ingredients I needed  for each meal. Remember, I tried to use as many ingredients that I already had in my pantry. The items I alreay had were very common ingredients that you may have also. If you were to buy all the ingredients for any of these meals, it would still be an affordable meal!

I have highlighted the ingredients in RED that I already had in my pantry.

My 10 Dollar Meal Plan

Meal 1
Mexican Casserole


1 pound lean ground beef ( I used 2 lbs of ground turkey meat)

2 cups salsa

1 (16 ounce) can chili beans, drained

3 cups tortilla chips, crushed

2 cups sour cream ( I used 2 1/2 cups since I added more meat)

1 (2 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained ( I left these out)

1/2 cup chopped green onion

1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato ( left this out too)

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until no longer pink. Stir in salsa, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in beans, and heat through.

3.Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread crushed tortilla chips in dish, and then spoon beef mixture over chips. Spread sour cream over beef, and sprinkle olives, green onion, and tomato over the sour cream. Top with Cheddar cheese.

4.Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

I made this for Cinco De Mayo and my family loved it!

Meal 2
Pierogis and Italian Beef

A very "manly" meal but good stuff!


Pierogies (bought in the freezer section of walmart)
Italian Beef Links


Sautee the onions in lots of butter until opaque
Add Italian Sausage and brown all over
Add frozen pierogies and fry until thawed and browned.

Meal 3
Spaghetti and Meatball Sandwiches



Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Spaghetti Sauce (didn't go for the expensive stuff this time..my family doesn't know the difference! I just bought cheap canned spaghetti sauce)
Hoagies or hamburger buns

  Meal 4
Crispy Chicken Bites, Corn, and Waffle Fries
sorry, no pic but it was extrememly easy.

Chicken Breasts
Bread crumbs (storebought)
Waffle Fries (I added Cajun seasoning to them and the boys loved it!)

I just breaded 3 pieces of chicken breast (cut up into bite sized pieces) and baked it in the oven.

Meal 5
Ham and Cheese Roll Ups

These are so easy to make..Joey made them for us! I needed to use the last of our deli meat so I bought
Crescent rolls and then Joey rolled up our deli meats and whatever cheeses we had (american and velveeta slices) in them and tada! You can be much more creative with these and put all sorts of things in them...Pepperonis, pizza sauce, and cheese would be a good one!

Meal 6
Salmon Patties, Wild Rice, and Green Beans


Salmon Pattie Ingredients

3 cans of boneless, skinless, salmon in water
1 egg
2 pieces of bread (or 3 ground up WASA crackers if you wanna make them low carb!)
Oil for frying

1. Drain the salmon and put into a bowl
*Optional (but so much better)--add lemon pepper seasoning to the mix--I add LOTS!
2. Combine 1 egg with the salmon and stir to coat all of it
3. Tear off small pieces of your bread into the mixture OR if your going low carb you'll want to ground up your WASA crackers in a food processor and then add the cracker powder to the mix.
4. Mold patties together and fry in oil on medium/high until brown on both sides.
5. Remove and transfer to paper towel

You can make a really great sauce for these by mixing equal parts sour cream and mayo and adding lemon pepper seasoning to it!

I always make extra of these because my family LOVES them and they keep really well in ziplock baggies in the fridge.

Meal 7
No pic but it doesn't require much explanation. I had everything (hotdogs and buns) but the chili so I bought a cheap can of chili with beans and that was it!

So, that was my week of meals for 10 dollars or less. I used ingredients I already had, and centered a meal around those items. It really saved me a lot of money to do that.

Also, when making my meal plan sheet for the family, I wrote out the meals like I always do, but I also included the key ingredients that I knew may get eaten so everyone would know what NOT TO EAT! As always, this is posted on the fridge so theres no questions about what we're eating for dinner (a question I loathe!)

Another Tip:
I always try to make some sort of large casserole dish at the beginning of the week. Something that I know everyone will enjoy. That way, theres plenty of left overs in case someone doesn't like something I fix during the week, or in case i'm busy and left overs are an easier choice than cooking. Having a go-to leftover that everyone likes really works for our family.

Oh Oh! I almost forgot the best part...I was almost 100 dollars UNDER budget. I stuck to my meal plan, bought the essentials, and NOTHING ELSE! I was feeling pretty proud that day!

Hope this gives you some ideas on how to feed your family for less!

Follow Play Create Explore on Pinterest!
Follow Me on Pinterest
More Ways to Follow the Fun!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting Play Create Explore! I love hearing from ya'll!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.