Sunday, January 14, 2018

Meal Planning on a Budget - Take 2

This past week was the first full week of sticking to a strict food budget. And it was mostly successful-my toddler may have sabotaged me just a bit by getting his own milk (i.e. pouring a full gallon on the floor) and giving the dogs a box of crackers.

By cooking from scratch, and using some of what was already in my pantry, I was able to feed 2 adults and 2 kids for under $150 for 21 meals, 7 snacks, and 7 desserts! My husband might argue that "there's nothing in the house to eat" but he will slowly adjust to the lack of processed, pre-made junk. We by no means went hungry, although it took almost the entire week to break the habit of walking into the pantry to find the quick and easy foods. Well it took the week for me, my poor husband hasn't adjusted as quickly.

After posting in a few foodie groups I belong to on Facebook, I realized that many people struggle with meal planning or find it too complicated to start. I would like to share my past week of yummy eats, my shopping list, and the prices at my local store. 

Let's start with my favorite meal...BREAKFAST!
1. Pancakes with blueberries
2. Oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins, and real maple syrup
3. Scrambled eggs with sausage, tomatoes, and cheese. Served with 1/2 a grapefruit. 
4. Dutch Baby Pancake with real maple syrup. Served with "Cuties" (i.e. the baby oranges/tangerines)
7. Fried eggs, toast, and sausage

Lunches were fairly simple, sandwiches, fresh fruits and veggies, and a small treat. 
1. Grilled Cheddar Cheese sandwiches served with pickles, and a small handful of potato chips
2. Yogurt, cheese & crackers, carrots and celery with peanut butter, Cuties
3. Left over sausage ragu, french bread and butter
4. Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, celery with peanut butter, Cuties
5. Turkey sandwiches with mayo, tomatoes, and lettuce; handful of potato chips, orange slices
6. simple tuna salad, crackers, sliced tomatoes
7. Yogurt, turkey lunch meat on crackers with cheese, apple slices with peanut butter, 

And for the delicious dinners...
1. Brown Sugar glazed Salmon, fried white rice with peas
2. Sausage Ragu with Pappardelle pasta, french/italian bread & butter
3. All Most Hands-Free Risotto with Chicken and Herbs
4. Left Over Sausage Ragu
5. Cast Iron Chicago Style Pizza
6. Sausage, Rapini/Broccoli Rabe, and White Beans , corn bread
7. Left Overs Clean Up 

Dessert all week was a double batch of Molasses Spice Cookies that made just under 4 dozen cookies

I love that this worked out so well that there are no leftovers sticking around my fridge at the end of the week. (Except for a few cookies in the freezer). Everything that was cooked has been consumed, so no "science experiments" get lost at the back of the fridge. (This is a HUGE win in my life. I have a very large fridge and over the last year have frequently "lost" food in there.) One of the biggest wastes of money is throwing away food that gets forgotten or goes bad. 

Here is my shopping list from this past week. Eventually all these recipes will be up on my blog, however a simple Google search will give you the results for all of these recipes. 

I have posted the shopping list and prices at my local store below. The ingredients came out to a total of $203.06 but that is if you have to buy everything from the store and do not have anything in your pantry. At the end of the week you will still have the flour, sugar, spices, and a few other pantry staples remaining.

Grocery List 
1 bulb garlic 0.69
5 tomatoes 2.49
2 grapefruit 1.98
5lb bag of cuties 6.47
4 oranges 3
fennel bulb 2
celery 1
carrots 1.98
4 apples 2.5
head of lettuce (I prefer romaine) 2.28
1 lemon 0.5
1 onion 1
rapini 2.48
2 lb Sweet Italian Sausage (bulk) 5
1 lb Milk Italian Sausage (bulk) 2.5
2 bone in, skin on chicken breast 6.46
4 pieces of salmon 16
breakfast sausage patties (I prefer Swaggerty's) 7.98
1/2 lb turkey lunch meat 4
1 loaf French/Italian bread  1
2 loaves sandwich bread (I prefer Pepperidge Farms) 3.99
1 jar sweet pickles 1.98
mayo 2.48
soy sauce 2.48
peanut butter 1.98
grape jelly 1.93
1 15oz can cannellini (white kideny) beans 0.58
canned whole tomatoes 2
tomota paste 1
white rice 0.98
arborio rice 2.79
2 lb pappardelle pasta 4.96
triscuit-thins crackers 2.36
2 cans of tuna 2.26
pepperoni 2.48
bag of potato chips 2.48
vegetable oil 1.93
olive oil 4.12
salt 0.4
crushed red pepper 0.97
pepper 2.68
oregano 1
parsley flakes 1
fennel seeds 2.71
ground cinnamon 1.98
ground ginger 1.98
ground allspice 2.98
vanilla extract 4.98
molasses 2.98
baking soda 0.52
baking powder 1
yeast 1.34
sugar 1.58
dark brown sugar 1.06
flour 1.08
cornmeal 1.44
raisins 2.87
pizza sauce (I used a pasta sauce) 0.99
Better than Bouillion, Chicken flavored 3.48
oatmeal 2.33
pure maple syrup 6.98
dry red wine 3.46
dry white wine 3.46
8 oz mozzarella cheese 1.72
3 oz parmesan cheese 3.98
16oz cheddar cheese 3.42
8 yogurts 2.74
1 gallon of milk 2.5
2 lb of butter 4.72
frozen blueberries 9.64
frozen peas 1
2 dozen eggs 4

Add in a box of K-Cups, a box of tea bags, a bottle of apple juice, a bag of Tostitos, and a jar of salsa and you have my entire shopping list for the week. I managed to stick to my $150 budget because I already had the flour, sugars, spices, other baking staples, blueberries (fresh picked and frozen from the summer), the wines, and a few other ingredients that I always have on hand. Even if you're starting from scratch with your pantry, there are still over $70 of ingredients you won't have to buy again for the remainder of the month, some for multiple months.

Happy Cooking! 

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