This week, I'm definitely focusing on low cost meals. It's just over a year since my husband became unemployed, and our reserves are getting slim. I'm thinking of anything I can do to cut our costs. I'm focusing on vegetables and whole grains, with meats playing a secondary role. Here's what I've planned for this week:
Monday: Tonight we had Chicken Lo Mein. I used some chicken breast I bought on sale that was in the freezer. For veggies, carrots and broccoli from the farmer's market, and one red pepper from the grocery store. For noodles I used the whole wheat spaghetti from Costco (a dollar a pound). I estimated that this cost about $5 for the whole meal, and there were leftovers for my husband and I for lunches tomorrow.
Tuesday: Vegetable pot pies. Mushrooms and potatoes from Costco, turnips and carrots from the farmer's market. The mushrooms make this taste very "meaty". The dough is like a light pie crust made from a mix of all purpose and whole wheat dough. The kids love these!
Wednesday: Split pea soup with ham hocks. Ham hocks are in the freezer, celery and carrots also on hand. I'm not sure if I'll add potatoes or not -- depends on my mood when I put this together Wednesday morning. This will cook in the slow cooker all day since I'm out of the house most of that day.
Thursday: White chicken tortilla soup. Chicken and white beans, plus some sauteed red peppers (adds some great sweetness!). Serve with tortilla chips to be added at the table. Cost: about $6.
Friday: Homemade pizza night. We have pepperoni from our bulk buy at Smart and Final, mozzarella cheese from Costco, homemade pizza sauce in the freezer for the first pizza. The second will be ham (portioned in the freezer) and pineapple with barbecue sauce. I estimate both these pizzas cost about $7 all together.
Saturday: This is our slush day -- if there are leftovers, we'll have that. If not, we'll have spaghetti with mushroom marinara, turkey meatballs, and homemade french bread.
Sunday: Bean burritos with beans cooked in the crockpot with roasted anaheim peppers (in the freezer), red rice, plus lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa.
All of these meals are under $10 each for our family of four. Some will have leftovers for our lunches as well, so extra stretching already built in! What are you cooking this week to save money? If you're looking for more ideas, check out Menu Plan Monday for many, many more!