Yesterday I posted the photo below on my social media accounts with “results” from our bi-weekly grocery shopping trip.
Because I am a woman of my word, here is my promised post what’s on the menu the next 2 weeks spending approximately $60/week!
Now before I get started, a few things you need to know about our family and this post.
- We have a great system going on around here where I often double or triple recipes and freeze half for future use. I always meal plan and grocery shop in two-week increments. In each 2 week increment, I try to implement the “double and freeze” rule with anywhere between 2-6 meals. As a result, our freezer is always stocked with an assortment of frozen meals that just need to be defrosted and reheated. To give you a visual, on any given day, our freezer looks like this! Actually, this is a little sparser than the norm. 🙂 I plan on doing a more detailed post in the future on my invented “system” and how it saves us time, money, and stress. But for now, in this post you will see that we already have a few meals “stocked and ready to go” for use. Hence, the nights we have leftovers, our meals are essentially “free” (or at least… categorized under the ghost of “grocery bills past”). If you haven’t tried this method ever, I encourage you to try it this week with some of the recipes I post. You will thank yourself later!
- Like every family, we have an assortment of pantry items and frozen food already in our kitchen. Therefore, we obviously didn’t have to buy every single item for these recipes because we already had many of them in our possession already.
- With the exception of Sundays, we all pretty much eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch everyday around here. Mundane? Yes. But we don’t mind and it’s what is easiest and works best for our family. The cost of these groceries are included in the grocery bill posted above (actually, probably make up about half of our bill), but I won’t bore you with details of what we’re eating for breakfast and lunch everyday unless you’re all interested. This post is compiled of what’s on the table for dinner.
- While I pretty much cook (or defrost/reheat leftovers) every night we are home, we do have somewhat of a social life (ha). You’ll see this reflected in the post, as I don’t have dinner planned for those days.
All of this to say, you won’t be able to duplicate exactly our grocery bill and menu for the next two weeks. That isn’t the point of this post. Your pantry, freezer, and social life will look different than ours. But I do hope that this will give you ideas for some budget-friendly meals to try!
Alright, here we go… drumroll please…
I had a toasted tuna salad sandwich. Yup. Starting things off on a really inspiring note here (not). My husband and son are meeting a friend for dinner, so I’m home alone. I’m not hard to please, so I’m choosing to keep things simple for myself with minimal clean up (always a bonus!). But hey, dinner doesn’t have to be fancy, just needs to be nourishing. Already had all the ingredients for this one, which is part of the reason why I planned for it. Also, we don’t eat many sandwiches around here, but we always keep a loaf of bread in the freezer and just chip away at it over time. That way I don’t have to buy a loaf of bread every week “just in case” at any point I want a sandwich. Oh, and I also had a bowl of cereal. Please don’t judge.
Leftover Hamburger Soup and homemade muffins (“free”)
We have a wonderful “master mix” recipe that we use that stores in a big Tupperware bowl for months. It makes muffins and cornbread super easy to whip up in a jiffy. We always add oats and blueberries to ours, too. So yummy! I will try to put a post on the blog with the recipe later this week because it is such a great thing to have on hand for a quick side. They also freeze and defrost so well!
Three ingredient crockpot chicken tacos and rice.
I’m excited to try these (mostly because they seem SO easy and I adore tacos). I am going to double the recipe so I can freeze some for another taco night in the future. We make our own taco seasoning (healthy and slightly cheaper), and also keep a huge 10 lb. bag of frozen chicken from Costco in our freezer which lasts us from 4-6 weeks. It costs a little over $20 at our Costco. It’s so great to always have chicken on hand!
So I really only had to buy salsa and tortillas for this meal. I will probably whip up some Mexican rice (we use this recipe because its so easy) as a side. We already have the ingredients for this.
Leftover cream-cheese chicken chili and muffins (“free”)
Skillet Chicken with Creamy Cilantro Lime sauce with rice and steamed carrots
For this one I needed to buy the cilantro, heavy cream, and a bag of onions (also to be used throughout the week). We also bought an enormous bag of Jasmine rice from Aldi, since we use it so often. Whenever a recipe calls for chicken broth in a small amount, I usually just use a bouillon cube. It’s cheap and easy. Otherwise I buy Aldi’s chicken broth- still cheap. Haven’t attempted to make my own yet!
We are out during the day with family and a birthday party in the evening (dinner provided)
Chicken nachos (we just cook chicken in a skillet, cut it up, and put over tortilla chips with cheese and jalepeno. Then add salsa and sour cream/greek yogurt on top after baking!). I bought a bag of tortilla chips for this (and for snacking), and then of course, salsa. My husband takes greek yogurt in his lunch everyday, so we usually use that as a healthy alternative to sour cream. Plus, saves us from buying sour cream.
Balsamic Grilled Porkchops, sweet potatoes, and Mediterranean quinoa
We love this recipe! Also my husband will grill in any weather because he is a grilling fanatic. The recipe calls for grilling, but feel free to just cook in the oven. I’ve done it before and they still turned out great due to the marinade! I had all the ingredients for this recipe besides the pork chops. I even bought extra because I plan on making more porkchops than we need so that I can repurpose the leftover ones for Monday’s meal. I also had to buy a few sweet potatoes as our side and had picked up the frozen Mediterranean quinoa mix to try out (see it in my picture collage at the top of this post). I think it’ll go well with this meal.
Chipotle Pork quesadillas, chips and salsa
For this meal I will use the leftover pork chop from Sunday’s meal. I like to use them marinated because I think it adds extra flavor to these quesadillas! These are pretty yummy. I had to buy canned diced tomatoes, chiles in adobo sauce (which they DO sell at Aldi, by the way!), and then I will use leftover cilantro, flour tortillas, and shredded cheddar cheese leftover from other meals.
Sweet potato quinoa soup and muffins (or maybe I’ll try the beer bread mix I bought from Aldi)
We do have an immersion blender *, which makes this one easier. We use this one * and really love it for certain soup recipes! Before we were just using our blender to puree hot soups, which didn’t always fare well. Ha.
I bought a large bag of quinoa a while ago, so still have some available for this recipe, which I am going to double and freeze half for future use. I had to buy two cartons of vegetable broth ($1.79 each at Aldi) and also sweet potatoes. I already had some dried cranberries leftover from the last time I made this soup, so that’s pretty much all I needed to buy for this meal!
Weeknight Black Bean Chili and homemade cornbread (which I will make from the Master Mix)
We haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I generally love most recipes from Budget Bytes. I am going to double this recipe as well to freeze for future use. This one involved a lot of canned goods (especially when doubled!) so my cart was full of canned beans and tomatoes. I don’t keep many canned goods in stock since they are always so cheap at Aldi. I just buy as needed. I needed a lot this week for both doubling this recipe and for Friday’s recipe! I also needed to buy ground turkey, which is crazy inexpensive!
Leftover broccoli cheddar soup and muffins.
I posted about this soup last week in my post 5 cheap meals you can get on the table in 30 minutes or less. It’s only 5 ingredients and delicious. Delicious as leftovers too!
Cheesy Vegetarian chili mac and leftover cornbread
This is a new recipe to us, but it looks yummy! It has quite a few canned goods, so I needed to buy all of those in addition to another carton of vegetable broth. I also needed to buy macaroni noodles for the recipe. I’ll have leftover shredded cheese from other recipes, so I’ll just use that. Excited to try this one!
This is a heavier meal and makes a lot, so I’ll probably not do a side dish. For this recipe I needed to buy two packs of tortellini, and a can of diced tomatoes. The other ingredients we have at home and I can use leftover cream from the skillet chicken recipe from the previous week.
This is pretty much just cooking up some ground beef with taco seasoning and serving over rice with salsa, cheese, greek yogurt/sour cream, whatever else you want to throw on there. It’s quick, easy, and pretty healthy. No recipe here- just creativity! 🙂
…aaaaand then, before you know it, it’s Sunday afternoon we will do our next bi-weekly meal planning and shopping trip! Phew! In case you couldn’t tell, the planning and shopping can be a lot of work on the front end, but totally pays off with the money we save and makes my life much easier throughout the week.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read. I hope that this gives you all some ideas for some meal planning inspiration for yummy, budget-friendly meals in the coming weeks!
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