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Oct 1, 2010 06:09 PM

I have $40. Family of 3. 5 dinners

Being the smart one that I am (not), I was complaining to my wife that she spent to much on groceries for the week. (Gentlemen, I don't reccommend doing this. What was I thinking?) Didn't go over so well, so I was challenged to do it cheaper. Kind of like the old game show "Name that Song", well I said I could do it for 40 buck or under. I do most of the cooking on the weekends, I find it relaxing and I get to play with the grill (fire!) But during the week our schedules are so crazy that we need quick easy to fix meals. Which she's usually in charge of. This is for Sunday night through Thursday. (Friday's our schedule is really messed up). So here's what I'm thinking, please give input.

Sunday - Roasted chicken and roasted potatoes.
(chicken is on sale .99 pound figure 6 bucks. Potatoes on sale 5lbs for 1.50. Onions on sale 1.50 for 2lbs)

Monday - Pulled pork sandwiches. Potatoe salad.
(pork should on sale .99 pound figure six bucks. Already bought potatoes. Have eggs, mustard, etc)

Tuesday - Fajitas
(use left over chicken, have a bag of frozen peppers & onions and tortillas and sourcream etc.)

Wednesday - Turkey chilli
(turkey on sale for 3 bucks, figure 6 bucks for beans, tomatoes, tomatoe paste, chili en adoboe, have onions and garlic)

Thursday - Pulled pork agin. (We love it, so it won't be a problem twice in one week)

I figure I'm at about 24 dollars so far, and I'm thinking about six or so dollars for the rolls, cheese, etc. So I'm at 30 bucks.....what am I forgetting? I will be cooking everything on Sunday (the chicken and pork shoulder) and the chilli I will cook the night before. So everything should be heat and eat ready!

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  1. You've sort of hit upon one of the sad truths about our modern lives: meat and starch are cheap, vegetables are expensive. That's what you're missing: veggies. Carrots are cheap and keep well, and you can roast them with the chicken and potatoes; on pulled pork night I'd do a salad, preferably with one of the darker greens. They aren't too expensive if you don't buy them prebagged.

    Also, try an electric blanket to keep you warm on that couch. ;)

    2 Replies
    1. re: darklyglimmer

      I am sadly lacking with the veggies aren't I. Well, we always have carrots on hand so that won't be a problem, and I could pick up a head of lettuce or some spinach with the leftover cash. Maybe a cuke or two. As far as the couch goes, wouldn't be the first time and I dare say it won't be the last. LOL My one dog and cat love it when that's where I'm sleeping. They think it's like we're camping or something. The other dog is a Momma's boy, damn traitor! :)

      1. re: cb1

        Well you might be lacking with the veg but you still have $10 to kill and that should get you enough vegetables to feed your family for the week. And remember that you will have left overs from your meals so when you factor that in you will have more money left over the next week or they could serve as a lunch during the week. I think it's really easy to make cheap excellent food as long as you do most of the prep yourself so you are not paying for the convenience. I'm often surprised at how little a meal cost per plate and how much it cost to go out.

    2. One night make frittatas or omelettes so you can add some greenery to your week. Eggs are a great and cheap protein source. Good deals are usually frozen stuff, like spinach [in the frittata] and green peas to serve with the roasted chicken. Pulled pork night, add some cole slaw. Cabbage is a bargain, and a simple apple cider dressing is delicious.

      1. I agree, you're missing veggies with the exception of onions and peppers. I make homemade coleslaw with pulled pork. Cabbage is very cheap and pretty good for you, too. I add carrots and green onions in mine as well.

        You might make a squash or some roasted beets and carrots as well with that roast chicken also. I often roast a whole squash at the same time as a chicken. If we don't finish the whole squash, I'll use the rest to make some other type of dish (add it to a frittatta or make soup).

        Maybe add a crisp green salad with the chili?

        The menu seems kind of heavy to me for 5 dinners. I would make one of those very meat-focused dishes (roast chicken, chili, pulled pork) in a week, maybe two of them, but not all three. That's just me though.

        1. Yep, it's missing veggies...if you're meat people as I am, there's nothing worng with what you already have but you need some fiber & freshness in the form of veggies.

          You could get a bag of frozen peas & carrots for a buck or less or maybe some broccoli that would go with the Chicken. I usually serve some type of rice (you might already have some in the pantry) with fajitas...if you have leftover broccoli, you could toss into the onion/pepper blend. I also toss in quartered tomatoes, if I have them on could dr. up the rice by making it a spanish/mexican inspired dish by toasting the rice in oil then adding tomato paste, onions, garlic, spices, broth or water.

          I agree with the salad for the chili; if not then some other type of vegetable. I love the pulled pork & potato salad idea; it's what I make myself but it needs something...maybe some garlic sauteed green beans or other similar. I think you can add these few things and still make your budget. Pat yourself on the back for going up for the challenge and if you become really good at it, you might be opening up a can of worms!

          1. You can make basic salads to go with your main courses for dinner maybe. Romaine lettuce hearts are around $4/bag (three in a bag, usually). You can also get a container of button mushrooms, around $2-$3 each. Maybe a few tomatoes (or cherry/grape tomatoes if the budget can afford it, around $4-$5 per container).

            I've actually been making salads with these three veggies + marinated chicken breast for lunches for work all this week, and I got enough mushrooms and tomatoes for five entree-sized salads. If it's a side dish, I'm sure you can definitely make more than five servings. You'll end up with more lettuce than mushrooms and tomatoes, but those three ingredients can be stretched pretty far (especially if you split the grape/cherry tomatoes in half and slice the mushrooms fairly thin before serving).