It's that time once again! Time to see how many meals I can make with $50, and share them with all of you.
In case you didn't see the first go round, this fun challenge is being brought to you by my good friends and Indiana Family of Farmers, and there are a couple rules. First off, each meal must include a meat protein. Secondly, the meals can be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. That's it!
This month I decided to focus on the meal planning itself. I know many of you are big planners, some of you are the "fly by the seat of your pants" type when it comes to dinnertime, and some would love to meal plan if they had just a little guidance. So, I'm here to help. Maybe you don't do it all, and you want to start, or maybe you just want a better way. My thought process explained out, and each meal broke down to why I made it, then at the end, you get a new recipe too!
As many of you know, my meal plans are done on a weekly basis. I know for some that isn't a good fit, but for our family, it works best. I grocery shop weekly, and buy what I need for that plan. To make it easier, here is my thought process.
Step 1. Write out meal plan for the upcoming week. Include main dishes and sides.
Step 2. Write out "first draft" of grocery list, including everything needed for meal plan.
Step 3. Check out sale papers to see what bargains are available, and adjust meal plan accordingly. If pork is on sale and not chicken, why not take advantage of it?
Step 4. Revise meal plan with additions/subtractions according to sales.
Step 5. Finalize grocery list.
There you have it. That's what I do every. single. week. It might seem redundant to some, but for me, it works. So, for this particular meal plan, I will show you the finalized product, and how we got there.
Egg, Bacon and Cheese Biscuit Sandwiches
Skillet Southern Style Home Fries*
Breakfast for dinner is always a great way to stretch a buck, but this week it was even more so because the eggs were on sale, as were the potatoes, which were actually used in another meal too. Plus, the bacon? Have you ever tried the pre-cooked variety? It's usually cheaper than it's fresh cousin, and I love using it on sandwiches because the pieces are smaller, and stay flat.
Fresh Green Beans
Chicken? On a budget? Yep, this week! I didn't originally have it on the menu, but a local store had it on sale for $1.77 per pound for the family pack. So, I knew I could use it for this meal, and freeze the rest. Plus, the same store had green beans on mega sale for $.77/lb! I usually have to wait for summer for such a great deal!
This is a good time to remind you that we have freezer beef on hand at all times. So whenever I can include it in our menu plan, I know I will save some money. Plus, this is where those potatoes from Meal #1 come into play again. Actually, they were bought for this meal, and the leftovers used in that one. And the dinner rolls? They were on clearance at Kroger. Be sure you check their bread section if you shop on Fridays or Mondays! Ours always has great mark downs!
This meal was actually on the original menu plan, and remained, unchanged. So why did I include it? Because without the amazing sales I got on the items in the first 3 meals, I wouldn't have been able to include this one in my $50 budget. Plus, it's a great one for budget friendly planning since it only uses 1/2 a pound of pasta--perfect for that leftover box you have hanging out in the pantry.
So there you have it. The steps I take every week to plan our dinners, and a sample menu using them. I realize some will think it's a lot of work, but I promise you after doing it a few times, it becomes second nature. Not to mention, when you see how much money you can save, it won't seem like such work!
Now, for the recipe I promised. Those breakfast potatoes are pretty killer, and definitely worth sharing! I have a ton of different versions of home fries, but never get tired of finding new ones. Plus, I love dishes that are meant for one time of day, but taste great any other. They are perfect with breakfast, brunch, or even a steak supper!
Skillet Southern Style Home Fries
6 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 TBS butter
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and red pepper. Saute until becoming soft. Add potatoes, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir and saute until potatoes just becoming tender. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 10-15 minutes, stirring often. Remove lid. Increase heat to medium high. Saute' and stir almost constantly until potatoes tender and browned on all sides.
Shared on The Country Cook May 1, 2015