Meal Plan for a Week
This is much longer than a recipe for the contest, but I thought someone might find it helpful. I, too, generally feed 7 people, but I also have two children away at college (that I give a lot of food to!), a dad who lives in town, and a mom who just visited so I tell people I feed between 7-10 people on a regular basis, and I’ve tried to stay within a $800-$850/ monthly budget. I have had health issues this year, and many time commitments, so I have had to redo how I cook and save, both in time and money.
This was for one week:
SUNDAY We ate leftovers at noon (a tradition!).
Ran errands and stopped at Costco. Among other things, I picked up boneless chicken breasts ($2.41/ lb L), rotisserie chicken ($4), bananas (.49/lb), and cheap raw veggies.
Dinner was ½ the rotisserie chicken, instant potatoes made with dry milk, and frozen vegetables ($5.50- counting whole chicken price) Spent the rest of my day prepping food for the week - my husband and I always have salads for lunch during the week, so I always prep 8 salads on Sunday in packable containers while I make whatever else. Lunches listed are for the children.
MONDAY lunch was cheese slices (Costco), crackers (.50 from CVS bin !), and a very large homemade veggie tray.
Dinner was a marinated round steak (from a local farmer ~ $11), 6 of the chicken breasts ($6?), a large homemade potato salad ($3?), homemade broccoli salad ($3.50?) baked beans ($2), more of the veggie tray, bananas, $.99 grapes from Kroger, and marshmallows roasted on the grill (these were old leftovers I wanted to use up, and we even did mini marshmallows, 5 to a stick J ). My mom left with a container of broccoli salad, and my dad took veggies (cost ~$18). Now the fun part…
TUESDAY lunch was cheese sandwich, container of leftover salad of your choice, ½ c caramel corn (also $.50 at CVS!).
Dinner casserole made Sunday night from instant mashed potatoes, frozen broccoli, leftover rotisserie chicken, gravy made from expensive chicken broth (I miss cutting cheap chicken breasts and boiling the bones, making my own), can of cranberry sauce (cost $3 total).
WEDNESDAY lunch pb&j sandwich, veggies leftover from tray, grapes.
Dinner beanine weanies (2 pkg hotdogs /$2 , leftover beans), homemade corn bread($.50/ ten minutes), froz spinach, frozen fried okra (these were $.88 at Kroger last week), (cost $5.14 total).
THURSDAY lunch egg salad sandwich (egg salad made Sunday), veggies from tray, bananas.
Dinner salads - leftover steak and chicken (there’s actually a fair amount!), 2 bags salad ($4), 2 cucumbers ($.66), thawed peas, radishes, dried fruit, diced celery,sliced carrots and green pepper, any veggies left from the veggie tray, (I did have to prep these today), leftover corn bread, toast triangles (cost ~ $7, I could have made it cheaper by prepping lettuce, but less than a dollar off).
FRIDAY lunch pb&j sandwich, veggies I prepped TH, fruit of choice.
Dinner frozen pizza and water to drink before heading to the football game! (cost $6)
Dinners total - ($44.64), with only 4 hrs. on Sunday, and 2 hrs on Thursday (I was also bulk cooking hamburger on TH for another time) meals for 6 days.
I’m sure eating more beans and soups and casseroles would make this week cheaper, but our coolest day has been 85 degrees, and we’re just not ready to have those things in large quantities right now (and we really like fresh fruits and veggies, which always raises my total). However, it still worked out to be $1.06 per person per day, with the grandparents eating for free. I realize that’s an hours work a day, but Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, I didn’t have an hour! (And that time also included most of the lunch prep.)
A few years ago when food was cheaper and my oldest were still home, I made it a game to see if I could feed each person for $1/ day. I had a database of all the recipes I made (helps enormously for making menus), and I went through and priced each item (i.e lasagna $3.29; pbj $.10), including desserts and drinks. I learned an incredible amount about how to save money on our food budget that year.
What made this really humorous is that a year later the scoutmaster of the boy scout troop my son is in sent out an email stating that they would have to raise the food budget for outing for the boys. $7/ day per boy just wasn’t enough! My husband suggested maybe I should teach them some food budgeting skills.
Submitted by Janice