This week’s menu plan is all about packing flavor into every bite.
When you are low on grocery funds, you can elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary by adding spices, herbs, vinegars, and sauces to beans, grains, and veggies – and you’ll pay just pennies to do it!
This week’s Kroger markdowns were a little limited. So, I headed to my favorite ethnic market, scoring a nice array of mostly organic items for just $20.96.
To see the haul and hear me describe it in detail, watch the YouTube Live video.
Our youngest son recently decided that he is firmly in the “cream of wheat” camp, while the rest of us are very comfortable with oatmeal every morning for breakfast. Often we grab a piece of fruit to go along with our bowl of morning goodness.
The selection of fruit is dependent on what was on sale that week. This week, that was oranges, apples, and grapes.
I am the only one in the family who adds a few tablespoons of almond milk to my bowl of hot cereal.
The sausage breakfast sliders were delightful! We had some sausage patties left over in the freezer from last week’s $50 menu. This recipe and is a definite winner – incredibly inexpensive to make and it tastes remarkably like the meat version.
We keep breakfast costs very low by buying in bulk. It’s been about three months since we have visited our nearby Amish community. So, we are due to go there, once again, in about six weeks to pick up another carload of bulk food items.
I’ve saving up a portion of our $260 grocery budget each month so we’ll be able to spend money stocking up on bulk grains, rice, and oats without wrecking our budget.
In both January and February, I spent about $100 out of pocket on food each month.
- Oatmeal – 4 pounds – Cost: $2.00
- Almond milk – Cost: $1.00
- Fruit (oranges, apples, and grapes) – Cost: $3.50
- Cream of Wheat – Cost: $.50
- Spicy Vegan Sausage Breakfast Sandwiches – $1.00
Cost of this week’s breakfasts – $8.00
In addition to simply opening some cans of greens beans and corn to serve as side dishes this week, I also made a huge batch of broccoli slaw, and a crockpot of baked beans.
My sons whipped up a double batch of homemade tortillas to serve with Mediterranean inspired pasta . The pasta was a lot like Israeli couscous and was on sale at my favorite Mediterranean grocery for just $1.00 for a pound.
- Best Vegan Baked Beans – Cost: $2.00
- Homemade Tortillas (easiest recipe I have found) – Cost – $1.00
- Broccoli salad – Cost: $4.50
- Corn and beans (Yep, from cans) – Cost: $1.00
- Fruit (Oranges, Apples, and Grapes) – Cost: $3.50
- Mashed Potatoes – Cost: $1.00
Cost of this week’s Side Dishes: $13.00
These main dishes were mixed and matched for lunches and dinners throughout the week.
It’s not unusual for a plate of raw veggies to be set out on the table. Admittedly, the tray is sometimes half empty by the time we eat, since we like to cook together, grabbing veggies along the way. I just count it as part of “supper” and figure that there are worse things the boys could be snacking on.
We also generally offer everyone a piece of fresh fruit for dessert.
- Spaghetti squash with Beans and Tomato Sauce – $3.50
- Hot stuffed baked potatoes – Cost: $2.50
- Grain loaf – Cost: $4.00
- Tostadas with refried beans – Cost: $3.00
- Mediterranean Couscous – Cost: $4.00
Cost of this week’s main dishes: $17.00
This week, we went back to our favorites, the weekly “kitchen sink” vegetable soup and our own recipe for “Smoky White Bean Soup”.
For us, “kitchen sink” isn’t an actual recipe, it describes the cooking process. Grab all the odds and ends of leftover veggies, cut them up, stick them in a pot, add seasoning and you have “kitchen sink” soup. It’s different (but yummy) every single week. Not only that, a whole pot costs just a couple of bucks.
The second soup this week is a family favorite. My son, Daniel, and I devised this recipe years ago when I was craving the bean and bacon soup of my childhood. This is a vegan version that is full of flavor and features liquid smoke. It’s one of most requested recipes.