When the winds are blowing and the snow is falling there is nothing better than some good, old-fashioned comfort food. This $50 weekly menu features a vegan version of the All-American hotdog, hot stuffed baked potatoes, and squash stuffed with rice and then cooked in tomato sauce.
The only thing better than the menu is that it fed my family of four breakfast, lunch, and dinner for seven days for less than $50.
I regularly base my cooking around items that I find on markdown at local stores. This week’s great deals consisted of some salad and stir fry vegetable kits, each of which was priced at 99¢.
The great part about these bargains is that what you are really getting is precut vegetables and sauce packets. Generally the sauces aren’t worth using. They are full of sodium, oil, and other ingredients that we try really hard to avoid. It’s, however, very easy to use the vegetables in a variety of ways, getting all the nutrition and none of the bad stuff.
Thick cut oats and cream of wheat are bought in bulk in 50# bags at a cost of less than 50¢ per pound. Properly stored, each is shelf stable for several months.
- 4 Days – Oatmeal, Milk, Berries, Sugar – Cost: $4.00
- 3 Days – Cream of Wheat, Milk, Cinnamon, Sugar – Cost: $2.00
Total Cost of Breakfast: $6.00
Lunch and Dinner
An unexpected frugal find in the markdown bakery items was a loaf of party-sized pumpernickel bread. It was fantastic when toasted and loaded up with spicy pinto bean spread and topped with onion, tomato, salsa, and avocado. It was a simple and “snacky” supper on Super Bowl Sunday.
- Carrot Dogs on whole wheat buns – Cost: $2.00
- Toasted Pumpernickel Appetizers with Spicy Pinto Bean Spread – Cost: $1.00
- Peanut Butter and Jelly on Homemade Whole Wheat Bread – Cost of peanut butter and jelly: $1.00 (Cost of bread is included the “sides” section of this post).
Total Cost of Sandwiches: $4.00
- Vegetable Soup – Cost: $2.00
- Smoky White Bean Soup – Cost: $2.50
Total Cost of Soups: $4.50
The marked down vegetables made an appearance in a creamy faux cheese sauce and was generously dolloped over fresh baked potatoes. I used the stir fry vegetables over plain, white rice.
The rice made an appearance the next night dressed with spicy black beans, corn, tomatoes, and olives.
Finally, I dug frozen kousa squash out of the freezer, filling it with leftover Middle-Eastern Millet Pilaf, and then cooking it in a tomato sauce. I bought a case of the kousa squash over the summer at a fantastic price, coring and freezing much of it. The price per squash was 25¢ each, meaning that our oldest son joined us for dinner and the entire meal cost us less than $5.00, including a big slice or two of homemade bread to sop up the tomato juices left in the bottom of the bowls.
Smoky Black Beans and Rice Topped with Corn, salsa, and Avocado – Cost: $5.00
Creamed “Cheesy” Vegetables over Potatoes – Cost: $ 1.50
Stuffed Kousa Squash – Cost: $3.50
Stir Fry over Rice – Cost: $2.50
Total Cost of Main Dishes: $12.50
Salads and Sides
Middle-Eastern Millet Pilaf – $2.00
Salads (from the markdown salad kits) – Cost: $4.00
Homemade Bread (four loaves) – Cost: $4.00
Applesauce – Cost: $0.00 – We have a tree in our yard.
Grapes – Cost: $4.00 – On sale this week for $1.29 a pound
Total Cost of Side Dishes: $14.00
We only indulge in dessert on the weekend. This week, the snow was blowing and the temperatures were hovering near zero. So, my 16 year old son and I decided it was time to stay inside, stay warm, and create a new dessert.
If you want a quick, easy dessert that reminds you of the no-bake cookies of your childhood, then this updated, grown-up version is for you.
These Chocolate Coffee No Bake Dessert Bars go together in less than 30 minutes.
After cooling, they are easy to cut into small, bite-sized nuggets of unbelievable goodness.