Staying on Budget

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Extreme Menu 1 – Family of 4

Featured this week: Spicy Chicken & Rice ~ ~ Zucchini Frittata ~ ~ Southwestern Goulash ~ ~ Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce & Pasta ~ ~ Teriyaki Chicken

Andrew asked me to start a new segment of balanced meals but at a lower cost. I know some of you are paying down/off debt while trying to navigate the rising cost of food. I realize that there is not a lot of variety in these menus but the more items I add the higher the bill. I will do my best to keep cost down while continuing with healthy well rounded dinners for your families.

Dinners for the week - About $59.74

Grocery List - Store brand (Metro Detroit)

Prep the week!

prep week

I like to gather my storage containers before I start my prep.  I love the look of the table with all of the containers and as I make progress the containers disappear leaving me with a sense of accomplishment and encouragement to keep going. This picture is an example of one of my prep weeks.

Storage containers needed:

I like to use a sticky note or paper with a piece of tape to label my prep containers with the name of the meals.

  • ¼ cup; peeled garlic
  • 3 cups; green pepper & onion (Spicy Chicken and Rice)
  • 1 cup; onion (Southwest Goulash)
  • 3 cups; onion, zucchini, and mushrooms (Zucchini & Mushroom Frittata)
  • 3 cups; onion, zucchini, and mushrooms (Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce)
  • 6 cups; broccoli (Side)
  • 6 cups; green beans (Side)
  • 4 cups; carrots (Side)

Let's start prepping!

I like to use a vegetable chopper to speed up this process. 

  • Peel 4 clove of garlic; refrigerate.
  • Chop broccoli into bite size pieces, do not wash; refrigerate.
  • Trim green beans, do not wash; refrigerate.
  • Peel and slice carrots into even 4 inch strips; refrigerate  
Spicy Chicken & Rice
  • Chop 2 green peppers, place in a 3 cup container; set aside.
  • Chop 1 onion, add to the green peppers; refrigerate.
Southwestern Goulash
  • Chop 1 onion, place in a 1 cup container; refrigerate.
Zucchini & Mushroom Frittata
  • Thinly slice 1 cup onion, place in a 3 cup container; set aside.
  • Thinly slice 1 cup zucchini and add to the container with onion.
  • Thinly slice 1 cup mushrooms and add to the container with onion and  thinly sliced zucchini; refrigerate.
Pasta & Sauce
  • Chop 1  onion, place in a 3 cup container; set aside
  • Chop 1 zucchini and add to container with onion
  • Chop the rest of the mushrooms and add to chopped zucchini and onion; refrigerate.

Tips and Tricks for the weekly meals to go flawlessly!

         Always start by reading the recipe all the way through then read my tips.  Doing this before you start will help prevent “surprises” along the way. 

If I’ve posted it then I have eaten it and called it good.  Also, I know that the portions should work because I have done it.  No guess work here. Measuring out your portion might be new for you and still leave you hungry after the meal. This is normal and it will take your body time to adjust. Try these tips:

  • Don’t miss your afternoon snack because being ravenous at dinner time will lead to over eating. 
  • Drink 8 ounces of water before you begin your meal and after you end your meal. 
  • Eat a salad or raw vegetables with your meal.
  • Eat a piece of fruit after a meal like an apple, pear, orange, etc. This will subside the hunger and it’s good for you. 
  • Wait 1 hour after your meal and if you are still hungry make some pop corn.  
Crock-Pot Spicy Chicken and Rice

I substituted 6 chicken thighs for the boneless skinless chicken breasts.

In the morning:
  • Follow the recipe as directed.
In the evening:
  1. If you are roasting the broccoli:
    • Preheat oven to 400° F
    • Rinse broccoli and add to a sheet pan
    • Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon chipotle pepper, ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika and mix well.
    • Roast Broccoli for 10 minutes then stir. Return to the oven and Bake for additional 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender.
  2. If you are boiling the broccoli:
    • Bring pot of water to boil
    • Add 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • Add broccoli for 4 minutes.
    • Drain broccoli.
  3. Chop up some cilantro for an added topping.  
**Be sure to set aside ½ the rice mixture and ½ the broccoli for Tuesday night’s dinner.
Zucchini & Mushroom Frittata
  1. Follow the recipe as directed.
  2. Serve with toast and apples. Enjoy!  
  1. Warm the Spicy Chicken & Rice with Broccoli. Enjoy!
  2. Chop up some cilantro for an added topping. 
Southwestern Goulash
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F for the green beans
  2. Rinse green beans and add to sheet pan. Add 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper. Mix well.
  3. Follow the recipe as directed.
  4. Roast green beans for 10 minutes stir then roast for additional 10 minutes until the they are tender. A serving of green beans is a 1/2 cup.
**Be sure to set aside 2 servings of green beans and pasta for Friday night’s dinner.
Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce & Pasta
  1. Add carrots to sheet pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon basil, ¼ teaspoon oregano. Mix well.
  2. Follow recipe as directed. Roast carrots on a separate sheet pan as the other vegetables. 
  3. Once the vegetables are done roasting turn off the oven but leave the carrots in the oven to keep warm. 
  4. Carrots are about 1/2 cup per serving. Enjoy!
**Be sure to set aside 2 servings of pasta, sauce & carrots for Friday night’s dinner
  1. Warm Pasta, Sauce & Carrots
  2. Warm Southwestern Goulash & Green Beans
  3. Choose what you want to eat. Enjoy!

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Christin Lee

FULL TIME BUDGET BLOGGER

It is fun to think that there might be a short cut but the reality is planning plus diligence equals financial freedom.

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