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Extreme Menu 3 – Family of 4

Featured this week: Bean & Bulgur Chili ~ ~ Turkey Sausage with Pasta ~ ~ Basil Burgers with Sun Dried Tomato Mayonnaise ~ ~ Yogurt-Marinated 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 $64.06

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.

  • 6 cup; 2 large onions, 2 celery ribs, 1 large green pepper (Bean & Bulgur Chili)
  • 3 cup; onion, green pepper (Turkey Sausage with Pasta)
  • 4 cup; zucchini, onion, green pepper (Grilled Vegetables)
  • ¼ cup; garlic
  • ¼ cup; carrot Bean & Bulgur Chili)

Let's start prepping!

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

  • Peel 11 garlic cloves and place in ¼ cup container; refrigerate
Grilled Vegetables
  • Slice 2 onions and place in a 4 cup container; set aside.
  • Slice 1 large green pepper and place in a 4 cup container with sliced onions; set aside
  • Slice 1 zucchini and place in a 4 cup container with the sliced onions and green pepper; refrigerate
Bean & Bean Bulgur
  • Dice 2 large onions (3 cups) and place in a 6 cup container; set aside.
  • Thinly slice 2 celery ribs and place in the 6 cup container with onions; set aside.
  • Dice 1 large green pepper and place in the 6 cup container with onions and celery; refrigerate
  • Shred 1 carrot and place in a ¼ cup container; refrigerate
Turkey Sausage with Pasta
  • Dice 1 large onion (1.5 cups) and place in a 3 cup container; set aside.
  • Dice 1 large green pepper and place in the 3 cup container with onions; 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.  
Bean & Bulgur Chili
  1. Follow the recipe as directed
  2. Serve chili with sour cream & crackers. Enjoy!
**Be sure to set aside 6 servings for Monday and Tuesday night’s dinner.
  1. Warm bean and bulgur chili then serve with sour cream and crackers. Enjoy!
**Be sure to set 2 servings aside for Wednesday night’s dinner.
Turkey Sausage with Pasta
  1. Follow the recipe as directed
  2. Serve pasta with side salad. I like to add a little red pepper flakes to the top for heat. Enjoy!
**Be sure to set aside 2 servings for Wednesday night’s dinner
  1. Warm turkey sausage with pasta and serve with a side salad. Enjoy!
  2. Warm bean & bulgur chili then serve with crackers and sour cream. Enjoy!

This recipe will have 1/2 pound of beef extra that can be put in the freezer for a later use. I personally love Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup found in Menu 5 – Family of 2.

Creamy Coleslaw  
  1. Place in a large bowl:
    • Shred 3/4 head of small cabbage
    • Shred 5 carrots
    • Follow the coleslaw dressing recipe as directed.
Basil Mozzarella Burgers
  1. Follow the recipe as directed
  2. Serve the burger with coleslaw and pickles.
**Be sure to set aside 2 burgers and 2 servings of coleslaw for Saturday night’s dinner.

Marinate the chicken for Friday’s dinner

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken

In the morning:

  1. Mix together the marinade if you did not do it the night before. 

In the evening:

  1. Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta and cook 12 ounces of bow tie pasta until al dente.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the zucchini vegetables with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper then mix well and set aside.
  3. Grill chicken 
  4. While the chicken is resting grill the vegetables in a basket.
  5. Drain the pasta
    • Add to a large bowl:
      • pasta
      • 1 teaspoon olive oil
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  6. Serve the chicken with the pasta and vegetables. Enjoy!
**Be sure to set aside 2 servings of chicken, pasta and grilled vegetables for Saturday night’s dinner.
  1. Warm burger and serve with coleslaw and pickle
  2. Warm chicken, pasta and grilled vegetables. Enjoy!

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Christin Lee


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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