Staying on Budget

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Extreme Menu 5 – Family of 2

Featured this week: Juicy Turkey Burgers ~ Lemon Thyme Chicken ~ Roasted Veggie Wraps ~ Pea Shell Pasta

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 grocery 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 $40.57

  • Sunday
  • Monday
    • Turkey Burger with Apple
    • Grilled Corn, Onion, Red Pepper
    • Lettuce & Celery Salad
  • Tuesday
    • Turkey Burger with Apple
    • Grilled Corn, Onion, Red Pepper
    • Lettuce & Celery Salad
  • Wednesday

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.

  • 1/2 cup; quarter onion (Turkey Burger)
  • 1 cup; onion (Lemon Thyme Chicken)
  • 2 cups; quarter onion, red pepper & celery (Pea Pasta)  
  • 1.5 cups; diced onion & red pepper (Grilled Vegetables) 
  • 2 cups; sliced onion & red pepper (Roasted Vegetables)
  • ¼ cup; garlic
  • 1 quart Ziplock bag with paper towel
  • 1 salad bowl
  • 6 cup; broccoli
  • Dressing container

Let’s start chopping!

  • Slice a small onion half. Take one half and slice in half again.
    • Place the one quarters in a 1/2 cup container; refrigerate.
    • Thinly dice the other quarter and place in a 2 cup container; set aside
    • Slice the other 1/2 onion and place in a 2 cup container; set aside. 
  • Dice 1 medium onion and place in a 1 cup container; refrigerate
  • Dice 1 medium onion and place in a 1.5 cup container; set aside.
  • Slice 1 medium onion and place with other sliced onion; set aside
  • Slice 1 red pepper and add it to the sliced onion; refrigerate
  • Cut red pepper in half
    • Dice 1/2 red pepper and add to the 2 cup container with quarter onion thinly diced (Pea Pasta); set aside
    • Dice 1/2 red pepper and add to the 1.5 cup container with diced onion (Grilled Vegetables); refrigerate
  • Peel 4 garlic cloves then place in 1/4 cup container; refrigerate.
  • Remove 6 lettuce leaves from the lettuce head and wash lightly shaking off excess water. Leave on a plate with paper towel to dry or use a salad spinner to remove water. Place 1 piece of paper towel in-between each leaf. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. 
  • Chop the rest of the lettuce and wash. Using a salad spinner remove as much of the water as you can from the lettuce. If you don’t have a spinner leave the lettuce in a colander shaking every few minutes for 20 minutes. 
  • Thinly slice 4 celery sticks and place in salad bowl with the lettuce.
  • Thinly slice 1 cup of celery and add to the diced quarter onion and chopped red pepper; refrigerate
  • Chop 1 pound of broccoli into bite size pieces; do not wash. 
  • White balsamic vinaigrette combine:
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 minced garlic clove

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, sweet tooth and it’s good for you. 
  • Wait 1 hour after your meal and if you are still hungry make some pop corn.  
Turkey Burger with Apple
  1. After the burgers are prepped get the vegetables ready for the grill.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together:
    • diced onion
    • red pepper
    • 12 oz frozen corn
    • 2 teaspoon olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon pepper
  3. Grill the burgers. While the burgers are resting grill the vegetables.
  4. Grill the vegetables covered for 2-4 minutes depending on how hot your grill is. stir then continue to cook for 2-4 minutes. Once the onions and peppers are cooked to your liking remove.
    • Make sure your grill basket has slits small enough that the corn, onions and peppers will not fall through the cracks.
  5. Serve the burgers with 1/3 cup grilled vegetables, salad and white balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Enjoy! 
**Be sure to set aside 4 turkey burgers, 4 servings grilled vegetables and salad for Monday and Tuesday night’s dinners.
  1. Warm turkey burger and grilled vegetables serve with salad. Enjoy!
**Be sure to set aside 2 turkey burgers, 2 servings grilled vegetables and salad for Tuesday night’s dinner.
  1. Warm turkey burger and grilled vegetables serve with salad. Enjoy!
Lemon Thyme Chicken
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. 
  2. Preheat oven to 170° F
  3. Place 2 empty serving bowls in the oven
  4. Complete the prep work and cook the chicken
  5. While chicken is resting and onions are sweating weigh then cook 8 ounces of pasta to package directions.
  6. Rinse 2 cups of broccoli in a strainer and add to the pasta when there is 3 minutes left for the pasta to cook.
  7. Scoop out broccoli and place in a warmed serving bowl with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper stirring.
  8. Drain the pasta and add to a warm serving bowl with 1/2 tablespoon of butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  9. Turn off the oven. Finish cooking the sauce. Serving size is 1 chicken breast, 3 tablespoons sauce, 2 ounces pasta and 1/2 cup broccoli. Enjoy!
**Be sure to set aside 2 chicken breasts, 6 tablespoons of sauce, 4 ounces of pasta and 1 cup of broccoli for Friday night’s dinner.

In the morning or first thing when you get home from work make the Pea Shell Pasta.

Pea Shell Pasta
Roasted Vegetable Wraps
  1. Follow roasted vegetable recipe as directed.
    • Roast the remainder of your broccoli even if it is a little over 1/2 pound. Not to worry the recipe will still taste great.
  2. Serve vegetable wrap with pea shell pasta. Enjoy!
**Be sure to save 2 portions for dinner on Saturday.
  1. Warm chicken, sauce, noodles & broccoli. Enjoy!
  1. Warm vegetables then assemble the wraps. Serve with Pea Shell Pasta. 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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