Staying on Budget

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Extreme Menu 5 – Family of 4

Featured this week: Grilled Blackened Split Chicken Breasts ~ Turkey Brats ~ Garlic Herb Grilled Pork Chops ~ Corn Bake ~ Spicy Goulash with Beans ~ Frozen Vegetable Stir-Fry

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 $54.73

  • Thursday
    • Leftover Spicy Goulash with Beans
    • Green Beans
  • Friday
    • Leftover Spicy Goulash with Beans
    • Green Beans
  • Saturday

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:

  • 2 spice containers
  • 3 cup; onion and green pepper
  • 3 cup; onion and green pepper
  • 1 cup; onion
  • ¼ cup; garlic
  • 3 cup; rice
  • 3 cup; hard boiled eggs

Let’s start chopping!

  • Make Blackened Seasoning and store in a spice container
  • Make Garlic Herb Seasoning and store in a spice container
  • Dice 1 medium onion (1 cup) and place in 3 cup container; set aside
  • Slice 1 medium onion and place in a 3 cup container; set aside
  • Dice 1 medium onion (1 cup) and place in a 1 cup container; refrigerate
  • Dice 1 medium green pepper and place in 3 cup container with diced onion; refrigerate
  • Slice 1 medium green pepper and place in 3 cup container with sliced onion; refrigerate
  • Peel 2 garlic cloves and place in 1/4 cup container; refrigerate
  • Cook 1 cup of brown rice and place in a 3 cup container; refrigerate.
  • Hard Boil 4 eggs:
    • Place eggs in cold water 
    • Bring to boil
    • Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes
    • Place in ice bath until completely cooled. Store in 3 cup container in refrigerator. 

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.  
Grilled Blackened Chicken
  • Prepare the Chicken; once the chicken is on the grill start the corn bake.
  • If you don’t have a grill then you can bake chicken in the oven with the corn bake.
Corn Bake
  1. When the chicken is resting place 2 cups of water in a pot on high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Add bag of frozen peas for 4 minutes. 
  3. Drain add back to pot with 1 teaspoon of butter, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve peas with chicken and corn bake. Enjoy!
**Be sure to set aside 8 servings of corn bake for Monday & Tuesday night’s dinner.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a sheet pan
    • If you are using a charcoal grill start that now. 
  2. Once oven is preheated add sprouts to a bowl with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper. Add to the sheet pan making sure they do not touch one another. 
  3. Bake for 20 minutes then stir; bake for additional 20 minutes. 
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to the sliced onions and green peppers; mix well. 
  5. After the sprouts have been baking for 20 minutes start the onions, peppers and brats
    • If you are using a gas grill preheat to 375° F
    • If you are using the oven place the brats, onions and green peppers on a sheet pan  and add to the oven with the sprouts. Be sure to turn after 10 minutes.
  6. Cook onions and peppers on the grill using a grill pan. Cook the brats on at the same time. 
  7. Turkey brats will be cooked when they reach 165°. I like to use an instant read thermometer.
  8. Serve onions and peppers over turkey brats. Enjoy!
**Be sure to set 4 servings of corn bake aside for Tuesday night’s dinner.
Garlic Herb Grilled Pork Chops
  1. Preheat the grill and prepare the pork chops. 
  2. Once the pork chops are cooking, place 3 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  3. While the pork chops are resting add the frozen broccoli to the water for 4 minutes.
  4. Drain the broccoli, place back in the pot and add 1 teaspoon of butter, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve the pork chops with broccoli and corn bake. Enjoy!
Spicy Goulash with Beans
  1. In the morning or at lunch prepare the crock-pot goulash recipe.
  2. When you are 15 minutes away from serving dinner; place 3 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Add 2 cups frozen green beans and cook for 4 minutes.
  4. Drain, place back into the pot then add 1 teaspoon of butter, salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Serve goulash with green beans. Enjoy!
**Be sure to set aside 8 servings of goulash for Thursday and Friday night’s dinner. 
  1. Place 3 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add 2 cups frozen green beans and cook for 4 minutes.
  3. Drain, place back into the pot then add 1 teaspoon of butter, salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Warm 4 cups of goulash serve with green beans. Enjoy!
**Be sure to set 4 servings of goulash aside for Friday night’s dinner.
  1. Place 3 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add 2 cups frozen green beans and cook for 4 minutes.
  3. Drain, place back into the pot then add 1 teaspoon of butter, salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Warm 4 cups of goulash serve with green beans. Enjoy!
Frozen Vegetable Stir-Fry
  1. Prepare the vegetable stir-fry
  2. Peel the hard boiled eggs then season with salt and pepper or seasonings of your choice
  3. Slice up 4 apples
  4. Serve the vegetable stir-fry with eggs and apples. 
    • I like to finish my meal with the apples. 

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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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