Staying on Budget

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Menu 2 – Family of 2

Featured this week: Apricot-Almond Chicken Breasts ~ ~ One-Pot Chicken Pesto ~ ~ Mongolian Beef ~ ~ Two-Cheese Ziti

A dear friend of ours turned us on to pesto and I will thank her forever for it. I love the one pot chicken pesto dish because it is filling as well as addicting so be sure to set aside your next meal before you start to eat or you might find yourself eating the whole dish! 

I am not a huge fan of adding nuts to my dinner dishes so I pick the almonds off of the apricot almond chicken but Andrew loves this dish with almonds. I hope you like this dish as much as we do!


Dinners for the week - About 63.79

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:

  • 3 cup; 1 pound green beans, trimmed.
  • 1/2 cup; 5 green onions
  • 6 cup; 1 pound broccoli, chopped

Let’s start chopping!

  • Trim green beans, cut in half, add to container and store in refrigerator.
  • Cut green onions in 1 inch pieces add to container and store in refrigerator.
  • Chop broccoli into bite size pieces, add to container and store in refrigerator.


I like to freeze unused pesto in ice cube trays. I simply fill each cube with about 1 teaspoon of pesto. Once the tray is full I freeze for 24 hours then place in a freezer zip bag. This makes it easy to use pesto whenever I need it and best of all I don't waste it.

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.  
Apricot-Almond Chicken Breasts Recipe_ How to Make It
  1. Prepare step 1 in recipe directions. 
  2. Prepare sauce in step 2; set aside until chicken is ready. 
  3. Wash 4 potatoes then cut in half.  Add potatoes and green beans to medium bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste then mix. 
  4. Add vegetables to steamer basket.  Steam until the potatoes are tender. Enjoy!
**Be sure to portion out 2 servings of meat, potatoes and ½ pound green beans then store in the refrigerator for Tuesday’s dinner. 
One-Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe_ How to Make It
  1. Prep to cook:
    • Get the box of uncooked gemelli or spiral pasta and set on the counter.
    • Get a medium size bowl and put 2 cups of broccoli and 1 cup of frozen peas; set aside.
    • Open can of chicken broth or measure out 14.5 ounces of chicken broth; set aside.
    • Zest one lemon then juice. Put 2 tablespoons lemon juice in the chicken broth and set the zest aside.
    • Put 1/3 cup prepared pesto in a measuring cup; set aside.
    • Season chicken breasts with lemon pepper seasoning by sprinkling lightly.  Cut chicken breast into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Follow step 1 in the recipe but cook chicken until completely cooked 165° F.
  3. Set on a plate and cover with tin foil.
  4. Preheat the oven for the garlic bread.
  5. Follow step 2 as directed.
  6. In step 3 after the broccoli and peas cook for 5 minutes add the chicken, pesto, and lemon zest.
  7. Serve with salad. Enjoy!
**Be sure to portion out 2 servings of One-Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta then store in the refrigerator for Wednesday’s dinner.

Warm the chicken, potatoes, and green beans.  Enjoy!

  1. Prepare the garlic bread
  2. Warm sausage pasta with vegetables. Enjoy!
Mongolian Beef Recipe_ How to Make It
  1. Prep to cook:
    • Salt and pepper both sides of the steak then slice into thin strips; set aside.
    • Gather the rest of the ingredients and place on the counter.  I like to add sugar snap peas to this recipe. 
  2. Start your minute rice.
  3. Follow step 1 as directed in the recipe. 
  4. In step two add the sugar snap peas with the green onions.
  5. Continue with the recipe as directed.  Enjoy!  
**Be sure to portion out 2 servings of Mongolian beef and broccoli for Saturday’s dinner.

Cheese Ziti Recipe_ How to Make It

  1. As the pasta is finishing I prepare the salad.  I like to chop up the rest of the green onions and add to the salad.  Enjoy!

Warm the Mongolian beef and sugar snap peas. 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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