Staying on Budget

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Menu 3 – Family of 2

Featured this week: Chili-Lime Mushroom Tacos ~ ~ Tangy Parmesan Tilapia ~ ~ Dijon-Crusted Chicken Breasts ~ ~ Asian Pork Medallions

Growing up we had meat with every dinner so as an adult it still feels strange to have a meatless dinner. I think Portobello mushrooms are a perfect substitute for meat because they are filling and have good texture. Chili – Lime Mushroom Tacos are bursting with flavor that will leave you wanting more!    

Rice – 

I prefer the taste of long grain rice, basmati rice or jasmine rice versus minute rice. I know cooking rice can sometimes be tricky but just watch your heat to water ratio and you will be just fine. I bought a rice maker and it has taken away the worry of burning rice on the stovetop and generates perfect rice every time. I highly recommend getting one if you don’t already have one.

Dinners for the week - About $54.61

  • Thursday
  • Friday
    • Leftover Dijon – crusted Chicken Breasts
    • Roasted Butternut Squash
  • Saturday
    • Leftover Pork Medallions with Asian Flair
    • Rice
    • Broccoli

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.

  • 4 cup; 4 Portobello mushrooms, sliced (Tacos)
  • 2.5 cup; 1 Red Pepper and onion sliced (Tacos)
  • 1/4 cup; 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Sandwich bag for shredded pepper jack cheese (Tacos)
  • Wide mouth mason jar/vase/storage container that will hold asparagus (Side)
  • 6 cup; 1 butternut squash cut into 1” pieces. (Side)
  • 6 cup; 1 pound of broccoli (Side)

Let's start prepping!

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

  • Peel 4 garlic cloves then add to container and store in refrigerator.
  • Add 1 inch of water to mason jar/vase/cup and add asparagus. Store in the refrigerator.
  • Peel butternut squash, cut in half, remove the seeds and chop into 1” pieces. Place in a container and store in the refrigerator.
  • Chop broccoli and add to container with lid and store in the refrigerator. Do not wash broccoli until ready to cook.
Chili-Lime Mushroom Tacos
  • Remove stems from mushrooms. I also removed the gills using a spoon but you can leave them if you like. Slice mushrooms ½ inch thick and store in refrigerator.
  • Slice 1 red pepper and 1 onion ¼ inch thick. Place them in the same container and store in refrigerator.
  • Use a box grater on the largest side to grate pepper jack cheese block. Add to sandwich bag and store 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.  
Chili-Lime Mushroom Tacos
  • Add the salad bag to a bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Enjoy!
** Be sure to set aside half of the Chili – Lime Mushroom mixture and rice for Tuesday’s dinner!
Tangy Parmesan Tilapia

I halved this recipe so there are no leftovers. 

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. In a 4 quart pot add:
    • 2 peeled potatoes potatoes
    • cold water to cover potatoes
    • Add 1 peeled garlic clove
    • Add ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt to the potatoes
    • Place them on medium – high heat until they are fork tender to the center (about 15 – 20 minutes). 
  3. Add to a sheet pan:
    • Cut 1 inch off the end of asparagus
    • Place 1/2 the asparagus in a single layer
    • Add ½ tablespoon olive oil
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • toss to distribute the oil, salt and pepper evenly
    • Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until just fork tender but still a little crisp.
  4. Place the following in a bowl:
    • zest and juice one lime
    • 1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
    • ½ tablespoon butter, softened
    • ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
    • ½ teaspoon lime zest
    • 1/16 teaspoon garlic powder (I use a 1/8 teaspoon and fill it half way)
    • 1/16 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1/16 cayenne pepper
    • Dash onion powder
  5. When seasoning the fish with salt use ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt. Follow cooking directions in the recipe as directed.
  6. Mash the potatoes:
    • Do not drain the cooking water instead scoop out the potatoes and garlic into a glass bowl. Place the potato water on low
    • Add 1/8 cup of milk
    • ½ tablespoon of butter
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Mash to desired smoothness
    • Place mashed potato glass bowl on top of the pot the potatoes were cooked in.  This will keep the potatoes warm until dinner is served.  

**If the asparagus is done cooking before the fish set it aside to rest. Enjoy!

  1. Wet a paper towel and squeeze out the moisture. Place paper towel over the rice when you reheat in the microwave. 
  2. Reheat the Chili – Lime Mushrooms and warm the tortillas. Don’t forget your salad. Enjoy!
Dijon-Crusted Chicken Breasts
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Add butternut squash to a sheet pan or two sheet pans if it is overcrowded. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper to squash then toss to evenly coat. Bake for 15 minutes then stir and bake for 15 more minutes.
  3. Wait until the squash has been turned before you start to cook the chicken. Follow the Dijon Crusted recipe as directed. Enjoy!
** Be sure to set aside 2 cooked chicken breasts and half of the butternut squash for dinner on Friday!
Asian Pork Medallions
  1. Cook the rice: 
    • If you are using chicken broth versus cooking sherry in this recipe I recommend adding 1/4 cup of broth into a bowl; set aside.
    • Add the rest of the chicken broth into a 2 cup measuring cup. Continue to add water until the 2 cup line and use this liquid to cook your rice.
      • This will add more flavor to your rice and use up the remainder of the chicken broth.  Follow the rice package directions for cooking heat and time.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil that is large enough to hold 1 pound of broccoli
  3. Follow the recipe as directed. When you get to step 4 add your broccoli to your boiling water for 4 minutes. Enjoy!
** Be sure to set aside ½ the cooked pork, rice and broccoli for dinner on Saturday!

Warm your chicken and squash in the microwave or under a broiler. Enjoy!

  1. Wet a paper towel and squeeze out the moisture. Place paper towel over the rice when you reheat in the microwave. 
  2. Reheat Asian Pork medallions and Broccoli. 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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