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

  • 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:

  • Container with lid for 4 Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • Container with lid for 1 Red Pepper and onion sliced
  • Container with lid for 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Sandwich bag for shredded pepper jack cheese
  • Wide mouth mason jar/vase/cup that will hold asparagus
  • Container with lid for 1 butternut squash cut into 1” pieces.
  • Container with lid for 1 pound of broccoli

Let’s start chopping!

  • 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.
  • Peel 4 garlic cloves then add to 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.
  • 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.

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. 

Chili-Lime Mushroom Tacos Recipe_ How to Make It
  • 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 Recipe_ How to Make It

I halved this recipe so there are no leftovers. If you would like leftovers for lunches then add 2 potatoes and cook all of the asparagus.

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Peel 2 potatoes then place them in a pot covering them with cold water. Add 1 peeled garlic clove and 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. After you get the potatoes started, take ½ of the asparagus from the refrigerator and cut 1 inch off the ends. Get out a sheet pan and place the asparagus in a single even layer. Add ½ tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper over the asparagus then 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. After you get the asparagus in the oven start the fish recipe but be sure you only make ½ the sauce unless you like things extra saucy then you should make the full sauce. Start by zesting and juicing one lime. Place zest in a small prep bowl; set aside. This is half of the sauce recipe:
    • 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 pepper
    • Dash onion powder
  5. When seasoning the fish with salt use ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt. Follow recipe as directed.
  6. Once the fish is cooking and the potatoes are done cooking, do not drain the cooking water instead scoop out the potatoes and garlic into a glass bowl. Add 1/8 cup of milk and ½ tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper to taste then mash. Place mashed potato glass bowl on top of the pot the potatoes were cooked in. Place the heat on low and 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 Recipe_ How to Make It
  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. Prep to cook chicken.
    • Gather all the ingredients needed on the counter.
    • Mix together your seasonings on a plate or in a shallow bowl; set aside.
    • Cut your chicken into 4 ounces. This is usually ½ a large chicken breast.  If you have one chicken breast that is a lot thicker than the other pound the thick one slightly until the thickness matches. This will ensure an even cook for all the chicken.  Keep in mind the thinner the chicken the faster it will cook so be sure not to overcook. 
    • Wait until the squash has been turned before you start to cook the chicken.
  4. Once squash has been stirred follow the dijon-crusted chicken recipe as directed. I use butter instead of margarine. Enjoy!
** Be sure to set aside 2 cooked chicken breasts and half of the butternut squash for dinner on Friday!
Asian Pork Medallions Recipe_ How to Make It
  1. Start by getting 1 cup of long grain rice with 2 cups of water on to cook. If you are using chicken broth versus dry 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. 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. Prep to cook:
    • In a small bowl add sherry or reduced sodium chicken broth which ever you are using. In the same bowl add soy sauce, brown sugar, hoisin sauce minced garlic clove and cayenne pepper then stir; set aside.
    • Slice the pork tenderloin into thin slices about a quarter of an inch thick.
  4. Follow the recipe as directed. When you get to step 2 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


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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