Staying on Budget

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Menu 4 – Family of 4

Featured this week: Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Shells ~ ~ Chicken Burrito Skillet ~ ~ Maple-Glazed Salmon ~ ~ Little Meat Loaves ~ ~ Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups

A lot of ingredients are hard to find these days including jumbo pasta shells. I substituted manicotti shells but you could also substitute large shells and mix the filling with the shells instead of stuffing large shells. The serving size would be about a 1.5 cups. This dish is not only satisfying but filling. You wont miss the meat!  

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

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.

  • 2 cups; 2 onions (Little Meat Loaves & Shells with Cheese and Spinach)
  • 1/4 cup; peeled garlic

  • 1 cup; sliced black olives. (Shells with Cheese and Spinach)
  • 1/2 cup; green onions (Chicken Burrito Skillet)
  • 12 cups; broccoli (Side)
  • 4 cups; green beans (Side)
  • 1/2 cup; celery rib (Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups)
  • 1 cup; shredded carrot (Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups)
  • 2 cups; Cooked Rice (Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups)
  • 4 cups; chopped carrots (Side)

Let’s start prepping!

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

  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled; refrigerate.
  • 2 pounds broccoli cut into bite size pieces; refrigerate. Do not wash broccoli. 
  • Trim green beans; refrigerate. Do not wash green beans. 
  • Peel carrots and cut them into 2 inch pieces; refrigerate
    • Set aside 1 carrot
Little Meat Loaves & Shells with Cheese and Spinach
  • 2 onions, finely chopped; refrigerate.
Shells with Cheese and Spinach
  • Slice olives (1/4 cup); set aside
  • Cheese Mixture:
    • In a large bowl beat 2 eggs then add:
      • 1 carton of ricotta cheese
      • 10 oz of thawed chopped spinach
      • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
      • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
      • 1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
      • 3/4 italian cheese blend
      • 3/4 mozzarella cheese blend
      • Stir to combine
Chicken Burrito Skillet
  • 3 green onions, chopped; refrigerate.
Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups
  • In a rice maker or pot make 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 celery rib chopped; refrigerate
  • 1 medium carrot shredded; refrigerate

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.  
Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Shells Recipe_ How to Make It

 

  1. Once the shells are in the oven to bake, chop: tomato, cucumber and 1 green onion then place salad bag in a salad bowl. Top with tomato, cucumber and green onion. 

  2. Serve with salad. Another addition to your salad could be the leftover olives, if you have any so they don’t go to waste. Enjoy!

Maple-Glazed Salmon

  1. Peel 4 potatoes add to a pot along with 1 peeled garlic clove then cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are tender.

  2. Follow recipe as directed.
  3. Once potatoes are cooked do not discard the water. Scoop out potatoes and peeled garlic and place them in a glass bowl.

  4. Add more water to the pot the potatoes were in if needed. Bring to a boil and place broccoli for 3-4 minutes.

  5. Mash the potatoes and garlic with 1/8 cup milk and 1 tablespoon of butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

  1. Warm cheesy spinach-stuffed shells and serve with salad. Feel free to cut up 1 extra tomato for the salad.

  2. If you have additional leftovers these shells make a great and filling lunch. Enjoy!

Chicken Burrito Skillet
  1. Wash green beans then add to a pot and cover with water; set aside.
  2. Follow recipe as directed.

  3. Once the chicken is cooking, bring the green beans to a boil. Continue to cook until tender about 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

**There will be leftovers from this dish. I like to add a little hot sauce for zing and take them to work for a filling lunch.
Single Serve Meat Loaves
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F

  2. Chop 8 potatoes into quarters
    • Add to a large steamer pot with carrots
    • Add salt and pepper
  3. Follow the recipe as directed.

  4. After the meat loaves have been in the oven for 15 minutes start cooking the potatoes and carrots. 
**Be sure to set aside 4 meat loaves and 1/2 the carrots and potatoes for Saturday night’s dinner.
Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups
  1. Cook 2 cups of rice by following the rice package directions. I like to start my liquid with the leftover chicken broth versus water. The chicken broth will add extra flavor to the rice and eliminate waste of the broth. 

  2. Bring a pot of water to boil for broccoli

  3. Follow recipe as directed.
  4. Before you start step 4 add broccoli to the boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Serve on the side of the lettuce wraps. Enjoy!

  1. Warm meat loaves, potatoes, and carrots. Enjoy!

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Menu 7 – Family of 4

Featured this week: Lemon Chicken Pasta ~ ~ Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini ~ ~ Slow Cooked Pepper Steak ~ ~ Five Cheese Shells

Menu 6 – Family of 4

Featured this week: Smoked Sausage with Vegetable Rice Skillet ~ ~ BBQ Pulled Pork ~ ~ Pan Seared Chicken ~ ~ Homemade Spaghetti ~ ~ Stuffed Peppers

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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