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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

I enjoy cooking with wine, lemon, and fresh herbs in the spring and summer. There is something about the tartness that illuminates the dishes. The Lemon Chicken Pasta dish is a great spring dish because it shows off the fresh herbs and is satisfying.    

Dinners for the week

  • Thursday
  • Friday
    • Leftover Slow Cooked Pepper Steak
    • Salad
  • Saturday
    • Leftover Five Cheese Shells
    • Roasted Lemon Asparagus

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:

  • ¼ cup; 20 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup; 1 medium onion
  • 5 cup; 1 large onion, 1 large green pepper, 1 large red pepper
  • 1 cup; 1 medium onion
  • 3 cup; green beans

Let’s start chopping!

  • 20 garlic cloves, peeled. Place in ¼ cup container; refrigerate.
  • Dice 1 medium onion (1 cup). Place in 1 cup container; refrigerate
  • Slice 1 large onion and place in a 5 cup container; set aside.
  • Slice 1 large green pepper and place in the same container as the sliced onion; set aside
  • Slice 1 large red pepper and place in the same container as the sliced onion and green pepper; refrigerate
  • Finely chop 1 onion and place in a 1 cup container; refrigerate.
  • Trim green beans and cut into 1 inch pieces but do not wash place in a 3 cup container; 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. 

1 – deep frying pan and 1 large pot; 30 minutes
Recipe Serves: 6           
Portion Size: 4 ounces chicken, 2/3 cup noodles and 1/2 cup green beans
Lemon Chicken Pasta Recipe_ How to Make It
  1. Place a large pot of water to boil for the pasta and green beans
  2. Gather all the ingredients including:
    • Fresh thyme
  3. Prep to Cook:
    • Measure ½ cup flour and place in a small prep bowl; set aside.
    • Chop 3 tablespoons of fresh thyme and place in a small prep bowl; set aside
    • Chop 1/3 cup fresh parsley and place in a small prep bowl. Remove 3 tablespoons and place them in another prep bowl; set aside both bowls.
    • Rough chop 12 garlic cloves and place in a small prep bowl; set aside
    • Measure 1 cup white wine or chicken broth; place in a small prep bowl set aside.
    • Juice 1 lemon and measure 2 tablespoons in a small prep bowl; set aside.
    • Measure ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a small prep bowl; set aside.   
    • Rinse green beans; set aside.
  4. Follow the recipe as directed.
    • In step 2 add green beans to the boiling water with the pasta.
    • In step 4 when you add the parsley also add the thyme.
  5. I like to separate the green beans from the pasta when mixing the noodles with the other ingredients. Enjoy!
**Be sure to set aside 2 servings of chicken, pasta and green beans for Tuesday night’s dinner.  
1 – large microwave safe dish, 2 – 13 inch x 9 inch pans, 1 – frying pan; 45 minutes
Recipe Serves: 6           
Portion Size: 2 zucchini halves & 1/2 cup cucumber & tomatoes
Italian Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini Recipe_ How to Make It
  1. Gather all the ingredients including
    • One cup diced onion
  2. Prep to cook
    • Seed and chop 2 medium tomatoes and place in a prep bowl set aside
    • Measure 1 cup panko bread crumbs
    • Chop 1/3 cup fresh parsley set aside
    • Measure 1/3 cup Parmesan-Reggiano cheese and place in a small prep bowl set aside
    • In a small spice bowl add:
      • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
      • 2 teaspoons dried basil
      • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • Measure ¾ cup mozzarella cheese and place in a small prep bowl; set aside.
  3. Follow the recipe as directed
    • In step two add the onion to the pan at the same time as the sausage.
  4. After the zucchini go in the oven, chop:
    • The remainder of the tomatoes and place them in a medium bowl
    • Peel and chop the cucumber add to the tomatoes
    • Add kalamata olives to taste
    • Chop 4 green onions and add to the tomatoes and cucumber
    • Add ½ cup Italian dressing. Set aside until zucchini is ready. Enjoy!  
**Be sure to set aside 4 zucchini halves and remaining cucumbers and tomatoes for dinner on Tuesday
  1. Warm Lemon Chicken Pasta & Green Beans. 
  2. Warm Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini & tomato salad. Enjoy!
1 crockpot, 1 large pot for rice and 1 salad bowl; 8 hours
Recipe Serves: 12  
Portion Size: 4 ounces of beef, 3/4 cup rice, 1/4 cup vegetables and salad
Slow-Cooker Pepper Steak Recipe_ How to Make It

In the morning:

  1. Gather the ingredients including
    • Salt
    • Pepper
  2. Prep to cook:
    • Mince 4 garlic cloves
    • Salt and pepper the roast on all sides then place in the crockpot
  3. Follow the recipe as directed.

In the evening:

  1. cook 3 cups of rice to package directions.
  2. Add salad to a salad bowl
  3. Complete step 2 in the recipe. Enjoy!
**Be sure to set aside 4 servings of beef, rice, vegetables and salad for Friday night’s dinner.
The rest of the beef can be used for sandwiches or frozen for a later use.
1 – 13 inch x 9 inch pan, 1 large pot for pasta, 1 sauté pan and 1 sheet pan; 1.5 hours 
Recipe Serves: 8           
Portion Size: 1 1/4 cup of shells and 1/2 cup roasted lemon roasted asparagus

Five Cheese Small Shells

  1. Once pasta goes into the oven start the asparagus:
    • rinse and trim 1 inch off the bottom of asparagus and add to a sheet pan
    • Add to a small bowl:
      • 2 minced garlic cloves
      • zest of 1 lemon 
      • the juice of the lemon
      • ¼ cup olive oil 
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1 teaspoon pepper
      • stir
    • Drizzle the sauce over the asparagus and thoroughly mix these ingredients together and let sit until the pasta comes out of the oven.
  2. After pasta comes out of the oven increase the heat to 425°
  3. Bake asparagus for 8 – 12 minutes until crisp tender. Enjoy!   
**Be sure to set aside 4 servings of pasta and asparagus for Saturday night’s dinner.
  1. Warm the steak, rice, vegetables and serve with remainder of the salad. Enjoy!
  1. Warm cheese shells & roasted lemon asparagus. 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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