Menu Monday has become a regular thing for me now. I really like having a menu plan in motion each week. It helps me stay organized and not stressed about meal time, as well as keeping within my budget.
Last week a friend of mine sent me a text message on Sunday that read:
GROCERY CHALLENGE: Wholesome meals for 5 days. No coupons. Just grocery store sales. Less than $35 bucks spent using pantry staples.
You know as easy as it sounds, it really isn't. She specified her local grocery store, and since it is different from any in my area, I really had no idea where to direct her. I know my response was pretty lame at best because I couldn't think of cheap, easy and good for you stuff without an ad or coupon reserve to help. So, this week, I am aiming to follow her guidelines by using what I have in my house now with the exception of a few produce items.
We live in a gated community and our children's committee hosts a great Halloween Trunk or Treat each year. Aside from the candy and games available, hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy will be served. Not really in the “wholesome” category listed, but it is free to everyone.
Grilled Mesquite Chicken, Rice, Broccoli and Cheese: Chicken purchased 2 weeks ago on sale at Kroger. Mesquite marinade pantry item that was free after coupons earlier this year. Rice is a pantry staple and Green Giant Broccoli with Cheese Sauce on sale last grocery visit (Valley Fresh Steamers under $1 a bag after coupons!)
Beef Pot Roast, Carrots and Potatoes: Roast was purchased on sale 2 weeks ago at Kroger. Carrots and Potatoes are already in pantry. Using simple pantry seasonings (garlic, season salt, black pepper) slow cook pot roast in Crock Pot all day, adding carrots and potatoes for last hour of cook time. Serve potatoes mashed or as is with gravy made from juices in Crock Pot left by roast beef.
Tacos: Using leftover beef roast shredded and seasoned with cumin/garlic or taco seasoning. Serve on corn tortillas with lettuce, tomato and cheese. Purchase lettuce and tomato if needed.
Chicken Fried Rice: Chicken purchased 2 weeks ago on sale at Kroger. 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables from freezer stock. Soy sauce, garlic, ginger and other seasonings from pantry. Rice leftover from earlier in week.
By using staple items I keep on hand in pantry as well as sale meats that I pick up when they are dirt cheap, I can easily throw together 4-5 meals a week with only minimal purchases made. Produce such as fresh fruits and vegetables and the occasional bottle of juice, loaf of bread and gallon of milk are normally the only items we have to stop for throughout the week. My one big grocery trip at the first of the month that uses coupons and ad matching keeps me fully stocked on both meats and staple items so that only minimal purchases are necessary throughout the week.
What's on your menu? Could you create 5 wholesome meals for your family for under $35 using what you already have in your pantry?