Meal Planning

Week One: Budget Friendly Meal Plan

Meal planning has always been something I have loved to do. During pregnancy, it has become slightly more difficult. I never know what sounds good to me. But, I still set aside a time and sit down to plan. I just posted how I am doing an extreme budget for groceries. So I thought it would be helpful to whoever does the meal planning in your family if I gave some ideas of how we grocery shop and meal plan on a budget. I try to stick to the meal plan as close as possible, but sometimes we end up going out to eat for whatever reason. I will post my original meal plan, not what happens after we throw it off by going out to eat.

Like I stated, this is for an extreme budget, so the meals are very simple and we do a lot of repeats. But, it SAVES money! Here is our meal plan for Monday, June 4th- Sunday, June 10th:

Monday:
shrimp tostadas
Tuesday:
shrimp tostadas
Wednesday:
dinner at my in-laws
Thursday:
Creamy Salmon Zucchini Noodles
Friday:
Creamy Salmon Zucchini Noodles
Saturday:
Chicago Dogs & brats with chips
Sunday:
Chicago Dogs & brats with chips

With eating on a budget, while pregnant it’s pretty much about the cheapest foods that sound good to me. I try to balance out my not so healthy meals with at least one healthy dinner. It’s all about balance, right? Every single week we go to Devin’s parents for dinner on Wednesdays. I recommend, if you can afford it, to reserve one night a week to a cheap meal out or maybe even have your significant other plan one meal. Even someone like me who loves to cook, likes to not have to cook every single night. Going to Devin’s parents’ house breaks up my week and helps me stick to my meal plan.

Recipes:
The good thing about cheap meal planning, the meals are mostly pretty easy to make too. We have a local restaurant that makes these amazing shrimp tostadas and they have become a staple in our house that I recreated. They are simple and delicious and we have them at least a couple times a month. All you have to do is take a tostada shell, spread mayo on it. Then take your shrimp, with the tails removed (either pre-cooked and thawed or boiled and chilled) and lay them over the mayo. I recommend butterflying or splitting them in half so they lay flat and don’t fall off your shell. Then take some slices of avocado and layer that on top of your shrimp. Sprinkle over fresh cilantro, lime juice, and Valentina’s Hot Sauce (NO SUBSTITUTIONS WILL DO) and you are good to go! We eat about three per person.

For the salmon dish, I found a recipe from the Real Simple Good blog that I’ll be making. The only thing I am doing differently is making it with zucchini noodles instead of sweet potato noodles, since my husband isn’t a fan of sweet potatoes. I’m pretty excited for this dish.

Chicago Dogs and brats are pretty self-explanatory. But, if you’ve never had a Chicago Dog (CRAZY PERSON), they are pretty simple. Prepare your hot dogs anyway you like (I grill mine). Then place them in a bun, they traditionally go on a poppyseed bun, but I have no access to them, so I use a brat bun. Then layer on sliced tomato, relish (neon green if you can get your hands on it), a dill pickle slice, onions, sport peppers, mustard, and celery salt. For the brats, I boil them in either beer and onion or just water and onion, then grill them. You can even do the same with brats and make then Chicago style, but Devin usually just does mustard on his.

For the grocery list I will be excluding items like seasonings (unless it’s a special seasoning) and cooking oils. I assume everyone has those essentials. Just pay close attention to recipes even though I provide a list, because it may vary from person to person. I’ll also make the items I actually purchased bold, so when you see my price it reflects what I bought.

Grocery List:
shrimp
tostada shells
Valentina’s Hot Sauce
avocado
cilantro
mayo
limes
salmon fillets (4 required, but I bought a bag)
bacon
4 zucchini or 2 sweet potatoes
3 garlic cloves (I bought a bag of the already peeled garlic)
full fat coconut milk
2 packs of brats
2 packs of hot dogs
(I buy two of each because we can eat them for lunches too)
2 packs of brat buns
bag of chips
tomatoes
dill pickles
white onion
sport peppers
relish
celery salt
mustard

Total cost for me:
Aldi-$23.74
Walmart-$28.32

This does not include items I bought that were not part of this specific meal plan (lunch items or household items). But even with those items I still have about $25 left in my budget.

 

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