meals on Monday: Budget meals

Welcome to another Manic Monday! I hope everyone had a splendid weekend. It is finally sunny here. The weekend was cold and dreary. I decided I would keep my Budget Meals, or 5 Dollar Dinners here on the blog, rather than my Meals With Melissa subscription plan. I will refer subscribers to the blogposts in addition to the weekly meal plan.

Part of Mindful Eating is knowing what you are eating and eating the healthiest options you can afford. Not everyone can afford, or wants to afford the most expensive of food choices and more expensive does not necessarily mean healthier. Budgeting and meal planning are all part of Mindful Eating. As you know if you are a regular reader I have created a unique Nutrition course for my homeschooled high schooler. As I continue to research information for topics I learn so much about food, food waste, food insecurity and so much more. During the wars and The Great Depression food was scarce and even rationed. Housewives had to be creative and wise with their food and money. While researching this topic I found a wonderful Youtube channel called YesterKitchen. She makes war time and old recipes that can be made on a budget. You will see one of her videos below for Tamale Pie.

Tamale Pie can definitely be a Budget Meal. All you need is Corn Meal, Diced Tomatoes, Onions and Ground Meat. I would use ground turkey as it is way more affordable than ground beef, plus it tastes better. I also would make mine in a 9 x13 pan with the corn meal only on top. It looked kind of mushy with the corn meal on the bottom and the top. This is not a low carb meal, but corn meal is a whole grain loaded with fiber and other nutrients. Read about corn meal here. It is calorie dense and filling. You could even make this meatless and use beans instead of ground meat. If you have CKD be careful because corn meal has a lot of Phosphorus as will the beans. If you are a hunter you could even use ground venison in this recipe.

So, how would this meal break down money wise? The prices are for my area using my Basket App. I have not made this meal yet as I do not have any corn meal on hand and my meal plan is already done for the week. But, we definitely will be trying it soon.

Ground Turkey Version:

1 pound of ground turkey: $2.98 at Walmart

Roma tomatoes: You need one cup chopped and one Organic Roma Tomato is .30 at Walmart

Onion: 1 Yellow onion is .48 at Walmart

Corn Meal: You only need a third of a cup and a 12 oz bag at Walmart is 1.58

Salt, Pepper and Chili Powder you should have on hand, but are very cheap spices to purchase.

Total: $5.64 I counted two tomatoes. Dollar Tree may have Corn Meal for only a dollar

Venison Version:

All of the same ingredients and prices, except you can remove the $2.98 for the ground turkey as you got the venison by hunting. So the grand total would be $2.66

Ground Beef Version:

1 pound ground beef: $3.48 at Walmart

All other ingredients and prices the same

Total: $6.14

Kidney Bean Version:

16 oz of Kidney Beans: .72 I would rinse and drain them first leaving a little liquid. You could always buy dry and save even more by making your own.

All other ingredients and prices the same

Total: $1.81 Wow! Now that is a deal.

I am sitting down today to figure out our money budget, Dave Ramsey style. I can already tell we over spend on groceries and energy ie air conditioning. We do budget billing, so I am going to figure out what our monthly average is and work from there. We also have two car payments which means we over spend on transportation as well. This is where my focus will be. We did renew our Sam’s Club membership from 2017. We went on Sunday for our two week shop and I only spent 65 dollars for each week on food. That is way under budget to my 75 a week I had hoped to spend. The secret to Sam’s is making a list, sticking to it, staying away from the snack aisles, and staying out of the middle aisles. Some things, because it is in bulk, will last at least a month or more. So, there is that to consider as well. I spent only 55 dollars on meat for two weeks. That is a steal. I also restarted my Misfits Market. I upgraded to the bigger box and I am so pleased with the bigger box. I do have to include that into my budget. I get it biweekly which means I am spending 80 dollars a month for that. Each Saturday I do a social media share blogpost. It runs on Saturday and Sunday. This week will be Pinterest sharing. It is easy and it is free self promotions.

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happy thursday!

OMG, I almost felt like Frosty the Snowman for a minute! It is still chilly here in Florida, which I am getting really bored with. If you have been following along then you know I homeschool my daughter and she is starting an untraditional Nutrition course designed by me. Yesterday, was the first day and we did inventory to see what we had and what we needed. She also had to decide on a healthy meal that she would prepare for the upcoming week. She chose Chicken Cesar Salad, which could also count as this week’s 5 dollar dinner because everything comes right in the kit. At Aldi the kit was 2.99 and you could get two servings out of that, and if you really tried three. That is a great deal. I said everything was in there, but there is no chicken. We had one piece of chicken leftover and we threw it in there. A nice healthy filling dinner for my fast food, junk food, processed food loving teen. Not a bad start. If you have CKD go light on the Cesar dressing, I only used about a tbsp. Creamier dressings, as you will see in the video below have more calories, phosphorus and other additives than a clear dressing. You don’t get a lot of cheese with these salad kits, so that shouldn’t be an issue especially if you are sharing it with another person. Also a note about Mrs. Dash and other low sodium seasoning mixes, they are generally high in Potassium, so be sure and read the label for Nutrition info and ingredients. My menu plan is all set for the next week and if you would like to get my menu plan, grocery list with basic prices, and two recipes a week, then check out my new subscription plan Meals with Melissa. You get all of that, plus I will message you twice a week to see how it is going, what you might need help with and what kinds of meals you would like in the future. I also add general Nutrition info to each recipe. All that for only 10 dollars a month!

This is not what I intended to post about today, but I did not have time to research what I was going to write about. The three in the video are kind of boring, but they did put together an awesome meal for people with Heart Disease, Diabetes or CKD. A couple things I would note, I am not a Dietitian, but I have been counting my protein long enough to know their chicken breast was not 3 ounces. While they did say a portion should be 3 ounces, that one was not. Cut it in half, and always weigh your meat if you are unsure. Basil is very strong in flavor, and to me they put way too much. But, if you like zing in your food Basil will get you there. I like to use Red Wine Vinegar as it tastes like salt but contains no salt. I loved the Alfredo Sauce they made, and I can’t wait to try that. I do not care for traditional Alfredo Sauce, and it isn’t really good for people with CKD anyways.

I will be back tomorrow. Have a great evening! Drop me a comment if you think you will try their Alfredo Sauce.

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simple saturday menu planning

Happy Saturday! Can you believe there is only 6 days until Christmas? I hope everyone is staying safe by wearing your masks, social distancing and good hand hygiene. Here in FL cases are really on a steady increase. This is my weekend to work, and my new hip and thigh compression wrap came yesterday. I will try to wear it the whole shift. The hip pain is not too bad this morning. I was able to sleep really well. Yesterday, I said I would share my Fitbit stats and then I forgot. So, below there are 3 days of stats, Wed, Thurs, and Fri.

I watch a lot of 5 dollar dinner ideas on Youtube. About a month ago I shared with my readers a whole list of 5 dollar meal ideas. So, each week when I do my menu plan I will be making at least one 5 dollar meal. It annoys me that these meals on Youtube are generally made from beans. I am not saying there is anything wrong with beans but there are so many other meals you can make. Eggs is another item used a lot. I am going to try and make the meals as healthy as possible. They may or may not have meat. Some will assume you already have some pantry items. I hardly ever see potatoes used, and potatoes are a nutrition powerhouse.

Yesterday I went shopping. As I stated before we are trying to stick to a budget, and I increased it to 75 dollars a week, because 50 was just too tight. I also went back to biweekly shopping, as that is what I have done for years, and found I was spending more weekly. Impulse buying is a real thing, lol. I spent 157 dollars, so a little bit more than 75 each week. But, it is a process learning to live on a strict budget. Below you will see my menu for the week. Our Christmas dinner is quite expensive, but we only eat that once a year on Christmas. The five dollar dinner will be marked, and I will share the meal plan that day. Plus it makes leftovers so it is even more cost efficient. I will also share how I make each of them more fitting for me as I have CKD and am following lower carbs for weight loss.

Saturday 12/19: Pizza rolls. This is for my husband and daughter. I will not eat this. I am taking leftovers to work. This technically cost 4 dollars, so could be a 5 dollar dinner,

Sunday: Ravioli, bread and salad. Again, this could technically be 5 dollars. Raviolis are very affordable.

Monday: Chicken Teryaki, brown rice, broccoli carrot cabbage onion stir fry. Buy the whole chickens they are cheaper and you will get several meals out of one chicken.

Tuesday: This is our 5 dollar meal day. We volunteer this day, plus we are going to have Christmas with my mom. I hope it is warm because we need to stay outdoors. Dinner will be Spaghetti with meat sauce, and salad.

Wednesday: Leftovers from Monday and Tuesday. That whole chicken I mentioned has a ton of chicken on it. It may even do 3 meals or some lunches. Spaghetti also makes a lot of leftovers.

Thursday: Christmas Eve. Because of my son’s work schedule and I have to work Christmas, we are doing Christmas on Christmas Eve. Prime Rib, mashed potatoes, rolls, green beans, and brownies.

Friday: Leftovers Merry Christmas!

My menu plans are only for dinners. Breakfast and lunch is whatever is available.

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