Saturday, January 03, 2009

Meal planning

I'm on "get the food budget as low as possible while still feeding the guys" kick. Gadgetman and JibJib don't mind eating the same thing week in and week out, and I don't eat their food (see my zillion other posts about my raw food diet) so I've got a 7 day rotating menu.

Each meal feeds both guys for dinner and then the leftovers feed them for lunch the next day.
"Hamburger Helper" recipe from Hillbilly Housewife, I modify it a bit.

* 18 ounces egg noodles (I use 12 oz, since that's the size package that they sell around here)- $0.99
* 1/2 cup instant powdered milk ($12.00 for 64 oz)- $0.40
* 2 tablespoons flour (negligible)
* 1 tablespoon dry onion (negligible)
* 1 teaspoon onion powder (negligible)
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (negligible)
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper (negligible)
* 4 beef bouillon cubes (I don't use this, I give it a shot of nama shoyu instead- it's a naturally brewed "soy" sauce)
* 1 pound ground beef (I use ground turkey, and only a half pound) $0.595

Total $1.99

Spaghetti (made with my homemade sauce)

Here's my sauce recipe- I make up a big batch and it makes enough for me to freeze 4 bags worth (2 cups each) and have dinner for the night I make it.

* 8 cans tomato paste ($0.39 each, $3.12)
* 3-4 circles of the pan of olive oil, enough to saute the onion and garlic (maybe $0.30)
* 8 cans of water (negligible)
the rest of the ingredients are negligible in cost
* 2 Tbsp sugar
* 2 Tbsp minced dry onion
* 1 Tbsp powdered onion
* 2 Tbsp garlic (I use the pre-minced kind in a jar)
* 1 tsp black pepper
* 4 Tbsp Italian seasoning
* 1 tsp + a few dashes ground red pepper (adjust this to your family's spice preference, this does not make it very spicy at all, 2 year old JibJib likes it)

Heat the olive oil in a large pan (mine is 6 qt). Add the minced dry onion and cook it a bit. Add the garlic and powdered onion. Brown it all a bit, but don't burn it.
Add the tomato paste and water, mix it up (a whisk helps greatly with this).
Add the rest of the seasonings and simmer until the thickness that you like.

Let cool before putting in bags.

Total for sauce: $0.684 for each dinner/lunch

Quick and Easy Garlic Breadsticks (from Hillbilly Housewife)
of course, like all recipes not my own I modify it a bit

* 3 cups flour (5 lbs-22.5 cups- $1.89)- $0.252
* 1 teaspoon salt (negligible)
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder (negligible)
* 1 tablespoon dry parsley (optional, for decoration) (negligible, I use it)
* 1 tablespoon baking powder (negligible)
* 1 cup milk (1 gallon-16 cups- $2.99)- $0.19
* 1/2 cup margarine (1 stick) (EWWW! I do NOT use margarine. 1/4 cup butter, a few tablespoons of olive oil. $1.99 for 4 sticks)- $0.25
* 1 more teaspoon garlic powder (negligible)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional, I use it- negligible)

Total for breadsticks: $0.692

* Homemade sauce (see above)- $0.684
* Spaghetti noodles ($1.69 for 32 oz.) 16 oz- $0.84
* Breadsticks- $0.692

Total for dinner: $2.216

Enchiladas- my own recipe. I make up at least two batches at a time.
Spray the pan with nonstick spray. Put cheese, meat and refried beans on each tortilla, roll up. Freeze. Pour enchilada sauce on tortillas, freeze again. When it's completely frozen, tip it out of the pan and put it in a 2 gallon bag and stick it in the freezer. Voila! Insta-meal!


Tortillas (10) $0.89
Enchilada sauce- ($1.49 for a big can, I use half)- $0.745
Cheese (on sale, $1.88 for 8oz) 4 oz- $0.94
Refried beans (16oz $0.65- I use half a can)- $0.325
Ground turkey (1 lb $1.19, I use 8 oz)- $0.595

Spray pan with nonstick spray. Put cheese, beans and meat onto tortillas. Wrap up. Pour enchilada sauce over the top. Bake to warm it up and meat the cheese.

Total: $3.495

More to come later:)