The meal plan below is for Hubby, me, and our daughter with an occasional guest or family member joining us.
NOTE—I often make enough food to freeze or have for another meal. Because of this, leftovers are counted as $0 on the menu. If we go to a restaurant, it counts in a different part of our family budget.
It is cold outside and snow is on the ground. This almost always means that I’ll be serving soup!
Leftover soup from the freezer with crackers.
Ways I saved on this meal—I make a huge pot of soup when the mood strikes me. It is super simple to pull out a bowl of it and heat it on the stove for a fast and warm meal. The crackers were Kroger brand Club whole wheat type. We tried them on a whim one day and really like them.
Approximate cost: 25cts
We’ll probably have my dad over for supper tonight.
I’ll make hamburger patties $6
Summer squash from the freezer $0
Baked potatoes with butter and sour cream $1
Okra and tomatoes from the freezer $0
Ways I saved on this meal—The summer garden continues to feed us with okra and tomatoes and summer squash that we stored in the freezer when they were in season. Using them now also leaves us room for freezing a ham and turkey while they are on sale. The hamburger patties were from a local farmer who grows beef grass-fed with organic farming measures. The baked potatoes were from the grocery store—we’ve already used all of ours from the home garden.
Approximate cost: $7
I’ll be preparing the meal for the children at church tonight with a friend. Since it is our last Wednesday night service before Christmas, I’m going to see about ordering pizza for the kids to celebrate.
Ways I saved on this meal—Papa John’s gives churches and not-for-profits a discounted rate.
Approximate cost: $0 (from the church budget)
Snack supper (our daughter’s favorite kind)
Boiled eggs 50cts
Carrot and celery sticks with dip 25cts
Apple slices $1
Crackers with cream cheese and homemade pepper jelly 25cts
Pickles and relishes from home canning
If we are still hungry, we’ll eat some leftover cookies from the cookie swap.
Ways I saved on this meal—Dip was bought on super sale at Walgreens, and this will be about the last use of it before it expires. I stocked up because they ended up being around a quarter a container with the sale and coupons. The apples were bought on sale. This is the last of the free cream cheese I bought earlier in the year with a super duper $5/$5 Kraft coupon and sale at Kroger.
A note on eggs--These eggs will be from the grocery store, which are not even close to as good as fresh eggs. Hubby and I have talked about getting backyard laying hens now that the city is allowing people to have them. The permits for building the coop and annual fees are pretty costly, and if we do decide to have them, it will not really be for cost effectiveness. We think we’ll wait until 2012 to buy them because we want to see what the city actually does before investing in the project. (Most people buy chicks early in the year, and we won’t be ready for that in 2011, at least based on my understanding from friends who have them).
Approximate cost: $5
Tilapia is on sale at Kroger this week, and if the price is right (my price point is about $3 for a pack of them), we’ll be eating pan seared tilapia with capers, red onions, and lemon juice. $3.50
Brown Rice 25cts
Ways I saved on this meal— We love tilapia, but I will only buy it at Kroger if the price is really good. I was spoiled growing up in the Memphis area because fresh seafood was easy to come by, as it was easily shipped in on the Mississippi River from the Gulf. Because of that, I don’t buy much seafood here in Knoxville other than an occasional bag of fish at Kroger. When it is a special occasion, I choose to purchase it from The Shrimp Dock, using a coupon from the Knox County School Coupon Book. Otherwise, my cousins who live on the Gulf bring us fresh shrimp, oysters, and crawfish when they come into town. They know much better than I about where the fishing and shrimping is now safe after the oil spill.
The brown rice was bought on sale with a coupon. I make up a big batch of it and then use it as part of lunches or breakfasts (eggs and rice). The peas should be free from Kroger this week after the Birds Eye coupon and sale. The capers from the tilapia were bought at World Market in a large jar, and this is the cheapest and best deal I have found around town for them. The red onions are from the garden.
Approximate cost: $3.75
We’ll have our annual Winter Solstice dinner party for our family and a few of our closest friends who we call family.
I’ll make Venison of some sort (I haven’t decided what, but it always feels earthy and Winter Solsticy to me) $0
Salad with pomegranates, pecans, and homemade vinaigrette $7
Roasted potatoes $3
Mulled cider $1.50
White hot chocolate $3
Friends will be bringing bread, a vegetable lasagna, and dessert.
Ways I saved on this meal—When everyone contributes to the meal, it is more fun and less expensive for all. The venison was free from a barter with my sister earlier in the year. The butternut squash used from the soup was from the garden. The chicken stock used for the soup was homemade and technically a leftover since I froze it. The pecans were bought semi-locally (within 100 miles) as part of a fundraiser. The cider will be homemade using apple juice and some organic spices I have bought on sale through Frontier. The white hot chocolate will also be homemade. If we have any cookies leftover from a cookie swap, I’ll also serve those.
Approximate cost: $15.50 (not too bad for a dinner party!)
The children’s Christmas party was rescheduled from last week to this week because of the snow. If the plans are the same, there will be a potluck of snacks at that time.
We’ll bring either gingerbread men or another type of cookie and will help to supply some of the paper products.
Ways I saved on this meal—Homemade cookies are really not that expensive to make. With a little flour, butter, eggs, spices and a few other leavening agents, you have got yourself a homemade treat. Added bonus—the heat from the oven helps to keep you warm! I have some paper products that I bought with a coupon for super cheap earlier in the year. They are just plain white, so I’m going to look around for some other more festive cups, napkins, or plates to add to them.
Approximate cost: $2-$5