“I don’t think there is one thing more important you can do for your kids than have family dinner.”~Ruth Reichl
This meal plan is for a family of 3. We often have at least one friend or family member over to share a meal with us during the week. Since I factor the cost of the meal when I first prepare it, leftovers will be marked as $0. When we dine out, it comes from a different part of the family budget and those expenses will also show $0.
Kid Konnection Meal
One night a week, we help with the children’s program at church.
Apple Juice and water
Garlic Bread using leftover buns from the freezer
Fruit of some sort or veggies
Approximate cost—$0, from church budget
Ways I saved on this meal—I bought 30 cans of Spaghetti O’s for the church when Kroger was running a deal on them. The first batch of 10 cost only 90cts because one Kroger adjusted the coupon to allow it to double, as it should. The second batch cost a little more at another Kroger with the coupon not completely doubling—I still have no idea why it didn’t. The third cost a little more because I paid tax for it for time’s sake on another trip. I normally would have used separate transactions so as to buy the church supplies using the tax exempt form. The apple juice is some leftover from last week. Water, of course, is the least expensive and arguably the healthiest of drinks. Using the buns leftover from another meal prevents them from wasting, as they tend to get freezer burned pretty quickly. I’ll see what kind of fruit or veggies I can get on sale to add to the meal and add a few more vitamins to the meal.
Since I didn’t make this meal last week, I’ll do so one night this week.
Roasted butternut squash
Ways I saved on this meal—I scored a FANTASTIC deal on organic chicken at Kroger recently. I bought an entire chicken for only $2.73 after the markdown and my $1.50 coupon! The butternut squash is from the garden. I’ll roast it in the oven with a bit of olive oil. Then I’ll mash it with butter and cream and sweeten it with a bit of maple syrup or molasses. I bought the organic pears at Three Rivers Market—they are on sale this week. I’ll poach them and add a bit of something sweet to them. I have some ginger syrup that I recently bought at World Market for free after a birthday coupon. I’m thinking that the ginger might be good with the pears. I’ll give it a taste, and if it isn’t as good as I think it will be, I’ll probably add some maple syrup.
Neckbone and Rice
Recipe—This is a Southern meal, created no doubt in lean times when no one would think of wasting. Since I most often buy chickens whole and cut them up myself, I usually have the neckbone, backbone and a few rib bone pieces leftover. Normally I make a broth or stock from these pieces, but this is another meal idea that is simple and yum. Cook the bones and any skin pieces in water over medium low heat for a few hours. Pour the broth through a sieve and reserve the liquid in a bowl on the counter. Let the neckbone cool and once it has, remove any bits of meat that you can. Discard the bones and leftover skin. Add a bit of butter to the empty pot and sauté an onion, a clove or two of garlic and a couple of stalks of celery chopped. Once the onion is translucent, add the liquid and meat back to the pot. What is left is basically a soup or a soup base. Add white rice to the pot and cook the rice in the liquid until it is done. This usually takes about 20 minutes. I leave the measurements open here. Normally when cooking white rice you would add 2 parts liquid and 1 part raw rice. If you want this to be more of a soup, add less rice than that. If you want it thicker, which is usually how I make it, go closer to that measurement. Season as you wish. I usually add a bit of parsley near the end of cooking.
Ways I saved on this meal—The rice was bought in bulk, making it less than a dollar a pound. The organic celery and onion were bought at Three Rivers. The organic celery was almost 50cts less at TRM as compared to Kroger. The garlic was from the garden. Since the chicken pieces are leftovers, the only expense is a bit of rice and veggies.
Chicken Salad and Crackers
Mandarin Oranges or Fruit Salad
Crudités and dip
Ways I saved on this meal—I bought some Helluva dip at Kroger a few weeks back, and it has almost expired. Yikes! I’ll use this with carrot and celery sticks, and any yellow squash and cherry or grape tomatoes I still have in the garden. Since I have a hodgepodge of fruit right now, I might opt to make a fruit salad to use it up quickly. Normally I would add almonds to my chicken salad, but since I don’t have any and have some pecans in the freezer that need using, I’ll make it with them instead. The mayo was bought on sale at Kroger with a fantastic mailer coupon matched with a Mega Event sale. The Triscuits were some I bought last week for Ladies Night Out and didn’t end up using.
Ways I saved on this meal— Cook once, eat twice. Love that!
Biscuits and jam
Ways I saved on this meal—My sweet neighbor surprised me the other day with a dozen eggs from her sister. What a nice treat! I’ll use them with whatever veggies from the freezer and garden strike my fancy. I still have some snow peas and asparagus in the freezer and those might be good with some onions or chives and a bit of shredded zucchini. The omelet will be free, save for the cheese. I’ll pick up some when I go to the market next. If I make it to the farmers market, I’ll buy some salad greens there. If not, they will be organic ones from the store dressed with a bit of oil and vinegar. The grits are some local ones that I bought a month or so ago at the farmers market, and they are so unbelievably fantastic. I’ll also make some biscuits, as these are great leftover for an easy breakfast the next morning. Our daughter loves to help me roll them out and cut them with cookie cutters. I never know what shape they’ll be, and it is always fun! I’ll use some organic butter that I scored a deal on when Three Rivers was moving their location. I’ll add some lemon juice to milk for the buttermilk since I don’t have any on hand right now. The flour is some that I mill at home from wheat we bought in bulk a couple of years ago. The jam, of course, is homemade. A simple, easy, delicious meal!
Dinner at Faithstock
Our church is hosting Faithstock again this year, a Christian music concert that is free and open to the public. I’ll post more on it this week. We’ll most likely eat there.
Approximate cost--$0, from another part of the family budget