“The dinner table is the center for the teaching and practicing not just of table manners but of conversation, consideration, tolerance, family feeling, and just about all the other accomplishments of polite society except the minuet.” --Judith Martin (Miss Manners), writer and etiquette authority
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.
This week looks like a more expensive week for our family. This is due in part because I have some cooking marathons planned for the week. I’ll make a big pot of each pintos, red beans, and black beans to use this week and for future meals. I’ll make a big pot of soup and another big pot of chili. This week’s budget will show higher amounts but there will be other meals in the near future that will show $0 because they will be leftovers that I’ve pulled from the freezer for easy weeknight suppers.
Kid Konnection Meal
One night a week, we help with the children’s program at church.
Greens (collards and turnip greens)
Approximate cost—$0, from church budget
Ways I saved on this meal—A church member has a big plot of greens, and I went to pick a mess of them this morning. I will stick with making Jiffy Cornbread Mix because I think that the ever so slightly sweeter cornbread will be more appealing to the kiddos over traditional Southern cornbread. The pintos were a little less than $1 per pound, and the green beans were donated from another church member.
Lamb burgers (no bun)
Tomato Slices and Bell Peppers
Ways I saved on this meal—I didn’t make the lamb burgers from last week’s meal plan because we didn’t need them. I buy a half of a lamb from a local farmer to reduce the cost. Since I have defrosted them, I’ll need to make them tonight. My church friend let me pick a mess of greens for our family (mess is an official Southern term referring to a lot of greens). I passed some bread and butter pickles there way as a thank you. Since I know that my dad will be thrilled at the idea of having fresh greens, I’ll have him over to enjoy them. I paid way too much for sweet potatoes at the farmers market, as I didn’t quite realize that the farmer from whom I normally buy went up on his price. I got a little carried away, but I know they’ll be good. The green beans were from the market, and I’ll add whatever we have in our garden to the mix of them. I don’t think that the bit of frost damaged the tomatoes or peppers, and I plan to pick them today.
This is not a cheap meal, and it is one of the more expensive ones that I’ve made lately. Yet, it will also feed my dad and we should have leftovers for lunches or another supper.
Beef and vegetable soup
Ways I saved on this meal—The beef bones are part of the 1/8 of a steer I bought earlier in the year. Since I don’t have any potatoes, I’ll use brown rice in the soup. I’ll add onions, lima beans, herbs, green beans and garlic from our garden. Frozen preserved foods from our garden—peas, tomatoes, purple hull peas, squash, and corn. Since I’ll be making pintos for the children’s meal, I’ll add a few of those to the pot. While I’m cooking, I’ll make a pot of red beans and a pot of black beans for a future chili and will add some of those. I’ll add some organic celery and carrots that I purchased from Three Rivers Market. There will be plenty to freeze or serve for other meals.
Fundraiser for youth
Approximate cost—$0, from a different part of the budget
Ways I saved on this meal—We’ll be supporting the youth at a fundraiser meal later this week.
Ways I saved on this meal—Cook once, eat twice!
Peas and Carrots
Ways I saved on this meal—This is the last of the roast. I made one last week and found another in the back of the freezer. We enjoyed last week’s roast so much that I thought I’d make another. We are trying to clean a little spot in the freezer in hopes of having venison later in the winter. The organic brown rice was bought in bulk at TRM. The organic carrots are also from there, and the peas are some I bought frozen. I’ll make the gravy using the pan drippings and flour to make a blond roux, adding a bit of the reserved beef broth from Meal 3 as needed.
Ways I saved on this meal—It is officially chili weather! I bought a 1.62 lb package of pastured organically raised beef from one of my favorite farmers this weekend ($9 total). I’ll add the beans I mentioned cooking above with some tomatoes that I froze earlier in the year and some spices. This will make a HUGE stockpot full, and I’ll have it in the freezer for many more meals.