LJWorld.com weblogs Shop Talk with Jenn and Julie

Anyone up for a Budget Friendly Dinner Challenge?

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Check out the Dillons ad today. Lots of 10 for $10’s. The best part is that you don’t have to buy 10 to get the price! Or you can mix and match the items.

Also on sale, Tyson chicken drumsticks or thighs for .99 cents per pound, Hormel marinated boneless pork loin or tenderloins for $6.99 each, Kroger Idaho potatoes are $1.99 for a 5 pound bag, pork chops for $1.99 per pound, Tyson boneless skinless chicken breast for $2.29 per pound. There are too many items to mention.

I am going to head to Dillons today and put together a dinner for my family of 4 based on sale items only. I am going to give myself a budget of $10-$15 dollars and see what I can come up with. I will post my dinner menu on my next blog.

So, are you ready for the challenge -- creating a budget friendly meal? Or if you've been doing this already, how about sharing your menus and ideas.

Comments

AnnaUndercover 5 years ago

This is varsity shopping, Jenn. :) I love it.

I'm planning to attend a class of yours sometime soon.

SuperJenn 5 years ago

That's so sweet of you Anna...this is actually Julie's post however! I'm so proud of her for buckling down and making it work!

You already know I would LOVE to have you in my class!

See you soon!

beerdrinkingfool 5 years ago

cheap asian meal around $10 feeds 4 +

hot sausage around $1-3 1lbs package of asian veggies $2 2-3 packs ramin noodles $1 white rice ? optional

fry up sausage in skillet till done breaking it up . add veggies with 1/4 cup water and a dash of soy sauce. let simmer in other pot boil noodles
in another pot cook rice

on large plate put rice in center , pour veggies over rice and put noodles around it and serve

Katara 5 years ago

I have a family member that I keep trying to talk into doing something like what you are doing. Unfortunately it falls on deaf ears...

SuperJenn 5 years ago

That is GREAT! I actually would love for more of my SAHM friends (read: me) to do the same thing! We get so busy with our kids that I think this is a big fall down point for us. Either we grab take out on the way home from our morning activities or we make something maybe less than healthy because we haven't planned so well. Another big factor is that we take care of the kids and then neglect our own lunches!

Good for you!

headdoctor 5 years ago

Consumer1, that is a start. There is no reason a single person cannot save money by couponing. The biggest thing is most single guys just do not want to put the time into it. You have the right idea because a lot of money leaves your pocket just on lunches alone. I have to admit it is harder for a single guy to get away from the quick and processed food but it is possible to do so and still not waste money by fixing more than you can eat and then having to throw it out. If you get into the coupons, at least what spoilage you have to throw out costs you less. You do not have to fall for the processed food pathway if you don't want to. As stated many times there are coupons for about everything. I actually enjoy figuring out ways to keep my money in my pocket.

A small investment on a vacuum sealer(Ziplock makes a cheap hand pump one) some freezer bags and some fresh extend bags( HyVee has had some great deals on bags and containers, some even free with coupons) can save you a ton of money and get you out of the highly processed food. I also find buying frozen vegetables in the steamer bags very helpful as well. There is no reason a single person can't stock pile groceries to take advantage of the better deals. You just have to watch a little closer as to how much you buy.

I precook meat and other items all the time and then cool it down and freeze it for quick use when I want it.

headdoctor 5 years ago

I am chuckling a bit at the moment. I am thinking if you are going for the $10 to $15 price range, by my standards that meal could possibly include T-bone steaks. Of course to stay in that price range for a family of 4 you would more than likely already have the meat purchased in bulk ahead of time and would be picking up the other items at sale price.

5 years ago

Headdoctor that is what I was thinking. My budget family meals are like $3-5 for all food supplies right now and that is 3-4 people.

Last night was spaghetti night. 1 pkg noodles free after coupon 1/2 jar Ragu pasta sauce 0.24 (whole jar was 48 cents after sale & coupon we use the leftover for pizza sauce or next week's dinner.) Johnsonville sausage 2.50 New York Style Garlic bread 1.50

We really splurge on the last 2 items. Yes I could do them in a more cost effective manner but these are the brands my family likes.

Total for family of 4 $4.57

NewbieGardener 5 years ago

Maybe the point is focused on making a well balanced, tasteful meal while keeping within a budget...

headdoctor 5 years ago

jcstepmom28 (anonymous) says… Headdoctor that is what I was thinking. My budget family meals are like $3-5 for all food supplies right now and that is 3-4 people. Last night was spaghetti night. 1 pkg noodles free after coupon 1/2 jar Ragu pasta sauce 0.24 (whole jar was 48 cents after sale & coupon we use the leftover for pizza sauce or next week's dinner.) Johnsonville sausage 2.50 New York Style Garlic bread 1.50 We really splurge on the last 2 items. Yes I could do them in a more cost effective manner but these are the brands my family likes. Total for family of 4 $4.57


Yup, I am sure Julie's meal will cost more since she is putting to gather a meal for the purpose of this blog based on what she needs from sale items listed this week. She will obviously show savings over what it would have cost without sale/coupons. Since all sales are not always the best price though, it will also be a good example of why one should stockpile if they are serious about cutting down meal costs.

mjk123 5 years ago

We are a family of 4, I go "grocery" shopping every 4 weeks and stock up, then the only items we pick up in between these visits are milk, bread and eggs. We started this in January of this year as a family resolution, it takes some planning on our part, but I prepare weekly menus so I know what I'm cooking each day, we haven't eaten out except for very special occasions this year and have saved sooo much money. Our two children are active in sports and they are involved in our shopping and meal planning. So even being a family on the go with activities almost every night of the week, we have broken the "fast food" habit. It is amazing how cooperative they have been in this process, we are taking a family trip and have a savings account where everyone can see our progress. I am the coupon queen and on our last shopping adventure I save 99.85 off of our total grocery bill. It was awesome to teach my 10 year old and 9 year old that being thrifty doesn't mean having to go without. It's about choices.

5 years ago

Headdoctor I had to read your comment 3 times. I'm also a Julie, lol!

Stockpiling is the method if you are really serious about cutting down costs. Look at the expiration dates on dry & canned goods, what is the difference if it sits on their shelf or yours? Just remember to rotate your stockpile!

The sausage is the only ingredient I purchased this week, and it happend to be on sale. Now if my husband would have let me buy that extra freezer I could have bought loads of the sausage when I could get it for $1 per pack a few months back.....

Katara 5 years ago

Julie Anderson,

It is great that you are setting a budget for your meals. $10-15 is about 2-3 meals for my family but you have to start somewhere and that is good.

We did this for Sunday night & I fed 5 people with it.

1 Family pack Gold n" Plump chicken drumsticks - $2.50 KC Masterpiece BBQ for the drumsticks on the grill - free 5 ears of corn - $.50 (pulled from my freezer that I got last summer @ Target's 10/$1) 1 bag romaine salad - $.99 TOTAL = $3.99 + tax

I had enough drumsticks leftover for 2 days of lunches. Pair those drumsticks with a salad or other side and you have a nice tasty brown bag lunch.

Monday night we had 1 less person over to eat but we had this...

pork roast w/aus jus - $3.99 (was on a BOGO) bag of steamed peas - $.28 (from Hy-Vee's frozen veggie sale) Alfredo noodles - $.63 (from Dillon's sale of Knorr's side dishes) TOTAL = $4.90 = tax

I will planning my meals probably tonight so I can pull what I need from my freezers. So far I am planning on using the ginormous beef sirloin tip roast I have for making french dip sandwiches this weekend. I will cook it & slice all of it thinly. Leftovers will be packaged in servings of 2 & frozen for whatever meal I plan later on.

headdoctor 5 years ago

jcstepmom28 (anonymous) says… Headdoctor I had to read your comment 3 times. I'm also a Julie, lol!


Heehee, I had to read your three times for it to soak in your name was Julie too.

The difference between whose shelf it sets on is the price paid for it. Your free noodles was a great example. I have several free frozen egg noodles stockpiled. I like that price better than having to pay 50 cents a bag after coupon. If one stockpiles products you use you can afford to pick and choose what sales you take advantage of when it comes to new stock.

Your husband should have let you buy that extra freezer. The HyVee one they offered during frozen food month was a good deal. It didn't take up a lot of space and they gave you the purchase price back in frozen food to put into it. Don't give up on that freezer. HyVee usually offers this every year. There is always next March.

ahoey 5 years ago

I am a vegetarian and eat lots of produce. I am trying to avoid cans due to the BPA. Any cheap vegetarian meals out there?

Katara 5 years ago

Frozen veggies are good too as they are flash frozen once picked. I don't think BPA is an issue with them. You can get them really cheap and stockpiling them is easy.

What type of meals do you prefer? If there is something particular I want, I've found http://allrecipes.com/ to be a really good place for ideas. I just plugged in vegetarian & this came up on it http://allrecipes.com/Search/Recipes.aspx?WithTerm=vegetarian

Also, Jenn has posted really good deals on the meat substitutes in the past & her menus use them so you might take a look at her website on her menus.

Are you vegan or do you do dairy & eggs? There are tons of recipes involving those. This one I found and printed looks tasty. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Butter-Bean-Burgers/Detail.aspx

SuperJenn 5 years ago

Katara is right, I have found that the meat substitute, Quorn, in particular is really great for using in recipes. This is actually a meat AND soy substitute which drew me to it in the first place....but I REALLY like it very much. It works perfectly as a substitute for chicken in many recipes.

Do you have room for a garden where you live? Gardening and canning would be your best bet for saving some money...tomatoes in particular! If not, you can visit the farmers market or you could find a neighbor, work or school mate maybe that has extra produce....there almost ALWAYS seem to be an abundance. Maybe you could work out a deal with them...get the extras and can away! At the very least, you could put a call out on LarryVille or Craig's List for local gardener's who want their tomatoes, etc. used. As a gardener...I can tell you we would CRY if our produce went unused!

Rice and dry beans and make your own pasta might interest you. All three are very simply to work with once you get past the intial "how to". You can also make up batches of dry beans and freeze them for later meals...saving yourself some trouble there.

A lot of produce freezes well...or a good blanching will help it freeze well. When produce is in season you can buy whatever is on deep sale and freeze it for later!

Hope that helps!

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