Eating On A Tight Budget: March Challenge Menus

Just a quick reminder of the leftovers I had after last challenge I can manage all breakfasts for this week and two supper entrees without touching our newly purchased items.  I have placed the full canister of oatmeal I purchased this week on my larder shelf.  It's a true beginning on my pantry.

I started my week making a recipe of bread (2 loaves) and 1 batch of biscuits.*  My plans fail already.  I can make bread or I can make biscuits and tortillas right away and then make bread during the week.  I need six cups flour for the bread.  I have about six cups left.  I'll make both bread and biscuits just not all from the leftovers.  So for breakfasts we will have oatmeal three mornings, peanut butter toast three mornings and eggs and biscuits one morning.  We have a few leftover biscuits.  Honestly these would do for snacks.  In long past days, I used to serve leftover biscuits as  dessert.  The kids ate all they wanted with jelly.  As a diabetic, I could still eat one as a snack but would need to swap out a 1 ounce piece of cheese for the jelly.   I have pizza and chicken noodle soup to serve for two suppers.

So first I'll start with my items that were leftover.  I've marked through those items I have already planned to use:
four slices of pizza
1 c dried black beans
1 can refried beans (I didn't make dip, didn't use on pizzas either as I'd thought I might at one point)
1 package of dry yeast
2 1 1/2 onions
1 pound of potatoes
1/2  1/4 bunch of celery
1/4 pound carrots
about 1 1/2 pounds flour (or about 6 cups)
about 3 1/2 pounds sugar (or about 7 6 3/4cups)
about 3 cups of oatmeal (remember we only had it 3 mornings)
3/4 cup of cooked chicken
1 quart of chicken broth with fat still atop
2 cups egg noodles
5  4 cups yogurt (both jars hold 2 1/2 cups)
2 eggs (we didn't eat an omelet for supper as planned)
tomato paste about 2 ounces (or 1/3 of the can)
1/2 jar of peanut butter
1/3 cup of margarine

garlic powder

I bought these items:
5# AP flour
3 strip pack of yeast
baking powder
baking soda
vegetable oil
1 # margarine

8 ounces cheddar cheese
6# roasting chicken
1 15 oz jar peanut butter
1 doz eggs

1 can tomatoes
2 can green beans
2 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
1 # frozen sweet peas
1 # frozen broccoli

1 pound carrots
1 bunch turnip greens
1 jalapeno pepper
1 # brown rice

1 3# bag of apples (that's 9 apples in the bag)
1 1# can pineapple slices

1 box (100 ct) tea bags
1 gal of milk
1 jar grape jelly
1 # brown sugar

We'll have hot tea for breakfasts and mid afternoon and tea leftover for next week as well.

Saryn asked the total cost of this meal plan. I spent $34.56, $.20 more than reported on the first post, since I forgot to buy carrots at Publix and purchased them at Food Depot where they cost a little more. 

I plan my main meals first.
Roast Chicken
Turnip Greens
Brown Rice with Chicken Gravy(using pan drippings)
Baked Apples with brown sugar and served with a dollop of Yogurt
Typically we only eat 1/2 an apple each but in this case a baked apple is dessert and since we'll be skipping bread with the meal I can have a whole apple, as can John

Black Beans with Brown Rice
Homemade Salsa/Yogurt
Using 1/2 can of tomatoes, a little diced onion and some of the minced jalapeno
Homemade Tortillas
Each challenge I've made something that I haven't made in a long while or have never attempted.  Tortillas are something I've wanted to learn to make for a long while. The recipe here says I should get 16 tortillas.  One each should be sufficient for this meal.
Pineapple Slices (there are 8 slices in each can and about 1 cup of juice.  We'll have two slices each.  I could sprinkle them lightly with brown sugar and broil them.)

Chicken, Rice and Black Bean Burritos with Pineapple Salsa*
*(using a little jalapeno, a little onion, and 2 slices pineapple)

Chicken Legs and Wings
Green Beans with Potatoes
I only need two potatoes which will leave enough for one more meal.
Glazed Carrots

Sweet and Sour Chicken over Rice
I've used pineapple juice to make a sweet and sour sauce before.  I always had catsup to mix with it in the past and cornstarch to thicken, but I can improvise.  A bit of tomato sauce, a little flour...we'll see if that won't make a reasonable substitute.  I can add in a tiny bit of brown sugar if it's too tart but I think it will be all right.  I'll add in some onions, carrot strips and some of the frozen broccoli to the dish, as well as the last two slices of pineapple.

Cheese Omelet
Hash brown potatoes
Green Beans
Apple Slices

Chicken Slices in Gravy over Toast Slices
Green Peas with Carrots
Cake with Broiled Frosting
I may crack open that new container of oatmeal after all.  Using my one egg cake recipe that makes an 8 inch square, a little oatmeal, brown sugar and butter can be mixed together, spread on the baked cake and broiled for a few minutes.  This is a great recipe if you happen to have nuts or coconut or even a flaky cereal to add to the butter and brown sugar.

Now to plan those suppers:
We'll start with the leftover pizza for one night.
We'll have Chicken Noodle soup (made from leftover noodles and meat and broth, as well as a little onion, carrot, and celery)

then I'll make from the recently purchased groceries:

Peanut butter sandwiches (on homemade bread) with tomato soup*
*make soup from leftover tomato paste, small can of tomato sauce and milk and water

Refried Bean Quesadillas with leftover salsas

Tortilla Pizzas (tomato sauce, garlic powder, shredded cheddar)

Boiled Eggs, Toast, Apple Slices

Variety of Leftovers

At this point I have at least 5 apples left.  With yogurt and brown sugar or peanut butter we could have snacks all week long as needed.  I can also make toast with peanut butter for a snack, getting in that all important protein with the carbohydrate.

I have a glass of milk every night about an hour before I head to bed. I do limit myself to just 1 cup (8ozs).  I will also use a little in my tea each morning and on my oatmeal.  I'll use 1 cup in the cake.  There may be a little leftover at week's end.  I'll have to actually measure that to see how much.

Other leftovers to carry over this time shall be:
4 eggs
all but 1 cup of the brown sugar
8 cups AP flour
1 box baking soda
1 can baking powder
1# oatmeal (minus 1/3 cup for the frosting)
2 1/2 cups yogurt
3 packages of yeast
1 onion
1/4 bunch of celery
1/4 pound of carrots
1/2 pound broccoli
1 cup of peas
1/2 can tomatoes
1 8 oz tomato sauce
1 cup of brown rice
about 2 1/2 pounds sugar
peanut butter
Chicken carcass
root and top pieces of onion, carrot tips and celery leaves/root end.  I always save these to use in cooking my chicken broth/carcass.  Why throw it away when you can use it?!
3 tortillas
veg oil
tea bags

Now I've already made plans for my April challenge week, lol.  I am really enjoying stretching my kitchen and budget management skills and imagination with these challenges.


Lynn said...

I like your new background. So much easier for me to read now. Thank you! I would also love it if you would post more pictures of the changes and projects you're doing for your house.

Terri Cheney said...

Lynn I am so glad that works better for reading on your phone/kindle. I was sure hoping a less fussy photo background would do it! I'll be sharing changes as I finish them up. They are so few and so poorly executed at the moment that I won't share the 'during' lol. But I will share as I get things finished. Lots of tweaking going on at present.

Lana said...

I am so impressed with the menus you came up with! Sounds like a delicious week ahead!

Anonymous said...

Great new challenge.

I am also diabetic, as well as being severely gluten-free. That makes my life a bit more difficult. So, I get the part where you are doing a challenge, but you, yourself might need to eat a few different items at times. I know that it's such a challenge to keep the sugars level.

I love how creative you are, and how you are making good plans that are going to be useful to so many, and saving a few bucks in the process.

Unknown said...

I lve your challanges, you ares so creative and the meals look like something that would be enjoyed regardless of the budget. I am curious to know what the cost was for this weeks groceries?


Terri Cheney said...

Saryn, I spent a total of $34.56. I should have included that total on this post as well as the first one. Thank you for asking and making me aware that I'd left it off.

Becky, I am very fortunate that my blood sugars are kept under control mostly by diet alone. I am not a brittle diabetic nor insulin dependent, but I certainly do want to keep my blood sugars as level as possible to prevent the need for insulin! So yes, occasionally I might eat differently than these challenges for just that reason. I'm hoping to eventually see the place in my lower budget challenges that suit both a low budget and my need for balance to prevent blood sugar lows or spikes.

Kathy said...

Great challenge! Your meals sound delicious! Much better than my beans for 5 days. :D I think it is good to challenge ourselves sometimes, and I have so enjoyed seeing how you are able to stretch your dollars. Thank you!

Karla Neese said...

I've been finally able to catch up on reading blogs again and in the midst of it all have been searching for ideas on simplifying meals. Serendipitous timing on this post! I've copied your ideas into my notes software for reference.

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