Cooking On A Budget: Cooking and Budgeting Family Meals

Friday, February 24, 2017

Cooking and Budgeting Family Meals

Cooking and Budgeting Family Meals ~ an ongoing theme to help you feed your family well.

My goal here at Cooking On A Budget has always been to create recipes that cater to those of us whose financial situations are not the greatest. Not all of the recipes are totally budget-friendly as we've been known to allow ourselves a "splurge" once in a while. If you are a Mom or Dad out there who is having a difficult time feeding your family for not a lot of money, then I recommend reading further.
The last post I did, titled "Cooking and Budgeting Dinners For Two" was an instant success.What that showed me is people really do want some help with menus, shopping and tips for how to get the most bang for your buck. So with that in mind, I decided to elaborate a bit more and try and show you with graphics and recipe links the possibilities you have for feeding your family well.

While I understand that where you live and where you shop you may not present to you the great sale prices as where I live and shop, however, you still get to grasp the concept and then figure it out for yourself. Let's begin with the first two pages of my store's flyer. (By the way, my store doesn't always have the best sales so when it does, that's when I put together as many meal plans as possible.)

Notice, if you will some of the circled items. These are the back bone to my menu plan. When I spy the on sale ingredients I try to think how those ingredients can perhaps be utilized in more than one recipe.

Pork Shoulder is a steal at $1.00 per pound. You can use Pork Shoulder (or Pork Butt) to make beautiful, succulent and tender pork that can be pulled apart for BBQ pork sandwiches, or Slow Cooker Pulled Pork which can then be followed up with another dinner, Pulled Pork and Mashed Potato Pie.

Easy Weeknight Macaroni and Cheese is always a family favorite and with the sale on cheese so doable for this family meal. Also, using cheese in the pulled pork and mashed potato pie recipe you have a dual purpose for purchasing cheese.

Depending on your personal taste in white and dark meat chicken, notice that the chicken leg quarters (drum stick and thigh combined) are so reasonably priced for a family pack at 59¢ per pound. In our store it's 3 pounds or more for a family pack. However just the thighs or just the drum sticks are also at a great price at 99¢ per pound. This is where you decide that getting 2 or 3 packages suits your budget and you can freeze them for cooking at a later date.

BBQ chicken thighs or drum sticks or quarters is a great choice as you are using some barbecue sauce in the slow cooker pork, so this makes great sense to utilize the bottle of BBQ sauce in two recipes. Round out the BBQ chicken with some baked beans and perhaps some cornbread.

Chicken thighs are great to cook with and there are so many, many recipes you can make. For instance, I have a beautiful recipe for Chicken Thighs Marsala and Chicken Thighs with Roasted Herb Vegetables (that can be adjusted to use the chicken leg quarters as well). It makes sense to make these based on multi-purpose ingredients being used (onion, potato and mushrooms).

If you choose to do Chicken Thighs Marsala, please purchase a bottle from your liquor store. It's generally about $5-6.00. Marsala is a fortified wine from Italy. Meaning, the wine has been fortified with some kind of distilled spirit - commonly brandy. It's delicious and it adds such great flavor to dishes. It keeps for a long time too in a dark, cool place.

Chicken cutlets are so versatile to cook with - so many recipes. And even though the price of $2.99 is higher than the other proteins, the cutlets do not weigh much and therefor will not be expensive. For a meal I find so easy, quick and delicious, I recommend Chicken Piccata.

I also spied that great bargain for fresh pineapple - wow 2 for $4.00. Think of having fresh pineapple for snacking on, making a dessert or fruit cups to put in school and work lunches. You'll get a lot of pineapple for not a lot of money.

Below is the breakdown of the shopping list and approximate costs from my store:
  • 4 lb. Pork Shoulder = $4.00
  • 3 lbs. chicken thighs x 2 = $6.00
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken cutlets = $4.50
  • 2 - 32 oz. boxes chicken broth (store brand) = $3.00
  • 2 large sweet onions = $2.19
  • 2 cans sweet corn = $1.98
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup = $.79
  • 1 can baked beans = $1.66
  • 1 bar Monterey Jack cheese = $2.50
  • Milk = $3.99
  • Butter = $3.99
  • 1 bar cheddar cheese = $2.50
  • Flour = $1.99
  • 1 Pineapple = $2.00
  • 2 - 5 lb. bag russet potatoes = $3.00
  • 1 - 2 lb. bag carrots = $2.99
  • 2 zucchini = $1.79
  • 1 lemon = $.66
  • 1 box white mushrooms = $1.79
  • 1 box penne or ziti pasta = $1.59
  • 1 bottle Marsala wine = $6.00
  • 1 jar capers = $2.19
  • 1 jar BBQ Sauce = $1.89
TOTAL food costs equals approximately: $62.99 

The idea is to get multiple meals in one shopping trip using the same ingredient (or ingredients) in multiple recipes. To keep the cost down, instead of chicken Marsala (which eliminates the $6.00) do another chicken recipe in its place and pick up on sale vegetables or what ever you need to make the meal.

Store your potatoes in the refrigerator so they hold up longer. What you may not use this week, you can use into the second week.
  1. Slow cooker pulled pork, mashed potato, vegetable
  2. Pulled pork and mashed potato pie using corn
  3. Pulled pork sandwiches
  4. Chicken cutlet dinner (chicken piccata)
  5. BBQ Chicken thighs or drum sticks, baked beans, corn
  6. Chicken thighs or drum sticks with roasted vegetables
  7. Macaroni and cheese
  8. Chicken thighs Marsala or recipe of your choice. (If you have spaghetti sauce in the freezer, make cacciatore at some point! All you need is bell pepper and you're all set.)
  9. Pineapple for snack cups and desserts
Once again, I hope this message to families helps in some way. I know what it's like to be a single parent and I know what it's like to be married with kids and in either situation still have to watch your pennies. I am available to answer any questions - just send me an e-mail or ask in a comment here on the blog.

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