$5 Meals

I have added a new category $5 meals.  I want to first explain my rationale for adding this so late in the game. I enjoy reading lots of blogs. It often helps me with saving money and it also gives me so great ideas.  One of the consistent themes that I have been reading for several month is that the cost of food is rising.  I have read on some sites that the expectations is that all food prices would increase by 10% plus percent by the end of the year.    I am definitely starting to see this in my area. For example, a 10 pack of water flavors has been priced at $1.00 for at least 2 years.  This is my buy price and I can always find at Walmart.  Yesterday, the price had increased to $1.23 for the box.  Fortunately, I have worked really hard to stock both the freezer and pantries with enough supplies to last at least until December if not longer.   I decided that I also wanted to start a list of these $5 meals so that in the future, I can come back and rotate through them again!

Spaghetti sauce- this is definitely a family favorite. In fact, most everyone prefers this over jarred sauce.  I did not know if we would have enough tomatoes to restock this summer but it appears we do. I did not try and make any salsa or diced tomatoes but hopefully in the future we will be able to stock both the spaghettis sauce and other items.    The tomatoes are from the garden, I purchased around 40 plants for $36 this spring so I am averaging $1 per crockpot as my cost.  $1 green pepper, $0.50 onion (from freezer), basil and oregano were from the freezer from past years.  Garlic =$0.50 and 1 tablespoon of sugar.  $3 for the sauce and $1.00 for the pasta makes a hearty meal for all  of us less than $5.

Pasta Salad for lunch-  We all are taking lunch most days. The kids really don’t like sandwiches and I try to avoid bread whenever convent so that leaves a lot of decisions and lunch making.  We have found an easy solution- dressing up pasta salad.

Suddenly Pasta Salad™ Creamy Parmesan - Front

I always purchase when I find for $1 a box.  We actually used 2 boxes to make 7 lunches.  I added Deli Ham that was purchased on clearance for $1.84, a half a block of colby jack cheese, purchased for something else, 2 boiled eggs, (ten cent each) and of course tomatoes from the garden.   Less than $5 for lunch for everyone that is filling and good!


Do you have $5 meal ideas to share?

Monday Menu Planning

Things feel as back to normal as I can ever remember. We are still wearing mask to school but most activities have resumed. Mask are not required for shopping in Lexington yet. So I am very thankful to stick close to home these days. Our pantry and freezers are full so the goal is to work through these meals for the next 9 months.  I plan to keep shopping to a minimum at least until December. Grocery goal is going to become $300 for September to December.  We are back to eating at home for all meals this week. I do know that once baseball games start we will eat out at least one night a week if not 2 depending on the timing of games.

Breakfast– Saturday-Sausage biscuit made by Zach. Sunday- Fried bologna and eggs or bagels.    Monday- BLTs9 using tomatoes from the garden).   Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, pop-tarts, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets.

Lunch-  Saturday–Left-overs Sunday- Time Square Pizza.  Matt has chill from last week. I am going to make 2 salads and take pasta salad for lunch. The kids are taking what they consider half a lunch most days.

Dinner-  Saturday-Local steakhouse (treat for a long hard day of work).    Sunday-Left-overs  Monday- Brats, pasta salad and corn on the cob.   Tuesday- Hamburger helper (2 boxes plus one pound of ground beef) .  Wednesday-Broiled Fish with veggies and pineapple cole slaw. Thursday-Chicken and dumplings in the crockpot    Friday-Sloppy joes and fries

Monday Menu Post

Back to school means back to a more normal routine.  This week is a less busy week as we end up the summer and have a small break before fall sports begin. We also have both a working stove and air conditioning so hopefully we can be eating at home on a more regular basis.

Breakfast– Saturday-BLT Sunday- biscuits   Monday- new breakfast casserole (link and review coming soon)  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, pop-tarts, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets.

Lunch-  Saturday–McDonald’s at the pool  Sunday- Village Grill (in Lexington)  Matt made chill for he and Zach this week and I will have left-overs and salads.

Dinner-  Saturday- Left-overs     Sunday-Left-overs Monday- Beef stew (another new recipe with review hopefully coming soon).   Tuesday- Pork chop with Mac and cheese.  Wednesday- Zach’s birthday (Texas steakhouse) Thursday- Egg roll in a bowl   Friday-Homemade BBQ chicken pizza.

Saving Money

It feels like forever since I have been focused on saving money! I looked back on the blog and realized that in May we started survival mood which meet cooking without an oven. Our new oven did not arrive until after vacation in July. Exactly 2 weeks later our air conditioning went out. This was honestly one of the hardest times for me.  But I am very thankful to say that we have both a working stove and working air conditioning.  I also want to get a good handle and feel for our budget but this will also be changing in the next month.   I will post details once we have things finalized and money in hand!

Now to our ways of saving:

  • Using items already on hand to help improve the square foot garden. Today we placed the contents of my shredder on one of the garden beds. We also added the coffee grounds from the week and topped with a good dose of water from our rain barrels. We have also placed banana peels in water before pouring on the garden as well. Hopefully we will be able to improve the soil for the next year.
  • Ordering from Amazon-  I continue to shop for deals on subscribe and save!  We are expecting to be stocked up on soups by our next delivery date.  I am also watching for “deals” on any item that we use on a regular basis. This week I found “magic erasers” for fifteen cent each.  My goal is to eliminate the need to purchase items not on sale.
  • Making meals at home- We have eaten at home every day since Tuesday with two exceptions, Matt purchased Bagel  on Saturday morning and we enjoyed Sunday lunch with friends.  We are currently in the best financial position we have been in for many years so these small treats will remain part of our regular budget. Just not eating out every day and some times 2 times a day!
  • Packing lunches and making sure we have some convenient items on hand for lunches. The kids can eat lunch at school but for Zach this usually means more stomach issues and Kendall simply does not like most of the food.
  • Eating items from our pantry and freezer. Although I have spent $234 this month for groceries we are starting to look at and plan ahead for most meals. I have also added some treats that the kids enjoy!
  • Saving electric by turning off lights, using both the dishwasher and dryer at night so as not to add heat to the house.

What have you been doing lately to save money?

Menu Planning Monday

We enjoyed eating dinner each evening last week at church during the Vacation Bible School but we also have confirmed that we are not a “sandwich bunch”. Two final weeks before school starts so I want to try some new recipes and hopefully figure out a recipe plan for the first 3 weeks of school. I am also debating going to monthly menu planning but will wait and see.

Breakfast– Saturday-Biscuit King  Sunday- Bacon with anything we have  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, pop-tarts, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets.  We also have several breakfast meal left-overs.

Lunch-  Saturday–leftovers Sunday- Coaches Monday- Kids and I had Gregg’s but will focus on left-overs and no food waste the rest of the week.

Dinner-  Saturday- Corn, basil tomato casserole.    Sunday- Breakfast bowls Monday- Aisan Sesame chicken   Tuesday- Hamburgers and sweet potato fries.   Wednesday- Broiled Fish  and  pasta salad .   Thursday- Spaghetti with homemade sause    Friday-Left-overs or something ?  In other words I am not quite sure yet!


Five Things Friday

  1. No Monday Menu will be posted this week. Next week our church is hosting Vacation Bible School from 6 to 8 Monday thur Thursday and a pool party on Friday. Dinner is provided for workers and their children.
  2. Our new oven has arrived!  I have been experimenting and getting use to it over the past couple of days. So far I am very impressed!
  3. With only 3 weeks left of summer vacation, I have established a couple of goals that I want to work toward which will make my life easier in the fall. First- prepare easy to heat and eat meals as much as possible. This week we have focused on making pizza dough. We have all the ingredients but it takes around 2 hours to make the dough. Kendall has made 12 this week. This will make for easy pizza in the fall. Simply unthaw the dough in the morning and add toppings. We also made 2 additional cheeseburger pizza toppings to add to the dough. Second- Stock up and organize the freezers and pantry.  This is also close to completion. I will be adding a couple of cookie, bread and cake mixes during the next week. Finally-enjoy lots of down time by sitting by the pool.
  4. Square Foot Garden- we are making plans to add cement to complete this area but I am also continue to try and figure out how I can improve the soil for next year. We are fortunate to get tomatoes but I am so frustrated that the money I spent on soil is basically worthless this year!
  5. July has turned out to be one of the most expensive months EVER but we are still holding our heads above water. I am ready to start reaping the benefits of all my bargains and saving.

Menu Planning Monday

Back to reality and now to enjoy a few more weeks of summer break. Our freezers are now officially full.  My goal over the next few weeks is to transform raw ingredients into easy to complete meals for the fall and winter. On Thursday, I will make 2 Taco casseroles with one placed in the freezer ( I have pulled out taco meat and frozen tomatoes to make these).  We are focusing on making 12 bags of pizza dough. On Saturday, I plan to make a cheeseburger pizza for lunch. I will mix up 2 batches and freeze the second in place of the 2 pack of raw hamburger meat we pulled out!

We are currently on week 8 of no stove.  I have an delivery date of this Wednesday so lets hope it starts to get back to normal around here!

Breakfast– Saturday-Old Bridge Restaurant    Sunday- Biscuit King  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, pop-tarts, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets.  We have lots of options that don’t require the oven!

Lunch-  Saturday–Cook out Sunday- Spaghetti  Matt took a beef and cheddar for Monday and will have hamburgers two days. I want the kids to focus on eating the rest of quick school foods or sandwiches this week as left-overs are not available.

Dinner-  Saturday- Arby’s   Sunday- fried shrimp and watermelon Monday- hamburgers  and French fries   Tuesday- Pepper steak in the crock pot .   Wednesday- Grilled Chicken and  pasta salad .   Thursday- Taco Pasta    Friday-Broiled fish?

5 Things Friday

  1. No menu plan for this week for a couple of reasons. First we are on week 6 of no oven.  Scheduled delivery is 2 weeks away.  I wanted to use up a lot of the fresh ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator as well as left-overs. And the final reason… I was just too tired.
  2. Made the first batch of spaghetti sauce from the garden this week. IT was awesome.   Unfortunately, we have discovered that the soil that I purchased from Home Depot was not good. We have been working to salvage anything by adding lime.  We were able to harvest some snap peas and some tomatoes. The tomatoes beds were over half full with dirt that I had already been using so they are at least producing a first harvest. I doubt it will be enough to fill the freezer this year but at least I can make a few batches of spaghetti sauce.  The sweet potato bed which is all old dirt seems to be doing the best so maybe I can salvage a few of those as well. My plan is to continue to add lime a bag a month until we get the beds close to where they need to be. Ugggh  I had high hopes and expectations this year!
  3.  We are headed on our beach trip soon. Not going to share all the details but this will be a totally new experience for us. We are planning a trip to Oak Island. I have never stayed on a NC beach!
  4. Lily is really enjoying her job as a lifeguard. She is actually working much more than she hoped and is enjoying spending the money as well.
  5. My summer is officially half over. I return to work in 6 weeks.  I have actually completed all the items on my summer to do list except stock the freezer. I am hoping that the next 6 weeks are at a much slower pace than the last 5!

5 Things Friday

  1. We have entered week 6 of no working oven.. This is actually starting to bother me!
  2. Beach vacation is coming up!  We are going much earlier this year and to a totally different beach. New adventures await!
  3. The garden at this point has been a total failure. Even the plant that I have purchased are not growing!
  4. The good news is that  we are at least starting to figure out and work on the problem. After buying a ph meter, our soil is alkaline.  We purchased a bag of lime this week and have started adding it to the soil.  Even after the first application we started to see some new growth. I am going to stay positive and hope we can at least harvest a few fresh veggies this year.
  5. I have managed to pull a muscle in my back. Not sure how I completed this but it is very painful!

Monday Menu Post

Summer vacation is speeding right along!   And I do mean speeding.  We are now entering week 5 of no oven with still no firm delivery date. I did end up caving last week and had several meal out just because I was tired and did not feel like dealing with stuff. I also blew the grocery budget but I am actually proud of it. We purchased 1/4 of a cow or approximately 150 lbs of meat.  After our purchase we discovered that the wait for processing meat is currently at January 2022.   I feel like we got a great deal and the meat quality is absolutely some of the best we have ever had. This week we are going to focus on not eating out, and Kendall’s birthday!

Breakfast– Saturday-Cinnamon Roll waffles   Sunday- BLTs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, pop-tarts, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets. Pretty much you find it and make it!  I have a goal of making a batch of breakfast burritos this week but time will tell.

Lunch-  Saturday–Party! Sunday- Red Robbins  We have lots of garden produce from the Farmer’s market along with left-overs for lunch!

Dinner-  Saturday-  small pizza restaurant in Thomasville. It was ok nothing to repeat. .   Sunday-left-overs     Monday-Beef and Broccoli    Tuesday- Pasta salad at swim meet.   Wednesday- Grilled Chicken and salad or grilled veggies.   Thursday- Golden Corral for Kendall’s birthday   Friday-Pizza for Kendall’s birthday.