So Friday is my menu day and my grocery shopping day. I try to spend as little as possible (under $60/week) on food and I usually can because fresh vegetables here are SOOO cheap. So here is our menu for this week.
Lunch: Left overs
Dinner: Black bean and cheese fritata
Lunch: Crock pot Swiss Steak: Really tough (and cheap) beef cooked all morning with a thinly sliced onion, 6-8 dices roma tomatoes, some salt, garlic, and chili powder served over left over whole grain rice. This served with fresh green beans steamed then sauteed with olive oil and fresh garlic, salt to taste.
Dinner: Clean out the fridge night.
Lunch: Veggie pasta: all kind of veggies (carrots, bell pepper, spinach, onion, celery, green beans, etc) chopped super small with food processor sauteed in olive oil with garlic and italian seasoning until soft. Add prepackaged spaghetti sauce and serve over whole grain pasta. Served with garlic bread.
Dinner: Chicken and Dumplings This is a new recipe I'm trying out. We'll see how I do!
Lunch: Tuna tortas: 2 cans tuna, mixed chopped veggies (like above), an egg, house seasoning and some bread crumbs, mixed and made into patties and fried. This served with homemade pasta salad: frozen mixed veggies, pasta, mayo, bacon if I feel like it, and house seasoning. By the way, we use house seasoning on EVERYTHING.
Dinner: Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Lunch: Black beans and rice and homemade corn tortillas. And coleslaw. YUM!
Dinner: Baked Spinach Ziti and salad.
Lunch: Lentil Minestrone Soup
Dinner: Left overs. By now we will have a ton.
Lunch: Refried black beans, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, and home made tortillas
Dinner: Family fun night!! Fruit, cheese and popcorn made on the stove top (NOT the microwave) and maybe peanut butter sandwiches if the kids want them.
The secret to my low budget is looking at what I already have in the pantry, and using up perishable things first. I only have to buy a few things like coffee, milk, etc. I only buy things that go on my menu (and cereal when I find it on sale) and things that I keep a running list of when I run out like baking products. I RARELY buy extra snack foods. We always keep a bag of tortilla chips on hand, but we don't use them to snack on during the day. For snacks we eat fruit, and left over food in the fridge like a tortilla with beans and cheese melted on it. I also don't buy things like canned tomatoes, etc, because for less money I can chop tomatoes. But it might not be that way in the states.
Let me know if you have any questions or budgeting tips about menu planning!