For some quick updates before I get to the main topic. I still have not taken the new Kidney Coach class, but you can still read the older version on this blog, as much as I got through. I hope to have that done very soon as summer winds down. I am finishing my Medical Billing and Coding classes to hopefully become certified by early next year. I am hoping this will be a supplement work-from-home job to my out-of-home nursing job. It is not hard, and a lot of it I already know, but it is boring, and they gave me a year to complete it so I see no need to rush.
If you read here often, then you know Meatless Monday is one of the weekly blog post topics I would do. I also have CKD, so limiting my meat protein intake is good. I have made it all the way back to stage 2, then dropped a bit and am hovering right at 58 or 59 eGFR. You could always opt to do meatless meals daily by having one of your meals, either lunch, or dinner be meatless.
I could literally eat this meal every Monday, and I could eat sweet green peas every day. I love them! Unfortunately, no one else in my house will eat them, so I don’t buy them as often as I could. I found these two videos below for your entertainment. The young man ate only peas for 3 days, now I don’t know about eating just peas for 3 days, but he did. He is funny, and I found him to be quite honest. The other video goes into detail about the many proven health benefits of peas, which are very healthy.
Peas are technically a legume, and I am not a fan of legumes, other than peanuts and peas. Beans make me gassy and cause frequent stools. I am not a fan of that at all. From a CKD standpoint peas are low in protein, fat, and sodium, with moderate levels of potassium and phosphorus. The phosphorus in the peas is not absorbed well by the body, though. They are also high in fiber. Be sure to read the label and get organic if you can, or peas with the least amount of additives and preservatives. Some are higher in sodium than others.
My simple Meatless Monday meal that I could eat every single Monday, is pasta, peas, and butter with some seasonings to taste, mostly garlic and paprika. If you are not a fan of avocado toast, which is all the rage right now, you could mash up some sweet peas and spread them on toast and no one would know but you. This is also affordable with a whole box of pasta costing about a dollar, and a can of peas 50 cents. I use whipped butter that is much lower in fat and it costs about 3 dollars depending on the brand for a tub. You obviously will only use part of the box of pasta, and some of the canned peas with a tbsp of butter. I also like to add lemon juice and brown sugar to the butter to make a beautiful sauce, but I don’t do that every time because I don’t always have lemons on hand. The peas on toast would be great for breakfast or lunch and are even more affordable than dinner. I like whole grain bread or the low carb high fiber wraps, so mine would be more expensive than it could be.
Let me know if you like sweet peas in the comments.
My disclaimer is short and sweet. None of the information on this blog is intended to be medical or nutritional advice, nor to replace seeing a medical professional. It is for informational use only.
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Updated 1/28/2023: As I continue to edit older posts and get ready for new posts, this topic is especially popular. Living on a grocery budget with CKD is difficult due to the food limitations one might follow. We have in the last few months had to increase our food budget to $100 dollars per week. It is still difficult, but with some effort it is doable. It is hard when you have a family with others that don’t need to follow the same restrictions or even worse you have several people in a home on varying restrictions. I look forward to enhancing this topic in 2023.
Hello, hello. You may have noticed I have not written anything in like 10 days. I took a much-needed break from blogging. I still have not had time to take the new AKF Kidney Coach Class, but I hope by the end of May I will have it done. Then I can edit the old posts, and post the new slides. I have not been feeling great the past couple of days. My new job has a lot of mental stress and it is wearing me out. You know they say the grass is not always greener on the other side. I can say for sure that is true. While my old job had become toxic in many ways, there were things I appreciated about that job. Switching to a new job did not necessarily change some of those toxic issues. Health care is a very stressful, and mentally challenging profession these days. I hope to have my certification in Medical Billing and Coding by the end of the Summer, and I can begin transitioning into that.
Back to the topic at hand. Is it still possible to create 5-dollar dinners with inflation? In November of 2020, I did a blog post with a whole list of possible 5 dollar dinner ideas. So, I decided to try and recreate them to see if they can still be made for 5 dollars or less. The first one is Chicken Fajita wraps. I have no idea why Chicken Fajita Casserole is on the list because I don’t know as I have ever made that. I am going to straight-up say this may not be doable unless you can find a really good deal on chicken since it is so expensive right now. You can always use beans instead of chicken. Anyway, I searched all of my local grocery stores to see if I could find chicken on sale at a decent price. The only place that did, and it is only a 2-day sale was my local Hitchcock’s. They have chicken leg quarters for 98 cents a pound. So, if you bought 2 pounds it would cost $1.96. Flour tortilla wraps you can not get any more for less than a dollar. In my area, the Dollar Tree has them for the best price of $1.25. The Great Value brand of Fajita seasoning mix is .62. one green pepper is .72, and one onion is.78. If you want the cheese to sprinkle on a block of Great Value cheese is 1.86. We will use sour cream instead of cheese, at 1.16 for a smaller container.
The total if you use chicken and cheese would be $6.57 and honestly, I don’t think that is all that bad considering.
The total if you use chicken with sour cream would be $5.87
To keep it closer to 5 dollars use a can of black beans at .72 for a total of $5.25 with sour cream but no cheese.
You can always make your own fajita mix if you have the 3 main ingredients, cumin, oregano, and chili powder already on hand.
I am making these tonight for dinner with chicken and sour cream. I par-boil the leg quarters for about 10 minutes. This makes it easy for me to remove the meat from the bones, plus if you have CKD it will reduce the fat, potassium, and phosphorus in the chicken.
We are still sticking by our 75 dollar per week grocery budget, for 3 people, and while it is not as easy as it was, it is still doable. Meat is super expensive right now, and we have cut back even more on meat.
Have an awesome Saturday!
My disclaimer is very basic and easy to remember. I am not a doctor or a dietitian. None of the information I share is intended to be medical advice or nutrition advice. All information shared is my personal opinion, personal experience as some living with CKD, or information I found online.
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Today, I will share two more DIY emergency meal kits that are shelf stable and you can easily take them with you in an emergency. Why would you want to do that? Because eating out is way more expensive than getting a hotel with a microwave or even better a kitchenette. I would honestly take a hot plate or electric frying pan with you, just in case.
These meals are not meant to be healthy. They are meant to be affordable, even cheap, portable, shelf-stable, and easy to make. You put everything you need into a Ziplock bag. I can not find the really big bags right now, at least not for a price I am willing to pay, so I am using the gallon bags and it is a tight squeeze. I also put the date of the earliest item that will expire. That way I know to use it and replace it by that date. If you have ever had to evacuate for a hurricane or other natural disaster, then you know how much money you could be spending on just feeding your family. You don’t see pet food in any of these kits, but please don’t forget to have extra pet food for your pets as well as water.
These are also budget meals and can be thrown together quickly on a busy night when you are tired. My husband hates freezer crockpot meals, but that is another option for busy, working moms.
You could buy organic options for these items, but they are way more expensive and do not last as long in your pantry. So, you would need to pay closer attention to the use by dates.
One suggestion I would make, especially if you have CKD, is to learn to cook and then can your own meats. This would contain way less sodium and phosphorus than canned or pre-packaged varieties and are shelf stable for long periods of time. I will try to see if I can find a video on that topic.
The first budget meal kit is so easy. You don’t even need a can opener because it has pop tops and cost me $2.25. This will feed three of us, and possibly four if there was a younger person with us. It is Spaghettios. Each of these cans is about 16 ounces and while it says one cup can be a serving the whole can is 290 calories. Besides the ease of this meal, the nutrition stats are not horrible for these, and honestly, I like them. There are phosphorous additives in here, and high fructose corn syrup which I generally do not consume, but in a pinch it is OK. Of course, the sodium is high as well. But, there is some fiber and very little fat. So, compared to a take-out cheeseburger I think these are way healthier. The date I have to use these by is Feb 2024. I may just make a few more of these kits.
The second budget meal kit is tomato soup with these little pasta pieces that look like broken spaghetti. Campbell’s is kind of expensive for soup, so you could get a generic and save more money. The pasta is 7ounces and is about 30 cents at my Walmart. Each can contains 2.5 servings, and that is before you add water to it. This meal is hearty, easy, and will easily feed at least 4 people a good warm meal. This soup does not have high fructose corn syrup, but it does have phosphorus additives. Make sure you read your labels to try and stay in compliance with any diet restrictions you may have. The pasta can cook right in the soup, so the one bottle of water is probably enough, but you may want two to be safe. At my Walmart, each can of soup is about $1.25 for each, and the pasta is 35 cents. That means this meal costs only $2.85.
Don’t forget if these are emergency meal kits, to have a way to cook it, including a pan or bowl, something to eat on and with, and then store it if you need to. But, I recommend you eat it all and not have to store it.
So far I have 4 of these kits, and I would like at least 14. Why? Because, if we ever have to evacuate again, and say it is 7 days, at least we will have two hearty meals a day and not bust our bank account in the process. Plus, if we ever go to a shelter you need to bring your own food and water. So, that is another good reason to have them ready to go. You could also gift these to people who may be having a hard time right now, or just hand it out your window to a homeless, hungry person. I have several other ideas rolling around in my head. Now, you can buy shelf-stable food that is a little more gourmet, in meal kits. But, they are super duper expensive. Those cute gallon sealable bags are not Ziplock but they came from Aldis.
Hello, and welcome back! As you can see I still have not upgraded the blog back to the way it was, but I am getting to it. My car needs new tires, and my daughter graduated, I am sure you can relate that sometimes there are more important things to buy than hobby items. But, I do want to get back to a regular blogging routine, and what better way to start than to talk about food, inflation, and budget meals. I hope to provide a new budget meal every week. It might not be on Thursday but on a different day. If a recipe is mine I will say so, if it isn’t I will share a link to the original recipe and how I may have changed it for my own needs. Cooking at home, even if it is more time-consuming, is one of the best ways to save money on your food budget, especially if you eat out a lot for lunches, or take out for dinner. Not only will it save money, but in general it is way healthier as well. I have CKD and if you read here you already know that. I have been able to get back to hovering right around stage 2 and I think a lot of that was accomplished by eating a less processed diet. I do still eat out, it is one of our favorite things to do as a family, and I do still like certain processed foods, but I have greatly limited, and or managed my intake of these types of foods. Homemade meals are generally lower in salt and food additives that may affect the health of the kidneys.
This meal is a meatless meal, but I will share how you could add some meat and still it could be affordable. But, if meat is not in your budget leave it out. This meal has plenty of calories, fat, and protein, all the things you need from a meal. You could add a side salad to beef up the intake of fresh veggies as well.
The recipe is for scalloped potatoes, and using my Walmart app the total in my area would be only 6 dollars for the whole meal.
Here is the breakdown and I get to 6 dollars because I am not going to use the full amount of some of these items. So, they can be used for another meal yet besides. This is also not a quick meal. It takes an hour to bake and forever to peel potatoes, lol. But, it is baking in my oven right now and it smells amazing.
3 lb bag of Green Giant red potatoes 3.78 You will only need a pound and a half so 1.89.
1 yellow onion is 94 cents.
A 2 lb bag of all-purpose flour is 1.16 but you will only use 3 tbsp which I guess is about 5 cents or less.
A package of 4 sticks of Imperial margarine is 1.48, but you only need to use one stick and that is .37 cents.
1 pint of 2% milk is only 54 cents.
An 8 oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese is 2.20, but a block is 2 dollars, and the Dollar Tree has cheese for 1.25.
That is all of the ingredients and this 6-dollar meal which should feed 4 people very easily with the possibility of leftovers is in the books. Dollar Tree has small packs of bacon, and turkey sausage that could be added for some more flavor, if it is within your budget.
BTW I just took these out of the oven and they are delicious!
Let me know if you make these. Here is the recipe that I used. As far as CKD goes if you have issues with potassium, soak your potatoes first for two hours, and rinse prior to cooking them in the dish. Use less cheese if you need to avoid the phosphorus and calcium.
Hello, to all of my amazing readers. I am at the end of week 6 of my 2022 Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge. Go back and read the previous weeks to see how this has evolved in relation to my kidney disease. The week technically ends on Sunday, but I will go over what we will be eating through the weekend from items we already have on hand, and the groceries I bought this week. So, far, with the exception of Superbowl week, we have been able to stick to the budget with no issues. Yes, we run out of our favorites by the end of the week, and I have to be more creative with meals, but we are certainly not hungry. One thing I have definitely noticed is that I can cook one large meal that can be leftovers for a couple lunches and another dinner. That means 3 meals a week can be stretched to cover the other days. We don’t typically eat breakfast, except maybe my husband some days, and we always have eggs and toast on hand. Lunches are always leftovers, peanut butter sandwiches, salad if the supplies are all here, grilled cheese, soup, etc. Below you will see the dinners I made this week, and how you can modify them for kidney disease. Remember, I am now hovering right around stage 2, and your dietary requirements are going to be different than mine, along with any other comorbidities you may have. They are examples of what can be done, not dietary advice. I have been off all week because I start a new job next week, so my lunches will need to be figured in as well. My old job would feed me, but it was in no way a healthy option for CKD.
Monday- This might be my new favorite meal ever. I made chicken alfredo for my husband and daughter. They love it, I hate it. Plus, the already made alfredo sauce is full of phosphorus, like 450 mg per 1/2 cup. If you are only allowed 700 mg of phosphorus per day on your renal diet, you can see where this is problematic. There is one you can make homemade on one of the kidney sights that is much less phosphorus. It is also expensive to make. Anyway, what I did was I sauteed some mushrooms and onions with the chicken. I cooked the pasta and drained it. I measure all of my proteins on a scale, except for eggs. On my plate, I put one cup of pasta, 2.5 ounces of chicken breast, some mushrooms, and onions, and then for my sauce, I use 3/4 of a cup of canned creamed corn heated up. This was so delicious! I am the only one in my house that will eat creamed corn. I love it! Try to buy low-sodium canned items.
Tuesday- Leftovers, and we still had some leftovers from Superbowl Sunday that we were eating for lunches.
Wednesday- Actually, lol, I think Monday was Superbowl leftovers, and the chicken alfredo was Tuesday and Wednesday. No reason to delete all that and fix it, lol.
Thursday- When we still had our Sam’s Club membership I had bought a box with like 8 Stove Top stuffing in it. I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought that. Anyway, we still have like 6 boxes left. This meal is not for people with high blood pressure or very strict sodium restrictions. You can find the recipe here. The original recipe called for swiss cheese, but I only had a Mexican blend, so that is what I used. I also left out the vinegar. You can certainly buy low sodium cream of chicken soup, and lower sodium cheese. Swiss cheese, especially you can find in a lower sodium option. There is also a lower sodium stuffing mix, but I had to use what I had on hand because it is a budget challenge. We had 4 pork chops, so this made enough to have for lunch on Friday.
Friday- This was just something I threw together with ingredients I had on hand. I originally was going to make Taco soup, if you read my post-Monday. However, it is way too hot to make soup today. So, I made a taco casserole, actually, my teenager did, that is how easy it is. Buy low sodium taco seasoning or make your own. This made a huge amount of food and will feed us all the way to Saturday and maybe Sunday.
Saturday- taco casserole leftovers.
Sunday- There may still be taco casserole left, but my son and his wife are coming to visit, so we decided that we will buy pizza. We have tried making homemade pizza before but no one really likes the crust at all and it doesn’t really get eaten. I am all about not wasting food.
Next week I am going to try to make a kidney friendlier version of the Tik Tock feta cheese meal that everyone is talking about. If you are not sure what I mean Google it. Next week I am also going to discuss a new CKD drug that has a lot of promise for reducing the risk of kidney disease progression, and a new CKD supplemental drink I found. Be sure and come back to read all about it.
Are you joining in on the 21 dollars a week per person food budget challenge? Let me know how you are doing in the comments. I have actually learned so much about how much money we were wasting on food.
If you read my post from Monday, which was the start of week 5, then you know I went way over budget this week due to the Super Bowl party we will be having. Even though it is small, and just us, all that extra food added up quickly, and some of it I had on hand! Going over budget once in a while is not a huge big deal, and we are lucky enough to be able to do so. Food prices are so high right now and I was disappointed with the prices at the store I chose to shop at this week. But, we have used just about everything I bought this week, or will by Sunday, plus finished up leftovers from last week and used items from the pantry that have been there for a while. If you are new here this is a food budget challenge where I challenge myself to spend 21 dollars per person per week. That means I can spend 63 dollars per week on groceries. I have CKD, so the second part is more of a self-study to see if I can eat more affordable shelf-stable foods with CKD and still feel good. If you have been following then you know that no, unless I buy organic, and low sodium options, I do not feel good when I eat these types of foods. This makes it harder to stay on a budget because I refuse to sacrifice all of the hard work I have done to get my kidneys back to stage 2. But, I know I can eat nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans and they are shelf-stable and feel OK, as long as I am mindful of portion sizes due to phosphorus. As we move on with this budget challenge, through the year, as our pantry winds down, plant-based protein sources will be vital. I just am not sure how my family will do with that since this is a challenge, not a necessity. So, I guess I need to rename this challenge because I have answered that question.
My husband is adjusting well to the new budget challenge. He only ran out of milk once. My daughter, however, not so much. She is very much into the more expensive and unhealthy convenience meals. At least I think they are expensive considering they are low-quality nutrition in my opinion. Next week I will be back on track and will head to Aldis again because so far that has been where I get the best prices, and they have organic options for less. I really do like Misfits Market, especially the way they do it now, but this time of year we do not eat as much fresh produce and it goes bad too fast. Obviously, throwing food away is not part of this budget. But, if you have never tried Misfits check them out. They have a great mission.
What did we eat this week? It was pretty much as I stated it would be.
Monday was a bagel, egg, cheese, and bacon sandwich. This is a favorite at our house. I eat only one and will have fruit or a salad on the side.
Tuesday was homemade scalloped potatoes and ham. I used this Taste of Home recipe. I modified it a little. I did not use 2% milk because I don’t buy that. But, I did have Half and Half that needed to be used up and it was the exact amount needed. I also didn’t use Thyme, I don’t like it, or parsley because I didn’t have any on hand. However, I did use Rosemary and sprinkled Paprika over the top. If you have never cooked with Rosemary, it is the bomb! You only need a very tiny amount to get a ton of flavor. This was a huge hit and I will definitely make it again. For CKD it probably is not something you want to eat often. I leach the potatoes by soaking them for a while, then rinsing, prior to use. This leaches out a lot of potassium and phosphorus. I would probably use skim milk the next time to save on the fat content. Ham is ham and not something I eat more than a couple of times a year. This made a ton of food and fed us for lunch and dinner a couple more days.
Wednesday I had a board meeting so I needed something fast. I mistakingly bought from Sam’s a huge tin of their Member’s Mark chunk chicken. They usually are small cans but for some reason, this one was one big can. I knew I had to use this up, but I wasn’t sure how. I know some people put it in soups and casseroles, but I am not crazy about it like that. So, I decided to make chicken salad wraps with some pretzels on the side. We like the low-carb, high fiber wraps. These are going to be higher in phosphorus as they are whole grain. Be mindful of your portion sizes with CKD. I add celery, and onion to the meat, plus some mustard and light Mayonnaise. We are now out of light Mayo and I will have to use full fat because we have a huge tub of it from Sam’s to use up. I drain and rinse the chicken to reduce the amount of sodium. This was really good, easy, and economical. It made a ton because of the large can size and we are still eating it for lunch today I will take some for my lunch tomorrow at work. I stick to a 2.5-ounce portion size.
Thursday Leftover scalloped potatoes and ham with green beans. I forgot to say we had fresh asparagus on Tuesday. I didn’t like it, though, so I probably won’t buy it again.
Friday today we will be having Chicken Alfredo over pasta with broccoli. I buy frozen broccoli and steam it. The Alfredo Sauce, in the pics below, came from Misfits Market. It was not cheap, and it has been in my pantry for a while. I don’t care for Alfredo sauce, but the others in my family do. I will probably only use half the jar, so we will be having this again soon. I also had Rao’s organic pasta in my pantry, also from Misfits. It isn’t cheap but it only has one ingredient. You can see the information for the Alfredo sauce below. Compare it to a non-organic variety here, and see the difference mainly in the ingredient list. While it is true it is cheaper to buy in bulk, when you are on one of these budget challenges you will have to buy smaller amounts. I bought a very small package of organic, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and I think it was 6 dollars for a pound. That is expensive, true, but I am getting organic which I prefer. Sometimes I can get Publix Greenwise brand, which is organic, on sale at a decent price, but that was before all of this inflation crap.
Saturday my family will eat this tomorrow as well when I am at work. Cook once eat twice, or thrice, that is a good way to do this.
Sunday Superbowl junk food fest, lol. The menu will include pigs in a blanket, mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce, tortilla chips with salsa, fresh veggies with ranch dip, pickles, and of course they have to have soda. I don’t drink soda it is Pepsi and dark soda is a bad choice for anyone with CKD.
Who will you route for in the Superbowl? I have no team favorite as my team didn’t make it, nor did my husband’s. So, I have picked the Bengals to win.
Hello, and happy Friday! I have some news to share today. Last week I took the plunge and decided that the 12-hour shifts every weekend was not healthy for me, and I started to look for other nursing opportunities. I had an interview yesterday, and was hired! I should start my new position in the next few days. I am very excited about this move, and they have opportunities for me to grow with their company.
We are at the end of week 4 of our $63 dollar per week food budget and pantry challenge. The budget will stay all year unless it gets to a point where we can no longer do it. My husband did have a minor freak out last week because he had to go a day without milk, but he is OK, lol. I may have to change the beginning day and ending day because I will be working every other Monday at the new job, but I think I can keep it the way it is. We actually ate a lot from our pantry this week and ate a lot of the fresh stuff I purchased on Monday. I update my pantry list every time I grocery shop and we do not have a goal to completely eat everything in the pantry and then start fresh on the super low budget. That just will not work, but if we had to we now know we are not going to starve to death and can eat relatively healthy if we shop smart. I have not shopped at Misfits Market in a few weeks, because I don’t need a lot of fresh stuff, or meat, yet, and there is a 30 dollar minimum to order. Today, I will be making spaghetti and meat sauce, and we bought pizza last night as a treat to celebrate my new job. Both of those things will get my husband and daughter through the weekend while I am at work. I eat at work now, not the healthiest, but it saves me time prepping in the morning when I have to get up so early. I don’t know if the new job provides food to the employees, so that may have to change in the near future. Be sure and check out my post about cleaning fruits and veggies to remove pesticides if you can’t afford organic foods.
I had a crazy busy week and did not take pictures. So, I will provide links to some of the not-so-healthy food items we used, so you can see the nutrition info. Next Sunday is the Super Bowl, and I can already tell you we will be over budget this week, but I don’t know by how much. I am going to try and get everything we need in my weekly shop, but I know my husband will want chicken wings and he insists on buying those, and they are expensive.
For breakfast each day this week I had a banana and my coffee. I still have enough for tomorrow and Sunday. For some reason, my husband is not eating fruit right now. I also have one cutie left if I need it in case he does eat a banana. I do have frozen fruit and can make smoothies.
For lunch each day this week I had a green salad. Some days I put on a little cheese or croutons. I do not mind a simple salad. I ran out of tomatoes and instead of going over budget and buying more I decided to use one can of corn and put a little on each salad. That worked out well and was very tasty. I am almost out of my Country French dressing so I will be on the hunt for an affordable low sugar variety, as the one I have is not low sugar, though it was affordable. We still have quite a bit of lettuce leftover and we will have some tonight with dinner, and my daughter will use the rest over the weekend.
Dinners this week were:
Monday: This was a low carb dinner with lean pork chops, peppers and onions, and steamed broccoli. All of this was from the freezer and fresh pantry. I do not eat more than 3 ounces of meat at any meal, unless I have not had enough protein the rest of the day.
Tuesday: For this meal I had bought the previous week a turkey polska kielbasa at Aldi. Even though this is still not super healthy, it is much better than the regular variety. It is way less in fat, and sodium. Just be sure and weigh your portion and try to stick with the 2 ounce portion size. I cut it up really small so it looks like I am getting more. Then I made a homemade macaroni and cheese. I had about 2 ounces of Velveeta cheese left in the fridge. I do not remember why I bought this but it has been in my fridge for about 2 months. I do not eat this stuff, usually, but I cooked some macaroni, then added the Velveeta and about 1/4 of a bag of part skim mozzarella cheesed that also had to be used up, and a 3/4 of a can of low fat evaporated milk from the pantry. Velveeta is very high in sodium, and fat per 1 ounce serving. There is absolutely no way you can call it healthy. Be mindful of your portion size. I eat about a third of a cup to half a cup once it is prepared. We had canned corn on the side. I love corn with macaroni and cheese. You can also substitute some of the cheese with an orange veggie like pureed carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, or sweet potato to make it healthier.
Wednesday: I had fresh pineapple in the fridge that needed to be used before it went bad. So, I made pineapple rice, using Jasmine rice, that is the favorite rice in our house. It is white rice, so it is still not as healthy as the brown version, but economically it is very affordable. I cooked the rice separate, then added it the cooked pineapple, and cooked onion mixture. At the very end sprinkle on some garlic salt, and just a little brown sugar. This is super delicious and a big hit at my house. I also made chicken thighs. I did not realize I bought the bone in variety and I won’t buy them again. You really are not getting much meat for the price, and paying mostly for bone. They were just OK and too forever to cook due to having the bone in.
Thursday: Pizza take out to celebrate. Be mindful of your portions and have a large salad with it to fill you up.
Friday: Today, I am making spaghetti with meat sauce. The meat is not organic, but I will survive. This makes a ton of leftovers and my family will eat on it over the weekend. As does the pineapple rice from Wednesday. These large meals make great lunch options for at least a day or two after.
Saturday and Sunday: I will be at work and they will be eating leftovers from the week, the pizza, and any snack options they can find in the pantry. I know there is still pretzels, bagels, and popcorn.
Unless I have to go to Gainesville to do stuff for my new job on Monday, I will not be going to Aldi. So, my other budget-friendly options are Dollar Tree, Save A Lot, Walmart, and Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie is not always budget-friendly, but my husband reminded me we have a rewards card there, so I may give it a try. The Dollar Tree I am not so convinced about their food options, and Save A Lot is usually good. At least they are all in the same city and within a mile of each other. So, if I have to go to more than one it will be convenient.
I hope everyone has an amazing weekend. Are you joining in my food budget challenge? Share what you are doing, and how it is going in the comments. I would love to hear about it. We have spent about $250 dollars on groceries for the past four weeks. We did go over a tiny bit this past week, I think by 8 dollars. That is at least half of what we were spending on groceries.
Hello, Hello! As promised, yesterday, I am sharing something fun that your family, or friends can do too. I was watching a Youtube video last week and it was a family that challenged each other to make a themed meal. Their theme was a Dollar Tree theme challenge. It was really interesting, and the creative meals they came up with were amazing, well two of them were, lol. Plus, they had three meals worth of leftovers for the rest of the week. Brilliant! So, in my house at this time is myself, my husband, and my 17 year old. I proposed to them that we try this on Mondays when my husband and I are both off from work. My daughter decided she did not want to be a judge between her father and myself, so she will compete each week, and one of us will be the judge. For the first Monday coming up I picked the theme and it is a Fall casserole. Casseroles are easy, convenient, and we should have a ton of leftovers, making them also economical. I will be sure and share how it works out next week.
But, I wanted to do a challenge this week, so last night I challenged myself to make a Thanksgiving dinner that was not a Dollar Tree challenge, for as affordable as possible. I spent only $6.04 on my meal. Now, this is not a traditional Thanksgiving meal. That is not the goal. But, if you are tight on money, don’t really know how to cook, or maybe you just want a really chill Thanksgiving instead of all the hassle of cooking all that food, and the dishes oh my, then this might be for you. Maybe you are stuck at college for the holiday, or some other reason. This would also be great for leftovers after the big day. Check it out. I don’t have my receipt because I order online now, but I can tell you from my order the price for each item.
Great Value Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup 1 can .57 If I ever make this again, and I probably will I would get low sodium.
Great Value Turkey Flavored Stuffing Mix 1 box .82 again if there is a low sodium option I would get that next time
Great Value Thin Sliced Oven Roasted Turkey Breast 1 pound $3.28 You honestly only need half of this so it could be even cheaper.
Daisy Natural Sour Cream 8 oz $1.37
1 cup of water free
That’s it! Now, if you bought half of the turkey breast you could get some canned green beans for .46 I had some already in my pantry and we ate them as a side.
To make this you need a crockpot. I chopped the turkey breast up and put it in a pan to sautee with some olive oil, and poultry seasoning. In hindsight I would not use the poultry seasoning the next time. This only took a few minutes. Then I layered it on the bottom of my crockpot, after spraying it with non stick spray. Open the stuffing mix and pour it over the turkey breast as evenly as possible. In a large bowl mix together the water, sour cream, cream of chicken soup. Then pour it all over the stuffing spreading it out to make it even. Cook on low for 2.5 to 3 hours.
My daughter and my husband were the judges. Now mind you my daughter does not eat stuffing. She hates it! But, she didn’t know what was in this meal because when you stir it all up to serve you really might think it is mashed potatoes. Anyway she ate it and had seconds. She gave me a 7! My husband said it was too salty, and I agreed. But, it really did taste like Thanksgiving in a bowl. He still gave me a 6. I would recommend the low salt versions that I stated above. I could have made the presentation better as well, but I didn’t think of that.
Anyway, I would definitely make this very easy, affordable meal again. This is obviously not a well rounded meal, but when you are in a pinch for time, and money, it will work.
How affordable can you make a Thanksgiving meal? Leave me a comment below. Probably Friday, for Foodie Friday, I will be sharing a chocolate recipe. Come back to check it out.
Welcome to another Manic Monday! I hope everyone had a splendid weekend. It is finally sunny here. The weekend was cold and dreary. I decided I would keep my Budget Meals, or 5 Dollar Dinners here on the blog, rather than my Meals With Melissa subscription plan. I will refer subscribers to the blogposts in addition to the weekly meal plan.
Part of Mindful Eating is knowing what you are eating and eating the healthiest options you can afford. Not everyone can afford, or wants to afford the most expensive of food choices and more expensive does not necessarily mean healthier. Budgeting and meal planning are all part of Mindful Eating. As you know if you are a regular reader I have created a unique Nutrition course for my homeschooled high schooler. As I continue to research information for topics I learn so much about food, food waste, food insecurity and so much more. During the wars and The Great Depression food was scarce and even rationed. Housewives had to be creative and wise with their food and money. While researching this topic I found a wonderful Youtube channel called YesterKitchen. She makes war time and old recipes that can be made on a budget. You will see one of her videos below for Tamale Pie.
Tamale Pie can definitely be a Budget Meal. All you need is Corn Meal, Diced Tomatoes, Onions and Ground Meat. I would use ground turkey as it is way more affordable than ground beef, plus it tastes better. I also would make mine in a 9 x13 pan with the corn meal only on top. It looked kind of mushy with the corn meal on the bottom and the top. This is not a low carb meal, but corn meal is a whole grain loaded with fiber and other nutrients. Read about corn meal here. It is calorie dense and filling. You could even make this meatless and use beans instead of ground meat. If you have CKD be careful because corn meal has a lot of Phosphorus as will the beans. If you are a hunter you could even use ground venison in this recipe.
So, how would this meal break down money wise? The prices are for my area using my Basket App. I have not made this meal yet as I do not have any corn meal on hand and my meal plan is already done for the week. But, we definitely will be trying it soon.
Ground Turkey Version:
1 pound of ground turkey: $2.98 at Walmart
Roma tomatoes: You need one cup chopped and one Organic Roma Tomato is .30 at Walmart
Onion: 1 Yellow onion is .48 at Walmart
Corn Meal: You only need a third of a cup and a 12 oz bag at Walmart is 1.58
Salt, Pepper and Chili Powder you should have on hand, but are very cheap spices to purchase.
Total: $5.64 I counted two tomatoes. Dollar Tree may have Corn Meal for only a dollar
All of the same ingredients and prices, except you can remove the $2.98 for the ground turkey as you got the venison by hunting. So the grand total would be $2.66
Ground Beef Version:
1 pound ground beef: $3.48 at Walmart
All other ingredients and prices the same
Kidney Bean Version:
16 oz of Kidney Beans: .72 I would rinse and drain them first leaving a little liquid. You could always buy dry and save even more by making your own.
All other ingredients and prices the same
Total: $1.81 Wow! Now that is a deal.
I am sitting down today to figure out our money budget, Dave Ramsey style. I can already tell we over spend on groceries and energy ie air conditioning. We do budget billing, so I am going to figure out what our monthly average is and work from there. We also have two car payments which means we over spend on transportation as well. This is where my focus will be. We did renew our Sam’s Club membership from 2017. We went on Sunday for our two week shop and I only spent 65 dollars for each week on food. That is way under budget to my 75 a week I had hoped to spend. The secret to Sam’s is making a list, sticking to it, staying away from the snack aisles, and staying out of the middle aisles. Some things, because it is in bulk, will last at least a month or more. So, there is that to consider as well. I spent only 55 dollars on meat for two weeks. That is a steal. I also restarted my Misfits Market. I upgraded to the bigger box and I am so pleased with the bigger box. I do have to include that into my budget. I get it biweekly which means I am spending 80 dollars a month for that. Each Saturday I do a social media share blogpost. It runs on Saturday and Sunday. This week will be Pinterest sharing. It is easy and it is free self promotions.
Happy Thursday! I hope everyone is well. Thanksgiving is one week away here in the USA. In my Misfits box last week I got some organic Granny Smith apples. I got enough to make a pie. So, I added all of the ingredients for one apple pie and put them in the freezer. That way they won’t go to waste and I just thaw and put in a pie crust and bake. I have decided to pause my Misfits Market deliveries for 3 months, to evaluate cost-effectiveness. I love Misfits, and their mission to reduce food waste and supply organic foods to all areas of the country is something I definitely support. However, by the time the foods get to me, some of them are already starting to go bad. This is not cost-effective to me. I may have to find a local crop share program to purchase from. I found a couple, but they don’t offer the flexibility of choices that Misfits does, but I will have to evaluate.
Today’s gratitude prompt is: what do you love about the city you live in. I don’t technically live in a city, at least not by my definition, lol. It is more of a small town, but we picked this area for a reason. We are close enough to a city to be considered a suburb and have access to the convenience of a city but not the noise and traffic. People in this town are strong believers in faith and family. They have a community mind, at least most of them. No community is perfect and while I don’t always align with their political views, it is a great town with good schools and safe communities. Share your gratitude prompts in the comments.
As I continue to research food topics for my teenager’s Nutrition course next semester, I have come across some very interesting things. I didn’t know, and you may not know either, that the average food stamp benefit is 137 dollars per month, which actually breaks down to $1.52 per meal for 30 days. That is $4.56 per day for 3 meals. That is really sad. The government can only afford to offer this paltry amount of money to people who may already be in dire times. While researching how to eat healthy foods for $1.50 per meal, I came across the website Efficiency is Everything. They break down the healthiest foods with that amount of money. They base their 1.50 meals around flour, milk, eggs, pinto beans, kale, carrots, black beans, russet potatoes, and cereal. Their website is $1.50 per day, not a meal. That is really low. Cereals are fortified, or there is oatmeal to consider. You notice there are no fruits, but I would add bananas or apples to that list. I would probably also add tomatoes, but only when in season or canned. I think the list could be modified a little to reach the same threshold of 1.50 per meal, such as rice or pasta. A note about potatoes. Potatoes very often get a bad rap, but they are super healthy and cheap. I eat a baked potato almost every day for lunch, plus a carrot or peas. It is more brunch than lunch, as breakfast is usually just coffee for me. Add some lemon pepper seasoning and it is just delicious. I don’t particularly like Russets, but I could eat them if I had to. I much prefer red potatoes. You will note there is no meat on their list. Milk, bean, and eggs make up the majority of the protein. I don’t care for Kale and Broccoli is just as healthy and affordable. Also, green beans and spinach could be a substitute. I could totally eat like this, but my family probably would not be thrilled. However, if we had to they wouldn’t have a choice. I am following a low carb, so I simply modify portions to meet my daily carb limit of 100 grams of carbs per day.
Today, I am trying a new recipe that will make a lot of food with plenty of leftovers. I will share it tomorrow and how we liked it. It is very affordable and easy to make. My husband is willing to try it, but my daughter is a no, lol. She may starve. Just kidding I modify meals for her needs too.
Oh, before I forget, I did not have the Dollar Tree peas last night, I forgot, but I put them on top of my baked potato today, and like I guessed they tasted just like peas. See yesterday’s post. Tomorrow, I will also talk about cooking methods to reduce Phosphorus in foods for CKD.