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$100 Grocery Budget, One Week and Four People

Well our family is out of town and things are getting back into our regular routine. I am so exhausted though and my kids are even more so. I was planning on doing a 30 day freezer meal plan after they left but I am just lacking the energy and motivation to do so.

My plan for this upcoming week is to do a full 7 day meal plan for around $100. When I was looking for inspiration all I could find were meal plans stating things like "snacks are a luxury" or "desserts rarely happen" or even worse was seeing no fresh fruit or vegetables. I am all about buying frozen produce when you can since it has great nutritional value and is typically significantly cheaper but I want my kids to be able to have fresh fruit as a side with their breakfast and lunch. Another difficult task with a $100 weekly grocery budget is the fact that my son can not, under any circumstances, have gluten. Gluten free products can be very expensive so the rest of us eat regular wheat products for our bread, oatmeal, etc and we buy gluten free just for him unless we are eating a pasta dish. This allows me to buy a loaf of gluten free bread to keep in the freezer and it'll last him at least 2 weeks. 

Before you make your meal plan, take an inventory of what you already have and how you can build some of it into your weekly meals. For example, I have an extra jar of vodka sauce sitting in my pantry so I plan on using that in my meal plan. I also have plenty of dried pinto beans so I will make slow cooker re-fried beans as two of my side dishes this week since it makes such a large batch. 

I had to include the things we love like desserts, snacks, breakfast burritos for my hubby to take to work and I MUST have a smoothie in the morning or I feel seriously deprived. I was able to accomplish all of this and stay around $100! Most of the items I did purchase are from Walmart. I had to grab a few from Safeway because Walmart didn't have things in stock that I needed, of course right? When we lived in Georgia we had an Aldi, and if you have one please utilize it because their prices are unbeatable, but when 99% of the budget meal plans I saw online were for Aldi I knew I needed to provide y'all with one from a store that 99% of us have. Some of the items I already have in my pantry or fridge but some things I needed to get more of. You might have some of the items I needed and need some of the things I already had. This is a guideline so be willing to swap some ingredients if need be to stay under budget. 



7 Day Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks & Desserts!
Breakfast:

1. Blueberry Banana Spinach Smoothies (for myself)
  • frozen blueberries (40 oz bag), 8 cups, 1 cup per quart size bag
  • organic bananas, qty 4, cut in half, one half per quart size bag
  • raw spinach (10 oz bag), 1 handful per quart size bag
  • flax meal (optional) 1 tbsp per quart size bag
  • honey, 1 squeeze in blender when making 
  • unsweetened coconut milk (1/2 gal), 1 cup in blender on serving day
  • quart size freezer storage bags, qty 8 
*Add 1 cup of coconut milk to blender. Dump one frozen smoothie pack into blender. Squeeze some honey on top. Blend until smooth. Makes 8 smoothie packs.

2. Breakfast Burritos (for my hubby)
  • burrito size whole wheat tortillas, 8 ct pkg
  • 10 large eggs
  • 3 small Russet potatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • ground turkey breakfast sausage, 1 lb
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • aluminum foil
  • gallon size freezer storage bag, qty 2
*In a large skillet, cook sausage until browned. While the sausage is cooking, dice potatoes into small cubes and finely dice the yellow onion. Remove browned sausage from pan with a slotted spoon leaving the fat. Add the diced potatoes and onion to the skillet, season well with salt, pepper, and garlic powder then saute until cooked through and tender. Remove onions and potatoes from the pan. In a large bowl, crack open eggs and use a whisk to beat. Add beaten eggs to the pan and scramble until cooked through. Remove eggs from pan. Place tortillas between 2 damp paper towels and heat in microwave for about 30 seconds to warm them. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil slightly larger than the tortilla. Add some meat, potatoes and onions, eggs and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Roll like a burrito then roll burrito in aluminum foil and place in labeled gallon size freezer storage bag. Place in freezer. Makes 8 burritos.
*To heat, remove aluminum foil from frozen burrito. Place on a microwave safe plate and heat for approximately 1 minute on each side or until hot and heated through. 

3. Gluten Free Oatmeal (for my kids)
  • 1/2 cup gluten free quick oats
  • 1 cup cold water
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • small handful of raisins (optional)
4. Gluten Free Pancake Muffins with Yogurt & Bananas (for my kids)
*Take your favorite gluten free pancake mix, I make my own. Spray a muffin pan with non stick cooking spray. Pour approximately 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin tin. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 15-20 minutes. My batter makes 18 muffins. Remove cooked pancake muffins and place on a plate to cool completely before transferring to a labeled gallon size freezer storage bag. Place in freezer.
*To reheat, remove desired amount of pancake muffins from freezer bag and place on a microwave safe plate. Heat in microwave for about 1 minute or until hot. Serve with pancake/maple syrup, yogurt and sliced banana. 

5. Cereal with Yogurt and Slice Banana (for my kids)

*Our morning time drinks are coffee with creamer (me), sweet tea (hubby), orange juice (son) and whole milk (daughter). 

Lunch:

1. Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches with Chips & Apples
2. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches with Chips & Apples
3. Pinto Bean & Rice Burritos (see my recipe here)
4. Leftovers

Dinners:

1. Breakfast Tacos with Slow Cooker Re-fried Beans
(bean recipe courtesy of Don't Waste the Crumbs)

Ingredients:
  • corn tortillas, warmed
  • 2 (9 oz) pkg ground chorizo
  • 8 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 small Russet potatoes, diced into small cubes
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • salt, pepper & garlic powder
  • shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • sour cream
  • 1 lb dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & quartered
  • 1 onion, peeled & quartered
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 9 cups water
  • 4-8 tsp chicken bouillon (depends on the brand, mine requires 2 tsp per cup of water)
Instructions:
  1. Brown turkey chorizo in a larger skillet over medium-high heat. Once chorizo is cooked remove from pan. Add diced potatoes and finely diced small yellow onion. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook until tender and remove from pan once cooked. Add beaten eggs to the pan. Scramble until cooked through then remove pan. Assemble tacos with warmed tortillas, chorizo, potatoes and onions, shredded cheese and a dab of sour cream. 
  2. The morning of the day you plan on eating tacos, place rinsed pinto beans, jalapeno, quartered onion, minced garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, water and chicken bouillon into a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Once beans have cooked, place a colander on a large stock pot and drain slow cooker reserving the cooking liquid. Working in batches, place cooked pinto beans and veggies into a food processor adding enough cooking liquid to blend until smooth. Place each batch of blended beans back to the slow cooker and cover to keep warm. Serve as a side to breakfast tacos. You'll have plenty of leftovers so allow beans to cool completely then transfer to a gallon size freezer storage bag. Lay flat in freezer to freeze. 
2. Pasta with Vodka Sauce

Ingredients:
  • 12 oz box gluten free spaghetti noodles
  • 1 jar gluten free vodka sauce (I use Classico brand)
  • grated Parmesan
  • salt and pepper
Instructions:
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Drain noodles and pour jar of vodka sauce over cooked noodles. Toss to coat. Serve with salt, pepper and grated Parmesan to taste. 
3. Cabbage, Potatoes & Sausage with Dijon Sauce

Ingredients:
  • 1 bag (10 oz) shredded cabbage
  • 1 lb Russet potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 1 (13 oz) pkg smoked turkey sausage, cut into half moon slices
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt, pepper & garlic powder
Instructions:
  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add sausage to heated skillet and cook until browned. Remove sausage from pan. Add another tablespoon of butter to skillet and pour in diced potatoes, onion and shredded cabbage. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Saute until tender and cooked through. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together dijon mustard and rice vinegar. Add the browned sausage back to the pan. Pour the sauce over the sausage, potatoes, onions and cabbage. Stir to coat well. Serve warm. 
4. Baked Gluten Free Mac & Cheese 
(recipe adapted from Feast and Farm)

Ingredients:
  • 1 & 1/2 cups dry gluten free elbow noodles
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp gluten free all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
Instructions:
Find the instructions over at Feast and Farm's blog here)

5. Veggie Fried Rice

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups day old cooked white rice
  • 1 (12 oz) bag frozen peas and carrots
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil 
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp gluten free soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
Instructions:
  1. Heat canola and sesame oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add both eggs carefully and cook through breaking egg into large pieces. Add onion, peas and carrots to the wok. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. While the veggies are cooking, melt butter in the microwave. Add tamari and garlic powder to the melted butter. Stir to combine. Add rice to the wok and combine with egg and veggies. Allow to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Pour sauce over the rice mixture and stir to coat. Serve warm. 
6. Chicken Enchiladas with Leftover Re-fried Beans

Ingredients:
  • 10-12 corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning, store bought or homemade
  • 1 (10 oz) can gluten free red enchilada sauce 
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • leftover re-fried beans, warmed
Instructions:
Find the directions on my original post here.

7. Roasted Chicken Thighs with Carrots & Potatoes

Ingredients:
  • 6-8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled & cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3-4 large carrots, peeled & cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1-2 tbsp oil 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • seasoning for chicken thighs: seasoning salt, ground black pepper and garlic powder to taste
*Find my full recipe with instructions HERE)

Snacks:

1. Cheese Sticks
2. Popcorn
3. Carrots with Ranch (store bought or homemade, I make my own)

Desserts:

1. Black Bean Brownies
(I use this recipe from Savory Experiments)

2. Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies 
(find my recipe here)

*Money Saving Tip: Try to find flour-less dessert recipes. Gluten free flour can get expensive so I like to save it for making roux or muffins. Both of the above desserts require no flour and use limited ingredients making them budget friendly so you can still eat dessert even when on a tighter budget.

I will provide a list of what I bought for under $100 as well as a list of what I already had in my pantry. 

What I Bought:
  1. orange juice + calcium & vitamin d (1/2 gallon)=$2.36
  2. french vanilla coffee creamer (32 ounces)=$2.37
  3. raw spinach (10 oz bag)=$1.98
  4. unsweetened coconut milk (1/2 gallon)=$2.97
  5. burrito size whole wheat tortillas (8 count)=$2.78
  6. turkey breakfast sausage (1 pound)=$1.50
  7. string cheese (24 count)=$4.32
  8. semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)=$1.88
  9. black beans, no salt added (15 ounce can)=$0.72 
  10. yogurt (2 pound container)=$1.84
  11. bananas (5.23 pounds)=$2.98
  12. frozen blueberries (40 ounces, 8 cups)=$5.47
  13. gluten free white bread (15 ounces)=$4.98
  14. wheat bread (20 ounces)=$0.88
  15. simply white cheddar Cheetos=$2.98
  16. gala apples (3 pound bag)=$2.88
  17. sliced sharp cheddar cheese (12 count)=$2.22
  18. thin sliced turkey lunch meat (16 ounces)=$4.43
  19. whole carrots (2 pound bag)=$1.54
  20. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (5 pounds)=$5.94
  21. mild red enchilada sauce (10 ounce can)=$1.79 (Safeway)
  22. green bell pepper=$0.52
  23. ground chicken (1 pound)=$3.47
  24. mayonnaise (30 ounce jar)=$2.98
  25. frozen peas and carrots (12 ounce bag)=$0.84
  26. gluten free elbow noodles (12 ounce box)=$2.59 (Safeway)
  27. whole milk (1 gallon)=$2.19
  28. turkey smoked sausage (13 ounce)=$1.94
  29. shredded cabbage (10 ounce bag)=$1.57
  30. grated Parmesan (8 ounces)=$2.36
  31. gluten free spaghetti noodles (12 ounce box)=$1.98
  32. sour cream (16 ounces)=$1.68
  33. yellow onions (3 pound bag)=$1.58
  34. russet potatoes (5 pound bag)=$2.22
  35. shredded cheese (32 ounce bag)=$5.12
  36. large eggs (18 count)=$1.74
  37. chorizo (18 ounces)=$3.98 (Safeway)
  38. gluten free white corn tortillas (30 count)=$1.98
  39. paprika (2.5 ounces)=$0.98
  40. jalapeno=$0.22
  41. ground cumin=$2.99 (Safeway)
Total Before Taxes: $101.74


Items I Had:
  1. salt
  2. pepper
  3. garlic powder
  4. aluminum foil
  5. freezer storage bags
  6. canola oil
  7. butter
  8. 11 large eggs
  9. dry pinto beans
  10. gluten free chicken bouillon
  11. honey
  12. flax meal
  13. gluten free quick oats
  14. brown sugar
  15. cinnamon
  16. gluten free all purpose flour
  17. pancake syrup
  18. peanut butter
  19. jelly
  20. rice 
  21. pinto bean & rice burritos (still have some left from the last batch I froze)
  22. cereal
  23. garlic
  24. jar of vodka sauce
  25. rice vinegar
  26. dijon mustard
  27. sesame oil 
  28. tamari
  29. taco seasoning
  30. popcorn
  31. cocoa powder
  32. sugar
  33. vanilla extract
  34. coffee k-cups
  35. tea bags





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