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5 homemade meals for under $50

Do you spend more eating in than you would spend eating out?

My husband was convinced that I spend more money on groceries for homemade meals than I would spend if we ate out every night. He thought that even fast food would be cheaper than what I spend on ingredients for our meals. This may be true in some cases where recipes call for more expensive meats or exotic ingredients, but I was able to prove him wrong in a little experiment.

I made a grocery list for 5 of our favorite weeknight meals, and I shopped for only those ingredients. To be fair, I did not count what I consider "pantry staples". If you had to restock your pantry staples every time you cooked, of course we'd all spend a fortune.

What I discovered is that I can make a meal every night during the week for less than $50! I left a little wiggle room for grocery store price variations. I did my shopping at Wal-Mart here in Pearland, and this also gave me the idea to do some grocery store price comparisons, but we can explore that together at a later date.

Below, you will find the links for each recipe that I made, along with individual pricing for each recipe, minus pantry staples. I have also included a list of what I consider pantry staples in these recipes, as well as a grocery list with Wal-Mart prices, and a grand total at the bottom. Happy shopping!

Monday: Tuna Sandwiches, by Matt Sechrist
Solid White Albacore Tuna, Tomato, Green leaf lettuce, Onion, Cheese (use shredded from Tamale Pie/Taco salad recipes)

Tuesday: Tamale Pie, by Sharon Price
Onion, Ground beef chuck (buy a 2.25lb container, use 1lb for Taco Salad, 1.25lbs for Tamale Pie), 3 15-oz cans diced tomatoes (28-oz cans are cheaper, so buy 1 of those and 1 15-oz can), 1 can corn, Small can sliced black olives, 2 cups grated cheese (I buy in bulk, so I spent $7.58 for 8 cups. This bag will serve all these recipes with plenty of cheese leftover for your freezer

Wednesday: Amatriciana, from
Wal-Mart has pricey prosciutto right now, so I only bought 1 package. Kroger usually has them for less, but I paid $3.98 for 3oz., Onion, Angel Hair pasta, 28oz can diced tomatoes, 14.5oz can diced tomatoes

Thursday: Taco Salad, by Carol & Gary Morgan-Gohlke
Ground beef chuck (bought a 2.25lb container, use 1.25 lbs for Tamale Pie, 1lb for Taco Salad), 1 onion, 1 bell pepper, 1 can kidney beans, 1 package taco seasoning, 1 tomato, Cheddar cheese (use some of the big bag from the Tamale Pie recipe), sliced black olives, Green Leaf Lettuce.
Optional: Thousand Island, Pace Picante Sauce, Sour Cream, tortilla Chips (not included in the grand total below)

Friday: Chicken Stir Fry, by Katie Sechrist
Chicken breasts, Broccoli, Ginger Root, onion, Water Chestnuts, Zucchini, Green Bell Pepper

Pantry Staples:

Bread, sweet pickles, Ranch dressing, minced garlic in a jar, salt, chili powder, corn meal, milk, eggs, red pepper flakes, basil, corn starch, soy sauce

Grocery List:

1 can Solid White Albacore Tuna ($3.00 each)
2 tomatoes ($0.47 each)
2 heads green leaf lettuce ($1.68 per head)
5 onions ($0.46 each)
Ground beef chuck ($5.58 for a 2.25lb container, use 1 lb for Taco Salad, 1.25 lbs for Tamale Pie)
3 15-oz cans diced tomatoes (28-oz cans are cheaper, so buy 1 of those and 1 15-oz can for $1.63 total)
28oz can diced tomatoes ($1)
14.5oz can diced tomatoes ($0.63)
1 can corn ($0.60)
2 small can sliced black olives ($0.97)
2 cups grated cheese (I buy in bulk, so I spent $7.58 for 8 cups)
3oz prosciutto ($3.98)
Angel Hair pasta ($1)
2 bell peppers ($0.78 each)
1 can kidney beans ($0.62)
1 package taco seasoning ($0.50)
Chicken breasts ($6.48 for a 3lb bag)
Broccoli ($1.87 for a head)
Ginger Root ($0.12)
Water Chestnuts ($0.72)
Zucchini ($0.79)

GRAND TOTAL = $45.42


  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    Bravo! Thank you for these ideas. If you have any more, please share. I'm looking for affordable meals in or out of a recession.

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