This is a feature I'll be doing every week showing how Rick and I are trying to eat nutritious, varied meals on a budget. Obviously, if you are really poor, you can eat very cheaply if, for example, you buy 10 cans of Spaghetti-O's for $10 when they go on sale, or ramen noodles - but my assumption is that for most people, they'd like to find a compromise where they are saving money but still eating healthy and varied meals. My method for doing this is to plan my meals around the weekly sales circulars from the local stores here in Round Rock - Sprouts, HEB and Randalls.
The first thing I saw when I opened my weekly sales circulars was the huge $0.97 sale on blueberries at Sprouts. Rick and I are going to a 4th of July party/potluck, and I guess we'll be taking a blueberry tart with us! This is an awesome dessert - it's a little time consuming to make, but it's elegant and delicious.
Rick makes it. He uses a quiche pan so he can have a stand-alone crust for the tart. He makes the pastry using a recipe from Julia Child's classic cookbook and uses a lemon custard filling. Then we top it with fresh blueberries sprinkled with just a little bit of powdered sugar. Tres elegant. With blueberries on sale - it will only be about $3 to make.
For those hosting 4th of July barbecues or parties - there are a lot of good sales this week. Beer and wine are on sale at Sprouts, as well as potato salad and watermelon. HEB has a great sale on baby back ribs and corn. Randalls has a sale on soda, steaks and corn.
For us, this week, going through the sales - we'll probably be buying a pound of cashews from Sprouts for $4.99. We like to snack on these, and this is a great sale.
Aside from that, our menu this week will probably be something like this:
Today: Blueberry pancakes for breakfast; for lunch, pasta with fresh sauce of diced tomatoes, roasted red peppers, spring onions, olives and basil. I'm using some of the red peppers I roasted and froze when they were on sale. Tomatoes are on sale at Sprouts, and Rick picked up a huge bunch of basil for $1 at the Austin farmer's market on Saturday. For dinner, 8 oz. grilled chicken, salad and cherries - courtesy of the sale at Randall's. Total cost is approximately $4.73
Friday: Blueberry pancakes using the rest of the blueberries for breakfast, pasta using the rest of the sauce for lunch, hamburgers and salad for dinner. Total cost is approximately $3.79
Saturday: scrambled eggs for breakfast, pork baby back ribs and, sliced fresh tomatoes and corn on the cob for lunch, home made guacamole and chips for dinner. Total cost about $5.32
Sunday: huevos rancheros with leftover guac for brunch, plus we'll be going to the potluck with our tart for dinner - total cost about $4.00
Monday: Fresh peaches and home-made yogurt for breakfast, leftover ribs and potato salad for lunch, a large Greek salad for dinner. Total cost about $3.96
Tuesday: Roasted red pepper and feta omelet for breakfast with sliced avocado on the side, Thai salad with home-made peanut sauce for lunch (Thai salad has cooked potatoes and green beans, raw shredded red cabbage and carrots, sliced cucumbers and hard boiled eggs on a bed of lettuce), Thai chicken curry with broccoli and carrots over jasmine rice for dinner. Total cost: $8.51
Wednesday: Fresh peaches and home-made yogurt for breakfast, ratatouille over rice for lunch, leftover curry for dinner. Total cost: $3.38
Total cost for week's groceries: $41.68 including the cashews, which we'll snack on throughout the week, and a watermelon, which we'll be eating for refreshing afternoon snacks. If you have a family of 4 with two children under the age of 12, you should be able to use this menu to feed everyone for about $60 for the week.
Note that to calculate this I assumed that a serving of meat was 3 ounces for me and 5 ounces for Rick. So, for example, when I cooked grilled chicken, I bought half a pound for a meal. The exception to this is for burgers, where we each get about 4 ounces of meat.