Dinner- Recipes that are Easy, Healthy, Inexpensive, and Kid-friendly
This is the third article to a week of meals that are easy, healthy, kid-friendly, and inexpensive. In my years of menu planning, I realized that so many recipes highlighted ONE of these benefits; it was healthy but not cheap, kid friendly but too many steps. Why couldn't the recipe be all of them? I decided to compile meal planning ideas that fit all my requirements. This article will tackle dinnertime. Keep in mind, to feed a family of five dinners for a week at $40.00, they aren't going to be the most exciting dinners around. You will have to be okay with eating leftovers. The upside is you will have just fed your family for as little as $6.00 a day!
The first two articles- Start here!
All these meals must be:
- Easy: Using only a few pots and pans, no complicated steps, or hideously long preparation
- Homemade and healthy: It's not diet food, but includes a reasonable amount of veggies, protein, and carbs.
- Kid-friendly: It must be edible in kid's eyes. I'm not the kind of cook that makes two different meals for our family.
- Inexpensive: The whole week of dinners must not go over $40.00 (I made the dinner budge a bit bigger, which leaves about $34.00 left for snacks and drinks). How did I come up with this figure? I imagined a family of five spends approximately $150.00 a week on food. I broke that up into four equal amounts; breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Read the first article in the series for more information.
- Use up the ingredients: How many times does a recipe call for something that then sits around in your pantry or fridge? I plan meals that use interchangeable ingredients so food doesn't go to waste.
Grocery List- Dinner for a Week
Hilshire Farms Polish Keilbasa
Ground Turkey (16 oz)
Roaster Chicken (5lbs)
Italian Sausage (Sweet or Hot)
Stir Fry Sauce
Canned Beans (any kind)
Creamed Corn (1 can)
Elbow or Rotini Pasta (1lb)
Long Grain Rice
1 Bag Frozen Corn
Roma Tomatoes (2)
1 lb Bag Carrots
1 Bell Pepper
1 Head Cabbage
1 5lb Bag Potatoes
1 can Diced Tomatoes
1 pkg Frozen Stir Fry Veggies
Monday- Shepherd's Pie
- 1 package ground turkey
- 1 can creamed corn
- 1 bag frozen corn
- 4 potatoes, cooked and mashed
1. Brown the ground turkey meat in a skillet. Add salt, pepper, and any other seasons you like.
2. While that's browning, peel and chop 4 potatoes and bring them to a boil.
3. Drain the potatoes, add milk and butter, and mash 'em up!
4. In a 13 x 9 inch pan, layer the ground turkey, the bag and canned corn, then the potatoes.
5. Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly and hot.
Serve with sliced cucumbers in italian dressing.
Skillet- A Cook's Most Essential Pot
Tuesday- Italian Stew
- 2 TBS italian dressing
- 1 lb sausage
- 2 cans chicken broth
- 1 package stir fry frozen veggies
- 1 can beans
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup elbow or rotini pasta
- Parmesan cheese (for sprinkling on top)
1. Heat up dressing in a skillet. Add the sausage (in pieces) and brown.
2. Add the broth, stir fry veggies, beans, and tomatoes.
3. Bring to a boil.
4. Stir in the macaroni and let cook for ten minutes or until the pasta is soft.
5. Serve in bowls.
Kids who are picky will love the pasta and sausage, while adults will like the added flavor of the beans, veggies, and tomatoes. If you have some cheese laying around, shred it over the pasta!
If you are feeding a family of five, you will have leftovers of the Shepherd's Pie and Italian Stew. Serve them up for a quick and easy meal.
More advice about roasting a chicken
- How To Roast a Chicken | The Kitchn
Roasting a chicken doesn't have to be a special weekend affair. A small chicken really only takes about an hour to cook, so we can easily make it for weeknight meals, too! Put it in the oven when you get home from work and let it cook while you wind
Thursday- Roast Chicken
- 1 whole chicken
- 6 carrots peeled and cut into strips
- 2 cup of uncooked rice (you are doubling the amount so that tomorrow you can use the leftover rice)
- Oil and spices for marinating
1. Take out the chicken, rinse it off, and remove the bag of innards.
2. Cover the chicken in oil and spices. Don't worry about doctoring up the chicken much; you'll notice how much more flavor a whole chicken has verses the breasts.
3. Cook at 350 until the little popper pops up or a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.
4. While it's cooking (it'll take about an hour and a half), cook up the rice.
5. In a small saucepan, cook the carrots with a bit of water and butter. If you want to sweeten them up, add a dash of brown sugar right before serving.
This is one of my kid's all time favorite meals. It's incredibly simple- chicken, rice, and carrots, but they usually devour it all. The leftover rice and chicken are used for a different dinner the next night. It's great!
Friday- Stir Fry
- Leftover chicken cut into small bite size pieces
- Leftover rice
- Bell pepper, sliced into strips
- Carrots, sliced into strips
- Cabbage, sliced into strips (just use a little, because you are using the cabbage for another meal)
- Stir fry sauce
1. Get out that trusty skillet and combine all the ingredients (minus the rice).
2. Heat up with a generous amount of stir fry sauce.
3. Serve over rice.
If your kids don't like the taste of sauces, just reserve a bit on the side for them before adding the sauce. Serve with a simple salad of lettuce, cucumber, and tomato.
- Health Benefits of Cabbage
The health benefits of cabbage include constipation, stomach ulcers, headache, weight loss, skin care, eczema, jaundice, scurvy, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, eye care, heart diseases, ageing, detoxification, cancer, brain function, and Alzheimer's di
Saturday- Keilbasa and Cabbage
- Keilbasa, cut into slices
- 4 or 5 potatoes, cut into thin slices
- Cabbage, sliced into thin strips
1. Get out your skillet and add some oil.
2. Add the potatoes and cabbage, stirring frequently.
3. If it seems like it might burn, just add a little water, and turn down the heat.
4. Once cooked, add the keilbasa and continue to cook until the meat is heated through.
5. Serve sprinkled with parmesan if you wish.
- The remainder of the elbow macaroni (you should have only used one cup for the Italian stew recipe)
- Tomato sauce
- Salad fixin's (you should have a bit of lettuce, carrots, and tomato left)
1. Cook the pasta according to directions.
2. Heat up the sauce.
3. Serve with salad.
This isn't the most exciting meal, but you may have some leftover stir fry or keilbasa if the adults want something a bit more tasty. If you have any leftover chicken, throw it in with the pasta and sprinkle with some parmesan.
Congratulations! You've just served a week's worth of meals for a family of five- for $40.00! That is an accomplishment. You've provided meals that have a variety of foods and flavors. You haven't spent hours in the kitchen preparing foods or cleaning dishes. Treat yourself to a night out after all that hard work and planning!