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The Dinner And Breakfast Recipes For Feeding A Family Of Four On 100 Dollars A Week! Part 3!
You Have the Pantry And the Shopping List! Now You Need The Dinner Menus And Some Of The Breakfast Recipes!
Seven dinner menus for a family of four, while on the 100 dollar family food budget experiment are ready to go, so listen up! You will eat well and your family will have no idea that you are stretching your family food budget! The meals are nutritious, well-balanced and best of all, they taste great! Some of them are easy, some of them require a little work, but all of them are inexpensive! If you have stocked your pantry, created your shopping list based on the weekly sales, you will have no problem! When you have finished the experiment, you will have learned how to make your own meals, always based on the weekly sales! Then, add up your savings and you will be ready to use this as a guide to continue on your own. Again, I used actual prices and actual items that I purchased for the week.
Seven Days, Seven Dinner Recipes! Day One!
Recipe for day one:
- Grilled top sirloin, oven roasted potato wedges and green salad with fresh cucumber and tomato, canned green beans and beets, with a red wine vinegar and oil-based Italian dressing (grill both steaks, saving one third to one half for the Fajitas to be made later in the week).
Steak: Use your grilling pan on top of the stove, or broil both steaks in your oven broiler. I always use my round, 13 inch grill pan for steaks and grilled chicken breasts. Remove your steaks from the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking. Put salt and pepper on both sides of each large steak. With a paper towel, spread just enough olive oil on the cooking surface to make sure that the steaks don't stick. Heat your grill pan and after the oil is hot, place each steak, side by side. Do not move them once you have put them on the pan, if you want nice grill marks. Cook on a medium high heat. The steaks I purchased were 2 pounds each. The meat will tell you when it is ready to turn. Mine took about 8 - 10 minutes on the first side. Turn the steaks over and again, don't move them. Do not be tempted to pierce them with a fork. The juices will run out of the meat. The second side will take less time. A hint to finding out if the steak is done? Put your index finger on the middle of one of the steaks. Press down a little and if the steak feels a little firm to the touch and bounces back a lttle bit, it should be rare to medium rare. If the steak feels soft, it may need a few more minutes. When done, remove both steaks to a large plate and allow them to sit for about 15 minutes. Cutting them right away will make the juices run out and your steak will end up dry. Cut the first steak into serving sizes, reserving the second for fajitas. Do not cut the second steak. Allow it to cool and then store it in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for the fajitas.
Roasted potatoes: Clean 4 or 5 of your russet potatoes. Cut them in half length wise and then cut those halves into 4 wedges. Each potato will make 8 wedges. Put the potato wedges into a bowl and put in about 2 0r 3 Tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt, pepper, a little paprika. Mix the wedges with your hands, making sure all pieces are coated with the olive oil. Place them, single layer on a large well-sprayed cookie sheet. Put into a 400 degree oven. After 20 minutes, turn them over with a spatula. If they look dry, brush them with a little olive oil prior to turning. Put them back into the oven and after 10 minutes, check to see if they are tender. If you want them crisper and browned more, leave them in a few more minutes. When they are done, remove them to a paper-towel lined plate. You can sprinkle more salt if desired or simply serve them at the table with ketchup.
Salad: Wash one tomato and a cucumber. Cut the cucumber in half and put the other half back in the fridge. Dice up the tomato and the half cucumber. Put them in the bottom of a large salad bowl and sprinkle some salt over them. Take one can of green beans and one can of sliced beets from your pantry. Open them, drain in a colander and pour them into the salad bowl. Take one of your two heads of romaine out of the refrigerator. Cut up about 2/3's of the head and put the rest back into the refrigerator in plastic. Rinse and drain the lettuce. Spin it dry in your salad spinner or use paper towels. Add to the other salad ingredients. Sprinkle liberally with salt and garlic salt. Right before dinner, whisk together 1/3 of a cup of olive oil and 1/3 of a cup of red wine vinegar. Pour over the salad and mix thoroughly, making sure everything is coated with the oil and vinegar.
Seven Days, Seven Dinner Recipes! Day Two!
Recipe for day 2
- Breaded, baked chicken cutlets, long grain white rice (risotto style) with sauteed mushrooms, garlic and green onions, cooked in chicken broth, and a salad with cucumbers, tomato, kidney and garbanzo beans with olive oil and red wine vinegar-based Italian dressing ( 2 breasts, each sliced into 3 or 4 cutlets)
Breaded, baked chicken cutlets: Each chicken breast is well over a pound. Chicken cutlets are supposed to be thin. Set up a breading station, much like an assembly line. I use old disposable pie pans that I have cleaned and saved. You will need three ( or you can use plates). Put about one half to one cup of flour in the first, beat three eggs in the second and about two cups of home-made bread crumbs from your pantry in the third. Take 2 of your chicken breasts (they are easiest to slice if they are semi-thawed). Because they are large and thick, again, over a pound each, you should be able to slice each the long way, into 4 cutlets. If you can only get 3 cutlets, that is fine. That will be 6 cutlets and after breading and baking, there will be plenty of meat for everyone. Dip each cutlet into the flour, then the egg and then the bread crumbs. Pat the cutlets to make sure that the bread crumbs stick and the cutlets are fully coated. Take a large cookie sheet and spread olive oil across the bottom. Not alot, but enough so that it is evenly distributed across the whole pan. In the meantime, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Place each cutlet on the cookie sheet and sprinkle a few drops of olive oil over the top of each cutlet. Put the pan into the oven and after 20 minutes, turn each cutlet over. If there is no oil left in the pan, add a few drops beside each cutlet and by tilting the cookie sheet, spread it around. Cook an additional 15 minutes. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
Long Grain White Rice with mushrooms, green onions and cooked in chicken broth from your pantry (risotto style): You will be following my risotto recipe, substituting long grain white rice for the arborio rice. For the recipe, link to: http://hubpages.com/hub/Afraid-of-Risotto-A-No-Fail-Kid-and-Man-Pleaser-in-Less-Than-30-Minutes. You will probably have leftover rice. Add the leftovers to your lunch the next day.
Green salad with tomatoes, cucumber, kidney and garbanzo beans. Follow the recipe for the salad illustrated in Day One, except, instead of the green beans and beets, you will be using one can of kidney beans and one can of garbanzo beans from your pantry. Drain both cans and rinse the beans with water.
Seven Days, Seven Dinner Recipes! Day Three!
Recipe for Day Three:
- Grilled chicken breasts on onion rolls served with pickles, onions, tomato slices, lettuce, ketchup, mayo and mustard, roasted carrots and a side of hot german potato salad ( 2 breasts, cut into 3 or 4 cutlets)
Chicken Breasts on Onion Rolls:
You will be using two chicken breasts for this meal. Just like on day two, you will be slicing each of the breasts into 3 or 4 filets. I use my grill pan for the cutlets and prior to grilling, I again wipe some olive oil across the pan. If you don't have a grill pan, you can bake each filet in the oven at 350 degrees on a sprayed cookie sheet, turning each cutlet once after 15 minutes. Cook the other side for an additional 15 minutes. If you are using the grill pan, you will probably need to cook for about 6-8 minutes on each side. You will be serving these like hamburgers, slicing 2 tomatoes, a few onion slices (not everyone likes raw onions), shredding a few lettuce leaves and slicing some dill pickles from your pantry. Serve them on the onion rolls with mayo, ketchup and mustard. Whatever you put on hamburgers, you can put on these.
Hot German Potato Salad: You will be using russet potatoes. Follow this link for my Hot German Potato Salad recipe. Link to: http://hubpages.com/hub/Grandmas-Kitchen-Hot-German-Potato-Salad-or-Traditional-Potato-Salad-Pick-Your-Favorite.
You will definitely have leftovers of the potato salad. Incorporate the leftovers into your lunches.
Roasted carrots: Take out a pound of carrots. Peel them with a potato peeler. Cut them in half length wise and then cut them again. Cut them into 4 inch pieces. Put them into a bowl, add a few teaspoons of olive oil and add some ground black pepper. Mix them by hand. Put them single-layer onto a sprayed cookie sheet and place them in a 400 degree oven. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes. Turn them over and return to the oven for another 10 minutes! Nothing better than roasted carrots! They get sweet and yummy! If you want some extra sweetness, add a Tablespoon of brown sugar to the oil before roasting. It will make them taste as if they have a beautiful glaze on them!
Seven Days, Seven Dinner Recipes! Day Four!
Recipe for Day Four:
- Linguine with chicken sauteed in an olive oil, garlic, mushroom, green onion and fresh tomato sauce served with a simple green salad and toasted garlic bread ( 2 breasts, cut into one-inch squares)
For the pasta, you will be using one pound of pasta from your pantry. I always have Barilla linguine, so I prefer that, but feel free to use any shape of pasta. Start your pasta pot and when it boils, add salt and drop the pasta. Cook as directed. Prior to draining the pasta, ladle out two cups of the pasta water and set aside. In your blender or food processor, puree three or four roma tomatoes. Since roma tomatoes are generally smaller than hot house, I recommend 4. From your shopping list, you purchased 2 and 1/2 pounds. That added up to 10 tomatoes!
Chop the two chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Chop 3 or 4 green onions. Finely chop 3 or 4 cloves of garlic and slice 7-8 white button mushrooms. In a large skillet, heat about 4 Tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic. Add the chopped chicken breasts and generously sprinkle ground black pepper on the chicken. Let the chicken cook for about 10 minutes, turning once or twice.
Add the chopped onions, sliced mushrooms and some red pepper flakes. In most recipes, that call for pepper, I actually use both red and black pepper. They each wake up different taste buds. Continue to sautee until the mushrooms and onions are tender. Add some salt, it will pull liquid from the mushrooms. When the vegetables are tender, pour in the tomatoes and the pasta water. Bring to a simmer and put a lid, tilted, over the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes and test for any additional salt necessary.
Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and mix well. Serve at the table in a large pasta bowl.
Plain green salad: Clean and drain the remaining romaine lettuce and mix with salt, garlic salt, red wine vinegar and olive oil. If you desire, can add cucumber slices. I include a small salad with this meal. In my experience, the family is not interested in the salad. They want the pasta and the garlic bread, so why waste salad ingredients.
Garlic Bread: 8 slices of bread, maybe more, depending on your family's love of bread... mix 1 stick of butter, room temperature with 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic and a little bit of olive oil. Brush this on both sides of the bread. Put the bread on a cookie sheet and toast at 400 degrees until slightly toasted. Turn to toast both sides and watch the bread carefully. I have a habit of burning bread, that is why I never put it under the broiler.
If you have purchased the Francisco Sour Dough Bread on the shopping list, they are big pieces of bread. Cut each in half and you will only require 4 slices.
Seven Days, Seven Dinner Recipes! Day Five!
Recipe for Day Five
- Macaroni, diced chicken breasts and fresh broccoli and diced green onions mixed in a sauce made with cheese, milk and chicken broth (a one pot meal, with 2 chicken breasts, cut into one inch squares)
You will use 2 chicken breasts, one pound of pasta and one pound of Velveeta from your pantry.
Chop up the chicken breasts. Poach them in a skillet with about 2 cups of water until they are done. Either pull the pieces apart with two forks or dice into smaller pieces. Set aside and also keep the poaching water. Start your pasta pot. You will need 1 pound of pasta from your pantry. Chop the broccoli into florets. Follow the directions on the package, but in the last 4 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli florets that you purchased from your shopping list. When done, drain and set aside.
In a large microwave safe bowl, add one pound of chopped up (1 inch pieces) Velveeta, 1 cup of poaching water, 3 cups of milk, 3 chopped green onions and the chicken. Microwave on high until the cheese is melted and combined. Stir occasionally. Usually takes about 7 - 10 minutes.
Add the pasta and broccoli and serve. You will have leftover mac and cheese. Add this to your lunch options.
Seven Days, Seven Dinner Recipes! Day Six!
Recipe for Day Six:
- Meatloaf, baked potatoes with butter, chopped onions and sour cream, a side of canned corn and a spinach salad with 8 ounces of bacon.
If you have any onion rolls left, you can use one of them for your meatloaf. If not, use two pieces of sourdough bread.
Meatloaf: Put ground beef into medium sized bowl. Add two eggs, about 3 Tablespoons of ketchup, 1/2 cup of homemade bread crumbs and either one onion bun or 2 pieces of sourdough bread. Prior to adding the bread or bun, quickly pass it under runing water and then wring out any excess water. Break the bread into pieces, by hand, and add to the hamburger. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder. Mix all of the ingredients. Shape into a loaf and put into a pie pan or other small baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. You can add diced onions, raw. They will still be a little crunchy, so kids don't usually like them that way. You can also grill some onion first, let it cool and mix that in with the meatloaf mix.
If you have already made the fajitas and have extra cheddar cheese, you can fold that down into the center of the meatloaf(then cover over with meat) or even use it to top the baked potatoes that are to be served with this meal.
When the meatloaf is finished, remove it to a plate and slice it before you bring it to the table.
Baked potatoes: Clean and pierce 4 - 6 potatoes(maybe mom or dad like to have more than one potato). Put them into the oven at the same time or a few minutes prior to putting in the meatloaf. They will take approximately an hour. If a fork goes through the potatoes, they are done. Serve them with butter and some sour cream. A few finely chopped green onions add a great flavor.
You purchased a one pound bunch of fresh spinach if you followed your shopping list. The pre-packaged is much easier to use, but more expensive; in some grocery stores it can be as much as $2.00 more per pound. Do not be intimidated by spinach bought by the bunch. Fresh spinach is easy to clean. I put my largest pasta pot into the sink and fill it with cold water. I unwrap the spinach and drop it in. I swish it around by hand for about 30 seconds and then let it sit for a few minutes. I remove the spinach to the colander and dump the pasta pot. You will notice that the sand and grit has settled at the bottom. I rinse the pasta pot and repeat the process one more time and then spin the clean spinach in my salad spinner to dry it. If you don't have a salad spinner, use paper towels. If the stems are tough, cut them off. If you were lucky, you got baby spinach and the stems will be thin and sweet. Put the clean spinach into a medium salad bowl and keep it in the fridge untill right before dinner.
Cook up your extra pound of bacon. Remove to paper towels. Put half of it away for your breakfast sandwiches and chop up the other half.
Here is where you must decide whether you want a wilted spinach salad or a crispy, cold one. I like either. If you want a wilted salad, keep about 3 -4 Tablespoons of the bacon grease in the pan. Add some chopped garlic, red pepper flakes and a few chopped green onions. Sautee them in the bacon grease and then add the spinach. With tongs, turn the spinach quickly for about 2 or 3 minutes. As soon as it is coated, remove it to the salad bowl. Do not overcook it. You want it slightly wilted. Set this aside and right before dinner is to be served, add the chopped bacon, one third of a cup of olive oil and about one third of a cup of vinegar. Toss the salad and serve.
For a cold, crisp spinach salad, add the bacon pieces to the bowl. Add a little bit of garlic salt, red pepper flakes and salt, then whisk together one third of a cup of olive oil and one third of a cup of vinegar. Pour that over the spinach and toss to coat all of the spinach.
Corn: Take a can of corn from your pantry. Drain it and heat for a minute or two in the microwave. It may be served with butter, if desired. The corn is not a necessary component of this meal, but looks pretty on a plate with the meatloaf, potato and spinach salad.
Seven Days, Seven Dinner Recipes! Day Seven!
Recipe for Day Seven:
- Fajitas made with thinly sliced, grilled top sirloin, sauteed green bell peppers, onions and diced chilis, served with grated, sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, diced tomatoes on corn tortillas.
For the fajitas, you will use the second top sirloin steak that you previously cooked.For the recipe, you can link to: http://hubpages.com/hub/Fajitas-Or-Nachos-Both-Great-As-A-Main-Dish-Both-Are-Made-From-Leftovers.
The only difference is that instead of chopping the meat, thinly slice the top sirloin and add it at the very end of cooking the other ingredients. That way the top sirloin remains medium rare and is the highlight of the fajitas.
The corn tortillas can be served warmed in the microwave. They do tend to fall apart more easily. If you want to, you can either soft fry them in some canola oil or you can crispy fry them; just leave them in the hot oil longer. Drain them on paper towels and try to blot off any excess oil.
I serve them warm out of the microwave because I don't need the extra calories and fat from the extra oil.
Serve the fajitas with grated cheddar cheese, some chopped up tomatoes, sour cream and finely chopped onion.
Breakfast Recipes You Will Want!
The breakfast menus, listed in Part 2, for the most part don't require recipes. Two of the meals do.
Homemade Pancakes with syrup
Many of you have never made homemade pancakes. Once you do, you may never buy the mix in a box again. Homemade pancakes are easy, fast and taste so good! I always make my own pancakes from items in my pantry.
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups of milk
- 4 Tablespoons of canola oil
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 Tablespoons of sugar
- 2 Teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 Teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 Teaspoon of salt
Whisk the eggs and the milk together. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until it is smooth. I have never used an electric mixer with this recipe. I recommend a hand whisk. Heat a little bit of oil or butter on your pan. I use a small round pan, about 6 inches and make one large pancake at a time. They are the size of the large pancakes that you get in a retaurant. Use a ladle to put the batter into the pan. For each of the pancakes I make, one ladle of the batter is just the right amount. If you have a griddle, use that and make 4 at a time. Cook these over a medium heat. Turn the pancakes as soon as you see that they have puffed up and the tops have bubbles all over the surface. Cook the other side until it is golden. Remove to a plate and continue.
This batter will easily make 12 to 15 six inch pancakes. My 8 year old granddaughter can almost finish one, with syrup. Most adults will eat two and most teenage boys will easily gobble down three or four. Don't ask me why or how. I have no clue!
The second recipe you might need instructions for:
Bacon, egg, bell peppers, diced onions and mushrooms, all scrambled together and served as a sandwich on buttered toast with fruit. If you like, you can make a cheese sauce with Velveeta and a little bit of milk to put on top of the scrambled eggs. Instead of that, you can dice up a little bit of Velveeta and scramble it together with the rest of this breakfast scramble. It will melt and spread throughout the eggs and other ingredients. This is my favorite way to have this sandwich. Instead of breakfast, you can serve this as a lunch or dinner with some fried potatoes or homemade hash browns.
- one half to one medium onion
- one green bell pepper, diced
- 6 - 8 white button mushrooms, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces of cooked bacon, reserved from the spinach salad, chopped up
- 8 - 10 eggs, whisked together until they are foamy
- a few chopped up pieces of Velveeta (optional)
- 8 to 12 pieces of bread, toasted and spread with butter
Heat a couple of Tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. Add a Tablespoon or two of butter. Sautee the onions, salt, red pepper flakes and diced bell pepper until the bell pepper is tender. Add the mushrooms and sautee. When the mushrooms are tender, drain off most of the liquid. Add some butter if you are using a pan that may stick. Pour in the eggs. Allow the eggs to cook for a few minutes, then with a spatula, starting from the outside edges, pull the eggs to the center, tilting the pan to evenly distribute and cook the eggs. When the eggs are almost finished, add the chopped bacon and the velveeta, if you chose to use some. Make sure everything is combined. Scoop into a bowl and let everyone make their own sandwiches.
This recipe will easily make 6 breakfast sandwiches.
Link To Part 1 and Part 2!
This three part series is a guide to illustrate that you can save money! How building a pantry, only shopping once a week, sticking to a list, buying what is on sale, making a weekly menu, using your food purchases wisely by making inexpensive, but delicious meals can help you feed a family of four on 100 dollars a week. This food budget experiment can turn into the norm.
The series doesn't even touch on coupons, how when you combine coupons with sale items, you can get many grocery items for close to free. It is meant to be a beginning and hopefully, it will help. It does provide a method to have enough food in the house to serve every single meal at home, without ever going into a restaurant. That by itself, can save an enormous amount of money! Pizza? No, I have not provided a recipe for everyone's favorite meal, but in a future Hub, I will. Then, when mozarella and Italian sausage are on sale, you can stock up and buy enough to make pizza twice. Pizza from an Italian grandma! Nothing could be better! Will work on that article next!
Parts One and Two Have additional menus. Please link to them.