Meal planning has been a revolutionary activity in my everyday life as a wife and adult who's trying to keep an eye on my figure and budget. My high school and college years were spoiled with trips out to eat where I didn't really think much about calorie intake and the impact on my wallet. In college, I would at least set apart a certain amount of money, which I would have in cash, that I would have to limit myself to have for eating food out for that month. But that was still a lot. Looking back, I wish I took more of an effort to cook more of my meals to not only save money but build a skill and repertoire of recipes that I can easily turn to.
Now I'm married and have a budget for groceries every month, but we also have some set aside for dining out because it is fun to go out every once in awhile! We are lucky to have a Walmart pretty much across the street from us, as well as lots of other retailers and dedicated grocery stores like Target and Price Chopper nearby. So we are able to find some affordable ingredients and I've been keeping receipts to try and figure out how it all pans out for cost per meal. I'll try to include that information to help you figure out some affordable and yummy meals to make yourself, or even just give you a refresher on how much more affordable it is to eat in!
This week we originally planned out three meals to span for six days: pasta with Alfredo and or red sauce (sometimes I like to make penne rosa) that would include cooked spinach for me since I'm trying to get more vegetables in my diet, Santa Fe chicken, and steak. The steak though changed to red beans and rice when Monday came around because it was a super chilly day. We needed something simple and full of warm flavors. Luckily enough, my mother-in-law has a great blog with her recipes that are not only tasty but Corey, my hubby, approved.
The recipe is super simple, especially if you have the spices in your pantry. All you'll need include:
- Smoked turkey sausage
- Cloves of garlic
- Chili powder
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Cayenne pepper
- Fully cooked red beans
- Feef stock
- Salt and Pepper
- Cooked rice
Total cost for this meal came to around to a mere $7.94. Divide that over 5 meals and it total cost per meal came to around $1.59. WOW! You can find the specific ingredient measurements and directions at this link for the recipe.