Food prices are rising, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to go down soon. In the past I’ve blogged about what’s usually in my shopping cart. Today, I want to put some of those ideas into practical use.
Before I get started, however, I’ve got some ideas that will save you even more time and money at the store. These are just a few of the things I do to keep the meals below super affordable.
Onions – When using onion for a topping, like in Chili Dogs or Tacos, put the left over onion is a freezer bag or air tight container and freeze. Frozen onion can then be added to any recipe that you plan to cook. Just don’t try to thaw and reuse as a topping.
Pantry stock-ups – There are certain items that are always going on sale: Spaghetti Sauce, Canned Veggies, Boxed Dinners, Cake Mix. Buy a couple of boxes of Jambalaya next time it’s only $1 (instead of $2.50) and Cake Mix when it’s just 75 cents. Just be aware of sell-by/use-by dates. You don’t even need coupons to save money this way!
Utilize the Deli – Did you know you can get almost any meat cut down and repackaged at the deli counter? Frozen turkey breast on sale for 39 cents a pound but you know it’s too much food for one dinner? No problem; ask the deli to cut it in half and wrap in two packages. Now you have two dinner meats ready to go at the price of one!
Below you will find the shopping list for 8 different easy meals. Recipes are typically sized for a family of 2 adults, 1 – 2 toddlers. You will need to add side-dishes and desserts to stretch the meal.
- Chili Dogs
- Chicken Tacos
- Semi-Homemade Jambalaya
- Pineapple BBQ Chicken
- Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Semi-Homemade BBQ Baked Beans
- Red Beans and Rice (with Sausage)
- Meatball subs
Shopping List: Items with a star (*) are used in more than one recipe.
- 2 cans Italian style diced tomatoes
- 1 can Regular diced tomatoes
- 2, 8 oz cans of pineapple in juice
- 1 – 2 cans of BBQ Baked Beans
- 1 Jar or Can of Spaghetti Sauce*
- 1 can Chili (your favorite) or a couple cups of your favorite left-over chili
- 1 can Chicken Broth
- 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
- 1 large box of favorite pasta* (see notes on bonus recipe)
- 1 box Jambalaya mix, like Zatarain’s or Tony Chachere
- 1 box Red Beans and Rice, like Zatarain’s or Tony Chachere
- Rice* (save yourself time and get Boil in a Bag Rice)
- 1 Box Taco Kit (your favorite brand is fine)
- 1 package premium hotdogs* (Family of 2 adults, 1 toddler needs at least 8 hotdogs)
- I like bun-length hot dogs. Feel free to get something affordable, like Bar-S premium for only $2
- 14-16 oz fully cooked sausage* (the “U” shaped kind, not breakfast)
- 1-2 pounds Boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins or strips* (tenderloins are cheaper); go for at least slightly more than 1 pound
- 1 package Hot Dog buns*
- 1 Bag (32 oz) Frozen Homestyle Meatballs*
- 1 bag of shredded Cheese* (used as a topping is several recipes)
- 1 small can of chicken, optional
- 1 Medium Onion or 1 small container chopped onion, optional