As background, I did an under $9 shop last Tuesday night and with my haul, attempted to make three full dinners that would feed myself and DH with leftovers, a family of four perhaps, with two adults and two children, or one person, with options to tuck away for future meals-basically-four portions. I'll start out saying, all three meals would easily fit into our life on a regular basis. I'll make some tweaks as the sodium needs to come down. To read about my full shop and initial plan, go to My Wednesday Pantry-$3.00 Meal Planning post. For the most part, I only used items I bought in the $8.81 shop, but allowed a bit of oil and seasonings I had in the house. Most of my seasonings are the $1 versions bought in Dollar Tree, Aldi, or Walmart and I used very little, but if you had none of these items, these meals could still be made.
I'll reiterate that this was for fun, a self imposed budget challenge, meant to stretch my creativity while harnessing in the over indulgent spending I have done on meals out of the house for the last two weeks. As you'll see from my summary of the overall nutritional details, there are many faults. Had I allowed the use of milk, eggs, flour, and butter, I could have cut the flaws considerably. As for meal prep, for things that were individual items (toastie dogs and grilled cheese), I only made what DH and I would eat, so have the ingredients for the other two portions uncooked. With that out of the way, let's get going.
- Toastie Dogs- we each had two, made with a slice of bread, one hotdog, and three cheese cubes. While the package says a serving is 1 hot dog, I don't think that is realistic so I converted 1 serving=two hot dogs.
- Roasted potatoes-8 potatoes per tin, 2 tins, 4 potatoes per serving
- Steamed carrots-peeled and sliced 4 large carrots, which made 4, 1/2 cup servings
Toastie dogs were my favorite school lunch as a child, and none of my kids really liked them.It was nostalgic for me to bring into this plan as I never have reason to make them, even though hotdog's were not my first choice to buy. DH loved the potatoes! I rinsed them before tossing them in a touch of olive oil, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. We should have had 4/4 potatoes servings but DH devoured them! He also ate all the carrots.
- Cheesy Pasta Bake- mac and cheese according to package, but used a bit of pasta water instead of milk, no butter or margarine, and stirred in the can of cream of chicken soup, 1 tsp each of pepper, garlic and onion powder.,14 cheese cubes (2 ounces), topped with bread crumbs made with 4 slices bread.
- Steamed carrots-same as meal one
- Canned Pork and beans
DH loved the pasta bake. He said it tasted like restaurant mac and cheese and was surprised the base was from a box. He ate two portions of it, but we both only had one serving of carrots and beans. I was not impressed with the Aldi beans. Way too much liquid, and all the flavor was in the liquid. Chef Owing had an idea to cook hotdog slices in the beans. I could have done that and cooked down some of the sauce and they might have had a heartier taste. Even had I pan fried the beans to cook down liquid they might have been better, but I just zapped them in the microwave.
- Chili (more like Chili soup)-sauteed two carrots, In small pieces with a bit of vegetable oil, garlic, onion powder, paprika, and cumin, added two cans of undrained chili beans to build all the flavor Added one large can crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup water, and probably at least a tablespoon of chili powder! Added more pepper to taste and let this simmer for half an hour. I let it get cold, then reheated it later. I think chili tastes better if it cools down and then is reheated.
- Grilled cheese sandwiches-4 cubes of cheese melted between two slices of bread per sandwich.