We've started the 5 days and 5 nights of our week on a budget. I gave us a limit of $75, to last us the work week (since we have plans this weekend that involve company and dining out). It's MUCH harder than you would think. Mind you, we are not eating any processed/prepared meals or junk food, which are a lot easier on the wallet.
*According to this website, the average family of three (our fur babies were not included in this budget), can receive up to $463/month on their Georgia Compass EBT Card to be used for food. That breaks down to $115/week. Some think it's impossible to eat healthy on that kind of budget. After our first trip to the grocery store I can tell you that it's difficult, but not impossible.
I will mention that I am using the olive oil, butter, salt and pepper, and spices that I have on hand. We also did not have to buy diapers, because we use cloth diapers. It’s an investment in the beginning that really pays off once the baby arrives. We did, however, have to buy formula and baby food. I make her baby food, so it costs less than $1/week. Kenley’s food total was almost 1/3 of our budget for the week, but since she's 1/3 of our family, I guess it makes sense :)
She likes peas - horray!
Going into the week, I knew I'd have to do some research at my local grocery store before I came up with a menu. Kenley's food was $25 of our budget, so I had $50 for two adults' breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week. Woah.
I started by checking my local grocery store (in my case, Publix), for their weekly specials. I rarely do this, but it saved me $22 off my bill! So many items were buy 1, get 1 free. This is HUGE, because we didn't need two of many things, except for cereal. One for him, one for her :)
I was able to get bread, pre-cut fresh broccoli, two kinds of cheese, cereal, pasta, etc, all for half off. I also got some ground beef that was on sale, corn (6 ears for $2!), and red skinned potatoes that were really cheap. I made my menu around these cheaper items. In addition I bought a whole chicken that would make two meals. Here is the menu I divised:
Day 1 - Roast Chicken, Carrots, and Red Potatoes with Spicy Parmesan Green Beans
Day 2 - White Chicken Chili
Day 3 - Sweet Corn and Basil Pasta
Day 4 - Patty Melts with Sweet Potato Fries
Day 5 - Carmelized Onion, Sweet Pea, and Roasted Broccoli Pasta with Cheesy Garlic Bread
Not bad, right? I will have Raisin Bran (two for 1) for breakfast, bananas for snacks, leftovers for lunches, and a big meal each night. The baby has her bottles, and peas or sweet potatoes that I made last night, so we'll switch off days for her. The grand total for our entire bill was $74.76!
Last night I made the Roasted Chicken Dinner. It was delicious! By buying an entire chicken (All natural and $7.11), I am able to use the leftovers for chicken chili, and the bones for stock.
I never buy whole chickens because they freak me out, but it was so nice to know that we were using every last piece of this guy in some way. It's probably the only way people used to cook back in that day.
I stuffed the chicken with garlic and lemon, and seasoned the outside with salt and pepper (and a couple tablespoons of butter). Bake for an hour and a half at 425 degrees and you've got a great meal! I even removed the chicken so the potatoes could continue to get some color.
Once we had eaten, I removed the rest of the meat and placed the carcass (yucky word) into a stock pot with carrots, celery, and onion, then filled it to the top with water. As we speak, it is simmering on the stove to make a stock for our chili tonight! Two for one, baby.
I also started soaking my beans last night, because dried beans are MUCH cheaper than canned!
I'll let you know how we do. So far, we don't feel the least bit deprived. Let's just hope this budget can keep up with our appetite!
*Head over to the Baby tab for some Kenley photo overload. I detailed our Weekly Photo Project today :)
PERFECT ROAST CHICKEN
Adapted from Ina Garten
- 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, halved
- a few cloves garlic, cut in half crosswise
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1-2lbs red skinned potatoes, quartered
- Olive oil for tossing
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Place the potatoes and carrots in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.
Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.