17 Affordable Dinner Ideas

Budget Friendly Pineapple Fried Rice with Ham.  I now omit the ham and it tastes just as good!  This recipe makes a lot!

Budget Friendly Pineapple Fried Rice with Ham. I now omit the ham and it tastes just as good! This recipe makes a lot!

Our grocery budget is a monster.  Do y’all food allergy parents know what I mean?  I mean, it’s CRAZY!  And ya know what makes it even crazier?  We don’t even eat extravagantly.  Our safe foods are just THAT expensive.

I sat down and tried to brainstorm the most budget friendly tried and true recipes I could think of.  We are in Financial Peace University again as table leaders and really have budgeting on the brain.  I really want to cut our grocery bill each month.

My recipes might start looking a lot like these from now on since I’m trying to trim the giant grocery bill.

(These prices are what I pay at the grocery store and I don’t price out every item in this list.  Some are just my best guesstimates.)

If you want to get ahead of the menu planning game and like freezer cooking, the recipes that have stars are freezer friendly.

Meatless

  • Pineapple Fried Rice (1-2 pineapple cups {$1}, 2-3 carrots & 1-2 zucchinis {$2.50}, omit ham- can get 2 dinners from this & possibly 1 lunch)
  • Veggie Pizza** (1/2 bag Daiya {$2.50}, 1/3 green pepper {33 cents}, 1/3 green onion, olives)
  • Refried Beans, Rice & “Cheese” Burritos**
  • Rice & Beans (and maybe fruit to round out the meal)
  • Bean & “Cheese” Quesadillas (use homemade refried beans or black beans)
  • Veggie Spaghetti (1 zucchini {$1} & 1 carrot, sauce {$2.50} & noodles {$1}- can get 1 dinner and 1 lunch from this recipe)

Chicken

Turkey

  • Picadillo (1/2 pack ground turkey {$1.50} & rice)
  • Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole (1/2 pack ground turkey {$1.50} & approximately 1/2 bag of tater tots {$1.50})
  • Spaghetti (1/2 pack ground turkey {$1.50},  sauce {$2.50} & noodles {$1}- can get 1 dinner and 1 lunch from this recipe)

The chicken tacos are probably the most expensive dinner on this list because of the type of chicken we like and because of the fresh toppings.  I can plan another dinner or two that also uses those fresh produce ingredients like nachos or soup and salad night.  That helps lower the cost of the grocery bill & helps fresh produce not to go to waste.  I can also stretch the budget by stocking up on the chicken when it goes on sale.

I also buy dried beans.  It’s easy to soak and cook the beans.  I think I get 6-8 cups from one bag of dried black beans (my memory is a little fuzzy on this number.)  The beans cost $1.18.  Much cheaper than canned!  I freeze my beans in one cup portions and pull them out as needed.  A quick defrost in the microwave and the beans are good to go!

Do you have some food allergy & budget friendly dinner ideas?  Please share in the comments below.

Thanks!

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender.  Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender. Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole

Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole

14 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners

Dairy, Egg & Beef Free Recipes

Dairy, Egg & Beef Free Recipes

Here’s our menu plan for the second half of January.

1. Nana’s BBQ Pork Ribs, Baked Potatoes & Roasted Carrots

2. Crockpot BBQ Chicken on Homemade Rolls & Steamed Broccoli

3. BBQ Chicken Nachos (Use leftover chicken from day 2)

4. Simple Ingredient 6 Minute Soup & Bread & Vegan Butter

5. Sticky Chicken, Ranch Mashed Potatoes & Sautéed Zucchini

6. Veggie Pizza

7. Veggie Spaghetti (See photo below for recipe)

8. Flex Meal

9. Slowcooker Vegetarian Black Bean & Rice Soup with Lime & Cilantro

10. Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole

11. Easy Chicken Tacos (use 100 Days of Real Food homemade taco mix- click here for link)

12. Raspberry Glazed Pork Chops & Eat Your Veggies Casserole

13. Creamy Potato Soup without the Cream & Homemade Biscuits

14. Turkey Meatball Sliders on Homemade Rolls (see link for rolls on day 2), French Fries & Steamed
Spinach

Here’s how Nana makes ribs:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Salt and pepper ribs. Wrap ribs completely in foil. Put ribs on a cookie sheet and add a little water to the sheet to keep ribs moist. Cook at 300 degrees for 2 hours. Raise temp to 350 degrees and cook for another hour. Take ribs out. Open foil. Add bbq sauce to ribs and broil for 5-10 minutes, until bbq sauce is warmed.)

I’m also still on the hunt for an easy but yummy turkey meatball recipe for Day 14. Please share in the comments below!

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender.  Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender. Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Coconut Oil Biscuits

Coconut Oil Biscuits

Crockpot BBQ Chicken on Homemade Rolls!

Crockpot BBQ Chicken on Homemade Rolls!

Vacationing with Food Allergies: Easy Breakfast & Dinner Ideas & A Few Other Tips

Vacationing with Food Allergies

I’m a planner. And it’s a good thing, too, because going on vacation is no vacation. Not when we don’t eat out. I just don’t trust anyone else to prepare SG’s food. I cook even on vacation. And ya know what? It’s not bad. If I plan ahead, it can even be easy!

Here are a few of my tips for preparing in advance for all of the cooking on vacation.

Make a yummy but easy menu plan for meals on vacation. Either bake and freeze foods in advance (muffins, pancakes, freezer meals, etc.) or prepare the dry mixes in baggies, pack and prepare at destination.

Here are some of my favorite breakfasts, meals and shortcuts for vacation:

Breakfast Ideas

  • Vegan Muffins & Pancakes– I’ve baked and frozen the muffins for past vacations. Next vacay I’m preparing the dry mix at home and baking them fresh in our suite. We have a full kitchen in our hotel suite. I’ve found it’s a must have for us when vacationing.
  • Oatmeal- I measure 1/4 cup of dry quick oats in a baggie. I store lots of them in a larger baggie and write the directions on the larger baggie. Directions: Add 1/2 cup “milk” & microwave for 90 seconds. I add a little plastic bowl of drained peaches to our oatmeal. Easy, fast and healthy!
  • Pumpkin Bread– I’ve also baked and frozen these in the past. They travel well. However, since I’ve discovered how EASY it is to make fresh loaves if I prepare the dry mix beforehand, I will make these fresh on vacation.
Vegan Muffin Mix

Vegan Muffin Mix

Pancake Mix

Pancake Mix

Oatmeal Packets

Oatmeal Packets

Pumpkin Bread Mix

Pumpkin Bread Mix

 

Dinner Ideas

Garlic Chicken Spice Mix & Pizza Sauce Mix

Garlic Chicken Spice Mix & Pizza Sauce Mix

If you don’t already have a “Vacation Tub,” I highly recommend one! In addition to my vacation tub items, I’m packing every small appliance that I think I might need. I’m so paranoid about using someone else’s appliances due to cross contamination. Y’all milk allergy moms get it. 🙂 I’m not crazy. I’m just not taking any chances.

Next vacation I’m packing my:

  • Bread machine
  • Rice Cooker
  • Wok
  • Griddle
  • Mini Loaf Pan
  • Microwave Popcorn Bowl
  • Hand Mixer
  • Crock Pots
  • Pizza Pans
  • Rolling Pin

We are obviously vacationing for a while and I’m in charge of all the meals for us and my parents, who will eat our diet while we are in town. So, pretty much, I’m taking tons of appliances. However, if you are going for a shorter vacay, I’d suggest taking a crock pot and toaster. And a rice cooker if you like rice. We have a toaster we leave at my parent’s house that no one can use except us, so I don’t have to pack that.

I also pack spice mixes in addition to all of my bread and muffin mixes. I premix the spices and put them in small labeled baggies.

Here are the spice mixes I like to have while on vacay:

Popcorn Seasoning, Homemade Taco Seasoning & Homemade Ranch Mix

Popcorn Seasoning, Homemade Taco Seasoning & Homemade Ranch Mix

I’ve linked to recipes when possible.  Please also click here and read my Recipes Substitutions page for more links to things like the recipe for the homemade taco mix, dry ranch mix, etc.