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

28 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners

Dairy, Egg & Beef Free Recipes

Dairy, Egg & Beef Free Recipes

I have been working hard on this menu- on and off since early January.  It’s finally ready, y’all. Whew!

We had the roasted broccoli from Day 1 last night (see, I’m already off schedule!) and the Huzz declared it restaurant worthy!!! I’m going to start roasting broccoli, folks, instead of steaming it. It was SO good!

The Sticky Chicken on Day 17 (from Once A Month Meals) was another recipe the Huzz declared a hit. He said I could make it EVERY WEEK!  That’s high praise.  So, it’s making its way into this month’s menu again.  I love finding good recipes that are worthy of repeats and adding into my regular rotation of meals.  This one was SUPER easy to make, too.  Thanks Once A Month Meals!  (Can you tell I love OAMM?  I really do!)

  1. Garlic Chicken, Baked Potatoes & Roasted Broccoli
  2. Buffalo Ranch Chicken Wraps (use leftover chicken from day 1 & make homemade ranch)
  3. Mexican “Beef” & Beans Casserole (sub ground turkey, black beans & add 1 cube of sofrito)
  4. Easy Lo Mein (sub zucchini for snow peas & use safe spaghetti noodles & liquid aminos for soy sauce & omit Sriracha)
  5. Tangy Slow Cooker Pork Roast, Baked Potatoes & Roasted Carrots (make enough carrots for 2 days)
  6. Southwest Crispy Pork Wraps & Leftover Roasted Carrots (sub homemade “sour cream” & Daiya vegan “cheese”)
  7. Allergy Friendly “Beef” Enchiladas (sub black beans for beef & make this new enchilada sauce)
  8. Ranch Chicken Tenders, Ranch Mashed Potatoes & Buffalo Cauliflower Bites (make homemade ranch dressing {see link on day 2}, dip raw chicken strips in ranch and roll in safe bread crumbs, bake at 400 degrees until cooked through, about 20-30 minutes- I haven’t figured out the exact cook time yet)
  9. Flex Meal
  10. The Best Fried Rice & Homemade Potstickers (for rice: omit the egg, sub vegan butter, omit oyster sauce, sub olive oil for sesame oil.  for potstickers: sub garlic powder for garlic paste and sub olive oil for sesame oil)
  11. Easy Tuscan Bean Soup & Bread & Vegan Butter
  12. One Pan Enchilada Pasta (use homemade taco seasoning from 100 Days of Real Food, enchilada sauce from day 7 & Daiya “cheese”)
  13. Veggie Pizza
  14. Nana’s Ribs, Baked Potatoes & Grilled Asparagus- Heart Shaped Wacky Cake for Dessert
  15. Flex or Leftovers
  16. Pasta E Fagioli with Rosemary Olive Oil Drizzle (use fresh tomatoes)
  17. Sticky Chicken, Baked Sweet Potatoes & Roasted Broccoli (see link on day 1)
  18. Ranch Turkey Burger Sliders with Homemade Rolls, French Fries & Sautéed Zucchini
  19. Spaghetti with Ground Turkey & Bread & Vegan Butter (I use jarred spaghetti sauce)
  20. Garlic Chicken, Garlic Ranch Potatoes & Slow Cooker Southern Collard Greens (use link from day 1 for chicken recipe & sub homemade dry ranch mix- link on day 2)
  21. The Best Chicken Soup Ever (use leftover chicken from day 20, use fresh tomatoes, omit corn, sub zucchini or chopped carrots)
  22. Pineapple Fried Rice
  23. Leftovers- Hurray!
  24. One Pan Spicy Lemon Chicken & Tomato Pasta (sub Daiya mozzarella shreds)
  25. Loaded Baked Potato Soup
  26. Easy Chicken Tacos (sub 2 tsp of homemade taco seasoning instead of store bought packet- use link from day 12)
  27. BBQ Chicken Pizza
  28. Mojo Pork Roast, White Rice & Black Beans

There ya have it friends… our menu for the month of February. Happy eating!

20 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners

Menu Plan

It was so relaxing for me to sit down and plan out this menu plan. A few years ago, I never would have made that statement!!!

After our stressful vacation, it feels good to sit down and get back into our safe and comfy routine.

By the way, isn’t this graphic amazing?  My brother is a very talented graphic design artist and is responsible for graphic designs on my blog.  Thanks brother!  I will use this menu plan graphic in all of my upcoming menus.  I’m so excited!!!

Here’s our menu plan for the last few days of December and the first half of January.  I’m always adding new recipes (thanks Pinterest!) and mixing in our old favorites.

Speaking of favorites, I’m currently obsessed with pineapple fried rice. You’ll see that twice on this menu served three times. I could eat it for dinner everyday! And it’s meatless to boot. At least my version is.

I digress.

This menu has a mix of chicken, pork, turkey and meatless meals (beans and veggies as the main protein source).

I hope this helps. Maybe one day I’ll have enough energy to even make a coordinating grocery list. But not anytime soon.  🙂

I share these menus to help other families like ours out there. Meal planning can be a challenge with a special diet.

Just for fun, here’s a pic of my set up for menu planning and getting this post typed up. I love Coke with my homemade Dragon’s Breath Popcorn. It’s the perfect snack for this menu planning blogger mommy!

How I menu plan

How I menu plan

1. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (Make these awesome homemade dinner rolls, using vegan butter and non-dairy milk. Use dough setting on bread machine.  Follow directions for baking.  Once baked, cut rolls in half, add cooked chicken, top with safe bbq sauce) & Oven Roasted Carrots

2. Taco Pizza Rolls (use homemade pizza crust, use homemade taco seasoning from 100 Days of Real Food, ground turkey breast, & Daiya cheese)

3. Pineapple Fried Rice (omit ham, use only 1/2 cup pineapple & liquid aminos for soy sauce)

4. Lemony Chicken Stir Fry with Asparagus

5. Black Bean Chili & Cornbread

6. Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken, Baked Sweet Potatoes & Steam in a bag Broccoli

7. BBQ Chicken Pizza

8. Flex Meal

9. Vegan Crispy Cajun Chickpea Cakes, Homemade Dinner Rolls (See link from day one & make double batch for use in Day 10) & Sautéed Zucchini

10. Ranch Turkey Burgers made small enough to fit the Homemade Dinner Rolls from Day 9 (use 2 Tbs homemade ranch mix for ranch packet sub), French Fries & Fruit Salad

11. Tangy Slow Cooker Pork Roast, Roasted Carrots & Baked Potatoes (Bake enough potatoes for day 12, too)

12. Garlic Chicken, Baked Potatoes from Day 11 & Grilled Asparagus

13. Chicken Nachos (use leftover chicken from day 12 & Daiya cheese)

14. Pineapple Fried Rice (see day 3 for link)

15. Leftover Pineapple Fried Rice

16. Veggie Spaghetti

17. Ranch Pork Chops (make safe ranch dressing using link on day 10, dip chops on both sides in ranch, coat with panko bread crumbs & bake), Earth Balance Vegan “Cheddar” Flavor Mac and Cheese, & Steamed Spinach

18. Easy Chicken Tacos (use homemade taco seasoning using link from day 2)

19. Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole

20. Vegetable Soup & Bread & Vegan Butter

Here are a few photos of the foods in my menu plan.  Enjoy!

Homemade Dinner Rolls

Homemade Dinner Rolls

Ranch Turkey Burger

Ranch Turkey Burger

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.

Pineapple Fried Rice with Ham.  I now omit the ham and it tastes just as good!

Pineapple Fried Rice with Ham. I now omit the ham and it tastes just as good!

15 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners: Part 4

My menu plans are always my ideal and what I strive for. But let’s be real… sometimes I don’t have the energy or the desire to cook. That’s why I depend on my homemade freezer pizzas and flex meals to get me through some days.

Here’s my latest 15 day menu plan. I’m already behind my schedule because it’s day three and I haven’t used this menu yet! Oh well.

I shall try my best to stick to this plan.

Here’s my menu plan for the first half of October:

1. Sweet & Sour Chicken (Sub 3-4 flax eggs), White Rice & Steam in a Bag Broccoli

2. Baked Tilapia, Sautéed Spinach & Sautéed Zucchini

3. Tomato Herb Soup & Homemade Bread

4. Ranch Turkey Burgers (Use 2 Tbs. of this homemade ranch seasoning), French Fries & Grilled Asparagus

5. Taco Crescents & Steam in a Bag Broccoli

6. Pineapple Fried Rice

7. Veggie Pizza

8. Smothered Italian Chicken  (Sub Daiya for the Mozzarella & Omit Parm) & Noodles

9. San Francisco Chops, Rice & Sautéed Zucchini

10. Coconut Vegetable Curry Soup

11. Healthy Turkey Meatballs, Baked Potatoes & Roasted Carrots

12. Sticky Chicken, Vegan Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans

13. Mojo Pork Tenderloin, Rice & Beans

14. Mojo Pork Burrito Bowls

15. Flex Meal

Did you notice I included a recipe with fish??? That’s major!

If you have any easy and yummy fish recipes, please share! I’m in desperate need of some. The easier the recipe, the better.  😃

Sweet & Sour Chicken

 

I don't use ground beef anymore.  I use chicken.  Ground turkey or black beans would work well as the protein, too.

Taco Crescents.  I don’t use ground beef anymore. I use chicken. Ground turkey or black beans would work well as the protein, too.