Week 26: Cheap Eats

I went over my budget last weekend, so this week’s goal was to go CHEAP! As in, $30-or-less-for-5-days-of-meals cheap. Okay, I was a little over $30, but close, and was actually pretty impressed with how well I was able to feed myself on such little money…

Had in kitchen: maple syrup, barbecue sauce, bread, few slices American cheese, half a large white onion, salt, pepper, olive oil, mayo, sriracha, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, small block cheese

Bought: 2 cans tuna, 1 can whole peeled tomatoes, 1 bag pita chips (for snacking), 1 box ziti pasta, chicken cutlets, 2 apples, 2 oranges, 1 cucumber, 1 bag baby carrots (for snacks), 1 avocado, 1 bag mixed greens, 1 pint strawberries, 1 batata, 2 tomatoes on the vine, 1 box frozen multigrain waffles, 1 lb. butter

Spent: $32.92 (aka $6.60/day for 3 meals per day)

Daily Breakfast: Multigrain Waffles with Strawberries and Maple Syrup

MONDAY

Lunch: Leftovers from the weekend

Dinner: Grilled Chicken and Batata (White Sweet Potato) Fries (top photo)

Comments from Claire: I got one package of chicken cutlets and stretched it (as you’ll see)! I made this meal the first night so I could cook all my chicken at once and have it ready for the rest of the meals later in the week. I basically just grilled all the chicken (5 thin cutlets), on my grill pan seasoned with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. White sweet potatoes were on sale, so I got those instead of regular, and just crisped them up in the oven with olive oil, s + p, garlic powder and some red pepper flakes for spice. I had ketchup, barbecue sauce and sriracha mayo in my fridge, so I decided to do a medley of dipping sauces to make it a little less boring. Also put the chicken over a bed of spinach to get some greens in there!

TUESDAY

Lunch: Chicken and fries

Dinner: Salad with Grilled Chicken and Avocado

Comments from Claire: Grilled chicken got remixed again with this salad! Made a big one so I could also serve it alongside my tuna melt for a veggie element: with mixed greens, grilled chicken (chopped up one), a little onion, cucumber, tomato, avocado, cheese, and red wine vinegar/olive oil for dressing.

WEDNESDAY

Lunch: Salad

Dinner: Tuna Melt with Side Salad

Comments from Claire: I always thought tuna was a “cheap” food – it’s actually really not for a canned good (it’s like $3/can at my store), but I guess it’s cheaper than fresh meat, and also my store had it on sale this week so I lucked out. I already had the bread, mayo and slices of American cheese, so it was a no-brainer. Just toasted the bread in the oven and then put it all under the broiler to make the cheese nice and melty. A big ol’ slice of ripe tomato made it even better.

THURSDAY

Lunch: Tuna melt

Dinner: Pasta and Tomato Sauce

Comments from Claire: Pasta is such a great cheap meal. You can get a bag or box of pasta for like $1, and can make anything into a topping/sauce. I made my favorite (so simple and delicious), Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce. Had it also with a side of that grilled chicken, topped with some leftover over grilled peppers and onions from last week.

FRIDAY

Lunch: Leftover Pasta

Dinner: Soup (I had frozen the batch from this week!)

See you next week! To see what I’m eating in the meantime, follow me on Instagram or Twitter @ClaireLeaden

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