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Meal Planning with only your Pantry and $20

I am sure many people think that with only $20 a week a family of 4 must be surviving on Ramen noodles and Kool-aid, but that can't be farther from the truth. This week we stayed under budget and still ate well.

I am really lucky that I am an avid (but not crazy) couponer who keeps a decent stockpile of the basics in the pantry. The key is to figure out what you have, and how you can use it.

The meals I made this week were all based around something I already had in my pantry. I didn't really have anything planned, but every morning I scoped out the fridge and figured out (usually with the help of Pinterest) what I could make based on a single key ingredient.  Here are the results:

Sunday: Bean and Ham Soup (Pinterest)

I made this from the leftover ham bone I had frozen after Christmas dinner. I did have to purchase beans but buying a pound of bulk dried beans only cost $0.89.

Monday: Shepherd's pie. (Pinterest)  

 I had all the ingredients I needed for a mirepoix and hoped it could be a base for a hearty recipe when I stumbled onto this version of shepherd's pie. I did buy potatoes this week and spent $1.10, but I had the rest of the ingredients to this Weight Watchers friendly recipe in my freezer.

Tuesday: Chicken Parmesan (my own secret recipe)
This was another dish made completely out of frozen and pantry items, since who doesn't have frozen boneless/skinless chicken breasts, pasta, spaghetti sauce, bread crumbs and Parmesan on hand? If you are married to an Italian, like I am, you certainly do.

Wednesday: Stuffed Peppers.  (Pinterest)

Green peppers were on sale this week so I bought 3($1) knowing I could use them for this.  Although this recipe didn't call for it, I added ground beef that was already in my stockpile.

Thursday: Leftovers. We had a little bit of everything left from the 4 previous nights.  Time to clean out the fridge.

Friday: Penne with Acorn Squash and Sausage.  (Pinterest)
I have had an acorn squash sitting on my counter for as long as I can remember so I decided to figure out how to use it.  The original recipe called for pancetta and I was planning on substituting bacon.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I was out of bacon until I was halfway through so I used some sweet Italian sausage instead.  The remaining ingredients also came out of the pantry.

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1 comment :

  1. Looks yummy! Looking forward to trying out that acorn squash pasta recipe next year when the gourds come back out.

    Oh, and glad to hear you haven't graduated to this level of couponing; those guys scare me a little.

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