Dinner and $100

A financial planner, gluten eater, friend of mine wondered if gluten free meals were more expensive than regular meals. I told him they were. But that price increase can be avoided if you eat whole foods. Then I asked how much he and his family spend on groceries in a week. He said, with coupons, they spend between $125 and $150 per week. I said ok. I will make gluten free dinner for four people for 5 nights for $100 or about $20 per meal. The other $50 can be used for lunches and breakfasts.

Thursday and Saturday nights we typically go out to dinner. So, I only have to cook 5 nights instead of all of them.

I don’t use coupons and I will only use specials that pop up at my grocery store – like buy one, get one free items or sales that I happen upon. That’s how I shop and plan every week anyway!

I’ve got four meals in under my belt.

Monday – Hamburgers and french fries. I bought pre-formed hamburgers, Udis’s gluten free hamburger buns, and I cut up potatoes to bake them in the oven for french fries. I spent $8.40 on hamburgers, $5.25 for buns, and $3.49 for 5 lbs of potatoes. I did not use 5lbs of potatoes for my meal, but I’ll take the hit here. Total meal cost $17.14

Tuesday – Chicken with lemon dill sauce, broccoli, and rice. The chicken with lemon dill sauce was easy and a new recipe for me. I bought chicken breasts and on this particular day it was buy one get one free, so my 1.35 pounds of chicken was $3.59. Broccli was 2 for $5, so $2.50. I had rice, but I’ll add $2.00 for the 2 cups of rice I cooked. I did have to buy a lemon $0.99, fresh dill $1.99, heavy whipping cream $1.99, garlic clove $.099, and chicken stock $3.59. I bought the Pacific chicken stock in the 1c individual containers, it’s more expensive, but now I have 3 more cups of stock. So, that total is – $17.64.

Here’s how I made it – I cut the 2 big chicken breasts into 6 pieces and pounded them sorta flat. Then put salt, pepper, and corn starch on for a crispy chicken. Cooked the chicken in oil. Pulled the chicken out and set aside. Put the chicken stock in the pan along with garlic and squeezed all the lemon juice into the pan. I let that boil and reduce until thick. Then I turned off the heat, poured in cream until I liked the color, tossed in the dill, and stirred. Put the chicken in the sauce to coat and Viola, dinner is served.

If you more specifically want the recipe I used, here is a link. I made some modifications, but that is the original.

Wednesday – I made lasagna. The recipe I use is from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. Here are the ingredients and costs. Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage $4.99, GF oven ready lasagna noodles $2.65, diced tomatoes $1, tomato paste $0.89, tomato sauce $0.59, onion $.54, Parmesan cheese $6.12, mozzarella cheese $4.99, ricotta cheese $1.99, and an egg $0.33 for a total of – $24.09. I do have leftover parmesan and mozzarella cheese, so I’m not worried about being a little over today.

Here’s a link to the recipe.

Friday – Pizza night. Tonight is frozen pizza and a movie night. It started when they were small because they were wiped out from school all week. Now, it is something my kids look forward to all week. They are happy with Totino’s pizza rolls or pizza. Tonight, it is Pizza Rolls – $8.99 for 120 rolls. We won’t eat them all, but they will make a dent. My gluten free pizza if I buy it at Walmart is $5.99 for a Udi’s. I even like the Udi’s pizza. So, I think I’m a little tight, so its $6 Udi’s tonight. I’m at $14.98. I will throw in some Mayfield Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream tonight – $3.99 for the half gallon. We are at $18.97 or if we all ate gluten free it would be $5.99 * 4 because we would all need a pizza $23.96. Also, this will be the last time I talk about pizza night because it is pretty consistent at our house.

So far, I’ve spent $82.83. Because I promised all gluten free meals, I’m using the number from everyone eating an Udi’s pizza rather than the cheaper Pizza Roll numbers.

I’ve got to get dinner for Sunday evening for $17.17. I’m thinking I want to do something bigger. It’s supposed to rain, so a slow cooked something sounds great! I’ll let you know what I figure out because I’m at a loss right now.

I think I will make this a running item on my blog. I think lots of people struggle to know what to cook. I cook a lot, but we are a busy family on a tight budget. I try to not buy a lot of processed gluten free foods because I don’t like most of them. It is cheaper and healthier to eat this way.

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