A Deliciously Cheap Week

Good morning, folks!

Have you guys ever watched Rachael Ray’s show “Week in a Day”? I absolutely love it.  I saw it for the first time last week, and turning on the tv this morning, found myself super excited to see it on again.  I might try this technique next Sunday… we’ll see.

My favorite part of Saturday mornings is perusing websites like epicurious.com, allrecipes.com, and various lusty food blogs for inspiration for our weekly menu.  I usually lazy about on the couch in front of the TV (on Food Network, of course), making out the menu and a grocery list.  I then print out both; one goes on the ‘fridge for reference, and the other comes with me to the store.

Now… I understand that going to the grocery store on a Saturday afternoon is somewhat masochistic, but for some reason, everything is always fully stocked then, and I am usually pretty patient with the millions of Romans buying their weekly rations. Notice: I used the word “usually”.

On the menu for this week…

Monday: Spicy Fennel Shrimp & Toasted Israeli Couscous

– It’s always important to look in your freezer and pantry to see if there is something lingering in there that needs to be eaten.  Don’t even pretend like there’s not a package of ground beef or a bag of rice that you bought weeks ago that you never used… because, I know you, average American.  I know you like I know… myself.  We happened to have a bag of shrimp leftover from last week and a three-month-old box of couscous from Trader Joe’s.

Tuesday: Cuban Black Beans

On the nights that Robert works through dinner, I stick to things that I know he would never eaten in a million years… enter: beans! I love beans.  I’m Dominican, hello.  I grew up eating beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Not to mention they’re super low in cholesterol and fat, and cheap as all get out. This is my current favorite recipe, and I usually put some in a bowl with a dollop of Greek yogurt and some tortilla chips.

Wednesday: Dinner Out!

We only eat out at restaurants twice a week, or if we have a special date planned, Wednesday night being one.  This is our time to enjoy a meal with our family here in town.

Thursday: Linguine with Spicy Red Clam Sauce

Now, we rarely ever eat pasta, maybe twice a month.  But here lately, I’ve had the strangest hankerin’ for linguine with clam sauce.  I used to eat it a lot as a child and Robert has expressed his fondness for the dish on occasion, too. I buy whole wheat linguine for the extra fiber, but honestly, if you replace the typical slice of garlic bread on the side with some roasted broccoli or a spinach salad, you’re fine with regular white pasta.  Although, I would recommend those options with whole wheat pasta, too!

Friday: Eggplant Parmesan Mini-Pizza

I have always hated eggplant… but this week I’m going to give it a shot! An eggplant costs about 88 cents a pop, and instead of marinara sauce, I got a jar of arrabiata (I like it spicy!) instead for the same price.  We’ve always got a little bit of Parmesan cheese in the ‘fridge, so that we don’t have to worry about.  To turn the eggplant parm into “mini pizzas”, just scoop it on top of a whole wheat pita and toast it in the oven.  Mm!

Saturday: Lemon Garlic Tilapia + Whole Green Beans + Brown Rice

It’s important to get enough protein throughout the week, but it’s also important to keep the cholesterol down.. thus, enter: fish! I love fish… again, I’m from an island, helloo.. and we’ve found that salmon and tilapia are definitely the easiest to work with and the least expensive.  Seriously, this is the easiest recipe in the world to make — and Robert’s favorite.  The green beans are steamed, and the brown rice is just a pantry staple.

Sunday: Veggie Soup + Oat Bran Bread

Sunday after church, we enjoy our second restaurant meal, and normally, we’ve got leftovers for dinner.  I like to be prepared in case we don’t, though.  Sunday afternoons for me are all about baking treats and/or bread and being lazy.  So, a nice, healthy Amy’s prepared soup with home made bread are perfect for these chilly Sunday nights we’ve been having lately.

And that’s the week!  Like I said, I normally have some extra fun ingredients on the grocery list (like chocolate chips) for the Sunday afternoon treat.

This week’s grocery list…

Frozen mango chunks – $1.73 (for my green monster smoothies! Perfect for post-work out meals)
Frozen pineapple chunks – $1.72
Fresh cilantro – $0.48
Spinach – $1.98
Steam Fresh Whole Green Beans – $2.48
Green onions – $1.12
1 Cucumber – $0.88
1.62 lbs Bananas – $.076
Whole Wheat Bagel Thins – $2.18
3 Lemons – $0.96
2 Anjou Pears – $1.21
Olay Bar Soap – $2.48 (So we’re not stinky!)
Shaving Cream – $1.97
Whole Wheat Linguine – $1.08
Veggie Soup – $1.50
Minced Garlic – $1.48
1 Can Diced Tomatoes – $1.08
Hershey’s Dark Cocoa Powder – $2.66
Diet Snapple – $1.00 (To get me through the shopping trip)
2 Cans of Minced Clams @ $1.32 a piece
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – $2.24
Butter – $2.48
1 Tub of Greek Yogurt – $1.00
Tilapia Filets – $3.98
Tomato paste – $0.58

For a total of… (including the soap and shaving cream!) $42.38.  Ta-da!

So, even if we had to buy the shrimp, (about $5) we would still have been under budget.

I hope this is helpful to you guys.. and I hope you are inspired to buy and cook delicious, cheap, and healthy foods this week!

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One thought on “A Deliciously Cheap Week

  1. I am definitely trying the Spicy Fennel Shrimp! It sounds so good. I have always felt that I must spend way too much on healthy groceries in order to have a well-planned menu for the week (but you proved me wrong)!

    Thanks Nikki! 🙂

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