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next week’s menu plan #13, 6 meals for $53.45!

“It’s ok, Luke.  I’m right here.”

Be still my beating heart.  These were the 6 words I heard my daughter whisper to her brother on my way downstairs after tucking them in tonight.  Not only are they now sharing a room (a recent development) but my son is sleeping on the floor on his crib mattress (this would be his Big Boy Bed…or at least this is how we’ve sold it to him…we have yet to actually break down his crib, partly because we’ve only have 1 successful night under our belts with this Big Boy stuff but also because I might have to have a good cry before packing away one of the last official “baby” items left in our house).  But time marches on and here we are.

What about you, dear Reader?  Do you have kids?  Young or old?  I wonder often about your life stories…where you live, whether you’re a cat family or love dogs (or neither!), whether you’re new to cooking or have done it forever, and if you (like me) often wonder if you’re totally messing up your kids or how anyone can afford to retire?  Maybe someday we’ll meet.  Oooohhh…that would be fun.  Maybe you’ll ask me what’s up with my run on sentences, something I noticed just this second.  You probably caught that your first time here.  Bless you for sticking around.

Ok, here’s our little menu plan this week!  We’ve got a light and tasty chicken salad, a meatloaf even I’ll eat (and that’s saying something), my favorite risotto, and more!

Enjoy!  And if you have the time please leave a comment and tell me something about yourself!

Dinner #1:  Chicken, Goat Cheese and Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts and a Crusty Baguette ($7.18+estimated $2.00 for crusty bread)

Dinner #2:  A Food Snob’s Meatloaf with Garlic Roasted Broccoli ($6.30 for the meatloaf +$3.89 for the broccoli)

Dinner #3:  Sausage, Tomato and Spinach Risotto ($6.51 for the risotto…you may want an extra veggie or salad but it’s quite filling as is)

Dinner #4: Tandoori Chicken Kabobs with Peach Chutney and Sauteed Zucchini with Honey Basil Vinaigrette ($8.35 for the chicken+$1.92 for the zucchini)

Dinner #5:  Italian Sausage and Peppers on Asiago Polenta and a Simple Side Salad ($8.17 for the sausage and polenta+estimated $2.00 for the salad))

Dinner #6:  Curried Chicken and Zucchini with Couscous ($7.13 for the chicken and couscous…you might like a salad with this but we usually just eat as is since there’s so much in there)

Total for 6 nights of dinners:  $53.45!  That’s about $2.20 per person.

Shopping List (items you likely don’t already have in your pantry):


11 chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each for 66 ounces or between 4 and 5 pounds)

1 pound ground turkey or chicken

1 3/4 pound italian sausage (I go for the chicken sausage at Sprouts)


2 heads lettuce

2 shallots

1 granny smith apple

2 lemons

1 lime

1 1/2 pounds peaches

1 bunch italian parsley

3 pounds broccoli

3 onions

1 head garlic

1 piece fresh ginger (about 2 inches)

2 jalapeno chiles

1 bunch spinach

1 teaspoon rosemary (fresh is best but dried is ok)

1 bell pepper

2 tablespoons basil

6 zucchini

1 red onion

1 bunch cilantro


4 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 cup red wine

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 can diced tomatoes

1 cup arborio rice

1 cup whole wheat couscous

1 baguette

3 slices sandwich bread

1 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup walnuts

1/3 cup dried cherries


2 ounces goat cheese

5 ounces asiago  cheese

2 eggs

3 cups milk

1 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt

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20 Comments Post a comment
  1. I thought the last “big girl bed” (all girls at my house) would be the toughest until the next big milestone comes along. Each replaces the last one and you think, “how can this be?”. Oh, and we’re a cat family.

    August 20, 2012
  2. Married but no kids, not really sure if I want any… even though hubby is fantastic with kids. I love both dogs and cats and we have both! I recently started to dabble in cooking. But I’m a former Baking & Pastry culinary student (:

    August 20, 2012
    • Also, I really really like your wine friday posts! I’ve been trying to get into wine and I just never know where to start but your posts help! It also helps that they’re not super expensive finds either so thanks for that 😀

      August 20, 2012
      • You’re most welcome!

        August 20, 2012
    • Oooohhh…I thought about going to culinary school too! I say go for kids, when you’re really ready. You know…get in that travel, those date nights, all those fun married with no kids things. Pleasure to meet you!

      August 20, 2012
  3. Lauren #

    That risotto is my favorite too! I’m a new reader, so we can get to know each other together. We have a boxer dog, and I’m pregnant with my first wee bairn! We live in Phoenix, but we’re transplanted there from California. I’m a Ph.D. student. Hubs is a firefighter. You don’t actually use run-on sentences. (If you want to see run-on sentences, read a 1st year undergrad’s paper at ASU.) You just use long, loose sentences that still have purpose and multi-clausal clarity. It’s a stylistic choice and is effective when mixed with short, choppy sentences.

    August 20, 2012
    • Yay! Congrats on your first bambino! So fun…
      We’re in CA too! Where are you? And how in the world are you getting a PhD and cooking up a baby?!! You go girl! Great to meet you.

      August 20, 2012
      • Lauren #

        Thanks! We’re from Santa Barbara. And I’m growing a human and a degree simultaneously because, at the end of the day, getting a Ph.D. is just a job. I’m just like any other mom who has to work full time. That’s what I’m telling myself to make it through, anyway. 🙂

        August 21, 2012
  4. What an awesome, delicious menu for the week! ENJOY!

    August 20, 2012
  5. Hi Kelly,

    I’m a loyal follower! My name is Christina (41) and I live with my 11 year old daughter, one big dog, one small cat and I ususally have a house full of friends. I absolutely admire your ability to not only come up with fantastic frugal food, but also to do it all with just one shopping list! Oh how I wish I had your skill!

    I also happen to like your run on sentences. In third or fourth grade my teacher made me paraniod about my tendency to run on, but never cured me. When I read your posts i feel like I’m listening to a friend. Don’t change anything about yourself!

    Oh and on the kiddo front, my very best suggestion for avoiding heartbreak as each milestone passes is to keep a journal. I got a pretty fancy 10 year journal from Amazon that allows you to enter a blurb or two per day and it keeps them on the same page so you can reflect how your kids were on that very day so many years ago. Having room for just one sentence keeps me from feeling guilty that I don’t ramble on and on… anyway, nobody needs a fancy journal to do that but jotting down the highlights of the day will keep you from forgetting any little details.

    Keep up the good work!

    August 20, 2012
    • Great to meet you Christina!
      Love that you have a house full of friends – me too! And we must be kindred spirits with our love for run on sentences…
      Ooooohhhh, and thanks for the idea about the journal! I’ve kept some notes in my phone but that’s such a better plan.

      August 20, 2012
  6. I just put my son in his “big boy bed” and when he doesn’t fall out and end up sleeping on the floor he is in my bed, and he wont stay in there at all at naptime. I am wondering if I can just pop the side back on his crib and just have a 3-year-old that still sleeps in his crib lol, at least we would all be getting more sleep lol

    August 20, 2012
    • I’ve decided that, within limits, you just do whatever it takes to stay sane as a parent. Hey, whoever said cribs were just for babies anyway?? 🙂

      August 20, 2012
  7. Jen #

    My name is Jen. I am a CA native and now raising my family in Austin, Tx. The best way to know you are raising your kids well is how they respond, respect and treat other people. I know you will have more of those tender moments as you hear the kind and comforting words your children say to each other when they think no one is watching! I am partial to your blog and love your photography skills. I think you and your family should come join me in Austin when Trader Joes Opens here! We could cam out and be the first to purchase their wine!

    August 21, 2012
    • Dear Jen:
      1. I miss you so much.
      2. I’m going to start playing the lottery in my pursuit of coming to visit you.
      3. Let’s talk soon.

      August 21, 2012
  8. sarah #

    Hallelujah! Just discovered your blog…a true God-send as our own family of four (two little boys, ages 2.5 and 8 mos) have just moved back to the States from China and are reeling at cost of living expenses and trying to learn how to do meals in America! (In Asia, I’d walk to our neighborhood wet market daily for produce. I’m shocked at how I’m still driving to the grocery in the States almost daily, but hope to change all that through your wonderful menu plans — especially love the grocery lists). Blessings and bon apetit to your family. Excited to follow y’all. (And, I, too, have become sorely lazy about my run-on sentences in my own little blog. Sigh! Don’t tell anyone I was an English major.)

    August 22, 2012
    • LOVE stories like this! It’s so fun to connect with readers and get to know them, and most especially I love helping anyone I can in any small way. Cheers!

      August 22, 2012
  9. It’s amazing that you’re able to produce such an abundance of delicious foods on such a tight budget! I’m super impressed 😉

    August 30, 2012
    • Thanks! Hope you’re able to find the same prices too!

      August 30, 2012

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