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6 fabulous meals, only $61.05 (shopping list included)!

I’ve told you about my Book Club, right?

Well, ok, hold up.  It’s a Mamas Group.  I admit it.  But I like to call us a Book Club as it sounds so refined and sophisticated and academic, so unlike how I typically feel in my everyday t-shirt-and-jeans-life, pushing my kids on the swings at the park and trying desperately not to check my phone every 5 minutes.  Can you relate?

Ok, back to Book Club.

Well this weekend we descended upon Long Beach, CA for a conference we’ve been looking forward to nearly all year, staying at a local hotel together and getting far too little sleep.  These women are my core community, and together we’re reading books, raising kids, loving husbands, and wholeheartedly trying to care for those around us.

I’m still flying high on the weekend, and excited to share this week’s menu!

A quick note:  there are a few more involved or fancy dishes for company or weekend meals, and several that will be great during the week since they’re easy to whip up.  Have a great week, and if you make any of these meals let me know how it goes!

Dinner #1:

Almond Chicken and Haricots Vert with Shallots

Prep and Cooking Time:  30 minutes

Total:  $5.21 for the chicken + $3.24 for the green beans

Dinner #2:

Falafel Pitas with a Simple Salad

Prep and Cooking Time:  20 minutes

Total:  $3.95 for the falafel pitas + estimated $2.00 for a side salad

Dinner #3:

Chicken Cacciatore with Polenta, with a Simple Salad

Prep and Cooking Time:  1 hour, 15 minutes

Total:  $7.95 for the chicken and polenta+estimated $2.00 for a side salad

Dinner #4: 

Roasted Salmon with a Blackberry Jalapeno Butter and Roasted Cauliflower

Prep and Cooking Time:  30 minutes

Total:  $13.75 for the salmon + $1.88 for the cauliflower

Dinner #5:

Pasta with Sausage, Broccoli and Asiago with a Simple Salad

Prep and Cooking Time:  25 minutes

Total:  $8.00 for the pasta + estimated $2.00 for the salad

Dinner #6:

Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup and Cornbread

Prep and Cooking Time:  60 minutes

Total:  $9.07 for the soup + estimated $2.00 for the cornbread

Total for 6 nights of dinners:  $61.05!  That’s about $2.18 per serving.

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


  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (I look for around $1.99/lb)
  • 3-4 pound fryer chicken, cut (I look for around $1.99/lb)
  • 2 pounds salmon (I look for around $4.99/b)
  • 1 pound italian sausage (I buy chicken sausage for around $2.99/lb)


  • 1 pound haricots vert
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 bunch italian parsley
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary (I prefer fresh, but wouldn’t pay for it since it’s like a weed around here)
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cucumber
  • lettuce (for salads)
  • tomato
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 1 1/2 cup blackberries (sub dried cherries if you can’t get your hands on fresh blackberries)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 onions
  • 1 bell pepper (any color)
  • 1 pound mushrooms


  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas
  • 2 whole wheat pitas
  • 2 1/2 cups red wine
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 pound pasta (fusilli or rigatoni)
  • 4 anchovy fillets (optional, for pasta)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • cornbread


  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1/4 cup asiago cheese
  • shredded jack cheese for topping on soup

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. kelly #

    Tonight I was in the mood for your cottage cheese pancakes. I cut back the butter a little and added some pureed pumpkin. I put a tiny amount of jelly on top so there was some sweetness for the kids and they loved them! I might try more pumpkin next time since it’s so healthy for you. Is there a way to Pin that recipe?

    October 16, 2012
    • What a great idea Kelly! I’m working on an automated pin functionality so hope to have that up soon.

      October 16, 2012
  2. Nolan #

    I recently stumbled upon a blog post you wrote that made its way onto’s blog, regarding slow cooker. I am a 25 year old recent grad, and I love your website already! I really don’t enjoy cooking because I don’t know much about it. I am a very frugal person (sometimes considered cheap), and your website has really inspired me to learn how to put all my financial planning to good use in the kitchen. I love all of your ideas and how you make such good looking recipes while keeping your costs low! Thanks for inspiration!


    November 1, 2012
    • You’re kidding me… Seriously. That must have been a mistake.
      Thanks Nolan! I’m so glad the blog has helped you! I think the biggest part is cooking from scratch versus buying pre-made and processed stuff. Plus I’ve found the best places to buy the most nutritious but inexpensive items. Any questions let me know!

      November 2, 2012
  3. Reanne Heard #

    Oh my goodness, your pictures make everything look delicious!! Especially the salmon!

    November 2, 2012
    • Thanks Reanne!! Enjoy!

      November 2, 2012

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