We’ve all been impacted by inflation over the past year. My family’s biggest expense increase has been our grocery budget. With growing children eating all the time, finding healthy foods that don’t break the bank is difficult.
This year I’m determined to keep a closer eye on our grocery budget and feed my family foods they enjoy without sacrificing healthy ingredients or hard-earned dollars. This is definitely a challenge because my children all eat very differently, and I have a restricted diet (gluten and dairy-free), so it will take some modification and resourcefulness. A few other prerequisites I have for our meals have some shortcuts to keep prep fast and minimal. As a busy, working mom, this is a must!
I’m sharing two weeks of healthy, fast, budget-friendly dinners I created for my family. I included recipes, the stores I purchased from, and approximate prices of the ingredients. In some cases, ingredients can certainly be found cheaper if you choose a different brand. That said, I have selected items on this list based on my family’s preference for taste and quality of ingredients. The meat and main ingredients are clean, mostly organic, and non-GMO.
Saving Money at the Grocery Store
My number one tip for saving money on groceries is to shop at Aldi. They have the lowest prices for organic and fresh foods that I have seen. As you can see from the image above, I could purchase a lot of organic, fresh, and minimally processed foods for under $200.
Trader Joe’s is great, and it’s not as close of a drive for me. When I head that way, I swing by Whole Foods for their precooked, organic rotisserie chickens at $12.49 each. Saving time by not cooking the chickens is worth the extra stop for me.
Organic Chicken Soup with Rice: $21.22
Make bone broth ahead of time with two organic rotisserie chickens. Debone chickens and put the meat in a container in the fridge. Using an Instant Pot, add chicken bones/carcass, 1T salt, a good splash of apple cider vinegar, and enough water almost to cover the bones. Set to manual/high for 90 minutes. After the pressure has been released, strain the broth. Set aside four cups of broth and refrigerate the remainder for use in future recipes.
To make chicken soup, saute 1/2 chopped onion in 1T avocado oil in a large pot on the stove. Add 1c chopped carrots, 1c chopped celery, and one pressed garlic clove. Saute for 3-5 minutes, then add the 4c bone broth. Once it comes to a boil, add 1tsp salt, 1tsp dried parsley, and pepper to taste. Cook for approximately 15 minutes until vegetables are tender. Then add cubed meat from one chicken. Once heated through serve. You can add cooked organic rice (Aldi $3.59) if desired.
Spaghetti and Meatballs with Salad: $13.82
I have found Good and Gather grass-fed beef meatballs from Target ($6.89) to have clean ingredients and great flavor. Organic spaghetti from Aldi is $1.79; gluten-free is $2.29. A jar of organic pasta sauce from Aldi is $1.95. My next favorite tomato sauce brand is Rao’s (not organic, but with clean ingredients and no added sugar), which can be found at Aldi for $6.88. Mixed green salad from Aldi is $2.69.
Organic ground turkey (Trader Joe’s $6.99lb), organic corn shells (Trader Joe’s $2.49), organic cheese, organic shredded lettuce, and avocado. I make my own taco seasoning in batches to easily have on hand and give me control over the ingredients.
Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Peas: $20
Grassfed ground beef (Aldi $5.29lb). Cooking meatloaf in a muffin tin allows it to cook much faster. This recipe is very close to the one I use from my memory, except I only use beef.
Chili and Cornbread: $17
1lb organic ground beef, 1 15.5oz can organic kidney beans (Aldi $1.16), 2 15.5oz cans organic tomato sauce (Trader Joe’s $1.75), 1 15.5oz can diced tomatoes, 1/2 bag frozen organic corn (Trader Joe’s $1.79), spices. Cornbread mix (Trader Joe’s $2.69).
Homemade Pizza with Salad: $7.50
One bag of Trader Joe’s pizza dough ($1.29). A gluten-free option is available. Pasta sauce (Aldi $1.95), organic mozzarella cheese (Aldi $2.25), organic salad mix (Trader Joe’s $1.99).
Chicken Pot Pie: $18
My favorite recipe for this dish. Use premade bone broth and remaining rotisserie chicken. To make this dish gluten-free, substitute with almond flour and use gluten-free pie crust. To make dairy-free, substitute almond milk for the half and half and use avocado or olive oil instead of butter.
Beef and Broccoli with Rice: $15
My favorite recipe for this dish. Use premade bone broth and leftover rice from the chicken soup recipe.
Wild Caught Salmon with Roasted Veggies: $20
My favorite recipe for this dish. Wild-caught salmon ($13.99 Trader Joe’s) and the vegetable of your choice roasted in olive oil.
Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese: $9
This is the easiest and cheapest meal! Russet potatoes ($.99 each at Target), organic cheese, and broccoli. Make the potatoes in the Instant Pot to save time and cook to perfection!
Pork Tenderloin with Green Beans: $15
My favorite recipe for this dish. Pork tenderloin ($3.99lb Trader Joe’s).
Roasted Chicken Breast and Potatoes: $10
1lb organic boneless chicken breast (Aldi $5.99lb). Preheat oven to 425º. Put chicken in a glass baking dish and drizzle with 1T avocado oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and dried parsley. Bake for 25 minutes until cooked through. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let stand for five minutes. Cut into slices and serve. Recipe for roasted potatoes.
Beef Stew: $12
Recipe for yummy beef stew. Use premade chicken bone broth. Stew meat (Trader Joe’s $5.99).