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December 13, 2017

10 Budget Friendly Easy Family Dinners

Image by Gabriel Garcia

I'm sure you know by now I live and die by a budget. I don't care how much money I make I will forever be a budgeter. I enjoy knowing how, when, and where my money was spent. When it comes to food, spending can go up really quick between grocery shopping, convenience store trips, fast food, and dinner out. So I wanted to challenge myself to create a budget-friendly meal plan including recipes and grocery list. 


Shrimp Fried Rice

Ingredients
  • 24 oz Bag of Tejano Vegetable Blend (Carrot, Corn, Peas, Onion, and Red Bellpepper)
  • 16 oz Bag of Frozen Shrimp (raw shell on)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 Cups of Cooked Rice
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
Directions
  1. Fill a bowl with warm water and pour bag of shrimp into the bowl. Once the shrimp is defrosted, peel the shrimp and discard the shells.
  2. Heat pan and add 2 tbsp of butter. Once butter is melted add bag of Tejano Vegetables and sauteed for 10-15 minutes. Remove sauteed vegetables from heat and pour into a container.  
  3. Heat the same pan and add peeled shrimp into pan. Cook shrimp until pink but don't overcook your shrimp. Remove cooked shrimp from heat and pour into the container with vegetables.  
  4. Heat the same pan and add remaining butter. Add cooked rice into the pan and fry rice for 15-20 minutes making sure all the rice is thoroughly fried. Once done turn off heat. 
  5. Heat non stick pan and scramble the eggs. 
  6. Combine sauteed vegetables, eggs, and shrimp into the pan with rice. Turn on heat, add soy sauce, and sautee all ingredients for 5-10 minutes. Turn off heat and serve. 

Shrimp & Sausage Gumbo

Ingredients
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil or Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 3 Tsp of Minced Garlic from a Jar
  • 4 Cups of Water
  • 4 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Hot Sauce
  • 2 Tsp Gumbo File
  • 2 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning (or Cayenne, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Oregano, Thyme, Black Pepper, and Salt)
  • 13 oz. Smoked Turkey Sausage 
  • 16 oz Bag of Frozen Shrimp (raw shell on)
  • 12 oz Bag of Frozen Seasoning Blend (onion, peppers, and celery)
  • 3 Cups Cooked White Rice
Directions
  1. Fill a bowl with warm water and pour bag of shrimp into the bowl. Once the shrimp is defrosted, peel the shrimp and discard the shells. Remove sausage packaging and slice the sausage. 
  2. ln a large pot or bowl heat water (either in microwave or stove) and Bouillon Cubes just until cubes are dissolved. 
  3. Heat large pot with olive oil and whisk in flour to create roux. Cook roux for 15-20 minutes roux will darken in color.
  4. Heat pan, add peeled shrimp, seasoning blend, and cook shrimp until pink but don't overcook your shrimp. Remove cooked shrimp from heat.
  5. Combine the chicken stock (aka water & bouillon cubes), roux, sausage, garlic, and all seasoning together on medium low heat simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Add shrimp and seasoning blend into pot continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Turn off heat. 
  7. Serve gumbo on top of rice. 


BBQ Chicken

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 lbs of Chicken Thigh (about 6 thighs)
  • Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
  • Water
  • Seasoning Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Green Onion (optional)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Place chicken things in large baking pan. Season both sides of chicken with season salt and black pepper.
  3. Place baking pan in preheated oven and allow chicken to bake for 60 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken from oven and drain fat. 
  5. In a bowl mix 2/3 BBQ Sauce to 1/3 water and cover chicken with BBQ sauce. Then top with sliced green onion. 
  6. Place chicken back into oven for 30-45 minutes. Remove chicken from oven.
  7. Serve BBQ Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Corn. 

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 lbs of Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thigh (Chicken Breast is an alternative but maybe more expensive)
  • 14 oz Bag of Frozen Tri-Color Peppers and Onions
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
  • Seasoning Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Poultry Seasoning
Directions
  1. Add all of your ingredients into the Crockpot. Make sure you season both side of you chicken thigh with seasoning salt, black pepper, and poultry seasoning. 
  2. Cook for 4 Hours on High or 8 Hour on Low. 
  3. Once chicken is cooked. Remove chicken from pot and shred. Then add shredded chicken back into Crockpot.
  4. Serve chicken on flour tortilla shells.

Bangers & Mash

Ingredients
  • 13 oz. Smoked Turkey Sausage 
  • 1 Sliced Onions
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
  • Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 flour 
  • 1/4 water
Directions
  1. Cut sausage into serve size, usually about 8 pieces.
  2. Heat large pan and add butter. Once butter is melted add onions and sauteed onions for 15-20 minutes.
  3. ln a medium sized pot heat water and Bouillon Cubes just until cubes are dissolved.
  4. Mix together water and flour. Slowly stir flour and water into chicken stock (aka water & bouillon cubes) preventing lumps. Allow to simmer 5-10 minutes
  5. Combine onion, chicken stock mix, and turkey sausage in large pan.  Allow to simmer 15-20 minutes
  6. Serve bangers with mashed potatoes and peas. 

Tacos

Ingredients
  • 16 oz. Butterball Ground Turkey 
  • 8-10 oz Frozen Spinach
  • Original Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 1 1/2 Cup Water
  • Seasoning Salt
  • Pepper
  • Hard Taco Shells
  • Toppings: Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Lettuce, Tomato, Taco Sauce, Diced Onion
Directions
  1. In large non-stick pan add ground turkey and spinach. Season ground turkey with seasoning salt and pepper just lightly covering the top of the turkey. Cook on medium low heat 20-30 minutes. Once turkey browned turn down heat.
  2. Add water and taco seasoning to meat mixture. Simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. Turn off heat.
  3. Serve taco meat in hard shells with your favorite toppings. 

Chili

Ingredients
  • 16 oz. Butterball Ground Turkey 
  • 10 oz Bag of Frozen Seasoning Blend (onion, peppers, and celery)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • 15 oz Dark Red Kidney Bean
  • 15 oz Black Bean
  • 15 oz Whole Kernel Corn
  • 15 oz Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
  • Seasoning Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Toppings: Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Diced Onion
Directions
  1. In large non-stick pan add ground turkey and seasoning blend. Season ground turkey with seasoning salt and pepper just lightly covering the top of the turkey. Cook on medium low heat 20-30 minutes. Once turkey browned turn down heat.
  2. ln a large pot heat water and Bouillon Cubes just until cubes are dissolved.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients into the large pot. Simmer on medium to low heat for 20-30 minutes. Turn off heat.
  4. Serve chili in a bowl with your favorite toppings. 

Baked Spaghetti

Ingredients
  • 16 oz. Butterball Ground Turkey 
  • 10 oz Bag of Frozen Seasoning Blend (onion, peppers, and celery)
  • 16 oz box of thin spagetti
  • 25 oz Pasta Sauce
  • 15 oz Whole Kernel Corn
  • 15 oz Diced Tomatoes
  • 16 oz Cheddar Cheese
  • Seasoning Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions
  1. In large non-stick pan add ground turkey and seasoning blend. Season ground turkey with seasoning salt and pepper just lightly covering the top of the turkey. Cook on medium low heat 20-30 minutes. Once turkey browned turn down heat.
  2. ln a large pot heat water and bring to a boil. Add Spaghetti, cook 10-15 minutes (until al dente), turn off heat, and drain noodles. 
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. ln a large pot add sauce, corn, tomatoes, and turkey mixture. Simmer 20-30 minutes, turn off heat, and add spaghetti.
  5. Pour spaghetti into large baking pan and top with cheddar cheese. Place baking pan in oven until cheese is melted. 
  6. Serve spaghetti with salad and garlic bread. 

Chicken Cheese Pie

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 lbs of Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thigh
  • Flour Tortilla
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup of Milk (I use Almond Milk)
  • 16 oz Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup of Flour
  • Seasoning Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat oven 450 degrees. 
  2. Cover a glass pan with tortilla shells. Don't overlap just simple try to create a pie crust effect on the bottom of the pan.
  3. In large non-stick pan add chicken, season chicken with seasoning salt and pepper, and lightly covering the top and bottom of the chicken. Cook on medium heat 30-45 minutes. Turn off pan once done and shred chicken.
  4. ln a large pan mix shredded chicken, eggs, milk, and flour. Pour mixture into glass pan over flour tortilla. Top with cheddar cheese. 
  5. Place glass dish in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Turn off oven, allow cool, and serve.

Crockpot Beans & Rice

Ingredients
  • 13 oz. Smoked Turkey Sausage
  • 10 oz Bag of Frozen Seasoning Blend (onion, peppers, and celery)
  • 15 oz Kidney Beans
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Cup Water
  • 2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
  • 1 1/2 Tsp of Minced Garlic from a Jar
  • 1 Tsp Hot Sauce (optional)
  • Seasoning Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 5 Cups of Cooked Rice
Directions
  1. Remove sausage packaging and slice the sausage. 
  2. In Crockpot add sausage, kidney beans, garlic, bay leaves, hot sauce, and seasoning blend.
  3. Cook for 4 Hours on High or 8 Hour on Low. 
  4. Serve beans on top of rice. 

Grocery Shopping Tips

  • Stock up on sale items that your family love that can be stored for an extended period like meat and cereal. This will help you build up your stash help you extend out your next grocery shopping trip.
  • Plan ahead and try to reduce multiple trips to the grocery store. If possible, plan to grocery shop once at the beginner of the month. This will save you time and money, you'll be surprised to realize what things you can go without.
  • As much as I love fresh veggies, I hate when they go bad. Plan meals with fresh veggies at the beginning of the month. During the rest of the month try using frozen and can vegetables (make sure you go for the "no salt added" can). 


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