As much as I would like to eat out every meal OR (even better) have my mom cook dinner for me every night, those luxuries have long come and gone. I laughed at myself the other day because as I was driving home I thought, "wonder what's for dinner?" only to be rudely reminded that in reality, I am the person who decides what is for dinner, goes to the grocery store and gets dinner on the table for me and Hunter. Don't get me wrong, I can really enjoy cooking and researching recipes when I have time and money to do so! I can go crazy at the grocery store and cook up something pretty yummy and creative, but the items in my cart add up pretty quickly. At this stage in life I thought you might also be lacking money and time, can I get an amen? So I wanted to spend a few hours telling you about my go-to recipes that have saved me some dollars over the past few months. It has taken a while to adjust to supporting 2 people with one income. Any med-school significant others out there? Bless you. But these meals that are under about $15 a piece for 2 people have really come in clutch!
The prices I am referencing are based on Wal-Mart Great Value brand or a similar off-brand. I am assuming that you already have the seasoning and baking supplies, or something close.
One Sheet Pork Tenderloin and Veggies
Salt and pepper
Broccoli (about $2.62 for a 2 pound bag of frozen flourets)
2 Bell Peppers (About $1.50 a piece, $3 total)
Pre-Seasoned Pork Tenderloin ($4.08 at your local Wal-Mart)
This can't even really be called a recipe. It is what I do when I don't have time to do anything else, which is often. Hunter asked me yesterday if we could eat this meal less...#oops. But it is THAT EASY. You can bake everything on one sheet at the same time.
Spray the sheet and then unwrap the pork tenderloin and place it in the center of the sheet. Then simply cut the bell peppers into slices and lay them on one side of the sheet with the broccoli on the other side. I like the vegetables to cook around the meat so that if the meat releases any juice it runs onto the veggies and gives them more flavor. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and then season with salt, pepper and Slap Ya Mama to taste. Pop all that yummy goodness in the over for about 35 minutes and you'll have a super easy dinner that looks pretty on a plate! I use a meat thermometer to check my pork, and I suggest you do the same!
Square baking dish
1 package flour tortillas ($1.78)
1 pound ground beef ($5.44)
1 bag shredded Mexican cheese ($2.22 for 8 ounce bag) Optional
1 can enchilada sauce ($1.48)
1/2 cup salsa con queso ($1.98)
1 pack taco seasoning ($1.48 for 1 packet)
1 bag of frozen corn ($2.22 for 2 pound package)
1 can diced tomatoes ($1.48)
Super easy! Start by spraying your square baking dish. Preheat the over to 400 degrees while you drain the tomatoes. While the oven is preheating, brown the ground beef. Make sure to stir while it is cooking so that it will be nice and crumbly. Once all the pink is gone, drain it and then add taco seasoning and 1 cup of tomatoes and stir. Once that is done, remove the meat from the pan.
Use the same pan to warm the corn. Once the corn is warm, add the salsa con queso and stir. Once that is warm, set the pan aside.
Then spread 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish; top with 1 tortilla, 1/4 cup cheese/corn, then 1 1/2 cups meat mixture, spreading meat out evenly. Place another tortilla on top; top with 1/4 cup cheese/corn and 1 cup vegetables. Repeat layers until your dish can't hold any more. On the very top spread more enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup of tomatoes and 1 cup of the shredded Mexican cheese (optional).
Cover the dish with foil and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes. Let it cool and serve it up to impress your dinner guests. Delish. If you want to add a little extra, top it with a scoop of guac and serve tortilla chips on the side. Add a margarita if you bad.
Loaded English Muffin
Toaster, frying pan
Whole wheat english muffins ($4.99)
Laughing cow spreadable cheese (I use the spicy jalapeno) ($4.00)
Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joes ($2.00)
Ground turkey ($4.00)
Salt and pepper to taste
Easy-peasy breakfast that is absolutely DELISH and takes like 10 minutes to make. I start by browning the ground turkey. I season it with salt and pepper. If you have sriracha or buffalo sauce, you can toss that in for a little kick. Once it is done, set it aside.
Next I work with the eggs. You can make them however you like, I prefer to beat them and then make a patty of sorts (kinda like a flat omelette) out of them so that it fits on the sandwich easily. If you want scrambled or over-easy, those would work too! Pepper those babies up.
While that is cooking I will toast the english muffins. Once they are done toasting, I spread half a wedge of laughing cow cheese on each piece. Then I put the Everything But the Bagel seasoning on top of that. By now, my egg is done so I will scoop that onto the muffin and then sprinkle my ground turkey over the top. It ain't fancy but it's delicious. I usually serve it with yogurt and granola on the side. Hunter requests this on the reg.
7 Can Soup and Adult Grilled Cheese
From what I understand, there are a lot of versions of this recipe. I found one from The Pioneer Woman that I absolutely love. It is laughably easy and so so so cheap. Here's the skinny:
1 can meat-only chili ($1.98)
1 can 15 oz kidney beans ($1.48)
1 can 15 oz pinto beans ($1.48)
1 can 15 oz black beans ($1.48)
1 can 15 oz diced tomatoes ($1.48)
1 can 15 oz corn ($1.48)
1 can 10 oz rotel ($1.49)
8 oz Velveeta cubed (I recommend the spicy queso blanco!) ($4.98)
Here's the fun part: don't drain the cans! Just empty the corn, chili, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, tomatoes and tomatoes into a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Salt and pepper as you desire. Then just dice the cheese and stir it into the soup until it is melted. Once it is melted, serve 'er up! You can do this recipe with literally any canned things that you like.
To add a fun touch on the side, I do grilled cheese with turkey and bacon. It is really good dipped in the soup. It is some serious comfort food and we LOVE it. Not to mention it makes a ton and you can save it for lunch the next day.
I like the English muffin for breakfast, the soup and grilled cheese for lunch, and the enchiladas and pork tenderloin for dinner. If I cook these things in one week, we have plenty of leftovers to carry us while only spending about $60. That leaves us $40 of our weekly grocery budget for things like yogurt, granola, cereal, fruit, snacks and of course dog treats. ;)
If you try any of these (enchiladas are my fave!), let me know! I would love to work more lifestyle content into my blog, so if recipes are something you want to see more of, tell me! I am no chef, but we can learn together.
Enjoy your food and your loved ones!