To give an example of how to make a cheap meal plan, I have chosen Ground Beef as a main item. You probably won't plan to have these five ground beef meals back to back, but if you shop for two weeks at a time, you can easily work these five meals into your two week plan.
You'll need to buy the following items at the store:
Ground Beef 4 lbs @ $2.00 per pound - $8.00
Instant Potatoes $1.69 (appx 10 cents per ½ cup)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese, 16 oz bag $2.50 ( .63 per ½ cup)
Frozen Black-eyed Peas $1.00
Two Cans Diced Tomatoes @.60 - $1.20
Onion - .50
Tomato Soup - .89
Green Beans - .60
Green peas - .60
Corn - .60
Box of Macaroni noodles - $1.00
Cream of Chicken Soup - .89
Vegetable Soup - .89
Bag of Potatoes - $3.00
This is approximately $23 of groceries. You will have cheese, instant potatoes and regular potatoes left over beyond these meals. If you are not eating these five meals back to back, then you might plan alternating chicken meals which use those remaining items in their ingredients.
Preparation step- All of these meals use browned ground beef with onion. On the day you bring the meat home, chop and onion and brown the beef and the onion. Drain the grease and split the meat up to five Ziploc bags. Leave one in the refrigerator for your first meal and freeze the rest. By cooking the meat and dividing it immediately there is no chance it will spoil and no chance the meat gets used for something other than your planned meal. Cheap meals are not cheap if the food goes to waste.
The following five meals can be made from the grocery list provided.
Cheap Ground Beef Meal #1: Shepherds Pie
Using one pack of the browned ground beef, add in some beef broth for flavor. I usually add about a quarter cup. Bring to a boil. Then take a little corn starch dissolved in cold water and when the broth is boiling add it as a thickener. Put in a 9X13 dish. Top with the can of green peas, and then add 2 ½ cups mashed potatoes. Bake for about 15 min to heat it through, you can add cheese to the top if you want.
Cheap Ground Beef Meal #2: Black-eyed Pea soup
Use the second pack of browned ground beef, Add the pack of black-eyed peas, and two cups of beef broth. Mix with two cans of diced tomatoes. Season with salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover tightly and simmer for 45 min to an hour. You can add rotel to this recipe, or green chilis, or substitute salsa for one can of tomatoes. You can add any type of sausage you have or even some ham chunks. This is great served with corn bread or over rice.
Cheap Ground Beef Meal #3: Hamburger Pie
Use the another pack of Hamburger to make this. Add 1 can condensed tomato soup and a can of green beans to the meat. Pour into a 9X13 baking dish. Make two to three cups of instant potatoes and mound on top of the meat mixture in a ring around the dish. Do not close the entire dish in, just cover the perimeter of the dish. Top the potatoes with cheese and cook at 350 degrees F, 30 minutes or until potatoes are browned.
Cheap Ground Beef Meal #4: Goulash
Cook 1 box of elbow macaroni, Add one pack of the browned ground beef, 1 can corn, 1 can ranch style beans and 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce.
Mix all of the above and heat thoroughly. This is a filling dinner item and can be served with just a salad or some bread.
Cheap Ground Beef Meal #5: POTATO BEEF CASSEROLE
Peel and slice 4 medium sized potatoes. Mix in a bowl with a pack of the browned ground beef, 1 can of cream of chicken soup, and one can of vegetable soup. Do not dilute the soups. Stir all ingredients. Pour into a greased 2 quart baking dish. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Check to be sure potatoes are tender.
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