Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Budget Friendly Dinners?

When I received my new issue of Everyday Food, I was excited to see that on the cover were budget friendly dinners. But I almost died when I continued reading, "under $10." What?! You mean the people at Everday Food think that $10 per dinner for a family of 4 is budget friendly? You have got to be kidding me!

To be fair, I suspect I could cook many of the meals they showed for well under $10. They also published other articles (egg dishes and 1 chicken, 3 meals) which I know could be made for much less. $10 per dinner would completely blow our food budget. I felt extravagant on Friday when I spent $20 on Papa Murphy's pizzas for the family. Then I realized that they fed all 4 of us for dinner Friday, lunch on Saturday, and I had the remaining slices for lunch on Sunday.

I'm learning the hardest part about our food budget is my cravings right now. They don't always fit into what food I have on hand, or my planned meal. Luckily in the past this has faded by the second trimester. I still vividly remember my first trimester with Kaia.

She was tiny once upon a time!
One Sunday, Dana asked what was for lunch. I told him I was thinking about it. We were still living in our little 2 bedroom duplex, and he was in the living room, which was on the otherside of the wall from the kitchen. I opened up the fridge and was reaching for the hamburger, when I heard, "And I'm not eating a hamburger!" Fair enough. I made him something else for lunch and I ate another burger. I was eating a lot of hamburger for a former vegetarian. It was what I ate for lunch and dinner just about every day.
Luckily I'm a bit more moderate this third time around. I'm keeping our meals varied. Sunday night we ate chili dogs and salad. Total cost: Less than $5 and there were plenty of leftovers. Another favorite quick and cheap meal is Hamburger Helper and salad. Now there is never any leftovers, but for $4 I can feed the whole family. I use just half a pound of hamburger, and buy the helper on sale to keep the cost low. There are also my old stand-by's like Easy Huevos Rancheros and SOS. Both inexpensive, and family favorites.
So what are your budget friendly dinners?


Mrs. Mordecai said...

I laugh at those "cheap" dinner articles, too. They've been popping up all over the place. Once I found one that featured dinners under $20. Seriously, we could eat out for that much.

Anyway, I like to rely on beans and chicken as protein bases for my meals. They're quite cheap and yummy. Also cooking (mostly) from scratch helps me keeps costs down. I have plenty of time, since I'm at home.

I've been wanting hamburgers this pregnancy, especially during the second trimester. I love the Burger King dollar menu! I also want strawberries, which aren't terribly cheap around here, but thankfully they're coming into season.

Anonymous said...

I hate it when advertisers say, At a price you can afford. How do they know everyone can afford it?

Kaia- mischevious even in the cradle! lol.

I do not think in terms of cheap meals. I look at what I have on hand and how long i think it will last me until I have to shop again. I think more in terms of cheap *items*. I hope that makes sense.

I have noticed lately that those little 50 cent cans of mandarin oranges make a good breakfast, tho

jennifer said...

She was so pretty! Still is of course.

I craved some WEEEEEEEIRD stuff when I was pregnant. My gosh - the ICE that I ate with the last pregnancy. And my first I craved SALT. Pure salt. I would smuggle salt packets to my desk as at work and eat salt all day long. UGH.