Money Saving Mom is doing an “Eat from the Pantry” challenge this month. I didn’t start the challenge at the beginning of the month because we were in the middle of our budget and because most of my meals consist of items that are “from the pantry” already, so I wasn’t sure that I could cut my budget any more than I already have. Plus, to be honest, I was a little bit worried about being able to replenish my stockpile on my limited budget if we were strictly eating from the pantry. We just did our new budget (I budget from the 15th to the 14th) and I am cutting our monthly grocery budget from $160/month to $140/month. This basically means I’ll be buying groceries on $35 per week rather than $40 per week which I know isn’t a huge change, but the big change is that I also cut our “eating out” budget to $50 a month. I have made meals at home for three weeks straight now (no eating out) and to be honest, I haven’t missed it all that much. Plus, it has helped me to stay on track with my weight loss goals for the year.
Speaking of weight loss goals, for those of you who may be doing Weight Watchers, I have included the points per serving calculations for each of my recipes this week. I used the “Recipe Builder” feature on the WeightWatchers.com e-Tools program to input all of the ingredients and calculate the points, so it should be pretty accurate.
If you have blogged a menu plan for the week (or even just a favorite recipe), please feel free to comment and share your link. I’m always looking for new ideas and inspiration and will be happy to share a link to your blog if we try your recipe!
If you need inspiration, check out the weekly meal plans here at Organized Junkie.
SUNDAY ~ Sweet and sour pork (I got this recipe from my mother in law)
1 t. soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 T cornstarch
dash of salt
1/2 c. pineapple juice or water
3 T cider vinegar
2 T ketchup
Pineapple, onions, green peppers
Mix ingredients in a pan. Stir constantly over low heat until thickened and translucent. Add pineapple, onion, green peppers, and ham. Serve over rice.
WW points per serving = 6 points per serving (including 1/2 c. of white rice per serving)
MONDAY ~ Foil baked Asian chicken – This comes from the April 2009 issue of All You Magazine. It’s super easy to make and family friendly! (this is a carry over from last week because we ended up having frozen pizzas Friday night instead)
8 tsp olive oil
4 cups baby spinach
4 4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
4 tsp teriyaki sauce
Preheat over to 450 degrees. Tear off four 10-inch square sof aluminum foil (great sure for all that foil I stocked up on at Walgreens last week!). Brush each square with 2 tsp olive oil. Place 1 cup spinach on each square, slightly off center. Top with a chicken breast half and some mushrooms. Drizzle 1 tsp teriyaki sauce over each portion. Sprinkle with salt.
Fold each piece of foil over to cover chicken and vegetables. Crimp edges together tightly to seal. Place packets on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.
WW points per serving = 9 points/serving (includes 1/2 cup of rice)
TUESDAY ~ Taco soup (slow cooker) – this is a carry over from last week because I decided to make chicken noodle soup on Saturday instead
1 1/2-2 lb. ground meat (I use 1 lb and 93/7)
1 packet Ranch dressing seasoning mix
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can corn
1 can pinto beans
1 can Ranch style beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 can Rotel
1 can water
Brown the meat and then add combine the meat and other ingredients in a crock pot and to cook it on low all day. When we’re ready to eat, I will serve it with tortilla chips, sour cream, and cheese.
NOTES: With just one can of water, it will be very thick. Add more if you want it thinner. I drain the corn and pinto beans before adding them. I don’t drain the Ranch style beans because they are seasoned!
WW points per serving = 8 points per serving (this does not include any toppings you add)
WEDNESDAY ~ Parsley Parmesan chicken (freezer meal) – This has become a “hit” in our house. I actually don’t have any in the freezer right now, so I’m making this one “fresh.”
2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 6-8 chicken breasts)
1/3 bottle of Italian salad dressing (I use fat free)
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese (I used reduced fat)
1/3 c dry bread crumbs (used Seasoned Italian bread crumbs)
1 1/2 T parsley flakes
1/2 T paprika
Salt & Pepper
Marinate chicken in dressing overnight.
Mix the remaining ingredients and bread each breast with coating.
To Freeze: Lay chicken breasts side by side on baking sheets and place in freezer for 1 to 2 hours to firm up. Place chicken in labeled gallon size Freezer Bag and freeze.
Thaw & bake at 350 uncovered for 30 minutes or until done.
WW points per serving = 6 points/serving
THURSDAY ~ Potato pizza – I got this recipe from my friend DeAna (check out her blog Balancing Act Basics here) several years ago, but after my computer crashed, I hadn’t been able to locate it. I e-mailed her and she sent it to me again right away (thanks DeAna!)
1lb ground beef (I use 93/7)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
1 can (10.75oz) cheddar cheese soup
1/2 cup milk (I use skim)
1 Tbsp butter
mozzarella cheese, shredded (I used reduced fat)
1/2 cup Parmesan (I omit this)
Brown ground beef with onions, salt & pepper. Render fat from ground beef. Add oregano, sugar and tomato sauce. Stir together cheddar cheese soup and milk until smooth. Combine potatoes and beef mixture in a 13x9x2-inch pan. Dot with butter. Pour cheese sauce over top, but don’t stir. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Remove pan from oven and arrange mozzarella cheese on top. Return pan uncovered to oven and bake until cheese is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.
WW points per serving = 6
FRIDAY ~ Taco rice (freezer meal)
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
3 cups Chicken broth (I use 100% fat free)
8 oz. Tomato sauce
1 pkg. Taco seasoning mix
1-1/2 cups Brown rice, uncooked
1/2 cup Red or Green Pepper
1 can of corn
(1 can red enchilada sauce ~ this is my personal addition)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips, flour tortillas, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, etc.
Mix everything in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is done (about 40-50 minutes). Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Allow rice mixture to cool. Place in appropriate sized containers. Seal, label and freeze.
Thaw in the refrigerator. Reheat in microwave until warm. You can also reheat it in a saucepan if you add a little bit of water before heating. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve with tortilla chips.
This is a big favorite around our house. This time around, I substituted red enchilada sauce for the tomato sauce. I thought it would give it more zip, but I didn’t really notice a huge difference. My entire family loves this and it makes a LOT. We use it with nachos or as filling for tacos/burritos.
WW points per serving = 5 points/serving (this does not include toppings or “extras”)
SATURDAY ~ Buttermilk “Fried” Chicken with Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes – I got this recipe from the latest Family Circle Magazine and it sounded yummy. It is more points than I like to use on a meal right now, so I’ll have to plan the rest of my meals on this day accordingly.
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
2 T dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
4 lbs chicken breasts (I will probably only use 2 given the size of my family)
5 c. cornflakes (I will probably half this also)
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika
Pinch Cayenne pepper
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (I will probably only use 1 lb)
1/2 c. skim milk
6 T reduced fat sour cream
In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, mustard, 3/4 tsp of the salt, 1/2 tsp of the garlic powder, 1/2 tsp of the pepper and the hot sauce. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat oven to 400. Coat a baking rack with nonstick cooking spray and place inside rimmed baking sheet.
Stir together crushed cornflakes, bread crumbs, remaining 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper, the poultry seasoning, paprika and cayenne. Stir in oil until blended. Remove chicken from marinade and dip in crumb mixture, pressing to adhere.
Place chicken on rack and bake at 400 for 55 minutes or until instant read thermometer registers 160 when inserted in the thickest part of the breast.
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to pan. Add milk and sour cream. Mash to desired consistency.
WW points per serving = 11 points