Frugal and Foodie

Thanksgiving is over, and it’s time to hop back on the frugal food wagon! As many of you know, there are now four adults to feed in the house. We share our gorgeous, huge new home with another  couple that we’ve known for years, and are keeping the budget down by also sharing food. Here’s the next two week’s dinners (some of it in pictures).

November 30th – December 6th

Monday: Venison Sausage and green lentil soup, with homemade bread. One of our favorite soups for winter meets my brother’s venison stash. We were given some ridiculous amount of venison this year (which is fantastic, since we love the stuff), including these fantastic sausages. They were tender and spicy, giving a deep, warm flavor to the soup. As I’ve mentioned before, lentils are a great source of lean protein, are high in fiber, and a very frugal-but-satisfying dinner. We used homemade stock for the broth, and then paired the soup with some of UC’s homemade ciabatta bread. The total cost for the four of us was less than $2.00. If we’d had to buy the sausage, it would have been about $4-5 total.

Tuesday- Creole catfish, with apple & onion hash, mixed vegetables, and salad. This is a bit of a splurge meal. I love apple & onion hash, and since we have apples coming out our ears, this was the perfect time to make this great side dish.

Wednesday-Thai Salmon patties and hot-and-sour sauce, with miso-peanut noodles (whole-wheat), and a veggie. Canned salmon is another great source of tasty, lean protein at a good price, and mixed with TVP it’s an even better price. I’ll whip up some miso-peanut sauce (with a touch of lime), and grab a veggie out of the freezer to round things out.

Thursday- Mexican pinto beans and brown rice. I’ll be using some of our (huge) store of dried beans for these. Coupled with the brown rice this is a great, spicy dinner with lots of vitamins, protein, and fiber. There will be a salad on the side for  more greens.

Friday: Shape-It-Up Meatloaf with whipped sweet potatoes and a vegetable. My most-requested recipe, currently, is this meatloaf. Low in fat and calories, high in flavor and nutrition. Made with lean meat, oats, TVP, spinach, black beans, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and spices, this meatloaf has converted even the most hard-core meat eaters! This looks better baked, and tastes better than it looks period; but:

Saturday-Salmon, mushroom, and vegetable polenta. We love creamy polenta in the winter. It’s hearty, and when you toss in loads of vegetables, canned salmon, and some smoked black sea salt it’s also tasty and healthy. We’ll be using some of the wild mushrooms we collected this year:

Sunday-Venison Chili with cheddar & sour cream cornbread. My special chili gets a twist with venison (thanks, Dan!). Pinto, white, and black beans (soaked and cooked) will make this stew fun and flavorful.

December 7th – 13th

Monday-Salmon and blue cheese pasta. We’ll be making homemade, whole-wheat pasta if all goes well, then topping it with salmon and vegetables in light blue-cheese, parmesan, and lemon sauce. It’ll look like this, but with the addition of salmon:


Tuesday-Spanish braised chicken thighs with brown rice and salad. This one-pot meal is reminiscent of paella! Deep, rich Spanish flavors, lots of chicken and vegetables, all cooked with brown rice in a wonderful sauce.

Wednesday-Sweet & Sour Tofu. Our favorite tofu from Twin Oaks Commune will sit amid peppers, broccoli, and other vegetables in this Asian dish.

Thursday-Venison Roast with root vegetables and salad. The leftover root vegetables will be used to make the stew you’ll see later on in the menu.

Friday-Whole wheat pizza night. UC is making whole-wheat crust, our friend Adam is making the sauce, and we’ll all top our pizzas with our favorites. Mine will be light on the cheese, heavy on the roasted broccoli, onions, and TVP. UC’s will be heavy on the cheese and pepperoni.

Saturday- Roasted root vegetable stew. This is another great winter soup. Roasted root vegetables are pureed into a creamy soup, served topped with parmesan cheese and olive oil:

Sunday-Kufta on pita, with the fixin’s and cucumber salad. This Middle Eastern vegetarian dish combines lentils and bulgar for a complete, lean protein:

Right now, we’re spending about $100/week to feed 4 adults.

What’s your meal plan this week?


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