Budget Tip: Lowering Food Costs & Our Allergy Meal Plan

In these tough economical times, or if you just generally try to live frugally, food can be a money sucker.  I do my best to shop sales, use coupons, buy in bulk, cook from scratch, and resist restaurants, but there are often other ways to improve upon our food budget.  Recently, I was able to feed our family at very little cost by extending one chicken into three meals.  This is not an unique approach to budgeted eating, but it never hurts to be reminded of its usefulness.  Here is how it worked:

I bought a cut-up local chicken fryer.  We have a store that sells local organic chicken without the pricey USDA organic label.  They were running a recent sale on their cut-up fryer for $1.29/lb.  I bought several to freeze.

Dinner 1: I took one 4 lb chicken and boiled it.  That evening, we had Chicken Pot Pie with a gluten-free crust with 1/3 of the chicken (I hope to share this recipe with you soon, but I want to work on the crust a little more.  While it tasted good, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the texture.)  I made a gravy with some of the broth and added vegetables.

Dinner 2: Two night later, we had Chicken & Vegetable Soup with 1/3 of the chicken, added vegetables, and the broth from the boiled chicken.

Dinner 3:  Finally, our third dinner was Brown Rice Salad with Cherries & Chicken that used up the rest of the chicken.  I just added brown rice, some spices, and dried cherries. While the recipe itself wasn’t our favorite, it could easily be used for another favorite like Russian Rice Pilaf (which I just realized I’ve never shared. I’ll have to do that soon).

The meat in our dinners for 3 night was under $5 total.  The added vegetables, rice, etc. didn’t cost that much more.  That just goes to show you that you can eat on a strict budget and still make it healthy and cover your food allergy needs.

What are some budget tips that you use when trying to reduce your food costs?


September 30-October 6, 2012

Sunday:  Salmon, Steamed Vegetables, Chips & Salsa/Hummus (We have chips/salsa a lot!)

MondaySweet-n-Spicy Crockpot Chicken, Coconut Rice, Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday:  Gourmet HamburgersClassic Baked Beans, Carrot Fries

Wednesday:  Taco Lettuce Wraps (I’ll vary the recipe by using beef instead of turkey and add some black beans, avocado, and what not.)

Thursday: Bourbon Street Chicken, Spicy Thai Noodles w/ GF noodles

Friday:  My husband and I are treating ourselves to dinner at a coffee shop before a concert with Derek Webb & Page CXVI.  I’ll think up something easy for the kids.

Saturday:  Refrigerator Round-up

What’s on your meal plan this week? Please share in the comments.

Shared at Better Mom Mondays and Meal Plan Monday.

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5 Responses to Budget Tip: Lowering Food Costs & Our Allergy Meal Plan

  1. Thanks for the shout out on my sweet-n-spicy crockpot chicken! Hope you all enjoy it! Also hope the Lord is blessing you all richly, sweet friend! eHugs and blessings, Kelly

  2. Heidi says:

    I love your site and your ideas. I am new to gluten-free, and I’m trying to start a GF community on my website. I have started a weekly Gluten-Free Share Page on OneCreativeMommy.com. It’s brand new, but I hope it will become a great resource as it grows. I would love it if you visited and shared some of your great ideas each week. I hope to see you there.

    • Cook says:

      Thanks for the invitation! I will certainly check it out. Thank you for your support of The Willing Cook and the food allergy/gluten-free community.

  3. Rona says:

    I’m hopping by from Menu Plan Monday today!
    Our Smart & Final store sells chicken at under a $1 a pound which helps a lot. And as you said being able to use it in several meals definitely is a money saver too.
    Don’t you just enjoy this time of year?
    I love the crisp Autumn temps of Southern Maine when I was living there. For the last 18 yrs I’ve been on the West coast so no fall foliage to enjoy.
    Your menu plan sounds so delicious. I love making hamburgers for my family.

    • Cook says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I would miss the fall & spring on the west coast, but certainly not the winters. We’re hoping to travel to New England next summer. Have a great week!

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