Monday, December 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - Cheap Eats!

Well, after two months of spending more than we normally would (between our five week vacation to the US and Christmas), it's time to tighten our belts. The way we work it in our house is that Hubby handles the bills and I'm given a weekly "allowance" which I use for groceries, gas and household items. The amount doesn't matter - all of us would have differing needs and standards. The point is to make the most of what you have and to spend wisely.

The first step for me is to look and see what I have that I can use here in the house. As Benjamin Franklin said, "A penny saved is a penny earned." It's better to "shop at home" when possible. Sometimes you have to be creative to figure out what you can do with the things you have on hand, but it's worth it when you see the savings. Today I only spent about 40% of my regular grocery budget and much of that was for snack-type things that we've been running low on!!
Another idea to save money in the grocery store is to go meatless for several meals. Soups, pasta dishes and salads are great ways to pull that off. This week, I'm only using leftover turkey and one package of chicken left over in my freezer stretched out to be part of two different meals.

Here's the menu for this week (recipes follow for those items with an asterisk):

Sunday - Turkey Noodle Casserole (the last of the Christmas turkey leftovers!! Hallelujah! I just tossed together turkey, bowtie pasta with 1/2 a bag of frozen veggies, sauteed onions and celery, a can of cream of celery soup, some milk and mayo and seasonings. Top with parmesan cheese. Easy as pie!)

Monday - Potato Lover's Salad*

Tuesday - Hummous* & Tabouli

Wednesday - Chicken Stir Fry with rice

Saturday - Clam Chowder* (this was on the plan last week, but I never got to it)

Potato Lover's Salad
This sounds unusual, but it's so good! I get tons of compliments every time I serve it to someone who's never had it. It's filling and delicious!
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 t. oregano
  • 1/4 t. thyme
  • 2 T. mayonaise
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Mix dressing ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.


  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 t. sea salt OR seasoned salt
  • 1/4 t. paprika
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 cups lettuce, washed and torn into bite size pieces
  • 2 cups spinach, washed and torn into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 cup chopped red cabbage

Steam the potatoes until they are fork-tender. While they are steaming, prepare greens and cut the broccoli. Remove potatoes from steamer and put into a mixing bowl. Melt butter and pour over the potatoes. Toss well. Add your choice of salt and paprika and mix well. Broil 2 inches away from the broiler element for 5-10 minutes. While the potatoes are broiling, steam the broccoli until tender and bright green. Toss greens with red cabbage, alfalfa sprouts and add broccoli and potatoes (still hot). Add the dressing and mix well.


This is such an easy dish to make. When I see those little tubs of hummous in the stores selling for $4.00 for about half a cup, I want to cry! You can make it yourself in 5 minutes and for far, far less.

  • 1 can of chick peas, drained (liquid reserved)
  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste, sold in the ethnic section of most grocery stores)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • the juice of one lemon
  • salt to taste

Place all the ingredients in a blender. Pour in about 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid and begin to blend. You will need to stop and stir frequently until the chick peas begin to be processed well. Pour in either more lemon juice (if you want it more strongly flavored) or more of the reserved liquid (if you are sastisfied with the taste), until the hummous is lump-free and a smooth consistency. Transfer to a plate, smooth out in swirls and sprinkle with a little dried parsley and paprika. Go once around the plate with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with warmed pita bread and raw onions. Also goes great as a dip for vegetables!

Clam Chowder

  • 3 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 cups cubed potatoes
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart half-and-half cream
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • ground black pepper to taste

Drain juice from canned clams into a large skillet over onions, celery, carrots and potatoes. Add water to cover and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, in a large saucepot, melt the butter and whisk in the butter until smooth. Whisk in the cream and stir constantly until thick and smooth. Stir in vegetables and clam juice. Heat through but do not boil. Stir in clams just before serving. If you cook them too long, they will be tough. When it is heated through, stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. (From, by PioneerGirl.

That's my plan for this week. I'm happy to have been able to use up some of what I had on hand and be able to contribute in that way to the family finances. We women often have a great ability to use what is already in our hands that we don't even pay attention to. I'm committing to trying to be more frugal and wise, while not cutting back on enjoying our life.

For more menu ideas, be sure to visit the Organizing Junkie!


Shan said...

Your Blackened Chicken salad recipe looked great so I added it to my menu and I linked to your recipe! :) Great menu!

Mom to Five said...

Wonderful menu!! I intend on utilizing your "shop at home" idea!! Are you able to find similar items in the Middle East as we can here in the US?? What an adventure!! God bless!!

Heather said...

What an easy hummus recipe. I love getting back to being frugal after the holidays.
Have a great week.

frugalsophisticate said...

Your menu looks great. I would like to make homemade clam chowder some day; my mom used to make it all the time. We had a very similar lentil and rice dish last week.

Under the Florida Sun said...

Hi there!
Just stopping by via menu monday! Love your beautiful blog!!
What a great menu too!!

Hope to be back by for a visit :-)

Rona's Home Page said...

I love Potato Salad. I still use the recipe that my mother passed down to me.
My husband will eat it as a main course. It's one of the few times I can get him to go meatless.

n*stitches said...

YUM - we love blackened chicken! I am going to have to try this! How are you in the middle east?? Are you guys in the military?

learningtobefrugal said...

Great menu! Have a Happy New Year!



Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Powered by Blogger.


twitterfacebookgoogle pluslinkedinrss feedemail