Monday, April 11, 2011

Meal Plan Monday: Budget Part Deux

Budget is such a huge consideration for our meal plans. Lee eats like a family of four, and I eat like a lady . . . a hungry lady. So really we're cooking for a family of 5 most nights. Seriously if the recipe says it feeds 4 it feeds the two of us.

I've recently jumped on the Coupon Clipping Bandwagon (Thank you Extreme Coupons on TLC) although it seems couponing in Canada isn't as easy, we don't have any double coupon days (none that I know of anyways). And Extreme Couponing doesn't really fit that well into our lifestyle either, who really needs 45 jars of mustard and 100 deodorant sticks??? I've also had a hard time finding coupons for organic products, but once and a while they do pop up and we take advantage :)

This option is my favorite because it tastes a lot better too. We almost always use our slow cooker to these cuts. It makes them super tender and so flavorful.
Which brings me to Monday's Dinner: Soooooo Easy!
Slow cooker Pot Roast
2 cans cream of Mushroom Soup
1 (1oz) package dry Onion Soup Mix
1 1/4 cups water
5-ish pound Beef Bottom Roast
A carrot or two (sliced into 2 inch chunks)
two or three small baby red potato (quartered)
a handful of pearl onions
Season Roast with salt and pepper and sear the meat on a frying pan, on all sides!
In the slow cooker mix together the soup, soup mix and water. Add the seared meat, and place the vegetable around it.
Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, or low for 8-9 hours.
So Good, So easy!

Another way we save is we cook vegetarian meals at least once a week! Meats expensive so we save a bit here. The best way to serve vegetarian meals is in ethnic recipes, I find a bunch of steamed vegetables way too bland so we make it into a curry or this week on Tuesday we're trying Serena from the Farm Chicks, Pon Pon Tofu! It looks really yummy and Lee and I both Love a little spice in our food.

This sounds more like a recipe then a way to save money, but, it's both! Borscht is a fabulous way to use up left over . . . . anything really. We cut a chunk off of Mondays Pot roast before we cook it and save it in the fridge, and use that for the meat in our Wednesday's Borscht. Some cabbage, some carrots, and left over pearl onions, beets (lots of beets) some mushrooms, what ever else might be in the fridge like, corn or green beans or spinach or kale.

A simple salad with some grilled chicken on top is so easy, so fast and super cost effective. This is what's for dinner on Thursday:
Here's our Cajun Chicken Salad Recipe.
2 or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Some reduced sodium Cajun Spice
~Coat chicken in Cajun spice and fry in a touch of olive oil or grill it on the BBQ
This is our favorite Salad Dressing! It's AMAZING (TRY IT!!!) Sorry about the generalizations, I make it out of memory
Make right in the salad bowl before you put the lettuce in
1-3 cloves of garlic (depending how much you like garlic)
about a tsp Dijon mustard
about a tbsp Worcestershire sauce
juice of half a lemon
about 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
Whisk in 
about 5 or 6 tbsp's Extra virgin olive oil
Chop up a head of crisp romaine lettuce, add to bowl, toss salad together, top with a little grated Romano or Parmesan cheese. Top with Cajun chicken. 
It's our own super light version of a Cajun Chicken Caesar Salad

Eggs are cheap and good for you, and delicious!
Friday Dinner is Quiche Lorraine!

So that's how we're planning on saving money and feeding ourselves this week! If anyone has any other tips on how to save money on groceries, or any Canadian Coupon Tips we'd LOVE to hear them :)


  1. Great tips Ashli, and I am loving all the recipes!! Keep them coming. I clipped coupons for awhile, however we have since started shopping more at our local Whole Foods (they have their own coupons) because we prefer fresh and organic. Partially because we are trying to watch what Kate eats due to her migraines. And, we've found we all are enjoying eating healthier. We look for specials, things
    locally grown (usually cheaper) and only buy a bit at a time so we aren't wasting. We also look for things that double as a meal one night, lunch the next similar to what you do. We use our crockpot, and cook our roast the same as you just minus the mushroom soup because I'm the only one that likes it!
    Here's another simple recipe for a cheaper cut of meat:
    Stew meat
    Red Wine
    Beef Consomme
    Cracked Pepper/Sea Salt
    Minced Garlic
    Olive Oil

    Place stew meat in a gallon size Ziploc bag (or large container with tight lid), add about a cup of flour (this is to coat the meat), add cracked pepper/sea salt (to your taste), seal and shake. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil and garlic. Place coated meat in pan and brown. Once meat is browned add beef consomme and about a cup or so of red wine (again to taste). Reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes or so on low (the longer the more tender). We serve ours over Jasmine rice.

  2. I check Thrifty Mama blog for organic deals. I print coupons directly from company website. From time to time, I email and ask them to mail me coupons!

  3. Your budgeting posts are always my favorites....I just have one question. With all of the space in your new and lovely home, do you plan out and save for big ticket items? We don't carry debt at all and tend to save for more expensive items only to find that by the time we have the money, we aren't willing to part with it to get the item we thought we needed in the first place!

    Many Blessings,

  4. I've started couponing also and I did find one of those web sites that had a natural food/organice food section. Now of course I can't remember which one. One great site is: are

    within the above are many good links to others

  5. Really enjoy your recipes and thoughfulness over them.
    I never understood the coupon craze either. Seriously.....over a hundred candybars?! Never any coupons for fruits/veggies.
    There is just so many better ways to spend your time!

  6. Love your blog! Money saving mom posts an organic and natural coupon roundup on Fridays. And there is a pretty extreme couponer from Canada whose blog I read. It is saved on my other computer but her name is Miss January (I think it is Miss but it may be Ms). Hope those help.

  7. I really like the Meal Plans. I never manage to actually sit down and plan a whole week's meals but now that I think of it, I do have some sort of organization:
    Mondays: Usually leftovers from the Sunday meal which is big (on purpose!)
    Tuesdays: Pasta day (lasagna, meatball spaggetti,rice etc)
    Wednesday: Legumes day (chickpeas,lentils,beans etc)
    Thursday: Something with eggs (omelete, fried, salad etc)
    Friday: Something with minced meat (musaka, lasagna, meatballs, meatloaf etc) only because we love these dishes
    Saturday: Fish day
    Sunday: Red meat or chicken
    This is a typical greek week. We also don't do dinners. The main family meal is lunch (siesta and all...)
    In the summer there are way more salads, fishes and almost always cold dishes. It's not at all unusuall to have a fruitsalad as the main meal (because of the unbearable heat)

  8. Hello!
    Absolutely LOVE your meal plans and budget ideas! I'm starting to get into planning our weekly meals and have found your plans to be an enormous help. My husband and I are vegan at the moment (for lent) and we're really benefitting from planning ahead since you can really throw some meat in the oven and have a meal!
    My dream is to also be a housewife (oh the 50's were good!!!), and since I'm expecting a little bub, I'll hopefully be following in your footsteps by the end of this year!
    Amanda (Melbourne, Australia)

  9. HI!!Love your blog,the recipes are fantastic as well!! One question ( to which I found no answer on your blog) is, how do you do your groceries shopping? So you plan the week on Sunday and then shop on MOnday, buying everything you need for the week?
    Cheers, Daria



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