Weekly Menu: September 20th – 26th

The last few months, I’ve been coming in well under my monthly grocery budget of $250/month, and I shared how I am saving to buy a quarter cow. Well, I’m happy that this boatload of beef has graced our freezer! Our Cozy Den ~ Feeding a family of 6 on under $250/month!

I don’t remember exactly how many pounds it is, but last time we got this much beef, it lasted our family 10 months!

As my husband and I were loading it into the freezer, he remarked to me that we had some old stuff in the freezer that we should use up first. And it got me thinking, “We kind of have some old stuff everywhere that needs to be used up…”

So I decided that this week is officially Pantry Cleanout Week.

I’m not buying any groceries. We do have some fresh carrots, tomatoes, and peppers that I’ll be pulling from the garden. And I got 2 gallons of milk free from WIC, so my grocery total for the week is $0.

I won’t lie, this is going to be tough. I absolutely abhor staring into the cabinets trying to figure out what to make with what I have. That’s why I usually stick to making menus, and my favorite tried-and-true recipes. But I’ll be doing a lot of improvising this week, which takes up a lot of precious brain-space.

Our Cozy Den ~ Feeding a family of 6 on under $250/month!

Some of our pantry stockpile!

A lot of this stuff came from random places — they might have been items I got for free after a coupon, that were free with another purchase, or they were located on a clearance shelf for pennies. Some are things people gave me, things that their family didn’t like or wouldn’t eat, or from a friend who was moving away and needed to get rid of the rest of their groceries. I never turn down free food! Other items were things I made ahead of time, when like homemade tomato sauce from tomatoes in my garden, or homemade cinnamon syrup, or soups and casseroles that I doubled and froze for later. Many of these things have just been taking up shelf/freezer space, and now it’s time to eat them!

I’ve never set aside a whole week for pantry cleanout before, but if it works out well, it might be something I try to do more often. It is certainly going to be a huge money saver, as it means I buy NO groceries this week!

Come on back next week for my regularly scheduled weekly menus!

Our Cozy Den ~ Feeding a family of 6 on under $250/month!

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Weekly Menu: September 13-20th

Weekly Menus from Our Cozy Den ~ Feeding a family of 6 on under $250 a month!

Here is my menu for the week! I’m excited that my in-laws are coming to visit — they are some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met, and I am blessed to call them family! We are also eating out at restaurants a few times this week, which is more often than usual.

Again, a few notes before we get started:

  • Breakfast is not included in the menu, because in our house it is fend-for-yourself. But it is included in my budget and shopping. The choices are oatmeal, eggs, or my homemade cereal.
  • I recently did a post about my large once-a-month pantry shop. I try to plan most of my menu to use what we already have on hand in the pantry and freezer. Bulk buying = BIG savings!
  • Snacks are also not on the menu, but my kids do get a snack each afternoon around 4 pm. Their choices are veggies (usually carrots and celery), fruit (I always have on hand a selection of oranges, bananas, apples, pineapple, berries, etc.), hard-boiled eggs, cheddar cheese sticks, yogurt, and granola bars.

Here’s what we are eating this week:

Sunday:

Lunch ~ Leftovers

Dinner ~ Date night! Byron and I are going out to dinner, while a friend babysits the kids for free (score!). I’m watching her kids on Saturday — we do this once a month so we get free babysitting for dates!

Monday:

Lunch ~vegetable soup, with crackers and yogurt

Dinner ~ chicken tacos – with fresh spinach and and homegrown tomatoes!

Tuesday:

Lunch ~ sandwiches (peanut butter with jelly or honey, or turkey and cheese) with fresh fruits and veggies

Dinner ~ pork roast, potatoes, & vegetables

Wednesday:

Lunch ~ black bean quesadillas with fruit

Dinner ~ homemade spicy chili (I use V8 as a base for mine, so it’s another veggie-packed meal)

Thursday:

Lunch ~ the grandparents come to visit, and we’re taking them out to lunch!

Dinner ~ pepperoni and spinach strata

{My husband will be gone for the weekend, Friday-Sunday, so I cook less when he’s not here.}

Friday:

Lunch ~ sandwiches (peanut butter with jelly or honey, or turkey and cheese) with fresh fruits and veggies

Dinner ~ leftovers

Saturday:

Lunch ~ black bean quesadillas with fruit

Dinner ~ homemade mac and cheese (it has carrots in it, Sneaky Chef-style!) with hard boiled eggs and fruit

 

What I spent this week:

Like I said before – most of my groceries come from my big pantry shops at GFS. Here is my receipt from Walmart this week:

Weekly Menus from Our Cozy Den ~  Feeding a family of 6 on under $250 a month!

What I bought: 2 gallons of milk, 1 dozen eggs, yogurt, bananas, apples, french bread, spinach, almond milk, strawberries.

My total was $25.87, and WIC covered $15.82 of that, so I spent $10.05 out of pocket.

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Stay tuned for the rest of our weekly menus! And have a great week!!!

 

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Homemade Hamburger Buns from Our Cozy Den

I started making my own buns about a year ago — we have used them for hamburgers, sloppy joes, shredded chicken sandwiches, hot ham & cheese, and other sandwiches. It’s a great all-around bun! They are SO fast too! You don’t have to let them rise forever, or do a bunch of fancy stuff that only professional bakers know how to do… Here’s the recipe!

Gather your ingredients:

2.5 cups warm water
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons oil
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Mix together the wet ingredients. Let it sit for 5 minutes, until it starts to look frothy on top.

Homemade Hamburger Buns from Our Cozy Den

Then stir in the dry ingredients. Mix well, and knead a little bit.

Homemade Hamburger Buns from Our Cozy Den

Roll into a long loaf on a floured surface.

Homemade Hamburger Buns from Our Cozy Den

And cut it into 16 disks. (I like this nice even number, because I can just keep cutting in 1/2, and 1/2 again, and again, until I have 16.)

Homemade Hamburger Buns from Our Cozy Den

Put each disk on a baking sheet.

Homemade Hamburger Buns from Our Cozy Den

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 425°F.

When they come out, they will be soft and fluffy and delicious! You’ll want to wait a few minutes for them to cool before you slice them in half. You can also freeze them (either before baking or after) to use later!

Weekly Menu: September 6th-12th

Weekly Menus from Our Cozy Den ~ Feeding a family of 6 on under $250 a month!

Fall is here, and I am SO excited about it! We have a busy-busy-busy schedule, so having my weekly menus all laid out ahead of time really save me a ton of mental energy!

Again, a few notes before we get started:

  • Breakfast is not included in the menu, because in our house it is fend-for-yourself. But it is included in my budget and shopping. The choices are oatmeal, eggs, or my homemade cereal.
  • I recently did a post about my large once-a-month pantry shop. I try to plan most of my menu to use what we already have on hand in the pantry and freezer. Bulk buying = BIG savings!
  • Snacks are also not on the menu, but my kids do get a snack each afternoon around 4 pm. Their choices are veggies (usually carrots and celery), fruit (I always have on hand a selection of oranges, bananas, apples, pineapple, berries, etc.), hard-boiled eggs, cheddar cheese sticks, yogurt, and granola bars.

Here’s what we are eating this week:

Sunday:

Lots of celebrations today!

Lunch ~ Labor Day church picnic!

Dinner ~ Labor Day BBQ at a friend’s house!

Monday:

Lunch ~ black bean quesadillas with fruit

Dinner ~ 1-dish chicken, green beans, & potatoes

Tuesday:

Lunch ~ sandwiches (peanut butter with jelly or honey, or turkey and cheese) with fresh fruits and veggies

Dinner ~ quesadilla casserole — lots of veggies in this dish!

Wednesday:

Lunch ~ vegetable soup, with crackers and yogurt

Dinner ~ Family Dinner Night at church!

Thursday:

Lunch ~ black bean quesadillas with fruit

Dinner ~ leftovers

Friday:

Lunch ~ sandwiches (peanut butter with jelly or honey, or turkey and cheese) with fresh fruits and veggies

Dinner ~ homemade pizza (and cauliflower pizza for me!)

Saturday:

Lunch ~ vegetable soup, with crackers and yogurt

Dinner ~ chicken broccoli alfredo (I had this on the menu last week, but plans went awry and we never ended up making it.)

What I spent this week:

Like I said before – most of my groceries come from my big pantry shops at GFS. Here is my receipt from Walmart this week:

Weekly Menus from Our Cozy Den ~ Feeding a family of 6 on under $250 a month!

What I bought this week: 4 gallons of milk, 2 dozen eggs, bread, grapes, bananas, tortillas, brown sugar, 2 bags of tortilla chips, and 4 packages of discounted yogurt.

Weekly Menus from Our Cozy Den ~ Feeding a family of 6 on under $250 a month!

I found TONS of yogurt in the discount freezer at Walmart this week!

Total spent: $37.56! Nothing from WIC this week, but I am beginning to harvest some things from my garden! FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!!! My hard work is paying off!

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Stay tuned for the rest of our weekly menus! And have a great week!!!

 

Weekly Menu: August 30th – September 5th

Weekly Menus from Our Cozy Den ~ Feeding a family of 6 on under $250 a month!

It’s official, summer is over! Our two-week summer break has ended, and today began our full-force fall schedule. We have TONS of activities on our fall schedule, so it’s going to be a busy ride! So let’s take a look at my menu for our first week back in the swing of things!

Again, a few notes before we get started:

  • Breakfast is not included in the menu, because in our house it is fend-for-yourself. But it is included in my budget and shopping. The choices are oatmeal, eggs, or my homemade cereal.
  • I recently did a post about my large once-a-month pantry shop. I try to plan most of my menu to use what we already have on hand in the pantry and freezer. Bulk buying = BIG savings!
  • Snacks are also not on the menu, but my kids do get a snack each afternoon around 4 pm. Their choices are veggies (usually carrots and celery), fruit (I always have on hand a selection of oranges, bananas, apples, pineapple, berries, etc.), hard-boiled eggs, cheddar cheese sticks, yogurt, and granola bars.

Here’s what we are eating this week:

Sunday:

Lunch ~ Mexican at our favorite local spot. They have 99¢ kids’ meals on Sundays — score!

Dinner ~ leftovers

Monday:

Lunch ~ sandwiches (peanut butter with jelly or honey, or turkey and cheese) with fruit

Dinner ~ sausages with roasted vegetables

Tuesday:

Lunch ~ black bean quesadillas with fruit

Dinner ~ white chili (I had this on the menu last week, but plans went awry and we never ended up making it.)

Wednesday:

Lunch ~ vegetable soup, with crackers and yogurt

Dinner ~ BBQ with our church small group!

Thursday:

Lunch ~sandwiches (peanut butter with jelly or honey, or turkey and cheese) with fruit

Dinner ~ leftovers

Friday:

Lunch ~ black bean quesadillas with fruit

Dinner ~ meatloaf, peas, & mashed potatoes

Saturday:

Lunch ~vegetable soup, with crackers and yogurt

Dinner ~ chicken broccoli alfredo

What I spent this week:

Like I said before – most of my groceries come from my big pantry shops at GFS. Here is my receipt from Walmart this week:

WIC switched over to a new system — it’s an electronic card instead of a paper check. Because of this, all of my WIC groceries and my regular groceries are mixed together on the same receipt, and the WIC stuff gets debited at the end. So my “total” was $60.09, WIC covered $15.06 of it, so I personally spent $45.03. I’m not really a fan of doing it this way. I prefer to have stuff on a separate receipt, but things get crazy at the grocery store so I might not remember. haha

What I got:

WIC free items – 2 bottles of orange juice, 1 gallon of milk, 2 boxes of cereal, and they paid $.37 toward my watermelon.

My purchases – pepperoni, garlic powder, yogurt, cheese, chicken strips, waffles (I usually make them homemade, but when I saw 10 packs for 50¢ I decided it was worth the splurge for the kids to have something different in the mornings), lunchmeat (turkey), and the rest of the watermelon that WIC didn’t cover.

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This was my last shop of the month, so let’s take a look at my totals and see how we stand!

August 2nd – 8th ~ Total spent: $28.57

August 9th – 14th ~ Total spent: $25.89

August 15th – 24th ~ Vacation! (stay tuned for our vacation menu!)

August 25th – 29th ~ Total spent: $14.07

August 30th – September 5th ~ Total spent: $45.03

TOTAL SPENT IN AUGUST: $113.56!!!

I know, vacation took a huge bite out of our month. A few things that helped keep our grocery bill low this month were: my husband being gone at the beginning of the month, so we didn’t have to feed him; before we left for vacation, we ate a lot of leftovers and did fridge cleanout; our vacation food came out of our vacation budget (I’ll have another post on that soon); and at the end of the month we had a lot of unused WIC vouchers.

I have budgeted $250 for groceries each month, so like the past few months, I’m setting aside the excess to buy a ¼ or ½ cow this fall!

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Stay tuned for the rest of our weekly menus! And have a great week!!!

 

Weekly Menu: August 25th-29th

Weekly Menus from Our Cozy Den ~ Feeding a family of 6 on under $250 a month!

We made it home, safe and sound, from our big vacation! I have plans to tell you ALL about it soon, but for now — let’s take a look at this week’s menu. (Yes, I know, I know, it’s Thursday. I’ve been busy, okay?!)

Again, a few notes before we get started:

  • Breakfast is not included in the menu, because in our house it is fend-for-yourself. But it is included in my budget and shopping. The choices are oatmeal, eggs, or my homemade cereal.
  • I recently did a post about my large once-a-month pantry shop. I try to plan most of my menu to use what we already have on hand in the pantry and freezer. Bulk buying = BIG savings!
  • Snacks are also not on the menu, but my kids do get a snack each afternoon around 4 pm. Their choices are veggies (usually carrots and celery), fruit (I always have on hand a selection of oranges, bananas, apples, pineapple, berries, etc.), hard-boiled eggs, cheddar cheese sticks, yogurt, and granola bars.

Here’s what we are eating this week:

Sunday:

Vacation!

Monday:

Vacation!

Tuesday:

Lunch ~ black bean quesadillas with fruit

Dinner ~ roasted sausage, sweet potatoes, & corn

Wednesday:

Lunch ~ vegetable soup, with crackers and yogurt

Dinner ~ pizza (cauliflower pizza for me)

Thursday:

Lunch ~ macaroni and cheese with vegetables

Dinner ~ leftovers

Friday:

Lunch ~ sandwiches (peanut butter with jelly or honey, or turkey and cheese) with fruit

Dinner ~ white chili

Saturday:

Lunch ~ black bean quesadillas with fruit

Dinner ~ my mom’s birthday! We’re taking her out to dinner!

What I spent this week:

Like I said before – most of my groceries come from my big pantry shops at GFS. Here is my receipt from Walmart this week:

WIC switched over to a new system — it’s an electronic card instead of a paper check. Because of this, all of my WIC groceries and my regular groceries are mixed together on the same receipt, and the WIC stuff gets debited at the end. So my “total” was $39.21, WIC covered $25.14 of it, so I personally spent $14.07. I’m not really a fan of doing it this way. I prefer to have stuff on a separate receipt, so I’ll probably try to make it a separate transaction next week for my own records.

What I got:

WIC free items – 3 gallons of milk, 1 dozen eggs, 2 loaves of bread, 4 cans of black beans, bananas, apples, carrots, more apples, and celery.

My purchases – yogurt, corn tortillas, and tortilla chips

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Stay tuned for the rest of our weekly menus! And have a great week!!!

 

Weekly Menu: August 9th – 14th

Weekly Menus from Our Cozy Den ~ Feeding a family of 6 on under $250 a month!

My husband is finally home from his training so you would think we’d be done with the leftoverpalooza, right? Nope! We head out on vacation next week, so this week we are finishing up stuff from the fridge before we leave!

Again, a few notes before we get started:

  • Breakfast is not included in the menu, because in our house it is fend-for-yourself. The choices are oatmeal, eggs, or my homemade cereal.
    I recently did a post about my large once-a-month pantry shop. I try to plan most of my menu to use what we already have on hand in the pantry and freezer. Bulk buying = BIG savings!
  • Snacks are also not on the menu, but my kids do get a snack each afternoon around 4 pm. Their choices are veggies (usually carrots and celery), fruit (I always have on hand a selection of oranges, bananas, apples, pineapple, berries, etc.), hard-boiled eggs, cheddar cheese sticks, yogurt, and granola bars.

 

Here’s what we are eating this week:

Sunday:

Lunch ~ sandwiches (peanut butter with jelly or honey, or turkey and cheese) with fruit

Dinner ~ leftovers (no cooking on Sundays for me!)

Monday:

Lunch ~ vegetable soup

Dinner ~ crockpot pot roast with roasted potatoes and vegetables

Tuesday:

Lunch ~ black bean quesadillas with fruit

Dinner ~ eating at a friend’s house

Wednesday:

Lunch ~ {homeschool Home Ec} “Sunshine Toast”

Dinner ~ {homeschool Home Ec} “Perfect Pasta” with “Raspberry Fools” (it’s a vegetable-pasta dish, with a creamy raspberry side)

Thursday:

Lunch ~ leftovers

Dinner ~ pot roast tacos (using Monday’s leftover meat)

Friday:

Lunch ~ leftovers

Dinner ~ leftovers

Saturday:

Vacation!

 

What I spent this week:

Like I said before – most of my groceries come from my big pantry shops at GFS. Here is my receipt from Walmart this week:

Weekly Menus from Our Cozy Den ~ Feeding a family of 6 on under $250 a month!

2 gallons of milk, grapes, bananas, mayo, raspberries, bread, diced tomatoes, sour cream, heavy cream, frozen raspberries, and almond milk.

Total spent this week: $25.89. I’m looking forward to our homeschool Home Ec cooking unit to be over, so I can stop spending money on some of these random ingredients! But I let the kids choose their dishes, and it’s educational, so I’ll spend a few extra dollars a week for it.

Stay tuned for the rest of our weekly menus! And have a great week!!!