This is my attempt at at $20 weekly grocery list for 2 big eaters, 3 normal eaters, 2 parents and 2 young children, or 1 parent and 2 children. I have not tried this but if anyone does, please let me know if it's feasable and how it went. UPDATE: See my variations below
This is a list of fresh items such as fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat to buy. I make the assumption that you have basic pantry items on hand such as spices and herbs, flour, sugar, rice, oatmeal, couscous, oils and vinegars, salt and pepper, baking powder and soda, honey, peanut butter, ramen noodles, powdered sugar, popcorn seeds, bouillion cubes, onions, garlic etc.
I also assume that you have a variety of basic recepies at your disposal such as white sauce, yogurt cake base, crumble topping (flour or oatmeal based), home made vinegarette dressing, stir fry sauces (stir fry, peanut or teriyaki), riz au lait, oatmeal cookies, cake salé base (using white wine or beer), risotto base, etc. These can be easily customized.
Here's the basic shopping list:
1 head lettuce or choice $1.50
1 bunch of carrots $0.50
1 fresh or frozen "meat" $3.00
- sliced ham
1 bag of generic cereal of choice $2.00
1 large container of yogurt $1.20
1 fresh fruit $1.50
- pumpkin / squash
1 canned vegetable $0.50
1 gallon of milk $2.50
1 brick of cheese $2.50
dried beans of choice $0.50
Shop smart and stay in the budget. If you see meat on sale, buy more than usual and freeze it for later, or try a meat you usually can't afford, choose the fruit and veggies in season so you can get more for your money, vary your lettuces, fruit veggies, pastas and cheeses, buy whole items like a head of lettuce instead of bagged lettuce, use coupons and look for sales before heading to the store.
That might not seem like much to eat so here's a simple weekly menu to show how to use it all. M-F show breakfast and dinners Sat and Sun show lunches and desserts too.
L: Hot pasta with salad
B: Crêpes or Pancakes
L: Couscous or Tajine
B: Fruit and Yogurt
L: Quiche with Salad
L: Bean dish with rice
B: Tartines or french toast
L: Stir fry with rice or noodles and oatmeal cookies
L: Sandwiches or Cake Salé with taboulé and crudités
D: Risotto and yogurt cake
L: Cold pasta salad and Riz au Lait
D: Stew with salad and fruit crumble or fruit salad
Yeah but eat the same thing each week? No, that's boring and not healthy. Here's a list of variations that you can do:
Muffins: Spiced, Apple cinimon, chocolate, lemon, oatmel...
Pasta: tomatoe sauce, pesto, cream and garlic, lemon pepper...
Salads: fresh herbs, fruit and cheese, apples and raisins, nuts, shredded carrots, tomatoes...
Coucous: vegetarien, meat...
Bean Dishes: Lentils and ham, casoulet, baked beans, refied beans, houmous...
Stirfry: Veggie, Chicken, Beef, Noodle...
Sandwiches: BLT, Egg salad, cold meat, grilled cheese, cheese and onion...
Risotto: Tomatoes, Squash or Pumpkin, mushrooms, zuchini, artichauts...
Yogurt cake: spiced, lemon, chocolate, banana nut, glazed, pineapple upside down...
Omlettes: Cheese, ham, mushrooms, spinach, herbs...
Pasta salad: Tomatoes, cheese, beans, mushrooms, zuchini, corn, onion...
Stew: Chili, white chili, beef stew, beef stroganoff, pot pie...
Crumble: apple, pear, berries...
Quiche: ham and cheese, potatoe and bacon bits, onion, leek, cheese, chicken...
Tartines: tomatoe, cucumber salt and dill, cheese, butter, honey, peanut butter...
Finally, here's some tips for organizing and making the most out of your menus:
Wednesday: set dried beans to soak in a large bowl for thursday.
Friday: prepare taboulé to marinate for saturday.
Friday: movie night, make a big bowl of popcorn. Flavor with shredded or parmesan cheese, sugar, cinnamon, garlic, etc.
Saturday: Invite friends. Risotto is cheap and easy to multiply. Serve carrot chips with yogurt and dill dip as an appetizer and serve a special yogurt cake for dessert. Glaze cake with powdered sugar and water or sprinkle with powdered sugar or cocoa powder. Try mixing powdered coffee with a chocolate cake base for an adult taste.
Saturday: make extra risotto rice and set aside for riz au lait for sunday.
Sunday: If you have a slow cooker, put stew together at lunch for dinner
Sunday: Make your grocery list and do the shopping, bake muffins, precook and freeze pancakes with a sheet of wax paper between them for easy microwaving later, cook and freeze french toast.
Use homemade vinegarette dressing on veggie salads and cold pasta salads.
Add powdered curry to vinegarette dressing on cold pasta salads for more kick.
Stir fry and pasta salads are a great way to use up odds and ends of leftover beans and vegetables.
Use a basic white sauce on hot pasta to make cheesy, lemon, or garlic sauces
Don't have a muffin pan? Bake a rectangular cake and slice.
Snack? leftover crudities with yogurt dip, cereal, cereal trail mix, fruit, oatmeal cookies, popcorn...
Dessert after meals: a la francais: fruit, yogurt, compote, square of chocolate, coffee
Keep a shopping lisy handy if ever you run out of pantry staples.
Serve french toast and pancakes with powderd sugar, fruit, or compote.
Top tartines with honey, butter, cheese, peanut butter, cucumber, tomatoes, cheese...
Flavor yogurt with fruit and freeze in small paper cups with popsicle sticks for a fresh dessert or snack.
Not enough meat for a dish? Mix with or subsitute toufou or beans.
Stock up on canned goods when they're on sale.
Buy cheap baking chocolate bars, chop and add to muffins, cakes, cookies, pancakes and riz au lait.
Use a dallop of yogurt to soften a pesto or tomato sauce.
Throw a dallop of peanut butter in a hot stirfry for a nutty sauce.
Here's my menus for the two weeks:
B: Muffins made with cinnamon, nuts (optional) and 1 banana, diced and brown sugar crumble topping
L: Hot pasta with salad linguine with garlic cream sauce and 1 chicken breast, diced; salad with thinly sliced radishes and a bit of onion and homemade vinaigrette dressing
B: Crêpes or Pancakes pancakes topped with powdered sugar or maple syrup if you have it
L: Couscous or Tajine Couscous with carrots, cinnamon and white beans with raisins if you have them and 1/2 chicken breast
B: Fruit and Yogurt plain with sugar and topped with one canned half pear each, sprinkle with cinnamon or top with a mint leaf
L: Quiche with Salad onion quiche or tart with sweet vinaigrette dressing on green salad
B: Oatmeal with banana, cinnamon and nuts
L: Bean dish with rice cajun white beans and rice
B: Tartines or french toast radish tartine with butter and salt on wheat bread or toast
L: Stir fry with rice or noodles and oatmeal cookies leftover veggies and meat over rice, sub Marshmallow O's bars for oatmeal cookies if you have marshmallows
B: Cereal honey nut O's
L: Sandwiches or Cake Salé with taboulé and crudités cake sale with 1/2 can mushrooms, and sliced radishes with yogurt and herb dipping sauce
D: Risotto and yogurt cake zuchinni risotto and chocolate pear yogurt cake
B: Omlettes with shredded cheese
L: Cold pasta salad and Riz au Lait with diced cheese, fresh onion strips and a vinegarette dressing
D: Stew with salad and fruit crumble or fruit salad Chicken white chili with 1/2 chicken breast and whit beans
B: Muffins from last weeks batch
L: Hot pasta with salad linguine with lemon pepper sauce and 1 chicken breast, diced; salad with thinly sliced radishes and a bit of onion and homemade vinaigrette dressing
B: Crêpes or Pancakes crepes with sugar and lemon juice or any jam or peanut butter you have on hand
L: Couscous or Tajine Tajine with carrots,zuchinni, lemon and olives and 1/2 chicken breast
B: Fruit and Yogurt plain with sugar and topped with 1/2 sliced banana each, sprinkle with chopped peanuts or walnuts if you have them
L: Quiche with Salad fine herb quiche with potatoes if you have them and diced radish and onion salad with vinaigrette served on a lettuce leaf
B: Oatmeal with brown sugar and maple syrup if you have any
L: Bean dish with rice Cassoulet with white beans over rice
B: Tartines or french toast french toast made with eggs and cinnamon, top with thin sliced banana and chopped nuts if you have them, sprinkle with powdered sugar
L: Stir fry with rice or noodles and oatmeal cookies any leftover veggies and meats with homemade teriyaki sauce over noodles
B: Cereal honey nut O's with sliced bananas if there are leftovers
L: Sandwiches or Cake Salé with taboulé and crudités radish sandwiches cut tea style with crusts trimmed served along side peanut butter and honey ones, taboule with herb and sliced olives if you have them, served with fresh carrot 'chips' and yogurt and dill dipping sauce.
D: Risotto and yogurt cake 1/2 can mushroom risotto and spiced yogurt cake
B: Omlettes with fine herbs
L: Cold pasta salad and Riz au Lait with left over veggies and homemade thai peanut butter dressing
D: Stew with salad and fruit crumble or fruit salad chicken pot pie with carrots, leftover veggies and 1/2 chicken breast, diced with homemade crust; pear crumble with 2 pear halves and brown sugar crumble topping
snack mix made from honey nut O's tossed with leftover popcorn, raisins and nuts
peanut butter and honey tartines
extra oatmeal cookies
extra yogurt cake