Food prices, like everything, are rising. However, it is possible to feed a family for four on $75 a week by shopping at Walmart, practicing once-a-week cooking, and buying fresh options. Here’s a meal plan, recipes, and a shopping list that covers three meals a day for seven days.
I’ve also included special diet options, including vegetarian meals.
My Shopping List
Total – $74.57
3# fresh (if on sale for $1.99 #) Great Value frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast -$6.38
3# fresh ground beef – $6.29
Great Valley shredded Colby Jack cheese (2# package) – $7.14
Hurst’s Hambeens 15 Bean Soup Mix – $2.14
Riceland 32 ounce brown rice – $2.18
Great Value 20 ounce ketchup – $.94
Great Value 16 ounce mustard – $.64
Azteca 14.5 ounce flour tortilla shells – $1.79
Great Value thin spaghetti pasta 16 oz. – $.94
Great Value White Corn and Black Bean Salsa 26 oz – $2.14
Great Value Minced Onions – $.50
Great Value Chili powder – $.50
Great Value Garlic salt – $.50
2# Dole Iceberg Lettuce Salad (with purple cabbage and carrots) $1.99
1# Great Value stick margarine $.69
1 large sweet onion $.39
1 cucumber $.50
1 head broccoli $2
1 pound baby carrots $1.50
two dozen eggs $1.29 dozen
two loaves Great Value wheat bread $1.39 each
1 can orange juice $.99
1 can apple juice $.99
1 can pineapple juice $.99
2 gallons skim or 2% Great Value milk $2.39 each
1 bottle Kraft or Great Value Ranch salad dressing $1.49
3# bag apples $2.99
8 bananas $2.50
1 18 ounce jar Great Value Natural style peanut butter $1.89
2 jars Ragu or Great Value Chunky Garden style pasta sauce $1.50 each
1 box Krusteaz Apple-Cinnamon pancake mix $1.99
1 bottle Great Value maple syrup $1.59
1 28 ounce can Great Value petite diced Italian tomatoes $.99
1 16 ounce jar Great Value mayonnaise $1.50
1 large box corn flakes $1.99
1 small jar Great Value grape jelly $.89
2 assorted packages cookies $.99 each
Once-a-week Cooking Plan
Set the beans to soak overnight.
Cube the chicken in bit-sized pieces and cook in half stick of butter. Freeze.
Cook one pound ground beef. Cool and freeze.
Make two pounds of ground beef into meatloaf: mix ground beef with two cups corn flakes, garlic salt, chopped onion, mustard, ketchup and 3 eggs. Mix with hands. Place half meatloaf mixture into baking dish. Mold remaining meatloaf mixture into meatballs. Refrigerate.
Cook rice. Refrigerate
Cook pasta. Refrigerate.
Hardboil six eggs.
Make for eggs in egg salad with mayonnaise and mustard.
Chop cucumber, onion and broccoli.
Day One Menu
Breakfast: (for vegans or persons with egg albumen allergies, replace eggs with peanut butter for protein)
– toast and butter
-Chicken Caesar Salad: lettuce with cooked chicken, chopped cucumber, sliced hardboiled eggs and salad dressing. Make croutons this way: toast bread, butter and sprinkle with garlic salt. Cut in cubes. Vegetarians, omit chicken and replace with shredded cheese for protein.
-milk or water
-cooked broccoli (use half of the head)
-water to drink
Day Two Menu
-pancakes topped with sliced apples, butter and syrup
-milk or water
-egg salad sandwiches
-Spaghetti with meat sauce: add one and one half pound ground beef and to 2 jars pasta sauce. Serve over hot cooked noodles. For vegetarians, omit meat in sauce. Set aside half of the cooked pasta and meat sauce. Layer in casserole dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and garlic salt. Refrigerate.
Day Three Menu
-corn flakes with sliced bananas and milk
grilled cheese sandwiches: Spread outsides of bread with butter. Sprinkle with cheese. Grill open faced.
raw broccoli and salad dressing
-chili: Rinse soaked beans, add can of tomatoes and chili powder. Add cooked chicken if desired. Top with cheese. Set aside two portions for later meals.
-water to drink
Day Four Menu
-French toast: Blend milk and eggs. Dip bread in egg mixture. Fry in butter. Serve with syrup.
-peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
-remaining cooked rice
Day Five Menu
-Egg Strata: Mix four eggs with 1 cup milk. Pour in buttered baking dish. Cut bread in half diagonally. Lay bread in egg mixture. Top with cheese and garlic salt. Bake until eggs are cooked.
-White chicken chili burritoes. Fill tortilla shells with white chicken chili.
-Spaghetti casserole (bake leftover spaghetti for 30 minutes to heat)
-lettuce salad with dressing.
Day Six Menu
-corn flakes, bananas and milk
-Sweet and Sour meatballs: Cook meatballs in sauce made with equal parts grape jelly and ketchup.
Chicken Salsa Soup: Add salsa (rinse salsa jar and add rinse water). Add cooked chicken, remaining onions and cucumbers, and shredded cheese.
Day Seven Menu
-waffles (made from pancake mix), syrup, butter
-peanut butter- apple pinwheels: Spread remaining tortilla shells with peanut butter. Top with sliced apples. Roll up and slice into pinwheels.
Leftover Lottery Soup: Blend leftover chili and tortilla soup together. Add any remaining rice.
For less than $75 I was able to buy every ingredient I needed in order for my family to eat 21 nutritious meals (three meals a day for seven days). This meal plan relies on once-a-week cooking, using leftovers to repurpose meals and cooking healthy by using fresh produce in season.