What Did We Eat This Week – How to Eat Well on a Budget • Week 2 of a full month!

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Hi friends! If this is your first time here, welcome!

This is the latest addition to a series of blog posts I’ve been writing in which I document and share my grocery haul for the week, the meals I made that week, and how much everything cost to feed my household of 3 adults. 

Specifically, this is week 2 of a solid month that I am documenting. If you’d like a quick link to read week 1 first, HERE YA GO.

If you are stuck trying to figure out “What’s for dinner?” or looking for ideas to stretch your grocery budget further, I hope you can find something within this blog that either helps or inspires you!

As for some disclaimers:

  • We all have different dietary needs.
  • We all have different preferences.
  • We all have access to different food sources.
  • We all have different ideas of what a healthy diet looks like.

If you just looked at this short list of disclaimers and you are still saying, “Yeah, but…” then I encourage you to have a look at my original post where I talk in a little more detail about the hows and whys of my personal meal budgeting and planning – the most important word in that sentence being “personal”. There is no rule book to any of this after all, so take what fits into place for your life and feel free to leave the rest behind =)  

On to the food and totals!

I’m going to give you 2 different cost totals. The first being what we actually spent on our grocery shopping for the week. The second number is going to be the cost per meal, including everything down to oils and spices. I watch a lot of videos and read a lot of blogs about budget groceries and meal plans, and I know I always feel like it’s a little disingenuous when the content creator makes a claim of feeding their family on an impressive budget, but then they are pulling items left and right from their pantry and freezer and not including those items into the actual cost of feeding their family.

If I paid for it, it gets counted in my total! 

So the total amount we spent on groceries at Aldi was $26.23.

The total amount we spent on groceries at Food Lion was $30.13.

The grand grocery total was $56.36.

And the total spent for all of our meals from Wednesday dinner to the following Wednesday lunch was  $45.98.

I’ve also tacked on an extra $5 to account for the extra odds and ends that I don’t strictly track, like coffee and creamer, and individual lunches and snacks that aren’t leftovers. I have tracked this in the past, so $5 is a fair enough estimate. We aren’t a breakfast eating bunch and most of our lunches are typically comprised of leftovers. I do separate lunches that I make for the house from this $5 as you’ll see further down. 

Here's what we got this week!

Aldi Groceries
Aldi Groceries
Food Lion Groceries
Food Lion Groceries

And our meals for the week…

A significant portion of the budget this week did go to replacing staples and condiments that will last us a while (garlic powder, corn starch, mustard, jarred jalapenos, etc) and that we don’t usually buy very frequently. We purchased a bit less meat this week than we typically do, but we have a smoked sausage still from the previous week’s shopping, as well as several items in the freezer that we can pull from if needed. 

Thursday Dinner

Breaded pork chops with asparagus and couscous.

Total Cost: $7.11

I love the packs of couscous that Aldi sells for about a dollar. It’s the perfect side for nights when I don’t have a lot of time or energy to put into making sides, because it’s pretty much just boil the water, dump in the couscous, and wait 5 minutes. We used to get the flavored variety, until they were out of our preferred flavor one day, and I realized the original/unflavored variety had almost twice the servings for the same price. Now I enjoy flavoring them according to whatever I happen to be in the mood for that evening. And the greater quantity means we always have leftovers for multiple lunches now! 

I also think it’s about time to be done with asparagus for a while, because despite how much we’ve been enjoying it, $2.50 for a single meal’s worth of a veggie is a lot compared to it’s in season price. This probably should have been a $5 dinner. Other than my usual rotation of veggies that are generally cheap year round, I try to buy what’s in season, especially locally, to keep things fresh and affordable. 

(also, I finally learned this week how to spell couscous, despite reading it on the box for MONTHS *facepalm*)

  • Pork Chops $3.27
  • Bread Crumbs $0.25
  • Couscous $0.95
  • Asparagus $2.49
  • Oil & Spices $0.15

Friday Dinner

Cheeseburger w/ fried egg.

Total Cost: $2.33

The household demanded cheeseburgers, so cheeseburgers were had. We had a pack of hamburger buns that were bought on sale a couple weeks prior and needed to be used anyway. I try to buy ground beef in bulk when I see a particularly good deal on it, and I try not to spend more than $2 a pound on it. I almost feel like y’all won’t believe me, but a couple months ago I walked into a grocery store I don’t usually go to, because it has a reputation for being overly expensive, and they had these packs of ground beef, not even marked as a manager special or on sale, for $0.99 a pound.

I bought a 5 pound pack and divided it into one pound portions when I got home. I store them in quart freezer bags that I flatten into sheets and stack in the freezer. Freezing them in these flat sheets is fantastic not just because of the space saving benefits, but because they are very quick to defrost in a dish of cold water. 

  • Ground Beef $0.99
  • Hamburger Buns $0.59
  • Cheese Slices $0.25
  • Eggs $0.15
  • Jalapeno $0.20
  • Oil & Spices $0.15
I photographed this so horribly, but I was hungry and rushed haha.

Saturday Dinner

Korean fried chicken w/ broccoli and rice.

Total Cost: $4.96

This is absolutely my favorite dish of 2020. I’ve made it most Saturdays the last couple months, and there are NO leftovers no matter how much I cook.  Despite being a bit of work, I think I actually like eating this more than I enjoy getting take out – and this meal is SO MUCH CHEAPER than takeout for 3. I use this recipe by Maangchi with some minor alterations (if you are interested in Korean cooking, she is my go to guru to learn about ingredients and recipes).  

  • Chicken Thighs $1.95
  • Hot Pepper Paste $0.54
  • Corn Syrup (I’ve used honey in the past too, but I’m out) $0.25
  • Broccoli $1.05
  • Rice $0.25
  • Frying Oil $0.42
  • Flour, Corn Starch, Spices, & other Sauce Ingredients $0.50

Sunday Lunch

Runny eggs and fried potatoes.

Total Cost: $1.00

This meal is neither glamorous nor particularly nutritious, but sometimes this is just what our weekend lunch looks like. Plus my boyfriend made it for us and brought it to me in bed with coffee, so I have zero complaints! 

  • Potatoes $0.75
  • Eggs $0.15
  • Oil and Spices $0.10

Sunday Dinner

Southwest chicken on corn tortillas.

Total Cost: $8.34

I made this very similar to how I made it last week, but with fresh tomatoes this time! We ate all the tortillas with dinner, but there was plenty of filling for some lunch bowls on Monday.

  • Chicken Breasts $4.15
  • Black Beans $0.39
  • Mexi-corn $0.99
  • Tomato $0.65
  • Bell Pepper $0.77
  • Shredded Cheese $0.74
  • Rice $0.25
  • Masa Harina $0.25
  • Oil & Spices $0.15

Monday Dinner

Sausage, red beans, onions, and bell peppers w/ rice.

Total Cost: $4.70

This is an easy weeknight meal that my boyfriend usually takes the reins on cooking. I hate that rice and beans, while being the default “poverty food”, kind of gets labeled as a bland or sad meal in many households, when they can be cooked in so many ways and comprise some of my favorite, most delicious meals!

  • Sausage $1.99
  • Bell Peppers $1.54
  • Onions $0.38
  • Kidney Beans $0.39
  • Rice $0.25
  • Oil & Spices  $0.15

Tuesday Lunch

Avocado chicken salad w/ tomato on toast.

Total Cost: $3.25

I had one large chicken breast left that I cooked and shredded. I mixed the shredded chicken with an avocado, sliced a tomato, and put it on toast. Easy, simple, and delicious.

  • Chicken Breast $2.00
  • Tomato $0.65
  • Bread $.10
  • Spinach $0.40
  • Spices $0.10

Tuesday Dinner

Chicken thighs in a cauliflower cream sauce.

Total Cost: $6.11

I’ve been experimenting with different ways of using cauliflower in sauces. I steamed half a head of cauliflower and blended it in my Vitamix with half a cup of half & half and a quarter cup of sour cream. I added plenty of black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and a bit of salt.

I cooked the chicken thighs in my Instant Pot and steamed some broccoli. Then I chopped a couple big handfuls of spinach, added that to the sauce, and served everything over spaghetti noodles. The broccoli overpowered the sauce a bit more than I expected, but it was still a delicious meal and a very satisfying alternative to how I’d traditionally made a white sauce. 

  • Chicken Thighs $3.14
  • Spaghetti $0.40
  • Cauliflower $1.13
  • Broccoli $0.53
  • Half and Half $0.20
  • Sour Cream $0.11
  • Spinach $0.40
  • Oil & Spices $0.20

Wednesday Dinner

Potato cauliflower soup.

Total Cost: $3.18

Instead of pulling another container of meat from the freezer, I elected to go for a meatless dinner.

I steamed the other half of my head of cauliflower from the previous meal as well as some potatoes and carrots until soft. I set the steamed carrots and some of the potatoes aside, and blended the cauliflower and the rest of the potatoes in my vitamix with a cup of half & half and spices. After I was happy with the flavor, I transferred the blended soup to a large bowl and added chopped spinach. Lastly I added back the unblended carrot and potato chunks and served. It was a bit less rich than a traditional potato soup made with lots of heavy cream, cheese, and other heavy ingredients, but the cauliflower kept it thick and creamy, and there was enough blended potatoes that my cauliflower hating mom had no suspicions over the ingredients. 

  • Cauliflower $1.13
  • Potatoes $0.75
  • Carrots $0.35
  • Half & Half $0.40
  • Spinach $0.40
  • Oil & Spices $0.15

And that’s another week of eating down! I’m already working on next week’s blog post, and I’m excited to share with you what I bought for the following week, as well as how I used some of the ingredients I didn’t get to from this shopping trip. 

And in the meantime, you are always welcome to follow my Instagram for a sneak peak at what I’ve bought and what I’m cooking. It’s also where I post grocery hauls and meals that don’t always make it to the blog!

Previous Week of Meals
Next Week of Meals


Hey, I'm Lisa! I have a love for thrifting, cooking, entertaining, and updating my old house...and I'm doing it all on a budget! Follow along and hopefully you'll find something that inspires you to live your best life, even if it's with limited finances. Whether you're looking for ways to stretch your dollars, trying to save more and spend less, or just here for the thrift hauls, I hope you'll stick around =)
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