Three Square Meals + Some on $5 a day, Part Deux

In the September 09 issue of Single! Young Christian Woman, I gave you the first set of four-day menus in a 16-day program I’ve worked out so that you can eat healthy on $5 a day. This here is part deux. Just like last month, I’m gonna give you four day’s worth of menu and shopping list, as well as the shopping list for a starter kit of ingredients that’ll last you for at least three months, in most cases. Yur gonna have to check back with me in the next two issues of Single! Young Christian Woman, to get the menus and shopping lists for days nine through 16. But that dudn’t mean you can’t start using this menu right now.

Now I know $55 for a starter kit sounds a little outrageous, but it will average out to be less than a dollar a day because of how long the ingredients last. Added to the $4-a-day menu and yur eatin’ for $5 a day.

Some things on this menu are made with items leftover from the first four-day shopping list. If you are seeing this for the first time, what ya really otta do is go back to the first four-day menu and start there and give this thing a whirl for eight days. But if you wanna be stubborn and start with the second 4-day menu, then you’ll have to buy the things that you were supposed to have left over from the first menu. I’ve included that list below for the hard-headed.

Now, let’s review the ground rules.

1. Shop smart. No fancy schmancy markets – you need a Kroger or a Wal-mart or some other low-priced store and even then, you need to buy the store brand when you can to make this work. I don’t list a size on these products, so just get as large a container as you can without going over the allotted price. For the spices, if you have a Wal-Mart Superstore, look for their large spice bottles for $.50 each instead of paying for name brands. If not, go to the local dollar store to buy yur spices. And a disclaimer: prices vary so much from store to store and then when you take into account different regions of the country, well, this iddn’t no exact science. I’m ballparkin’ figures here and I believe you can get mighty close to the total amount regardless of where you live, as long as you shop smart.

2. Surely you notice a little repetition in these menus and that there aren’t too many fancy foods on them. Newsflash: You can’t eat fancy foods on $5 a day. And if yur just feeding yurself, well, you’ve got to have a little repetition to use all the food that was in the package. Again, budget food does not usually come in single servings.

3. As always, I’m learnin’ ya how to cook healthy. Give it a try – I just know you can learn to love what’s good for ya.

$50 starter kit

Salt                        $2

Pepper                        $1

Ginger                        $2

Cinnamon            $1

Basil                        $1

Oregano            $1

Cumin                        $1

Brown sugar            $2

Molasses            $2

Baking powder  $2.50

Baking soda            $1

Whole wheat flour $3

Vanilla                        $2

Mayonnaise             $2

Pesto                         $3

Bullion Cubes (chicken and beef)*            $2 each

Lemon juice                        $2

Jalapeno peppers            $2

Olive oil                        $5

Balsamic vinegar            $3

Soy sauce                        $3

Worcestershire sauce $2

Apple cider vinegar            $1

Canola Oil                        $3

Cooking spray                        $3

BBQ sauce                        $1

If any money left over, buy parmesan cheese ($2.50), a box of crackers ($2.50)

Should have left over from First 4-day Menu

Corn tortillas



Loaf of bread

Apple sauce


Frozen peas

Turkey sausage


Oatmeal cookies (made from scratch in first 4-day menu)

Shopping list #2

Peanut butter                        $2

Lunch meat                        $3

Cereal                                    $3

Carrots                         $1

½ Gallon of Milk            $2

Spinach tortellini             $3

Bananas                         $1

Raisins                                    $1.50

4-Day Menu

Day 5

Breakfast –cereal (And don’t you dare buy some sugary cereal not fit for human consumption!)

Lunch – peanut butter and banana sandwich

Snack – raisins

Dinner – turkey tortellini kabobs and glazed carrots

Desert – oatmeal cookies

Day 6

Breakfast – eggs w/ toast

Lunch – lunch meat sandwich w/ raw carrots

Snack – celery w/ peanut butter

Dinner – celery soup w/ tortellini

Desert – arroz con leche

Day 7

Breakfast – apple oatmeal

Lunch – egg salad or scrambled egg sandwich

Snack – banana

Dinner – tortellini w/ pesto, peas

Desert – leftover arroz con leche

Day 8

Breakfast – cereal

Lunch – fried rice

Snack – raisins

Dinner – grilled lunchmeat sandwich and glazed carrots

Desert – fried bananas w/ cinnamon


Turkey Tortellini Kabobs: Cook tortellini according to package directions, minus one minute. Drain and let cool. Chop sausage into 1/2-inch rounds. Skewer alternatin’ sausage and tortellini on a kabob stick – you can use a regular piece of wire for this, even a coat hanger if you have to. Coat lightly with cooking spray then sprinkle with parmesan cheese, basil and oregano. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

Glazed Carrots: scrap or peel carrots lightly then wash. In small saucepan over medium heat, add one teaspoon canola oil with two teaspoons brown sugar and a dash of ginger, stir to dissolve sugar. Add carrots, coat carrots well with oil/sugar and cook for 10 minutes, stirring ever coupla minutes.

Fried Bananas with Cinnamon: Peel ripe (but not overly ripe) banana and cut lengthwise in half. Coat small skillet with cooking spray. Over medium heat, cook bananas for two to three minutes each side, sprinklin’ with cinnamon. Bananas should have a grilled look about em’.

Celery Soup with Tortellini

In the bottom of a small saucepan over medium-high, add two sticks finely chopped celery and one teaspoon olive oil. Stir to coat celery and cook, stirring ever minute or two, for about 8 minutes, until the celery is soft. Add two cups of water, two chicken bullion cubes and bring water to a boil. Stir to dissolve the bullion. Add tortellini to the soup and boil for as long as the package recommends. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crackers.

Arroz con Leche (Rice with Milk)

This delish dish is a favorite in many Latin American countries and Spain. It’s done a little differently wherever you go, so here’s a generic version that’s good for us Gringos.

½ c. rice

1 c. milk

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons raisins



Dump the rice in a small bowl or a measuring cup. Add about a cup of water to it and swoosh it around with your hand, dig in there, girls! The water’s gonna turn white – siphon off that starchy water and do this a coupla times more until the water is not so dern white. This’ll make for a less gummy rice in the end. Now cook rice according to package directions.

Transfer cooked rice to a bowl and dump milk, sugar, raisins and vanilla in the bowl too and stir ‘em all up. Smooth over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon. Put it in the fridge and let the rice soak up the milk for about two hours. Then when yur ready, try this cold or warm – it’s yummy both ways.

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